Weekend Open Thread

Notched V-Neck TeeSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Lately I’m loving the aggressively casual t-shirts at Anthropologie, such as this notched-necked, loose tee with an uneven, almost ragged hem. Nice. It’s new to the sale section, too — it was $68 but is now marked to $40, it’s available in eight colors and sizes XS-XL. Notched V-Neck Tee

P.S. Please take the Corporette Survey (and enter the giveaway) if you haven’t already. (I forgot to mention this, but I’ll be randomly selecting the winner of the giveaway next Friday, 5/17.)

(L-2)

Comments

  1. TCFKAG – just wanted to say thanks (belatedly) for taking a gander at black moto jackets for me. I think the verdict is that I’ll have to wait for fall again to find something I really love, but that’s okay.

  2. Clothes like this make me wish I worked in a field where I could wear them every day . . .

  3. I will be moving to Boston for grad school this fall at BU. Does anyone have any recommendations for the following:

    (i) realtors along the Green T Lines (B and C)

    (ii) whether the Green T lines are awful, since Green lines appear to stop every 100 feet

    (iii) whether bus service in Boston is horrible/do not go there (Would living in Cambridge across the river be better in any way?)

    (iv) which neighborhoods are a bit “older”–Brookline maybe? I do not want to live in Brighton or Allston bc I have heard they are full of rowdy 20 year olds, and I am past that.

    (v) any hints on apartment hunting in Boston in general — is looking in early August for a Sept 1 move-in just crazy?

    I have lived in NY, so I understand the need to have a co-signer lined up, have your checkbook with you, etc.

    Thanks, Boston C-r e t t e s!

    • I lived in Brookline as a grad student in my late 20s and loved it. Would totally recommend. For BU you could also think about Cambridge Port (right across the river).

    • Special Snowflake :

      1) I have never used a realtor. I always find a place with no fee, or contact a leasing office directly. It’s not like New York in that sense.
      2) Yes, the Green line sucks. But people tolerate it.
      3) The buses are OK- the 66 goes from Cambridge to Allston, I think. In any case, Cambridgeport is not that far from Allston and a nice area for young professionals.
      4) In that vein, Boston is really so small I wouldn’t worry about living a bit farther from campus in general- everything is like a 10 min bike ride away. Brookline, yes, is a bit “older” and a very nice area. There are also parts of Allston near HBS that are decent- since lots of HBS students live there. JP might even be doable, the Mission Hill is popular with a lot of young people- more hipster types though, I’d say.
      5) It’s not as bad as New York. No where near as bad. In fact, August is a good time to start looking because a lot of places won’t list any earlier (if the tenant just has to give a month’s notice, they may not know in July if the place will be vacant for Sept 1)

      One word about Sept 1 move-in though- its AWFUL. Rent your truck/movers early, because everyone in Boston moves on that day. When I had a chance to get out of the Sept 1 cycle I jumped at it. (You can find places for Aug 15 sometimes, that’s what I did, and double-paid for two weeks. Well worth it.)

    • I would say it depends a LITTLE on (1) your budget and (2) which school you’ll be in for grad school. All in all, the green line sucks. The B line sucks the worst, C and D are close runners up and E is not that useful for you. Not only does the B line stop every 50 feet, but it is jam packed with every undergrad in Boston, and after 5pm they are often drinking.

      Brookline isn’t bad and if you find the right spot, you can forget you’re living in the middle of a million college students. If your budget allows, I’d consider looking at the back bay/fens area and commuting on the green line *out* of the city. I’d also look at places from which you could walk or bike to class in the not-winter. Also, if you have a car (coming from NY, I assume you do not…), the parking situation in Brookline can be tricky.

      Cambridge, southie, etc. (anywhere on the red line) is completely doable, living downtown in somewhere like the nicer part of Chinatown/theater district, or Beacon Hill if you can afford it are all totally reasonable if you’re going to the BU main campus (eg. law, MBA, etc). Boston is way smaller than you’d think.

    • I lived in Allston when I was in law school and really had no issues with the rowdy college kids. I mean, yes, there were some around but it’s not like they’re everywhere all the time. And I liked being close to campus. Most of the other students (law and other grad schools) were too, so it made it easy to get together outside of class. But I would also second the recommendation for Brookline. I wouldn’t bother to look at Cambridge; yes, it’s only the other side of the river, but really a whole different place unto itself. You’re going to BU, embrace Boston living.

      • I guess it depends on the program. DH did med school and I did an MBA. We lived in the south end for both programs, and didn’t feel like we were out of the loop because we didn’t live in Allston/Brighton. We just had a nicer place, more parking, better restaurants and fewer college kids for only a little extra each month. Tons of MBA buddies of mine lived in Cambridge, back bay, even out in JP or Quincy. There is a shuttle that runs between the south end BU campus and the main campus, which I used in the winter, and the rest of the time I biked, or drove (during the semester I also worked).

    • Miss Behaved :

      I lived in Brighton when I was in graduate school and agree with Gus. If you live in a nice neighborhood (I was in a condo complex), rowdy college kids are not an issue. Also, I found my place through the school’s off-campus housing lists. I was at BC, but I’m sure BU has something similar. The university I work for now – also in Boston – has off-campus housing lists, too.

    • I used to live in Boston. Brookline is an amazing neighborhood but expensive. Parts of Cambridge are walking distance from BU and it might be a better alternative if you really want to get away from Allston/Brighton. You might want to see if you can find out where others in your program will be living. Not sure if BU has grad dorms, but my understanding from friends who went to law school there was that most law students lived in Allston. It might be nice to be with your classmates, especially in programs like law and MBA where the first year is really a bonding experience. I think you might be pretty isolated in Cambridge, especially if you’re living alone. I found buses in Boston to be pretty unreliable. The T has its faults and the Green Line is definitely the worst T line but its better than the buses, in my opinion.

      Looking in early August for a Sept 1 move is about the right time frame. Most places on Craigslist are not listed more than a month or so in advance so if you try to look before August 1 you probably won’t have much luck. As others have said, Sept 1 is the universal moving day in Boston – tens of thousands of students moving into and out of apartments and dorms. The city is kind of a mess that day.

    • Belle et Rebelle :

      I lived in Allston-Brighton during law school and moved to Brookline afterward. Brookline is definitely quieter and “nicer.” The area around Abbottford/Coolidge St./Fuller Street (look up Clear Flour Bakery – that’s the neighborhood I’m thinking of) is just over the line into Brookline but was still pretty close to the B line. When I lived there, it was pretty quiet. Might still be the case. After that I was near Beacon/St. Paul and that was definitely quiet for the most part. Occasionally when the weather is nice and the semester is just starting or winding down, you might get loud groups of college kids wandering around late at night, but it was never a big problem for me.

      Re: realtors, I used Metro Realty a million years ago and it was fine, but it was so long ago I don’t know how relevant my experience with them would be. They’re still in business a dozen years later, so I guess that is a good sign?

      Yes, the Green Lines are bad in the sense that they take a lot longer than the other lines. The worst part is having to wait outside for the T in bad weather if you are west of Kenmore. Other than that, it never bothered me much. Not sure how useful the buses are for getting to BU from Brookline – the 66 runs through Allston, down Harvard Ave, but that still puts you several T stops away from BU, so you’d be looking at still taking the Green Line to campus.

      Cambridgeport just across the River is nice. I might consider that if you don’t mind walking/biking over the bridge. And as another poster mentioned, nothing in Boston is really that far, so I think it’s worth checking out other areas.

      And I would start looking earlier than August for September 1, and if there is *anything* you can do to move in a little earlier than September 1, I would do it. Mass move-in day really is as insane as everyone says (I had a policy of never getting in my car on September 1 if I could help it).

      Good luck!

    • I would also recommend checking out BU’s housing center. BU owns some of the best residential properties in its area. They rent them out for market value, so it’s not a deal (but minimal fees if I remember correctly). I had a lovely studio right by the Charles River that I absolutely adored. And there were no rowdy college students in sight.

  4. lol @ “aggressively casual”

    Actually, add “aggressively” to just about anything and it becomes a lol.

  5. Collective wisdom of the hive requested:

    I’ve been tasked with making a dinner reservation for a (fairly large) family dinner in Manhattan a week from this Sunday. Between 10-12 people, no particular dietary restrictions, lots of people who love good food and wine. The one request I’ve received is, “Somewhere not too loud, so we can hear each other.” (There goes most Manhattan restaurants).

    The vibe I think we’re going for is nice, but not necessarily formal — fun, good food, pleasant atmosphere. Not costing a absolute arm & leg would be an advantage, but obviously I know nothing is going to be “cheap.”

    Where would you go? Any brilliant ideas?

    • I have had good luck with family dinners of about that size at these places:

      -Print (48th/11th)
      -Compass (UWS)
      -Landmarc (Tribeca or Time Warner Ctr)
      -Ai Fiori (5th/37th)

      • I can’t comment on how they would handle a group but I went to Ai Fiori on my last NYC trip and the food was amazing.

    • Carmine’s? Everything is family style, not too loud (at least at the UWS location), and the price is pretty reasonable. Plus you can easily fit 10-12 people at one of their bigger tables.

    • Tony DiNapoli’s — Family style Italian on the UES (3rd and 64th).

    • LeChouette :

      At that number you might be looking at a private room — in which case I suggest Blue Ribbon Bakery in the west village which has an adorable private room in the basement that is very quiet. Other good family dinner places:

      DBGB
      Jane
      Craftbar (excellent service if your family, like mine, is high maintenance)

    • For something a little less traditional but amazingly delicious, you could do Tamarind – the Tribeca location is fantastically gorgeous but the original outpost on 19th is also nice.

      Tony’s Di Napoli, recommended above, could also certainly work for a large group and it’s not too expensive since the family style entrees each feed 2-3. Bonus is there’s relatively decent parking in the area (though the downside is that it’s a bit removed from everything else you may want to do).

      Or, try Avra – it’s greek seafood on East 48th and 3rd, should still have reservations available, will be quite enough to talk and they have delicious fish and great wine.

    • anon in-house :

      - Del Frisco’s
      - Fig & Olive in Meatpacking District
      - Trattoria Cinque (they have a small private room too)
      - Abe & Arthur
      - Standard Biergarten if you’re up for something casual like beers, large pretzels & wursts for everyone
      - Bierhaus on 3rd Ave (same concept as above but less ‘upscale’ venue)

      • anon in-house :

        Oh yea, forget about not too loud for the beerhouses above lol.

        Also, upon further thought the only quiet successfully executed large dining experience I had was about 10-12 people at Osso Bucco, 2nd floor. So look into this one!

  6. saacnmama :

    I just saw this and wonder what ‘r3tt3s think of the collection, because I’ve heard Brooks Bros mentioned here several times. http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/brooks-brothers-premieres-great-gatsby-well-his-closet-149386

    • Ugh. Gatsby is so high school.

      (That was not even trying to be an Above The Law reference.)

      • Anonondrama :

        Jeez, Kanye, what high school did you go to?

        And I’m glad it wasn’t an Above the Law reference, ’cause I didn’t get that either. (All I know is ATL has the meanest sumb#tches commentators in the history of the world.)

        I honestly, for real, can’t tell if your comment is snarky or funny or clothes related. Guess I need some wake-up pills.

  7. Advice on what to wear on camera? I’m going to be interviewing someone on camera and while it’ll likely be mostly the back of my head (I hope!), I don’t want to wear anything distracting / stupid looking.

    Please note: this is my worst nightmare (despite having BBC4 interviewer as my alterna-career). Any recommendations? It’s someone I know well but will be in quite a formal setting. I also have a tendency to pull faces when I’m nervous.

    • saacnmama :

      Don’t blend in with the background, or clash with it. Figure out ahead of time how you’ll be sitting/standing, so you can be extra-careful checking out how your outfit works from various angles when you’re in that position. Good luck and have fun doing the interview!

    • A few things I’ve heard from…

      Solids translate well.
      Don’t be afraid of color, especially one that flatters your skin tone since TV tends to wash people out.
      If you can, practice your “faces.” For example, my neutral face tends to look really angry, so in certain settings I have to remind myself to smile a little, which just looks “normal” to most people.

      Good luck!!

    • No narrow stripes or checks!

    • Lady Harriet :

      I have heard that red can sometimes appear very off on TV, as can some small patterns. I know there was a post on Already Pretty at some point about what to wear when you’re on TV, but I can’t seem to find it.

    • I work in PR, so our what to wear on camera checklist is below. In terms of compsure – ask them ahead of time how they’ll be framing you. If you talk with your hands it will look weird if they’re shooting from the collarbone up. Generally, we advise people to gesture up near your face or not at all. Hope this helps!
      Avoid stark white, bright yellow and red suits that tend to reflect light and be too vivid on camera.
      Avoid black suits, which tend to diminish your appearance because they absorb too much light.
      Avoid white blouses that reflect light into the camera.
      Avoid highly shiny or glossy fabrics that reflect light back into the camera.
      Avoid fabrics with complicated patterns such as checks, tight/close stripes, herringbones and tweeds. Fabrics of this design tend to strobe on camera.
      Avoid wearing sleeveless dresses or tops (even in the summer) that are not accompanied by a matching jacket or ensemble. Short sleeves give an informal look and bare arms may draw the viewer’s eye away from your face. With makeup on your face, your arms will appear much lighter in color on camera.
      Avoid wearing a new suit for the very first time. You need to know in advance that everything fits and feels good so that you feel comfortable.
      Avoid large jewelry that may sparkle, shine or dangle in the light (such as long earrings and gold necklaces worn outside).
      Avoid jewelry that rattles, clicks and clanks such as multiple bracelets or long necklaces. These tend to brush up against your microphone, causing distracting noise.
      Bring solid colored clothes. Best bets are navy blues, grays, purples, dark creams, browns, and neutral colored suits.
      Bring clothes made of natural fabrics that tend to breathe easily under the warm studio lights.
      Bring accessories (like scarves) with subtle patterns.
      Bring simple jewelry. If you are unsure about certain pieces, bring alternate ones.
      Bring comfortable, low-heeled shoes if you are going to be standing behind a console for long periods.
      Style your hair off your face to avoid shadows.
      Bring a variety of lipsticks; some will look better on camera than others. The key is to match to your blush and clothes, opting for brown tones rather than bright reds.

    • Clearly Speaking :

      Anne- anon covers far more than I was coached on (thanks for this, I am sure to need it again at some point in the future. My last time I was on camera (filmed) the videographer said no stark white or stripes.

  8. saacnmama :

    Darn! I just did the survey and forgot to mention the problem with comments not showing up! Grrr

  9. Any advice on how to combat snoring?
    My new BF is awesome and I’m super happy to have him in my life – except that he snores. This isn’t just a little bit of snoring, this is snoring that’s loud enough to keep me from sleeping (and I’m a fairly heavy sleeper)! Last night I got up part way through the night and proceeded to sleep on the couch. Not fun.
    Help!

    • One of my girlfriends swears by earplugs. She can’t sleep with her boyfriend without them!

      Also, while my BF doesn’t snore regularly, when he does, IT IS LOUD. Most of the time I just nudge him enough to wake up and make him roll over into a new position, and that typically makes him stop (fortunately).

    • Is it because he sleeps on his back? I fixed this with DH by giving him an extra pillow to hug while he sleeps, which tends to keep him on his side. If that didn’t work, we were going to try having him sleep with a tennis ball stuck in a sock attached to his t-shirt on the back. (It was his idea; he found it on the interwebs.)

    • Pre-kids, I swore by earplugs. I sleep on my side, so even just one in the ear that was facing up was enough to dull the sound so I could sleep. My favorites (I can’t remember the name now) are the bright pink ones at the drugstore/Target.

      Post-kids and now that earplugs aren’t an option, those nasal strips actually help some. I buy the Extra Strength kind and with those, husband tends to snore a lot less.

      Non-interventionwise, sometimes I’ll gently shove husband to get him to stop (gently, I swear!) or just roll a little bit, which then makes him move and stop snoring.

      • I pat or rub my BF on his back, it (very) temporarily pauses the loud snoring. I sometimes wear earplugs, and that helps, as does going to sleep before him. Although, he falls asleep much faster than I do, so that isn’t my first line of defense.
        What I recently discovered is that I can quiet his snoring to a tolerable level by making a sound like an audible sigh/yawn. As in:

        BF: *Giant Snorting Snore*
        Me: “uhhhhnnnnnn”
        BF: * quieter snore *
        Me: “uuuhhhhhnnn”
        BF: sweet silence.

        This works at least half the time for long enough for me to fall asleep, although sometimes I have to repeat the process a few times. No idea why this works but rhankful it does.

        • Giant snorting is almost always associated not with snoring, a disturbance of air flow, but with outright sleep apnea, which is a serious medical problem. Get him to a sleep clinic and get that taken care of before he falls asleep at the wheel of his car!

      • Try some different earplugs to find the best fit for your ears. I swear by Flents Quiet Please. They are more comfortable for me than any other bands and they do block out the snoring beside me.

    • A friend who has the same problem swears by a white noise machine.

    • Lady Harriet :

      Can he prop himself up with pillows while he sleeps? My mom used to snore so loudly that you could hear her several rooms away. When she broke her leg a couple of years ago she started sleeping in a recliner because it was more comfortable. Not only was it better for her leg, it helped her pre-existing back pain tremendously and stopped her snoring because her torso is more upright. I imagine that lots of pillows in bed might be a way to try something similar.

    • My husband says that my snoring better when I wear breathe right strips to sleep.

    • Nose strips help a lot. He should probably go to an ENT as well; snoring can be a sign of a bigger issue.

      • I second an ENT — we found out that my husband has mild sleep apnea. The doctor gave him a prescription for a nasal spray, and that has made it bearable for me to sleep in the same bed with him with earplugs.

    • Oh, I feel your pain.

      I have made the unfortunate discovery that some people are perfectly capable of snoring while sleeping on their stomach — so the advice others give about making sure he’s not sleeping on his back may or may not prove useful. Nose strips help, if you can convince the bedmate to wear them.

      Unfortunately, the only thing that works for me is (comfortable) headphones/earbuds playing music — I tend to pick one soothing song and put it on repeat. That drowns him out long enough that I can get to sleep. It’s not ideal, but it’s what works.

      That, and separate bedrooms…

      • My dh can snore in any position. It was worst when he was at his heaviest, but honestly, after 18+ years of marriage as long as I go to bed & fall asleep first (or before he starts snoring) I can sleep through it all. Except when I was pg, but that was mostly because I was getting up in the night to pee & then he was already snoring so I couldn’t go back to bed.

        Nights when he’s really bothering me I’ll wake him up & he volunteers to go to the couch.

        Earplugs have never worked for me, unfortunately. Maybe I just haven’t been able to find the right type.

      • Yup, my BF is like that, too. He doesn’t always snore–maybe like once a week or so–but when he does, it doesn’t matter if he’s on his back, stomach, side, whatever. I elbow him (viciously if needed) until he wakes up. Usually that works.

    • Can you convince him to do a sleep study? My brother’s wife (at the time, girlfriend) made him do that. He ended up getting a deviated septum fixed and he no longer snores like a freight train.

      • Wannabe Runner :

        +1000

        A few months into dating my now-husband, I brought up the snoring issue with him. We tried the nasal strips, earplugs, spray, some stupid pills that said they cured snoring, nothing worked.

        We talked to friends who slept in separate beds, or wives who slept on couches, etc. My guy decided he absolutely did not want that to be us.

        He had good health insurance, so he did a sleep study.

        The study found that not only did he have sleep apnea, but that he was waking himself up *70-80 times an hour.* Sleep apnea is when your airway is blocked during sleep, and so you snore, and sometimes you even choke because you can’t get air in, and so you involuntarily wake up to get air. If you’re waking yourself up all night, you never get to deep sleep. This translates into being drowsy during the day, but also a much higher risk of dying of things like heart attack or stroke, because your body is constantly worn down and becomes weaker over time. Sleep apnea gets worse if you gain weight, and will get worse as you age.

        My husband now sleeps with a CPAP machine – it covers his nose and mouth, and forces air in, and forces his airway open. He doesn’t snore, and he gets the deep sleep he needs. (These machines are like $3000, but his insurance covered it.)

        Lots of men are worried that if they end up diagnosed with sleep apnea and have to sleep with one of those machines, it won’t be sexy.

        I can tell you that after having the machine, our intimate life is no different at all. Personally, I find it way sexier that he 1) is not snoring, 2) has more energy during the day, and 3) will be around for our grandkids instead of dying prematurely from untreated sleep apnea. I also get more sleep. It sounds like a white noise machine, but not as loud.

        For what it’s worth, we have our gardenparties before he puts on the mask, and after he takes it off in the morning. It takes a little finageling to learn how to cuddle with the mask on, but we got over it. It’s way more important to me that he’ll be around and can sleep healthfully.

        If you think this might be your situation, I urge you to google sleep apnea and CPAP. Finding actual info and reading the experiences of people who sleep with them really helped us get over the psychological factor/fear.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          This this this. I have obstructive sleep apnea. I was waking myself up (without knowing it) 31 times an hour and never getting deep sleep. I feel like a whole new person now that I’m treated with a CPAP. I was not a snorer though. Don’t assume that if you are healthy, skinny, in shape, whatever, that you can’t have sleep apnea. My doctor’s father died of it and he was a tennis pro. Sleep apnea is quite often a natural structural defect not just a side effect from failed weight loss.

        • Thanks Wannabe Runner for your input. My toddler was recommended to get a sleep study and we’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on it. (It would upset him to sleep in a strange place with devices on him, etc.) But from reading your account it seems like it’s worth it to get this checked out. But – I hope there are alternative ‘cures’ other than getting a CPAP machine, because my kid would HATE.HATE.HATE that and isn’t old enough to understand the benefits.

          • Wannabe Runner :

            S:

            Yes, there are other treatments for sleep apnea than CPAP. Probably true for toddlers, too.

            It’s a good thing that little kids aren’t in charge of their own health care. Going to the dentist isn’t a walk in the park, either, but important, especially for kids.

    • My husband can snore loudly enough to shake the house, even when he’s asleep on his side. He refused to do a sleep study; his solution has been what I think of as his “pillow throne.” It looks uncomfortable to me (and I dislike that we’re not actually lying next to each other), but it has totally stopped the snoring. Anyway, he sleeps at something like a 45-degree angle, rather than flat on his back/on his side.

    • You can do those sticky strips, if you’re not allergic to adhesives. You can go see an ear/throat MD and make sure there is no actual obstruction. You can sew a tennis ball pocket into the middle back of pajamas if the problem is mostly position. If you’re falling into the pit of sleep apnea you can investigate things like either CPAP or the nose plugs that are now replacing them for many people.

      But what I think works best for snoring itself is http://www.singingforsnorers.com/ and for that matter a friend of mine has recently had some truly astounding results just with yoga ujayi breathing. Exercise is good :-).

  10. TO Lawyer :

    I think I know the answer to this but a friend asked me to be his plus one to a wedding. I went on a couple dates with the groom like 3 years ago I think – I should probably decline correct?

    • If it was’t serious, I think you’re fine to go (so long as you want to go, that is). Though if all your friends are going, and you weren’t invited, maybe that was a thought out decision because the couple didn’t want you in attendance?

    • LeChouette :

      A couple dates? if that’s really all it was I don’t think you need to decline…I’m assuming these are all people who know eachother, i.e. it’s not a total coincidence such that your presence would surprise the groom?

    • I’d maybe run it past the bride and groom

      • saacnmama :

        I would do that, even though it probably doesn’t matter to them. I feel uncomfortable whenever a certain guy on my FB makes comments about anything involving relationships, because he asked me to go hiking once and I figured out while we were out there that he didn’t know I was in a relationship and thought it was a date. i don’t know if he even remembers.

      • No, that was would be very melodramatic. It’s sort of insulting to the bride, or really to the relationship, to suggest that her presence might be a problem somehow.

    • Anonymous :

      Why would this be a problem? Did you have the groom’s baby/give him an STD? If not go for it.

    • Olivia Pope :

      If it was really a couple of dates a few years ago, I don’t think it would be a problem. He has clearly moved on!

      I would go, unless I knew the bride and groom were high-maintenance people. Or if it was a particularly small wedding.

    • Unless you ended the dates on really bad terms or something, I’d say definitely go. Of course, I went on 3 or 4 dates with the fellow who wound up being the best man at my wedding. (Great guy; no chemistry whatsoever. He and his wife even rented out a spare room from us for a while, and it wasn’t the least bit weird.)

    • I guess I’m in the minority but I probably would not go unless I felt comfortable asking the bride and groom if they were ok with it. It doesn’t mean very much to you to go (I’m assuming) and if there’s even a chance it could upset them on one of the most important days of their lives, I would skip it. I think it would be weird to have someone you or your spouse used to date (even very casually) show up unexpectedly at your wedding. I’m admit I’m also sort of uncomfortable with the whole idea of not knowing who is showing up at your wedding in general, exes or not, which is why I didn’t do +1′s and invited friend’s sig others by name.

      • I don’t think there is anything wrong with going and it’s probably a good idea to ask first just to be sure, but please have the actual invited guest who is taking you ask the couple, don’t do it yourself. I think it would be rather uncomfortable for someone who is not invited to the wedding to call to see if she could come as a date. It would raise the level of weirdness from a potentially nonexistent one to one that at the very least makes the groom/bride wonder why it would be weird in the first place. Also, it’s would needlessly put them on the spot. “Why, no, OP, I think I would prefer you not come to my wedding, after all, I didn’t invite you …”

    • I think my husband and I each separately slept with at least 4 of the guests at our wedding . . . I really would not decline unless you think the bride will be uncomfortable, but that seems crazy to me.

      • DH and I had several exes at our wedding, and neither of us considered it odd. (Still good friends, or still in the same social circles, etc etc.)

      • Anon for this . . . :

        Yes, at some point in our wedding weekend I thought about it, and realized my husband had dated all but one of the female guests amongst his friends. No big deal for us, as we met in our thirties and agree that one of the nice things about having a relationship as adults is that we both have pasts and we just don’t worry about them.

      • My husband’s best friend – the best man at our wedding – and I had engaged in a couple of drunken fool-around hookups before my husband and I got together, and his other groomsman and I had gone on a couple of dates prior to me dating my husband. (We were all in a big group of friends who hung out a lot, and there was a lot of round-robin dating going on – I was not the only girl in the group all three of them had dated. My husband dated two or three other girls from the group in the time that we knew each other before we started going out.) On my husband’s side, he invited a past live-in girlfriend whom he was still good friends with (she wasn’t able to attend but I was totally fine with the invite). If we had had our wedding in the town where we had gone to college, I am sure fully half of the female guests would have been people my husband had dated, slept with, etc. at some point in the past. People have pasts, especially when said people are getting married in their late 20s and 30s as most folks do these days. To me, two or three dates with someone several years ago is not any kind of big deal whatsoever. I am sure the bride in this case is aware her husband dated other people before her, and I also don’t think the groom is going to tell her, at the wedding, “hey, I dated that girl a couple of times a few years ago” at the wedding, as they will have a lot of other stuff on their minds. This is 2013 and all parties are grown adults. OP, go to the wedding and don’t worry about breaching some weird kind of etiquette.

        • The weird grammatical stuff in this post is 100% about me attempting to type before I’ve finished my first cup of coffee. sorry folks.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I felt the same way, that it was totally not a big deal but one of my engaged girlfriends thought it was completely inappropriate. I couldn’t see why so I thought I’d ask the hive.

      I don’t think I was not invited because of the potential awkwardness – I haven’t spoken to the groom in a couple years although we used to be friends. I guess I’ll ask my friend to check with the groom and if it’s no big deal to them, I’ll go with him.

      • I think that when people get engaged they sometimes go a little temporarily insane. There was a period in my life when every wedding I attended had a little self appointed committee of engaged/just married women who would take turns being outraged at any guest whose dress was anywhere close to a shade that could be mistake for white (light pink, pale peach, beige, etc.). Once, the outrage was even directed at a bridesmaid (before the realization that she was a member of the bridal party and the bride picked the dress out herself kicked in, presumably).

        Your plan of action sounds very reasonable. I hope you go & have fun.

        • My SIL is still making comments (2 years after the wedding) about other people “stealing” their wedding colors. I think she’s mostly joking around…at least that’s how I’m choosing to interpret it.

        • I am so glad that I have other things to do with my time and energy, instead of sniping about someone wearing a pale pink dress to someone else’s wedding.

          For the OP, I’d say that if it’s going to bother you, have your would-be date run it by the bride and groom. But I can’t really see how it would matter, if things were casual, didn’t end badly, and you were friends for a while afterward.

        • Just Married :

          There is a lot of unaddressed pressure on brides-to-be. Sure, they go “temporarily insane,” but you might also describe new mothers that way.

          I think it would be more productive to say that sometimes brides are worried about a lot of things in their lives that they can’t control, and that control and stress comes out in seemingly strange ways, and directed at seemingly silly things. It’s important to understand that judgments about pale pink dresses are really symptoms of stress about much larger issues. Like losing their independence, etc.

        • SoCalAtty :

          I have 0 recollection of what other people wore at my wedding. Then again, I went in with the mentality that I was throwing one huge fun party for my guests to be at than “MY WEDDING.”

          Turned out great. 6 years later people are still telling me what a great time they had at the party. We’re thinking of doing it again for our 10 year it was so fun! Just a big reunion party, but possibly at the same venue with the same band.

          If it felt not uncomfortable to me, I would go!

    • You’re probably ok unless it’s the bride from a few weeks ago and she’s having her 3 week anniversary vow renewal. (The bride that sent an uninvited friend the text message to leave her wedding guests alone.)

    • Why? As long as you did not sleep with him, who cares? He may not care or even remember you! GO AND DON’T BE SILLY! now it’s YOU THATneed’s to find a HUSBAND! Yay! I love open threads!!!!

  11. I know we discuss books everyone once in a while- I’m looking for a nice summer read that I can enjoy while sitting on my balcony getting a smidge of colour this weekend in the (hopefully) nice weather (28C on Sunday!).

    I am open to new genres/types of books, but some I’ve enjoyed recently include: Cutting Season, Where’d You Go Bernadette, the Middlesteins, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, Wolf Hall and Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance.

    • Not a summer read, but Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick is AMAZING. I barely knew anything about North Korea before I read it and it really opened my eyes

    • What about the sequel to Wolf Hall? It just came out in paperback (Bring Up the Bodies).

      • I read it before Wolf Hall – it was recommended by a website last year (NPR? Economist? NYT?), and then read Wolf Hall when I finished Bring Up the Bodies,I know, backwards.

        Other books along the same lines would be awesome though!

        • If you like historical fiction like this (meaning, mostly true, just fictionalized by adding dialog), have you read Sharon Kay Penman’s books?
          On a different note entirely, I recently read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and really liked it. The reviews seem to be that the movie isn’t as good as the book.

    • Just finished Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness. It’s a great collection of short stories.

    • I read A Tale of the Time Being recently based on a review from NPR and really enjoyed it. I’m not sure it’s a summer read because there is a strong theme of suicide, but I didn’t think it was particularly depressing.

    • Night Circus.

    • Tell the Wolves I’m Home.

    • Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. I’ m reading it now and can’t wait to see how it ends

    • I really enjoyed Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. It was deep enough that I didn’t feel like my brain was atrophying (not that I mind brain-atrophying books!), but funny enough that it never stopped being a fun, easy read.

    • Dead Quote Olympics :

      Overbooked (link to follow) is always a good resource for me when I’m looking for suggestions, especially if you like genre fiction.

      I highly recommend Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle if you liked both Wolf Hall and reading about the birth of finance.

      The Patrick O’Brian Aubrey and Maturin series — people look at me like I’m nuts when I say my favorite novels of all time are about the 18th c. British navy, but my co-reading friends and I have diverse tastes and all love them — we talk about the characters as though they are real. Don’t lend the books out, you will never get them back. Master and Commander is the first one (ignore the movie).

      Any of Kate Atkinson’s books – I just finished Life after Life and really enjoyed it. She has a deft way of being funny and sad at the same time — but not depressing.

  12. Sydney Bristow :

    My great document review project that lasted for 1.5 years ended recently and now I feel like I’m floundering. I took another short-term project, which I hated and its over already. I’ve had way too many days off and I’m just not being productive. At all. I really need to be applying for full-time positions, but I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. I applied for one about a month ago and I got so stressed out just submitting my application. I am barely even looking for positions at this point (just waiting for another doc review project to appear) and I need a serious kick in the butt! I don’t know why I’m so freaked out by the job postings I do look at and I just feel like I’m not qualified to do anything. Ugh…

    • I hate to be a downer, but the longer you keep doing doc review the harder it will be to get a permanent job. Doc review does not really teach you the skills you need for law practice. Do yourself a favor and start working on those applications as soon as possible. The market sucks right now, you may have to send out a few dozen resumes before even getting a response but keep at it.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I know and I think part of my problem is that I’m not sure I want to practice. I’m not really sure what I want to do.

        • Just because you haven’t already had a job doesn’t mean you aren’t smart enough to learn. You need to sell yourself as a “best athlete” – an all-rounder – who can pick things up fast. Don’t you think you are able to learn things if you went to law school and passed the bar?

          I also find jobsearching to be excruciating–so much effort for so little return. But remember:

          –networking to find jobs is about 200% more effective than online applications which go off into cyberspace; time to dust up your “let’s meet for coffee!” skills
          –networking is only effective if you can articulate how the person sitting across from you can help you, so have a specific “ask” in mind–helping pass along a resume, giving you advice only, putting you in touch with their sister who works at X dream company, etc. If you can’t articulate what you want or where you are going, you can’t expect someone to hit their rolodex or put you in touch with others to help you, if they don’t know where you want to go.
          –end every informational interview with “Speaking with you was so helpful! Can you put me in touch with a colleague or two who might be equally helpful?”
          –try to find a friend who is your jobsearch buddy–he or she will keep you accountable, and once a week you can report your progress – had 3 info interviews, sent out 20 apps, etc.
          –it only takes on application to hit–it’s a number’s game, so keep those numbers up by putting out lots of feelers!

          Finally, when I am unmotivated in a jobsearch, I think about my dwindling savings and the possibility of having to ask my parents for money or work in fast food/babysit to make ends meet. Your next job does not need to be a dream job, but it needs to pay the bills and provide marginally satisfactory quality of life. That’s it. Get a job, and finding your dream job can come later…for now, find something that’s OK, utilizes your skill set and won’t be embarassing on your resume!

    • Lady Harriet :

      I’m in a similar boat, which I posted about a couple of weeks ago here. Maybe we can keep each other accountable and promise to post back on Monday after we’ve worked on this? I’m just coasting right now and really need to get my butt in gear, otherwise I’m going to be in big trouble in a few months. I get so stressed out working on applications and feel like I’m not qualified for anything, so then I just retreat into whatever escapism I can find (internet, reading, sleeping…) and it sounds like you’re struggling with that too. I’m not getting anything done, and yet I have so much free time, especially compared to a lot of the ladies here.

      I guess I don’t have any real advice, just know you’re not the only one struggling with this!

      • I’ve been struggling too. Usually I’ve been a go-getter but my confidence is taking a hit these days and I feel like applying is generally a waste of time. It’s good to know I’m not the only one dealing with this.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’m both glad and sad to know that I’m not alone in this. I managed to search for some postings that sound like something I’d want to do and I’m planning to start applying this weekend. Lets check in on Monday.

    • I got some great advice from a senior person at my work recently. I was talking about how someone I’d gone to school with had gotten a high-status, high-visibility position he was not at all qualified for and this senior person said “Remember that next time you think you’re not qualified for something.” Meaning, this guy not only didn’t sell himself short, he arguably overreached and still got the job, so I shouldn’t ever worry about asking for what I want, even if I’m not confident in my qualifications.

      • Houston Attny :

        Truly good advice. Wasn’t it Susan Collins who said something such as, “in discussing international trade policy, women think they need a PhD. A man feels qualified if he drives a Honda.”

      • I am a banana. :

        This was actually my big takeaway from reading Lean In.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’ve heard this advice too and rationally I understand it, but I just have trouble getting myself to believe it.

        • And then there is integrity. People need to not be taking jobs for which they are not qualified. But then, I do death penalty work where arrogance and incompetence go hand in hand.

    • Now is the time for you to look for a guy to MARRY YOU! That is a far better way for you to sound off! Once you Re MARRIED, you won’t be so worried. I am goeing to get PHILIP or some other guy to marry me so I can collect from Grandma Leyeh! YAY!!!!!!

  13. Anonforthis :

    I am totally outing myself to anyone who knows me in real life, but I just have to vent for a second.

    Mother’s day is this weekend and I have a 13 yo stepdaughter who is with us 50% of the time. She likes me unless I ask her not to yell or something and then she is really mean to me. It’s annoying but I generally get it. Last weekend she yelled at her mom on the phone and then cried and asked to call her back to apologize about it. She later yelled at me, but never apologized. I was upset because mother’s day is coming and it was yet another reminder that I do all the work of a mother with no acknowledgment from her, but I know better than to expect anything for mother’s day. She idolizes her mom and I am not her mom so I had managed to make peace with that after a few days. However, her mom has 2 other kids by 2 other dads. I am friends with the stepmom of kid #2. She just posted pictures of her, mom, and kid #2 at kid #2′s school mother’s day tea. I am so sad and frustrated because I know that if my stepdaughter had something like that, I would never be invited. I get that kid #2 has been with her stepmom since the age of 2 whereas my SD has only known me for 2 years, but I am still really bummed.

    • It seems like your husband should take her out to buy you a present. Would it be “from the heart”? No. But it would show her that her father respects you as a co-parent and that he expects the same appreciation and respect toward you. By the way, teenagers aren’t fun whether they’re yours or not. My youngest stepsister was about that age when her dad and my mom married. She was awful to my mom for years but now that she’s 22, it’s like a whole new person emerged. I was not always nice to my stepmom, but once I was grown up, I realized and appreciated everything she’d done for me over the years. But your husband really needs to step up here. That’s what my mom demanded my stepdad do and even if my stepsisters didn’t love my mom right away, at least they treated her with respect. Plus, having my stepdad on her side made it all much more bearable for her.

      • This is a good opinion to hear. He had suggested that and I said no on the advice of my friends (who were of the opinion that I’m not her mom so why force her to participate in mother’s day when her current MO has been to take things out of me). FWIW, he did buy me a mother’s day present on his own and told me it was in appreciation and he does generally try to take all of the heat/do all of the enforcement or discipline.

        • I think if he makes it clear to her that both you and he know you’re not her mom and aren’t trying to replace her mom, but that mother’s day is a day for showing appreciation to all the women who help raise children then it shouldn’t be threatening to her. It sounds like she has a fairly chaotic family life (parents in separate homes can be chaotic enough for a kid, but if there are two other men coming in and out of her mom’s house to see her siblings, that’s another whole level of craziness). You came along when she was 11, which is just when kids are trying to figure out how the world works and where they fit in it. I’m sure it really threw her for a loop (how long since her parents had been together? if the split was recent, that would be tough, but if your husband was single for most of her life, she might resent your intrusion when she expect to have her dad all to herself).

          I think kids should be expect to show respect, and should learn that respect doesn’t necessarily mean love. I think acknowledging what you do for her is a sign of respect and therefore buying you a gift for Mother’s Day should be part of that (in my view).

      • I disagree. You are certainly entitled to be treated with respect, everyone deserves that. But I don’t think that in these circumstances her not buying you a gift is disrespectful — you are not her mom, the holiday is mothers’ day, and she has a mom. That said, if I were giving your husband advice, I’d tell him to buy you a gift himself and tell his daughter that while she doesn’t have to buy you a gift, he thought she should know that HE values the effort you put in to helping raise her and accordingly he bought you a gift (from him) in recognition of that. It should be her choice on whether to give you a gift or not, but I’d want her to hear the message (not because it will make her run out and buy you a gift, but just so that she’s hearing about these values from her dad).

        • Meg Murry :

          I agree with this – I also would suggest that the father ASK the daughter something along the lines of “so, what should we do for stepmom on Mother’s Day” and see what the teen says. Maybe she’ll suggest a card or flowers or something, or maybe she’ll say “nothing” (in which case he can talk about getting a gift from him), but he should initiate a conversation about it and hear what his daughter wants to do, then help her do it. This is what I told my husband after one year where he and the kids didn’t do anything for me, after we ran around all day doing things for/with our mothers and grandmothers and I was so frustrated- “I don’t care about getting a gift or a card or a physical thing or not. But I want you to teach our kids that Mother’s Day is a day we appreciate the women we love by doing or getting something nice for them to say thank you. I don’t care if it’s drawing a picture or picking a bouquet of dandilions or even just give me a hug and saying ‘I love you, Happy Mother’s Day’”

          It’s also possible that the stepmother you were referring to went to the Mother’s Day Tea simply because it happened on a day when she had custody, or because the child is going to spend the actual day of Mother’s Day. Or it could have just fit into her schedule better – for instance, my mother went to my son’s “tea” at his preschool because I couldn’t get there in the middle of the workday just after starting a new job. So don’t compare the relationships and get upset about it – each set of parents & stepparents are going to have different relationships & interactions and that’s fine

      • I disagree as well. She certainly needs to show respect for you now, and hopefully something closer will develop. But she met you at 11, which may be late to develop maternal feelings for you. And this is Mother’s Day. I know that as a preteen, I was ultra-sensitive to any hint–from my stepparent or my biological parent–that my stepparent was, in fact, a parent. And this sort of suggestion from my parent would NOT have gone over well!

        I admit, I could be a bit difficult :)

        Hopefully, over time, you guys can figure out your own thing besides Mother’s Day. Maybe have your husband involve her in preparations for your birthday, for example? Or do a celebration with the three of you for your anniversary? It could be much less charged that way.

        • I agree. I met my (now former…) step-mother when I was 13 as my parents went through a contentious divorce. Looking back I know that I acted very unfair towards my step-mother, but had she or my Dad tried to suggest at all that she should be included in a Mother’s Day celebration would have not gone over well with me. By the time I turned 16, our relationship had somewhat improved and she really did a great job helping me celebrate my birthday that year. She made it special and I appreciated it.

          • I guess it depends on what the tradition in your family is. In my family, we all give gifts and cards to all of the mothers so I always gave them to my mom, stepmom, grandma, aunts, and (once they had kids) cousins. So giving a mother’s day gift, to me, isn’t saying “you’re my mom” it’s saying “you do mom things and I appreciate that.” Not giving one to my stepmom would have been a big slap in the face and pointedly exclusionary.

            So if she’s never given a mother’s day gift or card to anyone except her mom, then I guess I see everyone’s point. But if she routinely gives them to her grandmother and other mother figures, then she should definitely give one to her stepmother.

    • Anonymous :

      You’re getting worked up over a hypothetical even a 13 year old who’s known you for 2 years wouldn’t have invited you to? You’re not her mom. If you’re feeling put upon about this, ask your husband to step it up in the parenting so you don’t need to be as involved.

      • This is a comment I would have made before I was a stepmom :)

        • Anonymous :

          I am a step mom and totally agree with Anonymous. It is really TOUGH work being one, but you are getting much too sensitive about this! Its a huge difference between being a step mom for 2 years and being there since the girl was 2. You really need to relax about this. 13 is a tough age no matter what the relationship is

        • I was 11 when I moved in with my stepmom. The main reason our relationship worked well is that she pretty quickly told me “I’m not your mom” but still took on enough of a parental role “where’s your sweater? congratulation on the good grade in math”. Unless you’ve breastfed them yourself, a 13-year-old isn’t that much fundamentally different from an adult. Treat her as a responsible person and butt out of her business, you’ll both be better off for it.

      • Anyone who says “you’re not her mom” is an as*hole in almost every context, and totally oblivious to the parenting role many of us play. “You’re not the mom” is true but irrelevant to almost any parenting question posed by a stepparent…
        Except Mother’s Day. If the spouse wants to honor the significant role played by OP in parenting the daughter, then that’s totally appropriate. But I am 100% against forcing the kid to recognize a stepmother on Mother’s Day when “real” mom is still around. It is a recipe for resentment and disaster. If the kid gets there himself or herself, wow, that’s awesome. If not, leave it be. Stepparenting is not something one does for validation if one wants to remain sane.

    • Please don’t lose sight of the fact that she’s 13. You are taking a lot of her behavior personally, which I don’t blame you for one bit. But, even if you were her bio parent, you’d still have to shake off a lot of hurtful statements and behaviors simply b/c she hasn’t gained enough self-awareness yet.

      In that same vein, you’ve only been on the scene for 2 years (and, some of the toughest years of parenting, I would submit). Yes, you’ve had to be a parent to her from day 1, but she may not embrace you as another parent for another few years. If you love her (and/or her dad), just try to continue to love her, even though her love will be conditional for a while. And, think of this way, even your description of the relationship is a little prickly, and you are the adult here :) You can’t expect that her similarly mixed feelings won’t cause some poor treatment of you along the way.

      I’m with TBK on this one – it’s on Dad to appreciate your efforts on step-D’s behalf this Mother’s Day. Give her time, and more genuine responses will come from her later (of course, I adore my mom and skipped mother’s day a few times during my pre-teen selfish phase, so there’s also that). But, so as not to ambush your husband, maybe have a brief convo with him in advance, so that you aren’t silently seething on mother’s day. He may not get it, and a heads-up will set a good precedent for later.

    • Thank you for this — I was never nice to my stepmom when I was a kid, but now that I’m an adult I’m going to remember to say happy mother’s day etc this weekend.

    • SpaceMountain :

      My daughter is 13, and it’s a tough age for all of us. Girls that age are notoriously self-centered; it’s not just your SD. I’d cut her some slack and just keep hanging in there.

      • Silvercurls :

        IMHO Mother’s day is
        1) a manufactured holiday
        2) time for a very low-key expression of affection to family or close friends
        3) a horrible occasion of commercial excess with a backdrop of insane advertising images depicting all Mothers as endlessly calm, usually married (to a man!), and always selflessly caring for other people while living in an amazingly tidy home surrounded by a picket fence.

        Sure, I’m glad to give and receive good wishes, but sometimes I also want to knock this holiday off its pedestal! Thus here are {{{hugs}}} for the folks who may find this holiday difficult:

        - all of the stepmoms out there who are schlepping, cleaning, cooking, washing, listening to, not snapping at, and otherwise loving–or at least taking darn good care of–their stepkids
        - all of the never-married or never-married-at-the-right-time-women who had to redirect their maternal ambitions onto nieces and nephews and younger cousins (whether “real” or honorary family members)
        - all of the married or single aspiring moms who are currently stuck in infertility h*ll
        - all of the moms who feel (maybe correctly?!) that their families are not recognized because they are married to another mom
        - all of the single moms (whether single by choice or by chance) who are making it happen for themselves and their children
        - all of the single moms who are struggling with financial insecurity, exhaustion, or loneliness
        - all of the birth moms who by choice or by chance made it possible for other women to become mothers
        - all of the almost-moms who decided they had to end a pregnancy…
        - all of the moms who ended up having fewer children than they had hoped
        - all of the moms who ended up having more children than they had expected
        - all of the moms facing serious challenges…like caring for kids with challenging special needs, or caring for spouses or kids or parents with serious or life-threatening illnesses, or caring for their families throughout their own serious or life-threatening illness
        - all of the moms who are away from home for military duty
        - all of the moms who are away from their families because they have to earn a living (whether in a high-pressure profession, in a job with a long commute, and/or in one or more back-breaking, low-wage jobs)
        - all of the moms who are away from their kids because of being in addiction, rehab, or prison, or otherwise sidetracked by bad luck and bad choices
        - all of the moms who along with their children are stuck in an abusive household
        - and all of the moms who for whatever terrible reason are abusing their spouses or children
        - all of the bereaved moms who for whatever have outlived one (or more?) of their children (anything from miscarriage or SIDS to illness, suicide, random violence, domestic abuse, or warfare)
        -AND all of the women who have always known that their personal calling does NOT include having children!

        Happy Mother’s day, or at least a peaceful Mother’s day, to all.

    • Oh, I feel for you. However, I agree with MamaW and Space Mountain. 13 is often dreadful for biological step parents at any time. You have to remember her brain is re-wiring and even a 13 year old in an intact family has a brain that is more like a toddler’s brain (with an adult vocabulary) than an adult’s. Your stepdaughter also has a not terribly healthy dynamic with her biological mother if I recall correctly.

      Of course you sad and of course you are entitled to respect but it’s one thing to say that and quite another to make it happen with any 13 year old. Anyone who thinks otherwise either does not have a 13 year old or has one who is way more compliant than most that I know (including my own). In these circumstances a present, or an apology or card or whatever isn’t going to mean much if somebody else makes her give it to you. Sometimes relative peace is the best you can hope for!

      I am sure you are doing an amazing job. She is lucky to have you in her life. She just is not in a developmental stage where she can appreciate it now or respond appropriately when she has fleeting periods of recognizing it. Hang in there. Keep telling yourself you’re amazing. I’m sure her Dad thinks so and I know that she will get there eventually.

      I really mean it when I say she’s lucky to have you. She’s been dealt a tough hand by her biological mother. I see lots of kids at work who don’t have another awesome woman in their life to pick up the slack. Way to go, Stepmom! I so admire you taking on this job. Many of us have lots of moments when we know we’re only here because of fate and you CHOSE this. Amazing!

    • Wannabe Runner :

      My dad married my stepmom when I was 11.

      I was a total horror to my stepmom through my teens, and then still mildly resentful until I graduated from college.

      Do the best you can. Try not to take things personally. Its not you – it’s her. 13yo girls are tough.

      Now I live across the country, and my stepmom and I are the closest we have ever been.

    • AnotherStepMom :

      I feel for you, Mothers Day is hard as a stepmom. My SD is almost 4, I’ve been in her life since her 2nd birthday. I am her full time “mom” in that her mom isn’t around hardly at all, she sees her for a week or two once or twice a year at most. Since SD is only 3, I didn’t expect anything from her, and I try very hard to keep it clear than I am not her mom. Even though I do all of the mom stuff…

      I agree with the others that you are going to create a ton of problems trying to get her to acknowledge you on Mothers Day if it doesn’t come from her. Try to adjust your expectations. For me, I stopped doing the mom things that made me feel resentful of not being recognized as a mom. It helped a lot, for me and for my DH.

      This year, DH surprised me with a small Mothers Day gift, saying he wanted to recognize that I’m pretty much mom, even though I get none of the credit. Since I do it for him anyway (and not her, though that sounds sort of callous), it meant a lot more to me than if she had said or done something for Mothers Day.

      Good luck with your new family. Its a tough role!

  14. Granddaughter Anon :

    Question for anyone who has experience taking care of aging parents. My grandparents (mom’s parents, in their 80s) moved in with my parents about six months ago. Grandpa is physically very weak and cannot walk on his own. He has a home health aide to help with showering, going to the bathroom, etc., and Grandma is physically okay but starting to lose it mentally. She is very forgetful, becomes easily confused, and can no longer make decisions easily, even about simple things like what she wants to eat. They cannot afford to move to an assisted living facility.

    My mom is extremely stressed because she basically babysits them everyday. She has little time for anything else because of their needs, and even though she loves her parents, taking care of them all the time is driving her crazy. She has several siblings who live nearby but do not make much of an effort to help with the burden. She has become bitter toward some of her siblings and is touchy and easily loses her temper because of the stress.

    I will be living at home this summer while studying for the bar. How can I help my mom? Should I just do what I can around the house, take my grandma out to lunch, encourage my mom to go out for the afternoon, etc.? Is there any way for me to get her siblings to help out more without causing drama (I know that it’s not my place to tell them they’re not doing enough, and that starting a fight will only make things worse for my mom)? Should my mom see a therapist for help dealing with the anger and stress? Any advice is welcome.

    • Olivia Pope :

      Ask your mom what she needs. Would doing laundry help her? Then be in charge of the laundry. Does she just need some time alone or with friends? Take care of the home front for an entire day once a week so she can live her life without worries. Try to cook meals for everyone a couple of times a week. Is she the type who won’t ask people for help even though she needs it? Then start doing things without her permission (e.g. vacuum the entire house while she’s running errands).

      As far as her siblings though, I wouldn’t be too confrontational. Support your mom if she wants to ask them for more help. You could also bring up some ideas casually (“Oh hey Aunt Viv, want to go to the movies with Grandma this week?”)

      • Belle et Rebelle :

        Agree with the suggestions to look into respite care and resources to help your mom with keeping on top of the household stuff.

        As for mom’s siblings, perhaps suggest that it’s time to set up a schedule for them to help care for your grandparents on a regular basis – maybe one afternoon or evening a week per sibling (or whatever works for their schedules). It would give your mom some more respite time, but it would (hopefully) also open her siblings’ eyes to how much care your grandparents need and how much your mom is already doing.

    • Has she looked at respite care options? Some assisted living facilities offer drop-in daytime programs. The home health company may also have some “sitters” or recommendations for someone that can help a half-day or day.

    • I hear ya.

      For what it’s worth, I think it may be helpful if you look into supports for your mom beyond you. At some point you’re not going to be living at home and she is still going to be in the same situation. You can call the local aging agency for more information on what programs are in your particular area. It can be overwhelming to figure out (on top of providing care), so it may be something you can do in addition to helping around the house.

      • Totes McGotes :

        +1, not to mention if you are studying for the bar you may have trouble taking care of your own needs, and may also be unpleasant to be around due to the stress. I would second L’s advice and further recommend that you absent yourself as much as possible to avoid making things even rougher on your mom than they are. I know you mean well, but bar takers be crazy…

    • Mountain Girl :

      I agree with the idea of looking at respite care to help. That’s what they do and it could be a lifesaver for your mom.

      If I were you mom I would like to have some aspect of the household chores completely off my plate. Meaning, if you want to do the laundry – do ALL the laundry so I don’t have to even think about entering the laundry room. Do you want to clean – then do it all. Meals – then do the menu planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning etc.

      When we were dividing out household responsibilities among DH and my teenage sons we have found this to be much preferred over a hodge podge of different chores. I like it because DH does all the laundry, one son cleans the upstairs and one son the basement. I do the meal planning and shopping and we all cook and clean up after the meals. The think that is great about this method is the fact that I don’t have to really engage or think about those areas that are not “mine” and so it really does seem to free up some of my mental real estate. I would think if you really want to help it might work best to take something totally off her plate rather than a couple of partial pieces in different areas.

      • Anonymous :

        Laundry is easy to do while you’re studying… I knit three scarves while studying….(those videos take forever).

        Also, it’ll be easy to start a load, do a section, transfer to dryer, review section… etc.

    • Is it possible your aunts and uncles aren’t helping because they don’t know how to? If your mom isn’t good at asking for help, maybe you could sit with her and come up with a list of discrete tasks her siblings could do to help. Could they each have grandma and grandpa over for dinner once a week? Could they switch off taking them for the day on Saturdays? If they have more money than time, could they chip in for a weekly housekeeper for your parents’ house?

      • The way it works in my family is that my mom takes over, does things her way, then gets bitter when her siblings “don’t do enough.” It’s infuriating.

        Not saying this is OP’s situation, but family dynamics like this are really, really hard.

        • My goodness, Brant, are you secretly a member of my family? This is exactly what my mother does too. I try so hard to be supportive but when I see her MO and try to explain how it doesn’t always work in her favour, then I get in trouble too!

          • Anne Shirley :

            Yes this! It’s taken me a long time to understand that I can’t draw my mom’s boundaries for her, and just because she’s taken on a huge burden doesn’t mean I’m responsible for fixing it.

          • For both our sakes, I hope not :). I am literally dreading the year following my grandmother (mother’s mother’s) death…all grief aside, my mom is a co-PoA with her two sisters. I can already tell you what a terrible idea that is, and how it will tear the family apart. The last time my grandmother was sick enough to be hospitalized (she’s fine now), the three of them couldn’t even agree on the hospital, much less the treatment.

          • This is my mother as well. So frustrating!

    • I agree that asking your mom what she needs would help, as well as respite care are good options. You might want to look into the local senior center and see what kind of events they have that your grandparents might like. Also check with your state’s version of Massachusetts’s Aging Service Access Points. The information officers at ASAPs have great information, and may even (depending on your situation) point you in the direction of some services like respite or additional time with the home health aides. Eldercare is hard work, remember to take care of yourself and the other caregivers.

    • I’m going through something similar right now. My mother is terrible at accepting help as well – I used to try to send her out for dinner with my dad to give her a break, etc., but she was always too stressed by whatever it was I tried to do, so I would second the suggestion of just taking on some of it yourself (be it laundry, cleaning, meals, whatever you can do) without having to have her make more decisions about what you can or should do. She also will need other support and though I’ve failed at this, I’ve been trying for a year to get my mother to speak to a therapist – she really needs it but is too hesitant to do it. I’ve given up on my uncle (who lives close enough) entirely. It’s sad for my family dynamic but he is useless, even when we ask for help. Look into any assistance you can get, whether its from a local nursing home, your local senior center, etc (check local government websites/offices – they have some resources). What ultimately happened for my family, and while it’s still not a great situation it’s sooo much better than it was, we hired a live-in aide (non-medical/nurse) who helps my grandparents with cooking, light cleaning, walking around the house and other day to day activities. My mother still has to shower my grandma (fun, let me tell you), and take care of other items, but it helps that it doesn’t feel like her full time job anymore. Still a part time job though! Finally, on the bar – you will need some time to yourself to study for the bar. Make sure you can find yourself a stress-free place to do that (local library, coffee shop, whatever), to make sure you take care of yourself as well – you do NOT want to have to take that test again. I’m sorry this is going on – for both of us – good luck.

    • First off, congrats on graduating, and good luck studying for the bar. One of my first thoughts is that something you can do is put in your best effort towards passing the bar–one less thing for your mom to worry about. Part of that might be being realistic about how many hours you can free up to help with tasks around the house, given how demanding studying for the bar is. Laundry or some other task that you can do bar studying in/around sound doable, but devoting entire days of the week to doing things other than studying might not. Just throwing that out there.

      I just watched over the last few years my grandmother run herself ragged taking care of an increasingly hard-to-take care of grandfather, who suffered with Alzheimer’s for several years (and has since passed away). She resisted help at every stage but once things got so bad that she had to accept help and make changes, the relief was significant. (Talking about a progression from adult day care to home health aide to assisted living facility.) Taking care of elderly folks with the issues your grandparents have is just as bad, if not worse, than dealing with a newborn, except instead of incrementally improving, things incrementally get worse. And things can get worse very quickly.

      So perhaps you can use your new JD skills to find government and other resources to help the situation–if your grandparents don’t have the funds they may still be eligible via Medicare to get assistance. Maybe arrange for a social worker to get involved to help your family connect with resources. And keep an eye on your Mom’s physical and mental health–that kind of caretaking takes a great toll on a person, leading to their own health issues.

      Good luck. You sound like a concerned and loving daughter. I hope things improve for you all.

  15. san francisco must dos :

    I’m going to have a full day of freedom in SF this fall. I’ve never been and want to try to squeeze as much in as possible. I’ll be traveling via BART and taxi if it makes a difference.

    • Small Town Atty :

      DH is from the Bay area, and whenever we go I like to go to Golden Gate Park. There’s lots of little gardens for all sorts of different things; last time I discovered the Shakespeare Garden, which has lots of plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays.

      • I’ve been reading Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy series set in SF and the Golden Gate Park is a major setting. I didn’t realize it was as cool in real life as it sounds like in the book!

      • locomotive :

        Golden Gate Park is gorgeous, but it’s kind of a hike from the rest of what people typically really want to see in SF (Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, Golden Gate Bridge etc) and you can lose yourself for hours and hours and hours in it so perhaps think about putting that the end of your day instead of the beginning.

    • We recently took a short vacation there and really enjoyed: Muir woods (you need a car, but there are buses that go out there); the California Academy of Arts and Sciences; wandering/snacking in Chinatown; Sausalito (you can take a ferry — also, you can rent a bike, take the bike on the ferry, then bike around Sausalito); the Coit tower; sushi.

      • anonypotamus :

        or if you are adventurous, rent a bike, bike across the golden gate bridge down into Sausalito, have lunch/walk around and then take the ferry back!

        if you are into food, I love walking around the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero. Cheese, bread, wine shops, great cured meat place, markets, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays they have an fun farmers market. ALL THE FOOD. From there, it is an easy walk thru the financial district into Chinatown. I find SF to be very walkable, but the hills can take some getting used to :)

    • I’ve responded to this question on older threads – not sure how searchable they are, but if you can’t find them & want to provide a little more info about what you like to do, I’d be happy to make some suggestions. (Oh, I live in SF – not sure if that’s known or not).

  16. Small, kind of weird dilemma for the hive mind: I am on a small, newly formed committee through an organization I volunteer with. I joined this committee hoping to interface with the group I currently volunteer with, but it’s turning out that a.) that isn’t going to be possible given some bureaucratic nonsense, and b.) we will be doing basically cold-call outreach to donors. I did not sign up for b.), and for various snowflakey reasons, have a lot of anxiety related to the type of cold-calling to the point where I just can’t do it right now.

    I’ve decided to resign from the committee. My question is: should I explain why I’m resigning (i.e., say I’m not comfortable cold-calling), or just cite too busy with work/life to devote the time to this committee right now? If the latter were really the case, I would feel totally comfortable resigning from the committee, FWIW – most other members are retirees. BF says to explain the reason upfront because it’s not a big deal and it’ll ward off “well maybe you can only visit 2 vendors!” ideas, but I feel awkward bringing up my anxieties over email… Thoughts?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Obviously you don’t have to share your whole mental health with us but I just want to say I used to have awful phone anxiety and made my mom make all my phone calls as a teenager. My [then evil to me] mom signed my family up to work a political campagn that involved cold calling people. I was petrified, but I did it. It ended up really reall really helping me get more confident with my speaking and my ability to call people. I ended up volunteering for a similar fundraising campaign for my college in undergrad even though I was scared to do it. I loved sitting in a room with all the people succesfully making calls. It forced me to make mine and keep fighting the fear. I think I am a much stronger professional because of it.

      I still prefer to close my office door and take a ton of notes and procrastinate before making phone calls but I CAN MAKE THEM.

      Bottom line – if there is any way you can push yourself to do this you might be really happy in the long run.

      • Blair Waldorf :

        +1 if you think you can do this.

        If it’s the type of anxiety you can’t work through, there’s no need to delve into the reasons for why you don’t want to participate. Just say that you have enjoyed the experience thus far, but will have to put the committee on hold for now because you are too busy with other obligations.

        I have been on committees with individuals who have had to take breaks when their lives got too busy. No one held it against them, and they were welcomed back when/if they decided to rejoin later.

    • Anonymous :

      I would def not tell them you have cold calling anxiety. Almost everyone does, its really hard. There is a reason people do not want to do them. Honestly it seems kind of flaking that you are bailing on volunteering because a) you arent going to get face time with the people you want, and b) you don’t like making cold calls.

    • Thanks for the comments! My anxiety a little more specific than not liking cold phone calling (though I don’t love that aspect either) but it’s really beside the point. I’m going to go with citing other obligations and offer to reconnect in the fall, while trying to find a replacement from my local chapter (for my peace of mind more than need to fill my small shoes here, I think, but hey someone might be interested).

      Blonde Lawyer, that’s a great Mother’s Day weekend story! :)

  17. 8th grade graduation :

    Do kids do 8th grade graduations these days? Stepson is graduating 8th grade and I’m not sure what (if anything) I should be doing. Husband’s strong suits do not include things like this, so he is a bit clueless as well. Husband and I were thinking that we should have dinner for him at a nice restaurant (just our family), but I’m not sure if the My Super Sweet 16 ethos has trickled down this far.

    It if matters, this is in a large southern city.

    • I certainly hope 8th grade graduation hasn’t become a huge deal. I graduated 8th grade 11 years ago, and the biggest thing that happened was that we got to attend a dance with the 9th graders the week before (though that was a REALLY big deal at the time :) ). Frankly, I wouldn’t want to condone the celebration-overload even if it is a “thing” now – a nice dinner sounds perfectly fine.

    • Anonymous :

      In my experience its not a thing like you have a party for- but the school might have a little something like a ceremony. I think dinner would be a nice way to mark the transition, or a very small cookout type gathering at your house, something like that.

    • My son’s school had a ceremony, not a big thing, just in the afternoon in the school auditorium. It was a k-8th school, so all the kids were “graduating” to new school. One of the parents had a pool party after the ceremony, with all the kids and parents invited, so that was nice. It was a very small school, so it was easy to have a backyard party for the whole class and all the parents. We did not do gifts or anything for our son.

    • Out to dinner, maybe a small family party (eg. if there are local aunts/grandparents that could come over for a BBQ and cake). Maybe get him a cool high school present (I got contacts for either my 8th grade grad or my 13th b’day…I forget).

      I don’t think you need to go all out for a friends/graduation party, but if you happen to have a pool, why not see if stepson wants to have friends over for burgers & cake? If he’s interested, great! if not, nothing lost.

    • I'm Just Me :

      My son “graduated” from 8th grade last year, and my daughter 2 years before. We had a family dinner out at the restaurant of their choice. That seemed to be what most of their classmates did as well.

    • My reward was 9th grade. I didn’t have an 8th grade graduation though….isn’t that what HS is for?

      • When I graduated from 8th grade (mid 90s, public school) our middle school had a big graduation to-do. I don’t think we did the cap-and-gown, but we had a big dress-up ceremony, people spoke, we got some kind of middle school completion certificate, etc. etc.

        Then again, I also had a kindergarten graduation!

      • Teaching in NYC taught me that some people go all out for 8th grade graduation because there is no guarantee there will be a high school graduation. I thought the festivities the middle school I taught at undertook were silly, but I think a nice dinner out with the family is always nice to acknowledge successfully completing the 8th grade and moving on to high school.

        • Anonymous :

          This — in most places there’s no guarantee of making it to a high-school graduation.

          Op — did you consider asking your stepson what the school was doing, if he would be attending parties, if he’d like to do a family dinner (maybe bring a friend)? He may already have plans.

  18. Has anyone found sulfate-free shampoos drying? My stylist recommended that I try one (It’s a 10), which is labeled a moisturizing shampoo, but my hair feels weird. On the one hand, my very fine, wavy hair seems thicker, but it also seems sort of dried out (this won’t make sense, but my hair seems older than it is). I haven’t had time for a lot of styling this week, either, so that may be why my hair seems kind of off.

    • Possibly – I’m actually pleased about this, because I have the world’s oiliest hair, and since switching to sulfate-free there’s been an improvement in this department. But if you were starting from “normal”, I can see this being an issue.

      • Can I ask what type of shampoo you are using? I could put up a good fight to take your title of world’s oiliest hair, and I haven’t yet found a sulfate free shampoo that I really like. I keep having to use an anti-residue shampoo ever so often, which I think is defeating the whole purpose of using sulfate free shampoo. I’ve used Burt’s Bee Volumizing, which didn’t really cut it, and switched to L’oreal ever pure volumizing, which is better, but not idea.

    • I have been using the Trader Joe’s Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner because the shampoo is sulfate free, and my hair has also been feeling weird/dryish. I wasn’t sure if it was the tea tree oil or if I just really need a healthy trim or what. I’d be interested in replies to this as well.

      • Houston Attny :

        I’ve used these TJ’s products too – went through the entire bottles – and won’t buy them again. Smells great, but my hair just felt weird, and I tried to compensate with more conditioner to no avail. Combing it after washing was hard. It feels dry and really tangled after, right?

        • Yes! I have put tons of different conditioners on at different times – including leave-in, but my hair just feels dry and tangly, and the curl has gone kind of wonky. I am getting a huge haircut tomorrow and will probably abandon the TJ stuff in favor of a fresh start.

      • I actually like that about the TJ’s shampoo. I have fine hair and it gives me lots of volume.

    • I’ve been using Rusk Deep Shine Oil shampoo & conditioner and I love it. It’s sulfate free, and my hair has never felt so great. I think mine is the moisturizing forumala. Or color care.

    • I’m sulphate/dimethcone free in my hair products and live in a dry climate. Check ingredients. My hair always feels like straw if I use something that has glycerine in it, and I’ve found out that glycerine is not something you want to use on your hair if you live in a dry climate because it sucks moisture out of your hair.

    • Nope, has the opposite effect on me – my hair seems much more nourished and smoother. I like the L’Oreal line – I use EverStrong, but they have a variety of sulfate-free options for different hair types.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – Check out the L’oreal line. TJ’s and Whole Foods were too drying for my already-dry hair. The L’oreal line is much better (pricier though). I use the green tube.

    • I’m using the Tresemme Natural Nourishing shampoo that boasts lower sulfates. I think it does a good job of moisturizing my hair but I don’t know how much can be attributed to the lower sulfates. I tried some of the Whole Foods 365 no sulfate shampoo and didn’t like it at all.

    • microscience :

      Yes, I find them very drying. I have long, straight, fine hair, and every sulfate free shampoo I’ve tried makes it really hard to comb out my hair. And it still needs to be washed every day because my scalp overreacts and produces more oil.

  19. Anonymous :

    How skinny do I have to be to have a thigh gap? Or does anyone know any other way to deal with thighs that rub together and chafe?

    • Oh, thigh gap, how I miss thee. I’ve resigned myself to not having one. Things that work: the monistat anti-chafing gel (but you need to reapply often), exercising, and my newest solution: wearing cotton bike shorts under dresses and skirts.

      • +1000 anti chafing gel…. I actually find that I only reapply once if it’s really humid/hot, but I also have a sedentary job. YMMV

        Those things are available at CVS/drugstore dot com… i figured out not all stores carry them the hard way.

      • What brand of cotton bike shorts? I use spandex/compression shorts from under armor and such, but I’d love something cheaper.

    • I’m a size 2 and my thighs rub together a little (though not as much as they did when I was heavier). It’s just how I’m built. It’s not so much a problem for me anymore, but when it was I was a fan of using an anti-chafing product between my thighs when I wore skirts. I’ve used Band-Aid blister block (or whatever it’s called) and deodorant in a pinch. It cuts down on the chafing. I’ve also worn slim bike shorts under looser skirts, so that I get a layer of fabric in there. Some people swear by Monistat anti-chafing gel, or Bodyglide, which is what runners use on long runs.

      • Bodyglide. I carry it in my purse and will reapply it on a summer day. Keeps chafing manageable.

      • Me too. Size 2, at the lowest of the “healthy” BMI range, and no thigh gap. I’d have to drop at least another full size, probably two, for the possibility of thigh gap, at which point I would be very ill and malnourished. I’m just built to have touching thighs. I’m not at all thrilled with it, but nothing can be done about it either. It is what it is, as they say.

        • Yup. I used to hate that my thighs touched, too, but then I realized that’s just the way my body is built, and there’s not a d**n thing I can do about it.

    • I think it mainly has to do with your body type. Mine gets worse when I’m a few pounds heavier, but I have heavier friends who have no problem and skinnier friends who constantly have problems. When I wear skirts/dresses without tights I’ll do some of the monistat anti-chafing gel (it really does help) or a pair of bike shorts/looser shapewear/pettipants.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, it’s not just size, but also bone structure. Some people will never have a thigh gap no matter how much they try!

        • I suspect it has to do with the width of your hips and how wide your legs are set in their sockets – if you have narrow hips, even if you have thin legs you may never have a gap between your thighs, whereas women with wider-set hips and legs may have a natural gap at any normal weight.

          • This. I also think it has something to do with your muscle structure too. Some people naturally have slender muscles, some have a much easier time bulking up & have bulkier muscles.

      • Yep, I weigh more than I should but I have a thigh gap and no rubbing. I just have fairly narrow hips and muscular thighs. It’s how I’m built and has nothing to do with weight.

    • Gold Bond powder works miracles. I got a travel sized one for about $1 and I used it most days in the summer. Usually one application will last me a full work day as long as I don’t get too sweaty.

    • I think it mostly depends on how your bones are structured. I guess if you naturally had one and gained 100lbs, losing weight would do the trick. If you’re in the realm of average, it’s probably not going to happen by losing a few lbs.

    • honestly, even putting deodorant on the areas that rub works for me–if you have remotely muscular thighs (and i’ve got runningback thighs), they’ll rub together, however thin you are!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m a 110-pound petite size 2, and my thighs still touch. My legs are toned, so it’s not really flab. I think some women are just built this way.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      It happens at all sizes.

      Spans help (buy one size larger than the sizing chart says you need). BodyGlide is also a great product. You can also cut off old pantyhose above the knee and wear that.

  20. TTC Fears :

    Not to turn this into a TTC blog, but I have an egg retrieval coming up early next week as part of my first attempt with IVF. For those who have been down this path, does the egg retrieval hurt? Will I be in pain afterwards? I can handle pain, but I just want to know what to expect. (And I’m pretty sure the nurses I’ve been talking to are understandably tired of all my questions.)

    Thanks in advance for any insights.

    • Frou Frou :

      My egg retrieval was under general anesthesia, so I don’t remember anything about it, other than waking up. This was 6 years ago, and maybe it’s different these days? I don’t remember having any pain associated with it afterward, but I also have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I you’ve made it this far, I don’t think it’s going to be anything you can’t handle. :) Hope it goes well.

    • Anonymous :

      Twilight sleep here. The IV drug burned. Then no pain but nausea and a generally crappy feeling for the rest of the day. See if you can get anti-nausea drugs just in case.

    • Like the others, I had a hard time with the anesthesia, but no issues with the actual egg retrieval. After weeks of injecting meds into my thighs, I was just glad to finally move onto the next step. Good luck to you – I hope you have a successful transfer!

  21. Blonde Lawyer :

    Kat,

    This site is not working on Chrome write now. [For my Crohn's pals, I keep trying to type that Crohme.]

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I’m also having issues on Firefox now – I intermittently get taken to a site that says the website is down, but I can still open it in Explorer. Also, not all the comments show up in Firefox (the comment count is higher in IE).

  22. Trademark Blogs? :

    Any recommendations for interesting trademark blogs? Our work load tends to be very uneven, so I would love for something at least somewhat work-related to read (in addition to this site!) on those slow days.

    • I’m not in the US, but I love The IPKat (ipkitten (dot) blogspot). They post a fair amount on trademarks and also have a dedicated trademark blog, MARQUES.

    • Belle et Rebelle :

      Off the top of my head, Marty Schwimmer’s The Trademark Blog http://www.trademarkblog.com (yes, that’s the name – slightly ironic), John Welch’s TTABlog (www.ttablog.com), and Ron Coleman’s Likelihood of Confusion blog (www.likelihoodofconfusion.com). There’s also the Duets Blog (www.duetsblog.com), which isn’t just TM but still interesting.

      If you’re on Twitter, there are a lot of active tweeters in the TM field. You can find a bunch of them if you search on #inta13 (for last week’s International Trademark Association Annual Meeting).

  23. TO Lawyer :

    Thoughts on mother’s day gifts? I know it’s really last minute for this but I have a question about the general philosophy on gifts. I like the idea of making it a nice gesture – so my mom is getting flowers and a card from me and my sister/dad are taking her out for brunch. My sister just called saying she was going to buy my mom a gift because “she expects one” (don’t even get me started on this).

    So I think flowers + card + brunch is enough whereas apparently my sister and mom will think I’m a bad daughter for not buying something else. Am I totally off base?

    • A Nonny Moose :

      I think it depends 100% on your mom. My mom would hate me buying something just to buy it, and she’s really hard to shop for. So, I’m driving home to see her, without a gift. She’ll appreciate that a million times more.

    • My sisters and I take our mom out (brunch this year), no gifts of tangible personal property.

    • I did a card and flower arrangement (albiet a somewhat pricey one to ease my guilt of being far away), I’m across the country, so no brunch, but I will phone. My sister did an edible arrangement and will visit home, since she lives closer, and my brother (a teen, who lives at home), will share my gift, as he has been tasked with picking it up from the florist (we’ll see how that goes, I probably should have just paid for delivery). I believe they’re doing dinner our or something also? My dad usually arranges the meal portion of Mother’s Day.

    • I always buy jewelry. Not fine, diamond jewelry or anything, just something nice from a local gift store or craft market. But, my mom’s birthday tends to fall on the same weekend as Mother’s Day, so a gift is slightly more mandatory for me.

      • Belle et Rebelle :

        My mom’s bday also tends to fall near or on Mothers Day (it’s today, in fact). I usually end up sending an actual gift for one and then doing flowers for the other (and calling). I live 2,000 miles away, so brunch isn’t generally an option, but this year she happens to be coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so I will be taking her to afternoon tea at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond instead of sending flowers as the Mothers Day gift.

        As for gifts, I try to do something small in terms of how much space it takes up (DVDs, CDs) or something that can be used up (food things – this year it’s New England-themed syrups/pancake mixes/jams), partly because she has expressed that she is trying to pare down and doesn’t want to accumulate a lot more stuff.

    • I agree that it totally depends on your family. Gifts are a big deal in my family – we tend to buy each other all the stuff that we wanted during the year / need to replace. It’s not always super fun stuff – one year, it was a garage door opener for christmas – but not sending a gift would not be acceptable in my family. We also celebrate the dog’s birthday though, so we’re probably just not normal.

  24. I need an easy desert recommendation. The criteria is something that won’t take too long to make (I’d like to make in the morning) and that will not be difficult to transport. No cupcakes. Any ideas?

  25. Can we have a discussion about billing hours? What are your goals, and how much time to do figure that you have to bill per day or week to stay on track (and comfortably manage to still meet the annual goal if you take a few sick days, generally take weekends and holidays off, take a vacation, etc.)? What do you consider to be the line for unethically padding hours? If you answer a quick phone call, use the bathroom, someone stops by to chat, grab a cup of coffee, you just can’t wait any longer to see what today’s TPS report is – do you stop billing? How do you track your hours? And so on.

    • My firm has no official target, but for my own peace of mind I like to hit around 2,000 hours. So if I see that I’m not on track to hit that number, say, 8 or 9 months in, I will ramp up my efforts to get more work. So far I’ve not had a problem. At my old firm I billed around 2,400 hours, but that was also one of the reasons I left that job (in addition to the stapler-throwing partner mentioned yesterday).

      Since I like to take 4 weeks vacation, I need to be pretty consistently utilized for the rest of the year to hit this target – around 40 hours billed per work week. Of course in reality this is never the case – some weeks I bill like crazy, some weeks I’m not busy at all. But it all tends to even out.

      I track my hours on a printed matrix I keep by computer. I usually make a note of start and end time, and if I know I’ve taken a longer break (not just a bathroom break) I will deduct that time. I also deduct time spent on this site :)

    • I’m a newbie to law firm billing and finding it harder than expected, so I can’t wait to hear other people’s responses. I’m really interested in how people handle short tasks. I feel like I spend half my day sending and responding to “quick emails” and I’m having trouble getting the hang of how to bill that time.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Here is what works for me: I use manic time to track everything I do on my computer. For all the big tasks, I can just drag, drop and label my time. It is very easy to see the chunks of time and I don’t have to remember to write down when I start and stop.

      I have my outlook set to copy myself on every outgoing email. That way I have a record of all sent and received emails for the day. I don’t sort my emails until I have done that days billing (ie: entered the little time onto manic time.)

      I keep a notepad outside my office on a file cabinet next to my inbox. I tend to sign stuff my assistant prepares there or glance at mail and put it into my assistant’s box without it going into my office. Everything I touch gets written on that notepad with the day on it.

      Time entry – using manic time, I get all the big stuff covered first. It shows idle when I don’t use the computer for 6 minutes or more. It shows when I’m on the web and on what website. When I cover the big stuff, I obviously leave blank the chunks of time on here or otherwise screwing off online. If I’m away from my desk less than 6 minutes (bathroom, drink) I don’t deduct for it.

      Then I go through my email list and fill in a .1 for each client that I emailed on that wasn’t captured on the big entries. If there are lots of emails, they get a .2. If there are a couple that collectively took less than 6 minutes they get a .1. If there are tons, they get a .5. I do the same thing for all the tasks I wrote on that note pad outside my office. .1 if there is 1 or a couple that didn’t take long. .2 if there are a bunch. Etc. I enter it all on manic time which ends up exported to excel and entered to our firm’s time software by my assistant. Sometimes to get all the .1′s in, I end up recording over time that I was on the net. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do those tasks though. It just means I did them without scrolling away long enough for it to make a dent in my tracking software. For example, I could be on a call with this site open and tracking software would list me as on here. I would still tag the time for the client call because obviously that was what I was doing.

      I catch so much of the little things that way.

      Small firm, informal goal of 1700/year billed. With all my other firm time I probably do well over 2000/year but lots of that is not billable.

      I definitely waste way too much time on personal stuff at work though.

    • I only “stop the clock” for breaks that 1) are longer than a billing increment (6 or 15 minutes, depending on the client) and 2) involve me totally zoning out and not thinking at all about the matter. I justify this because there is no way someone can work efficiently for hours on end on a matter and not take time to clear their head for a few minutes. In addition, I think that if I don’t change who I’m billing for when I answer brief phone calls or emails about another matter, it will all even out over time (that is, when I answer an email about Y while billing to X, it is equally likely the next day that I will have to answer a phone call about X while billing to Y).

      • We bill for EVERYTHING, even our snacks from crumbs. The ONLEY rule is that we must talk business at least once every 15 minutes, even for 20 seconds. Yesterday, we all sat in the conferenece room talking about boat’s and summer vacation’s for 2 hours! We even had lunch brought in b/c it was raining to hard to go out. The Manageing partner told all 7 of us to bill back 100% of our time to our WORST cleint and he would bill the lunch to one of his Cleint’s.

        I have no TROUBEL billeing. 3100 hours each year even tho I onley work less then 1200 hours in real time. Yay!!!!! The Manageing partner calls me the prettiest billeing machine east of the Misippi river!!!!! Yay!!!

    • Paralegal :

      I’m a paralegal so I don’t have billable hour requirements (fortunately), but I do have billable time.

      Our firm use DTE for time entry which has a built-in timer. It was annoying to get used to, but now I love it. I start and stop the timer for just about everything. A 30 second phone call from my boss? Probably keep billing. Bathroom break? Coworker stops to chat? Stop billing. The time entries are easily editable if I accidentally leave the timer running or forget to turn it on. We bill in 6 minute increments, so sometimes I don’t bother with the timer if I know I’m only doing .1 hours worth of work.

      But I’m pretty sure a coworker pads his hours. I’ve seen his time entries (another coworker noticed that his billables were ridiculously high and pointed it out to me)- we do the same work and there is just no way it actually takes that long to do certain tasks.

    • We also use DTE for billing and I stop the timer whenever I do something that is not work related, regardless of how small it is (bathroom breaks, short phone call from a friend, texting, checking gmail, going downstairs to buy lunch, etc.). I find that in a typical day I “lose” about 1-2 hours — closer to 1 if I’m very busy (less likely to take unnecessary breaks), closer to 2-3 hours if I’m not under time pressure and frequently take breaks to read this site, online shop, etc.

      My firm doesn’t really have a target, all that matters is that you’re generally in line with the rest of the department at your seniority level. So if it was generally a slow year for your department, billing 1700-1800 hours is totally fine, but if the department is slammed, you better be billing 2000+. Last year I billed around 2100 and that seemed fine (although there were two bad 280+ months in there that I would rather not repeat!!). I keep track of whether or not I’m on target month-to-month — I bill at least 150/month, period, unless I went on a long vacation that month, and I bill at least 7-8 hours a day, except for some Fridays. If have a few months that are crazy (over 250) then I just don’t really worry that much about minimums for the rest of the year.

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