Weekend Open Thread

Oh! Shoes Women's Playa Platform PumpSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

After reading some of the comments on Monday’s post on low heels, I thought I’d share this one for everyone else who’s looking for a good compromise between a gorgeous shoe that makes you want to throw across the room after wearing it for five minutes, and the geriatric-looking shoe that you can walk for days in.  (This is a special problem for me lately as, well, the pregnancy exacerbated some Feet Issues, as well as making all of my shoes about a half to a full size too small. Joy.)  Anyway: I know these shoes don’t look like much on the screen, but they’re a great quality leather, they’re actually comfortable (despite their height), and they — dare I say it — look quite cute on.  I particularly like the way the straps dip down in the front instead of cutting across the ankle.  (Hat tip to Barking Dog Shoes for introducing me to the brand.)  And, hello, sale: They were $204, but Amazon has them marked as low as $52.06 (depending on which size, and which color you get — they’re available in black and a “chocolate metallic suede.”)  Oh! Shoes Women’s Playa Platform Pump



P.S. OH! I forgot! The Barney’s Warehouse Sale is available online this year!  I’ll try to come back and update this post with some picks.  My $.02: check out the shoes first, ladies — they go fast.  Hmmn, in fact stuff is going so quickly that I thought I’d just do some notes:

  • I think a lot of the Manolo Blahniks on sale and Maison Martin Margielas would work for the office, as well as many of the Tabitha Simmons heels
  • TONS of cute blazers from brands like theyskens’ theory, Rag & Bone, and L’Agence
  • Cute pencil skirts from brands like Suno, Lanvin, and 10 Crosby


  1. Immigration Law :

    I’m starting a job as an immigration attorney, in removal and deportation. It’s been a while since I worked in this area, and I have a few weeks to brush up on the law and my writing. I would appreciate any suggestions for reading material (treatises, blogs, etc.) Also, I am considering a move a little further down the line to the corporate side, aka business immigration. Any tips for staying current on that side of the field? Any general tips you wish you had known when starting out? Thanks in advance.

  2. Quick poll. I’ve been married two years and a good friend just celebrated her first anniversary. We were talking about what we’d learned so far in our marriages and about what the themes in each year was. We agreed that in the first year, there are a lot of knock down, drag out fights over Big Issues. Things where there may have been subtle disagreement become huge because you think “Is this how I have to live for the rest of my life?” and so you go to war because you’re really fighting *for* the relationship. In the second year, I found that Mr. TBK and I finally learned how to not-fight. That is, we could now see some of the fights coming and say “hey, if we go here, we’re going to fight so let’s take a break/drop it/take a sharp turn onto a new course” and anyway, most of the really big issues (kids, in-laws, religion, money, careers) had been hashed out (read beaten like a dead, dead horse) in the first year. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve learned in each phase of your marriage/relationship. (Also, Mr. and I got married pretty fast so I’d be curious to hear, for those of you who had long co-habitation relationships before marriage, or who are just co-habiting without marriage, what you think the differences are.)

    • Interesting! I’ve been married 11 years, and I think that we’ve progressed along mostly like you say. Fights have come back up, though, during times of change – particularly when I was having a hard time dealing in the job market post-law school. New things to hash out, as you said above.

      We were engaged for 1.5 years, and living together through most of that, and I would say that our biggest fights probably occurred during that time, moreso than the first year of actual marriage.

      • Wow, how did I get moderated for that? But, on the assumption that it will appear later, I’ll add that we have a few things that we’ve worked out: 1) we very rarely have real, life impacting disagreements – we are almost always in agreement about overall things that we want to do, and 2) we’re very respectful of each other, in as much as we want to be with each other, but accept that the other is a separate person, too. He’s always telling me, for example, and male friends of his who will say (with seriousness) that the wife won’t “let” them go out a certain night, because she wants him to do something. This is entirely foreign to us – while we would always tell each other where we were going, and even ask if the other person minded, we would never see it as having to seek permission from the other person. Also, we don’t talk down the other person, even when he/she’s not around. (I’m sure that we’ve all had the friends who do nothing but bash their spouse when you get together. Disgusting, IMO.)

        • H a s h is why you got moderated, I think.

          • No talking about semi-illegal (or fully illegal…?) drugs on here, thank you very much. haha.

            Of course, if I said mary-jay, I bet I’m fine. :-)

        • I think you get moderated if you are new or talk about illegal stuff or sex outside of marriage. Kat must be a Republican I think.

          • regular poster :

            No, I doubt Kat is a republican. She has always come across as fairly intelligent.

          • Seriously regular poster?

          • Seattleite :

            We talk about sex outside of marriage a lot on this site, and no one has ever complained about getting moderated for it. *Words* will get you moderated, not the activities they describe.

    • YES! People kept asking what we learned in our first year of marriage, and my reply was always, “We learned to fight better.” Totally agree that the second year we learned how to prevent the fights in the first place.

      Our third year of marriage, we learned to sacrifice for each other. My career wasn’t going well in our current location, so we had to suck it up, do long-distance marriage for about 6 months, and finally re-unite in a new city that helped my career.

      Our fourth year of marriage was about honing our goals and really identifying the criteria for building the life we want together. We’d kind of had vague goals, and knew that we were on the same page from a values and day-to-day perspective, but we hadn’t had the individual soul-searching to figure out what we needed individually, which meant we couldn’t have that soul-searching as a couple.

      We’re a few months into year #5… I’ll be interested to see what it teaches us! Oh, and we didn’t live together before marriage, and married young, at 22.

      • Your comment jumped out at me because my husband and I are in our third year of marriage and I’m asking him to consider a cross-country move for my career. He’s been wonderful, and I feel very conscious during our conversations that we’re in the process of learning how to sacrifice our individual selves for an aggregate benefit. Thank goodness we went through the “learn how to fight” and “prevent fights” stages already or this would be so much more difficult!

        • I will throw this out there, and not to put a damper on the support, but if you’re interested in knowing some of the aftermath of that decision (ie: what we’re living with/dealing with now), I’d be happy to share in more detail via email. Things actually worked out in the best case scenario that we contemplated, but the cross-country move, support, sacrifice, etc. has definitely left us with a lot of issues to deal with now that time has passed and the situation is different. It may still be the best decision for you two, and it definitely was for us, but things sometimes surface later that you hadn’t thought through.

          • It’s be great to chat more via email. I tried emailing you using ashley (at) consciouslycorporate (dot) com, but it didn’t go through. My email is creativejess (at) hotmail (dot) com.

        • My relationship has gone through a lot of “zero sum” decisions like this. I can honestly say we are stronger because of it.

          I think that the key for it working for us has been a thorough discussion of how each decision affects 1) me, 2) him, 3) our marriage. Getting all that out on the table and playing with it makes the ultimate decision not feel like a sacrifice in the end. We do as much as we can to optimize the deicsion and usually build in next steps. We also take the view that we make each decision the best we can with the limited information we had at the time. Nothing is ever set in stone. If we go in one direction and it turns out not to be working, we figure out how to fix it. The “fix” has never been about turning back the clock, but always about what we can do next (forward looking, rather than backward looking).

        • We had been married for about a year and a half when we found out my husband had gotten a great job on the other side of the country. We did long-distance for several months (spent our second anniversary apart, actually) while I wrapped things up in our old city job-wise and life-wise. I was really, really fortunate that I got a better job than I used to have quite quickly after I moved, but it was a rough couple months psychologically with the uncertainty about if/when I’d find something, adapting to the new city where I knew nobody but my hubby, and just getting used to living together again after being apart for awhile. Now we’re going on three years of marriage (seven together) and I feel like our marriage is only now starting to settle into a really good, comfortable normalness.

    • Wow. That experience is totally different from mine. I moved in with my husband a couple of months after we started dating, got engaged a year into the relationship, and married a year after that. Been married for more than a decade now. I can count the number of fights we’ve had on my fingers.

      I can’t say that there has been any big changes at any point in our relationship. We weren’t looking for a long-term relationship when we met and we took everything a day-at-a-time. One day we both realized that we wanted to keep doing that for the rest of our lives. :) (That’s the day we got engaged.) Marriage was just a celebration of the commitment we already made. We never know what tomorrow is going to hold for us, so every day we just do our best to make the best decisions we can, for ourselves individually, for us as a couple, and now as parents for our children. That approach has gotten us through a lot, and while life has gotten crazy many times and we’ve needed to make some major course corrections, our relationship has only ever needed minor tweaks here and there.

    • I had quite a different experience first year of marriage. We bought the book the 10 Conversations You Must Have Before You Get Married once we were engaged and so we pretty much had disccused our opinions on the really big issues (kids, in-laws, religion, money, careers, retirement plans, division of labor, etc.) before we got married. We also did 6 pre-marital counseling sessions just to make sure we had thought about these things in advance.

      However, we did date for 3 1/2 years for before getting engaged, and lived together for 9 months of tha, so maybe that is why.

      I found the first year of marriage rewarding in knowing you had this intense bond with another person, that you had pledged to hold to for the rest of your lives. I also found it fun in just experiencing things as husband and wife.

      • We had all of the conversations pre-marriage but somehow things looked different once we were really married. Also, I grew up in a single parent household and pretty much everyone in my family is divorced, so I get panicky sometimes (as in either “oh my god this is it we’re not going to make it!” or else “oh my god I’m stuck with this forever!”). I’m still learning what it means to be someone’s wife.

    • The longer we’ve been married (4 years now) I think the more we’re learning how to be honest with each other. Not about the big things – those were all pretty well hashed out before. But now we don’t feel like we’re always trying to impress or accomodate the other one.

      Also, I’m seeing more truth in the best piece of marriage advice I received: be grateful. Even on bad days, if I can be thankful for something my husband did, it makes marriage that much better.

    • 1) We learned to fight fairly. Depending on what’s going on, our arguments can be frequent and sometimes loud. But, even when we are vehemently disagreeing, we are respectful. We are each other’s safe place and we are honest about what is bothering us/how to fix it. I used to think that fights meant someone was going to leave. That’s not true. We plan on being in this for life so might as well fix what’s not working.

      2) We learned that we have each other’s backs no matter what. We have had some major life changes this year (death of a parent, job troubles, new jobs, long distance marriage, new city, parenting a small child, etc) and still can honestly say we wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.

      • Seconding the sentiment that we are each other’s safe place. I always just feel restful when I’m with my husband, like there’s no masks, and I’m just me. Even if we have a fight, it’s restful to be fighting with him rather than someone else, if that makes any sense. Especially when we’re doing great in our personal and professional endeavors, it’s like a sigh of relief in my soul to come home and enjoy the evening with him. It’s not even about doing anything particularly special, just living life together!

    • I mostly learned that I didn’t have to take everything so personally, and that not everything my husband did was About Me. If he watches violent movies that offend me, he’s not doing it to make some sort of point about my movie choices (and considerately doesn’t watch them when I’m home, because he knows I won’t want to watch with him). If he makes a decision I definitely would have gone the other way on (not joint decisions, but his own things), it’s not a commentary on my decisions. This seems super obvious, but it took me almost a year and a half to get to the point where his independent actions didn’t make me feel insecure.

    • e_pontellier :

      This is so cool. I’m just wrapping my first year of marriage (fall anniversary) and I’m totally feeling our fights changing from really knock down, drag out fights to avoiding fights. We’re also learning how to have each other’s backs in the way that matters to each other — e.g., for him, one thing is that I’m more supportive of him around other people, and for me, it’s being able to quit my job and go to school full-time (did 1L working full time and going to school at night).

    • Interesting topic. I’ve been married almost a year (this month!) and lived with my husband for three years before getting married. We have never fought a lot, and we still don’t now that we’re married– however– we have had a few fights related to money in our first year of marriage.

      As a co-habitating unmarried couple we split everything 50/50 like roommates. I come from a lower middle class family and was essentially on my own money-wise since I was about 16, so I was really used to having my own money that I spent how I wanted, and didn’t have to answer to anyone about it. Obviously that changes when you get married.

      Luckily we are on the same page regarding the big financial things (i.e. saving, investing, longterm goals), but we have definitely had a few fights over stupid small purchases. It’s been a hard transition for me to have to remember, okay, I’m married, my money is OUR money, just as his money is OUR money. It’s getting easier, but it has been an adjustment!

      • Diana Barry :

        We had all our big fights the first year we were dating. After we had been dating for 1.5 yrs, he moved from NY to BOS to be with me where my job was. After another year we bought a condo together and then got engaged, then married another year later. Basically no fights since. :)

    • After 5 years I think the thing I’ve learned most is how to hear what I’m saying in a way that he might be hearing it, and I think he’s done the same. In other words, we know the ways we might each come across as more angry than we are, or more annoyed, and we can stop problems before they start.

      We also learned just how much change and uncertainty can mess with things. I’m envious when I hear of couples that start off married in the town they plan to live in, with the jobs they keep having. We married at the end of my grad school, and within 6 months we experienced my defense/graduation, moving to a new town, buying a house, starting a new demanding job (me), not being able to find a job (him), starting and quitting college due to not seeing a clear path (him), living off one small income, and depression issues that resulted from some of those things. After that year, the second year felt really really simple. Several years from that, I think the biggest thing I know is that there are cycles. You won’t always feel the same about each other all the time, but things tend to come back around to happier times eventually.

    • Maybe its because we were together for a really long time before we got married, co-habitated, and had all the “big” discussions before the wedding (kids, finances, hey…we even bought a house) but I haven’t found the first year to be like that much at all. (We’re coming up on our first year anniversary). But, on the other hand, we’ve never been huge fighters to begin with. We also both read The Happiness Project a couple years ago at least now, so we’ve focused on fighting fair since then, though we sort of discovered we did most of those things naturally.

      Our first year has been stressful, but they’re more external stressors that are new in our lives, and we’re having to learn how to navigate those together — but that’s not fights between us…its more like how do we support each other as we both go through these difficult times. But I think that’s more a function of hitting our late-twenties/early-thirties and not necessarily being married.

    • I got married a few months ago, after dating for 3 years and a 1.5 year engagement (living together for 2.5 years). People ask me about how I’m adjusting to married life, and for the most part everything’s the same. The big differences are sharing finances (we used to split everything 50/50 like roommates, now we combine everything into one big pool) and the realization that this is “it,” and I have to actually address any problems and/or decide whether the problems really matter, since the time to let a problem being a deal-breaker is over.

      I’m not talking about big problems, but small ones, like TBK mentioned. For instance, my hubby has a bit of a sweat phobia, and has recently started insisting that I shower before bed if I have even had the slightest physical activity (like, walking around the block) that day. I think it is absurd to have to shower twice a day (I shower every morning after working out), and feel trapped every time I have to step in that shower in the evening. I was thinking the other day about how we didn’t have this disagreement before, even though we lived together for 2.5 years before marriage, and I realized it was because now we’re thinking about everything in terms of “forever” He thinks, “I have to sleep with that greasy person next to me FOREVER?” I think, “I have to shower twice a day FOREVER?” and it becomes suddenly a big fight.

      Still, I think we are already learning to compromise more and learning to prioritize whether something is worth getting upset about, or whether it is something minor that we shouldn’t focus on. I think this will be the major take-away for us from the first year of marriage. The other thing I am learning is to appreciate having combined finances. While it can be very difficult at times since we have different financial backgrounds, it feels so nice to have the same goals and to be working toward them together.

      • anon married :

        I can so relate to this MK! We’ve been married 5 years, together for 14. The fights we do have are about the most stupid things – division of labor stuff, cleaning, and my resentment that I have to do 100% of any planning, budgeting, whatever. I am, however, the most capable of being “the planner” and if I let him be in charge, he’ll blow it. I let him pack himself for a weekend away recently and he ended up with 1) 2 shorts and 2 shirts, neither of which matched AT ALL (think navy blue shorts and navy blue polo) and pants for the scheduled nice dinner that were 2 sizes too small. I’ve got to come up with some division of labor that makes me not resentful of all of the stuff I have to be in charge of, and quick. He makes more money than I do, so even if that is “you get to pay for a cleaning person” then that may be it.

        • Not sure if you’re still reading, but we settled the chores fight with a spreadsheet. I’m more micro-clean and husband is more macro-clean, so he ended up doing 15 minutes of cleaning every day, and then I would clean for 1-2 hours every other weekend. So, to him, it looked like he cleaned all the time and I never cleaned, and to me, it felt like I was slaving away on Saturday while he did nothing. We finally opened a spreadsheet and listed out the chores, and each person logged their time. If one person was ahead by more than an hour, it was the other person’s turn. Eventually, we realized our cleaning styles, and the spreadsheet went away after about 3 months. It sounds kind of childish, but it settled the argument, helped us recognize a difference, and gave us words to use when the balance was out of whack. We rarely fight about chores, and if it starts to go down that path, it’s usually, “Hey, I know you’ve been busy, but do you think we could both do chores this weekend?” Then he does his usual 15 minutes of cleaning (which is combined with 15 minutes each day all week), and I do my deep clean on bathroom/kitchen/bedroom, etc.

      • This is pretty much how it has been for us as well. We just had our first anniversary. We had dated for 5 years before we got engaged, then were engaged for a year before we got married. We lived together for a solid 6 months before the wedding, but also for months at a time prior to that, as grad school schedules allowed. We had already been through a lot over the dating period- intercultural family clashes, stressful grad programs, long distance. So we already had all the big fights/discussions and most of the small ones.

        But I can relate to small fights becoming uncharacteristically big fights because it is now a “forever” issue. I think the biggest thing for us has been to learn to be nice to each other, which is odd to say, but I mean to make being nice a goal and a priority. There is a tendency to take out stress on the person you’re closest to, and I think we have both been making an effort not to do that. I personally have been trying to be more appreciative and less critical, more positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement when he does things I don’t like. So I guess maybe that’s part of the avoiding fights aspect of year two that others have raised.

        It is very interesting to hear how this is the same/different across relationships.

        • Our big rule: only one person gets to be crazy at a time. Otherwise, no rules. Marrid 3 years.

          • Migraine Sufferer :

            We’d fight over whose turn it was to be crazy.

          • AHAHAHA! We actually call “dibs” on being crazy sometimes! ie: “Ok, you got to go nuts 3 hours ago, now it’s my turn.” “Ok, fair enough, but tell me when you’re done, because I still have a few things I need to get off my chest.” This conversation happened every time we stopped during our cross-country move :) It’s less frequent now, but every so often, we have to take turns being the crazy one.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      As a woman not yet at her first anniversary, I LOVE THIS THREAD. (Sorry for Ellen caps). So much of this is ringing true to me, especially first year being learning how to fight, even though we lived together for several years before we got married, because now it’s FOREVER. Thank you so, so much TBK for bringing this up. I love this blog and all of you.

    • Thank you for this post! I am newly married (2 months) even though we have been together for nearly 8 years, were engaged for 3 years, and lived together for almost 2 years before marriage. When I get upset about things now, my feelings blow up to a “I don’t want to live like this for the rest of our lives!” response, which is not usually helpful. I am happy to see that I am not alone, though, and that my husband and I will just need to work through this period. I also get upset about somewhat minor things he does (like being wasteful with food, water, etc.) by thinking about how this isn’t what I want us to teach our children (when we have them eventually). I will say that we got over a lot of huge bumps in the road before marriage, and our first year of living together was by far the hardest one in our relationship.

      • Yes! We’re TTC now and the kids angle is a whole new dimension! I knew I wanted kids so I wouldn’t have married anyone I thought would be a bad father (and my husband has lots of qualities I know will make him an excellent dad) but some things that rolled off my back before now I see in the “do I want my kid to think that?” light.

  3. Sad, stressed, anxious :

    Cat lady dealing with some issues…Sorry to start kind of a downer of a thread, but I just need place to vent because this past week has been rough.

    I have three kitties, all strays that me and my husband have taken in. Cat #1 is a male who’s been with us almost two years. Cat #2 is a female who was found by some friends, but they weren’t able to keep her so we took her in. She’s not very friendly to Cat #1, but they tolerate each other most of the time. Then this May, we found a stray cat (about 6 months old) and rescued her also.

    We slowly introduced Cat #3 to the household (kept them separated, first introduced through scent only, etc) but the introduction of the third cat has caused much stress to Cat #2. For the past month or so Cat #2 has been dealing with cystitis and UTI issues. Frequent trips to the box and going outside of the box sometimes

    The vet cleared her for kidney stones and she’s been on a few different rounds of antibiotics and pain medication. She was doing great for a couple of weeks, then a week ago had another relapse. Yesterday evening, she went on the carpet and it looked pinkish, which means blood.

    It just makes me so sad and frustrated that my kitty isn’t getting better. I feel responsible b/c we decided to introduce cat #3 to the household.

    She’s at the vet again this morning and they’re going to take another sample to determine if she has crystals of if there is any baceteria causing the issue. The vet thinks she should be on an anti-anxiety medicine long term to help her deal with stress. I have a Feliway diffuser, but I’m not sure if that’s helping much. I just want her to get better and I hope we’re able to find a good long term solution.

    To make things worse, Cat #1 has sprayed a couple of times in the dining room. We just use the room for storage and have some DVD shelves in there and a treadmill. This morning, I found he had sprayed DVDs on the shelf.

    Luckily my husband had left for work so he didn’t see any of this – which brings me to my next issue – trying to work with my husband on these cat issues. My marriage has problems, which is a subject of it’s own. But with regard to the cats, it’s very difficult to talk to him about solutions.

    He doesn’t know Cat #1 or Cat #2 have peed / sprayed in the dining room b/c I’ve cleaned it up before he finds out. If he did know, he’d just get angry and mean try to rub their nose in it and tell them it’s bad. Which in my opinion, does not work on cats.

    This morning, the vet said that we should separate Cat #2 and Cat #3 and reintroduce them again, but he quickly disagreed with that idea. It’s not the fact that he disagreed that bothers me, it’s the way in which he did it. It was in this dissmisive, condescending tone of voice. I was talking to him in the phone, but I swear he was rolling his eyes. That reaction frustrates me to no end! I just want to have a resonable conversation with him about how to deal with the cats, but it just turns into his way or the highway.

    I’m a passive person and it’s hard for me to stand up to him sometimes. Not only do I have to deal with the stress of a sick cat, but I have to deal with him as well.

    I went ahead and re-ordered some of the DVDs that were ruined, but sent them to work so he wouldn’t know about it. I would rather just replace them in secret rather than deal with his reaction. I know that’s probably a cowardly thing to do, but it’s easier than telling him what happened.

    My marriage defintitely has issues and I have issues too, but for now I just want my kitty to get better b/c that would be one less thing to worry about.

    • My coop does NOT allow pet’s. FOOEY b/c I like dogs and cats.

      The Manageing partner has a weymeraner and it like’s me even more then the Manageing partner! Jim says he has 2 dogs but he lives in Queens. FOOEY! I would not want to live there just to have a dog.

      I am all perpared for the EBTs and hope Jim will be imprsed with my work! Yay!

    • I’ve had 3 cats (out of 9 during my life so far) with crystals in their urine and other bladder and kidney issues, including renal failure. We worked long and hard with the vet on their behalves, but these illnesses are difficult or impossible to treat and are very hard on the cat. Have you consider putting Cat #2 to sleep? I know full well how harsh this is, but please consider the low quality of life she has.

      • Dammit, so sorry, did not close my italic properly. Kat, can you fix this please? Thanks.

      • Sad, stressed, anxious :

        I know, I have thought about her quality of life. I’ve also thought about seeing if there was someone else who could adopt cat #3. Generally, she seems to be eating and drinking fine so I’m not sure yet if it’s to the point where we need to consider putting her to sleep. I’ll have to have that conversation with the vet to see if it’s something we need to consider.

        It’s horrible, but I have had the thought that once she passes she would be at peace and not having to deal with these issues. It makes me cry just thinking about it, but I know it’s something I’ll have to face some day.

        • I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. Can you remove Cat #3 from the house temporarily to see if things get better? Do you know someone who could take #3 for a week or two? That way, you could at least be more sure that the problem really is cat #3 (and not just a medical issue that cat #2 would be having anyway), before you decide what to do. And I think removing #3 from the house entirely would be better than just putting him in a separate room, because if you just put him in another room, #2 is still going to know he is in there. In the end though, it may be that finding a new home for #3 would be the best thing for everyone.

          Also, for your husband, I would talk to him about the effect that his behaviour is having on YOU. It sounds like he is not crazy about the cats, but maybe if you point out to him that they mean a lot to you, and that it hurts you when he doesn’t want to follow the vet’s advice or whatever, he might come around abit.

          (Also, FYI, rubbing their nose in it and telling them it’s bad doesn’t even work with dogs, and it definitely isn’t going to work with any animal that is relieving themselves in inappropriate places due to a medical condition. .)

          • Sad, stressed, anxious :

            That’s a good idea about temporarily removing Cat #3. I’ll have to see if there is someone who can take her for a little while to see if that helps things.

            My husband does love the cats, but he seems less tolerant of litter box issues. It makes him angry and irritable, while it just makes me upset and sad. Instead of going on about how the carpet is ruined, I take action to clean it up and figure out how to prevent it in the future. In general, I tend to be more calm in my reactions to bad things. I’m not perfect by any means, but I feel like there are some ways in which I react differently than my husband.

          • Have you considered bringing in another cat?

    • Ouch. First, I’m sorry about your kitty and that the 3 aren’t getting along that well. I’m not sure if you’re in an apartment or house, but if you have the ability to physically separate them for awhile, that may be best. Also, maybe try adding litter boxes (if you’re able) so they don’t feel like they are competing. I’ve found that if the diffuser thing doesn’t keep them separated a little tin foil will do the trick. Also if your kitty is really sick, it may be worth talking about possible options with the vet, as hard as it is.

      Amidst the cat issues, I think you should strongly consider individual therapy and couples counseling. I don’t mean to be rude, but based on the above, your husband sounds like a jerk. Having to tiptoe around someone for fear of their reaction seems to be a big red flag. Whether or not he “agrees” with the vet or the training techniques etc you shouldn’t feel like you have to hide things. Maybe you are being too sensitive and could work through better ways to communicate to one another with a therapist.

      I’m sorry if this sounded harsh and I hope your kitty starts to feel better.

    • I’m really sorry you’re dealing with all of this. Have you considered finding a new home for #3? It just sounds to me like you have so much on your plate and even the best marriage can get overstressed from pet issues (says the lady who, with her husband, spent most of last night cleaning up poop from a dog with a stomach bug). If you want to work on your marriage (do you?) the last thing you need is the distraction of dealing with all of these cat issues. There’s not much to go on in this comment, but is it possible that your husband feels like you’re putting the cats in first place ahead of him? I agree that rubbing a pet’s nose in its mess is pretty much guaranteed to do nothing good, and rolling your eyes at your spouse is never a good option. But it also sounds like all of these cat issues are creating a lot of anxiety, cost, and trouble in your house and I wonder if your husband feels like you’re spending a lot of yourself on the pets while ignoring him. I also wonder if being passive feels to him more like you’re avoiding him/not engaging. Mr. TBK takes the passive route sometimes and it often makes me feel abandoned because he’s avoiding the relationship instead of engaging with it. I realize it can be hard to stand your ground, but often doing so is the nicer, kinder option than avoiding, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time. Meanwhile, I hope your kitty gets better! It can be awful to worry about your pet like that and you clearly love your cats a lot.

    • Sad, stressed, anxious :

      L – The cats have three extra large litter boxes in the basement. We made them out of clear pastic storage containers. However, I want to put one in the corner of the dining room since both Cats 1 and 2 have had issues in there.

      No, you’re not harsh, b/c there are times I think my husband is a jerk too. Recently he apolgized the times he’s been rude to me and he recently he seems to be a bit more pleasant to be around.

      Not that he’s a jerk all the time, just his reactions to things a different from mine and he tends to get irritated more easily.

      I definitely have issues dealing with conflict b/c of the way my dad was growing up. He was pretty stern and I learned to avoid conflict instead of doing something that would make him mad. I’ve carried that into my marriage, which is one of my issues.

      TBK – That’s a good point about spending time with the cats vs. husband. I know I’ve been pretty glum this past week and probably not the best company.

      We don’t have any kids, so our cats are our babies and I do love them dearly.

      • I’m so sorry you’re dealing with so much right now. I have not a ton of advice, but lots of sympathy and good thoughts. We also have three kitties (two girls and a boy). The two girls … kind of get along, after about six months together. And our #3 girl, our most recent addition, has had some significant, expensive health problems since we adopted her, including UTI issues. We also have no kids, and so our kitties are extremely important to us and kind of fill that role.

        I realize I’m not in your exact situation, but it makes me so sad for you that you feel like you need to hide things from your husband, or that he wouldn’t react well to the spraying/UTI issues. Maybe I’m projecting how my husband and I handle conflict, but it may be helpful to address the care of the cats/plans for #2’s health together and formulate a concrete plan (after talking to your vet). When my husband and I have had fights about the our cats, it always helps for us to lay out the problems concretely, and have different plans of attack depending on how things progress.

        And as an aside: make sure you’re using a product that’s specifically designed to clean cat urine when cleaning up after the accidents. We got one at Petco that has “urine destroyer” in the name, and will remove the urine and its smell, which will decrease the likelihood of additional attempts at spraying.

        • Nature’s Miracle is also really good at removing the smell so that the cat won’t keep going in the same place.

        • Sad, stressed, anxious :

          Thanks ELS. It’s helpful to hear from other cat people who’d had similiar problems.

          My plan of action would be to keep Cat #2 secluded for a few days. I’m assuming the vet will be giving her some pain meds, so I would like for her to be by herself for a while so she can recover comfortably.

          The only place to keep her separated is in our bedroom, which means we have to put a litter box in the bathroom. I don’t have a problem with this and am willing to make the sacrifice for the cat, but this is where my husband would disagree. I’ll have to broach it with him to see if he’s okay with it.

          The next thing is to get another litter box set up in the dining room. To me, this has to be done and I’m doing it whether he agrees or not.

          I just found a product online called Anti Icky Poo. I’ve been using another brand of enzyme cleaner, but I’m going to try the Anti Icky stuff and see how that works!

          • Fingers and toes crossed for you. It’s really stressful having a sick pet, especially because they can’t tell you where it hurts or how to help.

      • Well that makes me feel better. Fellow kitty lover here so I read that and got up on my soapbox a bit. Have you all ever watched that show My Cat From Hell? I really like the way he explains cat behavior to people who are otherwise clueless. It may help him better understand what will and won’t work for cat training. Also, maybe a conversation with the vet (e.g. kitty is peeing outside bc of pain, not to be a brat) could help?

        Since you can separate the cats, could you put for a week or so two in the basement and let sick kitty stay up with you all? Maybe that would help her start to feel a bit better mentally while she recovers physically?

        • Sad, stressed, anxious :

          Yes, we actualy watch My Cat from Hell together and that’s helped with opening the discussion about cat behavioral issues in general. Based on a recent episode, we got the scarecrow sprinkler to keep strays out of our yard. I think that may be a trigger for Cat #1.

    • OK, first, your husband does not know anything about cats. Reading that just made me angry. Anyway, it sounds like you know he doesn’t know anything, so I won’t harp on it. But I think I would physically attack someone whose response to a feline health issue was to rub my cat’s face in urine. Possibly I’d attack with a knife. Anyway…

      I would suggest seeing a specialist rather than your regular vet. There are veterinary nephrologists and urologists; ask your vet for a referral. There are also behavior specialists, which I know sounds like hokum, but I took one of my cats for a behavior analysis once in a similar situation and the vet’s analysis and advice was remarkably sound.

      Finally, cats pee outside their litterboxes because they think the litterbox is unsafe. I assume you have separate litterboxes so the litterbox used by Cat 1 and Cat 2 don’t smell like the new “invader” cat. If she is experiencing pain every time she uses the litterbox, she’ll stop using the litterbox and pee elsewhere. Once you address the medical issue, with some behavioral modification techniques it should not be difficult to get her to use the litterbox again. You could also try purchasing a brand new litterbox for her, but I don’t think this will solve the problem long-term if she is still experiencing pain when she pees.

      Good luck – your cats are lucky to have you.

      • Oh, one more thing, even though you can’t smell the cat pee in the living room anymore, your cats can still smell it and thus will continue to pee there because they think that it’s where they’re supposed to pee (because why else would it smell like pee, right? Circular cat reasoning). You need to shampoo the rug thoroughly.

        • Sad, stressed, anxious :

          Thanks for the reccomendation about a specialist! I’ll ask my vet about that when I go to pick up my kitty. Hopefully we’ll get some conclusive information from the urinalysis.

          I know she associates pain with the box so that’s why she’s going in other places. My first goal is to manage her pain and then figure out a long term solution.

          When you did the behavior analysis, did they come to your house? Or did you take the cat to their office? What type of advice did they give you?

          I have the cleaner with the enzymes that is supposed to break down urine odor and I’ve been using that on a regular basis. I’ve also read that Feliway can be sprayed on those areas b/c if the cat smells their pheremones, they won’t urinate in that spot.

          • I had a behavioral psychologist treat one of my kittens who was having “toileting issues” (peeing on the bed when he felt relaxed and happy as we cuddled him . . . he always looked baffled and unsure as he peed, but it swiftly became a habit) and for whom all medical issues had been ruled out. The psychologist came to my house and spent about an hour examining and discussing every detail of the cat’s habits and environment. He did not examine the cat in question, who was hiding, but he said that didn’t matter. We ended up experimenting with placing five boxes in five different places in the house and also experimenting with different brands of litter, documenting the usage of each box each day until we were sure which box location and which litter he preferred. We also covered our entire bed with one of those foil blankets and week by week, unfolded a bit more of the foil to expose the bedding. All of this worked perfectly. He’s never peed outside the box again.

          • I took her to the office, but IIRC they offered to come to my place. The situation was that my new cat was not adjusting well and was wreaking havoc on my apartment, and they basically taught me a bunch of games to play with her to keep her stimulated so she wouldn’t go nuts on my belongings. They also helped me get her to stop meowing all night long (by setting up clever distractions, again to prevent boredom) and to help her become friends with my much mellower other cat.

          • Sad, stressed, anxious :

            Thanks Bluejay and Diane for the information regarding the behavioral specialists. I think that is something I will consider looking into as well.

    • Anne Shirley :

      If you haven’t told your husband about the problems the kitties are having, it makes sense to me that he’d be dismissive of separating them. (still way mean, but not totally illogical)

      But mostly your post just makes me want to give you a hug. It sounds like you’re sacrificing a lot for the cats. I think it is time to look into re-homing kitty 3, and into getting some help on standing up for yourself both to your husband and to the internal pressure you have to be a great kitty-mom at the expense of your own life. Give the little ones a cuddle from corporette xoxo

      • Sad, stressed, anxious :

        Thank you. :-) As difficult as it would be, I’m thinking about re-homing kitty #3. She’s still fairly young and would adapt easily to a new situation.

    • Can I ask if he likes adopting cats? It sounds like he knows nothing about cats, and doesn;t like them. Is he having an equal say whenever you get a new cat? Or are you kind of finding ones in trouble and saying that you guys have to adopt him?

      I’m not trying to excuse his attitude (which is terrible btw) but this answer to these questions will determine my advice.

      • Sad, stressed, anxious :

        He grew up in the country and always had outside cats. I never had any pets while I was growing up, so dealing with indoor cats is new to both of us. We’ve made the decision together to bring all 3 cats into the house.

        • To defend your husband just a little, I would be incredibly annoyed if my cats were spraying all over my belongings and carpeting. It smells awful, is hard to clean, and it has caused actual damage. I’m not saying there is no sympathy for the cat’s medical problems, but I don’t blame him for being frustrated at your lack of frustration re the bladder issues. It’s sort of like if you had a kid who was having bedwetting problems- even the most patient parent would be annoyed at having to get up in the middle of the night and change sheets and perhaps buy a new mattress. Doesn’t mean you don’t love the kid or feel bad for them or understand that they aren’t doing it on purpose.

          So, I think there are probably issues with both of you regarding communication and empathy for one another.

          As far as rubbing the cat’s nose in it… my mom used to do this with our dog. I think it is a fairly widespread “folk remedy” for house training. That’s probably where he’s getting it from. I have no doubt that it is wrong and ineffective for cats (and likely also for dogs), but it’s probably better to counter this with some actual research and an alternative remedy than just getting upset when he suggests it as if he is horrible for even thinking it- I think a lot of people w/o a lot of cat experience might think of it because they heard it somewhere re dogs.

          I think it would be best to tell him that the spraying happened yesterday (you can tone down the extent) and you already cleaned it up (so he can’t rub their noses in it), but you’d like to discuss the best way to deal with it in the future. See if you can come to some kind of agreement. Maybe the argument won’t be so heated if there is no imminent emergency/cat urine in the dining room.

          I defer to all others on actual cat-oriented solutions because I’ve never had more than one cat at a time or dealt with this issue. And I am very sorry you are dealing with this. These cats are incredibly lucky to have you and you are doing a really wonderful thing by taking them into your heart and home.

    • It seems like these three cats just don’t get along well. If you’ve given it a good shot, I would suggest you look at finding homes for at least one of the cats. Not all animals do well in groups.

      Also, I would suggest that you get cat number 1 neutered ASAP. The marking issue should go away. Cat marking is exceptionally pungent and almost impossible to remove from fabric. I can see how living with that would be very distressing.

      • Sad, stressed, anxious :

        Cat #1 is neutered, but he was probably more than a year old when it was done. He’s a stray so we’re not sure how old he was when we took him in. I think he may be triggered by other cats outside.

        Cats 1 and 2 mostly get along and cat 2 didn’t have any issues when it was the two of them. The introduction of cat 3 looks like the cause of the problem, so we may have to re-home her.

        • This is sort of a related aside, but what are you feeding your cats? I hope it is not dry food or that it is prescription dry food for the cat’s condition. Regular commercial dry food is one of the main culprits for cat kidney problems. So many people love it for the convenience but it is awful for cats, esp. neutured males (I know your cat is a female, but just throwing that last bit out as a PSA).

          Not sure where you are, but there’s a very helpful holistic pet shop in NYC called Whiskers (1800whiskers.com) — they are very good with advice, maybe give them a call. I agree with the others though – I think maybe you should try getting Cat # 3 out for a bit (can a friend take her?) and see if kitty # 2 gets better. This sucks. Good luck.

          • I’m also curious about what kind of food you’re feeding your cats. I have a cat with urinary issues as well. I now feed her Urinary s/o diet by Royal Canin. It is a prescription diet and a bit pricer, but totally worth it because it has completely resolved her urinary issues. It is probably worth a try for your kitty. When I was researching feline urinary issues I came across research that stated diets high in magnesium, like fish-based foods, can cause urinary problems. I would keep away from anything fish-based until the issues resolve. Soft food is also better than dry food for urinary problems as the cat will ingest more fluid. I free feed my cat with dry food and feed her a small plate of soft food every other day or so.

            I hope it all works out. Thanks for working so hard to find a solution and not giving up on your cats. There are so many homeless cats out there and it is great to see you care so much!

          • Purina also has a urinary issue-friendly wet food as well, which is a bit less pricy than Royal Canin. One of my mom’s cats just got diagnosed with all the urinary tract nonsense, and to our great shock, he preferred the cheaper food.

          • I would not recommend going with Purina. It is not a high quality food to begin with. Plus this situation sounds serious enough that a prescription diet is warranted. The Purina urinary food is available without a prescription for a reason, it is less effective. It has been four years since I researched this topic, but I’m pretty sure the Royal Canin food was the only one that actually dissolved struvite crystals. It also comes in dry and soft food. Initially we tried the Hill’s Science Diet’s urinary formula, but it was not effective and they have had several recalls, which just freaks me out.

            How old is cat #2? Often urinary problems do not show up until a cat is over a year old. It is possible your cat was going to have these problems regardless of the stress of a new cat.

          • For KittyFan :

            Can you direct me to where you found your research? I have a male Persian which the breed/gender tends to be prone to kidney issues. The vet had him on a preventative plan, not the urinary treatment, just in case. We had narrowed down a secondary issue to chicken allergy (which is in everything for cats almost) or IBS though. He’s now on the Royal Canin dry Hypoallergenic Hydrolized Protein food instead of the preventative diet. Doing great with that but I’m not sure how well we’re balancing the stomach and kidney issues long term

    • If they’re still not getting along 3 months later, it may be time to find a new home for kitty 3. We brought in a new cat a few weeks ago. Even though they’re not best friends, they’re getting along and becoming friendlier every day. I agree with others that it would be best to at least remove cat 3 for a week to see if your other cats go back to normal. Good luck.

    • We had cat social issues, and I know you’re talking about UTIs, but in our household, things got remarkably better when we used two litter box areas that were far away from each other (we were in a Cape Cod, and just added one after we caught the more aggressive cat chasing the other from the litter box.) And moved the food as well. They seemed to acclimate slowly as they had “zones”.

  4. What about looking at the website for a large firm that does a lot of corporate immigration work, like Fragomen? Maybe they have reading material that would be helpful.

    Also, I think there was a report by a federal agency issued in the past two years about the state of the immigration courts and what resources they need. That could be interesting.

    • Immig Lawyer :

      Join the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) once you’re on board (on your firm’s dime), if you’re not already a member, so you’ll have access to their wealth of resources. Read the ILW.com Immigration Daily newsletter. Read Angelo Paparelli’s blog. Read the news updates on the Fragomen website, and have your employer buy a copy of Fragomen’s Immigration Procedures Handbook if they don’t have it already. Get on the daily email list of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin (BIB) Daily Edition. Check out the websites of the National Immigration Project, Immigration Advocates Network, Immigration Policy Center for removal-related info. Get involved in AILA, and in pro bono work, and network with immigration attorneys on the corporate side so you’ll have some contacts after a couple of years who you can reach out to if you want to move into corporate immigration work. Good luck!!

      • The Kurzban book is pretty standard. It is quite pricey, see if you can borrow one. That and join AILA. I enjoy working on removals, lots of time in court, and lots of feeling like you made a difference in someone’s life.

        • Immig Lawyer :

          Ah, yes, how could I forget Kurzban? It’s basically a huge outline, and covers every immigration law topic. It’s updated every year, so you might be able to find last year’s edition on amazon at a discount.

    • Immigration Law :

      Thank you all for the great suggestions. Great to see an immigration law community on here! I looked up the sources you mentioned and came across the blog “crimmigration.” Please keep the tips coming!

  5. Until I finished reading Kat’s intro, I assumed that the pictures shoe was an example of a geriatric-looking shoe. I may try them anyway, since they look like they would address all of my particular foot issues, but I’m skeptical that I’ll like how they look.

  6. “pictured” shoe.

  7. mintberrycrunch :

    Shopping TJ: I need some interview appropriate shells/tops to wear under the suit linked below for OCI and callback interviews. I have a black suit that I would like to be able to pair them with as well. I’m a redhead, probably need size L/12. Student budget – would love to get 2-3 for under $100. Any ideas? Thanks!!

    http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/suiting/super120s/PRDOVR~23346/23346.jsp (skirt version).

  8. LadyEnginerd :

    I have a delicate work politics question for the hive. Here’s the scenario: there’s a junior person in my group who is neither good at their job nor pleasant to be around. This person has a huge attitude problem and is hostile to any negative feedback whatsoever – thus, they never learn from their mistakes and continue to put out significantly sub-standard work. Since we’re in academia and this person is a PhD student and I’m a postdoc, I brought this to the attention of my advisor and we agreed that this kid was in danger of failing out of the program at the next scheduled formal evaluation (qualifying exam) if he didn’t shape up … and that their behavior is in fact unacceptable. I believe they then had a bit of a come to Jesus talk, so my boss is entirely on board with this kid being, essentially, on probation.

    Now, if I were a perfectly mature person, I’d do everything in my power to help this junior person grow in the next few months before the exam. I’d be a great mentor and they’d turn their career as a student around and I’d look good and they’d look good (cue the awesome montage with Rocky soundtrack). But the truth of the matter is that this person is just so very hard to work with and so hostile to my attempts to help that I just want them to give them enough rope to hang themselves to that they fail out and leave my workplace.

    Here’s my question: how do you remain professional in this situation? Do I make my best effort to help this person by being more hands on, or give them the same long leash that every other PhD student at this stage gets, knowing that this will likely result in this person failing? How do I put aside my intense dislike of working with this person either for the short-term (if they fail), or the long-term (if they manage to pull it together and pass)? Help!

    • I think as long as expectations are clear, they need to take responsibility for their own performance. I know from myself and my colleagues that if our supervisor had to call us out for underperforming, we’d be mortified and do our best to meet and exceed expectations from there on out. The fact that they aren’t doing so might indicate that they want to call it quits but don’t want to make the decision on their own?

      • LadyEnginerd :

        Maybe. I think that the root of the problem is that this person will not take responsibility for their own performance and it’s never their fault when something goes wrong. I’ll happily leave this person alone unless they ask for help – I’m just worried that might be my frustration talking and not actually the right call. I take it I have your permission not to help them and accept that I’m not sabotaging them, but instead if they’re worthy of doctoral studies they should be capable of independent work?

        • You do*! I think by this point, we need to be accountable for our own work. Especially if we’re funded as someone else could be making the most of that opportunity.

          *Grain of salt, I’m a y1 of a 1+3 in the social sciences.

    • You don’t have to help everyone you meet. But don’t give him enough rope to hang himself, either. Don’t mentor him but don’t sabotage him. Treat him just like everyone else whom you work with; say hi in the hallway and ignore him unless your boss assigns you to work with him.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        Ah, but the whole reason this is in my court is that we’re supposedly working on the same collaborative project. Enough rope to hang himself is the same amount of leash that people normally get – he can’t handle the autonomy.

        I guess it is hard to accept that I can’t help everyone, and accept that I’m not necessarily being malicious if I allow someone to fail. It still makes me *feel* like I’m sabotaging, even if it’s just declining to save someone from themselves. Is that guilt normal?

        • Ah, I see. Well, I’d give him the same amount of leash that people normally get. That’s not malicious; that’s treating everyone equally.

          I think it’s normal not to want to see people fail, yes. But one of the hardest lessons to learn in life is that you cannot fix people or solve their problems for them.

        • Seattleite :

          I think that guilt is normal when you’re learning not to rescue people from themselves. Tough it out – the guilt will pass, and it will be easier next time.

          My own rule is that unless you’re a child or a vulnerable adult (MI, really old, etc.) I won’t work harder on your behalf than you will.

        • Belle et Rebelle :

          Totally agree with the others that you have no obligation to help this person and that not saving him from himself is not the same as sabotaging him. Also, there may be a “natural order of things” aspect to this – if he turns in poor work and is unpleasant to deal with in this environment, it may be that he’s in the wrong field and ought to fail out. You didn’t say what his next step would be if he completes the PhD, but I have this image of him failing out as sparing future generations of students from dealing with a miserable professor.

          I would worry less about whether giving him the usual amount of rope will result in him hanging himself and more about whether his sub-standard work is going to negatively affect you in the context of this project. I’m not suggesting you pick up his slack, but you might want to evaluate whether you should come up with some sort of containment plan so that his poor performance doesn’t bite you in the rear, if you think that’s a possibility.

    • I think you are well within your rights to not devote special attention this person.

      However, I also think you have everything to gain and nothing to lose (except for time and a learning experince) by trying to help this person. In the end it is going to make you a much better mentor. If their attitude is too much for you to take but you want to help them, communicate that. Make it clear to them that you will only help if they adjust their attitude, but offer them a guiding hand and a fresh start, if they decide to take you up on it. I don’t know if you can disclose how close they are too failing, but I don’t think it’s even necessary for that conversation.

      • Yes, I agree, re the attitude adjustment. As it is, this person does not sound as if they would thank you for saving them from themselves; instead, they would take it for granted that you should do so. But I would add that if you do provide some extra help, that should only be as long as it does not have a negative impact on your own work in terms of the time, effort, and mental energy needed.

    • It’s not your job to save anybody. Unless you’re a lifeguard . . . .

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Thanks everyone for absolving me of my guilt. I can’t save this person from themselves, and I suspect that I’ll only give myself more headaches if I try.

      Any advice on how to execute on treating this person like everyone else if I’m not actively trying to save them? I’ve previously had to confront him about subtly sabotaging my work (I was professional but direct – just asked that the clearly unacceptable behavior in question not continue in future), and this person’s response was that it was my fault and I deserved what he did because I’m not a nice person, I talk down to him, etc. etc. It was awful. While I did hold it together, some of his tantrum did hit home. I’m obviously not doing so well on masking my dislike for working with this person. Since he is so defensive when I give constructive feedback, I go even further on the offensive because I know that it’s going to be an unpleasant experience. Which, of course, puts him on the defensive and furthers the downward spiral.

      Any advice on how I can reset my own emotions and stay zen? How do you handle overly defensive people when it’s your job to ask lots of questions and give lots of feedback? FWIW, nearly everyone else in the group has a problem working with this person, and I work well with everyone else. I just had the luck of the draw to be on the same collaborative project, which is why it has become my problem. Thanks so much!

      • Joint collaborative project–that’s what you care about. DON’T let him share author credits if he didn’t do the work. Crack that whip and make sure he’s getting you whatever piece he needs to get to you, redone a zillion times if he has to. Sure, he’ll hate it. Maybe it’ll drive him away. Maybe he’ll see the final product and learn what’s really required. Being his mom will be a PITA, but you will get the professional credit for the final product, and will not have him dragging you down. Any warm fuzzies you get for leading him to do his part are bonus.

      • Given everything you’ve said, I’d help him to up to the point of where continuing to help him is no longer helping you achieve your goal(s) on this project.

      • Goodness, what are they, five years old? (otoh I too have seen grad students having tantrums)

        Supposing you communicated only by e-mail for your joint project updates, and cc’d your mutual supervisor on everything? They might be less likely to fly off the handle then. That’s what I’d do — say you need a written record so you don’t lose track of what’s been done, or something.

    • I would caution you about “helping” this person too much. YOu don’t want to be too closely tied to his inferior work product and attitude problem. If you have already spoken to an advisor about it, I think they probably know that you are trying your best. But sometimes, you can be dragged down as “being part of the problem” when you were, in your heart of hearts, trying to help.

      If this person is as nasty as you say, I say, let the people that actually manage and evaluate him come to their own conclusions. Sadly, as you are part of a joint project, I second the advice of someone above–give him his part. Make sure he gets it to you, on time, correctly. If he does not, send it back (copying superiors) and politely stating what you think needs to be done to get his portion to gel into the whole project. Repeat. If he wants to put out sub-par work product when people are watching, well, that’s his business.

      I don’t think it’s your place to “help him” if he won’t help himself. He is a grad student, not a freshman. Not a junior high schooler. At some point people need to take responsibility and handle their own lives. He’s probably the way he is because he’s never actually had to take responsibility….

  9. "Human Capital" vs "Physical Resources" :

    I am looking for help in finding an article I read in the past few months in either the NYT or Washington Post. I think it was a book review, but it might have been a journalism piece.

    The article argued that the most important contributor to a nation’s economic development is its human capital (the creativity and intelligence and work of its people) and not its physical resources (oil, minerals, soil etc).

    I would really like to read the book (if it was a book review) — or at least reread the article. I have searched everywhere and can’t find the article again.

    Does anyone else remember this article?

  10. nervous introvert :

    What are your best tips for developing your own clients? I’m moving from a position where I’ve had zero client contact about to start as an associate in a relatively small general practice firm in a completely new geographical area (so no family or personal connections for me). I’ve gotten the point through multiple conversations that they strongly encourage me to bring in my own clients within the first year, although they are plenty busy. They definitely want me to bring in clients, even if it is tiny individual clients having small work at first. FWIW, my soon-to-be practice area is primarily corporate and small business organization/employment/succession – sort of as the general counsel for many small and family-run businesses. This is the type of work that I love; I just don’t know how to make the clients appear.

    And I’m a nervous introvert. How do you go from being very good at sitting behind a desk to having people walk in the front door of your firm and ask for you?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If your bar rules allow it, check out BNI. In my area there is a BNI group that meets for lunch once/week. The whole purpose of the group is networking and referrals so you don’t have to worry about being nervous to ask for clients. Every week each person gets 2 minutes to speak about what would be a good referral for them that week. Each week someone gets 10 minutes to make their pitch. It works out that each person in the group gets to do that twice per year or something like that. Most of the people that go to BNI either run small businesses or are trying to get clients themselves.

      An attorney at my firm is in BNI and I sometimes cover for her. I have met many great people through it and that is where my firm found our IT person, our web designer, where I found my realtor, husband’s physical therapist, our mortgage lender, etc.

      It is a big time commitment but worth it for many.

    • * Call the heads of local bar groups and ask if you can speak at their MCLE meetings. You can meet people who will send you referrals that way.

      * Ditto for local business groups. You can meet potential clients that way.

      * Write short, practical articles for local business journals.

      • This. Focus on getting your name out there for now, not specifically on getting clients. Be the expert on something relevant to the clients you’d like to attract.

    • “Bringin’ in the Rain” by Sara Holtz is a quick read for an introduction to business development. Get out in your community and meet people by joining civic organizations, being a board member, whatever. You’ll meet plenty of people that way.

    • Belle et Rebelle :

      I sympathize. I’m also an introvert and have been working on my marketing efforts since I started a solo practice in a new geographic area two years ago. For me, what works best is focusing on approaches that work with my natural inclinations rather than trying to force myself into pretending I’m an extrovert.

      Some specific suggestions:

      – try to get involved with organizations that cater to the types of clients you want to work with. See if you can identify common legal problems/questions they tend to have and offer to write an article for their newsletter or speak at one of their meetings.

      – consider building your online presence as a resource in your field – maybe write a blog in your practice area or get a Twitter account for professional purposes. Some of the first people I met in my new city were through Twitter. So far one has become a referral source, but it’s also just been good for getting to know people in the business community.

      – try to cultivate one-on-one relationships with people who are potential referral sources. There are a few people in complementary areas of law that I keep in touch with regularly, take to lunch occasionally, etc., who send potential clients my way. And I try to do the same for them if I can.

      – finally, some books. “Get Clients Now” is good if you want to be really focused about this. It gives you an actual program to put in place and has a fair bit of flexibility built into it, so you can tailor it to suit your personality. Also, “Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed and the Underconnected” by Devora Zack. For introverts by an introvert. I loved it. I’m going to read it again. I also mean to read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts” by Susan Cain. I don’t know how relevant it would be to networking/marketing, but it’s supposed to be very good (and the author is/was a lawyer).

    • No one actually likes “networking events” where you don’t know anyone.

      The best way to get clients is to form actual relationships with people. So you’re going to have to become a “joiner.” Join clubs. Join meetups. Join boards (although recognize that for non-profits, being a member of the board means you’ll make a significant contribution). And work on projects with people. Volunteer for things like Habitat for Humanity and your local United Way’s Walk-A-Thon.

  11. So I am SUPER excited to report that I was accepted into my city’s leadership program, which is a 9 month leadership training course where we do a large city improvement project (city garden, help out a school, plant trees, etc. I don’t know what my project will be yet) and get to participate in closed city council meetings, commision meetings, and all kinds of “closed” city affairs. The quote was “an all access pass to those smoke filled rooms you always hear about.” It basically gets you familiar with our particular city’s politics and procedure and is a set-up for city leadership. It requires me to be out of the office 1 day a month for 9 months, and I was all worried and worked up about asking the firm for the time and was totally willing to take it out of my vacation. When I finally got up the courage, the response was “you’re a professional. As long as you get your work done, we don’t care.” They’ve said that to me before, but I’m still having a hard time believing I am at a place that says that and MEANS it!

    I sure don’t like being a lawyer, but I’ve sure found a great place to work!

  12. sleepless in sc :

    Where do you all get your bedding? I got married in April and moved into my husband’s house, and his bedroom (the master bedroom) has dark bold red walls, and his comforter is camel/gold and the same red color. I feel like I’m being attacked by the red, and he is on board with changing it.

    I’ve looked at a couple department stores and Bed Bath and Beyond, and maybe it’s just me but the majority of bedding doesn’t look that attractive to me. I would like for the room to have a light, airy, relaxed, spa-like feel, maybe with blue and/or green colors. I like some of the stuff at Pottery Barn, but we have a king sized bed, and PB doesn’t seem to have king sized shams. Can anyone recommend any stores to check out? Or even specific bedding recommendations would be great. Thanks!

    • You might like West Elm or Crate and Barrel. Both have lots of duvet options.

    • Clearly avoiding work today..

      I like restoration hardware’s linens. Very pretty and classic. I also like Macy’s website to find stuff because you can sort by size and color. Some of their stuff is a little cutesy, but if you’re willing to look, you can find really pretty bed sets. I will post a few separately to avoid moderation…

      • Macy’s options…

        Donna Karan Bedding, Pure DKNY Innocence Stripe Collection
        Web ID: 691937

        Barbara Barry Bedding, Patina Dew Bedding Collection
        Web ID: 449145

        Sanctuary by L’erba Bedding, Serene Collection
        Web ID: 580319

        Restoration Hardware – Italian Hotel Satin Stitch Ivory Duvet Cover in Eucalyptus is gorgeous to me.

      • I love Pottery Barn’s Plaza bedding. The porcelain blue and foam green definitely have a spa-like vibe. I have something very similar from BB&B that I bought five or six years ago and when it bites the dust, I’ll probably replace it with this. That’s how much I love the design/color of this bedding.

        • Perfect timing! I need new sheets, stat. When I was sleeping alone sheets used to last me forever…but, well, I’m married. Anyone else notice that having a male in the house is noticably harder on the furniture/linens? Sheesh.

          • I think having ladygarden parties is noticeably harder on the linens. :) Although having 2 people in bed also means 2x the wear, I guess.

          • Bluejay I almost spit my tea out on my keyboard! To clarify…it’s not so much that, just having someone that weighs 100 lbs more than me sitting on the furniture. Ladygarden parties….I’m dying…

    • My last apartment had a bold red wall in the bedroom (which I hated), and I was looking for exactly the same thing. I ultimately got a nice gray duvet cover with an abstract white flower pattern from West Elm. Crate and Barrel also has nice bedding, and Ikea has a surprisingly good selection too.

      Although if I were you, I’d paint those walls a different color while you’re at it!

    • If you’re looking for duvet covers, Dwell (target also has a line), Macys, and West Elm all have some nice options. Its easier to find comforters but I prefer a duvet with a cover personally.

    • I was bored with the bedding options everywhere I looked, and it doesn’t tend to be cheap either! I actually recommend Amazon (and use reviews to make sure quality is ok). I got a bedspread from some obscure foreign maker that was so much more interesting than anything I saw at a regular retailer. I was also determined to get a sheet set with a leaf pattern on it, and found a good one at Kohl’s online, brand was Apt. 9.

      • We got all our bedding from Amazon. I like that you can (a) look at reviews, (b) compare prices, and (c) get a ton of different options in one place. I love the comforter/duvet cover we registered for on our Amazon registry and all the sheets we registered for were awesome.

    • Check out bloomingdales

    • HomeGoods or Marshalls or Westelm

    • I like Serena & Lily

    • Also The Company Store – it’s an online company, I’ve had very good luck buying unique things from them.

      • Second this one. All of my comforters are from here – and then you can change out the duvet depending on your mood. And they run sales (% off coupons) all the time.

    • I like Pottery Barn duvet covers and shams a lot. I have a bunch of Euro (big square) shams and I love them. I don’t have a king-sized bed so I’m not sure about the regular shams, but PB’s customer service is really really helpful, so call them up and ask about it. Also, don’t pay full price for anything; they have a lot of sales.

    • Ikea? More of a modern European feel, but a bit on the cheap side, fabric wise.

    • IKEA, shamelessly!

    • Got Tahari 100% cotton (can’t remember but decent thread count) at TJ Maxx. They had everything from CK to DKNY to Kate Spade and more. This is the same stuff you’d be paying retail for in Macy’s and Bloomie’s. (Saw same selection in Marshall’s.)

    • sleepless in sc :

      Thanks for the great suggestions everyone! This gives me a lot to look at. I knew the hive would come through. :)

      And Fiona, we will definitely be painting the walls! We’re hoping it will be easier to get the bedding figured out first and then pick out a paint color that coordinates.

      Thanks again!

    • West Elm for sure!

    • Not a brand recommendation, but more of a color recommendation. I can’t imagine blues and greens really calming down any space with a bold red wall color. Are you also going to paint?

      Our master bedroom is painted a warm terracotta color that looks orangey in some lights. My husband spent forever blending colors to get it just right and he loves it. Though he was quite particular about the wall color, he had no interest in the color of the linens. Everything I tried that was patterned (in my case, with a little hint of the terracotta in the pattern) just seemed to make the room feel like there was too much going on.

      Finally, I just went white. White duvet, white shams, white throw, etc. It’s gorgeous and exactly as ethereally restful as I was looking for all this time. It no longer fights with the bold wall color, nor does it have that “too much” feeling. And getting white bedding is the easiest and cheapest way to go. A plus is that just about everything can be bleached.

      I was totally into watching Candace Olsen on HGTV when I was doing this, so that’s where the idea came from – not that white is so original, but this idea that not everything matches exactly. All the whites are slightly different textures and shades ranging from cream to pure white. I love it.

      • Wannabe Runner :

        My brother and sis-in-law have white everything. Bedding, towels, etc.

        They also say it’s easier, because they can just bleach it.

        But I have never used bleach in my life, and I’m kind of scared of how harsh a chemical it is. I’d rather use like Tide or whatever the “natural” version I get at Costco is. I prefer green/natural cleaning products.

  13. Boston Legal Eagle :

    All of these previous travel suggestions have been great to read so I’m hoping the group can help me plan my trip. The BF and I are planning on going to Hawaii in early September – we’re thinking the Big Island. We are planning to stay there for about 5-6 nights. For anyone who’s been or known someone who has gone, what are some nice places to stay?

    I was thinking of staying in Kailua-Kona and driving around the island (to see the Volcano Park for example), but I wasn’t sure if there was a better part of the island to stay on that would be closer to some of the main attractions. We’ll probably do a couple of beach/relax days but we’re mostly interested in exploring the volcanoes and waterfalls, doing some scenic hikes, maybe trying ziplining and similar activities. So, is Kailua-Kona our best bet? If so, what are your favorite places to stay there?

    And if we should be looking at staying somewhere else on the island – what are the best places to stay at there? I considered staying on the Hilo side but it seems like most of the hotels there are more motel-ish and less resort-like (nothing wrong with that, just not what I’m looking for). Thanks!

    • I went last November – we stayed in Kona in a rental house (VRBO) for the first 4 nights near Captain Cook. There wasn’t much near that area restaurant-wise, so we had to drive north for awhile to get to Kailua-Kona. But it was worth it because there was other great stuff to do in the area. I recommend doing the kayak trip to the Captain Cook memorial because there is great snorkeling. For the last few nights we stayed at the Fairmont in Kohala (where all the resorts and better sand beaches are on the Kona side). We did the volcano park, which was great (hike through the crater!) and snorkeling for the most part, but I’m sure there are other more adventurous things to do. We did not venture to the Hilo side because there seemed to be less to do and it was pretty far away. Get Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed guidebook – it’s awesome and detailed.

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        Thanks for your suggestions! I’ll have to pick up that book.

        • In The Pink :

          Mauna Kea Summitt tours if you want to see the observatories and stars as close to you as possible. If you do plan on that, make a reservation and don’t go scuba/diving day before or afterwards due to altitude changes. This group is a reliable and knowledgable one and the experience is breathtaking. YMMV. Fun to tour the various orchid nurseries up near Volcano park too. Agree with staying on the Kona side as Hilo just hasn’t seemed to take up the resort vibe …

    • The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is my absolute favorite hotel in Hawaii. It is on the Kohala coast.

    • If you’re going to the big Island and are looking for a place to stay, we stayed at the Puakea Ranch (in the James Cottage) and it was the best decision we made. Its about half and hour or 45 minutes outside of Kona, and about 5 minutes from Hawi (which is really cute). It is remote, but its also beautiful — really really beautiful.

      Either way though, I fully support rentals. We much preferred them to resorts.

    • Sunset Magazine just did a whole issue on Hawaii in the past year. Their website is atrocious, but if you go to website and use some googe-fu too, they have amazing insider tips, places to say, restaurants, etc. Highly recommend Sunset, and patience with their website.

  14. Anon Analyst :

    Congrats! Great to hear that your firm supports you in this.

  15. I feel like we are all fancy ladies writing cursive letters to each other

    • Always a NYer :


    • I feel like we are all being really emphatic in our statements.

    • Ha. I was just thinking the same thing!

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Speaking of cursive, are they still teaching it to kids these days? I feel like it’s probably all but gone in our school/work lives but then I had to write a statement in cursive for the bar (and the LSAT too I think) so maybe there is still some use for it!

      • This is one of my pet peeves. I had a colleague who could not read my (clear, neat) cursive. He never really learned.

        • ???

          Colleague as a person over 22? Seriously?

          • Yep. I think he went to a hippie dippie school growing up?

            My nana used to hit my fingers if I wasn’t holding the pencil properly and make me rewrite anything that was messy.

          • I am blown away by this. Even if you never learned as a child, wouldn’t you be able to pretty much figure it out on your own? Most of the cursive letters don’t look that different from printed ones.

        • That is bizarre! I can kind of understand not being able to write in cursive (although the idea makes me sad) but how can you not be able to read it?

          My 2nd and 3rd grade teachers both had lovely penmanship that I have always wished I could replicate. Sadly, it was not meant to be.

      • I taught in a grade that was “suppose to” teach cursive, and I basically sent home handwriting worksheets and made it extra credit. Which is a cop-out, I know, but when I had several students who couldn’t write their full first name, cursive was just not a priority. Handwriting in general isn’t anymore – even for print in the lower grades they have to incorporate it into other lessons.
        It’s one of those tasks – like memorizing your times tables – that has been pushed to the pedagogical wayside because it isn’t “analytical” or “higher order thinking.” I apologize in advance if any of my former students are ever your co-workers and some mission-critical project depends on you reading their handwriting.

      • I hate cursive with a passion. I know how to write it, but I never enjoyed it and if I do end up writing anything these days, it’s always in print. I wrote the entire CA bar exam in print!

        • When I taught 6th grade (2 years ago I think) the kids were required to write everything in cursive. If we couldn’t read it, they got to do it again. They even wrote their essays that way! No computers until 7th grade. I loved it, but I’m 100% sure that my particular master teacher is not normal and runs a classroom that far exceeds any standards.

          • Hero. To be fair, my kids were a lot younger than yours and ours was only suppose to be an “introduction” to cursive. I feel like I have to defend myself against your awesomeness :)

        • I hate it, too! Even when I was in 3rd grade (and before computers were mainstream), I thought learning it was a complete waste of time. I never write in it, except signatures. (I can’t imagine not being able to read it, though.)

          • Elysian, to be fair, it was really my master teacher’s awesomness that rubbed off on me. He is well, just the greatest. He is absolutely my hero. Get this: he also has his own library and check-out system for his 6th graders. 200+ books in the back of the classroom, and they each have a library card and a plastic gallon baggie. The book gets checked out and put into the baggie, and they last a ton longer that way in the kids’ backpacks. The library cards stay in a card catalog, and they write down what they check out. He has them for 2 periods, so he devotes 30 minutes to silent reading every day! They can read anything they want, including graphic novels, as long as it has text and not all pictures. No reports, no strings attached – just read whatever you want, for fun. He has all the “latest” stuff, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the vampire stuff, and everything in between. By the time I left in June, those kids were reading a book (small, 100-200 pages) per WEEK! And they would request to stay inside and read during breaks.

            I thought it was a fluke, so I started the same thing when I took over an under achiving 10th grade class 1/2 through the school year. It was really hard to get them started, but after about 2 months I had students from other grades coming to MY library to borrow books! Most rewarding moment ever. I love teaching.

      • My home state completely stopped teaching cursive this year. Which I personally think is great.

    • I find my handwriting is much better when I’m using a really fancy pen. I like the Montblanc roller refils, but I like a heavier pen than the traditional Montblanc (which I have but rarely use these days.) Cross makes a nice heavy pen at their higher end.

      • La Victorienne :

        And in some (most?) parts of Europe kids learn to write in cursive first and print later.
        Reading from schoolbooks is in print so they can read it anyway.
        We had to write New Years wishes to elder relatives in our best cursive as a school project each year. Not my favorite subject at school ;-)
        I usually type or write in cursive.

  16. Kontraktor :

    Hey friends, just stopping into say hi… feel like I have been a bit MIA. But my husband came home, I started my new job, and things have felt a bit crazy trying to settle into a new routine. I have probably done more in Excel the last week than I have in the last year. But people at my new job seem nice, I just am still having that “ahh overwhelmed” feeling. I guess it settles down eventually but I am looking forward to not feeling new anymore. Too bad that feeling takes a few months to go away. In other news, setting up a new routine has been hard because we want to watch the Olympics each night, and with the coverage starting so late and taking so much time, we haven’t been able to start a whole bunch of activities…

  17. Tax question (with the caveat that I know this doesn’t constitute tax advice):

    I live abroad and work part-time as well as receiving a scholarship which covers tuition and a monthly stipend. I know I need to file taxes but should I be saving for a tax bill come April? My work income is pretty minimal, less than £10k but are people subject to tax on grad school stipends?

    • This is not tax advice... :

      …but I’m fairly certain that you are required to report your grad school stipend as earnings. So yes, if you are receiving it while abroad, and nothing is being withheld, you should put a percentage aside for the tax man.

    • Also not advice, but... :

      There are a lot of variables, but my quick guess would be probably be no, especially if you paid taxes to another country on that income and you are not coming back to the US regularly. I suggest reading IRS Publication 54 if you would like to find more about taxes on US citizens living abroad.

    • i'm like this too :

      Yes, this is earned income. Your graduate school will send you a W-2 and 1099T in Jan/Feb and you will need to pay taxes both on your scholarship and your monthly stipend.

    • someone who handles federal tax policy but not an accountant :

      yes, you will have to pay federal taxes on this. if you feel that you can’t pay for it all at once come tax time, then yes, you should set aside part of it in another account so you can pay taxes on it.

    • Thanks! Any thoughts on the Foreign Income Exclusion? I’ll be resident in the country where I study for 18 months by the end of the tax year and it appears I might meet the criteria (330 days)?

      I’m happy to pay tax but I’d like to pay it in the country whose services I actually use.

      • Also not advice, but... :

        I assume you have to pay tax in the country that you’re living in no matter what? You will probably meet the Foreign Income Exclusion looking at the requirements, but I am certainly not an expert. If you are paying taxes in another country you would at minimum be able to use those taxes to offset some/all of the US taxes with a foreign tax credit.

      • I’m pretty sure you don’t have to pay US taxes on internationally-earned income while a resident in that country if you make under a certain amount (I think $80k/year). But I would double check on that…

      • Hi–I think you have mentioned you’re in Scotland? I believe that you should check out Inland Revenue’s website for info on this. The UK and US are subject to a tax treaty–you generally pay whichever is higher, and your taxes paid to the UK can be deducted on your US tax returns. I worked (like for an i-bank and a law firm) when I was posted in London. The very key think is meeting the residency or time-based tests. Be sure to read both US and UK publications on foreign income, and you should be able to figure this out. If you are already doing UK PAYE (pay as you earn), then you will just let the US know that the tax was paid to the UK. You do have to file both places, which is a bugbear. I do not know anything about the 80K limit mentioned above–it may not have been in effect when I lived in London. Hope this helps.

        The London Link (a great website on UK immigration) might have tips on their website.

    • I highly recommend talking to a CPA. You don’t have to wait until April to figure this out and be potentially shocked by a huge bill (or the alternative, find out you owe nothing but pinched pennies all year saving for an expected bill). A CPA can consider your circumstances and income and project what you will owe, if anything. They can also figure out if you need to be making estimated payments now to avoid a penalty in April (with some exceptions, you can’t just save up and pay in April–you have to “pay as you go” even if it’s not in the typical withholding sense). Taxes are unfortunately a pain when you’re a US citizen/perm res living abroad, and even if your income isn’t that high the foreign complications really take it up and out of the DIY zone.

      This shouldn’t take more than an hour to meet with the CPA, and I can’t see it costing that much if you use the same CPA to prepare your return come spring. They might not give a free consultation because they’d risk getting burned if everyone did that and then did their return online for free with Turbo Tax, but ask if your return prep rate can reflect a retro discount. It saves them time too when you plan during the year, so it’s not unreasonable to ask for this.

      • I found that a CPA (who wasn’t all that familiar with UK taxes) was not that helpful and also super-pricy. You can figure this out on your own, particularly if your earnings are only GBP10K, I I would not shell out 5-10% for accountants in either or both countries. You may also want to talk with your program or university coordinator to chat with other US expats. I learned a wealth of information from my colleagues who had done their taxes the year before (and had a leg up on experience). Cheers.

  18. momentsofabsurdity :

    Wanted to say thank you to everyone yesterday who encouraged me to change my flight. Unfortunately, there were no more flights out last night when I called so I was not there when my grandfather passed late last night.

    It is probably for the best though – my sister did not make it either. Luckily, her flight was late – if her flight had been on time, my parents would have been picking her up at the airport, rather than sitting with my grandfather the moment he died. Had I changed my flight earlier in the day, I would have arrived at a similar time to my sister’s flight, pre-delay.

    I’m now en route out there for the service and truly appreciate the kind words and support from all of you.

  19. AT - Dating Advice? :

    So… my (long-distance) boyfriend and I broke up almost 2 months ago. Of course there’s lots of backstory and self-reflection and other issues that I’m refraining from dumping on you all, but at this point I would really appreciate the advice of the hive on “dating.” I’ve never really dated. Rather, I have had serious relationships that kind of just “happened” as those sorts of things do when you are in college or grad school, or you meet someone at work. If I can generalize, there was usually some flirtatious conversation, a drunken kiss, a plan to meet up which turned into a series of dates, and eventually we became a couple. The ex was an exception as he was the product of eHarmony (after 5 years of complete singledom). Now that I’m single, and still overseas, I’ve thrown myself back into the online world, and have some email convos going with a number of guys, and have gone out with a handful as well.

    My question to you all is… how do I proceed from here? Nothing physical has happened with anyone — just some European cheek kisses. But if any of these get to the point of a real kiss, and I’m still making plans with others, how do you manage that? At what point do you tell someone you are seeing others? And if you decide you like one better than the others, what do you say to the others?

    I realize I’m putting the cart before the horse, but I feel (hope?) that this situation could conceivably happen, and my A-type personality wants time to fully consider and prepare.

    • Honey Pillows :

      If you’re meeting gentlemen callers online, they have to assume you’re seeing other people. Until it gets REALLY physical (and not even then sometimes -nudge nudge, wink wink), or until you have DTR, no one will be under any illusions that you’re seeing them exclusively.

      One of the things I do like a lot about the upswing in online dating is that people have largely stopped assuming there are two modes of dating: lonely or coupled. Variety is the spice of life, and if you don’t try the different flavors available, you’ll never know you absolutely love pistachios and like but aren’t actually all that crazy about toffee. Dating casually is also a great way to get to know someone without committing your heart or falling into the Friends Trap.

      Once you decide you want to go steady with a fella, a good way to broach the topic is to say “I was thinking about taking down my [online dating site] profile.” The gentleman’s reaction will tell you whether he’s thinking seriously about you, as well.

      Also to keep in mind here, don’t assume they’re not seeing other ladies!

      • How do y’all go about casual dating? It’s so far out of my comfort zone but I’m realizing it is how today’s dating world works. I could never sleep with more than one guy at a time (different situations, just to clarify) or without being in a committed monogamous relationship and have broken things off before because I found out he was sleeping with other women (we had not). Any advice would be helpful, thanks.

        • FWIW, casual dating doesn’t necessarily mean being s*xually involved with multiple people at once. In my peer group, lots of women will have various strings of (typically online-arranged) dates going at once, but it doesn’t proceed to a serious physical level until the other contenders have been knocked out of the ring, so to speak. So please don’t assume that you must be s*xually involved with more than one person. And don’t let anyone sell you on this “third date rule” nonsense; your relationships should proceed at a pace you’re comfortable with.

          With regard to general etiquette, the key is not to mention to Gentleman Caller #1 that you’re going out with GC #2 tomorrow. I found that in practice, it didn’t feel that odd – a first or second date is not a relationship, and when I was really doing “cold” dates (internet, friend setups, etc.), I still felt like a barely knew a guy by date 3 or 4. Given that, I didn’t feel any obligation to these guys to see only them. And I’m sure they felt the same way.

          • Yeah, that “third date” thing is crazy. I met my BF online. We have been dating for over a year, and have moved in together. We are talking about a future – marriage, kids, etc.

            When we first met, I didn’t want to kiss him until at least the third date. We didn’t “go all the way” until several months in.

            My close friends knew that waiting meant I really liked him and wanted it to last.

        • Honey Pillows :

          You don’t have to date casually. There are plenty of guys who don’t want to date casually, either. You DO have to tell the people you go on dates with that if you agree to go on more than one date with them, you will not being seeing other people, and you expect that they shouldn’t be seeing other people either. Yes, it’s awkward. No, it’s not romantic. Yes, it will break things off early a lot of the time. No, you don’t want to be dating people who don’t want what you want.

          It’s not important what you decide to do, just that you communicate your expectations. I’m not talking about, “So, where do you see this going?” I’m talking about straightforward, no holds barred, “Are you planning on continuing to see other people? Because I’d like to be exclusive.”

          If you do decide you want to try dating casually, figure out what your limits are. Only sleep with a guy if you’re in a committed relationship? More than three dates means you’re dating exclusively? Once you’ve figured that out, be sure to be clear and open and direct when you reach your limits. Eg: things are getting steamy, you want to spend the night, tell him what it means if you do sleep together, and if he says he’s not willing to stop seeing other ladies, you call a cab and go home.

          If you’re just not sure how to get your head in the right place, treat the earlier dates like they’re practice dates. Do NOT allow yourself to start thinking about what kind of a future you could have together. You’re on a date to get to know someone, not to find a husband. (That may be the point of dating, but you should treat it as more of a side bonus than the goal directly ahead of you.) It helps to go on a few dates with some guys who seem nice but aren’t really what you’re looking for. You’ll get practice at having a good time with someone without thinking that they’re The One.

          And when you start thinking about that one guy when you’re out on other dates, and he asks you out multiple times in a week, and he tells you he’s already not seeing anyone else, and you start grinning when you talk about him, well, then you kiss him and ask him if he’ll be your boyfriend.

          • i really just don’t even understand how people go from boyfriend to boyfriend (or gf to gf) like back to back. I’ve been in a couple of serious relationships with years in between. I just don’t get mentally how people break up with someone and then all of a sudden have a “new boyfriend” like a month later. What am i doing wrong? ;o)

          • My sister does this and it is really mentally and emotionally exhausting on her (I’m not sure that she correlates the two). She doesn’t see it and after every break up it is the worst; then bam! a month later she is in a new relationship, planning weddings, picking out names for future kids, moving in with new guy, etc. I sure wish I could help her or say something that would help her.

          • That would be me. Even though I’ve never really dated around, I’ve been in relationships serially for the past 20 years (well one of them was a marriage). I made my BFF promise me that she would physically prevent me from getting involved with anyone new for awhile if/when this relationship ends.

          • regular poster :

            …but then again, if you want to be sexually active with more than one gentleman caller, as long as your’re careful about protection, that’s nobody’s business except your own.

            We don’t sit in rocking chairs on the porch of the old folks home saying, “boy am I glad I didn’t sleep with all those guys.” No, we’re going to sit there and think, “what a delightful slut I was back in the day!”

    • I think the key to casual dating is to have fun, meet lots of people, and be picky. You’ve got the first two down (congrats!) but it sounds like the third is needing some work.

      I’ve found that after about 3 dates, I know if I’m interested in seeing a guy again. Red flags usually start waving, I put them in the “Friend Zone,” or something they say is incompatible with my values. If that happens, I say something like “I really enjoyed meeting you but I think we are looking for different things.”

      In online dating, it’s not unusual (for me, at least) to hear or say “You are a great person but I’ve met someone and I’d really like to see where this goes.” And three weeks later “Well, that didn’t work out. Would you still be interested in coffee?”

      I wouldn’t ever explicitly say that I’m still seeing others. I’d go the route of “you know, I haven’t checked my profile in so long. Have you?”

      Personally, I don’t try to go on multiple dates with more than one person at a time. Casual dating really doesn’t work that well for me. I might schedule 3 first dates with 3 different guys in a week but only 2 will be worthy of a second date and usually I end up (when things actually go that far) with only one of the guys.

    • ok. I really have to throw it to Reader a.; and hopefully she’ll give some advice on throwing lady garden parties.

      • Oh man. I am like, the worst person to ask for lady-garden party throwing advice, as my Gentleman Caller is no more (although we are supposed to hang out on Sunday? as friends? will this be a disaster? answer choices: yes, yes, or yes).

        For the OP, just go meet some dudes. Honestly, you probably won’t like most of them, so I would try not to put expectations on anything for a while. And you certainly don’t have to kiss or sleep with anyone, at any time or arbitrary date number, until you feel comfortable.

        Also, there’s nothing wrong with being single. If you’re feeling uncomfortable and overwhelmed and nervous at the prospect of navigating the shark-infested waters of casual dating, it is perfectly fine to opt out. You do not have an obligation to be doing it if you don’t want to.

        • a. I didn’t get to respond earlier in the week, but 9 mos isn’t that long and you never know what can happen. I met my SO in a professional capacity, did not see him for 6 months and 6 weeks after that we were totally kissing in a tree. And, this whole time he was living 8 miles away. Not trying to give you false hope your anything; go enjoy Spain!

          • OP here – to a. I’m probably not the best one to be encouraging you to consider sticking with it, but before you completely close the door on that if it’s a possibility, I would say that while I’m sad my LD thing didn’t work out, we never had a defined timeline in which I’d be coming back to our mutual city, and yet he hung on for almost a year and a half. Nine months is a long time, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not. I think about what I was doing nine months ago, and it practically seems like yesterday now. If you’re both really into each other, and it’s possible to arrange visits at least every few months, this could totally be doable. Every couple is unique — some people crash and burn, but many others thrive with distance and discover new ways to communicate, and actually end up improving their relationship/connection. In particular I remember one poster who wrote about how she and her SO talked all the time when they were in a LDR, and now that they’re together they still do, more than other couples they know, and that’s the bedrock of their relationship (sorry! can’t remember who, but I remember your story was both inspiring and grounding because I realized my BF and I didn’t have that). Anyway, only you can decide if you think he has enough potential to try to hold on to, and vice versa, but it’s worth considering. Good luck!

          • AT–thanks for the words of encouragement. He was the one who wouldn’t consider the possibility of long distance, though, so, well, sigh. Our hangout today was really awesome, though, and I know he still likes me-likes me, so I guess I’ll just see what the future (i.e., our non-date on Tuesday) holds. Trying very hard to cling to the “I will not b a n g you if there’s a sell by date on this relationship” rule, but man, it’s hard when six feet of scruffily-bearded fox is gazing into your eyes telling you how much they want to make out with you, but how they respect your decision not to so they don’t want to come across as pressuring you, but they want to make sure you know that it is, you know, an option. CURSES

          • a. You had me at “six feet of scruffily-bearded fox”… I’m sorry that he’s the one putting the kibosh on the “going the distance” thing (sorry, now I have the Cake song in my head…). Not to encourage you, but if there’s no one else that’s on the horizon, and you’ve already been b a n ging, and you know you’ll be leaving… maybe a few last hurrahs aren’t the worst thing? Counterpoint – I can totally see that if you think you’d get more attached to him if there are further lady garden parties, which would make it more painful to leave and end it, it’s better to cut this off now that he’s said he doesn’t want to continue once you leave, but in that case it’d maybe be better not to see him at all, no? Why torture yourself with what you won’t let yourself have?

            Gah, these situations are hard. Best of luck to you :-)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m going to make a suggestion that you didn’t ask for, and it’s probably just me projecting about a situation my sister is in, but the way I read your post is that you’ve never really been single either. If that is the case, meaning just a month or two in between relationships, I suggest you just be single for awhile.

      On the huge chance that my reading of your post was incorrect, the way that I handled is was that I assumed everyone knew I was going on dates with multiple people. I went on dates with 4 guys within a couple of weeks back in January. I made out with one of them on the first date and we were planning to go out again but kept missing each other. The guy who is now my boyfriend and I didn’t kiss until our 5th date. The other two were creepy and I didn’t want to see them again and didn’t kiss either. I was making plans to go on a date with a 5th guy when I decided I just wanted to date my now-boyfriend. I told make out guy that it wasn’t going to work, practically had to break up with creepy guy number 1 (who continued to contact me in various ways for another month but I ignored everything after I said my peace), just never talked to creepy guy number 2, and cancelled plans with the potential new guy. It wasn’t that hard to do because nobody really had expectations. I met all of these people online, for what it’s worth. Go with whatver feels right to you, disclose as much or as little as you are comfortable with but don’t lie, and have fun!

      • Not Sidney But Agreeing and Adding ... :

        I agree with Sidney about being single for a while. I am 46. Met my first husband at 19, married at 24, divorced at 30, was single from 30 to 40 (with one one-year relationship about 2/3 of the way through those 10 years). Met my fiance at 40 and blissfully partnered ever since.

        I will add: you need to learn how to have the safe sex conversation. Make a list of what you want to say (logistical re condoms, emotional re expectations, whatever) and practice saying it. IMHO (I may be old and old-fashioned — I first had sex before AIDS) if you cannot have this conversation with a guy, you ought not to be sleeping with him.

        • OP here – not sure if you were talking about my post, or some of the subsequent posters, but I’ve definitely been single :-) At this stage, I’m probably better at being single than being in a relationship… it actually took me a while to come around to accepting my single status — I look back with a little bit of humor and a lot of horror at conversations I had with friends back then about how I could certainly be alone but didn’t want to be, so trying to enjoy being single was b.s…. ah, my 20s. However, after spending five years solo, trying to date and let someone else into my life and considerations was quite a challenge. Which is part of my impetus to try to get out there and date. I’m not looking for “the one” right now, but I don’t want to get so set in my own ways again that I view the idea of incorporating someone into my life to be a hassle.

    • This applies to guys you met online only: I think that seeing each other 5 or 6 times in a month, if it’s not clear that you’re an exclusive couple, it’s a good idea to have a talk and make sure you’re both on the same page. If you’ve only been out once or twice, or if you go a long time between dates, I would assume you’re not exclusive.

      For guys you met in real life, where things evolved organically or he specifically asked you out on a date, I would assume that neither of you is seeing another person.

    • OP here. I have to say, from the bottom of my heart (aside – that’s a weird expression, isn’t it?), thank you all so so much for the thoughtful advice. The idea that since we met online and I’m meeting other people, they are too, is so obvious, but it makes such a difference. I think my tendency is to feel guilty if I don’t respond to everyone that sends me a nice email, and to feel guilty if I meet someone in person and just really don’t see potential there. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and having recently felt rejected, I bristle at making anyone else feel that way. But if I had to summarize what I’m taking from this conversation, it’s that I should be honest, and kind, and see what happens. And not get pressured into hosting lady-garden parties (kudos, that is the best euphemism ever!) just because it’s date 3 or whatever. Thank you!

  20. Brooklyn, Esq. :

    Are we still doing NAS reviews? I received my big box last night, very exciting. For reference, I’m 5’9”, size 12-14, apple in shape. These are my thoughts (yikes this got long!):

    Hinge® Lace Pleated Peplum Blouse in Mint (519936): Very cute. Peplum doesn’t read too poofy. Lace isn’t too in-your-face, but the blouse is kind of sheer, so slightly sheer + lace makes me think not good for work. I may keep it for nice weekend events. Caveat: the buttons came unbuttoned very easily–I think I will sew the front closed.

    The New Skirt in Purple Rosea and Blue Ocean: I want to love it! The colors are great. A touch on the short side for me (a little above the top of my knee). It’s also a little clingy/apt to show bumps, despite the lining. I decided to keep the blue (the purple was pretty but combined with being a little short just felt too Barbie for me). I’m wearing it today with flexees shorts to smooth everything out, but the lining against the flexees makes so much noise! So, a mixed bag.

    Shimera ‘Comfort’ Tank (370388): Purchased for wearing under things. Way, way too long. Return.

    Halogen® ‘New Girlfriend’ Merino Cardigan in Purple Vine (530757): Beautiful fit on me (makes my wide shoulders look narrower and long enough on my long arms). Great color. Pockets add a little bulk at the middle where I don’t need it, but are small enough to ignore. Keep. NB: It’s little bit itchy on my bare skin. If you have sensitive skin it’s probably a deal-breaker.

    Calvin Klein Seamed Ponte Knit Sheath Dress in Mulberry (540018). Ordered in size 14. Way too short for work. Pretty color. Material was very clingy though the dress seemed a little big overall (I know, a strange combination). I found the seaming really unflattering. Return.

    MICHAEL Michael Kors Belted Trench with Detachable Liner in black (550863): Undecided on this one. Fabric is quite stiff. Fit was nice. Belt has no belt holes (it’s one of those slidey belts, do those have a name?) and it started sliding around right away (i.e., it didn’t stay tight). Lining was only in the body, not in the arms. I’m looking for a truly waterproof trench to replace my pretty dorky looking London Fog trench, but that one has a real belt, softer fabric, and detachable liner that includes the arms, so this may not be it.

    Frye ‘Melissa Trapunto’ Boot in Saddle Leather (530972): (NOT for work) Bought these in size 11, and they fit! (I’m really more an 11.5/12). No zipper made them really hard to get on, and also made the area around my ankle baggy. Tight fit around top of calf (but wearable). Not sure about these! I LOVE the marbled leather and the color, and have been wanting Frye boots for years (but put off by full price). Will they get easier to put on if I keep them??

    PS: I used to post here under my initials but decide I want to go fully anon.

    • Can I ask what size you ordered in the cardigan? I’m trying to decide which size I need — I usually go bigger if it’s tighter through the midsection or I need more length.

      • Not the OP, but I think the Halogen girlfriend cardigan runs pretty true to size. I got several in a M petite, and they fit perfectly (though they’d probably be a little tight in the chest if I actually buttoned them all the way). I usually wear MP in BR sweaters, but am a 36DDD, short waisted, and narrow hipped. I got a few of these last year and they’ve held up beautifully. I’m very sensitive to itchy wool, and these are fine as long as I wear something with sleeves underneath. If you’re not super sensitive, I think you’d be fine.

      • Brooklyn, Esq. :

        I ordered it in the large. It’s a slightly longer line than a classic cardigan (not quite a boyfriend cardigan but maybe mid-hip?), so I don’t think length should be a problem. And I was happy to find it didn’t pull in the buttons (across the chest is always tough for me).

    • PharmaGirl :

      I got the cardigan as well and love love love it! I have such a hard time with cardigans and this one is a perfect fit. (Though I agree about the scratchiness.)

    • microscience :

      I also bought the Frye Melissa Trapunto boot. They do get easier to put on. I think right around the heel, where there is so much stitching, makes the last inch really hard. It should soften up over time. I also think the boot is supposed to look bigger (or baggier) overall. I plan to wear mine over skinny jeans, and to dress down dresses.

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