Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

I haven’t worn this kind of shoe (thick sole, tall heel) in a long while, but I feel like I’m seeing more and more of them, and might give a pair a try. For what’s left of summer, I like these “light natural” wedges from Nine West — as part of Piperlime’s huge sale going on, they have them marked from $99 to $34.97.  (If you like them, do note that both 6pm.com and Endless have them in an additional six colors for $39.97-$59.99.) Nine West Bardough High Wedge Espadrilles

(L-5)

Comments

  1. My order of “the (New) Skirt” arrived last night! This is my first purchase, so I can’t compare to the old version, but the fit on this one worked really well for me :)

    Like previous commenters have stated, the fit is very good for a straight up and down figure. If you’re curvy, you will likely have to have this tailored. My favorite discovery was the length. I’m 5’11 and the hem hits just above my knee. Always a plus! I was uncertain about size (I’ve heard both TTS and runs big), so I ordered the same size I normally wear in JCrew bottoms and that fit well.

    My only regret is that the NAS is over and I only bought two…

    • Cornellian :

      I wish I had gotten a more interesting color, as well. The storm grey is nice, but a blue o rsomething would have been fun.

      On the length side, I’m a long-torsoed 5’4, and I would probably get the petite if I ordered again.

      • I got the gray and the bright purple, which is coincidentally the exact shade of a pair of cafe capris I got last fall (whoops). I really love the two blue versions. It’s taking a lot of willpower to resist ordering a few more.

  2. I think I had these in high school, they were Mia from Nordstrom and I wore them to the back to school dance. Judging by my secret stash of Tommy Hilfiger, I am not opposed to wearing trends again but these aren’t my favorite.

  3. Just wondering whether you guys think there’s an age to outgrow having an FWB or the like. (Please don’t turn this into a debate as to whether your religious or other beliefs are “s-x during marriage only, some of us have different beliefs and/or haven’t yet found a spouse lol)

    I’m beginning to think it will be a long time before I find a spouse (if ever) and I haven’t done the FWB thing since undergrad. Am I too old? Also, is it weird that I feel less odd about having a FWB than spending money on a um “personal toy?” (PS feel free to share your stories, if you’re so inclined) Thanks!

    • K...in transition :

      I personally think that there’s no such thing as being too old for anything… except maybe a tricycle. As long as you’re safe on every level (emotionally, physically, etc.), I say have at! As far as finding such, I can’t help ya lol

      • Obviously you have seen the 3 wheeled motorcycles. You are never to old for tricycles anymore either. :)

      • My mother bought a motor-powered tricycle after she retired, at a garage sale from a guy who was moving to Florida. I told her it was because he was too embarrassed to ride it around!

        • My great great Aunt lived in Florida and owned a non-motor-powered tricycle, which she rode around until her late 80s or early 90s. So, he would have had some company :). Apparently she frequently rode down the middle of the road – not a great plan with all of the older drivers around. My grandma said they could not get her to modify her riding habits so resigned themselves to “if that’s how she goes, at least she will have been happy.”Luckily she never had an accident.

    • Anonynony :

      I don’t think you ever really “grow out” of having a FWB relationship — actually I think they get easier, since both sides get better at setting forth guidelines about what they want in advance. But I think as you get older its also harder to find those sorts of relationships, because people settle down and you may not have the same sort of social life you had in college that proved such fertile ground for hook-ups. Unless you’re willing to go the internet route, which I never was.

      As for personal toys…get thee to amazon and buy a v*brator. If nothing else, it’s kind of fun.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      How old are you? I recently read a story about STDs being on the rise in nursing homes because of rampant “promiscuity” among residents. If they are you enough for FWB, certainly you are.

      I think the question is one of comfort level and not age. Are YOU comfortable having an FWB at your age? Whether someone else agrees with your sexual choices (so long as they are legal) are completely irrelevant. I have a feeling that you may not be comfortable with it (for whatever reason) which is why you are asking the question. If you think this is something you aren’t likely to get over, then maybe a FWB relationship isn’t for you.

      • Seattleite :

        I want to be reading this site from my nursing home bed.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Can you imagine what computers will be like in 40-50 years when we’re in nursing homes?? It’s kinda blowing my mind just thinking about it.

          • I admit I’m imagining something like those powersleds like in Wall-E.

            Just hope I’m not an obese old lady incapable of more than just pushing a button, tho.

    • Caveat: I’ve never done the FWB thing.

      There are all these evo-psych studies that say most women can’t do the FWB thing without their hormones brainwashing them into falling for their FWBs. I find a lot of these evo-psych studies to be glorified circular reasoning, armchair social science by people who want to promote a Me Tarzan, You Jane agenda, but lack any real body of statistically sound data from evolutionary days to come to any strong conclusion that stands up to logical or scientific scrutiny.

      But there’s some truth there– it’s true that some people (men and women both) who can’t do the FWB thing without getting too attached. If you know yourself and can do this without mooning around hoping for your FWB to propose, then go for it.

      There are some potential downsides– chief of which is, you may be wasting time on an FWB that you could be spending trying to meet someone you’ll actually want a real relationship with.

      Also, if you do meet someone you think is worthwhile for a real relationship– how do you propose to handle the FWB? If you think the person you’d really like to date would judge you harshly for having an FWB, would you be willing to drop your FWB like a rock and never look back in order to pursue the prospect you really want? Again, no moralizing, no answers, just some questions for you to consider.

      • “There are some potential downsides– chief of which is, you may be wasting time on an FWB that you could be spending trying to meet someone you’ll actually want a real relationship with.”

        This, to me, is the key problem with FWB. I think they end up being a bit of a security blanket that’s “good enough” without requiring you to step out and meet people who could be potential life partners. Why not just go online dating and meet some people and have sex with them instead of a FWB?

        • Perhaps the concern there is safety?

          There’s a non-trivial chance that the person Anon meets with online and then meets for a date could be a psycho.

          If she’s having s#x with a person she’s been friends with, the “I’d like to not get strangled/stalked” thing isn’t really a problem them.

          • “then”, not “them.” I am the Queen of Typos, alas.

          • So not putting my name on this one :

            Or not be a psycho, but have an STD. Plus, first-time s-x is almost always awkward and the woman doesn’t get off. I’d rather have a regular FWB than a bunch of one-night stands.

    • Soooo anon :

      Whatever you decide about FWB, you should get yourself to the Babeland website and get over your discomfort with “personal toys.” You will not regret it. Trust.

    • I always ended up dating my FWB (see the comments about the evo-psych studies above) so I don’t necessarily recommend it, but I certainly wouldn’t say you are too old. Also, my friends think I’m weird and probably judge me for it but I don’t own any personal toys and never have. Not my thing, so I completely understand being more comfortable with FWB than that. :)

    • Do it. I was always someone committed to relationships. I thought I could not date casually and certainly didn’t think FWB was for me. Then my interaction with someone I met online turned into that. I was about to move away, so I was adamant about not wanting a serious relationship. It was exactly what I needed. The experience taught me to ask for what I want. Many people — more than you think — are willing to give just that to you.

    • So not putting my name on this one :

      How do you just go out and get a FWB? Isn’t it one of those things that evolves organically after a drunken hookup or two, when you realize you don’t actually want to date?

      But anyway, no, I don’t think you’re ever too old to throw ladygarden parties with whomever you damn well please.

      • “I don’t think you’re ever too old to throw ladygarden parties with whomever you damn well please.” – THIS TO THE F-YEAH

        but, i will also chime in to echo Susan’s thoughts above. I’m doing an FWB thing rt now, but I’m a little worried that I am letting myself slide back into a pattern of ‘meh, this is easy, i’ll just go with it’ which is distracting me/taking time away/preventing me from potentially meeting someone i am really excited about…. so i’m kind of wrestling with this very thing right now, too…. sorry, i don’t have an awesomely helpful answer for you ;)

      • “But anyway, no, I don’t think you’re ever too old to throw ladygarden parties with whomever you damn well please.” #COTD

      • I approve of this use of laygarden parties. A+

    • Bookish Advice :

      I used to have a book, which I bought when I was divorced and single but gave to my stepson a couple years ago, that addressed this. The book was fabulous, but I can’t give you a link. It was written by two women, perhaps named “Mo” and “Em.” I don’t recall the title, something like “advice about sex and relationships” but more catchy.

      It had chapters about EVERYthing, and the advice would often run along the lines of “A gentlemen always endeavors to make sure that a lady enjoys herself, even — perhaps especially — on a one night stand when [inserts utterly crass verb that I cannot type here] is involved.”

      If you can find this, I would definitely read it before going out and finding a FWB.

    • Honey Pillows :

      One thing to consider: being rejected by a date sucks, but you can chalk it up to incompatibility. Being rejected by a FWB after a couple of ahem -lady garden parties- put me into a panic, thinking “oh god, am I that repulsive??” No, he wasn’t starting to date someone else, just wasn’t into it anymore.

      Our friendship eventually recovered, but I’m still a little bitter about that.

      Another FWB arrangement was with an ex who wanted to get back together but settled for FWB (I know, I know, it never ends well and I brought it on myself, la dee da la dee da), and it was only after he ended our arrangement to date the woman he eventually married that I realized I had deeper feelings for him as well. And that S*CKED.

    • Anonforthis :

      I’ve done the FWB thing – I don’t think there’s a magic age at which you’re too old for these types of relationships. I think it can be good fun if you are honest with yourself about why you’re doing it and what you’re looking to get out of it. If you are using it for intimacy as an excuse to avoid meeting other people (that can be potential partners), than it’s problematic.

      During my last FWB, I was (very) actively dating (although not sleeping with any of my other suitors), so I didn’t have that same problem. Him and I had been friends for a while, and tried dating but it was a disaster. We had this intense physical chemistry though so I went for it. IMO the best FWB is someone you have that chemistry with, but for some reason, don’t want to date. I was very clear about our boundaries, but I think he started to develop feelings for me and when I met my SO, and started dating him exclusively, my former FWB went nuts, and acted in a way that both disappointed and scared me. Needless to say, him and I no longer speak, despite a long history of friendship.

      I guess my two takeaways are:
      1. Be careful about why you’re doing this. If it is just for fun and “lady garden parties”, then go for it!
      2. Be careful about your partner – don’t settle for a FWB if you want to date him instead.

      • I think its very true that you need to pick your FWB carefully. You have to be attracted to them but have no interest in dating them. It’s important to be honest with yourself about your feelings in this regard. And for them to be honest with you.

        Also, you should def buy yourself a toy. These things are not mutually exclusive!

      • Anonymous NYer :

        I imagine someone like Ryan Lochte would be the ideal FWB. Sounds pretty unintelligent/not like someone you’d really want to talk to for long, but, damn.

    • If you feel comfortable with the FWB, I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with it, nor is there some magical point at which you age out. But you have to be realistic about things. If you want something more, either from your FWB or in general, the FWB relationship may turn out to be a mess. If your FWB partner wants more, that could be a mess. (It was for me — I had no idea he wanted to be a couple, and it ruined our friendship.)

      Finally, having FWB doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a toy — it may very well make you more attuned to what you are looking for…

    • EEk, if you don’t have a BOB (battery operated boyfriend) you need to do that NOW. And, no, you’re not too old for a FWB, but I do think that sometimes it can hinder your finding a longterm love. Unless, the FWB turns into it, which is known to happen!

  4. Lateral question. I am looking to possibly switch firms for compensation reasons. I just started working with a recruiter this week, and the first firm to invite me for an interview is one that will pay slightly higher than my current firm, but has a lower billable requirement. While this is not what I’m looking for, my recruiter suggests that it might be good to go to the interview to get interview experience. I am worried that if I go it’ll just be a waste of the firm’s time and that it is potentially risky if it gets back to anyone I know. Thoughts? I know my recruiter is only paid if I take a job, so I am not too trusting of his opinion here….

    • I generally think it’s good to go on low-pressure interviews and an initial interview is rarely a waste of anyone’s time unless you absolutely know that you would never lateral to this firm. If, after the initial interview, you realize that you would not want to work for this firm, don’t pursue it further. Also, unless there is some way for your firm to find out, I think you may be being a bit too risk averse.

    • K...in transition :

      My job hunting rule of thumb?

      If you’re desperate for a job, go on every offered interview. If you’re not and this interview is for a job you wouldn’t want if it was offered, don’t go.

      And good for you for not falling into the recruiter’s goal of switching jobs just for his benefit rather than for yours!

    • new york associate :

      My general rule: there is never a reason not to apply to a job and there is never a reason not to go on your first interview. You can reject them afterwards. Also, from watching friends go through the lateral process, you want to start interviewing now so you’re ready when the dream job comes along. Interviewing is a skill and most people are rusty at it after a few years.

    • If it’s just the one first-round meeting, I wouldn’t worry too much about wasting the interviewing firm’s time or word getting back. For the interviewing firm, it’s always useful to meet a quality candidate who can be put on file in event a better fitting role comes up. For your existing firm, it’s usually a good thing for them to know that you’re desirable in the market place. If it does come up, you can say ‘I was approached’ – which is functionally true (you were approached, by your recruiter) and allows you to side-step the worst of the negative implication that you were actively being ‘disloyal’.

  5. orchidlady :

    If you could get any three pairs of shoes/boots for fall, what would they be?

    I’ll start:

    *A perfect black sliver-wedge boot (that is ideally similar to but not the Steve Madden Intyce. I do like that boot, but I already have it in cognac and I feel like every women between 25-35 in my city has it)
    *A grey or stone-colored pointy-toed heel
    *A jewel-toned flat, maybe jade, eggplant…

    What about you?

  6. ChocCityB&R :

    I used to think this kind of shoe was easier to walk in, until I tumbled down a (small) flight of stairs while carrying a cup of coffee. The “wooden block” aspect gave me too much confidence, while the height and the fact that I was strapped in made me wobbly enough to tip over. Now I am much more careful when I wear them.

    Random friendship question: I’ve noticed that a woman with whom I share a close acquaintance has been snubbing me lately. I don’t know if she reads this site so I won’t get too detailed for fear of outing myself, but let’s just say I see her around town and she pointedly avoids eye contact and walks the other way. At first it was amusing, and now I’m starting to feel a bit hurt. I thought for a moment that maybe she didn’t see me, but it’s been too pronounced and frequent lately for me to rely on that excuse. I’m wondering if it is worth it to confront her, or if I should just let the relationship go? (What’s even more weird is that we’ve hung out recently on several occasions, so it’s not as if she just doesn’t want to see me at all).

    The reason I think I should say something (by email most likely) is I worry that I may have done something to offend her. If the issue is that she just does not like small talk or not want to engage, it strikes me as rude and I’m inclined to let the acquaintance go. (I’m an introvert and abhor small talk, but the small effort in smiling and asking someone about her day is worth it to me in order to preserve a relationship). If I’ve done something to offend her I’d like to know what it is and be given the chance to apologize. If she just doesn’t want to say hi, then I’m inclined to just end the relationship all together. What do you ladies think? Am I being too etiquette conscious for wanting to end a relationship for a perceived slight of snubbing? Should I ask her about it directly? Perhaps if I do I’ll learn she has some rare disorder that makes it impossible to recognize a person’s face and thus she is not snubbing me, she just really doesn’t see me (I know this sounds far-fetched but I think this disorder does exist).

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I forgot to add: I could also ask a mutual friend about it, but I tend to like to go directly to the source with these things so it doesn’t turn into gossip.

      • K...in transition :

        go to the source if you choose to do anything. If this person’s absence would feel like a loss, email and inquire whether you might have done something to upset her or better, email and say that you saw her recently, she seemed not to have noticed you, and you wonder if she’s ok, whether something has her distracted that you might help with. (Better than sounding accusatory!)

        If the absence isn’t a big deal in your life and is just something you’re curious about, it doesn’t seem worth the effort.

      • Seattleite :

        I’d ask, in a direct but non-confrontational way. “I have seen you several times, and you appeared to be avoiding me. Have I done anything to offend you?” It may also have nothing to do with you. She might be 1) near-sighted enough that she doesn’t recognize you, 2) having an affair, 3) on her way to or from a sensitive appointment (therapy, fertility), 4) out for some much-needed alone time and averse to impromptu company.

        FWIW, I’ve avoided acquaintances in public for reasons 1, 3, & 4. Although the victim of reason 1 did launch herself at me for hugs, which is how I know she was there.

    • Agree with Seattelite — you can address this, but be careful. I have run into friends/colleagues before when I have been too tired/anxious/whatever to deal with other people, when I have told someone else a fib as to where I am and don’t want to get caught, and when I am embarrassed about not combing my hair and don’t want to talk to people I generally enjoy in other contexts.

      It may not be you, but if you confront her, she may choose to let the acquaintance go, if the choices are admitting the other issues. Just be sure that you are okay with that, and proceed accordingly.

    • Is there really some kind of disorder where you can’t recognize faces? Because if there is, I am afflicted by it! Seriously, I truly walk around with blinders on. I have a tendency to live inside my head, always thinking about something other than my immediate surroundings and the immediate ‘now’… the next email, the next court appearance, the next cup of coffee… I’m the least ‘present’ person I know (and have recently started to work hard to correct that, reminding myself, sometimes out loud, ‘Be present!’ throughout the day).

      So, if I see someone where I’m not used to seeing them, a co-worker’s wife at the gym, for example, chances are very high I don’t recognize them, and won’t acknowledge them. Or, if I do recognize that I know them, I’m liable to take way too long to find their names and place in my life in my brain, and some kind of social gaffe is highly likely.

      This wasn’t a problem when I worked in a much bigger city and rarely bumped into people by random chance, but in the smaller community I’ve been in for the last five years its been a real issue, and I know some people probably already think I’m either a complete snob or a complete flake.

      Is it possible your friend could also be like this? I think I would approach her with, ‘Are you upset with me?’ Then take what she says at face value, and not worry about it.

  7. I love these shoes and 9 West!!! YAY! The Manageing partner came with me to my first hearing on one of Jim’s cases and I won the motion! The plaineriff did NOT appear and the judge DISMISSED the Case!!!

    The judge said it was without prejuddice so he can refile FOOEY!

    But the Manageing partner will bill for both of us as wellas for lunch. I had a TURKEY salad and it was NOT turkey roll! Yay!

    I am going to meet Myrna b/c her swim was cannceled b/c of the poop in the water. FOOEY!

  8. SoCal Gator :

    Another plug for Nordstrom’s excellent customer service. During the NAS, I bought a cute Halogen dotted chiffon blouse but when I got home, I discovered that I had accidently purchased the XS, which was too tight under the arms. I returned it during the sale to a store where they located and ordered me the small. Alas, a few days later, I received an email notifying me that the order was cancelled as it was unavailable due to no stock. Yesterday, the salesperson who ordered it for me called to say it was now restocked and available in a small. I called and they ordered it for me on the phone and chraged me the Anniversary sale price. I am very pleased.

    • Love them. Ordered a pair of boots for my daughter but now would like to compare bigger size. Don’t want to exchange bc other size might be too big. live chat. They’re sending me the bigger size at nas price and we’ll return the one we don’t want. The best customer service ever. They seriously have all of my business.

  9. K...in transition :

    Anyone have professional shoe recommendations for someone who lives to be barefoot and, if shoes are required, throws on flip flops? Just curious as to whether something fitting that desired free feel even exists.

    • As a lover of flip flops (and currently battling swollen feet for some unknown reason) I am eying a lot of the cute Born flats online at Nordstroms and wondering if I can get the cheaper at DSW… They certainly LOOK more comfortable than most of my work heels/flats, but I have yet to pull the trigger.

      • I’m wearing a pair of Born flats right now! Love them. They’re extremely comfortable.

      • I recently bought some Born flats, but they haven’t come yet, so I can report back when they do. But cute and comfy flats are my answer to this problem. Flats that are easy to slide off so I can be barefoot under my desk.

    • I’m just like you. I suggest Puma Sneakerinas, if you can get away with it. Otherwise, I really do love my Cole Haan Air Tali wedges. They also come in a flat.

    • emcsquared :

      Dr. Scholl’s makes some comfy flats that look professional, but allow a lot of wiggle room for toes. Peep toes, especially wedges (if your office is cool with that) can also feel more liberating than traditional pumps.

      For heels, try mules – you can slip them off under your desk and be barefoot. I personally can’t walk in them, but that’s my problem!

    • LilacWine :

      Depending on how much you want to spend, if you don’t have wide feet, AGL flats from Nordstrom are pretty good. They can look very professional depending on the color, are pretty minimalist but have decent support.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh! If business casual/sportier is okay, try the Coach Dwyer flats. I now own two pairs as of 10 days ago and live in them. They feel like they are hugging my feet.

    • Old-Lady brands and health brands such as Sofft, Clarks, Born, Naturalizer, its younger brand Naya and Kork Ease make really comfortable shoes. Occasionally they have really professional looking ones, too. La Canadienne (boots) or Aquatalia are great for boots.

  10. Anonymous :

    Ladies,

    I’m feeling motivated by the Couch to 5K thread this morning, but confused by the plethora of Couch to 5K programs that come up in a google search. Are there particular apps that people like? Can you get different apps with different music selections? If it helps, I like to work out to hip hop and embarrassing pop songs that I would never cop to in real life (hellooooo Britney), and hate techno (sorry!).

    Thanks!

    • Rose in Bloom :

      I replied in the morning thread that I downloaded C25K podcasts from runningintoshape dot com. Its not an app, but you listen to the mp3s (one for each week of training) and the woman who made them tells you when to run/walk. Her podcasts have great pop music, which I love because it makes me enjoy the run/walk. They are located under the 5k training downloads tab. Hope this is what you are looking for!

      • anonymouse :

        This is really great. I have been wanting to do the Couch to 5K and actually tried it a while back using my watch to time myself… bad/frustrating idea. This is perfect.

    • On the iPhone/iPod Touch, there are some (paid) apps that allow you to play your own music in the background. The one I used is called Run 5K, I believe.

      • I have Run 5K also, and like that I can play my own music and it just says “RUN NOW!” and “WALK NOW!” over whatever of my own music I choose to play.

        Now actually managing to USE it is a different story…

    • TurtleWexler :

      A couple of us mentioned Get Running — one of the things I really like about it is that it runs in the background so you make your own playlist in iTunes and listen to both the music and running instructions simultaneously. You can use all the features you normally would (shuffle, skip, etc). I like this much better than apps with built-in music.

      • Jenna Rink :

        I’m on week three using Get Running. I really like it for all the same reasons as you do. I also like that you can adjust whether it gives you lots of periodic encouragement or just gives you the run and walk cues. Totally worth the minimal cost.

    • The Run Training app is free and has Couch to 5K. It also has a similar 10K program.

      • I use Ease to 5K. Love it, it has a nice lady who tells me when to run, walk, cool down. there is gps tracking, I can set it just to run a specific distance and it will tell me how much further I have. it maps my runs, gives me times, and has a great little charting feature so I can track speed, distance, weight, etc. Also, can use your own music.

    • I have a somewhat complicated system now that I think about it — I used 5K runner (now 10K runner), which gives you audio cues, but you can play your own music from itunes. When I’m running outside I also track my run with Strava so I know how far/fast I went. So, I guess I actually use three different programs (trainer, music, tracker) for my runs!

      I will say that C25K training programs are not all exactly the same, so you might want to check that first before you buy — I have a strong preference for interval training rather than just gradually running longer distances, so I like 5K/10K runner because it has more intervals than some of the others.

    • Unemployed :

      I like kiss my black a$$ dot com’s Couch-to-5k podcasts. Plenty of hip-hop and Britney so you’ll probably like it too

    • health care anon :

      How timely! My husband and I just finished a race and obstacle course over the weekend, and I realized that cycling 16+ miles does not translate into running. Boo. I recommend Runner’s World Smart Coach app and the book “run like a mother” (don’t have author right now). I love to bike, and am training for several century rides, but running, I just can’t get into. I hear Run! Zombies! Is another good app.

  11. I tried these on at the Nine West store. Wasn’t impressed.

    For anyone who was waiting for an update, the new boss gave a nice 10 point speech this morning (from notes on his phone) and nobody really saw what was on the powerpoint because it was running at the front of the room and he was walking around to different places. What was on the Powerpoint was definitely not the 101 ideas. But even funner was the fact that our new provost came to speak this morning and he has met new boss once and referenced the 101 ideas more than once in a chuckling, teasing sort of way. The meeting went pretty well overall and the 101 ideas didn’t really even come into play. But I overheard him asking one of my colleagues about getting things printed and how long it takes. So I don’t think that’s the end! Like the zombie that won’t die.

    Okay, off to set up for the wedding shower! Sorry I missed most of this morning’s thread. Looked like some heavy stuff going on but the usual fabulous concern and support.

    • I’ve taken to calling certain cases around here zombiecases because they have a strange ability to come back, over and over.

      Glad the morning meeting went well!

    • I feel like the 101 ideas is a running joke. I bet your boss really did intend to have 101 ideas, but when he realized everyone thought it was a bad idea, he took it in stride and is now joking about it. If so, that also means he’s a really awesome boss who can find humor in being wrong.

      • No, I think he’s actually going to do it. I even got the sense that he plans to present some form of it at the provost’s retreat. Unfortunately, the joking was from *his* boss. He’s a great guy and can laugh at himself but about this thing, it’s like he can’t be swayed, no matter how many people tell him it’s a bad idea. I do think he has changed the focus somewhat so it won’t freak everyone out.

    • Oh No, No Printing Of The Zombie Booklet, NNnooooooooooooooo!!!! ;o)

  12. K...in transition :

    Semi-Silly Friday Question: Do you think you are a representation of your astrological sign? How so?

    I’m a Pisces (ides of march!) and am totally Piscean; I adore the water, am super emotionally driven, and gravitate toward ocean-like colors. I’m also convinced that, of the 2 fish, one of mine is Type A and the other is a Hippie, leaving me with wanting to be in charge while barefoot and wearing tie-dye and giving me a permanent internal conflict hehe

    YOUR TURN! :)

    • I’m Pisces too and you sound very much like me…

    • Fun idea! I’ll play.

      I’m an Aquarius and have never thought the stereotypical description of the Aquarius personality (eccentric, lives on the edge) particularly suited me. So I never really bought into astrology, though people who know more about it than I do say I seem more like a water sign personality, or maybe a Virgo.

      That said, I recently flipped through a book while I was waiting for someone that described the different signs in relationships, and the Aquarius description fit me perfectly… so maybe there is something to it after all! ;)

    • Western Zodiac of Chinese Zodiac? :-)

      • “or”

        Really, Leos can type!

      • K...in transition :

        in Chinese zodiac, I’m a pig… water element, helpful by nature, can get walked on by those who don’t appreciate her desire to love, may be interpreted as lazy because she can revel all day in great s*x or a good nap, choose to spend time with an exclusive few and ignore the rest of the populace, always see the positive in others.

        Hmmm… I think my closest friends would say that pretty well describes me haha

        • I’m all about fire (w.r.t Chinese zodiac). I guess that’s supposed to make me an Angelina Jolie-like assassin type.

          I missed the part where they say the alternate side is being a couch-jockey bookworm who likes ruffly dresses and cookies from Trader Joe’s.

    • I am definitely the perfectionist, not good with emotions but still loyal to a fault Virgo.

      • Also a Virgo. Definitely a perfectionist and love details. I’m also the random source of advice for friends and coworkers, on everything from love to cooking. I’m more of an introvert than I’d like to be, but I suppose I also am more reflective/perceptive as a result.

      • Hey Virgos: I’m not a perfectionist, not detail oriented, and don’t think of myself as particularly loyal…but I am introverted, good with words and language, good memory, and pretty reflective. So kind of?

      • Hello, Virgos. Also a perfectionist (wish I could get minimize that trait), not good with other people’s emotions, loyal, try to be detail oriented but usually fail (see comment re: perfectionists), huge introvert, quite modest, meticulous (my house is basically in perfect order all the time or I go insane), and very critical.

      • Ruthy Sue :

        I fit the Virgo profile pretty well. Perfectionist and detail oriented, introverted, loyal, not good with emotions, but good memory and good with words. And like KC also the source of random advice (just gave a friend my review of sleeping pads for her camping trip). I definitely enjoy the advice part.

      • My bday is during the Virgo-Leo transition time, so I could be either one depending on the horoscope. I think I have characteristics of both. I’m domestically-oriented, loyal, and have some perfectionist tendencies like a Virgo. But I like to be in charge and am pretty outgoing and confident, like a leo. Also less perfectionist than most Virgos, I think. So I’m about 80% virgo and 20% leo, which according to my birthday, is about right.

        Semi-related question: my husband, mom, sister, and many of my best friends (past and present) are all virgos. Do you think there is a tendency for certain types to click? It’s to the point where I can spot a virgo before they even tell me their birthday, and I’m not big believer in astrology generally, so I’m always looking for a confirmation bias but it has been too many times for me to think it’s coincidental.

        • I’m also on the Virgo/Leo cusp, and like you have characteristics from both (and about the same characteristics!).

          I do think there’s something to the same type of person being drawn to each other. My husband and I are both Virgos, for instance.

        • Ooh, another Virgo here. Worrywart, perfectionist, super critical but not judgmental ….loyal, etc.

    • Francie Nolan :

      Yes I am a Taurus through and through – practical, reliable, patient, affectionate, ambitious, and determined but also I can be very lazy, jealous, inflexible ( a biggie for me) and stubborn.

      • I’m Taurus, too — and I’m most of these too. Not that patient any longer . . . .

        And another set of characteristics I’ve heard that is associated with Taurus I fit, too — liking things that appeal to the five senses: e.g., good smells, good food, tactile things like cozy throws and bed linens and just the general nesting thing around my apartment.

    • I do think that it’s pretty silly stuff, but I particularly love and identify with mine, which I think are facinating.

      I’m right on the Capricorn/Aquarius cusp, and the 2 couldn’t be more different, yet, I tend to think that I embody both sides. Capricorns are very conservative, risk adverse, money and sucess-focused, very type-A, while Aquariuses are laid back hippy eccentrics. Odd mix, but me.

    • According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a Scorpio is: People born with the water of Scorpio are very determined, reserved, loyal, and secretive. They are firm and somewhat proud, and capable of unmistakable traits of characte; they may be either very much liked or very much disliked. Their somewhat suspicious nature causes them to be distrustful, but among all their seemingly evil traits of character, they have that grit and backbone that enables them to make higher attainments than those born in the other signs. For the “Wisdom of the Serpent” lies concealed in this sign, and they become so discreet, wise and prudent as to display extraordinary genius. It has been said “the greater the animal the greater the man,” and it may be that in the animal passions there lie the germs of the spiritual force, which, when sent upwards, may achieve great and mighty things.

      Honestly, other than being loyal and fairly determined, none of this sounds much like me at all. I’m not secretive, not particularly suspicious, and while I’m fairly well-liked, its far from universal. :-P Oh well.

      • I am such a Scorpio, even (especially?) the negative parts (though I don’t like to admit it).

        But I am also definitely a Tiger. They say that Tigers are very compatible with Horses. Well, one day I sat down and figured it out, and it turns out that every single male who has ever played a significant role in my life, except one, was/is a Horse. How weird is that?

        I don’t want to believe in this stuff, but sometimes it is weirdly accurate.

    • Leo Strength Keywords:
      – Confident – Yup
      – Ambitious – Check
      – Generous – Hope so!
      – Loyal – To a fault, sometimes
      – Encouraging – Yes

      Leo Weakness Keywords:
      – Pretentious – I hope not
      – Domineering – Occasionally…
      – Melodramatic – ::blush:: Sometimes…
      – Stubborn – :sigh: Yes.
      – Vain – In high school, very much so. Not as much anymore, but I do love to get compliments…

      Guess the shoe fits…

    • Yes! I’m a libra. I’m compassionate and a good listener, and people come to me for advice/resolution of their problems. As a negative, I also like being the center of attention, but in a subtle way ( :) ), which is apparently also a libran thing. I just read a thing that said librans are supposed to be outgoing and extroverted, which I am definitely not. My sister is a Leo, and she’s a bright, shiny, sparkly, gem of a leo.

    • RussiaRepeat :

      I’m a Cancer and, while I’ve become more of a homebody since moving in with my now-husband, I’ve never felt it fit me well. I am a softie and a bit moody, but work-me can be pretty tough with opposing counsel and ready to fight, and I can be pretty extroverted. Wikipedia says I should be sensitive and intuitive, but I’m more a reseach and logic type, not just at work, but in loving history versus romances, sports versus music, etc. I am also not dying to have kids, though I dote on my cats.

      My husband is on the Aries/Pisces cusp and somewhat self-associates with Aries–he’s definitely a creative, risk-taking person, though I wouldn’t say high strung or “up in the clouds” like Wiki suggests.

      • Same for me! I’m terrible at baking, have no plans to have kids, and am a super logical research-oriented type A. So much for my sign. The only part of the cancer description that I ever thought fit me was that cancers are supposedly ruled by the stomach, and when I get stressed out my stomach is the first thing to go off.

      • Every cancer I know lies about it. Who wants to be seen as a domestic drudge? Generally, we say we’re scorpios. There’s always time to confess after they’ve already succumbed to your charms.

    • No friggin’ clue.

      My Chinese horoscope is always dead-on, though.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Alas, yes. Leo in both Moon and Sun sign….

    • I’m a total perfectionist Virgo. I also believe in birth order and I’m the oldest of 4 kids. I’m destined to be bossy and picky. ;(

    • Yo where my Geminis at? I can’t be the only one.

      I’m a pretty decent Gemini–definitely adaptable, definitely handle change well, independent as crap, very creative, and outgoing, and pretty good at expressing myself through whatever medium. But at the same time, I’m a lot more doggedly loyal, determined, and nose-to-the-grindstone than my flighty air sign would suggest.

    • Gosh that sounds just like me!

      I totally relate to your internal conflict comment. Never thought of it quite that way.

  13. SoCalAtty :

    Yay weekend open thread! I need the hive’s support. I know many of us have vented about ungrateful siblings in the past, but I’m at my wit’s end. My brother just turned 20, and I am 11 years older. He lived with my alcoholic mom his whole life, but my grandparents took me when I was little so we never lived together (took me before he was born and couldn’t take another at 70 years old). So. Bascially since I was 16, I picked up making sure my brother was taken care of (food, clothes, rides, etc.). Of course my grandparents helped and made it possible to do that, but I did most of it. Despite our efforts, he had to put up with much, much more than any normal kid should have had to. I totally get that. But he did always have food, clothes, “stuff” (games, trumpet to play in band, etc), a bedroom, and rides. 2 years ago, our mom died from her alcoholism, and my brother was 2 weeks from turning 18. Me living in a tiny 700 square foot house in an area with horrible schools, I arranged for him to stay in my mother in law’s guest house, walking distance from great schools (both a junior college and adult school so he could finish the dipolma), in exchange for him helping her out around the house (big property, and it’s just her and she is in her 60s). I gave him my old car (which functions perfectly and has a/c), pay for the insurance, cell phone, and give him gas/food money. Not much, maybe $20-40/week depending on what is going on because my MIL’s house is stocked with food and he is welcome to it.

    He has never been very reliable or responsible, but now he just refuses to do anything that “doesn’t make him happy.” Whenever my MIL or our 85 year old grandfather that can’t drive anymore but lives 1 mile from him asks for a ride to the doctor, or anything else, he is either way late or a no-show, or cancels at the last second. My grandpa stopped calling my brother. He has also disappeared for the entire summer “camping.” I’m going to be up there (he is about 5 hours from me) this weekend, and I said “ok, we need to get a list of specific things you are supposed to do around the house, and you need to do them, or I’m not going to continue funding your social life.” The deal I’m offering is he does 25 hours per month of work for my MIL, and for every hour over that I’ll pay him $8/hour (he says he wants a job, but “can’t find one”). He also has to finish his GED (just a test, I paid for books course and test) by 2013 and go to the junior college clases he signed up for (10 units). For that, I continue to pay car, food, insurance and phone.

    He basically lost his marbles, said I am a horrible, controlling person with unreasonable expectations, that he should be able to do whatever he wants because he has had a hard life, and that he’s not going to show up this weekend (he’s known I was coming for 4 weeks) because he is too busy “camping.” He says I “gave” him the car, that I have no right to try and track him down or have any say in what he does, and that this is all just so unfair. Phone, car, insurance are all in my name, on my accounts.

    Some great quotes have been “I’ve always known your help came with a price” and “I can’t believe you’re going to take my only resources I have away from me to do school and have a job [he doesn't have a job] because I won’t do what you want.” “I’ll clean out the car if you really want me to have nothing.” And my personal favorite: “I don’t understand what happened to you, you base all decisions based on numbers now, and that’s not how the world works.” Ok one more – “it kills me that my only family judges me based on my achivements and what work I do.”

    I know I’m right. My offer of “you get X in exhange for Y” is, I think, totally reasonable. There’s going to be a showdown – well, not a showdown, because I’m showing up with a printed list of his responsibilities and what he gets in exchange, and I intend to be totally cool and calm. Not to say I won’t be in hysterics after while I’m by myself, but we all know how that goes.

    I didn’t even post that as anonymous because I’m sure you smarties could have figured that out. I would love to hear your thoughts on the whole thing.

    • You're right :

      I have a friend who basically forced his (professionally educated but unemployed) fiance to take a service industry job during the depths of the recession. Honestly, he was kinder to her than anyone else. We were enabling her; he helped her move on (but took a lot of crap for it).

    • Hugs – you’ve been stuck being mom and sister, and that’s not fun.

      I think you are being completely reasonable. He’s technically an adult, and you’re doing what a parent would do for a college-aged kid. And he acting like most teenagers too – the phase where their parents are horrible people for making them face adult responsibilities. If he thinks your deal is so completely unfair, would you feel comfortable suggesting that he work up his own proposal? Not that his proposal wins, but at least it makes him feel like he’s part of the process instead of being treated like a child (from his point of view).

      • SoCalAtty :

        anon – absolutely! At least 5 of my text messages yesterday said “if you at all think these responsibilities are unreasonable or unfair, please let me know what you think is fair and you can handle and we’ll talk.” He completely ignored me and blew past that idea right to “this is SO unfair!” I kept saying “WHAT is unfair?” and I never got an answer. These suggestions have all been helpful. Saturday at 9am is the meeting time that I’ve set out. I don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t show up.

        • Well, bummer. Definitely sounds like a teenager that needs to be dumped from the nest. Which is not a fun process on either side.

          I’ll echo the advice below about making sure you tell him that you love him and always will. You love him enough that if he decides he does want the value of your help and connections, you’ll be happy to work with him to find someplace to live and work on getting his GED. Your love comes free, but support does not. If he decides he wants to live without your support, he is welcome to give that a try. The real world expects able-body people to do for themselves. The fortunate ones have someone in a position to give them a hand up.

        • He’s not going to show up. And when he doesn’t, I suggest you do absolutely nothing, as in don’t call him or text him, and don’t pay his bills again.

    • ChocCityB&R :

      I am NOT AT ALL qualified to answer your question, because I have THE SAME ISSUES with siblings (sorry for Ellen caps). However, I want to say that you are not crazy, what you are asking of him is totally reasonable, and if you stick to your guns you will teach him a valuable lesson about life.

      On the other hand, I’d be careful to make sure he knows that you love and support him, you are his family no matter what, and that even if you cut him off, he will always be your brother and you will always be there for him, no hard feelings (of course that last part is a lie, but we can pretend as the older responsible ones). Because he’s had such a hard life, and doesn’t seem to have anyone else, I think it’s important that he knows you love him without judgment, and you’ll be there when he comes back for help (so long as he is willing to give a little in return).

      • I second this. I have not been in your situation, but I am a sister with younger brothers, I have a parent with some substance abuse issues, and I remember feeling very lost and lonely at many points in my teens and early 20s. I think it’s so, so important that he knows that you love him without judgment. You would think that he would, since your actions say that, but sometimes people need to hear it.

        And I hope YOU know that you’re a good sister and you’re doing everything you can for him.

    • K...in transition :

      You’re probably not going to want to hear this, but people can only be helped if they want to accept and reach out for the help. I totally get where he’s coming from and he might have even told himself for years that, once his mom and her drama was gone, he would make his life all about him, which means it’ll take time for him to understand that healthy people depend on him too.

      However you can’t continue to enable this behavior or he’ll never grow. What’s that mean? Give him a timeline. By x date, you must be doing ____ or you will stop receiving play money from me. By y date, you must be doing ____ or your phone will be turned off. And by all means, if you can’t trust him to be responsible with the car, repossess it before he damages it or mows down a bus of kids under your name and insurance.

      This might mean you don’t hear from him for a while, he might feel abandoned by you, but he’s either going to grow up and start to support himself and realize you were providing tough love or he’ll continue down this path but not be able to drag you and others down with him. Either way, you are and have been a great sister.

      I hope this helps :)

      • I think this is a good idea, and now having heard that he’s not mature enough to actually get anything out of therapy, I’d stop paying for any therapy until he asks for it AND comes up with a good reason why he thinks it’ll be different from the previous times.

        You’ve done all you can at this point, and it may be time to back away a bit and give him space to try and fail and pick himself up. As others have said, let him know (even if he can’t hear it right now) that you love him, and that you’ll always love him, but that you’re going to give him a chance to try out his view of reality against the world.

        I admit that the “hard life” story doesn’t cut it, ultimately. You know, people who’ve been given fewer mental and physical gifts, who’ve been in worse family situations in horrible countries, have accomplished more than him. So, if he wants all that freedom, he’s entitled to it, so long as he also accepts the responsibility. I think it’s right to cut off all this stuff (car, phone, insurance, etc.) or else he’s kidding himself that he’s actually taking any real responsibility.

      • I think K is right on the money.

        As I was reading your post, OP, I just kept thinking “she needs to just stop.” I think K has a great way to go about it, you have to realize he’s an adult, and he may have to fall a couple times before he figures out that he’s got to pick himself back up. Right now he feels entitled to help because of your mother’s issues, and frankly I bet he’s REALLY resentful that you got to grow up in grandma’s house while he was stuck with the alcoholic mother. I mean, he’s got to think, what makes YOU so special? I am sure he feels like you owe him for having to deal with mom while you got to be nice and cozy with the grandparents.
        I don’t think that means you should now have to compensate for that, you were a child too and the failure is that of your mother, not you. But you’re the only one left, so he blames you. He probably also blames you for ‘leaving him there’ once you turned 18. It may not be fair, but I would be shocked if he didn’t feel that way.
        He’s going to have to work through that resentment himself.

      • K’s plan sounds very good to me. Basically, you’re going to have to cut him loose. Doing it kindly, with clear steps laid out ahead like this, is the best solution, as opposed to just dumping him outright. He still has the option to think better of it and reform, if he wishes.

        But don’t hold your breath. In my own experience, younger siblings who’re taken care of fully grow to expect it. They see no contradiction between being supported in style (and in idleness) and resenting you for being more in control. Doing more for your brother won’t get you any sort of appreciation, just more resentment and demands for more. It’ll be painful to make the transition out your older sister role, but it’ll also be better for you in the long run.

        Meanwhile, you should probably make plans to hire a reliable person to take care of the elder part of the family. They shouldn’t suffer any longer from baby brother’s flakiness.

    • Wow. I can’t relate, but definitely think you’re right. I think the key will be follow through. Certain things will be relatively “easy” to monitor – like whether he got his GED. But how are you going to keep track of whether he helps your MIL for 25 hours a month? Have her report back to you? And I think you should consider starting to wean him off your money, regardless of whether he complies with the deal. He’s reaching adulthood (I usually take the stance that you’re not an adult until you’re 22 – right about the time when you graduate from college. Or maybe this is just the point where I considered myself an adult!), and he needs to learn to take care of himself. That includes paying for his cell phone bill if he wants to talk to his friends.

      Good luck! I’m sure this will be really hard, but you’re doing the right thing.

    • Agree with everything that has been said above, but wanted to add that I might make weekly therapy sessions part of the “I’ll pay” deal. I’m sure he has some issues stemming from growing up with an alcoholic mother, with a sister who “got out”, and then lost his mother at 18. I know it’s probably hard since you dealt with a lot of the same crap, but he sounds like he could really benefit from it.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I mentioned this down below, but I wanted to add – I paid for him to see a therapist for about 6 months on an every other week basis. He basically just lied to the therapist, told him “everything is fine,” and then stopped showing up and I was paying cancellation fees. I tell him about every other month that I will pay for therapy if he will just show up, but he won’t do it. I agree he would benefit…but I can’t chain him to the therapist couch, unfortunately.

        • Whoops, sorry, I missed that. If he’s not going then you’re right to forget about it. But that’s definitely something else to factor into the “If you’re not willing to help yourself, then there’s not much I can do, and I’m going to have to stop enabling you” speech.

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I don’t have any relevant experience, but it seems like you’re doing everything right. If your mom wasn’t capable of imposing rules and running a structured family life (my understanding is that alcoholic parents are rarely capable of this) then this is a whole new world for your brother and it’s going to seem very alien (and difficult and unfair) for awhile. It sounds like he’s extremely lucky to have you for a sister.

    • He sounds like a typical, ungrateful teenager. I would start taking away some of your financial support, one thing at a time. Hopefully he’ll “get it,” turn himself around, and maybe you can reinstate your assistance.

      But many, many teenagers are just as ungrateful. I have heard quotes like this time and time again. It doesn’t sound like he’s reached a level of maturity to be responsible and understand “how the world works.”

      Tough love may be the best way to teach him. I would just try to be as supportive verbally as you can, and maybe keep your door open to him for dinner a couple times a week if he’s struggling. But I’d start having him figure out how to pay some of his own bills. He is old enough.

    • Oh my…does sound like a stressful situation. But I think you are being reasonable. If you want him to be a respectful person, he’s going to have to get past the “hard life” excuse. I say if he doesn’t stick to your rules, but him off. Don’t give again until he has actually proven he will do the items on the list.

    • Ugh, I’m sorry.

      A very small part of me understands where *thinks* he is coming from. He feels like he had a hard life and is entitled to having his life “his way.” And to some extent, that is true. If you behave like an adult you get to do those things – both the benefits and consequences. I also think there is something about that age where most people have a bit of a dramatic freak out (I know I did) and are resistant to actually growing up.

      I am a fan of tough love, because if you don’t nip this in the bud you will spend the rest of your life dealing with excuse after excuse about how the world is out to get him. One of my family members is like this – he has a had a sh*tty bit of luck, but he also put himself there.

      I’d start with I love you and will always love you and want what is best for you. Right now you all are differing over the what is best – try and get him to explain what he thinks is best. If you can agree to some stuff, meet in the middle. If you can’t, then guess what – life comes with conditions. He can choose to accept them or can live *his* life by his own accord. This helps if everyone is on the same page (MIL and Grandpa) and all helpful enabling is cut off. When he wants to accept help again, he can come back and accept the same consistent conditions. Finally, maybe consult a therapist to figure out how you can deal with this in a way that it isn’t quite so soul-crushing for you and is productive.

      Good luck! Go brush your pony – it will make you feel so much better.

      • SoCalAtty :

        L – I tell you what, a good cry in the pony’s stall is just about the best therapy ever. But yes, I’m in therapy as well for almost no other reason that “how the heck do I deal with all these demanding ungrateful relatives” and fallout from all that stuff from when I was a kid. Soul crushing is just about the right word for it, though. Grandpa and MIL are 100% on board – in fact, when I called upset about it last night, Grandpa said if he doesn’t show up with the car Saturday morning, report it stolen! He’s not going to get any enabling there. Grandpa is really overprotective of me from what I went through as a kid, so I’m keeping them separated because there is no guarantee that 85 year old ex-marine won’t deck him one! I’m kidding, but only partially. Better not to chance it. But I won’t report the car stolen, and I explained to Grandpa that doing that isn’t like what it was 30 years ago. If he gets picked up it = big far reaching consequences.

        I can’t tell you all how much I appreciate the support. This is a pretty rare community, with other hard workers and high achievers and a lot of you have come from, or are even in right now, tough situations. It is so nice to be able to post in a place where the community is full of the “responsible” family members that are like me! You guys are great.

        • Lord, I love your Grandpa. I may need to borrow him to shape a few folks on my end up. The hardest part is always the anticipation. You know it’s not going to go well and there will be fall out, but it will resolve itself in some way shape or form. While it will suck in the short term, it will help in the long term. Maybe for the best or maybe not, but you won’t be stuck spinning your wheels. Good luck with everything and remember to breathe!!

    • Chiming in to support your decision to stop enabling him. My brother and I also had a challenging childhood (though not compared to yours), and my brother had continued to use that as an excuse. Our mother continues to enable him. Since has graduated high school, he still lives at home, hasn’t achieved even an AA degree, and occasionally holds down a service industry job. He plays videogames for hours. His car and insurance and cell phone are paid for by our mother, and he doesn’t pay any living expenses. He is now 30. With our mother continuing to support him, he is not forced to change. My sympathies in dealing with this really difficult situation. Stay strong and know that it’s truly for his own good.

      • *since he has graduated.

        Also, I wonder if your brother is depressed? Depression runs in my family, and it may in yours. Basic tasks can seem completely overwhelming when you’re depressed. Thank goodness for medication.

        • SoCalAtty :

          regular – he probably is. Short of tying him up and dragging him to therapy…but I’ll keep offering to pay for it. I wish he would go. I think the problem the last time was that the therapist was making him look at things about himself he didn’t want to see/hear – like he is being ungrateful and needs to help out – so he quit. That’s just my theory though.

    • Honestly, he sounds like a normal 20 year old guy who has had a rough life and an unstable family structure. I have a close relative who was raised mostly by my parents who is exactly the same way. He’s only going to get his sh-t together if and when he decides he wants to get it together for himself. He’s not going to do it for you, or in response to anything you do. If I were in your shoes, I would give him a lump sum of money that you can afford (enough for a month or two of expenses, ideally), and tell him he’s always welcome to visit or call but this is the last money he’s ever going to get from you.

      Creating this semi-employer/employee relationship with him is a recipe for disaster. You need to stop giving him money and stop being involved or trying to control the details of his life. As long as you bankroll him, he’s never going to take control of his own life and take responsibility for himself. He’ll probably be really mad at you for a year or so, and then he’ll either get his act together and be part of your life again, or he won’t get his act together and it will be very difficult for you to watch him flounder. But it’s really the only way to break his cycle of irresponsibility and dependence.

      I do think your brother would benefit from counseling, speaking as the product of a very similar family situation. If he agrees to go regularly, I do think it would be okay for you to pay for it. I can tell you that my little brother is benefiting enormously from therapy right now.

      • Stepmom re: driving and ACT preparing :

        This.

        You say that everything is in your name. When he doesn’t show up Saturday, start contacting the companies and turning off all the accounts. I personally would also send him an email listing all the accounts you have turned off and telling him that on Monday at 9 am (or whenever you decide) you will report the car stolen. That gives him time to return it to avoid the law enforcement consequences.

        Finally, who will tell him that he can no longer live in MIL’s guest house? He needs to be told that as of X date he will no longer be living there, the locks will be changed and he can collect his things from Y place.

        We have been 3+ years of doing all this in bits and drabs with my 21 year old stepson (in part because we are attempting to coordinate with his mother who also has mental health issues of her own), and I think it would have been much more effective *for him* if we had done it fast and all at once and early on, like ripping off a band aid. Instead, he is three years older and still pulling the same stunts.

        He will say he hates you. Let him. You will feel guilty and wonder if you are doing the right thing. You are. And let everyone else remind you that you are doing the right thing.

        • e_pontellier :

          “He will say he hates you. Let him. You will feel guilty and wonder if you are doing the right thing. You are. And let everyone else remind you that you are doing the right thing.”

          This. And even if he stops speaking to you for a while (months, years), when he grows up, he will realize how helpful you were, and that without ripping off the band-aid he never would have grown up. You’re totally doing the right thing — but I would agree with the advice _not_ to create an employer/employee relationship because that will (can) create resentment. Good luck.

    • Anon for this :

      I’m really glad everyone’s supporting the tough love tack, and I agree wholeheartedly.

      My boyfriend’s little brother sounds exactly like your little brother -except a little worse. He failed out of community college (over the course of 5 years), moved in with my boyfriend, and refused to get a job for six months. He refused to do small chores around the house, like even washing his own dishes, brought his friends over late at night, and disappeared with my boyfriend’s car a few times after having crashed his last two cars. Boyfriend and family refused to cut him off, saying, “If we don’t give him money, he’ll either turn homeless, move in with a girl, or go back to dealing.”

      I refrained from expressing my opinion: “So let him.” After my boyfriend locked up the car keys, cancelled the cable subscription, and stocked the pantry only with food that required cooking, the kid got hungry and bored, and got a job waiting tables. After another four months of that, he took a look at his life and realized he didn’t want to turn into the tired, defeated managers at his restaurant, and he joined the Navy.

    • You and I must share a brother, in which case we should probably coordinate shifts of babysitting.

      You’re enabling him, which I know you know because I know I’m enabling my brother. It’s so hard to stop and my sympathies go out to you. I sure hope you can cut him off — it’ll give me hope that some day I can too.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I really don’t have advice but I think you have to trust your gut and know you are doing the right thing. You are doing it for him and in the long run that will help him more even if it hurts you and him in the process.

      I think you gave me excellent advice Monday when I wrote in about my altercation w/ my alcoholic cousin at my grandmother’s 100th bday party. You should go back and read your advice to me and then follow it :) What would you tell another poster?

      That said, my brother is 22 and pretty selfish too so some of this might be typical teenager stuff. On the bright side, you live in California so if he winds up homeless he won’t freeze to death. He seems to love camping, right?

    • Anonymous :

      I can relate to your frustration, since I also have a brother who behaves similarly. To make it more absurd, we can’t even complain about our upbringing at all. I also support the tough love approach from all the other commenters, but see the situation slightly differently.

      I would do no differently in your situation, (<- wanted to emphasize this bit)

      but being the provider is the easier of the two roles, believe it or not. You're building resentment and controlling him by making his decisions for him, probably because you also have a fear of seeing him fail. I think all of us, myself included, have a type-a tendency to want and be able to efficiently to tie up all loose ends in a difficult situation for what's ultimately our own peace of mind. Even if the result is beneficial for the group, that is still actually controlling outcomes that affect other people.

      So just like everyone said, I would stop paying everything immediately. I would also tell him that you'll always be there for him, and talk to your therapist about your fear of seeing him struggle or fail. Purely from a numbers perspective, by no longer taking care of his petty expenses, that money can accumulate to help him with something larger in the future when he needs more support (while he can probably take care of his allowance, he'll probably have trouble for a while with larger payments for tuition, moving, etc.). Maybe you tell him this, maybe you don't.

      I think he isn't going to resent you when you stop "paying him off," if you let him know you're doing this because you respect his decisions and you'll still cheerlead him when he stumbles. All of us have had people in our lives who have done this, but he probably hasn't (as loving as you are, your actions don't send this message). Lastly, your relationship will change, as with my brother, and it might be awkward going for a while with the changing roles, but you'll figure it both out and I wish you both lots of luck and a happy future.

    • Ok, I might have a slightly different take in that I don’t think you should cut him off completely, but you need to end this “If I give you X, I expect you to do Y” approach. First, it isn’t working, probably in part because of his age and all the crap he has been through, he just isn’t equipped to respond to this kind of incentives and may interpret it as conditional love. Second, it’s screwing up the sibling relationship. You can’t step in for absentee parents, it will only make him resent you more. You need to become his sister again, not his mom or his employer.

      So, I would decide what things you are comfortable giving him/paying for. For instance, maybe let him keep the car (transfer title and everything) and pay for the car and health insurance if you can afford it. And those things would be no strings attached, just because you love him and want him to be ok. I.e. it’s a gift, not a loan. Don’t threaten to take it back when he makes you angry.

      And stop paying for everything else. This should leave you with no incentives, no positive reinforcement, no loans, no deals. Just a sibling who you help out with some things, with no expectation of repayment, because you love him. He will have to figure some things out.

      If you ever resume the quid-pro-quo type deals in the future, it should be because he approaches you about it. It may be more effective when he’s older and has had the chance to flounder a bit and come into his own.

      • I agree with this completely.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree with this, too. By putting all the strings and expectations on him, you are giving him something to push back against. I like the idea of giving him the car and insurance if you can afford it, and letting him handle everything else. If he wants to live in the car, he can do it. And yes, transfer title because you don’t want the liability.

        My son was not dissimilar to your brother for quite some time, and believe me I know how hard this is. He finally grew up and joined the Marines and is doing really well. There is hope!

  14. kerrycontrary :

    There are at least two women in my large corporate office wearing shoes like this today. Yes, we have a casual dress code but it’s a “use your head” kind of dress code. They look absurdly inappropriate and downright stupid. Save it for the weekend!

  15. I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don’t. I’ve posted here before about my non-academically inclined, pot smoking son, who also doesn’t have a job and will soon be starting his first (and possibly last) semester of college, so I do know almost exactly the position you are in and how difficult it is. I can say this, I will never allow my son to return home to sit on his fanny and do nothing, which is what it sounds like your brother is doing (albeit at your MIL’s house). My view is, the world only really recognizes two options post high school-school or work. If my son doesn’t do well in school, he most certainly will be working (and will live in his own apt-we are in a low cost of living area). That’s the sad, hard reality of life. You didn’t create it, and I think it’s time your brother came to terms with that reality. Now, paying for therapy for him to help him come to terms with what he’s had to live with, that is an investment I would be willing to make. Car, insurance, phone, allowance-NO times 1 million. I would also be hesitant to make a list of “requirements” that he has to follow-this gives him the option to be mad at you instead of mad at the cold hard world. It’s time he found a job and decided what he wants to do with his life. I would even consider disengaging the MIL housing support-not to kick him out on the street, but to say, since you are not willing to help MIL, you should expect to start paying her rent effective X date. I will help you out by pre-paying 2-3 months. This should allow you to find a job and get on your feet before you assume the rent obligation.

    • SoCalAtty :

      Anon – I did pay for therapy. About 6 months worth of every other week, and he stopped showing up and I started paying cancellation fees. The 25 hours of “work” was supposed to be his rent, I don’t think I said that above. But yes, that all makes sense – but then what do I do when he doesn’t pay rent? Kick him out on the street? That’s my dilemma I think.

      • Yes, I agree the housing is the hardest part. No easy answers there-but as others have said above, I think a timetable is the most important piece. I wouldn’t take things away piecemeal-I’d just say, this is the date it all ends. Again, it’s just my experience that taking away the goodies one by one leads to alot of anger and resentment. Instead, I’d say, it’s reasonable for you to have a job by X date and to start paying for Y by then. That’s the date that our arrangement has to change.

      • An (undergraduate) classmate of mine saw his parents do that to a sibling. After a few nights in the homeless shelter, it made the sibling realize that the world wasn’t some rosy perfect place ruined by his ogre parents.

        That sibling was willing to come to the table and negotiate terms of behavior and to actually honor them after that experience.

      • Yes, you kick him out. I’d probably help him find a place and give him the first month’s rent, or give him enough for a week in a cheap hotel. After that he’d be on his own.

      • Seattleite :

        SoCalAtty, you might find it useful to meet with his therapist for a session to plan your approach to this.

        FWIW, I’ve just finished a bout of this with my otherwise well-adjusted son of the same age. I met with our family counselor for a gut- and mom-attitude-check. From then on out it was just a matter of refusing to get emotional when he did and making sure he knew the door was open if he wanted to come back. Also, that I loved him and wanted to stay in contact even if he didn’t want to come back.

      • If it comes to that, you give him 30 days notice or whatever is appropriate, and then he is out. As I have discussed on here before, I moved out at 16 due to family problems, so my perspective is that it’s definitely not unfair to expect a 20 year old to take care of himself if he won’t abide by the terms of your support.

        • I didn’t know that. I also moved out at 16. If I hadn’t, I’d probably still be in the same small town, except with kids and a drinking problem (or worse).

          • Yep that sounds about right.

            It’s not often that I meet a fellow former “runaway,” especially in the professional world.

          • I’d be more surprised if I didn’t know we were from the same state. And I also don’t know a single professional person who can relate (except for you, now).

    • Minus the pot, that’s my husband. Ugh.

    • If it makes you feel any better, this was my brother. Flunked out of first year college. Then worked for a while at menial jobs. Eventually went back a few years later and now has a masters anda good job. Some kids just need more time to grow up.

  16. Can anyone recommend a good fabric/pill shaver? I have a few cute knit items that are in great shape other than the pilling. Thanks!

  17. I feel weird posting this, but…. I think some women have offered clothing they no longer wear to see if someone else wants it. So here I go.

    I have two pencil skirts (one black, one kakhi-ish) that are labeled size 6 (but I think they’re closer to 8s), above the knee by a little length on me (I’m 5’9″) that are too big. I think they are the predecessor to the skirt in the link and style is pretty similar (I just bought the skirt in the link in a 6 and it fits perfectly). They are both lined and in good condition.

    I’m motiviated to post this after reading Sydney Bristow’s post this morning about losing weight and buying new clothes—I’m hoping someone who doing the same or is just getting into the work world would like them. If you’re interested, email me and I’ll get your address to ship them. [email protected]

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/halogen-stretch-cotton-blend-pencil-skirt/3353762?origin=category&fashionColor=&resultback=1645

  18. Does anyone have a fitbit? Long hikes every evening (thank goodness for being so far north, it is miserable in the winter but summer is excellent) are about all that is keeping me from pulling out my hair. I thought it might be fun to have something a bit more techy then my cereal box pedometer.

    • My mom has one and *loves* it. She’s really low tech so I don’t know how techy it is. And that’s all I know about it.

      And I’m soooo envious you can hike at night. I know I won’t be in January when you’re probably covered in snow, but I am right now.

      • I’ve had one for about 2 years now – well I’ve had 3 because the break very easily. But I am addicted to the data. I finally kept in the clip that comes with it and haven’t had a break on this one. The company was really good about replacing the broken ones though.

      • We are lucky, snow is pretty minimal although the 6 hours of daylight in January are pretty brutal. I am from the West Coast so I definitely wasn’t used to it. My flat backs up to the crags and there is a 4 mile loop around. I am not a great hiker so I stick to the trail but it is fabulous to escape the city.

      • Yes! Love it – if you get the Fitbit Ultra, it connects to My Fitness pal (free site/app) and inputs calories burned from your walks … even more data!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I use the mapmyrun app for everything including hiking. The gps in your phone tracks your distance/speed/calories, etc. It is free too!

    • Youngster :

      I’ve had my fitbit ultra for about a week. It’s a good reality check for how inactive I am at my office job. And it confirmed my suspicions that I fall asleep in about 6 minutes flat.

  19. b*chelorette party ideas :

    trying to avoid moderation …

    hi ladies. it’s my best friend’s b*chelorette party next weekend in miami. we already have our hotel rooms, dinner reservations and such, but i was wondering if anyone had any advice on ideas for “extras” that we can do to make it special? for instance, goodie bags filled with fun things, decorations, etc.? i’ve only thrown one other b*chelorette party before, but that one was in town and not overnight, so it’s a bit different. just looking for some fun ideas that i might not have thought of …
    thanks!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I threw a b*cherloret*e party in Reno once. We stayed 1 night and made goodie bags filled with a bottle of water, aspirin, mints, those cheesy buttons that say things like “flirty” or “s*xy,” and a picture frame. A few weeks later everyone received a print of a group photo taken that night to put in the frame. We road tripped there from northern California, so the bride actually made CDs full of upbeat girly songs that we had all made suggestions for and we listened to it in the car and then there was also a copy for each of s in the goodie bags.

    • Never done the goodie bag thing, but maybe throw in a different magazine in each bag so you can pass around on the beach. Also, please please please go to the Greek restaurant, Opa I think, in Miami. You eat family style at your table, then the whole place turns into a dance party- dancing on tables, conga lines and stuff. Nothing dirty, just super fun!

  20. I wanted to report two things from my first court hearing ever today:

    1) We won all our major issues. Yay!

    2) Two women who were there as counsel weren’t wearing suits. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but their outfits weren’t mis-matched suit separates either – it was definite bus cas territory. I was pretty shocked. Is this common? Have people seen this when you are at court but not in trial?

    • Congratulations! I had my first ever court hearing earlier this year. It’s a huge accomplishment. Treat yourself to something fun! I stopped at target on the way back from my first ever hearing and bought myself three new bottles of nail polish in ridiculous, trendy colors. :)

      And yes, I have seen that, especially in state court. I’ve seen female attorneys this summer wearing sleeveless summer dresses too, sometimes with our without a blazer. I think it’s pretty common…(not to say it’s “right”) but not unusual.

    • I remember that you’re on a government detail so I’m not sure what court you were in, but in my limited DC experience, state court (Superior Court) is a sh–show so I’m not surprised to hear that if you were there. I don’t have any experience in DC federal courts though.

      Over the river in state court, I generally observe the following: Public defenders often dress in business casual, Commonwealth’s Attorneys often dress less formally, the lowest court runs the gamut in terms of attorney dress, the next highest court rarely sees anything but suits/suit separates in non-trial hearings.

      IMHO, if you’re appearing before a judge, you should be in a suit or suit separates regardless of which court you are in and whether it’s a trial or you’re simply there to set a date or hand up an Order.

    • I once had a colleague go to court in jeans, flipflops and a borrowed blazer. It was casual Friday and she either forgot about the hearing or it was scheduled at the last minute. It was just an arraignment, but the justice of the peace did not allow counsel in her courtroom without a jacket. She laughed at the flipflops and jeans and appreciated that my colleague had sought out a blazer.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Yes, I’ve seen some pretty scary things in state court. My fave was a woman that always came to court wearing a mumu with a mismatched jacket. It was not a good look.

    • I go to (state) court pretty regularly. No matter the type of hearing I wear a suit, but I do have a few colleagues who will wear separates for non-trial appearances.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yay! Congrats, Jenny!

      In my (far west) state court, the female public defenders often wear business casual, especially in misdemeanor court. For some reason the district attorneys seem to be more formal. Interesting because all the men still wear suits to court.

    • Thanks for all your replies – it’s interesting how much variety there is. For the record this was federal court.

    • In federal court every 2-3 days, and I see a lot of casual clothing. Most people wear suits, but a significant segment doesn’t. Cardigans instead of jackets, dresses without a jacket, sneakers instead of shoes.

      While it is helpful to dress the way one is “supposed to,” it often just isn’t that big a deal. Especially for a civil hearing where the client doesn’t come to court…

    • Congrats DC Jenny. It astounds me what counsel wear to court. I’ll wear separates or dresses with coordinating jackets for non-jury court dates but can’t imagine ever going to court without a jacket. I really wish the judges would call out counsel more often. I had a jury trial with a woman who wore chef pants and tevas every day. She dressed up for closing by wearing a black cardigan.

      • What does it matter to you what they’re wearing? You wish judges would “call them out?” Good grief.

      • Yes, it’s unprofessional for counsel to wear items like chef’s pants or tank tops to court appearances. It also impacts the public’s perception of the legal profession. It is up to the judges to enforce the “professional” dress code.

        • Judge anon for this :

          I called 76 cases in my court on Friday. Really, I have enough to do without playing wardrobe police.

          My bailiff will admonish you if you show up in shorts or a tank top, but other than that we don’t have time to enforce the (not written down anywhere that I’m aware of) dress code — especially for people who should know better and will probably run to the Commission on Judicial Performance with a complaint about how mean old Judge Anon For This is discourteous to counsel.

        • I’m not sure if anyone is still reading this, but for the record, Bonnie, I agree with you. I am the first one to say I don’t think we should be judging anyone for running around in flip-flops, leggings, and a messy bun in their personal life, but I do think it’s important to treat a courtroom as a place where Important Things Happen. Because they do. We all go to great lengths to show the judge respect by addressing him or her as your honor and standing when the judge stands – shouldn’t our wardrobes reflect that deference as well?

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