Coffee Break: 23andMe

Micah's DNA, originally uploaded to Flickr from micahb37.Here’s a gift idea for the science lovers in your life: DNA testing. Yes, seriously. You’ve actually been able to get it done commercially for a while now, but last week, my father excitedly emailed me to let me know that the main company that does it — 23 and Me — just lowered their price to $99, which, as Wired put it, makes testing your DNA cheaper than an iPhone 5.  I can see a lot of positive reasons to do it — know which diseases you’re more susceptible to, trace your ethnic heritage, and generally participate in learning more about our DNA.  23andMe




  1. Know your recipient though. I would hate, hate, hate this kind of present!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I agree. This could be a dangerous gift, especially if the recipient has a history of certain diseases in their family that may have already led them to consider, and opt against, DNA testing.

      • Agreed. It could be a very loaded gift.

        • My Dad died young of one of those awful, comes-out-of-nowhere miserable diseases and I can’t even handle vague references to me “being careful” about it. (There is no way to “be careful” about it, and by the time you’re diagnosed there isn’t much to be done anyway, but thanks for the reminder!) I would never want to know if I have the potential to get it, as that knowledge would be equally useless pending any new treatment discoveries.

          I think it would be SO easy to get this one wrong. So much so that I’d err on the side of no way.

          • Not that you should get tested necessarily, and not that everyone should be giving out DNA kits as gifts. But this kind of testing can be useful for conditions that are hereditary.

            For example, I have a friend who nearly went blind from a retinal detachment, and whose father went blind from a retinal detachment around the same age. They both have certain other medical issues and physical features that are unusual, and my friend learned recently that these things can all be manifestations of a few genetic conditions that can be passed on. He got tested, found out what he had, and decided that when he has kids, they will be adopted.

            Similarly, my mom has a condition that is degenerative and affects brain and motor skills. If it were genetic, I would absolutely get tested (when I first found out, I tried to get tested, before learning that it isn’t genetic, so far as researchers know) because it would affect some of the life decisions I would be making — when to have kids, where to live, what kind of career to pursue.

            My aunt had breast cancer, and then got ovarian. She convinced her daughter to participate in a mother-daughter breast cancer study, and her daughter (my cousin) learned at the age of 25 that she is at a very high risk for breast cancer because of certain genetic features. So she is now on the pill, going for annual mammograms, and taking other preventative/detective measures to reduce her risk. This isn’t exactly DNA testing, but it’s not so different.

            Again, not that anyone has an ethical obligation, but it’s not necessarily the “wrong” thing to do, depending on risks and personality.

          • Right. I’m just saying for me, since this disease can’t be prevented or mitigated in any way and is not treatable, there isn’t any health benefit in knowing whether I may get it. The only thing I could do is live my life assuming it will end painfully and expensively around age 50 (I’m 31 now). I’m sorry that this is so dark, but it may give a sense of where some people are coming from with the idea of testing.

          • springtime :

            Monday- sorry to hear about your dad. Sounds like you have had to face some tough thoughts on this issue. :(

    • Nothing says holiday cheer like a gift to help you determine the horrible way you may die. Not for me!!!

      • Olivia Pope :

        I would love to do this for myself, but I would NEVER give this to someone as a gift. Unless someone dear to me said, “I would just adore getting genetically tested but I can’t justify the expense!”

      • It could ALSO be used productieveley, to determine thing’s like whether we are related to other peeople!

        It would be VERY interesting if my father, who rejected joining MENSA, was related to other very smart peeople, and if so, WHO they are. Genetic’s aside, I would like to know if we are REALLY desended from Russian royalty, as Grandma Leyeh said, or whether we are just desendent’s of commoners. That would be a FOOEY!

        If that is what this kind of test can do, I am ALL for it. YAY!

        For now, I may get this for my dad, b/c whatever he is desended from, so am I. I could also get one for my mom, but I think I get my SMART’s from my dad, and the Barshevsky line.

        If I get it and I am desended from Royalty, mabye the manageing partner will give me a better office! That would be a major COO for me! Yay!!!!!!

    • Or the recipient is someone with background in genetics and understands that most of the conclusions that are drawn from this testing are a bit of a reach. Many of the effect sizes are very small and some of the data come from studies done in very small groups.

      Just FYI, you can opt out of some of the results. Like if you think you are at increased risk for Alzheimer disease, you can ask 23andme not to disclose those results.

      If this generates any questions, I apologize for not responding. My posts still end up in moderation and after about 5 tonight, I’m not sure if I’ll look back at this site until tomorrow.

      • I hope you read this tomorrow, as you seem to know a bit about the 23andme site. My child, now 21, is adopted and has expressed an interest in determining his birth origins. We think he is part African and part Hispanic and perhaps has some Asian thrown in. Do you, or does anyone here, know if this DNA site (the lawyer in me keeps typing “cite”) can confirm his background?

        Mahalo (okay, yes, I’m from Hawaii)

        • Jade, if you go to the 23 and me website, they have a FAQ that answers some questions like these. Their FAQ, for example, says that the test can show evidence (but not proof) of Native American ancestry.

      • Saacnmama :

        Why would you want to opt out of the part that would more likely be positive? Seems to me the helpfulness is in knowing what’s down the road for you, same as preggo women get checked to see it the babe will have birth defects. Knowing about it lets you plan and set things up as helpfully as possible.

  2. This is actually really cool! I may consider doing it for myself.

    A sweet TJ: What is your favorite holiday cookie to bake/eat? I’ll go first: I created a recipe this year for Cherry Cordial Devil’s food cookies, and they are AMAZING! Which makes those my favorite at the moment.

    • I’ve been making peppermint bark and the smitten kitchen’s chocolate caramel crack(ers) recipe a lot this season.

      • And I love gingerbread men at this time of year, but I don’t have a recipe for it.

        • I loooooove gingerbread. I don’t make it, but I snarf up embarrassing quantities of it.

          • I love soft gingerbread (cake texture). With lemon sauce, it’s divine!

          • I love soft gingerbread as well, but have never found a recipe that gives me the flavor and texture that I want. I keep trying though!

          • If you reeeeallly like ginger, try David Lebovitz’s Fresh Ginger Cake. Google it. Pretty easy, pretty fantastic.

          • Apparently_Unhappy :

            I love Dave’s Fresh Ginger Cake. My sister and I made it last Christmas. Eas of a bundt cake with a super moist, soft cake texture. Really strong ginger and molasses flavor. I am salivating now.

          • That looks amazing, too. Ughhhhh why does [this website] keep introducing me to delicious dessert recipes that look simple enough for even non-baking-inclined me…

          • The best recipe for soft gingerbread is Buy a Box of Trader Joe Gingerbread Mix. Then make a glaze with powdered sugar and lemon juice. Easy and very good.

          • I am going to have to try that cake! I love gingerbread with homemade whipped cream, but I will definitely try lemon sauce too.

        • The best gingerbread cookie recipe is Martha Stewart’s “Basic Gingerbread Cookies.” Don’t omit the pepper. The unbaked dough freezes spectacularly, too.

      • anon in tejas :

        I made gingerbread cake balls this year to give as gifts. very well received. they smell like christmas, they taste divine and they look pretty too.

        • Sounds delicious. Recipe?

          • I don’t know how anon in tejas makes them, but I’ve done standard cake balls using gingerbread cake mix, cream cheese frosting, and white chocolate coating.

            If you haven’t made cake balls before, you bake a cake according to box instructions, let cool, and crumble and mix with frosting (1 box cake mix to 3/4-1 can frosting–I don’t think it’s worth making these from scratch for this purpose). Form mixture into balls and cool (freeze/refrigerate) so they hold their shape. Melt chocolate and dip the cake/frosting ball mixture–we usually use toothpicks and baby forks (the kind for eating lobster). Decorate and allow to cool so the chocolate hardens.

          • anon in tejas :

            I used Kelsey Nixons recipe from CookingChannel. I used orange instead of lemon, and I used store bought frosting instead of making my own. I also HAD to use bark instead of white chocolate to coat. White Chocolate was waaay too heavy.

          • Thanks! I love gingerbread – will attempt :)

      • I’ve been making these, too, Bunkster! My fiance, my mom, and I had a big baking day. We realized that we all really love the “melt chocolate chips, mix them with something, and then let it cool” treats more than the oven-baked treats.

        Those salted caramel crack(ers) are amazing.

        • How do you do this (melt chocolate chips, mix them with something, and let cool) without the chocolate getting grainy? When I melt chocolate chips, the texture isn’t good once cooled. Is it the type of chocolate? Temperature? Something else?

          • Make sure there’s not even a drop of water in the pan. That’ll give you a grainy mess. If you use a double boiler make sure steam doesn’t condense in your pan. All utensils scrupulously dry. no wooden spoons, they can absorb moisture.

          • Yes, water is the enemy of melting chocolate. Also, temperature is a big thing. If the chocolate gets too hot it will become grainy.

            If I’m melting in the microwave, I start with about 15-20 second intervals and stir after each interval. Most of the time, all of the chocolate is not melted, but once you stir it together it will melt. That’s better than trying to get all of it to melt without stirring. (I hope that makes sense.) Also when I do it over the stove I do the same stirring thing.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            I accept that mine will never be as perfect as a professionals, because professionals own chocolate tempering machines. (I worked in a bakery one summer in college. I want a chocolate temperer. But they’re super expensive). But yes, avoid water as much as possible and stir a lot.

          • Chocolate chips are generally harder to melt than bars of chocolate and I don’t recall the science behind it. Bars of chocolate are better. Also, if chocolate chips are hotter than they look, so microwave and stir in intervals.

            My recipes this year are all from the Bouchon cookbook:
            – oatmeal raisin cookies
            – pecan sandies
            – shortbread
            – Speculoos cookies

          • Oh yeah, like eek said, the type of chocolate is really important. I think the experts recommend something with higher cacao percentages. Maybe somewhere above 60%? Also chopping it into smaller pieces works well too.

            I think this thread is outing me as a closet baker :)

            Those speculoos cookies sound amazing. I’ve just been introduced to speculoos/cookie butter. I made molten chocolate lava cakes with speculoos butter in the middle a while ago, and that was my first foray into the amazing substance!

          • I just use the microwave for the chocolate chips – for both the smitten kitchen recipe and the peppermint bark.

            For the peppermint bark, I don’t use white chocolate chips, though. Those do become grainy. I use ghirardelli white chocolate bars, instead.

          • Oops, sorry for the Smitten Kitchen recipe I just follow the directions. For the bark, I melt the chips in the microwave.

        • I use the stove. Medium heat, stirring constantly. I find that a normal spoon from your silverware drawer works well in a small saucepan for stirring. I tried using a silicon spatula, but it didn’t press hard enough.

          Follow the directions for the smitten kitchen caramel crack(ers).

          Also, don’t get disheartened. It takes a little practice to melt chocolate chips. If you have a big bag of chips, try melting 1 cup of chips. If they get grainy, scrape the whole thing into the trash, wash and dry the pot, get a new clean dry spoon, and start again with new chips. There’s no way to really fix grainy chips, so it’s better to just start over with new ones.

          • Not sure if you guys mean that the chips actually become grainy or if you guys are referring to chocolate that has seized. Chocolate will seize (become a hard grainy ball) if moisture gets in to it while melting, as others have indicated. Strangely, you can reverse the process by adding more liquid.

            Usually I use a bit of vegetable oil, but warm water or milk works as well. Put the seized chocolate over a double boiler (or in a pan over a pot with boiling water, add a teaspoon of liquid at a time, and whisk until smooth and melted. Be careful that you don’t add too much liquid, or the chocolate won’t harden as well once it returns to room temperature.

            I just had to follow this process last night so it is fresh in my mind :)

    • I’ve been making a lot of lemon tarts (because they are easy) but am planning on bringing ginger cookies to work on Friday.

    • My two favorites are peanut butter blossoms and an italian cookie called ricciarelli (an almond cookie).

      My hubbies’ favorite is snickerdoodle.

      • mmm, snickerdoodle. I hate this thread. Good thing the grocery store just closed or I might be in trouble.

    • I haven’t baked for Christmas in awhile, but I used to make cutout cookies (a butter cookie with nutmeg – my great grandmother’s recipe) and molasses peppermint cookies.

    • My grandfather’s shortbread cookies. Divine. It is a very, very good thing that he/my mother only makes them at Christmas.

    • My mom’s sugar cookies with icing (I’m too lazy to spend time decorating cookies and using cookie cutters). I also made up a recipe that combined several different options for Nutella cookies with chocolate chips. I really liked how they turned out and they were perfect for a chocolate craving.

    • eastbaybanker :

      Rosemary shortbread!

    • anon in tejas :

      I made gingerbread cake balls this year to give as gifts. very well received. they smell like christmas, they taste divine and they look pretty too.

      • anon in tejas :

        ^^ this posted twice.

        I also made snickerdoodles (smitten), world peace cookies (smitten), and my partner made mexican wedding cookies.

        trader joes has great iced mini gingerbread men.

    • cranberry bars!

    • I made rugelach for hanukkah last week and it came out awesome! Used a recipe from thekitchn and modified it to have nutella as the filling :)

    • big dipper :

      Snowballs (pecans and dough rolled in powdered sugar) and applesauce cookies with butterscotch chips. My favorites.

    • Whipped shortbread that melts in your mouth always tastes like Christmas to me. I need to get a new cookie press so I can make it myself – as long as you have a decent cookie press that works well, it’s an easy cookie to make.

      I also am a big fan of iced sugar cookies. I’m whipping up my cookie dough tonight & hoping I can figure out a time I can bake the cookies with my boys, but this next week is getting pretty full – I might just have to bake them myself so they can decorate.

    • Apparently, I shouldn’t have asked this, because now I want to bake ALL THE TREATS! Which means eating ALL THE TREATS since my husband doesn’t eat sweets. :)

  3. Trying again on (hopefully!) the right thread. Thanks to those of you who responded though! I’m still torn so I would love to hear more opinions.

    TJ – would you all consider a holiday-esque PJ box set (red thermal tee, red/blue/green flannel pants) to be an inappropriately familiar Christmas gift for a lady garden party attendee you’d been seeing for 3 months? If it changes things, I have also gotten him cheap concert tix but because they were so cheap, I want to add on something else.

    • I think it’s a good one b/c if you’re going to have garden parties, you may as well like what they wear to attend!

    • Sounds like you’re already familiar :) jk. Sounds nice. My husband love lounge/PJ gifts b/c he’ll never buy his own.

    • Anne Shirley :

      If you’re playing with the garden hose you can’t really be “too familiar”.

      • Haha. This. If you really want to have a little fun with it, throw a little lacy somethin’-somethin’ in there along with a promise to use it later. ;)

        • TO Lawyer :

          haha I suggested this on the other thread :P

        • Unfortunately, I have plenty of pretty little things and have worn a few to our parties. He’s pretty results oriented so he always seems to just prefer them on the floor so we can get down to the business of watering the plants (as it were).

          • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

            *laughing so much*

            I love that you’ve continued the metaphor. This site is awesomeness.

          • I just watered my monitor from spitting water while laughing. amazing.

    • Ummm, can somebody explain to me what a “lady garden party” is? I’m completely clueless, but right now my mind is going a million miles an hour…

      • LGP is a This Site term for s*x. I can’t remember when/where it was coined though.

        • Lady garden parties are my proudest contribution to this community. A former Gentleman Caller/gardener and I were having some gardening troubles this summer, I posted about it, and the metaphor has flourished, bloomed, and blossomed.

      • It’s probably just about what you think… To use another euphemism, it means sexy funtimes.

        • So please tell me the “party” part of this means a party of 2? And here I was imagining the most interesting open house…

          • springtime :

            Yes, party of two.

            I seriously love this metaphor. I have an image in my head of a real actual garden party with various activities (not the dirty ones) that have metaphors attached. Things such as: mowing the lawn (i.e., waxing/shaving), watering the tulips…there are more but I’m forgetting!

          • LGP is probably my favorite ‘ism to come out of this website. I love it.

          • It wasn’t invented by this website, I have heard it before I think

          • Thank you all for explaining this to me. I get the “lady garden” part of the euphemism, but I was stumped by the size of the “party.” I was imagining more of a “gala.” And that *really* changes the context of the pajama question…

          • Hey, it could be a multi-person party. We’re open minded here.

  4. anonforthis :

    to the ‘rettes who use the fb dating page- is there a way to delete my previous posts? i want to keep participating in the site, and i love the community, but i’d feel way more comfortable if i could delete my prior posts once there is no longer any commenting going on. do i have to ask the administrator to do this?

  5. anonforthis :

    to those of you who use the [this site] fb dating page- is there a way to delete my previous posts? i want to keep participating in the site, and i love the community, but i’d feel way more comfortable if i could delete my prior posts once there is no longer any commenting going on. do i have to ask the administrator to do this?

    • I checked on another fb group I’m part of and I’m pretty sure you can delete comments/posts. Just click the little arrow-looking thing in the upper right corner and one of the options that’ll drop down should be “Delete Post”.

  6. Blonde Lawyer :

    There is a company that makes neat wall hangings from your DNA. It would basically be what is pictured, stretched over canvas and framed. I think they look cool.

    • That sounds really, really awesome!

      Girl who’s dating the guy with no furniture, heads up! ;)

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Ha! That would be cool (though now I am thinking of the creepy ways I could get his DNA… um…)

        Off to purchase his Christmas gift today! Sadly, I will not see Dude With No Furniture over the holidays (traveling) so I’ll be giving him his gift tomorrow. Hopefully he gets me one too.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          Should add – I’d be much more comfortable doing this (“Wow, that image shows what’s inside me. Cool!”) than giving someone a report (or the opportunity to get a report) on their DNA, which would include what diseases they were susceptible to, etc.

          • I said to myself, “it’s totally momentsofabsurdity dating the dude with no furniture!” but I didn’t trust myself. I should start trusting myself more and talking to myself less.

        • Moments: I had a date with a guy last week who’s apartment is not entirely bare of all furniture, but is pretty close, and I thought of you immediately! :o) just so you know….

          • momentsofabsurdity :

            Ha! That’s funny.

            In fairness, to Dude With No Furniture, it’s not NO furniture. He has a bed (no comforter though, just sheets). And a computer on the floor.

            … yeah.

          • Yeah, this dude has an actual bed frame that his mattress is on, a couple of rando bookshelves but they have tons of stuff haphazardly piled on them, a couch that is also just somewhere to pile clothes, and a couple of lamps. So, more than ‘none’… but still, very much still a ‘college apartment’ feel for a guy in his mid-30s. ;o)

    • That sounds amazing! Do you remember what company? Or anything that will aid my Google-fu?

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I think this is the original company.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        This company appears to do it

        and on the bonus, they point out that they sufficiently mask the piece so even someone trained looking at it (once it’s created) wouldn’t have access to your personal health information.

      • e_pontellier :

        Hey Ms. BEF! How are you? We’ve missed you!

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Oh man, these look so much lamer than they sounded. Science has ruined me.

      • BEF! people have been asking about you in quite a few threads, how are you?? we have missed you!

  7. I made a mistake at work 3 years ago that has now come to light. Not going to harm to the client, but the partner is super angry. I accepted responsibility, will work to fix. But I don’t make these kinds of mistakes often (have never made it with this partner) and I am filled with dread about dealing with the boss. Worse – I may need to clarify how to proceed with him, and I’m afraid of how its going to go down. What do I need to tell myself to move through this?

    • Were you aware of it at the time it happened, or did it only just come to light for you as well? If the former, you might have more explaining to do (about why you covered it up) but in either case, I think what will make the partner feel the most comfortable is if you can show how you have not made a similar mistake these last three years, and how the way you work (check lists, other systems) makes it highly unlikely that a similar mistake will happen in the future.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Did you hide it 3 years ago? Or only realize you had done it now? Is it the type of mistake you’d no longer make with 3 years experience? I think the answers to all of these impact how you deal.

    • You should remind yourself that this was a mistake you made *three years ago.* And then remind the partner if necessary (discreetly). Especially if you are relatively junior, it would be pointless for the partner to be seriously mad at you now. That’s like being mad at a fifth-year who made a mistake as a second-year. Presumably, the employee has learned a lot since then and wouldn’t make this mistake now, and it’s a little late to be “punishing” him or her for it. Imagine if you found out when your child was in 9th grade that s/he had cheated on a spelling test in 6th grade. It’s kind of late to be grounding him/her. (And truthfully, even if you are senior, three years is a long time.) I would just apologize and say that with the experience you’ve gained over three years, there is now way this would happen again.

    • Hi – this is the mistake-maker. No, I was not aware of the mistake 3 years ago and it just came to light. It is one of those mistakes that really has no excuse or explanation – carelessness. This is not something I did because I did not have enough experience (I think . . .). Ugh, I feel a little better because I’ve started to be proactive in fixing it, but still. Thanks for advice.

    • I think that I can provide useful advice, as I supervise someone who, some time ago, made a variety of careless mistakes that didn’t come to light for a good while. A few things to bear in mind: it was a long time ago for you, but the partner is dealing with the fallout now, which may include, depending on the nature of the mistake, angry client phone calls, cost to the firm in the form of unbillable time required to fix the error, and damage to the partner’s relationship with the client.

      The biggest thing you can do: take responsibility clearly and explicitly, and apologize. Once you’ve done that, accept that you may be subject to closer supervision until the partner has regained trust in you. It may not feel fair – it was three years ago – but it’s understandable. And this probably goes without saying, but absolutely give 100% in fixing this and in all of your interactions with the client and the partner, so that there’s no cause for complaint regarding your current work.

      The partner is the one who takes the unhappy client call, and the partner is the one who ultimately has to take responsibility for the mistake. As someone who’s currently dealing with this, that’s a part of being in charge, but it doesn’t make it less sucky for the partner. My subordinate’s errors haven’t heard the client, but the client is unhappy about them and I never, ever blame him to them. In the end, it falls on me. But I *do* have reduced trust in him, and that’s something he’ll have to rebuild.

  8. Grr! I currently work with several non-lawyers and they are forever editing my writing in ways that are WRONG. The conjugation “has been” means something different from “was.” I put “has been” there for a reason. If I meant “was,” I would have written “was.” Also, the phrase “we recommend that” must be followed by the subjunctive. Please do not change my writing to make it grammatically incorrect. (I identify these people as non-lawyers only because lawyers are crazy sensitive to the EXACT meaning of each word in a way that normal people are not. When I put a word somewhere, I really, really, really mean exactly what that word says. If you disagree with the meaning, fine, but please don’t just change my words to pretty it up. Often the unprettiness is intentional and necessary.) End rant.

    • Grumpy Grammarian :

      Funny, I find that the attorneys I work with are not great at writing and grammar in general, including use of the subjunctive, that v.which (stateside), and the meanings of “fulsome” and “anniversary.” Applies to partners, counsel, and associates.

      • True enough. Most of my issues these days are about people being imprecise, but I do see plenty of misuse of lay/lie, who/whom, and that/which.

        But wait, what’s the inappropriate use of anniversary?

        • Grumpy Grammarian :

          Anniversary = the date something occurred in a previous year. But people talk about the “six-month anniversary” or the “90-day anniversary,” which doesn’t make sense. Also, to say the “two-year anniversary” is redundant; it’s just the “second anniversary.” I do a lot of contract drafting, so anniversaries come up a lot, and people misuse the word all the time.

          Also, people are really bad at knowing when to hyphenate multiple adjectives. “Third-party protections” versus “protections for third parties.”

      • Ha, one of my colleagues feels so passionately about the use and misuse of “fulsome” that I casually throw it in to conversation (wrongly used) here and there just to mess with him. Fun times in the office for grammar nerds.

        • I just had to look up the word fulsome – I cannot remember ever using it! Or reading it – though I’m sure I have but just glossed over it or defined from context. How is it most often misused?

          • Grumpy Grammarian :

            At my firm, people (mis)use it to mean “complete,” “detailed,” “thorough,” etc. As in, “This is a brief summary; we will provide a more fulsome review later this week.” If you use it correctly, you are most likely talking along the lines of “fulsome praise,” meaning the speaker is trying to suck up. I especially hate this word because I think people use it to sound more educated, or like they have an especially large and professional vocabulary.

          • Yes, people in my firm use it to mean “full,” or “comprehensive” in the context of a review of a document. In addition to Grumpy’s definition below, another meaning is “aesthetically, morally or generally offensive.”

          • I have never heard this word before. “A more fulsome review” sounds like they should be using the word “thorough.”

    • Maybe you and the non-lawyers need to work out an agreement, even if said agreement is “If you edit my writing I will brain you with a Cole Haan Air Talia” on your side and “Every time you use legalese instead of standard accepted grammar, I look at my English MFA and cry a little” on theirs.

    • My husband has this problem at work, because he works for a french company and they will occasionally (frequently) revise his written work into non-idiomatic English. It drives him nuts. He usually changes it back – or just ignores it and figures that its their bad.

      • Try assisting an English teacher who doesn’t speak English if you really want to take a ride on the crazy train. I know y’all lawyer-types have problems with the subjunctive and all, but I suggest watching someone teach an entire elementary school “Can I take a tissue?”, “What do you do last weekend?”, “Where is the building on the other side of the street,” and “I have a pain in my leg.”

        • A friend was an exchange student in Moscow in high school. They made her take English (huh?). The English teacher insisted that “wall-to-wall carpeting” meant there was carpet on the walls and that this was a very typical thing in American homes. She was not at all interested in the views of my (American-born and raised) friend.

          • Hahahah!

          • Yup. I’ve gotten into arguments over whether Americans my age say “bye-bye” to each other, and whether marzipan exists in the States. It’s really interesting how people refuse to have their beliefs challenged.

          • saacnmama :

            So do they argue that marzipan does or does not exist here? I first encountered it at age 16, in Switzerland, and to this day think of it as an “imported” item.

            On the language/translation issue: I used to translate technical documentation for a German software firm. The word “container” had been taken into German technical language with a very specific meaning that sounded really, really odd when I tried to use it in English. Made it sound like we were talking about a trash container/dumpster.

      • Zee Anonz :

        If I knew that I was the only one in my company with this daily existence, I would think your husband worked for my company. :-)

    • Saacnmama :

      I’m not a lawyer, but I use the continuing past and the subjunctive and other specific forms that can look funky too. I share your pain!
      I have been forcing myself to use less precise language in things like notes to my kids school. I know the notes are better understood, but it is painful!

  9. I just want to note that as of the last time I checked and paid any attention to these DNA testing services, they were unregulated and the scientific claims were unchecked. As in, you are forking over money to the group for “guesses” and then once they have your genetic materials, it’s unknown what they do with it. I believe they had major legal disclaimers about the validity of any findings, and they were all guesses, which was troubling when they were charging way more than $99 for not much actual information.

    • Anonymous :

      Actually, this place is great and has several reputable scientists and docs on their board. They aren’t strictly regulated yet because this is a very new industry – Washington is working on it. But the quality of their work is very good and all of the data is explained/interpreted using all the scientific/medical literature. It’s certainly not ?guesses per se (not sure why you would say that?).
      Several people working there are from Stanford/UCSF and they are also doing NIH funded and privately funded basic research. Your classic Silicon Valley collaborative start-up.

      I got my DNA done! Fun and interesting. Definitely a great gift for your scientist type family/friends, your hypochondriacs, people who want to know about their heredity (I kind of liked that part …) and people who are just interested in the latest thing.

      $99 is an utter bargain, and is way below their cost. I think it is on sale because they got some good press recently (they are used a lot in the press/TV shows etc…) and there has been a big influx of investment in the company. There is no other company right now that can do what they do.

      And of course they do not test for every disease, every gene… it is looking more at markers that increase your risk of developing certain traits or medical issues over time…. and only ones that aren’t under patent. I completely understand some people will not want to even open this door…. I have no interest in knowing if I am destined to get Alzheimer’s for instance… but they don’t give you all of that. I look at it like a guidepost….. a curiousity…. they highlight what areas I should pay attention to down the road (watch for diabetes… ) and are a great reference when I want to learn more.

  10. Mrs. AD/HD :

    Does anyone have any experience dealing with a spouse with AD/HD, either diagnosed or undiagnosed?

    I’ve been suspecting my husband has undiagnosed AD/HD for some time, and recent events have me absolutely convinced he’s got it. I’m trying to encourage him to see a therapist and take some diagnostic evaluations, but I think the AD/HD is actually getting in the way of him doing that. He seems unable to pick up the phone and make an appointment or follow through on anything. I don’t want to be overbearing (or nagging) about it, but I think it’s gotten to the point where he has to get help, immediately. It’s seriously affecting his life and our relationship. I just don’t know how to help him because I am so not like this. I don’t know how to help him get past his avoidance and distraction behaviors. Help!

    • Diana Barry :

      My H swears up and down that he doesn’t have ADHD, but I am pretty sure he does. He will never make appointments for himself – I just make the appointments for him and take him to them. It is super annoying, yes, but better that he get his health checked out than not!!!

    • Have you read this NYT article about attention disorders in a marriage? I found it super interesting.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have it. Diagnosed as an adult. My husband encouraged me to get it treated. If you want to ask him about being on the spouse side I can put you in touch. Email me at projectmundaneart @ g m a i l. He might be able to help describe the before and after.

    • My husband adamantly denied having ADD for many years, and I could never bring it up without it resulting in a huge fight. After he realized how it was affecting his work (he finally got a job that he really cared about), he decided to get tested. I offered to help make his appointment for him, and that helped a lot — Granted, whenever my husband needs to set up an initial appointment with a doctor/dentist, I usually offer to set the first appointment for him.

    • KansasAnalyst :

      I don’t think I have any helpful advice, but I’m on the other side of issue. I struggle with ADHD and I have my whole life. Medication and therapy combined made a huge difference for me, but it is a long journey. Hugs- it’s hard for my hubby to understand why I stop right in the middle of a task and go do something else (for example) but he has learned to be kind in how he reminds me of things I’ve forgotten. He has to WANT to change, and if he doesn’t think there is a problem, there isn’t much that you can do.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Would you be willing to share how therapy has helped? My doc is of the med-only approach and constantly wants to up my meds. I’ve refused and stayed on a low dose. My husband and I worked on tips and tricks to get me doing my share at home. I feel like the ADD is going well on the home front. I’m still struggling some at work, most notably with procrastination and avoiding getting started on tasks. Once I get started, I get hyperfocused and do fine. In all honesty, however, it can sometime take me hours to get started. Ugh.

    • My Dh was diagnosed as an adult. He recognizes it and is ok with nice nagging, e.g. text message reminders. Can you just make an appointment for him?

    • My husband cannot sit at the table for a complete meal. He gets up with a mouthful of peas, meanders off, and . . .never returns. He remembers something while eating, eg, “I need to check how much cash is in my wallet,” and then on the way to the dresser, he notices the bunny cage needs changing; Or he just calls someone at work and has a long conversation, etc. He returns to the table eventually, tho, because he’s the dude who does the dishes. He won’t have remembered why he initially wandered off and it won’t bother him that I ate dinner, again, alone.

      He also cannot attend concerts (except ZZ TOP, he cannot go to movies because he get so squirmy and he starts looking at me “(Are you crying, why are you crying?) totally ruining the moment. So I go to movies and plays and art galleries alone or with a friend. I’m a real introvert so that’s fortunate.

      We learned that my husband has ADHD when I was reading a list of diagnostic questions to my 8 year old son. My husband answered all of the questions affirmatively, as did my son. My son got counselling and Adderall and he improved. (Now he has stopped the meds and he’s slipping badly.) But my dh refused all therapy and meds because “I’m a Marine; I am manly, etc,”

      So, I’ve learned to handle it. It’s a neurobiological problem. Besides, he’s kind to all animals, old people, he shops, cooks, and does the dishes and the laundry and other such.

      He has a very bad verbal temper as does my son. This is harder for me to deal with.

      And ,when it gets really bad, see a shrink for awhile and read some appropriate books/articles. Especially as to my son, I get reminded that he was born this way (along w/ dyslexia, audio-processing disorder and dyscalcula.)

      I have recalibrated my expectations for both of them and we seem to be a pretty decent, albeit not easy, family.

      Good luck to all of you who either have or live with some one who has, ADHD. And take care.


  11. Research, Not Law :

    Thoughts needed:

    I have been given the option of attending an offsite meeting. It’s the annual face-to-face for a mult-site project. Other people from my team would be attending. No one else with my role from other sites will be attending. (Two were invited and opted out; One is interested but unable to attend for funding reasons). Issues regarding my work will be discussed, but as there will be no other representation for my role, it’s unclear to me to what extent or what value the disscussion would be. This project so far has been entirely top down leadership. I’m given instructions, not asked for input. I feel the group would like me to attend but are very understanding of people not wanting to attend.

    I don’t want to attend because I’m nursing an infant. I don’t want to arrange for enough of a milk stash to last four days. (I don’t have a current stash to use). I probably have enough time to do so, but I simply don’t want to travel away from home right now. I also feel bad about leaving my spouse with two small kids for four days, but he’d be okay and we could arrange for some additional childcare coverage.

    Is that a legitimate excuse to not attend? Or should I s ck it up and go?

    To add a twist, I want to attend the meeting next year because of the tropical location.

    • Diana Barry :

      When is it? Would you be able to take along child care? (relative or current babysitter) I wouldn’t go unless I were able to bring the baby and a babysitter.

      • Research, Not Law :

        February. I cannot do childcare there. I did that once with my first child and my husband swore up and down that he would never do it again. (I recently had to do a solo hotel stay with both kids and couldn’t agree more).

    • Is it feasible to fly in for a day or for 24 hrs and fly out again? (Assuming that people would be sufficiently flexible to schedule the meeting(s) relevant to your work around the time that you would be there.) Maybe not ideal but it seems like it would be easier to create a 24 hr milk stash than a four-day one.

      • Research, Not Law :

        Oooooh… I had not considered that! Could be perfect. It’s probably ~4-6 hour flight one way, but doable.

        Love this. I’m going to offer to do this. I think they would be willing to adjust accordingly. And if they are not, I don’t feel bad not attending. Thanks!

  12. Research, Not Law :

    A related gift idea is a dog DNA test to assess breed. We have a well-loved mutt of very curious origins and were gifted one of the tests. It was SO GREAT!!! It was definitely one of the best gifts my husband has ever received.

    The tests are apparently not all equal, so do your research first. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the company we used.

    • I used Mars to do DNA testing on our two mutts – one came out in a way that made a lot of sense (we thought she was shepherd/lab; turned out to be lab/Australian cattle dog but the breed characteristics and look add up) and the other one we think was just out and out wrong. That one we thought was pug/Chihuahua and the analysis showed neither of those things, and all of the breeds they identified had the wrong ear shape, for example… Still interesting though.

  13. Dating question: when is it okay to ask a guy how much money he makes?

    • When you’re moving in together and combining finances? I don’t know how that would ever be okay otherwise?

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I agree. Although you probably could get a reasonable sense of around where it is based on industry/job role/location. I don’t think I would explicitly ask that information unless I was thinking about/ready to combine finances though.

    • TO Lawyer :

      Agreed. My SO and I have been together for over a year but I don’t think either of us knows exactly what the other makes. It’s just not relevant (IMO) unless there’s a substantial disparity such that it becomes an issue.

    • Probably inappropriate until you are looking at combining finances/households and have to draw up a budget. If it’s a vacation or a purchase that you are splitting, a simple “I can afford to spend x for my share” will suffice.

      • Why is this not okay? If you are considering spending your future with someone, isn’t it important to know these things before you get too emotionally involved? Don’t you have the right to know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you get yourself into it? Why is this taboo?

        • +1. I think knowing someone’s salary and salary potential is very important. This is information that I think you get within the first three months of seriously dating someone.

          • It’s taboo because it makes the person think you might not want to be with him or her if the salary number isn’t high enough. Also, salaries fluctuate. What if the person gets laid off? Would you not want to be in the relationship anymore? If you know what the person does for a living, what education the person has, and what city the person is in, you have enough for a ballpark, including future earning potential. I do think, by the way, that if you’re contemplating a major life change, that’s something to share with an SO once things get serious (for some couples this might be at three months, for some it will be three years or more). So if you’re a lawyer in NY making $300k but you hope to move back to your hometown in Nebraska and become a schoolteacher, that’s something your SO should know.

          • +1 to everything TBK said.

            Plus, future earning potential means so much more than current salary. What about additional schooling? willingness to add jobs as needed? Those things are also very important to consider.

            If you’re concerned about dating expectations – 1 person throwing down for $500 dinners and the other person feeling like they need to do the same – that’s a different story. You should be able to talk about what you’re comfortable spending for a joint vacation if you’re going to be taking one together. But those things sort of come up as you progress together.

          • saacnmama :

            Not just future earnings–attitudes towards money are so important. One person might be perfectly able to pony up $500 for a dinner, but for most folks, doing so several times a month would be a very foolish financial decision. You want to know if he’s splattering money everywhere and none of it goes into the pot for later or if these are just a few little drips to him. (sorry that metaphor went so bad!)

        • I think because we would like to think that we are not being dated/dating just for a salary. I understand the perspective that it will affect your future but you can generally have some idea based on profession/place of employment/lifestyle, etc. Frankly, I would be offended to think that I am an acceptable candidate for dating if I make $150K but not if I make $75K. Not to mention that this seems like an impractical way to predict future happiness — the guy earning $45K as a teacher may have a trust fund; the guy earning $350K in finance might have gambling debts and could lose his job. None of this is a guarantee, so people tend to focus on more meaningful criteria.

          • No Problem :

            This is why I think it needs to be part of a bigger discussion or series of discussions. Other topics would include debt (student, mortgage, credit cards), investments, general sense of family money situation (do you envison getting an inheritance one day, or do you envision helping family members financially now or in the future), and general sense of career plan (do you want to advance to partner/VP/big boss, change careers to something that pays less but is more fulfilling, be a stay at home parent), among others.

            I don’t know what the percentage is, but a really high proportion of marriages fail because of money issues. I suspect that many of those failures could be prevented if people just talked about money more before they got engaged and got married so that both partners were on the same page.

            So maybe you don’t talk about specific salary until you’re ready to have those discussions, but I think those discussions are important to have before you talk about moving in together, creating a budget, and/or commiting to spending your life with someone.

          • @ No Problem – I totally agree that those discussions should be had. Along with do you want kids, how do you want to raise em, city or suburbs, public or private, pets or no pets…. All important things. In fact, one of the things I really liked about my SO when we first started dating is he asked where I saw myself in 10 years, which frankly I thought was both cool and wise of him, not to mention a slightly better way of figuring out if you’re headed in the same direction goal-wise with someone than asking them their salary.

            BUT – the OP didn’t say anything about that. Her question was when is it cool to ask a guy his salary. That’s it. Not how he spends it, not what his financial goals are, not hisfinancial obligations, not how much money he believes in saving…. So to that end, I would probably have my doubts about anyone who point blank asked me that kind of question. But to give the OP the benefit of the doubt – if she meant when is it okay to ask general future questions of a financial nature, I would say when you are talking about future plans and goals in some meaningful way.

          • No Problem :

            @AIMS: I probably wasn’t clear in my response. I don’t think the OP should just ask salary and that’s it. It should be part of a discussion about financial obligations, so you ask the salary questions whenever you’re ready for that discussion to happen. As others have said, you can probably figure out a ballpark estimate based on job and location (I’m pretty sure I can estimate my bf’s salary to +/- $10k and he can do the same for me), so you probably don’t need to discuss the nitty gritty until you’re either planning a big purchase or vacation together, or thinking this is someone you want to be with long term. Maybe that’s 3 months in, maybe that’s 2 years in.

            Heck, this is even a difficult question to bring up with my friends, and I’ve really only done that once I know someone for a couple years.

        • Another Zumba Fan :

          You seem to want to know, so just go ask him.

        • I guess it’s taboo because most people wouldn’t automatically dump someone who makes less than a certain amount. As long as the person can support themselves and makes responsible financial decisions, I don’t care if they make $40k or $400k.

        • MaggieLizer :

          I think it depends how precise you’re trying to get. I wouldn’t be afraid to ask nor would I be offended at being asked, sometime after the third date, my salary range, or what people in my type of work typically make, or what I plan to make in 5 or 10 years. I think it’s a different matter to ask what exactly I make because it really doesn’t matter and it’s none of his business, at least until things are much more serious.

    • No Problem :

      This is an interesting discussion. I’ve been with my bf for about 6 months and I’m pretty sure we’re headed toward moving in/engagement within the next year, although we haven’t had those discussions yet. We actually had a discussion about investing a few days ago (what % of salary we put in 401(k), whether we have IRAs or other investments, etc.) but we never discussed salary. I thought I had a pretty good idea what his salary is, but then something he said during the discussion made me think it might be a little lower. I’m sure he’s aware that he makes quite a bit more than I do but I’ve never told him my salary. I came SO CLOSE to asking his salary but then didn’t. It’s definitely a discussion I want to have before we have the moving in discussion (which is also probably going to be the “are we going to get engaged and get married” discussion).

    • Doesn’t this just come up naturally after a long while? Maybe it is just NYC but people end up sharing their rent, salary, condo purchase price, cost of their shoes etc. at some point.

    • Funny to read all these responses. DH and I both work in biglaw, so we knew our salaries and bonuses the moment we told each other where we work. If we hadn’t known, I would have wanted to know on the earlier side, not as a dealbreaker, but to get expectations / spending limits right (will we fly to Aruba for vacation, or are we driving to a neighboring state? are we buying $20 birthday presents or $200 birthday presents?). But I grew up in a family/culture where everyone was very unshy about sharing their comp and asking other people how much they earned (and it wasn’t taken as an indication of human value). Perhaps it’s lucky that I never had to ask because I would have offended….

    • I was once asked on a first date. The relationship did not quite blossom.

    • My BF and I JUST broached this topic (after almost 2 years of dating & we’re now moving in together in January).

      For us, it was a pretty serious conversation, and oddly enough, sharing the intimate details of his compensation has added a new level of intimacy of our relationship. He makes A LOT of money but is very private about it, and I think he’s always had a bit of a lingering fear that girls were interested in him solely because of that. The fact that he trusts me enough to tell me the exact numbers makes me feel really good.

    • Miss Cellaneous :

      Date #3 is a little soon, but I think if you’re counting years rather than dates, this is an acceptable question. In all of my relationships, this has been volunteered in the course of casual conversation about money (as opposed to a “we’re going to sit down and talk about finances” talk).

      I think there’s also a difference if you’re wondering about the ballpark it’s in or the specific number. I’d find it weird to not know a pretty solid ballpark figure after a few months (or even weeks depending on the intensity). Knowing the number down to the penny isn’t such a big deal to me.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Hmmm this is a great question. My boyfriend and I live together and I have not asked him. I did sit him down to tell him about the amount of my student loans at one point because he needed to know that before we moved in together and he told me how much (actually very little) debt he has but didn’t say anything about his salary. He’s a public employee so I could just go look it up but I’d rather talk to him about it. I think that we make similar amounts and we split all our expenses in half. We aren’t planning to combine finances even if/when we get married, mainly because of my student loan debt.

    • I always enjoy reading responses to things like this.

      Perhaps I am too open book, but I’d be fine telling someone on a first date. I pulled my bank accounts and student loan debt up on the computer for my ex after four months so he could see everything. I know how awful money issues can be, so I trend towards too open most likely. I personally believe it is important to be able to discuss thinks that are traditionally “uncomfortable” sooner rather than later in a relationship. I do think however, that it can be finessed in a way that isn’t as blunt as asking, “So what is your salary?”

      I also agree with the posters who say it is pretty easy to figure out a ballpark with a little Google-fu.

  14. Diana Barry :

    Thanks for all the career advice yesterday, ladies. I appreciate it!

    If you can stand one more question from me, here it is:

    I don’t want to be a partner. I just want to be thought of as a senior person/not an inexperienced associate. I don’t want responsibility for marketing or growing a client base. Don’t super care about more $$ – it would be nice, but (a) I am stuck at my current rate until the partner I work for raises his rate, so I can’t ask for more $$ without my rate having been raised, and (b) I don’t want to work more hours.

    Basically what I want is a title change. So what do you think about asking for that (or something else, if it doesn’t just sound like a title change) and when would you do it? Not this review cycle – maybe summer of next year or next review cycle?

    • Anon anon anon :

      I did this by asking to be a “counsel.” it worked. doesn’t cost the firm anything.

      • +1 I think you can raise it whenever. But I would frame it as being of value to the firm. Do you know what your billing rate is? If you couch it as making your rate go down better with the client, and helping the client to appreciate the value you provide, the firm will likely be very amenable.

      • This is anon :

        When I went to “Of Counsel,” that was an increase to the firm–but not to me. They got to bill me at partner rate, but did not increase my compensation.

    • Is “Senior Associate” something that’s used in your firm?

  15. Want to thank this site for introducing me to Hart of Dixie. I started with episode 1 yesterday when I finished exams for the semester, and have not stopped watching it!

    • I mainlined the whole thing when I was sick a few weeks back and it is completely charming.

    • dude. Srsly. I kind of hate it but i Love. It. And I only ever started because of you people making me!!!! {looking at you TCFKAG} ;o)

      • Ha! So true. I love everything about that show except for Rachel Bilson’s acting skills.

    • You should also be reading the recaps over at go f&g yourself. They’re the best.

  16. Anon for this :

    I had a call from a recruiter yesterday for a lateral position. I am very happy at my firm and not looking to leave, but live in a smaller city with not a lot of big law positions, especially in my practice area, so it is extremely rare for me to get a relevant recruiting call. We have agreed that instead of interviewing, I will have coffee with the managing partner of potential firm’s local office to discuss if this could be a good fit. 2 questions:

    1) What to wear? This is not a suit town (suits only at court, business casual at every law firm, if not jeans). It’s a precursor to a potential interview, though, so would a suit be appropriate or overkill. Potential firm is techy and California based if that makes a difference.

    2) What to ask and how to approach this? I think the chances of me taking this position right now are very low, but I see it as an opportunity to make new contacts and open a line of communication in case I am interested in moving in a few years. Potential firm works only tangentially in my practice area, but are looking to expand their practice, so even though I’m only a mid-level, I bring a lot to the table because I have a very strong practice in this area, which is rare in our city. I just don’t know what they could offer me right now – I’m sure the pay is the same. So what do I ask?

    Thanks in advance!

    • 1. Business casual – it’s not an interview. I would think the partner would be in business casual, too.

      2. Potential to do the work you want to, where is the firm headed, etc.

      • I’d also want to know why they want to grow in your particular practice area (sounds like a niche area) and what they are doing to grow that area. Do they have lawyers in other offices who practice in this area? If so, are they talking about moving some of those lawyers to your city? Or would you be a mid-level lateral who would be working with lawyers in other offices only and, if so, what does that mean for your opportunities to progress at the firm (will no one really know you or would you essentially have the opportunity to grow this practice in your city with strong support from Home Office)?

    • 1) I’d wear something with a jacket (dress + jacket? pants + non-matching jacket?)
      2) What would make you consider moving? Money? More interesting work? More responsibility? Better shot at partner? Option to transfer to another office in a different city? If there’s nothing on earth that would make you want to move firms, then I wouldn’t take the meeting. But if there is something, ask about that.

      One thought to consider: even if you don’t feel like this is an ideal time to switch, if you’re a mid-level, your expiration date is going to come in a year or two. Firms typically don’t like to hire associates who are too senior because they worry they won’t have enough time to make an assessment about whether the person would be a good partner, and they worry that you’ll be too senior for them to mold you to their firm’s way of doing things. If you wait too long, you might have to wait until you make partner at one firm and have a book of business to bring to any suitors. Mid-level is prime time to switch jobs if you think you might want to at any point down the road.

  17. I’ve got the cooking equivalent of writer’s block (cook’s block?)– does anyone have any delicious, easy dinner recipes they’d like to share? Thanks in advance!

    • Turkey bean chilli from Real Simple. (Link to follow).

    • Preheat over to 375.

      In a small pot, cook 1 cup orzo pasta or use quinoa (whatever suits your fancy). Add 1 ts. olive oil and set aside.

      Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute some thinly sliced zucchini (2-3) and 1 red pepper with a tb. of olive oil, till soft and cooked through. Add to the orzo/quinoa. In the pan you used to cook the zucchini/pepper, add one more tb. olive oil and some sliced garlic and saute for a minute, then add one large can diced tomatoes and saute till cooked down a bit, ~ 10 min. Mix tomato mixture with the veggies and orzo/quinoa, add a little bit of crumbled goat cheese (2 oz) and bake in the oven for ~35-45 min. I use one pan for everything. Sprinkle with a little parm to serve. Salt & pepper along the way as you like. Also good made ahead and equally delicious at room temp.

      It’s super easy and amazingly comforting. Like adult mac & cheese. Something about it just really works amazingly well together.

      • This sounds really good! I think I’ll be making this next week.

        • It makes a bunch, so you will have leftovers but it reheats so well. I usually make it for dinner and then the rest for lunch and if I don’t refrigerate it between morning and lunchtime, half the time I don’t even bother with the microwave. It’s also a great dish to make for others – it’s my go-to for friends who just had babies. Something about it is just so nourishing. Enjoy!

    • I know this feeling. I often have luck using the Washington Post recipe archives; you can filter by main course, healthy, fast, etc., as well as favorite ingredients. To me it’s less daunting than sifting through a cookbook or magazine.

    • New favorite meal of late:
      Brussels Sprouts Supreme (we use jarred chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, makes it spicy, but so good!)

      served with Baja Shrimp

      Both can be ready in half hour. So delicious, and reasonably healthy, heavy cream notwithstanding ;)

    • Bon Appetit’s Chicken with Herb-Roasted Tomatoes and Pan Sauce:

      It’s super quick and simple, but it looks and tastes soooo elegant. It’s become my go-to recipe for small dinner parties, too, because it looks so much more complicated than it is (which is always my goal for entertaining!). I serve it with green beans (I like the kind you can microwave in the bag, then just add salt, pepper, and butter) and french bread. Mmmmm…. I need to make this sometime this week.

    • Emeril’s Chili Mac:
      I use ground turkey instead of beef.

    • Here’s my simplest/fastest dinner recipe:

      root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, squash, whatever you like)
      mushrooms (if you like them, i like Portabella in this)

      Oven at 425. Chop all the veggies into large chunks, 1″x1″ or so. Cut the sausages into 1″ pieces.

      Put 2 pats of butter in the bottom of a 9×12 baking/roasting dish. Throw all chopped ingredients in. drizzle 1/4 c. of maple syrup & 1-2 T of mustard (your preference) over the dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

      Put in the oven. After 15 minutes, take out, stir everything around with a spoon, flipping things over, put back in for 15-20 minutes, until hardest veggies are fork tender.

      Eat ;o)

    • If you have a slow cooker, this one is super easy and only has 7 or 8 ingredients:

    • anon in tejas :

      tomato and sausage risotto from smitten kitchen
      chicken broccoli and rice from best new recipe light
      easy chicken tacos from cooks country
      indian slow cooker (anything)

  18. My husband got this for Christmas two years ago, and he loves it. He still checks regularly for any new research published on his DNA.

    • I should mention that he wasn’t concerned so much about possible diseases so much as interested in his family history and background.

  19. Going under the google-dar for this.

    I just want to thank the women here for talking about hypothyroidism. I have some symptoms (including hair loss–only noticed it with my new stylist–my previous stylist was really good at hiding it) and just found out that it’s very common on my dad’s side. I have scheduled an appointment with a doctor. I would have never put the pieces together if not for this site.


    • Yay for thyroid checks! :) I’m a big proponent of them, because there were so many things I thought were “normal for me” that I found out were symptoms — but only after I was diagnosed. Good luck – I hope the conversation with your doctor leads to some relief of your symptoms (whether through thyroid treatments or something else).

  20. I found out through the grapevine that the Senior Associate I do most of my work for did not make partner this year, along with a bunch of other candidates. It’s hard to make partner at our big firm, but SA’s odds seemed pretty good, and better than some others who did make it. I’m really sad for SA, and I’m sure SA is sad/angry/embarrassed. What should I say or do when SA tells me SA didn’t make it?

    • karenpadi :

      “I’m sorry they didn’t make you a partner.” or (if you have a more causal relationship) “It really s*cks that they didn’t make you partner.”

      Because the SA knows already, you don’t need to wait for SA to tell you–it’s the elephant in the room.

    • I wouldn’t mention it unless he/she does. And then if I had a good relationship with the person, I would say something to indicate that you thought it was a poor choice on their part. Otherwise, I would just ignore it.

  21. Might be too late in the day for this, but what’s the hive’s reaction to the new Instagram privacy policy? My understanding is that after 1/16/13, they’ll own (and be able to sell) all of your photos. I’m so annoyed by this! Any thoughts, especially from the attorneys on here?

    • Cant facebook already use all our photos? It doesn’t strike me that different than facebooks policy except that it lasts even after you delete the photos.

    • Wannabe Runner :

      I don’t feel like any of my photos on the internet are safe. People steal photos all the time, add words, and make those “I Can Haz Cheeseburger” things or whatever other meme. I’m not remotely surprised. If you are concerned, you can take down your photos.

  22. This kit costs twice as much but I really want it. It uses your DNA to trace back your ancestry:

    • Anonymous :

      23 and me is a better deal. It does the ancestry too…. AND the medical stuff.

  23. Anon Interviewed (Help! from earlier) :

    I did the phone interview this afternoon, and it was fantastic! The interviewer and I hit it off immediately, and I was just really “on” and able to come up with these great industry specific answers with really good examples.

    Unless something goes crazy south, I am supposed to be hearing from her tomorrow afternoon to set up a face to face meeting with the attorneys in the regional office I would be working in. This has totally blindsided me, I really was just fishing, and now I’m I little freaked out. I mean…no question, move from law firm with crazy to in-house, right? There is just my small doubt of “out of the frying pan into the fire” which probably isn’t even founded in reality.

    The attorney that I connected with at that regional office has already reached out to me and offered to have a chat about what it is like to work there.

  24. You guys: I’m moving to NYC!! My husband formally accepted his job offer this afternoon. I am alternating between being completely over-the-moon excited and, frankly, terrified. He’ll be working in the Financial District and I’ll be working from home four days a week and commuting by train back to DC on Tuesdays (thank God for teleworking). I’m not a frequent poster here but I read all your generous wisdom and so, if any of you have any suggestions for 1) calming down and 2) actually, you know, moving to NYC, I’m all ears. You are all fantastic women, by the way — every time I’ve asked for advice in the past you’ve come through, and even though mine is a very small voice around here, I’m grateful for all of you being awesome.

    • How exciting! I may be requesting similar advice in the not to distant future….so I recommend re-posting in the morning thread. It is already quite late around here for most east coast posters.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Awesome! I moved here from across the country, so my advice might not totally work for you, but I’ll share anyway. If you have time while looking for a place, really try to get a feel for the neighborhood you’re looking at. Go get something from the grocery store, sit in a coffee shop for a bit, locate the nearest laundromat, dry cleaner, drugstore, etc, scope out the takeout scene, try to notice what time places start closing at night, and check out the walk from the subway to your apartment. I didn’t get to do any of that because I moved here sight unseen and while I loved my apartment and roommate, I realized that I hated the neighborhood. I’ve since moved and love my new neighborhood because it has everything that my old one was missing.

      Other than that, my advice for moving in general and trying to calm down a bit (even though that was totally impossible for me) is to start making lists of everything you have to get done and then start getting rid of all your extra stuff. Really ask yourself whether it is worth packing it, moving it, unpacking it, and then possibly wanting to get rid of it once you get here. It’s the perfect time to go through your closet and toss everything you don’t wear. Also, try to wait to buy new things until you get here and get a feel for your new place. If you’ll be working from home, you might want a different desk setup, but its best to wait and see what your place is like and what will work for you there.

    • How much time do you have? Will you be moving in a month, or 3? Any thoughts yet on where you want to live?

      If you’re renting a place, you should try to spend some time in the potential neighborhoods to get a feel for them as places to live, not just visit. Groceries within walking distance? Wine? (SO important!) Dry cleaner, cobbler, drugstore? All of these are preferably between your subway stop and your new home.

      Another note about renting here: if you can afford it, it’s easier to get a good place through a broker and pay the fee, which is usually ~10% of a year’s rent. A lot of landlords prefer that a broker handle the showings and screening, so a good amount of stock is excluded if you limit yourself to no-broker rentals.

      Let us know your thoughts and questions. Lots of New Yorkers on here to give advice. Congrats!

  25. Saacnmama :

    I love this dress! They have it for $50 at Nordstrom Rack. Unfortunately I’d have to wear it up North, where its cold, and I’m not thrilled about me arms. What kind of wrap could I wear with it? It’s fairly complicated with ruffles, etc.

  26. Sometimes I wish I could punch my boss in the face. I’m really stressed out about something I’m working on and I sent a really important email to one of my most important clients (related to this project) and my boss mocked the small talk I used at the start of the email. AUGH! FRACK OFF! I know I should just ignore his idiocy but honestly. Some support every once in a while would be nice.

    In the last 2 years I have – (a) moved across the country with this job (b) lost a staff member and had to absorb her duties (c) taken a pay cut (d) had the office move so my commute is now 1.5 hrs each way (1.5 years after moving into an apartment based on salary and office location from when my job relocated and I moved across the country) and (e) lost my window office in the move. The least he can do is not act like a jerk. Our industry is really suffering and companies are closing left and right, we’re one of the last ones standing – I know I’m lucky to have a job and for the most part although it’s really busy and stressful at least it’s stimulating and interesting, but some days…

    Thanks for listening.

    • Ugh! How annoying! I’m sure your client appreciated the small talk! I certainly enjoy exchanging pleasantries with business associates.

  27. emcsquared :

    Yuck, I just acted unprofessionally on the phone with opposing counsel. He said he’d only made clean-up comments to a draft. He changed all the defined terms, and rewrote all the language lifted ad verbatim from the letter of intent, and inserted two pages of exceptions to the indemnification language – the draft looked bloody and my client nearly walked away from the deal! And then he said that on a further turn he would only make clean-up comments, and I told him that the time was over for his “stupid clean up comments” and we would need to focus only on substantive issues from here on out.

    I *know* not to call people stupid. I feel bad for saying it, and I’ve never heard another lawyer I respect get down in the dirt like that, so I know it’s not standard for my market. The guy is a schmuck, but I should’ve kept my cool….any thoughts on how to deal with the guy going forward and how to keep my temper in check?

    • LadyEnginerd :

      I am not a lawyer, but I say take a deep breath and stop feeling quite so guilty. From where I sit, calling one person’s comments on one draft stupid (not even making a direct personal attack) when they’re trying to pull a fast one seems fairly tame on the scale of unprofessional ways to lose your temper. Surely you’re not that far in the muck for this one slip-up. I, for one, usually skip straight to profanity.

      Sure, you can briefly apologize for losing your cool next time you talk to him, and make an effort to kill him with kindness in the future. I’ll bet there are others on here who will help you with some brilliant professional wording. Before you do any of that, I think you should take a moment to be proud that your instinct is to stand up for yourself and proud that you have a backbone and that you put your foot down, even if it didn’t come out quite right. Try to can smooth things over from a position of internal strength that it was regrettable but not indicative of a larger personal failing. In my experience, if you apologize while you are feeling guilty and bad about yourself, an apology might very well come across as a sign of weakness to the schmuck you’re dealing with (and schmucks always seem to try to exploit others weaknesses).

      • anon for this :

        I am a partner in biglaw and my advice to you is to just move on. Going forward don’t let your adversaries get to you to the point you are flinging insults. This isn’t personal its business. I would say things like well you were a bit disingenuous about your comments, this is going to be a major issue for my client etc and try to extract some sort of concession. Don’t apologize … They derailed the deal and while your message could have been more refined, sounds like your heart is in the right place as a zealous advocate for your client.

    • In a situation like this I try to think like a man. Would a man apologize? No. And I don’t think you should either. He was clearly being a turd and you reacted out of character. It happens.

      I think moving forward you just go back to business as usual and try to count to 5 before responding to him.

      • Actually I think a man would apologize. And I think if a man did this to her everyone would be posting omg what a jerk!!

        I dont think you need to apologize, I would just move forward. these things happen.

      • Agreed, men often apologize in this scenario. The difference is that we women often overapologize. Just say, “Hey, sorry I got so worked up the last time we spoke. That was uncalled for.” A sentence or two, and move on. No need to grovel, or to continue to worry about it, or apologize in another call. And then when someone says something stupid next time (and there will be a next time), realize that it is better to take a few seconds (even if they think you have hung up the phone) than it is to respond immediately.

        It will be fine.

      • Yeah – I’m not sure if apologizing for being rude is all that gendered. I think its more that women are less likely to flip out, but I’ve known plenty of men who will kind of snap and then apologize later.

        I think if you *know* you’ve been rude, there’s no reason not to apologize. And not in the “I’m sorry I said it, but let me rehash the argument” way. In the “I’m sorry I was rude, that was uncalled for” and then just continue the conversation way. (Not saying you have to let them have their way – just don’t start the argument again…if you know what I mean).

  28. patent pending :

    PSA: the trina turk monarch dress is on sale at nordstroms in green and pink. soooo pretty!

  29. Merabella :

    Review of the orange GAP skirt and pants I bought the other day (links to follow).

    I love love love the skirt – it has a nice flare, but not too much, and fits really well on my smaller waist & larger bum. I think this is something I could wear a lot.

    The pants, not so much. I think I am a little to large of behind to wear these. The rise on the pants was just a little too low for me – and I didn’t really find them that flattering. They will be going back to the store.

    • Merabella :

      Pants –

    • Merabella :


      I also bought the skirt in tall – I’m 5’5″ and the skirt hits about 2-3 inches above my knee in the tall, I’m also wearing it a little higher on my waist YMMV.

      • I am wearing this skirt as we speak! I didn’t realize the pockets were sewn (and totally just asked to borrow a scissors in the cafe because it was driving me crazy). I’m wearing it with a black turtleneck and a tartan scarf. I basically look like a 90s Benetton ad but I think it is a nice festive look for a day of errands and a super casual coffee date.

        I didn’t realize I’d end up at Parliament today or I might have chosen differently.

  30. I’ve had this done and it was completely fascinating. Yes, you learn your risk factors for diseases, some curable and some not, but you also learn how you may react to certain medications, and what your ancestry is. My whole family has done it and it is so interesting to see what traits came from which parent.

    I’d also like to point out that it isn’t 100% telling you if you WILL or WILL NOT get a specific disease. You are just statistically more or less likely to develop it, which is also influenced by things like lifestyle and environment.

    Very interesting stuff. If you are interesting in ancestry or personal health it is worth taking.

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