Coffee Break: Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea

Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime TeaWhile I was listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast about sleep the other day, I was intrigued to hear him recommend this as a good bedtime tea. He noted that his girlfriend liked it and that the first night he tried it, it reminded him of the Quaalude scene from The Wolf of Wall Street. High praise indeed. So: take with caution, but if you’re having trouble sleeping, this may be worth a try. It’s $6 a box (16 tea bags) at Amazon. Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea



  1. separation anxiety? :

    I just adopted a young adult dog who appears to have separation anxiety. He barks and howls whenever I leave and even when I go into a different room and close the door. I’ve read a bunch of stuff online about how to handle this, but I’m wondering if anyone has success stories or recommendations to share.

    • Anonymous :

      Our dog has very bad separation anxiety, although she was never much of a barker. She mostly just whimpered and looked horribly sad when we left (and made messes in the house even though she’s house-trained when we’re around). How long have you had your dog? If just a few weeks or even a few months, he may just need time to adjust to you. Our dog’s separation anxiety steadily improved for the first few months and now while she looks very upset when we leave, she doesn’t cry. We caved and let her start sleeping in our bed because it was too sad listening to her cry, but obviously we have to leave the house and she seems to do ok, even with an eight hour workday. If it’s been a couple months and it hasn’t improved I’d take to your vet. There are meds they can give dogs. Getting a dogwalker might help (if he’s not scared of strangers). I’ve heard people say to get a second dog (so he has a friend) but that seems like a pretty drastic step to me. One thing to know is that boarding him at a kennel is probably not going to work – you will need to leave him with trusted friends or family when you travel (or take him with you if possible). Our dog has improved a lot, but I know she would die if left at a kennel for a week (or more likely the kennel would call us after three days and would say “your dog is not eating or drinking, you have to come pick her up”, which would not be a fun call to get on vacay).

    • I have a puppy but I was taught to leave them a treat of something yummy (Kong with PB), brown rice & chicken stick from Trader Joe’s, a Greenie, a bully stick (the latter being best because they take hours and will not splinter) every time you leave, and only give that treat when you leave. That way, instead of being worried about “guarding” you from leaving (that’s what’s happening, according to the dog books), they can have something else to worry about. I highly recommend the Monks of New Skete and anything by Jan Fennell. Good luck–I know this is hard.

    • Anonymous :

      What worked for us was: (1) ignoring the dog, i.e., no touching, no talking to it, no eye contact, 10 mins before leaving the house AND after arriving back home; (2) giving a long-lasting treat like a frozen kong before leaving; (3) leaving a radio on while you’re away. But by far, ignoring was what made the biggest impact (the idea is that if you’re calm, the dog is calm and dissociates your coming and going and events to be excited or sad by). What is also helpful but more difficult to do logistically is sticking to a schedule, so the dog knows that at X time we wake up, at X time we eat, and at X time mom comes home. Hope this helps!

      • Exactly this! Our trainer recommended all of these. I also felt that ignoring when leaving AND returning was the most important step. Before we would act SO excited to see our dog upon returning, lavish praise on him and give him affection, as if we were rewarding him for making it so long without us. It helped to act like this was all routine and our dog eventually learned to trust that we would always return.

    • Our vet had us work to break our dog of her “velcro” habits. We started with crate training her in the room we were in for short periods of time. So, I might put her in the crate while I did the dishes for example. Otherwise she was just laying at my feet. We used the crate training at night and while she was home alone for a bit but we were on opposite schedules at the time so she wasn’t alone that often. We graduated to her being out of the crate alone while we were asleep, then for short trips, then for the full day. It just took time.

      We also gave her things to distract her so she could get used to being out but in another room without us. A kong with peanut butter for example. Eventually just a biscuit as we left was good enough.

      Our dog also just grew out of it over time too.

    • Anonymous :

      Call the rescue league, stat. We adopted a 9 month old dog who had horrible SA and it was a nightmare. The tricks everyone else posted did nothing for this level problem. After two weeks of literally never leaving home without her, we had to call the rescue and talk about returning her. It was a crazy hard call to make, but encouraged by the professional trainer we hired to help and all of our doggie friends. The rescue completely understood and had us bring her back immediately. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but unquestionably the right decision as we couldn’t even be in another room for 2 minutes without the dog flipping out– that level of problem couldn’t be solved by us.

  2. Anonyclerk :

    I have been in my judicial clerkship for about 2.5 months now. I started off feeling pretty good, but for the past couple of weeks it feels like my judge isn’t happy with the writing I am giving him. I asked for suggestions on how to improve, and he just said that it comes with time. I keep reminding myself that he has dealt with new clerks many times before, but how do I get over the feeling that I am disappointing him (and myself!)?

    • Cream Tea :

      Review the finished product that he has edited and compare it with your draft. Take note of correction trends, and his overall style of writing. If there isn’t an edited/final version for you to study, maybe find a few pieces from previous clerks whose writing he was happy with.

      Also, you are not disappointing anyone! You’re looking to improve, which already shows you are keen to get it right. There is always a learning curve in any new job, and it’s only been 2.5 months.

    • Anonymous :

      are there previous memos from clerks/briefing attorneys that you can review?
      also, try not to make the same grammar/style errors repeatedly. When I was learning how to draft orders at my current position, I made a list of the common errors that I made and that helped me improve rapidly and effectively within a short period of time.

    • DisenchantedinDC :

      Not totally the same, but this morning I anticipated a language suggestion from the client I write for before he suggested it. Like, I was writing this item and somebody came back from a meeting and said, “Client wants XYZ in the thing you are writing” and I had already finished it with XYZ.

      I have been doing his executive writing for 15 months.

      So, really, it comes with time. Sometimes I find reading things out loud first helps me figure out that person’s tone and attitude. I don’t have to deal with legal beliefs or anything, but just from a speechwriting standpoint. It does get better, as any writing task does!

    • Anonymous :

      It sounds like you may be reading too much into this. Has he said explicitly “This is unsatisfactory” or something similar? It sounds like he’s just giving you lots of changes/comments. I haven’t clerked, but as an associate it is totally normal for your work to be torn to pieces by senior associates and partners. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing a good job, that’s just how they teach you to a better job.

    • Need to Improve :

      What kind of editing is he doing? Line-edits of specific words, or reorganizing the whole opinion?

  3. I just got a dream job offer! Attorney honors program, moving to DC in Fall 2016!

    So thankful for this community, the archives of which I studied like crazy to get ready for this interview.


    • Sydney Bristow :


    • Wanderlust :

      Fantastic news! Congrats!

    • Anonymous :

      Can you shed any light on the process? I used to apply for things like that but am now convinced that they just don’t take People Like Me (red state State U people). It probably doesn’t matter — I will have tons of loans to repay and DC is just so expensive. But I’d like to do something like that or a clerkship, but would probably start at any firm that will hire me just b/c I’ve seen too many unemployed top 10 / Law Review people to ever turn down a job offer.

      Congrats, though — it is nice to see things working out for a change.

      • It sounds like your background is basically mine — public law school in the SEC. I applied for the same honors program during my first year out of law school and didn’t get any interviews. Luckily, I was able to keep clerking; I just finished a two-year district court clerkship and started at the court of appeals this fall. A few weeks ago, I asked for interview advice here, and a few smart posters advised that the clerkships were likely the reason I got any interviews this time around.

        I’ve kept my fingers crossed that three years of clerking would make up for any perceived gap in prestige from my state law school experience. And for what it’s worth, both are clerkships in the same (beloved) state where I went to law school. So that’s definitely an avenue that I’d endorse. Good luck, and don’t give up! I’m happy to chat more if you’d like.

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks! I have just gotten the form letter back and silence, so I am thinking that it looks like BigLaw is in my future (but how crazy is it that you have to fight so hard for a job that pays so much less).

          I can think of one DC place that might hire out of DOJ honors, but pretty much expects that people will leave soon anyway to teach (which to me is also crazy, since I do think people teaching law school should have practiced for a bit longer than that or at least have some gray hair).

  4. TO Lawyer :

    I almost quit my job this morning in frustration. The partner I do 95% of my work for yelled at me in his office to the point where his partner walked in to see what was going on. I left the office in tears (walked out on him while he was mid-yell because I didn’t want to break down. I walked around and calmed down and came back to the office to get some work done to finalize what we need to.

    I am officially looking for a new job – please send good job hunting vibes my way… I need all the help I can get!

    • Anonymous :

      I cannot understand partners that think it’s okay to treat anyone like that, let alone their associates! Good luck on the job hunt- you (and anyone really) deserves better than that

    • rage quit :

      I come close to rage-quitting my job at least once a week because of this type of thing. Good luck with the search!

    • FOOEY on partner’s like this looser! I swore that when I became a partner that I would NEVER be a doosh to my peeople. And I think I have been pretty steaddy on this issue. In my view there is NOT any excuse for this kind of Behaviour. DOUBEL FOOEY on men like him. I bet he has issue’s at home and that his spouse is NOT enamored with him either! The men I know that act like that are super duffuses. HUGS TO YOU!!!!!!!

    • Cream Tea :

      This is appalling – you deserve so much better. And there is better! Good luck with the job hunt.

    • Anonymous :

      A year ago I rage-quit three times and everyone decided to pretend it didn’t happen. 11months ago I started in a job with a whole lot less crazy (let’s fight to keep the person who clearly doesn’t like working here). You will survive this and go on to be awesome!

  5. Anonymous :

    I was set up on a date with a guy in a different city by a friend recently, and it went well. I’m not seeing him again until I’m back in that city over the holidays – we’ve been in touch, and he’s excited to see me (and I’m excited to see him), but I’m not sure how much or how frequently we should be in contact?

    It was one date, but I like him, so, I want to show him I’m interested, but not be a stage 5 clinger (because I’m not, really, I’d be fine to just see him in December, but I don’t want to seem uninterested).

    • Baconpancakes :

      I hate resorting to love advice schemes, but the general gist of the “mirroring” approach works well in the beginning of relationships – with the caveat that you have to really mean it. You can’t just fake not waiting for his texts – you have to actually turn the ringer off your phone so you’re not waiting on his texts, go on other dates, make plans with friends, and keep being your awesome self.

      Note: as with all love advice schemes, take all this with a grain of salt, and don’t read too many articles at once, or no matter how healthy your relationship is, you’ll start to see problems that aren’t actually there. And yes, if you take it to extremes, it can be extremely sexist and passive and terrible – again, a couple New Jersey-sized grains of salt will be helpful here.

    • Cream Tea :

      Reciprocate, but don’t chase him. If you feel like you’re doing most of the talking, step back and don’t text/call for a while. It sounds promising!!

  6. Help! I need to make a green vegetable item that can be cooked in a crockpot as a side for Thanksgiving dinner. This assignment was from my mom, and the cooking-in-crockpot part of it is nonnegotiable because there is no additional oven or stove space, and it can’t be made ahead and travel. What are your go-tos for things like this? Any good crockpot green bea or brussel sprout recipes that aren’t super heavy?

    • Soooo, its not a crock-pot recipe, but I always roast brussel sprouts the night before thanksgiving. Day of, they get plopped on a serving dish, nuke’d for roughly 30-45 seconds, and doused with lemon zest (and a bit of lemon juice). Not quite as good as crispy crunchy straight out of the oven ones, but they’re perfectly yummy and don’t take up valuable oven space.
      Are they open to a cold veggie dish? What about roasted beets topped with pepitas and goat cheese? Or a veggie soup?

      • Anonymous :

        Split-pea soup (maybe with a little ham thrown in)? I always make it from dried peas and some beef stock in a crock pot.

        FWIW, Thanksgiving does not involve green vegetables (other than green bean casserole) or healthy vegetables (other than sweet potatoes).

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          If you think sweet potatoes count as healthy, you haven’t seen the way we make them in the South, where they basically count as a dessert :-)

    • Green vegetable that can take a lot of long slow cooking? Collards or mustard greens are perfect for this. If you want something lighter, Green salad. Steamed veggies in the microwave.

      • There was an AMAZING recipe on Salt & Wind today for pomegranate/arugula/squash salad.

        If you like Smitten Kitchen, check this s_te out. It’s run by a HS friend (who also happened to have Food Network show–she’s legit).

    • AttiredAttorney :

      I’ve done a broccoli casserole in a crockpot before. It’s not a “healthy” green vegetable, but it cooks just fine in a crockpot on high for the first two hours with the lid closed (don’t peek!) and then on low for two more with some shredded cheddar sprinkled on top 30 minutes before serving. I’d imagine a green bean casserole would do okay in the crockpot too.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Fresh green beans with a little butter, brown sugar and bacon are the go-to in my family.

    • Thanks, guys! We can’t do any more sweet-sugary vegetables due ot other items already coming in (so beets, carrots, and other similarly sugary veggies are out), and we already have a green salad. I’m loving the suggestions, and would love any more anyone has for a green vegetable.

      • Coach Laura :

        Stephanie O’Dea has the A Year of Slow Cooking online recipes (trying to avoid moderation with the dreaded S word) and she has a ton of side dishes that would be good for Turkey Day sides. www[dot]ayearofslowcooking[dot]com Plus, you get to read all the reader comments to see if you might like one or more.

    • Anonymous :

      Why wouldn’t you just make a bright salad- maybe with dried cranberries, some candied walnuts, goat cheese, and mixed baby greens? Does it have to be a hot dish?

      • For sure – we decided we wanted one vegetable that didn’t come out of a can and didn’t take oven space so a friend who is coming to my house is bringing this holiday harvest salad that my family loves – it’s greens and green apples with a honey lime dressing and chopped cranberries and toasted walnuts on top.

    • Google Southern Green Beans and you will find some crock pot recipes. They are selfish and perfect for Thanksgiving.

      • *delish, not selfish, but maybe selfish too because I could eat a whole pot of them myself.

      • Wildkitten :

        I make Slate’s You’re Doing It Wrong Green Beans in a crockpot.

        • I just looked this up and the recipe sounds amazing. The best green beans are always cooked to death.

          • Wildkitten :

            Eat them with greek yogurt – it’s so good, and healthy – not usually words I put together.

    • Will you be able to get to a microwave? I’d just steam loads of frozen green beans and then stir through a little butter. I could eat them all day!

      • Meg Murry :

        Yes, if you will have the option to use the microwave, you could steam veggies in the microwave (either by buying the “fancy” ones that are pre-seasoned in special steamer bags, or just nuking basic frozen green beans or peas) and then use the crockpot as a double boiler (veggies in a bowl, surround bowl with water) to keep them warm.

        Just don’t be my FIL and buy wasabi peas because you don’t know what that is and/or you didn’t bother reading the bag, and then serve it for Thanksgiving to the little kids first. (Totally outing anyone who knows me IRL, because I’ve told this story a few times now. Seriously, how do you not look at what you are buying besides “peas? yup, those are peas?” and ignore everything else on the bag, like the giant word “wasabi”? Or for that matter, my MIL was the one who actually put the bags in the microwave and then from the bags into the serving bowl, also apparently without actually looking at the bag or noticing that the steam coming off of it was hot enough to water your eyes.)

        Or if no one else has offered, what if you just did a cold veggie tray (possibly with dips as a pre-dinner appetizer) instead? Then you wouldn’t have to worry about cooking at all.

    • Anonymous :

      I would avoid cooking something like brussels sprouts in a crock pot. If someone has a fryer, that would be tastier.

  7. Speaking of soothing things…

    after a huge mental health breakdown in July, my primary care doctor gave me a small supply (maybe 5 pills) of Xanax. It really helped through the rough time and panic attacks. I was then referred to a psychiatrist, who has continued to keep me on the Xanax (plus antidepressants). Initially it was .5 mg as needed, but now it is up to 1mg every day plus an extra .5 as needed.

    While I take the pills as prescribed, I think it’s safe to say that after five months, I am addicted. As noted, the dosage has been creeping up. I take them at bedtime, and they really help with sleep/racing thoughts. They’ve more or less replaced a nightly glass (or two) of wine, and seem to have no side effects. If I miss a dose, however, I do feel headaches and irritable.

    My doctors don’t seem to see anything wrong with long-term daily use of the Xanax, but I guess it kind of worries me. I don’t love the feeling of being so dependent on a drug, but at the same time I think it has saved my life.

    I know a lot of you are also on various psychiatric drugs. Do you worry about dependency like this?

    • Anonforthis :

      You wouldn’t judge an HIV positive person for taking their antiretrovirals, would you? Or someone suffering from migraines for taking pain relief? Same thing. It’s medicine you need.

      • Veronica Mars :

        Agree. As long as you’re being honest with your doctors with how much and how often you take it, you’re fine. They’re monitoring you and think you’re doing better with it than without it. With psychiatric drugs, it’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that you’re changing your brain chemistry. That’s true, but you’re leaving off the next part of that thought–Yeah, you are, because your brain chemistry is broken and needs to be fixed. Benzos are addictive, so that’s normal (and to be expected, honestly). Your doctors will help you taper off when they (and you) think you’re ready.

      • This is a really good point. When it’s a chronic illness, you take your meds. Mental health should be treated as seriously as any other major health issue.

      • Anon in SV :

        EXACTLY. Mental illness is just like any other illness – some people can get better with therapy and lifestyle changes (whether physical therapy for a bum knee or quitting the sport giving you tendonitis or cutting out red meat for cholesterol issues or cognitive therapy to deal with intrusive thoughts), but some people also need medication to help manage their illness (whether lipitor or antiretrovirals or xanax). Yes, you may be dependent, just like my mother is dependent on her statins. That’s totally ok if you’re under medical supervision and your doctors think it’s necessary.

    • That’s not to say it’s bad. You said you had a huge mental breakdown in July; this may be a short-term solution. It may be worth having a conversation with your doctor about what his/her expectations are, if Xanax will continue to be a daily part of the routine, or if the long-term goal is to have you switch to another drug for maintenance (for instance, I take Lexapro daily, but use Xanax when bigger than normal events happen that would heighten my anxiety).

      And it’s not that you’re addicted. Addicted implies you absolutely couldn’t go without it–it sounds like you can with minor withdrawal. It’s just that you had to get the right dose down. That will fluctuate–I went from 20mg of Lexapro to 40mg when life went to hell then went back down again.

      That said-I trust my doctor-I love her and I know she saved my life. I didn’t like the person I was before I started taking medication, and I didn’t like the life I was living. If a daily little pill can keep me from having meltdown or alienating my loved ones, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

      • +1 to the differentiation between addicted and withdrawals. I was on Lexapro and definitely experienced moderate withdrawals when I went off it. It helped me tremendously, though, while I was on it (and has continued to help me even after being off). Going off was mildly unpleasant for a month or so, but I wasn’t addicted to them. As long as you are being honest with you doctor, I would not be overly concerned about your usage.

      • No, this is incorrect.

        Benzos ARE physically addicting, meaning that once you’re dependent on them, you will have side effects of withdrawal. Depending on your dose, it is not safe to just quit taking them. Xanax is very different from the antidepressants that people are talking about here. They’re different from statins. One other note — make sure that you’re not having alcohol at the same time as you take your Xanax (or any other benzos). That combination can be lethal.

        I’m not saying that OP should demand that her MD wean her off of Xanax, but the information being given here is not correct.

        • I think doctors differ in respect to how much alcohol is acceptable with anti-anxiety meds. I always thought zero too. However, I was flying with a doctor and when I declined a round of drinks due to my pre-flight xanax. I was told it was perfectly fine to have a drink or two. I’ve since checked w/ a couple of my own doctors/pharmacists and the responses are all over the places. One said so long as you are on low dose xanax, the amount of booze doesn’t matter. Another said one or two drinks is fine but you will get drunk a lot easier. Another said it is safer if you don’t. I understand OP is not on “low dose” but I just wanted to reply that the advice certainly isn’t uniform in this regard.

          • Yeah, I’ve been taking Xanax on and off for the last 8 years – sometimes while on a daily anti-anxiety medication, sometimes while not. I have never increased my dose from .5 mg, but I am sure mileage varies on this one.

            I have definitely also had a drink or two on Xanax and also used it to treat some of the side effects of a hangover. I lived to tell the tale. My doctor told me it is totally fine to have an adult beverage.

    • Anonymous :

      Some providers are very willing to prescribe benzodiazepines like Xanax for long periods of time; others are not. My providers are worried about the increased risk of dementia associated with long-term use of benzos. I have a family history of Alzheimer’s/dementia. So, my psychiatrist and I decided to try buspirone instead. I have enough anxiety issues that I definitely need to be on an anti-anxiety. However, I do not have traditional panic attacks. Buspirone has worked for me for daily anxiety issues.

      So, talk to your provider about your concerns. There are valid reasons to take medication; there are valid concerns to have with any given medication. Your provider will help you determine if your concerns are legitimate. If your provider, provider’s staff, or pharmacist are unable for some reason to talk with you about your concerns, then I suggest looking for someone who will.

    • Anonymous :

      First, I completely agree that you should view this as a legitimate reason to be permanently on medication. Mental health is health, and if you had HIV (as suggested above) or heart disease, you likely wouldn’t think twice about taking daily medicine.

      That said, “temporary” doesn’t necessarily mean “short term,” and July wasn’t actually all that long ago. If you feel uncomfortable about your dosage creeping up, talk to your doctors and start therapy. If therapy doesn’t help or isn’t helping as much as you expect, you can always go more often! Good luck.

    • Racing thoughts :

      I don’t have much to add about benzos but I noticed your comment about racing thoughts. I’ve struggled with sleep issues for years because my mind simply would NOT shut down for sleep. In fact, at night my mind would race so much that I often felt like I was panicking, and it would become a vicious circle of racing thoughts – not sleeping – panicking – panicking more because it’s now 2am and I’m not sleeping yet. I’ve found that melatonin helps immensely. It’s been life-changing. I started at 3mg 30 minutes before bedtime, but you can get higher doses as well. I fall asleep now almost immediately. If I skip a night, the racing thoughts come back. Just another option for you to try to help at night.

    • Do you know if you are on the delayed release or the more instant Xanax? A family member is on it on a longer-term horizon, but she is on the delayed release which she prefers because it doesn’t come with the instant and well-publicized effects, but still has many of the same overall mood/anxiety effects. She believes (no idea if there is any medical support for this) that she is less likely to become “addicted” because the effect isn’t instant. If you are concerned, perhaps this is something to speak to your doctor about.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you tried cannabis with high CBD content (the non hallucinogenic kind)?

    • I work for a judge who runs a drug court, so obviously my thoughts on any drug use, even legal and prescribed drug use, are colored by my daily experience with addicts. If you are concerned about your level of dependence on benzos, then you should absolutely talk to your doctor about trying to switch to a non-habit forming drug, like SSRIs like Paxil. Xanax/benzos are absolutely addictive, and trust me when I say it’s better to work with your doctor to make the change before you can’t stop without withdrawals. This isn’t to say that being a daily user of drugs to treat mental health is a bad thing, but don’t skirt the line of addiction if you don’t need to.

  8. Anonymous :

    It has come to my attention from some kind friends & family that I’m not as grateful or appreciative as I could be for all the good things in my life. I’ve had some bad breaks, particularly career-wise, but overall I have a very good life and many blessings (among them, a wonderful husband who will be a great dad some day, the world’s sweetest dog, two healthy and loving parents, a small number of very good friends, and two steady salaries that allow us to pay the mortgage on a beautiful home). I want to work on being more grateful for what I have. Suggestions? I’ve heard of writing down things you are grateful for every day but would love other ideas.

    • I mentioned this in the morning post, but I think a lot of people (including me) can focus on being more grateful. Besides journaling each day what I’m grateful for, nothing makes me more grateful than spending time volunteering. For me, it was at a children’s hospital, but any type of volunteering for those less fortunate would help.

    • I would suggest telling the people around you what you are grateful for about them. You could do it spontaneously, or make a list and then try to bring it up in conversation.

      I have done this with people I love over the past several months, not as a gratitude exercise but just because I am not always very expressive and want people to know I care about them. I was worried that it would sound weird / forced / awkward but don’t worry – the threshold for people to feel weird when you say something nice is super high.

      I initially made a list and then, when I was chatting with someone, if there was a lull in conversation, I would just say, “You know, I was just thinking the other day how grateful I am that you [fill in the blank]. It really means a lot to me / is so helpful / always brightens my day / etc… so, thanks.” Usually the response was “Awww thanks! You’re welcome! Awww.”

      That also made me more on the lookout for gratitudes to share, although I realize that I was taking it too far the other day when I very seriously said to my cat, “Thank you for not jumping on the counter while I get out your breakfast; I know you like to so your patience means a lot to me!”

    • I include five things I’m grateful for (usually 3 from the day, 2 bigger life ones) in my nightly prayers. When s**t is getting me down at work, I try to take a minute or two mindfully refocus on why I love what I do and how grateful I am to have the opportunity to get paid to do it–even if the details can get frustrating sometimes.

      At the same time…sometimes even if your life is objectively great, there are things that get you down. Just because you’re unhappy about some tough career breaks does not mean that you don’t appreciate your husband, or your dog, or your financial stability–it means you’re human and sometimes things suck.

      • Anonymous :

        “even if your life is objectively great, there are things that get you down.” ALSO, could be your brain chemistry, and depression. Depression lies! Get screened. Talk to your doctor.

        • Anonymous :

          I think people on this board jump to “it’s depression” waaaaaaaaaay too fast. People are allowed to be sad. It’s called feeling things. If someone says they can’t remember the last time they were happy or something similarly extremely, then yes, by all means talk about depression. But just because someone has a crappy job (or a crappy in-law or a crappy friend or a crappy whatever) does not mean they are depressed!!! Nobody’s life is perfect 100% of the time and people are allowed to feel down about certain things even if they are otherwise happy.

    • Is complaining a natural form of communication for you? That might be why you are coming off as less grateful “than you should be”. I mean, no one else gets to decide how grateful you are for anything – but a lot of complaining might come across as a focus on the negative. So in addition to being conscious of the good things, give less verbal/mental power to the bad things.

      • Anon in NYC :

        +1 to this. When I was younger I used complaining as conversation for a lot of different reasons – it created mild drama, it made me seem more interesting (in my eyes) because I always had something to say, etc. But I found that it allowed negativity to creep into my life. I made a conscious choice to stop needlessly complaining and I have become a much more positive and happy person overall.

    • Would it work for you to try to catch yourself whenever you’re thinking a negative thought and try to add a positive one? So if you catch yourself saying “I wish my job were like [friend’s]” add to yourself “but I’m really glad that [positive thing about your job]”, even if it’s just something like “I’m glad [work friend] stopped by to chat this morning — I really like working with her.” Not to say you can’t have negative thoughts (we all do) but just to use that as a trigger to think of something you’re grateful for.

    • Anon for this :

      While I agree that gratefulness is important and the internal meditation on being grateful for what you have or just positive thinking is important, I hate for you that you’ve been “reminded to be grateful” by people close to you. This irks me as much as “being reminded to smile.” I know I am very lucky and I am very grateful for what I have, but I feel as though there are people in my life who get irked if I am not constantly aware of it. My mother, for instance, is always one to jump in and remind me how lucky I am and how unlucky my brother is. As though it’s some kind of zero-sum game and my “luck”/success in an area cancels out his ability to be successful in his own (very different) area. So while I get what everyone is saying and definitely am a proponent of the power of positive thinking, I think that outside of asking at the thanksgiving table what one is grateful for, family and friends should butt out.

      • +1 – it’s helpful to have people call you out for focusing on negativity, but no one but you knows the complete story behind that thing you are supposed to be grateful for. Maybe the promotion brought in more money and recognition of success (you should be grateful!), but also means working more closely with a finicky boss or longer hours away from your family. You can be grateful for some of that, while still being unhappy with some of the results.

    • Anonymous :

      Compare yourself to others more?

      Someone with no husband or SO, no dog (my job doesn’t make it realistic), two disabled parents who require financial and other major support, almost no friends in my new major city, and no beautiful home…but I’m very very VERY thankful for my salary, even if money is really all I have in life.

  9. What differentiates good s3x from bad s3x or mediocre s3x? I am pretty s3xually inexperienced and I have a feeling that I’m pretty average at it. My husband isn’t complaining in any way and certainly he isn’t turning me down when I initiate. We both generally finish when we have s3x, but I feel like I’m missing something. I don’t have body image issues or a low s3x drive so those aren’t the problem. I just feel like other woman are probably offering more/are more exciting in bed than I am. Maybe this is just my Type A personality coming through.

    Will I get better at this with time? Other suggestions?

    (I’m not a troll. I’m genuinely struggling with this. I would have asked for help with Lady Garden Parties, but now I feel like that reference point has aged out).

    • Hi. Feel comfortable and confident with who you are and what you are interested in. Have a frank and honest discussion with your partner about that aspect of your relationship and things you or he may be interested in.

      If neither of you can think of anything s3x related to add try and make things a bit different to see if anything clicks or if one of you eventually becomes more honest/open.

      Be healthier. Eat better, drink less alcohol, sleep more.

      Try adding some mystery to your relationship by adding some things (update your underwear, make more of an effort to look pretty and to maintain thngs) and taking some out (burn your boring flannel pjs and stop watching tv in bed). Make a night for the two of you to have a romantic evening and finish things up in a hotel. Get a book and try some new positions. Switch things up and have s3x in the morning or meet up at lunch or whatever.

      Or go to therapy and find or why you feel like what you have isn’t enough.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I think this got flagged as spam and didn’t post until pretty late in the day- try posting again tomorrow.

      Good vs. bad vs. mediocre is entirely subjective. One person’s good might be another person’s bad. For me, I had a good long period of being active with a couple of casual partners and long-term boyfriends in serious relationships, so I had a pretty good amount of prior experience to compare it with. My SO is way less experienced than I am, but we both agree that our bedroom fun is just more FUN than it was with other partners, because we have more feelings for each other.

      Part of what makes it so great is that there’s no pressure to “win” for us. We’re both very in-our-heads people, and that really takes the fun out of it, but when we’re together, it’s just one more awesome thing we do together, that’s way more fun because we’re doing it with each other. If one of us isn’t in the mood, we’ll do back massages or just cuddle, but it helps that we’re both really open to being convinced to get into the mood, again, because feelings. Honestly, sometimes we’ll start in the morning, realize we have to go to work, and come back to it after dinner, and there’s no pressure, no hurt feelings, just casual and fun. When it starts feeling like work, that’s when you need to let up on the Type-A and realize you’re not doing this for anyone but yourself and your husband. There’s no jury to give you a 5/10. Are you having fun? Great. If you’re not, step back and think about whether it was super fun and now it’s just become routine, or whether you want to explore something different in the bedroom that you may not have gotten around to exploring due to lack of experience. Give yourself permission to not worry about your performance, and just enjoy the physical sensations. It might boost your confidence if you read a couple books on the subject – you want the ones that were published in the 70’s and are the step-by-step books.

      Good luck! And stop over thinking it! Really, that’s the main thing!

  10. I have had several teas from this brand and they all taste like licorice to me. I do love my herbal tea, but I think I’m burned out on this brand!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Agreed. I prefer Traditional Medicinals for “medicine” tea. Their lavender chamomile is a bedtime soothing tea, but it’s also just delicious.

    • This tea is basically just chamomile, right? Sleepytime tea (Twinings, I think) is chamomile + mint, if you need something to get past the chamomile flavor.

    • Thanks for the comment. I thought maybe I was on the wrong page. ; ) This tea is ok but not my favorite. I recently had Harney & Sons Hot cinnamon spice tea. It is yummy!

      • B from Boston :

        I am addicted to Hot Cinnamon Spice! And my supermarket actually carries it…

      • Anonymous :

        I’m a big fan of teas with rooibos in it (I think this one does, but I haven’t tried it) – Good Earth’s Sweet and Spicy (Herbal, not the black version). There’s a blend called Montana Gold that I also really like.

  11. Family drama about splitting holidays has me on my last nerve. Why does each mom think everything has to be 100% split down the middle? I kid you not, the conversation I just had was akin to “MIL is getting 6hrs of your time, so I should get that too.” no. No. NO. Everyone is going to Thanksgiving. My side and his side. So we’re all spending Thanksgiving together. If anyone is getting less, it’s MIL b/c she’s hosting! –/rant over/–

    Where is my inner Godzilla?

    • At least your MIL doesnt document hours-spent with family in an Excel spreadsheet in one-hour increments…

    • Fair doesn’t always mean equal.

      Or, deduct the time spent guilt tripping from the schedule time at whichever parent. Put that in your spreadsheet and calculate it.

      • I really like this idea, except it’s my mom’s spreadsheet. I’m crying with laughter thinking about how well this would go over, “Mom, we’ve spent about 3 hours discussing this including time I’ve expended with husband and friends discussing the guilt you’re making me feel. Please deduct 4 hours from your spreadsheet and we’ll schedule you for 2 hours quality time sometime over the weekend. management thanks you.” Thank you.

        • But, I’d work on that math before the hypothetical-sure-to-p1ss-her-off conversation.

        • I must have missed the prior conversation about this but how does your mom even know when you spend time with your in-laws? Can’t you visit with them and not even mention it to her. Obviously, holidays are tougher but a random Saturday? Just don’t bring it up.

          • Usually this is how we operate. But Thanksgiving is being hosted by MIL, and my mom and dad are attending. Somehow time together at MIL<than together outside of MIL. So, she's been trying to convince me she needs her own extra-special time for Thanksgiving doing one very specific thing that morning (no alternative plans like a nice brunch will do). So her guilt trip over equal time is extra cute because she's spending the same time with us (maybe more considering hosting duties) as MIL.

    • Ugh. Try being the adult child of divorced parents. Both grandparents are in the same town but a 7 hour journey from my house. Holiday timetables were scheduled to the minute, with travel time being accounted for. Delays had to be reported and documented.

      When my dad’s mother died, my dad decided to take a two hour nap before visitation, and my sibling and I took the car to our other Grandma’s house for a short visit (because we were in town and rarely get to see them).

      Oh, h3ll was raised because this visit “was for his side of the family”, my dad was crying crocodile tears, my mom (who wasn’t even in town) was called, and we had to threaten to leave town that night. After that incident, I no longer care about fairness. Tough cookies.

      Be strict and don’t give in to the “equal time” fallacy.

      • That sounds horrible and I am so sorry. That level of scrutinization on the regular but the added stress of a funeral… sigh. I have anxiety just thinking about that for you.

        Maybe we can all just promise to do better for our next generation? Are there any families that successfully share time? I need to know there’s hope out there.

        • lawsuited :

          DH and I share time harmoniously now, but the first 3 or 4 years were really rough with many tears and much gnashing of teeth.

      • Anonymous :

        Yep. It is a special kind of hell.

    • Anonymous :

      Ugh. My grandmother used to do this growing up. Now it’s just me (single) and my mom still pulls it. It is way harder now that my dad lives in Florida. When they divorced I basically had to come to grips with the fact that I would never make everybody happy on the holidays again. I dread adding in laws to the mix.

      When my dad still lived in the same area as my mom, about half an hour away, I was visiting him one time. And my mother kept calling me and saying “I want you to come here” (to her house), despite me saying I was spending the evening at dads and having turned down my offer to get coffee and pie at the nearby diner. I’m glad she was expressing her needs or whatever her therapist told her to do, but it still didn’t necessitate me kowtowing to her wishes because she kept saying them. I’m still working through that one with my therapist…

      • WestCoast Lawyer :

        “I dread adding in laws to the mix.”

        Or you could end up with awesome in-laws whose company you enjoy and just spend all your holidays with them! :)

    • Anonymous :

      Been there, done that. It is ridiculous, and I must say, that my mom was always much better about recognizing that my hubby has a family, too.

  12. Sleepy time :

    While I love the idea of tea before bedtime, I’m inevitably up several times to use the bathroom, defeating the purpose.

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