Coffee Break: Unicorn Juice

unicorn juiceLong ago, a reader turned me on to what she called “unicorn juice:” seltzer with a tiny bit of pink lemonade sprinkled in (or, at least, added to taste — I find it too overwhelming a flavor if it’s more of a sprinkle). It fizzes! It’s pink! It smells pretty! You can buy pouches like this at your local Target. An important side question: what are your favorite seltzer brands and flavors? (LaCroix? Spindrift? Perrier? SodaStream?) Those of you who enjoy mixing things in — anything fancier than old standbys like a splash of cranberry juice?  Crystal Light Natural Pink Lemonade Drink Mix

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Comments

  1. sheet mask recs? :

    I’m looking for a good sheet mask gift set for a friend who loves them. Any recommendations? I’ve never used them. Thanks.

    • anon a mouse :

      I like the Dr. Jarts ones.

    • Anonymous :

      Facetory has a subscription option (4 or 7 masks a month) or you can buy sets by skin type with free shipping (no minimum)

    • Anonymous :

      oooh. Ok so a lot of people like Manefit (korean brand), they’re available at some CVS and you can definitely order packs from SokoGlam. You probably can’t go wrong quality-wise with Dr Jart. I also have found the Neutrogena and Garnier ones to be good. What a great gift!! I give them as stocking stuffers all the time now.

  2. Does someone here use hearing aids? I’ve come to the realization that my poor hearing is getting worse and it’s starting to affect some daily activities. I’ve always had bad hearing (hereditary + a result of a childhood infection) but have managed just fine my whole life. Recently more and more people in my life have (gently) asked me about it (I think I ask them to repeat themselves a lot), and I’ve found some outdoor activities really challenging (hiking when the person in front is talking, climbing, biking, etc.). Indoors and in work settings I seem to be doing mostly fine – have no problem hearing people on the phone or in my office. When I’m in a large group I sometimes check out a little as it’s hard to follow conversations, for example with a lot of people around a table in a loud restaurant.

    I’m thinking perhaps I need to start thinking of using hearing aid at least for outdoor activities. I know I need to go see an audiologist, but I would love to hear (ha) from any of you who have gone through this process and what has worked for you. Thank you!

    • I have diminished hearing in one ear and have seen an audiologist who said it was not yet severe enough for hearing aids. However, it effects me in the same ways it effects you and I wish there was more that could be done about it.

      Someone once told me that another young lawyer I see regularly has hearing aids but I have never noticed them so they must be very discrete.

    • I think CountC does.

    • I’ve worn hearing aids in both ears for more than 10 years. I can fake managing without them, but life and work is so much easier with them. Mine are the over-the earlobe kind, which sometimes feel hot especially in the summer, but they are almost invisible sine I have thick dark hair.

      Any specific questions

    • I have congenital hearing loss that continually worsened, and I resisted hearing aids until law school and active practice. My hearing problem was amplified (ha) by moving to a new region which really made it hard for me to read lips because of the slightly different speech patterns. That plus cranky mumbling judges really created a hardship for hearings. I think it was also the anxiety of being a new attorney and missing something the Judge said. I also speak clearer when I have my hearing aids in, likely because I can hear myself better. Sounds obvious, but I really had no idea until I got hearing aids.

      I actually don’t use mine for outdoor activities because they picked up noises that made me look paranoid looking around at sounds I am not used to when out and about (e.g. branches snapping, gravel sounds under my shoes). I also discovered sometimes I like the world a little quieter. I only use mine in a professional environment.

      You should really see an audiologist and make sure you try several different types of hearing aids. I have bluetooth hearing aids that can be controlled by my phone. I can open up the hearing aid function on my iphone and pick a setting for what I am doing. I worked with my audiologist to create a setting for parties/ loud groups, a setting for Court that makes voices much louder than i would normally want just sitting at my desk, and then an everyday setting. I can manually adjust the settings too on my phone and also my phone can act as a remote microphone that goes directly to my hearing aids. I also bought a remote mic to use in Court for some judges I find difficult to understand. I practice in a specialized area and the judges have gotten to know me and my mic. However, blue tooth eats through batteries and can be a learning curve. Most hearing aids come with a trial period that you can return within for any reason.

    • Pen and Pencil :

      Go see an audiologist! A good friend grew up with hearing loss and didn’t realize how bad her hearing was until she got hearing aids at 17. It was absolutely world-changing for her. They are essentially not noticeable, and she is able to be much more present than she was previously. It was immediately noticeable to everyone around her how much she had been overcompensating for her hearing loss. She has expressed that she regrets she didn’t get her hearing checked sooner.

    • Anonymous :

      What kind of doctors have you seen so far for your hearing loss?

      If no doctor has been following you, I would actually recommend seeing an ENT at least once for their opinion (you never know…. is there anything structural that could be modified etc….), and then an audiologist. And then go straight to Costco to buy your hearing aids. Costco is an amazing deal, with great customer service follow-up, great warranty, amazing replacement warranty if you lose them (!) and great discount if you charge on your Costco credit card. I think they just came out with a new version of their Kirkland brand aid, which is excellent.

      Recently I took a family member through this process.

      It is really important to start using them early, as when you start “tuning out”, you actually decrease stimulation to the brain that increases your development of dementia long term. It is really significant.

      And the hearing aids really work quite well these days. Don’t get too hung up on the differences between brands and features. More expensive does not mean better. Hearing aids are a racket and Costco is forcing competitors (and audiologists….) to stop the extortion. Read the online discussion groups if that is your thing. But for your first hearing aids, take the plunge with costco.

    • My hearing aids have special programme for outdoors which I can activate by my smartphone.

      You should decide to wear them full time or not, wearing for work only would be difficult, at least for me. In my experience it is possible to test drive hearing aids for a few days and you should definitely do it before committing.

      Using hearing aids makes my life so much easier – I don’t have to spend lots of energy on reading lips or trying to figure out what somebody said based on the context, etc.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. Initially I lost some hearing because of a childhood infection (scarlet fever), and later due to aging. I really wish I had started wearing hearing aids earlier. I wait for the time when wearing them becomes as common as wearing glasses. If you get them, and if they are expensive, add them to your household insurance policy. They are easily lost!

  3. La croix pamplemousse (grapefruit)

    • eertmeert :

      Ditto. After that, Kroger club soda (the generic gorcery store brand, usually around a dollar for a liter bottle at my local grocery chain.

  4. Anonymous :

    The Unicorn, a pretty amazing bar in Seattle, has a drink called Unicorn J!zz, which is what this makes me think of.

  5. Anonymous :

    My podiatrist asked me the other day if I had pain when I first stepped out of beds in the morning, and I said no. Since then, I’ve realized the answer is actually yes – doy. Does anyone know the significance of this question? It doesn’t bother me much and I don’t want to make another appointment unless necessary.

  6. Anonymous :

    So in light of this mornings discussion, whether it’s fair or not, legal or not — fact is if you cross illegally now whether asking for asylum or not, you’ll be separated from you kids for a few weeks/months/forever I’d they somehow get misplaced. Why do these parents keep on coming? Initially it was happening quietly so you didn’t know until you came and it happened. But now with 2 detention centers and 1 processing center being opened to the media, US media is all over this. I have to imagine Spanish language in Guatemala or wherever is picking it up too. So why come?? Yes you’re fleeing hard conditions but aren’t you deciding the American life is worth chancing it with your kids?

    • highlighter :

      I believe that some potential immigrants conditions are so bad in their home countries that they are indeed willing to separate from their kids. Because they/their children may not remain alive if they stay where they are. So they prefer to give their kids a chance at survival. Conditions are bad in a detention center, yes, but we are not yet getting reports of the long-term damage this causes or of actual deaths.

      • immigrant :

        So much this. Parents will also send their kids alone if old enough, with a family member or friend, or pay someone to take their child for them. When I was a preteen, my parents gave me some money, the name/address of a relative in a neighboring country where I would be safe, and told me to go and they would follow when they could. They never were able to follow. I knew several other kids in similar situations.

    • Anonymous :

      Because the policy has only been in place since AG Sessions announced it on April 6. Most of these people caught up in it were probably not, ya know, watching tv as they were trying to survive in the deserts (aka, they were already on their way). Some probably heard about it and didn’t think we could be that cruel. But yes, I imagine now it will slow as it’s broadcast around the world.

      • Anonymous :

        Don’t believe that for people arriving in late June – they haven’t been on the road for 2.5 months. Besides they do go thru big cities where they walk by shops with TVs and news stands. But OP I think there’s a sunk cost, even if word gets around when you’re 1/2 here, chances are you packed your stuff, gave away your home and spent a lot of money on the trip already — you chance it and keep going.

        • Anonymous :

          Why do you think “they haven’t been on the road for 2.5 months”? Some refugees have literally walked for thousands of kilometres.

        • These children do not have money. Their parents do not have money. They do not own televisions. They don’t stay at night in places with televisions or walk by televisions. They do not have access to the internet. They have been on the road for 2.5 months, at least. They need our help. They are not animals. They should not be locked up in cages. They should not be used as bargaining chips. This policy is inhumane, immoral and unethical.

    • Anonymous :

      Seriously? Do you live in a hole in the ground?

      Because life is worse where they’re coming from and they, like any American parent, want to make things better for their children.

      • Anonymous :

        So then isn’t life in a detention center until the mom/dad gets out of prison better? Even if deported, they get a few weeks of their own bed, 3 meals/day, 6 hours of school/day, video games etc? Why the complaining then?

        • highlighter :

          because it is inhumane.

          • Anonymous :

            Even if it’s better than what they had?

          • highlighter :

            Yes. Still inhumane.

          • Yes, still inhumane and no matter what someone does, we should treat people with dignity. Just because one country treats its citizens so poorly that they will risk coming here illegally does not give the USA the right to treat them just a tiny bit better. That being said, I don’t know how we can help everyone in these countries or allow them all to enter the USA. I wish there was a solution.

        • Anonymous :

          oof. Because we wouldn’t treat Americans like we treat these foreigners. Are you saying if we can get away with it, let’s treat people like animals?

        • highlighter :

          Obviously, you should go there and admit yourself and your children. Then post a bunch of pics of your totally fun time on Instagram … or wait until you get out and wail that you didn’t have access to WiFi.

          • Anonymous :

            Except I’m legally permitted to be here, I’m not here because the government did me a favor (nor my ancestors all came legally after long immigration processes). If you accept a favor, you don’t get to dictate its terms.

          • highlighter :

            Oh, so you’re Native American then? Verrry interesting. How do you feel about reservations?

          • nasty woman :

            Why don’t you just kiss the ground and be grateful that you were born in this country instead of looking for pedantic ways to justify inhumane treatment of other people? Follow up question: do you think these children made the conscious decision to accept a favor from the federal government? I mean, would you look at a Real American child covered by Medicare in the hospital who is getting substandard care and say, whatever, if you accept the favor, you don’t get to dictate its terms? What about if that child is in orphanage, or foster care– ok to keep him in a cage? Why or why not? After all… he’s accepting that favor. I look forward to your well-reasoned explanation. TIA.

          • Anonymous :

            Nope – my ancestors came legally on airplanes after they had been admitted. They didn’t stroll across the border expecting to wander free under catch and release.

          • Anonymous :

            “Except I’m legally permitted to be here”

            So are they. If they are claiming asylum they are legal under both domestic law and international law. They are supposed to be accorded due process and treated humanely per international human rights treaties which the United States was involved in creating, back when it actually gave a [email protected] about people.

            Being legal doesn’t necessarily mean they get to stay but it does mean that the USA doesn’t get to keep children in a cage and then pretend that it isn’t both illegal and morally offensive.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            Anonymous, many of the people coming have no avenue to come to the US legally except by asking for asylum. There is no other avenue, and if life at home is dangerous enough, people will risk it. I think this cartoon is a good explanation for those of us who haven’t ever had to think about immigrating in dire circumstances: https://reason.com/blog/2014/11/20/legal-immigration-explained.

            We’re a wealthy nation, there are ZERO excuses for treating families this way, whatever the condition of the detention centers.

          • Anonymous :

            No they aren’t. You can only seek asylum at ports of entry and if you walk across anywhere but a port, you are illegal and cannot seek asylum – even if you say the word. Unsurprisingly these people are not crossing at ports.

          • I love the “they broke the law” arguments. Most of Trump’s cabinet has broken the law (see: improper use of government fund, bigly) – let’s take their kids. It’s probably a misdemeanor (as is crossing the border illegally) to screw up your security clearance papers a billion time – let’s put the Kushner kids in a detention center. The whole Trump Foundation is a big mess of illegal charity activity – let’s take away the kids of everyone involved with that!

            First they took the illegal immigrants’ kids, and I said nothing because I wasn’t an illegal immigrant. Then they took the criminals’ kids, and I said nothing because I wasn’t a criminal (well, sure, except for speeding and maybe parking illegally a few times). Then they took the LGBTQ people’s kids, and I said nothing because I’m not LGBTQ…

            Don’t fool yourself that this sort of treatment will only be reserved for the “illegals.”

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            “Unsurprisingly these people are not crossing at ports”… there ARE documented cases of asylum seekers who are attempting to enter in the proper manner being detained and separated from their children.

            Any time you’re tempted to use the expression “these people”, you should probably rethink whatever you’re about to say.

          • Hey Anonymous — your ancestors probably came in when there was no such thing as illegal or legal immigration – you came in, and that was that. History’s not a strong suit of yours, I’m guessing.

          • Mineallmine :

            To the anon who said her ancestors came legally on airplanes: mine came on boats and killed the natives whose land it was already. But it was my ancestors, not the natives, who decided if your ancestors were legal or not. So that makes me more of a real American? SMH. These people are peaceful, unlike my own esteemed ancestors.

        • Anonymous :

          No. Because it is psychologically traumatic for children to be separated from their parents and never know when they will see them or not see them again.

          These children have often witnesses horrific violence when they were fleeing. They need support and their parents, not to be on their own at age 6 with 20 other kids in a chain link fence cage with no books and toys. And likely no ability to ask for help because they may not even speak spanish. Many children from Central America may only know the indigenous language of their community and not Spanish.

          Are you a parent? Imagine not knowing where your kid is, who is taking care of them and if you will ever see them again.

          • Anonymous :

            I mean, when the US gov’t did this to indigenous children, at least they at least justified it (badly, not an endorsement) as an attempt to civilize the children. And THAT was an awful period of our history. This isn’t the same because we’re not looking at the genocide/extermination of a culture (yet), but it’s certainly on par for the purposes of callousness, inhumanity, and needless cruelty.

            Just because you can (legally) do something, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing do.

        • Anonymous :

          It’s cruel and unnecessary. Even if the conditions in those places were nice, which they are not, kids would rather have their parents than any of those things.

          • Anonymous :

            Conditions are nice in detention — where you stay for months/weeks. The not nice cages are in processing where kids stay for 48 hours max.

          • I’m calling troll. You have a warped idea of what “nice” conditions are. I have no doubt some of the kids will be sent to these Ikea-looking centers, but an Ikea cage without knowing what’s happening to you or your family is not nice. See, there’s this thing most of us are familiar with called human relationship/contact.

        • Don’t tell me, Anonymous – let me guess. Your ancestors arrived here with little skills, not speaking the language, etc. – and brought their family members over one by one in chain migration — but that was “different” somehow.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          “Why the complaining then?”

          What the hell is actually wrong with you.

        • Because they are not going to be reunited with their parents. I mean, technically, the US will try to make contact with the country of origin, and deport the child to authorities in the country of origin, who will be responsible for reuniting the kid and parent. But everyone knows that’s NOT going to happen. Many adults have been sent home without their kids and it will continue. It’s a cluster. It’s meant to deter future crossings. It will. It’s a great great shame on this country.

    • Anonymous :

      What part do you not understand? That’s literally how bad things are. Whether it’s getting on a small boat to try to get to Europe or trekking for thousands of kilometres, they come because it is that bad where they are fleeing from. That you cannot understand that shows what a place of privilege you come from. They love their kids so much they are risking their lives to save their kids lives. What parent wouldn’t do that?

      https://www.unrefugees.org/news/central-america-s-children-on-the-run/

      • Anonymous :

        Not the OP but honestly what is it with liberal bashing others’ “privilege”? I honestly don’t remember anyone talking down to anyone else because they were “privileged” a few years ago.

        • Anonymous :

          That’s because people weren’t openly asking why it wasn’t okay to rip children away from their parents. Ten years ago American had a heart. I never thought I’d long for the Bush administration. But at least Laura Bush is smart enough to see the parallels to the Japanese internment camps.

        • nasty woman :

          She’s not being bashed because of her privilege. She’s being bashed because she hasn’t taken a hot second to look outside of her limited understanding of the world and consider another person’s perspective. Even when she is spoon-fed explanations, she for whatever reason (t0lling, obvi, but we fed this one again, great) is still refusing to consider things from a different perspective other than her own and denying reality. Being privileged is not per se bad. I have all sorts of privilege, too, but I recognize that and do my best to understand other people’s perspectives.

          Please don’t call people out for something if you don’t even understand what they’re doing.

        • Anonymous :

          People don’t “bash” people for having privilege typically. Pointing out privilege is to point out that because of the advantages you have from whatever privileged identity you have mean that you don’t have a firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to experience life without that privilege. It’s like this – I don’t have children. I don’t know what it feels like to give birth. I can read about it and listen to people who have given birth talk about their experience, but I am not the best person to speak on how painful it is to give birth, what the process is like, what problems there are around labor and delivery care that might need to be changed, etc. If I start commenting on it, and especially arguing with people who’ve given birth about what it’s like to give birth, people would be right to point out that I’m maybe not the best person to speak about it.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, many people do decide that the American life is worth chancing it with their kids. These are people who are often fleeing violence and a certain death, and then their kids would probably also be facing some pretty monstrous situations on their own.

    • Anonymous :

      Some of these people fear that someone will literally come to their house and shoot them/their kids. Of course they pick living like animals in a detention center over that.
      The other thing is, media in the US don’t neccessarily reflect what media in other countries focus on, so these rather recent issues might not be such widespread knowledge.

    • Anonymous :

      And it’s not like we couldn’t see this coming. NY Times was doing stories on the refugee crisis two years ago.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/world/americas/fleeing-gangs-central-american-families-surge-toward-us.html

    • A lot of people crossing the border do not have the same level of media access that we have, so they may not be completely aware of the most recent developments. Also, because applying for asylum is not illegal, they may believe that they would only be separated from their children if they were to do something illegal.

      Also, for most refugees and asylum seekers, it’s not just “hard conditions”, it’s literally believing that you will not survive if you stay in your current circumstances. So, if it’s a choice between probably dying and possibly being separated, it’s worth the risk. They’re not selfishly “chancing it with their kids”, they are, for the most part, people for whom there is no better option.

    • Anonymous :

      Warsan Shire’s “Home” is very powerful poem if you haven’t read it.

      • Original Text:

        “Home” by Warsan Shire

        no one leaves home unless
        home is the mouth of a shark
        you only run for the border
        when you see the whole city running as well

        your neighbors running faster than you
        breath bloody in their throats
        the boy you went to school with
        who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
        is holding a gun bigger than his body
        you only leave home
        when home won’t let you stay.

        no one leaves home unless home chases you
        fire under feet
        hot blood in your belly
        it’s not something you ever thought of doing
        until the blade burnt threats into
        your neck
        and even then you carried the anthem under
        your breath
        only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
        sobbing as each mouthful of paper
        made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

        you have to understand,
        that no one puts their children in a boat
        unless the water is safer than the land
        no one burns their palms
        under trains
        beneath carriages
        no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
        feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
        means something more than journey.
        no one crawls under fences
        no one wants to be beaten
        pitied

        no one chooses refugee camps
        or strip searches where your
        body is left aching
        or prison,
        because prison is safer
        than a city of fire
        and one prison guard
        in the night
        is better than a truckload
        of men who look like your father
        no one could take it
        no one could stomach it
        no one skin would be tough enough

        the
        go home blacks
        refugees
        dirty immigrants
        asylum seekers
        sucking our country dry
        niggers with their hands out
        they smell strange
        savage messed up their country and now they want
        to mess ours up
        how do the words
        the dirty looks
        roll off your backs
        maybe because the blow is softer
        than a limb torn off

        or the words are more tender
        than fourteen men between
        your legs
        or the insults are easier
        to swallow
        than rubble
        than bone
        than your child’s body in pieces.
        i want to go home,
        but home is the mouth of a shark
        home is the barrel of the gun
        and no one would leave home
        unless home chased you to the shore
        unless home told you
        to quicken your legs
        leave your clothes behind
        crawl through the desert
        wade through the oceans
        drown
        save
        be hungery
        beg
        forget pride
        your survival is more important

        no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
        saying
        leave,
        run away from me now
        i don’t know what i’ve become
        but i know that anywhere
        is safer than here

      • Baconpancakes :

        Was about to post this. I honestly don’t know how hard-hearted someone would have to be to read that poem and not understand, and cry at it.

        • Anonymous :

          I think the poem is valid and stupid, as is people quoting the Statue of Liberty verse. We are a country of laws, not feels.

          • Anonymous :

            Vapid. Vapid not valid.

          • I feel sorry for you. Unless you are Native American, your people came here from somewhere. Rest assured, your smug, unwarranted self-confidence will be obliterated from you in time, probably when you least expect it. The rest of us will be there to wave at you on your long slide to the bottom of life.

    • joan wilder :

      To anonymous at 3:05 PM per your comment “If they somehow get misplaced”. Do you hear yourself? These are children (who international law deems merit special protections), not shoes.

    • Anonymous :

      Not a parent – at what age do kids retain memories? I literally remember nothing before age 8 – like I couldn’t pick my first grade teacher out of a line up or point to a picture of an elementary classroom as mine. But of course I had a comfortable childhood and wasn’t witnessing what these kids are.

      • Anonymous :

        Per my ped (asked about something else), the answer is 2

        I remember my mom being pregnant with my sister, born when I was 2.5

        I am sure I’d remember something very traumatic

        • Anonymous :

          2 doesn’t sound accurate. Maybe kids have snapshots in their minds of 1 thing — but sustained memory?

          • Anonymous :

            It’s probably not 2 for every kid – but I think it’s reasonable to think that some kids, as young as 2, can retain specific memories. Object permanence develops a lot sooner than 2.

          • Anonymous :

            I certainly remember being two.

      • Anonymous :

        Intense trauma can imprinted itself pretty deeply on a child – enough that it can alter brain chemistry – which is the American Pediatric Association has been vocally against this policy. Because chances are the young kid won’t remember the specifics of this period, but they will remember the intense fear and anxiety and need to deal with that the rest of their lives. And will likely not be in a position to access adequate mental health resources to get the therapy they need.

        • Anonymous :

          This. APA opposes the separations on medical grounds.

          https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAPStatementOpposingBorderSecurityandImmigrationReformAct.aspx

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah I don’t think it’s that a 2 year old will specifically remember how many roommates they had in which facility. It’s that day/weeks of fear – even if they don’t recall the event – will change their development.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          It is wrong to be cruel to people even if they don’t remember it. It’s the cruelty itself that is wrong.

      • …you don’t? I have memories going back to age 4 at least. But that’s not the point. The point is that separation and isolation from caregivers is very harmful to children’s brain development, and has been proven to have long term consequences. Haven’t you ever heard of the studies done on orphans who weren’t comforted? The fact that a 3 year old doesn’t remember being in a detention center doesn’t mean his development is not significantly affected.

      • I remember my brother being born (I had just turned 3). A lot of a kid’s early memories are tied to very emotional events, like the birth of a sibling, so I’d have to think that this type of separation would qualify as emotional/traumatic enough to stand the test of time.
        Even if early memories get over-written as the child gets older, they are still going to have some short term retention. A 7 year old definitely remembers random, relatively unemotional things that happened at 3-4.

        • Anonymous :

          Well if it’s over written and they don’t remember at 15, it’s all good. Except not all the kids are 2 – the 8 and 10 year olds will never forget.

          • Anonymama :

            Nah, still not good, even kids who don’t remember what happened to them are often scarred by the trauma (like actual changes in their brain chemistry and how they react to external stress). And that’s not even getting into attachment issues…

      • My earliest memory is moving from one apartment to another when I was almost three. It was traumatic because I didn’t understand why we were doing it – I was happy at our old place, and suddenly we were in a new place, with unfamiliar rooms and strangers in the building. Now multiply that by a zillion and yes, these kids will be traumatized by being locked up away from their families, surrounded by strangers who – and this is not an exaggeration- are not allowed to hug or comfort them when they cry.

        By the way, my German grandmother broke the law by bribing a soldier to look the other way so she could cross into the Allied zone of Germany after the war; she was too terrified to stay in the Russian zone with her three kids. Both of her sisters … never mind, but there were good reasons she took such a huge risk. She could have gone to prison, and my mother and her siblings would have been turned over to the state, i.e, the future DDR. Parents do what they have to do, to protect their families.

      • Anonymous :

        Normally 3-4 but earlier for something unusual/traumatic. DH went to India when he was 2 (from the US) and remembers it well because it was so out of the norm. And he was not separated from his parents.

      • Kat in VA :

        I remember vividly getting the daylights beaten out of me at our old house, which we moved from when I was six. I was also wearing a diaper at the time, and mom assures me I was potty-trained at around age 2. Some memories stick, even at an early age.

      • The point is not the memories. The point is that acute stress in and of itself is biologically active. Gene expression is not static and responds to chemicals produced by the body in response to different environmental stimuli. “Stress” is a term for the body’s reaction to environment perceived as unstable. I would imagine that an environment where everything has been changing for months, but now the one stable variable, the presence of a parent, has suddenly changed, induces extreme stress. Remember the first time a group member dies on Walking Dead? Scary! And that’s just a TV show. We know stress as the emotions of fear and anxiety, but there are literally chemical messengers in our blood produced in response to this instability that make us feel this way. In addition to fear and anxiety, these transmitters affect our metabolism, our brain chemistry, and our gene expression. While some are using the counter argument of the “short-term” aspect of the exposure, permanent damage is done by altering gene expression in response to stress as a cumulative factor. The longer or the more acute, the more adaptive (negative) changes take place. The article below documents a very limited study that nonetheless clearly illustrates that abuse can have intergenerational consequences; that is, being subjected to acute stress early in life may be correlated with having more anxious and asocial offspring. Let’s pretend some of these kids become American citizens. Why are we knowingly and deliberately eroding their mental health and the mental health of their progeny? In a country so perturbed by mental health system failures resulting in frequent mass murder, it is so confusing to me that we’re not much more sensitive about children’s mental health in the moment we actually have power over it.

        https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/16/stress-fathers-behaviour-offspring-altering-sperm-micrornas

        • Let’s also not forget about mental health toll on the American workers who have to do this. Want to make kids cry so you can feed your family? Really awful position to be in.

      • Are we having a convo about how this is OK if the kids can’t remember. Unbelievable.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly I think a lot of people feel the way Oap does. It’s not that they necessarily think this should happen, but it’s very much – shrug – they knew what they were getting into, they should just stay home.

      • Anonymous :

        yes, why don’t they just stay home and accept being shot to death in their own homes. That’s clearly the better option.

        • Anonymous :

          Not saying they should’ve done that — I’m saying there are a lot of people able to shrug it off as — it is what it is, they made the choice to come.

        • You know darn well that the bad Anonymous on here would also be complaining about why we should have had to take the Jews fleeing from the Nazis. Zero sense of history. How embarrassing.

      • Anonymous :

        The babies and toddlers did not know what they were getting into!!! I can understand wanting to punish people trying to come here illegally but how can you not recognize this harms the kids way more than the parents?? Do you really believe toddlers and preschoolers who were carried here in their parents arms and had no say in the matter should be punished because their parents did something wrong? It’s evil.

      • Anonymous :

        Yep. Shrug. Pro publica released secret audio from a processing center with wailing kids though they’re ages 4 or 6 to 10, old enough to understand. And my thought – man kids are a pain, it’d be so much easier if this was just adults. Not a parent and no real interest in children’s issues.

        • Anonymous :

          At least you admit you don’t care?

        • Gross. Don’t lead with your sociopathy, that’s not attractive. Go away. What about this do you think a *4* year old can understand? (P.S.- humane treatment of humans isn’t specifically a “children’s issue.”)

        • Anonymama :

          From your perspective it would actually makes me think the separation policy is even stupider: why do we want to become the de facto parents to all these children? Wouldn’t it be better to make the parents keep responsibility for them even in custody? Just… changing diapers, and feeding them, and brushing their hair, and making sure they have clean underwear, and being able to understand if they are sick or injured, being able to communicate with translators, why would we voluntarily want to do all that with 3 year olds, when the alternative is letting the parent be responsible? Even from a cold-hearted utilitarian perspective, it’s a terrible policy.

        • Yeah, that’s cool, like when people have no interest in “women’s issues.” That’s always worked out alright, what with all the equal representation we women have in congress and all. OH WAIT! No it hasn’t. Women’s issues– and Children’s issues– are human issues. Are you… a human?

        • I’m pretty sure she’s being sarcastic!!

        • Thank you for sharing this little snippet of your empty, wasted life with the rest of us. Just curious – are you one of the posters who whines and moans about being over 35 and still single and also alienated from her family and also not having any close friends and also living alone with a couple of cats? Gee, I wonder how that could have happened. You seem like such a great person.

          • Yikes. This is a bad way to word your sentiment. I am only one of those things and I am on your side, but you made me feel sad with this. Again, I think this poster was being sarcastic.

    • Anonymous :

      If anyone is interested WH press briefing hours delayed – at 5 pm so secretary of DHS can join. Sure to be fireworks.

      • Anonymous :

        That was interesting, that 10K out of 12K of detained kids came in through traffickers? Or is that BS?

        • Anonymous :

          “Smugglers” was the word I saw used.

          I have no idea if that is BS or not. I do know that it has happened before that people have sent their kids anywhere they’ll be fed, housed, and clothed without being harmed (vs. staying in a place where they’re at risk of harm).

    • This is rather like asking why Jews in Germany put their children on Kindertransport trains to England knowing that they might never see their children again and knowing that that was the only way their children would have a chance for life. Conditions in some of these places are THAT bad. Normal people, with normal levels of empathy and humanity, are touched by that.

    • Anonymous :

      If you are on the Internet and aren’t a liberal, you’re a racist, empathy lacking Nazi. Shrug.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m not liberal and I think this is appalling. I’m all for not letting people enter illegally but I don’t see why you can’t simply deport parents and children together.

      • Maybe not everyone is.
        But you certainly are.
        It doesn’t bother me, tho. Chickens always come home to roost. Always.

    • Indeed, for Trump/Sessions, the few thousand that got separated without knowing the policy are worth the deterrent effect. This is immoral but probably effective. Personally, I’m ashamed to be an American. And if I still called myself Xian or Evangelical, I’d be ashamed of that too.

  7. Anonymous :

    I like the LaCroix lime with a few mint leaves to kind of simulate a weak, nonsweet mojito.
    The pamplemousse is nice as well.

  8. Gift ideas please! :

    My Mom is turning 60 next week and I’m at a loss for what to get her. She lives far away so taking her out to lunch or dinner or to do something is not really an option. She recently moved to a semi-rural coastal area. She’s also recently retired. She likes to read (but has so many books and frequents the library), kayak, knit, walk on the beach. Looking for ideas around $100ish. Send all your ideas please!

    • My sister reads this s*te?!?

      Fancy champagne and chocolate?

    • I recently got my, very hard to shop for, MIL the wreath subscription from Food52 and she loved it, would something like that work? Also, your mom sounds amazing and I hope to be that cool and retired one day.

      • I second this. We actually did a single wreath – they’re beautiful and eventually get tossed – doesn’t collect dust.

      • Anonymous :

        Wow, I had no idea about this and am now going down the Food52 rabbit hole and feeling very tempted by the grow anywhere growhouse.

    • Anonymous :

      A subscription box might do the trick. Check cratejoy for things related to her interests. I know there are a lot of book subscriptions out there, but I seem to remember seeing something like a “Yarn of the Month” box that sent a skein of new, interesting yarn each month that the knitter might not have encountered before.

    • kayaking presents!
      Kayakers always need:
      – extra neoprene booties
      – dry bags (the nice ones)
      – camera / phone dry bags (Pelican)
      – A GoPro kayak mount if she has a GoPro
      – an anchor (Jet Logic A-2 is decent)
      – a waterproof portable bluetooth speaker
      – a book of the water near her (maps, stories, history, etc)

      If you want to expand your budget:
      – a new paddle
      – a new lifejacket
      – an underwater light system (look up Nocqua Adventure Gear Sport light system)

    • A nice beach blanket or beach chair, a good water bottle if she does not already own one, a waterproof bag to hold her phone while kayaking, a photobook of old pictures of family.

    • Anonymous :

      I love reading but pretty much only download e-books from the library. I would love things to make me/my reading environment cozier–one of those barefoot dreams cardigans, thick socks, tea, a throw blanket, etc. (Can you tell I’m always cold? My husband wins the thermostat war.)

    • Anonymous :

      Tatcha sunscreen and a nice sunhat for her walks. or a nice UPF jacket for her walks :0)

  9. Sad about Dad :

    I don’t think I have a question or anything here, just a rambling vent.

    My relationship with my dad has been getting worse and worse lately. He’s generally a pretty narcissistic jerk and this year I’ve been going through some rough times that I think normally parents would be supportive during. Instead, he just blames me for what’s happened. If I tell him how hurtful that is, my feelings are dismissed as invalid and I get treated like a child having a tantrum. My mom takes his side. That’s been the dynamic my whole life but it’s just really coming to a head in the last couple of weeks. My 30th birthday was Saturday and neither one of my parents called me. Then Father’s Day was the next day and I just feel so sad and disappointed and angry and I don’t know . . . Just needed to get that off my chest.

    And I hope the person who posted recently about her husband’s relationship with their tween daughter is doing well and making progress.

    • Nerfmobile :

      I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. It is disappointing when your parents can’t give you the support you should be reasonably able to expect. Give yourself a big hug and a happy birthday from at least one random internet stranger. :)

    • I’m sorry you are going through this. It sucks to realize your parents are not superheros. My father is similar to yours and I’ve just had to create distance and adjust my expectations.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to lowering expectations and creating distance. I still sometimes get really sad when I witness other people’s parents being there for them and I’m reminded of how differently things can be, but I expect nothing from my parents and am never disappointed, and it’s been a lot better for me this way.

    • Hug?

    • eertmeert :

      Are you familiar with the Captain Awkward advice site? She has similar issues with a parent, and gives great advice and scripts on setting boundaries around relationships so that you can feel as good and healthy about yourself as possible. Which you totally deserve!

      Other than that, maybe treat yourself to a special something to celebrate you. I don’t know if this would be helpful, but maybe think of something you would want to receive from your dad, and give it to yourself? I would choose a favorite take-out meal, or a pedicure appointment, or a new pair of sandals, or a cooking or knitting lesson. Again – you deserve it!

      I hope you are able to find some peace with this, it can’t be easy and your feelings are totally valid, no matter what he says. xo

  10. Raised Planter Beds :

    We’re redoing our small city backyard on a budget, and are looking for some large rectangular raised planter beds to put around the perimeter (wood, concrete, or similar, about 2+ feet high). We’d originally hoped to have these built in but trying to explore an alternative option that might be cheaper.

    Any suggestions for online stores that sell reliable but affordable garden supplies like planter boxes (or stores in the NYC area that might sell something like this without breaking the bank)?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I actually saw some raised boxes/beds at Costco.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes was just going to say I have these and have gotten compliments:
        https://www.costco.com/White-Vinyl-Raised-Garden-Bed-2-pack.product.100153335.html

    • Anonymous :

      Look at IKEA – they have garden stuff in the summer – and Home Depot – definitely has raised beds and planters online. I think you would save a lot of money if you could lower the height a bit. Gardner’s Supply seems reasonably affordable.

    • Anonymous :

      In addition to buying, there are local handyman-type companies in my area who will come out and build it for you. May be worth a search.

    • Gardeners Supply. Online at gardeners dot com. It’s a reputable company with good quality products. I’ve never ordered raised beds from them, but have been happy with the quality of the items that I have gotten from them over the years.

      • Moonstone :

        Yes, what’s nice about this place is you can buy just the corners/connectors and then purchase your own lumber. It’s the cheapest way I know to go. https://www.gardeners.com/buy/raised-bed-gardening-and-garden-boxes/raised-bed-corners/

        I built my beds about six years ago this way and they still look great.

      • Can co-sign that Gardeners’ Supply is legit. They are based out of my state and I think one of the executives there is a member of my MIL’s book group. lol.

    • Full of ideas :

      My uncle recently bought an outside storage box from a big box store (for storing toys or chair pads). He took the cover off, filed them with dirt, and now has a nice large raised bed

  11. First world problem :

    Over the past 2 years I have accumulated 4 of those large ziplock-y pouches that come with MMLaFleur. What are they for? What does one do with them? Will I regret it if I throw them away? My midwestern guilt tells me I need to reuse them for something…

  12. First world problem :

    Over the past 2 years I have accumulated 4 of those large ziplock-y pouches that come with MMLaFleur. What are they for? What does one do with them? Will I regret it if I throw them away? My midwestern guilt tells me I need to reuse them for something…

  13. Anonymous :

    Anyone gone vegan or vegetarian for weight loss and had success? I’m looking to lose 20 lbs and I feel like a complete diet overhaul might be necessary by I’m not quite sure where to start.

    • Mark Bittman’s VB6 could be a good guide if you’re interested in doing this (= Vegan before 6). the advice is pretty solid and sensible, and the recipes I’ve tried were actually good.

    • Anonymous :

      What’s your diet like now? I have lost about 15 pounds in the last 2ish months and have about another 15-20 to go, and I’ve had pretty good success subsisting on lean protein and veggies for the most part. I don’t think I would have had as much luck going vegan/vegetarian.

      • Anonymous :

        My diet is all over the place. I’m not a huge meat eater but I will eat eggs and poultry. I’m kind of an all or nothing type and I struggle more when I can eat some things but not others.

        Did you follow a particular plan?

        • Anonymous :

          Not exactly a plan, but it’s basically paleo-lite.

          I don’t eat starchy carbs (rice, wheat, potatoes). I do allow myself sweet potatoes. I cut out all dairy. I basically eat a ton of vegetables and a protein – either chicken, or fish usually. Occasionally beans or chickpeas.

          If I am cheating on my diet, I stay gluten-free. That helps because it cuts out a lot of things I used to eat i.e. pizza, burgers, noodles, pasta…

          It’s really tough – good luck finding something that works for you!

    • Anonymous :

      Generally what causes weight gain is processed foods, especially processed carbohydrates and sugars. If your goal is purely weight loss, cutting those may be an easier approach. I have been a vegetarian for decades, and I think my success is mostly from eating tons of veggies and avoiding those processed carbs and sugars. It’s not my experience, but I don’t think eating meats would really hinder weight loss. That said, if you want to be vegetarian focus on what you can eat rather than what you can’t.

    • Anonymous :

      I actually think most vegetarians I know weigh more because of the amount of processed carbs (i.e. bread and pasta) they consume if they aren’t paying close attention to their diet and supplementing animal protein with enough plant-based protein. I’m not saying that vegetarians/vegans can’t live an extremely healthy diet, I just don’t think it’s the magic pill to weight loss. Eliminating most processed carbs and sugar, exercising, and eating a balanced diet works.

    • Anonymous :

      Weight Watchers. The app is great.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I went lowfat vegan for a while and lost weight. But it’s a VERY restrictive diet and it doesn’t work very well if you want to have much of a social life. I followed www.drmcdougall.com.

  14. Exhausted :

    I’m exhausted. I’ve been working too hard, and my weekends (when I really “should” be working) have been jammed with family and friend commitments that, while mostly a nice change of pace, keep me going non-stop 7-days a week.

    I’ve worked this hard in the past, but I’ve never faced this level of exhaustion, especially without being able to cure it by some longer nights of sleep on the weekends. Today, I’m on cup 4 of coffee, and I even slipped in a power nap (I work from home), but I’m still just unable to keep alert and focus. Have been trying to cut back on coffee (TTC), but I’ve given up given the lack of other sources of energy. Was hoping my exhaustion was due to success in TTC, but sadly, that’s not the case.

    Any tips for reenergizing and refocusing when going a million miles a minute?

    • Anonymous :

      Say no. Really. Say no to family, friends, new tasks at work. Just say no.

    • Treat your free time like your money: do not spend it just because you have it. I became a lot happier when I designated time for myself and declined commitments, even if I “could” attend.

    • Anonymous :

      You need to take control of your time.

    • Anonymous :

      If it’s at all possible, block off some of your “free” time as just yours. If I know I’m going to have a crazy schedule Friday evening, Saturday morning, and all day Sunday, I’ll block off Saturday afternoon (or as much of it as I can) and refuse any other commitments for that time. I don’t explain what I’ll be doing with that time to anyone, I just say sorry, I’m booked Saturday afternoon. The first few times I did that I felt selfish, but it made a huge difference in how I felt for the rest of my weekend activities and gives me the chance to reset.

    • Anonymous :

      You can’t reenergize or refocus when you’re still going a million miles a minute. Slow down. If you can’t slow down at work, then go home in the evenings, eat a simple dinner, and go straight to bed. Turn off screens and take long walks or read or knit or draw or whatever in your free time. Limit the number of activities on the weekend, and say no when you hit your limit.

    • Anonymous :

      No, there are no ways to re-energize when going a million miles a minute.
      The only way is to STOP going a million miles a minute. Keep doing your job, but start turning down invitations and events and go to bed early.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree – you really need to schedule time to relax. I actually do tell people “No, I can’t come to that thing, we’ve been really busy for the past few weeks and we need time to relax.” Also, I’m not even anti-caffeine when TTC (I drank 2 cups of tea or 1 cup of coffee my entire pregnancy), but 4 cups is a lot and is probably contributing to your fatigue. And you probably aren’t sleeping well at night (even if you don’t realize it). Eat healthy, get some sleep, drink water. It’s that simple.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Honestly, I find it hard to say no to things unless I have another commitment, but here’s a reminder: you can make commitments to do recharging things! Say no to brunch on Saturday because you’ve booked “walk to the coffee shop and then sit on a bench with husband” as your Saturday morning activity. Say no to that outing because you’re spending Sunday evening in bed catching up on Queer Eye. Etc.

  15. Any recommendations for a good therapist in DC?

  16. I’m losing hope that my son will ever have a peaceful relationship with my FIL. The sad part is my son is young (elementary school). The reasons for it are complicated, but the best I can describe it is that their personalities are like oil and water. My kid is complex and frankly, difficult to parent. He doesn’t automatically fall in line with rules and it takes a great deal of energy and creativity to get him to understand the rules and comply, which just doesn’t fly with FIL’s old-school mentality. Son also sees his grandfather as gruff and mean. He’s not wrong. But that also means he doesn’t feel safe around him and is even less likely to even try to please my FIL. Then FIL is offeneded and it’s just a vicious cycle of awful. They just don’t connect on any level at all, and frankly, I see my FIL as a bully and have flown off the handle at him before because of the way he talks to our son. DS is around adults plenty and does know how to show respect, but he definitely doesn’t respect his grandfather. The difference is, other adults are more nurturing and can speak to him at his level, and FIL is incapable of that.

    For example, DS was in a bad mood the last time the IL’s babysat. DS ended up hitting his sister out of frustration, which of course is wrong and I would expect the adults to address. But how does FIL handle it? By threatening to slap DS in the face if he did it again. To my MIL’s credit, she stood up for DS. It seriously makes me question whether FIL can even handle to be around our son without me or DH around.

    I’m at a loss. We have a family counseling appointment later this week for DS (related to ADHD), and we’re specifically going to have a conversation about the in-laws.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Your son should never, ever be allowed to be alone with your FIL. He threatened to slap him?

      Where is your DH in all of this? Does he see FIL’s behavior as problematic?

      • He does realize his dad isn’t particularly nurturing, but he also recognizes that our kid has a role in the conflict. To that, I’ve said YOUR DAD IS THE ADULT, and needs to act like it. Like I said, I realize DS is a handful at times, but we are trying our best to raise him to be kind and respectful. I know that DH and MIL have both talked to FIL about his behavior. It’s worked, sometimes, but patience and empathy are not his strong points. And DH is super frustrated with our kid for not being easy and agreeable.

    • Anonymous :

      This doesn’t feel like counseling to me, it seems like common sense: These two people don’t get along / can’t relate with each other, so don’t put them in situations where they have to. I.E., make other childcare arrangements.

      • Sadly, I think you’re right. Unfortunately, this will break my MIL’s heart. She’s not the problem; FIL is.

        • Anonymous :

          But your MIL can still see your kid. She can come to your house and stay with him. He can go over to their house when your FIL isn’t around.

          Just de-escalate the situation.

        • Anonymous :

          She can babysit at your house alone.

    • Yeah, I’m with the commenter above. Whether your FIL and your son have a great relationship? Largely out of your control. Your son’s safety (and feeling of safety) relative to your FIL? That’s on you, and now you are on notice. Your FIL should not be allowed to babysit your son again.

      The question for you going forward is how to help your son make sense of FIL and how to make sure your son knows that you are in his corner.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think you are right not to let your son be in FIL’s presence unless you or your husband are there.

      That said, it makes me twitch just the tiniest bit that your son and FIL seem to be equally difficult but you’re giving your son a total pass and blaming it all on FIL.

      • Nope, not giving son a total pass. Trust me on that. I will readily agree that he can be a total sh!t in certain circumstances and we’re working on it.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I think that even if her son is being a brat to FIL, he’s still a young kid. FIL is an adult. I think the OP recognizes that her son has his own set of challenges that make him difficult to parent/raise, so she’s not shying away from that. So I don’t think that she’s unfairly shifting the blame to FIL. It seems to be a longstanding dynamic between FIL and son, where her DH and MIL have both spoken with FIL about improving the relationship, and FIL doesn’t take any positive steps.

        OP, really, I don’t think your FIL can watch your son. And I’m not sure that I’d really want FIL around him for a while. I’m sorry.

      • Anonymous :

        Her son is a young child Senior Attorney. He does get a pass from being bullied and threatened by adults.

      • Why are we EVEN discussing these topics on Corporette? So much energy on issues that we do NOT even have any input on! This is a fashion site for female profesionals. We need to stick to this topic b/c this is an area we do have some knowlege and control over! YAY!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      Not giving a pass to your FIL at all, but did he parent at all when your DH was a child? Or was he a more a working father who left all of the parenting to your MIL? Obviously threatening to hit a child is terrible, but viewed through the lens of how your FIL may have been raised (where often children were spanked) and your DH may have been raised (where he may also been spanked, but it was also a lot more socially acceptable for a male parent to threaten that), this may not be as wholly terrible as everyone is thinking. Unless he’s been abusive in the past or other situations, I don’t necessarily think you need to completely separate them.

    • Anonymous :

      W H A T. No. This is easy. Your FIL can’t be around your son right now unattended and if he’s a bully, you leave. You are permitting your child to be bullied and abused by an adult. Just. Stop. Problem solved.

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe I’m from another culture, but actually hitting someone vs threatening to are two different things. I’m not saying that you should threaten to hit a kid, you shouldn’t, it’s mean and not done anymore, but he also views your approach as ineffective he is probably trying to demonstrate to your son that you shouldn’t hit people if you don’t want to be hit yourself. I would take a break from having him babysit for a while and not tell them why. Your son will grow out of it and go on to develop a better relationship with his grandfather, who despite this is probably not all bad. Yeah, it would be nice if the grandfather were more understanding, but he just isn’t. It’ll blow over.

    • I was the sibling who was hit. Then, as the older sibling aged, hitting gave way to punching, kicking, threatening my life, threatening to smother our baby brother in his crib, etc.

      I cannot see sibling violence clearly; I am obviously biased towards seeing things through a specific lens. All I can say is that there are some times when all of the “good parenting” in the world doesn’t help, and the only thing that makes it stop (or be less bad, tbh) is “If you do x to your little sibling, I will do it to you.”

      If your son hit your daughter in frustration, and it’s part of a pattern, your son needs a psychological evaluation.

  17. Handling negative mom :

    Wondering if anyone has advice on this issue. I’ve always had a good relationship with my mom and she always tried to be a good parent to me and my brother and a great grandmother to our children. But the fact of the matter is, in the past few years she has become pretty self-centered and she has become a really negative person, to the point where I dread talking to her and spending time with her. I totally get where she is coming from on some of the negativity: my dad died three years ago and she’s had to sell her house and move and deal with all the stuff that goes along with managing finances and vendors, AND she has a chronic health condition that she can’t afford the super-expensive medications for. But she tends to take a legit situation (e.g. the movers damaged some of her furniture, the HOA won’t let her plant some flowers) and obsess about it, and talk about it at every turn, day after day. So I do feel sorry for her. And I feel like she has earned some right to be able to complain to me, after a lifetime of supporting me and being a good mom. But I truly don’t enjoy spending time with her and call her every 2-3 days out of pure duty – usually at a time when I can just put her on speaker and say “uh huh” every few minutes for the 45 minutes it takes for her to unload and vent. This has been going on for several years now. My husband and brother and even my kids all talk about how unpleasant it is to be around her. But what can I do? She’s my mom, and I don’t want to cut her out of my life. And with my dad gone, she doesn’t have anyone else to complain to. We keep thinking if she just gets through this issue or that particular situation she’ll be happier and things will be better, but I don’t think it’s going to change. Do I need to insist on therapy? She recently said that she’s been really depressed, but she’s never gone to therapy and has been pretty opposed to it.

    • Anonymous :

      Your mom is my sister (but my sister has a “therapist” who says that my sister needs to share her feeling more and that we’re not being supportive unless we are in vocal agreement with her). Um, no. Sorry. It is hard to be us.

      My money’s on my sister having BPD/HPD/something.

    • Anonymama :

      It sounds like she is depressed. Since even she is aware of it, can you talk to her about it, tell her you are worried about her, you know she’s had a tough run of it the past few years but she hasn’t bounced back like her usual self, and suggest she make an appointment and tell her primary care doctor about it.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        This.

        My heart breaks a little bit for your Mom. She’s depressed.

        I hope she can see her primary care doctor, find a therapist, and start an anti-depressant. Maybe you can visit and help her start this…. Please, don’t abandon her.

    • Anonymous :

      She needs to stop doing this.

      I will say that I fell into pattern of being negative when I had a chronic illness that was misdiagnosed and going unaddressed. I think my body was sending me such an overwhelming message that something was BAD and WRONG that I was projecting it onto other things without realizing it (until people who knew me pointed this out). Once I was aware of what I was doing, I struggled not to be negative for a while, and then I finally got a correct diagnosis and real medical help, and those days feel far behind me now even though I’m still ill. I guess knowing what was really wrong helped me compartmentalize the problem and enjoy the rest of life. It sounds like she already knows what her chronic illness is, but it sounds like she needs to come to terms with it (and perhaps also with the decision not to pursue expensive treatments at any cost).

    • Anonymous :

      My mom is sort of going through a similar thing – she lost both of her parents (my grandparents) in a short period of time, immediately followed by a lawsuit brought by her sibling over the estate. It’s been ugly and my mom feels she has no family left, even though she’s always been very family-centric. I became her de facto therapist, and it is ROUGH. She’d call me in the middle of my work day for an hour long ‘session’ – I didn’t have the actual time or emotional energy to deal with her. And she became very selfish in this time too – she flaked on plans with me for things that were very important to me, and once I saw an email she wrote to a family friend saying how selfish and bratty I was – which was AWFUL and caused a huge rift for awhile. I’m off track, lol. Anyway, she did start seeing a therapist which helped initially but then it got worse again. I actually talked to my dad about getting her to go more and/or considering medication for depression/anxiety, and my dad flipped out at me that of course she didn’t need that (also great for my parent relationships). I’m not sure if she switched therapists, or started going more often, but she did come out of this. The lawsuit is ongoing so there are still times I get those sad calls but it’s much less, and now she can handle these things much better, along with being able to focus on the good parts of her life.

      TLDR: I feel you – it’s unbelievably awful. Therapy did help my mom.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you need to do something to break the pattern that the two of you have fallen into. So instead of talking about the latest situation, talk about the bigger situation: Mom, you’re in such a tough place, and what you’re going through is really big. More than I can really help you with. I”m going to help you find a therapist — someone who is outside the situation, who can help you in ways that I can’t. I can listen, but me listening isn’t helping you get any better. Neither of us are happy with where you are right now, so let’s try something different.

    • OP here. Thanks for your suggestions on how to address the situation with my mom. I will give it a try.

  18. Anonymous :

    Has anyone had luck with getting cat hair out of a fuzzy blanket? Cat has claimed my favorite couch blanket and the cat hair seems permanently embedded even after washing. Yet somehow, it still comes off on my clothes if I brush past that blanket.
    Alternatively, does anyone have a favorite throw blanket that is soft, cozy, and reasonably cat hair resistant or easy to get cat hair off of (because if I get a new blanket, of course that one will instantly become the cat’s new favorite)?

    • Run it through the dryer, with our washing it first, on air fluff.

      Alternatively, get a heated fleece blanket, which will be the cat’s favourite in record time.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I have found that the dryer balls, instead of dryer sheets, are better with pet hair. They sort of “knock” the hair off the fabric.

        They make wool ones and nubby silicone ones, both readily available on Amazon.

    • Can I piggyback (catback?) on this to ask for suggestions on removing cat pee from upholstery?

    • Put on a disposable rubber glove, like the kind used in a doctor’s office. Mist the palm lightly with a water bottle. Run your hand over the blanket. The fur will lift away. Wipe the glove clean with a wet paper towel, then keep swiping until you aren’t getting handfuls.

  19. Anonymous :

    Has anyone had an intervention with an almost-but-not-quite hoarder? (Too much stuff to move/goat trails through the house, but no problems with trash piling up or pests.)

    After trying to help my mom for 4 years myself (it’s just the two of us – I’m an only, she’s single), I approached her about bringing in a professional organizer (…who happens to help hoarders and seniors who need to downsize). Mom said she would be willing to have someone help her go through the papers on the kitchen table…nothing else. I’ll discuss it with the organizer, but I’m just wondering if anyone has been through this. I’m hoping she’ll like the organizer so much and feel so proud of clearing off the chest-high piles on the table that she’ll work with her for other activities, but… This is just so hard.

    • Anonymous :

      No experience personally, but “chest-high piles” and “goat trails” sound , to my inexpert ears, like actual hoarding. I’ve always understood that hoarding/keeping is related to underlying causes. Would your mom be open to seeing a counselor?

    • Flats Only :

      It’s a tough situation I’m not sure there’s much you can do. It sounds like she is content with her living conditions, and they aren’t anything that would get the place condemned and involve your city/county. Is she afraid of fire? If so a visit from some of the kind folks at the local fire station, to make sure her smoke detectors are in order and suggest to her that she will have trouble exiting or being rescued in the event of fire, might get through to her.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It sounds like actual hoarding, since not all hoarding involves spoiled food, pet waste, or other hazardous items. I highly recommend the book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things– it explores the compulsions that drive people to hoard and methods for dealing with the issue and mentions organizations who can help, though it’s not strictly a how-to or self-help book.

      Does her house pose a danger to her, as a fire risk or other safety hazards? Then you may be able to get her municipality involved, though that’s obviously an emotionally difficult process for both of you. Unfortunately, most hoarders won’t respond to “organizing” on a long-term basis, as the psychological aspect is what really needs to be tackled. From what it sounds like, this isn’t a one-time clean out and be done with it situation. And if she doesn’t see it as a real problem or doesn’t feel emotionally ready to face the issue, it’s going to be really hard.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I have a comment in moderation, but check out the book “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things”

    • Anonymous :

      I have a relative who is a hoarder, but not reality-tv level of hoarding. Like others have said, it’s really an underlying psychological problem, and a therapist would be a better start than a professional organizer. It’s hard to watch, but unless your mom wants to change, it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to make progress for her.

    • Anonymous :

      She is a hoarder. Not almost. Tell her that. Say if she doesn’t get help you’re worried she will die in a fire. Cause she will.

      • Anonymous :

        Just FYI, this isn’t going to do anything to help. Hoarders know that they’re hoarders. It doesn’t stop them.

    • I’ve been there :

      My dad’s house looked like what you describe. Then he started having pests, but wouldn’t bring in professional help because there were unsecured valuables (that, due to the nature of the mess, weren’t going to get secured) and assorted other reasons. The house got worse. Maybe he didn’t realize how bad the pest problem was.

      When he got too ill with an unrelated condition to live by himself, having a helper come in was out of the question due to the mess and his view that someone would steal the unsecured valuables. He had to go to assisted living, which wouldn’t have been his choice.

      He died and I just paid an organizing firm a ton of money to rescue what they could and clear out the rest. So many of his treasures had to go to the dump because of the condition of the house. I got a pittance for much of the rest.

      I live very far away with young kids and didn’t realize how bad it was until he was already in assisted living. However, I’m glad I didn’t press him more than I did or call the local authorities on his house. It wouldn’t have helped and it would have destroyed the trust he had in me. I very much needed that trust to manage his care for his final months, when he couldn’t manage his own care and there was no one else who could get him the best care possible consistent with his wishes.

      That said, send in the organizer to do as much as your mom will accept. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll feel better that you tried.

      Also, hugs, it is so, so hard. I think for many people with similar problems, you can express concern and offer help, but ultimately nothing will change unless the person sees that he or she has a bad problem.

      One more thing—don’t listen to people who don’t understand. When my dad was ill and after he died, I heard so much blather from people who knew the condition of the house, but didn’t understand that it was a health hazard and that I could only let professionals handle it and from people who didn’t know the condition of the house and expressed dismay that I’d let professionals handle the whole thing.

      • Late in the day, but I’ve been both the person who didn’t understand, and the person dealing with the mess.

        My neighbor was essentially a shut-in. Such a hoarder that she had piles of newspapers from at least the most recent 40 years stacked so high there were just little walled passageways to get around. My cat got locked in her house overnight once and when I went to retrieve him in the morning she asked if the other one was mine too. Like, a crazy house where you’re not sure how many not-yours cats are hiding in it.

        She wouldn’t open the door more than a crack wife, and it was only after she died that we realized the extent of the problem. Her heirs, her nephews, flew across the county and unceremoniously threw everything into a dumpster. They didn’t sort, they didn’t go through things, just everything in the dumpster. I felt bad for her that they were saving nothing of hers for their own kids, but the guys just said it was an impossible task and they weren’t going to take anything back across country with them. Later that week, there were literal dumpster divers getting into it and strewing stuff all over the yard trying to get to the “good stuff”. I just felt terrible for my neighbor that the stuff that had seemed so precious to her was first thrown out, then thrown around so unceremoniously. Yes, I judged

        Then my own mom died. She wasn’t a hoarder like my neighbor, but she had amassed her own huge collection of stuff over her almost 80 years of life, and my siblings and I had to deal with it. At first, with each item, you’re asking each other what to do with this thing, does someone want it, should we sell it or donate it? And then over the coming days and weeks you realize that the amount of stuff you have to get rid of will take at least a month of that business full time if you have to make a keep/sell/donate/trash decision about each and every thing, and you end up going the dumpster route.

        I will agree with the poster I’m responding to – you can go ahead and judge that it’s wasteful or unsentimental or not environmentally friendly – but you literally do not know what you’d do in the same situation until you face it yourself. Unfortunately, not one of us has the luxury of unlimited time to deal with a mountain of stuff.

        • Anonymous :

          I still don’t understand. Why trash everything when you could have donated everything?

          • Anonymous :

            I think the answer is, you simply do not know what you will do when faced with an overwhelmingly impossible task, often while still grieving. Things that seem common sense or possible outside of that situation look very different while in it.

  20. Anonymous :

    Any recommendations for on-site bridal hair and makeup? I’m having the hardest time finding a vendor! Thanks!

  21. Super Anon :

    I have started running with a friend (Friend #1) to train for a 5k in the fall, which will be my first. We meet weekly to go for a run. Recently a new friend (Friend #2) who is new in town overheard us and said she was interested and ran a 5k before. We invited her to join us for our weekly runs. Turns out Friend #2 is an absurdly slow runner – she runs slower than I would walk at a leisurely pace. She can only run about 30 feet before having to stop. She does have asthma. Friend #1 and I don’t get much of a workout on our weekly runs anymore. Friend #2 is nice and trying to get to know the area and make friends, but I really need to train. I would rather not run with her anymore. Is there any way for me to handle this tactfully?

    • Anonymous :

      When she falls behind, “Hey Friend 2, we’re going to keep going so we can keep up our pace! We’ll see you at the finish line/designated stopping place. Keep going! We know you can do it!”

    • Anonymous :

      “Hey we need to keep a quicker pace so running together isn’t going to work.”

    • Anonymous :

      Can you commit to one run (or run/walk) a week with her? Or is that just even too painful? If you can’t really do it at all, I suggest the 5:18 commenter’s plan that you pick a finish spot for coffee or a drink and see her there. Maybe even running different routes if necessary. But as a long time runner, it’s totally ok in my book to tell someone “I need to pick up the pace, I’ll meet you at X” or “I’ll circle back for you” or whatever. If you can try and help her, great, but no one should hold you back every run.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you meet at a park and run circuits? It’s ok to lap her, or if there is no circuit, to run ahead and run back. Running with you guys is probably hard on her, too, but she wants to make friends.

    • Run around a track or find a one mile loop. You and your friend can do a couple of loops and the slow friend can do one.

  22. Trader Joe’s sparkling mineral water in the cranberry clementine flavor is the only one of its kind that I like.

  23. Ever since I got pregnant, I’ve been making lemon ginger cubes (I found the recipe in a cookbook to ease morning sickness, but they’re honestly great for adding some zing to a sparkling water any time!). You take a ton of lemon juice, some grated ginger, honey and water and freeze them together in ice cube trays. It’s a great, really fresh homemade ginger ale!

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