Weekend Open Thread

Joie Top Amone SilkSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Whew, that was a long week, eh? For this weekend open thread I’m liking this silk top from Joie. It could be acceptable for some offices, too, but really this is exactly how I want to look on the weekends — polished but casual, comfortable, maybe with a touch of sexy. I even like the coral color (and trust me, that’s saying something). It’s $208 at Bloomingdale’s. Joie Top – Amone Silk



  1. I can’t stand when family members take advantage of your good qualities without reciprocating. I’m just venting because a cousin who always reaches out to me for support with her numerous problems, including ones related to work, relationships, friendships, family issues, you name it, apparently can’t be bothered to ask a single question about how I’m doing or respond with more than a sentence or two if I share an update first. She’ll also bring up a subject, but then act evasive if I ask any questions, almost like she’s treating me like a therapist who wants to tease the truth out of her. Other than trying to stay in touch less, how can I deal with someone close to me (and whom I do love) who is so self-involved? It’s draining to talk to her, but I hate confrontation and I don’t want to cause family issues. She’s very close to her family and I know for a fact that anything I say will be instantly broadcast to everyone. Thanks in advance!

    • I am not great for advice on things like this, but I’ve been reading Captain Awkward a lot lately (and you should start reading it, too, bc awesomesauce) and she would say: “SHE is already causing family issues!!” stop feeling bad and worrying about her feelings, because she isn’t worrying about yours, so she started it! Other than that I’ve got nothing, but go read some Captain Awkward, I think you will find a lot that resonates.

    • 1) Why is staying in touch less not an option? It sounds like you don’t enjoy your interactions with her. She’s not old or sick and so you withdrawing somewhat isn’t going to put her in physical danger. So why not just answer only 1 out of every 3 emails/phonecalls/whatever? Or 1 of 5?

      2) Why does it matter if your family hears what you say to her? If you say to her “hey, sometimes I feel like when we talk, I don’t get a chance to share what’s going on in my life. It would really mean a lot to me if you just asked when we talk ‘Vent, what’s been up with you lately? How’s SO/dating life/pet? How’s that issue you were dealing with at work?'” and the family hears you said that to her, what happens then? Do they disown you? Do they say you’re difficult and being mean to your cousin? If so, then so what? You only said something honest, not mean, and something meant to make your relationship with your cousin better. If they think you’re difficult for doing that, then you’re not the one who’s difficult.

    • Honestly, I think the only way to deal with someone like this is to constantly remind yourself that they are not going to change, and adjust your expectations accordingly. She’s probably not going to all of a sudden start asking you tons of questions about your life, even if you ask her to. So don’t expect that kind of relationship with her.

      When she acts evasive, just change the subject (or get off the phone if you are feeling annoyed). If you want, you can preface the subject change with a “I don’t want to intrude.”

      And if you are feeling drained, it’s OK to screen your calls. If she asks why you didn’t pick up, tell her about all the things you have going on in your own life that were occupying you at the moment. If she’s interested, pleasant surprise. Just don’t expect it.

      • This is true for relationships that don’t matter a lot to you, but if you have a lifelong friend or family member whose behavior is a problem for you, it is sometimes helpful to actually talk about it. Imagine if you were doing something unknowingly that was constantly frustrating someone close to you. Wouldn’t it be better to know, even if it involved a rocky conversation or confrontation? Some people do care and will listen, even if they may be defensive at first. You can’t just give up on everyone. There are some relationships that require openness and honesty.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I’m wondering if we have the same cousin because I have a cousin who I’m convinced needs a full-time therapist because it just too emotionally exhausting to listen to her constantly. She acts similarly – she is self-involved with everything but doesn’t really care about anyone else’s lives.

      I think TBK’s advice is great and to be perfectly honest, is way better than what I did to my cousin which is just stop talking to her as often (and now at all) – it just happened because I moved and got busy but probably not the nicest thing to do

    • Thanks for the great advice so far, guys. TBK, I should’ve phrased it better in my original post because I AM trying to stay in touch less, so therefore I need additional advice because the problem is still happening. Talking less has been helpful, but apparently not helpful enough. I think this problem has been going on for so many years at this point that it’s just made me more ragey whenever I have to deal with it (i.e. she could write to me for the first time in three or four days, but whatever long monologue she starts will instantly piss me off).

      The problem with her going to her family is that whatever I say will almost certainly be misconstrued. I can understand that she gets defensive and doesn’t want to admit that she’s done anything wrong to her own family, but if I were to say “I feel like we spend more time discussing your problems than mine,” there’s a really good chance it will be relayed as “Vent complained that I don’t listen to her enough. She complains so much and it’s just like her to make it about her when I try to confide in her about something going on with me.” While I’m not as close to her family as I once was, it just makes me upset to think of the impression they get of me when they repeatedly hear her side of the story. In all the fights and arguments I’ve had with my cousin over the years, they’ve known all the details from her, but have never once asked me for my side. I guess that’s how you know they’re really HER family, not mine.

      Also of note, I’m trying to really reflect on my own role in this and am trying to see it from her point of view. I know it’s never just one person’s fault when a relationship has weird dynamics, but at the same time, I keep coming back to the problems as written in the first post. Thanks so much, ladies.

      • This may be harsh, but you really need to decide whether you’d rather continue acting as therapist for your selfish cousin or have her family think you’re selfish/inconsiderate. Since it seems like her family doesn’t positively contribute to your life, I suggest the latter.

        You’re looking for a way to get off without her or her family realizing it. The only way that might be possible is to just slowly wean her off your calls, but that’s a long process and at some point, she’ll probably realize you’ve been dodging her.

        • hoola hoopa :


          If you simply just don’t want to look like a giant B to everyone else while doing it, then try being really warm with her but still only give responses that don’t set her up to say more. Great her warmly, say you’re happy she came, ask how she’s doing or what’s new, and then say “glad to hear it” or “sounds like you’re doing well” or whatever in an upbeat way, and move on to the next person. She’ll notice and maybe she will complain to her family, but if you’re being nice it’s hard for others to really make an issue of it – unless they are the kind of people to make an issue of anything in which case you should brush it off. Not your problem. Maybe you have some unusual family dynamics, but generally it’s okay if your cousin’s family thinks you don’t like her anymore.

      • I know I’m being a total broken record on this, so feel free to ignore me ;o) But here are some columns from Captain Awkward that are very similar to what you are dealing with.

        First, this is an important paragraph:

        This is a “classic” advice question that perfectly fits the paradigm of many questions we have around here:

        Dear Captain Awkward:
        A person is making me uncomfortable and doing stuff that violates my boundaries.
        How do I stop them without hurting their feelings or making them feel uncomfortable?

        And you guys are all so nice, and kind, and considerate, and working so hard to be fair to the other person! But the fact remains, **if the behavior is making you uncomfortable, things are already uncomfortable.** Often to the point that you might have to scorch the earth of the relationship if whatever it is keeps continuing, but you’re still looking for a way to let the other person down easy. There is a perception that speaking up for boundaries is somehow introducing conflict into a situation, or at very least, escalating it in an unkind way, like, everything was fine until you spoke up for your needs and now you made it weird.

        The rest of that post is here: http://captainawkward.com/2013/08/26/508-509-friendship-attachment-styles-boundaries/

        • Another post about a friend who is trying to turn you into her therapist, I think there are some good scripts here that are also relevant to dealing with your cousin.


          Seriously: take care of yourself here, stand up for yourself. You deserve it. Good luck!!!

    • Stop communicating with her. Sounds like you could use a break anyway.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      No real advice, but just want to share that I can totally relate…so you’re not alone. Actually, my sister may one up your cousin b/c in addition to doing that, she occasionally complains that I don’t ask her enough about her life. This is the same person who spent most of the phone call last year when I told her I was having my second miscarriage of the year telling me about how hard it was to deal with her in-laws for the holidays!

      I think the only thing I’ve found to be helpful is to limit conversations when I’m really not in a place to deal with her self-involvement. It’s hard b/c sometimes I want to turn to my sister for support, and sometimes she’s actually great about it, but I just have to set myself up to know I won’t always get it when I need/want it. The other thing I can say is that if you’re cousin is really like this, most of your family (maybe not her immediate family, but other cousins and aunts/uncles etc) probably already knows. My sister is many wonderful things and also close to most of my extended family, but over the years I’ve learned more and more that my parents and relatives see the same short-comings in her that I do.

      • This totally hits the nail on the head. I sometimes WANT to turn to my cousin for support (when we were younger, we both supported each other pretty well), but I just have to realize that she can’t magically change just because I need or want her to. Also, I do think her family might have similar frustrations to some extent – she’s always been kind of “spoiled” and has her mom wrapped around her finger, but I have sensed some definite frustration with some of her similar behavior at family gatherings. Maybe they won’t be entirely surprised if I do say something, although I’m sure I’ll have to be extremely careful about speaking honestly and not unfairly if I want the story to be relayed in a somewhat accurate way…

        Zora, the response/scripts in that second link you posted may have been written exactly for me – it is spot-on in literally every way. As soon as I get home, I will be checking out this Captain Awkward site in more detail – thank you! It is so helpful to have some ideas for how to phrase things in a productive way. Anything that might prevent me from snapping and yelling at her is bound to be very helpful.

        • Yay! I’m glad that helps. Yeah, I have gotten totally addicted to CA, bc i love the way they write out scripts of exactly what to say, it has been so helpful for the way my mind works.

    • Bankratty :

      Not to make this “all about me” but: my sister does this to me as well. I’m very eager to see how others respond.

  2. Cute top Kat. I’m so happy it’s Friday!

    • I love this top! Can’t wear the color,but one of my major aspirations is having the finances that would allow me to have half a closet of Joie clothes…

  3. Honeymoon Questions :

    Thank you all who responded to my question yesterday about the honeymoon! We talked it over a bit and he does feel like it is his responsibility to pay for the honeymoon, so I guess I’m kind of stuck. But your suggestions definitely make me feel better about the budget!

  4. Back Pain During Pregnancy :

    Can anyone share tips on how to minimize low back pain during pregnancy? I’m 27 weeks currently and feel good overall. However, I often have lower back pain. In the past few days I realized that the pain seems to be exacerbated by walking, which is unfortunate since I walk about 20 (hilly) minutes each morning to get to public transportation for my commute. I enjoy walking and it makes me feel good, but on the other hand it does seem to contribute to the back aches. I take a prenatal yoga class once a week which makes my back feel wonderful. My plan is to start doing a few minutes of yoga every day, reduce the amount of weight I carry in my bag when walking to public transportation, and focusing on good posture. Any other tips? Thanks in advance.

    • Anonymous :

      They have maternity support bands that can take some of the pressure off your back. I have the Gabriella brand one and it helps for running and walking. My pain isn’t so bad that I need it all the time, but when I put it on, I can feel the pressure ease.

      Another idea is that my back was feeling overall achy until I bought bras in a larger band size. What a relief. My rib cage has obviously gotten bigger and the old band size wasn’t cutting it anymore.

    • frustrated academic :

      I am 31.5 weeks and have been wearing an Atlas belt when I walk to and from the train–although it makes me look like I should be unloading pallets at Home Depot, it gives support to my lower back and stomach. I also do a barre based exercise class five or so times a week that really works and strengthens the muscles of the core.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Definitely a support belt.

      Pool time will help, too. Being submersed in water relieves the weight and feels soooo gooood!

      • +1. I waited too long to get into a pool during my pregnancy. Once I did, I almost cried it felt so wonderful.

      • +2 I think going to the pool while pg is one of those secrets that few people know about. I didn’t go often until my 3rd pg, and boy does it make a difference and help you joints and even helps some with swelling. Going to the pool became my favorite part of the day.

      • Anonymous :

        I wonder if the benefits would outweigh the cons for me. I usually hate the pool when its not a hot summer day and I’m not sitting next to it with a drink in my hand. I hate getting my hair wet, I hate chlorine, I hate being cold when I get out. Oddly enough, I love running and don’t mind running outside in the cold and having wet hair from sweating, but something about the pool does not appeal to me. High school swim team flashbacks, I guess.

        • I hate getting my hair wet too — but you don’t have to submerge your head in order to get back relief during pregnancy!

    • Check with your doctor first but I’ve been using a heating pad on my back in the evenings and it seems to help.

    • I loved a prenatal yoga DVD (with Shiva Rhea – sp?). It is pretty cheap on Amazon, I believe. Very easy, obviously convenient to do at home, and super relaxing. Helped me a lot of back pain and any other minor aches and pains. Good luck! And congrats!

      • careful with that.. I had that video and loved it, til I overdid it just following the moves (and I’m good at yoga non-preg) and tore my abdominal ligament down the middle. hurt like hell, could barely walk rest of pregnancy. body did not want to be stretched any more than it already was. go gentle on self when in doubt.

    • I was just about to recommend yoga but see that you’re already doing it. You should do it more often than once a week. Is that possible when you’re pregnant? I heard it also helps you bounce back after pregnancy.

    • Check out the website Katy Says (dot com) and do a search for pregnancy. She is a biomechanist and works a lot on proper alignment and muscle lengthening to help with pregnancy related pain (and non-pregnancy related pain too). Her stuff is really helpful! Yoga is good. Avoid wearing any kind of heels and sitting too much. And try to walk a lot–all of these will help. But there are specific stretches on her website that are helpful too. Good luck!

      • The Courage Center by our house has a heated pool and pg exercise classes. Of course I didn’t know about it when I was pg but it looks awesome enough to fake a pg for me.

    • My yoga instructor mentioned that as women go further into pregnancy, the additional weight makes us want to point our toes outward, which causes back pain. I’ve focused on walking with my toes pointed straight ahead, and that has greatly reduced back discomfort!

  5. I know DevaCurl has been recommended here, but I’m wondering if any of you have and suggestions for a similar, but better smelling (and maybe cheaper) product. I really like what it does to my hair, but I just can’t stand the smells. They remind me of all the candies I don’t like (Skittles and such).

    • hoola hoopa :

      Love the Aveda BeCurly line. Works wonders. Probably not cheaper, but definitely a more natural scent.

    • I like Ouidad products. Probably not cheaper, but you might see if you like the smell better.

      • +1. I much prefer Ouidad to DevaCurl.

        Actually now that I think about it, I do believe it was Rosie who turned me on to Ouidad in the first place!

        • Excellent, another convert :)
          I really like their moisture lock conditioner (I use it after my regular shampoo and conditioner), and then I use the climate gel and the botanical boost spray on occasion.

    • I swear by Nature’s Gate Hemp line. The smell is nothing to write home about, but its AMAZING for my hair and way cheaper than the salon stuff.

    • I have Irish ringlets and like Tresemme Climate Control Mousse (none of the other variations are half as good). Nexxus mousse is pricy but good too. If you need less hold, be curly. Also, very pricy and the texture of rubber cement, but Kevin Murphy’s Super Goop is AMAZING if your hair needs to be defined and weighed down (I have fine, curly hair).

  6. I’d like to hear from any ladies who left Biglaw pretty soon after starting. I’ve been in Biglaw for just over a year now, but I knew even before I began that it wasn’t my life’s calling, and had planned to look for new opportunities after about 3 years. However, I recently came across a job opportunity (government sector) that is absolutely perfect for me, and while I can’t say it’s a “once in a lifetime” thing, it almost certainly won’t be there in several years when I had planned to leave Biglaw. While I actually like my work and the people at my firm, and wouldn’t mind staying a while longer, I feel like I can’t turn down exploring this new opportunity. But I also wonder if I am missing some huge downside to jumping ship so soon. I think financially I’ll be ok – my husband and I were set pay off our student loans sometime this summer, but he said he’d be OK with it taking a little while longer. But will I be burning bridges with the people I work for now? Or is there some other component I’m missing? Advice would be appreciated!

    • I haven’t been in biglaw, but from a government perspective, I have a few warnings. Are you talking federal? If so, the position may have 1000+ applicants. Don’t get your hopes up, and work your network if you do decide to apply to see if someone can help get your resume noticed (not saying anything about quality–it’s a sheer volume issue). Do you plan to have kids? Federal govt is leave you accumulate and FMLA, and I understand biglaw is somewhat more generous in terms of maternity leave. Also, have you factored shutdown/furlough into your budget planning?

      Sorry to be a downer, and hopefully others will weigh in on the leaving biglaw aspect.

    • What kind of training are you getting now and what is the potential for training at the new job? If you are getting really great experience now, that will make you that much more marketable in the future.

      • I am getting great-quality training now, but frankly, the quantity isn’t great – the firm overhired the past couple of years and there’s really not enough work to go around. I don’t think they’re going to lay off people because the firm is in good financial shape, but I didn’t get a bonus last year, and having to constantly look for work to keep my head above water is really stressing me out. The new job is really “new” in the most literal sense – the 5-ish positions that are open did not exist before now – but from the job description it seems like the training would be superb. It is in the federal sector.

        Rosie, I totally get and appreciate your warnings. I’m not getting my hopes up too much – like I said, I’d be fine with staying in Biglaw for longer despite the above complaints. But there are multiple openings for this position, and it’s a very very niche area that few people have expertise in, so I do think I’m quite competitive. I do plan on having kids and will take the FMLA issue into consideration. Shutdown/furlough isn’t a concern – hubs plans on staying in Biglaw for the foreseeable future, which is more than enough for us to live on.

    • I can’t give you advice on govt v biglaw, but I can tell you–don’t limit yourself to your own firm. If you’re not getting enough work, you should really look into lateraling. Really. Especially if you have a specialized skillset like you say. You’re making your jobsearch binary and it doesn’t have to be. There’s all sorts of variations on biglaw and if your firm overhired, find somewhere that will keep you busier and is less stressful on that front…but be careful what you wish for. There is a QoL difference between 1800 and 2000 hours (or whatever you’re billing). Good luck!

      (And yes, I have seen many 1.5 year attorneys lateral…it does happen.)

  7. hoola hoopa :

    Favorite romance movie?

    I’m in the mood for a romantic movie marathon this weekend. Comedy or drama, but not tragic or depressing.

    • bananagram :

      Grosse Pointe Blank. John Cussak is the future Mr. Bananagram.

      • Yes! Also High Fidelity. Love that Cussak!

      • OMG. He is the man of my dreams in Grosse Pointe Blank.

        “I killed the President of Paraguay with a fork.” WHY DOES THAT MAKE ME SWOON?

    • Moonstruck!!! Amelie. The Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy.

    • Moonstruck

    • I recently watched The Switch (Amazon/Netflix seem to be advertising it a lot lately, or at least to me), and it was surprisingly cute.

      • Anonymous :

        I watched this too and literally was like “oh come ON” when my sister put it on, but it was actually pretty cute.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        I loved this movie wayy more than I thought I would.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Love Actually!

    • Second vote for Love Actually
      Love and Other Catastrophes

      This is not my favorite genre, but I know there are a couple of other one’s that escape my mind at the moment. If I think of them later, I will post them.

    • You’ve got mail; leap year; the proposal; two weeks notice; this means war;

    • Sweet Home Alabama or America’s Sweetheart.

    • While You Were Sleeping – great winter movie, not annoying or dumb, and currently available on HBO GO. And Bill Pullman is super cute in it.

      Second the Before Sunrise trilogy.

      If you’re watching on Netflix, check out the “Classic” category. So many great romances: His Girl Friday, Roman Holiday, Some Like it Hot, African Queen…. Also: Monsoon Wedding, Pretty in Pink, Shakespeare in Love, Emma, Grease…

    • WSJ/serious business conference attire :

      The Thin Man (any of them)

    • Hope Floats.

      • Hands down my favorite romantic movie.

        • Some more options:

          -Love Actually
          -50 First Dates (the final scene warms my heart every time!! You just have to get through a couple of the typical Adam Sandler gross comedy moments)
          -The Notebook (although the ending makes me a little sad)
          -Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (do kids’ movies count?)
          -500 Days of Summer
          -Breakfast at Tiffany’s

          I also love a few romantic movies that happen to have sad endings, but it sounds like you want happy movies. Let us know what you end up watching and liking!

    • If it’s not too teen-y for you, and you like John Cusack, Say Anything is my hands-down favorite romantic movie *sigh*. Now I want to go watch it.

      • midwest mom :

        Sweet Home Alabama…. I can quote the whole movie. So sweet and funny.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Just watched that for the first time last week – it’s so good!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Practical Magic. It makes me cry halfway through, and then it makes me cry at the end because everything is so… durn… adorable!

    • Does Under the Tuscon Sun count??

    • You’ve Got Mail!

    • 10 Things I Hate About You.
      The Princess Diaries 2 (NO JUDGING, IT IS CHRIS PINE, PEOPLE. I admit that The Princess Diaries 1 is a better movie.)
      I will second Sweet Home Alabama, if only for the Civil War Reenactment scene.
      Oh! And Something New – I feel like no one saw this movie but me, so I will summarize: highly upwardly mobile, chic, professional Sanaa Lathan falls for landscape architect Simon Baker – it’s an awesome story about love, race, class, and all the complexities of being a professional woman trying to figure out life. I seriously felt like it was one of the best romance movies I’ve ever seen. And it’s REALLY funny.

      • Coach Laura :

        Sweet Home Alabama is my favorite (and I was raised in Alabama)!

      • naijamodel :

        @Cbackson, I saw something new :D
        All my girlfriends did as well – great movie! I think many people on this site may not have seen it…

      • Little Red :

        I saw it too! I even have it on DVD. Agreed, great movie that explores lots of issues that aren’t seen in the usual rom-com plus it’s sweet, funny, and sexy.

    • I second Love and Other Disasters along with any of The Thin Man movies!

  8. I gots a question… It has just recently registered in my brain that sitting in an open office makes my anxiety so much worse and makes it a struggle for me to be really productive at work. I am at a desk in a real ‘office’ but there are multiple people in the office, loud conversations happen in other offices and in the hall, and constant interruptions as people just walk up to our door and start talking/asking questions. I was diagnosed with ADD at an early age and have learned a lot of coping strategies, and I usually keep my headphones in and listen to music to help drown out the noise. But my anxiety has been increasing in recent years and I’m realizing this work set up is a huge part of it.

    In order to prevent being driven crazy by all the distracting people and losing it and screaming at everyone to leave me alone (which I am on the very edge of doing right now) I am trying to channel my thoughts in a more productive direction. Thus my question: In the process of starting at a (hypothetical) new job, how reasonable is it for me to ask about work space layout and even request accommodations if the workplace has open-plan seating? Or are we really all expected to just work in whatever conditions the employers think is “coolest” now?…

    • I think once you have an offer in hand you can ask. I also think when you’re interviewing you can sneak a peak around.

      Bottom line, once they want you, ask. If it’s going to make you anxious/stressed it’s not worth it.

    • I have no expertise on this subject whatsoever, but I really really hope it’s reasonable to ask about work space layout. The book Quiet by Susan Cain talks about how open layouts can be extremely detrimental to introverts (including me), and I think you absolutely SHOULD be able to ask about it. I share an office right now, but I think my anxiety would absolutely skyrocket if I were in one of those “trendy” open workspaces that are so popular these days. I was walking by some such offices in Palo Alto and I could see these long desks through the window with dozens of workstations set up right next to each other with no walls or anything. *shudder*

      • I know, right!?!? This was the other thing that made me think about it, was just looking at a PHOTO of the open plan office at google almost gave me an anxiety attack, gah! I just wish this was considered a reasonable conversation to have with a new employer during the offer process, like: “how do you prefer to work?” “I really need some quiet and private space to get my work done each day, and to have more structured collaborative time for working with colleages.” “Cool, we have workspaces to accommodate all styles of working.” …. is that really such a wild and crazy idea???

        • wildkitten :

          Are your headphones noise-cancelling? They make a big difference.

          • They do, but if you’re really introverted (as I am), it’s not just the noise, it’s the openness and visibility. You feel constantly exposed, in a “fight or flight response inducing” kind of way, and tamping that down creates massive stress.
            I can deal with cubes as long as the walls are at least 5 feet high, then headphones work. but if I can see everyone and they can see me? It’s awful.

          • Yeah, exactly what Sadie said. Part of it is that people sit behind me, and there is stuff that just happens back there without me being able to see or having any warning, and then i’m shaken and distracted and lose my place in what I was doing. Seriously, it is so helping just hearing the commiseration and that I’m not the only one who thinks openplan offices are Of The Devil. So, maybe all us introverts need to band together and create The Society For The Promotion Of Private Workspaces To Maintain The Sanity Of Introverted Workers…. anyone want to work on the manifesto with me???

          • Zora, any chance you could at least ask to move to a desk at the back of the “pen”? Maybe someone would switch with you? I find having my back to a wall does help at least some. And some people would probably like to be more in the “middle” of things. I’d try to get a desk in the back of the pen and at the end of whatever type of “row” there is. I find my anxiety greatly diminished if I have no one behind or to at least one side of me.
            Our exams are in rooms with lots of rows of the long, long tables with no definition, just people in rows. I get there way early so I can take one of the spots in the back row, at an end. Otherwise I can’t focus.

        • Zora, I definitely understand. I worked in an open office briefly and it was awful–definitely impeded my work and harmed relationships with coworkers because I was struggling so much to maintain any kind of focus. I agree with others that you should be able to ask about office layout and work styles once you have an offer. However, I have decided that mentioning being an introvert, or even anything related to it without using the term, isn’t a good idea during interviews (in response to your latest question). You may get someone who understands, but at that stage I am too concerned about the stigma and perceptions that I simply don’t like people.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I’m in one of those trendy open work spaces…in-house counsel at an architectural firm! I’m not at all an introvert, so it doesn’t cause me anxiety, but it can be really tough for me to focus sometimes, even with the noise cancelling headphones. Hopefully this trend is declining! I do have access to a small conference room that is never occupied for my use whenever I need it.

        In my case, I’m glad I didn’t ask during the interviews or even during salary negotiation, because the culture here is that almost no one gets an office. It would not have played well.

        • Yeah, I think there are many companies that consider the office layout to be a symbol of their company culture — being open, collaborative, modern, innovative, etc — and asking for special arrangements in a serious way may indicate to them that you won’t excel or fit in. I think it’s fine to say, “I need quiet to concentration and do detail-oriented work” and people will understand. Booking a private conference room once in a while will also be understood or working from home occasionally. But wanting to completely remove yourself at all times from the open office layout will probably not fly in many places. I say this as someone who also finds open office layouts to be anxiety-inducing, but unfortunately, I think many places just expect you to deal.

        • My office is the same way. People work in the same place for years and need a specific rank before they even get to a place where they share with only one other person. My current office has only eoght people in it, amd i feel lucky that i have my same desk everyday.

          My last job there were almost fifty people on the floor, no cubes even,a nd we were on shifts so no guarentee that you would have the same desk.

          Youd be laughed at if you requested an office in my line of work.

          • Yep, we have ‘hotel’ workstations, I have to book a desk everyday!! Welcome to the future of Canadian banking (national office, no clients)

            I pack my belongings everyday, no pics, pens, knick knacks of any kind, not even a mug can stay. My neighbour changes daily, although my team and I tend to book near each other…every phone call, sound, movement is seen by the floor. Takes some getting used to. The premise is that we are in meetings and don’t need the space but really it is to save on toronto downtown real estate costs

    • I have asked, and have not found it to be detrimental. You don’t have to say “I can’t work in an open space environment.” You can simply ask what kind of office environment they have, and take that into consideration when weighing your options.

      • Yeah, you are right. That is kind of what I was thinking, but you articulated it better, thank you. I am just so at the end of my last nerve today and fighting the urge to punch the next person who talks is very difficult. I wish i could just take my computer into a closet and hide from everyone! ah!!

    • Agreed. Whoever came up with open work environments should be shot. When our firm moved to a new space we were told we would be moving from offices to an open work environment. I asked why the change in setup? They said because it’s cheaper. Super idea! I left the firm for an in-house job (with an office!!) 6 months ago and haven’t looked back.

      • +1000. The person who came up with the open environment concept never worked in the open environment! The decision makers electing this set up only look at the upfront real estate cost savings. They never dig deeper and look at productivity, effect on morale and retention, what individual/department roles/functions involve and whether it makes sense for them to be sitting out in an open pen/cubicle farm. I worked in a cubicle very briefly and I have to say it was the most unproductive period of my career. Although I have not been diagnosed with ADD nor am I an introvert, I found the lack of privacy unnerving and I felt really exposed. I was dealing with confidential information on paper, my computer screen and over the telephone while employees from other departments not privy to the information were able to hear everything I said on the phone, see my computer screen, and see any paper I had out on my desk. Fortunately for me, my supervisor went on an extended leave and I was moved into her office. By the time she returned, I had been promoted out of the cube and into an office as I don’t think I could have gone back to that.

        I think it’s perfectly fine to ask about office environments during the course of interviews. I might not lead with it but it’s definitely something I inquire about. I recently interviewed somewhere with an open space plan and the interviewer was very upfront about the setup. While I really liked everyone I met, I chose not to pursue the position and to be honest the open concept was a big reason. I’d be ok with a cluster of a few people that I work closely with being in close proximity – like where a large workroom has a few cubicles and a central conference table for group work – but not a full blown open space that some tech companies seem to think is great for collaboration.

    • No advice, just commiseration. I turned down a great job because it was an open office and I would have been sitting two feet from my boss. I just can’t imagine! How do people do it?

      • This is me now – literally two steps away. I am an introvert and when I look for my next job I will not even consider positions that are in open spaces. It is distracting beyond words (I worked from home today because of the snow and got more done in two hours than I do all day at the office) and mentally draining. Even if I don’t have to talk to anyone all day long, I still feel so exposed and like I have to be “on” all day long – I come home at the end of the day exhausted. I also do a lot of writing for my job, and sometimes it feels like every time the phone rings, I have to press restart because it knocks me out of my “zone.” I supposed collaboration can be good for some people, but sometimes when two people are talking about something I just want to say “I don’t care, that’s not be problem!!

        I think it is 100% fair (and I plan to do so) to ask during your interview about the work space. Like others have said, I wouldn’t straight up be like “I’m introverted and like working by myself!”, but I would ask what the work environment and culture is like, is it collaborative and team oriented or does everyone have their individual responsibilities, ete.

      • It can be horrible sometimes. It is truly absurd that they expect us to get a ton of work done in this environment! I feel like I am being assaulted on all sides by noise. The hard thing is that some of the conversations around me I need to pay attention to — and may be related to a project I am working on — and other times the noise around me has nothing to do with me. It takes a lot of energy to constantly filter and try to refocus on my individual work. Plus, my boss loves to vent and has daily freak out sessions in which she will openly vent and personally attack her coworkers (usually in the afternoon when she’s tired, it’s kind of funny how it works like clockwork) so that adds a whole other layer of stress. I also feel like I am constantly on a stage. I can’t easily have a private conversation with someone. If I make a mistake, or my boss thinks I made a mistake, my entire department will instantly know about it.

        • Sharing Offices Newbie :

          Perhaps late in the game to comment here. But I recently switched to a federal agency. Everyone who is new now has to share offices. It’s very frustrating to see support staff with their own offices and the attorneys or accountants they are supporting with 10+ years of experience crammed into small offices with multiple desks. (Perhaps others would see this differently, but coming from the private sector this just seems backwards and inefficient). Blame the union I guess. But it has been extremely detrimental to my productivity, as I am much much better working in my own space. I’m actually nervous it is going to hurt my performance and reflect negatively on me. Not to mention I think it is not a productive use of taxpayer dollars. This “sharing” was a surprise to everyone. When I was interviewing they said it wouldn’t happen. Just fair warning to anyone looking into fed government or relying on a representation during an interview. To make matters worse there are plenty of available offices, but due to a government rule (I’m sure there’s no support or research that supports it) we are forced to share. In the end I just think it will mean a lot of qualified people who were recently hired will be looking to jump back out shortly. This was mostly to vent, but I realize I have to accept this for now, so would welcome any recommendations to make this situation more bearable. Thanks and sorry for the negativity.

          • Sharing Offices Newbie :

            By the way, I’m sorry for everyone else who finds this difficult, but in a way it’s nice to know there are others out there who feel the same way. It just seems so absurd sometimes and like a waste of an otherwise potentially productive day.

      • Introvert with anxiety here. I find being close to my boss, like less than 10 feet close, is actually very helpful and relieves anxiety. Being called into an office is anxiety inducing in itself (for me!), so just walking up and talking to him is so much easier … and happier.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      I can relate so much to this – I have an office, but the walls are glass, so not a whole lot of privacy going on! I would almost rather have a cube with walls in the front because then at least people won’t be looking in every time they pass by my office. Anyone have any tips for “hiding” in a glass office?

      • Depending on how much you can decorate, could you get a decorative screen and sort of place it in such a way that it acts as a privacy screen for your desk area? Maybe get a few other items that match it in “theme” so it just seems decorative?

  9. legal/business affairs? :

    I’m very interested in either a generalist counsel role with some real integration into the business (likely a smaller, high growth one), or a business & legal affairs position. I have a couple years each in management consulting and in corporate law (at top firms). I’m not sure whether that’s enough experience in each and exactly what type of position I should be applying for… or where to look. I’d really appreciate any bright ideas in terms of position titles to look for, types of companies, or job sources to look at. Thinking some of you might have been there!


    • I’m currently in that type of role (on paper) and in that type of company. If I were looking for someone to work for me, your amount of experience would appeal to me in the sense that you aren’t used to the normal structures and solutions that don’t fit our company and business model, and never will. In my experience, in the smaller companies you will probably have to wear many, many hats and work outside your title a lot, and you have to be OK with that and see it as a way to learn how the company works together. That said, if I were looking for someone to replace me, I would want someone with a bit more law experience.

      Are you looking to be in a legal department that was already established? Or are you looking to start one? It might be easier to start a legal department than it is to join one, from a funding standpoint (it’s easy to explain to someone why they need legal help, it’s hard to tell them that they need more legal help, especially when legal doesn’t have a profit margin). Is there a specific type of company that you would usually consult/do legal work with?

  10. Re-posting from earlier today; Hoping for some good Hive input!

    Needing some advice!

    Husband and I are probably going to be relocating this spring to a city where 1 of the “hub offices” for my firm is located. I work for a mid-sized, regional financial company, have been with them for 4 years and have a strong desire to stay. My firm is big on hiring interally, or people who have previously worked for the firm.

    Currently, there is an open position that I’m interested in but it’s posted as being located in a different “hub office” then where I’ll be moving to. It’s absolutely an upward movement from my current position, but I meet all of the qualifications and have more than the requested amount of industry experience.

    Is it appropriate to ask if the hiring person would consider allowing me to work from a different office? I know many operations people in our firm who have moved to different locations and kept their jobs – this position is of a similar nature. Also, at what point is it appropriate to inquire if the position is salaried? The job description doesn’t specify.


    • Wildkitten :

      Do you have HR you can ask? It seems like there are a lot of hypotheticals – if you move, if you get that job, if they move that job to that hub – it is really early to ask the hiring person such theoretical questions.

  11. WSJ/serious business conference attire :

    Does anyone else here read the WSJ? I always look at any female people in pictures and try to figure where they shop (probably not where I shop) and if the ones who look great do so with any help (probably a good tailor). I wish they had photo credits like Vogue and W (which are nice to look at but 100% not relevant to my clothes life). At any rate, there are good role models out there (Condoleeza Rice may be my favorite from politics/golf) and I feel like I’m not learning enough from them.

    [Clothes anxiety rant courtesy of ASF/SFIG conferences; where something like 90% people there will be men, so I’m already sticking out and I want it to be in an awesome way.]

    • My mind somewhat boggles at the idea of credits for clothing in a business paper but assuming this is a serious question, WSJ’s weekend supplement has a lot of style content which may be what you’re after. And I think the FT specifically has a regular weekend column where they interview a corporate figure and ask them to describe their outfit.

  12. Women in the Law? :

    Is anyone else going to the DRI Women in the Law conference in Scottsdale in early February?

    Should I wear a ponytail holder on my wrist and one blue fingernail in case other Corporettes are in attendance and want to chat?

  13. I’m an attorney by trade but my work for the Feds is not in the counsel’s office — I’m in an analyst position in operations. I generally like the position most of the time, have great hours and good salary, but had to leave DC due to my husband’s job transfer. Now, my work is a little less interesting and sometimes quite slow, and I feel like I should be doing more: taking the bar in my new state, looking for a new job as a “real” lawyer. Has anyone gone from law school to a non-attorney position, and then successfully found an attorney position? I fear it may be hopeless, although I have done six months of legal work and some contract research and writing here-and-there to stay fresh. Thoughts?

  14. anon for this :

    Career/Promotion TJ-

    I recently was promoted significantly ahead of schedule at a consulting firm. Initially the promotion board turned down my promotion bid, only to have the higher ups that supported my application go through the head of my practice and HR to get this overturned. I did not know about this until after, I did not complain in any way about not being promoted.

    I now am feeling awkward because I know that a significant portion of my areas leadership is on the promotion board, and did not feel i should be promoted. I know that the only thing to do is buckle down and show people that they were wrong, but does anyone have other idea on how to battle bad press around things like this?

    • First Year Anon :

      This doesn’t sound like they thought you weren’t good enough- it sounds more like they thought people shouldn’t be promoted way ahead of schedule, no matter how good they are. I wouldn’t assume they didn’t think you were capable at all.

    • I know that it is way easier said than done, but try your hardest to just work hard and not think about it. Your promotion could have been denied for a ton of different reasons, none having to do with your work product (they could have really like someone else that applied, felt you were too young, etc…).

      I would just spend every day working as hard as you can (and as hard as you obviously already do) and be pleasant. Kill them with good work and kindness :-)

      Oh and congratulations!

    • Do you know anyone on the promotion board that you can ask, or can you ask your boss? I don’t believe anyone would have any concern with you asking, if you preface it with you want the feedback so you can improve. I’d also take a close look at people who were promoted “on-time,” and try to assess what they may do or qualities they possess that are perhaps less developed areas for you.

      You do still need to produce high quality work, but I’d be careful with just relying on hard work. Very often, the concerns are with maturity, or confidence, or broad experience and not just work product.

      Finally–guess what? It’s highly likely that there will never be 100% unanimous votes in your career success! There will always be someone who doesn’t think you are ready, or good enough, or doesn’t like you, or is envious. So, don’t obsess or personalize, decide where you want to improve, and go for it in a mature and professional way.

    • Wait, why don’t you focus on the higher-ups and the head of your practice who DID give you the promotion!?! They should be more important than the people who didn’t, right? Plus, you can go to *them* for feedback and make sure you are living up to their expectations and that’s all you need to do to justify them getting you the promotion, right? why are you focusing on the negative part?

  15. I need a second opinion. I really like the cut of this dress, but can’t decide if the lines look like a weird landing strip. Thoughts?

    http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/calvin-klein-dress-pinstriped-fit-and-flare?ID=894831&CategoryID=1001980#fn=BRAND%3DCalvin Klein%26spp%3D5%26ppp%3D96%26sp%3D1%26rid%3D100%26spc%3D23

    • Charlotte :

      I really don’t think so… I see what you mean, but I don’t think anyone would think anything of it. I think it’s a pretty classic cut, and the white lines are fine!

    • I didn’t see weird landing strip, but I did see “Speedo dress”

    • No, I think it’s a lovely dress.

  16. Anon for This :

    So I have kind of a conundrum for the hive… I would appreciate constructive comments and thoughts. I wrote a few months ago about my cousin and her somewhat-bully of a husband, and you guys kindly told me to stay out of it, which is what I had to hear. But now the problem has touched a much more personal note in my own life. Here’s what happened (and I apologize in advance for the novel):

    We (my kids and I) were invited to their son’s birthday party over the holidays. Cousin’s husband was there, naturally. All went fine from most perspectives, but my kids were getting upset by the shenanigans of birthday-boy (BB) (age 4), who was doing things such as jump off furniture to try to land on each of them. No one was supervising them at the time. My boys then came into the room with the adults in an effort to avoid BB, who kept pestering them to play.

    Backstory: BB can be a very sweet kid, but he has a long history of doing stuff like this — dangerous to himself or others — also including recently throwing sand into my kid’s eyes, and the parents do nothing. Usually we try to monitor their play, to try to control the situation. My husband and I see BB as somewhat of a bully and are watchful. And yes, in the absence of one of his parents, my husband or I will reprimand BB (nothing further, of course). Where are his parents in all of this? Nowhere, or in the case where one is there, he or she does/says nothing. I’m kind of afraid to leave them alone with BB. Also, if we are in their house, we always take great pains to make sure manners are observed and no messes remain.

    So back to the party, and the following is all in about the span of 5 minutes: Toward the end, and although I had tried to keep an eye on the playing, which had resumed, I did duck into another room for a minute. My younger son (3) had a piece of turkey in his hand and was initially very good with it and was eating it. I began to notice that bits of it were dropping off of it, so whenever I saw some, I quickly disposed of it. [In hindsight, I should have taken it away from him, I know, but things were happening quickly.] While I’m in the kitchen, my older son comes in to say that BB is throwing blocks, at which time my younger son comes in, crying, holding his head, confirming that he was hit in the head by something BB threw. My Mom was consoling my younger son. I look around for a few seconds, and I go to the other room and reprimand BB, who is simply grinning at this point.

    Within a minute, BB’s dad loses it [his temper] over some turkey on the floor and goes on AND ON to yell, very profanely, about how “every single time” my kids come, they act like “f***ing a-holes.” My cousin is trying to get him to stop, but he keeps on going for a bit. Meanwhile, my parents get my older son out of the house, and I quickly gather my things and my younger son and leave, as I am bawling and am shaking with hurt and anger. My older son reported that c’s husband looked at BB and said, “Good boy!” as my parents ushered him out.

    Maybe this doesn’t sound like such a big deal on paper, but believe me, NO ONE in my family has EVER talked to anyone else in the family like this, and I am deeply hurt, disturbed and taken aback. It turns out that he was mad that I had reprimanded his son, and was also dwelling on a prior incident where my husband had told BB to “knock it off.” My cousin has kind of apologized for him, and husband has written out an apology to me (“he didn’t even remember all of the things he said to me”), apparently, but every time I think of this, I feel sick. My cousin admitted to me that he acts like this a lot, but she also has kind of made some excuses for his actions, too (he is really stressed out, this wasn’t really about us, etc.) I am concerned for my cousin, but another problem I have is, I don’t know how to be around this child, either, if his parents don’t call him out on bad behavior and don’t want us to. My cousin says she has always looked at me as a sister, and we are basically the only family that is still speaking to her (her siblings don’t like her husband either), so I feel obligated to be there for her, but this incident has made things really hard for me to continue a relationship. I feel sick and want to cry every time I think about it. I think if she were a non-family friend, I’d be taking a loooong break from interaction, but I just don’t know what to do or how to handle myself in this situation. I don’t want to be around husband, but how do I be around her and her kids? Is there anything I can do/say to set some ground rules? She’s a few years older than me, which adds to the awkwardness of the situation.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Wow. That would be the last time I darkened the door of her home, at least when her husband and child were present. I think I would limit interactions to girls’ lunches and dinners from now on and leave the kids and husbands out of it. And if she wants to know why, just tell her the truth.

      • Senior Attorney hit the nail on the head.

      • frugal doc... :


        No question at all – you must do this.

        I agree that you should not abandon her, as it sounds like she is in a potentially abusive situation that will likely get worse. How you handle this situation will also have a big influence on how your children will view this behavior.

    • This is probably harsh, but you should stop bringing your children when you visit her. It’s clearly not safe for them. They are being physically harmed by another child who’s being encouraged by his father. If your cousin feels that you two are like sisters, she should be (at least) reprimanding her child for harming your kids. There are so many nuances to what you said and I’m sure others will have good advice, but really, this is not your responsibility to fix. It’s your responsibility to keep your kids safe.

    • You are not obligated to have your son physically and verbally assulted. Maybe you can meet this cousing for lunch or coffee outside the house when horrible hubby is not present. But no do not put up with this [email protected]!!

    • +1 to Senior Attorney. You need to protect your children physically and emotionally. But I would, if possible, try to invite Cousin to visit you or meet you out for coffee, etc., if she is in the area. Or make an effort to schedule phone dates if she is not. It sounds like her relationship with her husband is really isolating, and she could probably use some support. Just don’t be afraid to challenge justifications she offers re her husband’s actions.

    • Ugh, cousins! :

      I think you should get some therapy to help with your anxiety You should not be feeling sick over someone who lost his temper and then wrote you an apology. His kid sounds like he is doing normal 4 year old stuff. Yeah, they aren’t handling it how you would, but I can see a reasonable person not getting too worked up over a 4 year old roughhousing.

      For the time being, invite them over or meet in public.

      • Coach Laura :

        Sorry, I disagree. “Throwing sand in another kid’s eyes” is not a normal or acceptable action on the part of a 4-year old. Nor is trying to jump off furniture and land on another kid or throwing blocks with the intention of hitting someone. All of these could potentially hurt another child, even if the child is older than BB. And I don’t think the OP needs therapy for anxiety – crying is an expected reaction to being cussed at by a cousin’s husband.

        • Eh, this age can be pretty physical. My son got shoved down pretty hard by his friend this weekend as part a game this wknd ( their previous game involved tackling). I think the difference is that up until this final shove it was all mutual fun. Once the fun stopped and the tears started, parents from each side stepped in and made the kids hug it out. I don’t get upset at rough housing as play per se. I do get upset when parents don’t teach kids boundaries. A wound up four year old may not not know exactly when to stop, hence time for parental intervention. In this situation, the parents need to step up and not be jerks

          • Anonymous :

            Sounds to me like the BB was begging for someone to set some reasonable limits on his behavior. Kids do that. Telling them “no” actually lets them feel loved; being left to spin ever more wildly out of control does not.

      • It’s not the four year’s behavior that is the issue. It is his parents’ behavior and their unfortunate refusal to discipline him. I’d be past upset if this had happened to me and would never subject my children to such behavior on the part of the parents.

    • Yeah, I am sorry, it is totally unfair, and it shouldn’t have to be this way, but I think you have reached the point of mutual exclusivity. You want to be there to take care of her, but I don’t see anyway you can take care of her AND take care of yourself and your family at the same time. And that means you really need to choose yourself and your family. I know you feel horrible and you want to help her, but you can’t help someone who won’t help themself, and she clearly won’t do that. I agree with Senior Attorny and preg 3L… and yet I am So.Sorry. it has come to this and send you lots of internet hugs and rawrs.

    • I’m really sorry about this situation, it sounds tough. I’m close with all of my cousins and I don’t know what I’d do if one their husbands spoke to me that way or their children treated my children that way.

      I think the best thing to do is talk to your cousin and explain how hurt you are by her husband’s actions and how concerned you are for her safety. All she can do is write you off, in which case you may have to just do what’s best for you because you’ve laid it all out on the table.

      As to her kid, that seems more sticky because it directly involves her parenting whereas her husband is an adult. Do you think her husband is the reason she doesn’t reprimand her kid or is she just a lax parent?

      • Anon for This :

        I think that she has the outlook that kids can work things out herself. I’m really not sure how she views the things that hurt other kids, but I can only glean from her inaction that she just sees it as “kids being kids.” So yes, I think that she is a lax parent in that regard.

        • Then I second all the advice above. You can’t expose your children to that! It all sounds so traumatizing for both you and your kids. Try to talk to her if you can and just be honest, but if she can’t realize what she’s doing to you, then she might not be worthy of your support.

    • First of all, what happened is not your fault. Your cousin knows that her husband is a bully, and she makes excuses for him. Now it’s time for you to shake off the hurt and defend yourself and your kids. Tell your cousin that you’d love to see her, but only at your place or a neutral place like a restaurant, and only without her husband. If she won’t do it, then you should decline invitations in the future, and be clear about why you won’t come over.

      As for dealing with the child, have you ever been around him without his father? He’s been rewarded for bad behavior, so of course he acts like a monster. But if he’s around people who consistently correct bad behavior and praise good behavior, I expect he will improve. Maybe try to get your parents involved, as well?

    • Anon for This :

      Well, to add to my novel… the family is not really local — they live across the state. She has inherited a home where we meet for family gatherings. My cousin usually visits that home with her two kids only, but husband was present this time b/c of the birthday party. Meeting her alone would be difficult, but I don’t see her all that often. My parents sometimes take my kids up to visit, however, when she is in town. The main problem is that I just don’t even know what to say to my cousin. I do have anxiety over this stuff, because I feel that the anger was unjust, and I’m not sure my cousin doesn’t somehow feel the same way, to a degree, about the whole situation. [She’s kind of a clean freak and doesn’t yet understand how she can’t control every aspect of kids leaving messes.] I am also anxious, because I feel that somehow I’ll be expected by her or the family to get past the whole yelling business/her husband in general, and I’m not sure I can or want to. Yes, I am generally a people-pleaser.

      • Anon for This :

        To clarify, she has a home “that is a short drive away*, where we gather for family things.

      • Wildkitten :

        I think a therapist could help you set up boundaries without feeling guilty.

    • Anon for This :

      Thanks to all who have responded. I really appreciate the support, and I definitely have a lot to think about. Therapy is a great idea, b/c my family is chock-full of other issues I might need to work through, as well. : D I will appreciate any further feedback as well….

      • saacnmama :

        I think you need to separate what’s going on with the kid from what’s happening with the dad.

        The dad is dangerously incapable of controlling his own emotions and behaves in ways that are very inappropriate for your son. Keep them apart, even if it hurts your cousin’s feelings.

        About the son:
        First off, I can empathize with you: my son was badly, badly bullied in first grade for 6-8 weeks, twice (total over 3 mos) when we lived in a place that was really, really big on the “kids work it out themselves” thing. The principal told me that it’s normal for boys to set up a pecking order. His own behavior became really dangerous. So I feel for you and your son.

        Looking back on it, now that he’s in 6th grade, I can see one thing I could’ve done differently: prepared him for the idea that people behave in ways they should not. He didn’t tell me the 4th graders were beating up on him, so it sounds like your kids are doing better on that scale. He also was so accustomed to US preschools (where kids keep their hands to themselves and do NOT set up pecking orders) that he had no frame of reference for what was happening. Even if your son never has the experience mine did, there will be some crap in his life somewhere. You can use his experiences with his second cousin for him to learn how to deal with that. Talk to him before visits about what might happen, how he’ll feel, and how to respond. Of course, if he doesn’t want to see the other guy, you shouldn’t make him, but if it’s infrequent enough that he can handle it, he might be better off down the road for it, when something big and bad comes up later.

    • Wtf. That’s ridiculous and would be relationship-ending for me. To the extent that you’re unclear as to whether to cut off all contact with her and end the relationship, I would do nothing until she initiates and then you can decide how and what to respond. I don’t have kids but I sure as heck would not tolerate another kid being violent and definitely not an adult yelling profanities. And if/when you do talk, the conversation shouldn’t be just about the reprimanding, or the throwing things and the profanities– the point is not about what happened per se, but rather, it’s only a symptom of the larger problem that prohibits you from feeling as sisterly towards her as she thinks you should. It may be that the solution is phone calls and limited one on one interactions..

    • If someone talked to me that way — much less my child — I would be gone, and would have some choice words on the way out.

      But reading the totality of you have written here makes me extremely worried for your cousin. She tries to get her husband to calm down, to no avail. She is apologizing for him and rationalizing (“he is really stressed out” etc etc) for him cursing at a toddler. You described him as a bully. And he has isolated her from all of her siblings, so that you are the last bit of family she has left. I am not a professional at this, but this seems like an abusive, toxic, awful relationship. Under normal circumstances, like I said, I would totally avoid your cousin and her family, but it seems like you might be the last lifeline she has, and that getting rid of you will allow her husband to completely dominate her and their children.

      So I would make sure you keep the lines of communication open with her, but I would avoid her husband at all costs. She may attempt to make it an all or nothing situation, but I think with some work you can keep a semblance of a relationship with her without putting yourself or your immediate family in this maniac’s path. (This may have to be a phone/electronic relationship, but so be it.)

      Also, I wouldn’t frame this as being about your cousin’s son. He is being a bit of a prat, but he can grow out of it. It doesn’t seem likely, though, as long as he is raised by an abusive bully. So if you can maintain a relationship with your cousin, and make sure her son is always supervised when with your kids, I think it makes sense to keep those lines open.

      • Hmm, I read the story and thought: so they are different than you. Tons of people are. He didn’t hit anyone. It isn’t my preference or style but gosh they can yell, be clean, boisterous, however they want in their home. Boys rough house. Etc. Sorry, I think you may be overreacting and projecting your own norms and parenting style onto them a bit much. Understand it makes you uncomfortable- so don’t go much. There is a friend of friend I can’t stand (and their kid, and the way they parent) and somewhat to my horror, I now check the confirmed people coming to parties to avoid them. Their kid screams, I don’t want a screamer. So I will honestly avoid being around them. That’s my call. I don’t care what they do at home and it isn’t up to me.

  17. Hi, I have perhaps a stupid question– is there an easy way to tell if Theory suit separates will match? I bought a pair of Theory pants in great shape in a thrift store and am hoping to buy a matching blazer online, but am worried about ending up with two different shades of black…

    • Unless the jacket is new and has never been drycleaned, you will end up with two different shades of black. Black fades over time so two pieces, even bought together and maintained differently, will fade differently.

    • My Theory pants and blazers all started out the same colors but despite my efforts to dry clean jackets and pants together, there was fading and more wear on the pants. I started buying 2 pair of pants for each blazer which helped a bit.

    • Philosophia :

      It’s not a stupid question. My current Reserved for Interviews Suit consists of a pair of Theory trousers bought new at a discount outlet (as in, first-run items that haven’t sold out) and a Theory jacket bought new at a department store a month or two thereafter. The crucial element that makes them look like a suit is that they’re in the same fabric, probably also manufactured around the same time. I examined the pieces in natural and artificial light and they really do match. On the other hand, I acquired them only last summer, and they may well end up fading differently with time as others have found.

  18. Kat – I am now getting a “Browse 10000 single asian women profiles” banner ad at the top of the screen. Unless my fashion and news browsing history is triggering this, it isn’t anything I’ve been searching for. Can we please make this go away?

    • Seattle Freeze :

      You know, I’d never seen that ad before, but as soon as you posted this, there it popped up, right below your post. So it seems posting about unappealing ads can trigger the ads for others? Yuck.

      • Seattle Freeze :

        I should add – that’s a yuck for what seems to be triggering these ads – apparently not our browsing histories, but content on this site itself? – rather than yuck for our discussion of it.

    • Moonstone :

      FYI — I got s similar one and sent a screenshot to Kat at the tech support e-mail.

      • Wildkitten :

        I’m getting totally normal ads in Chrome. (I think the other day the weird ads were browser-specific).

  19. Can anyone recommend a credit card with really great rewards/perks? My husband and I are looking to switch to get a better deal.

    Also recommendations for high interest savings accounts would be great too!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      It depends on what you’re looking for. The website called creditcardtuneup (dot com) lets you put in your typical spending habits and what types of rewards you want and recommends the best ones for you.

      For travel rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid choice. It has a $95 annual fee though, which is waived for the first year. You can use the points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site at a 20% discount, I think. I think most people transfer the points to one of the airlines or hotels that you can transfer to instead because that normally winds up being a better deal. You get 2 points per dollar spent on travel or dining and 1 point per dollar on everything else and a 7% points divided each year on the points earned during that year even if you’ve already redeemed them. This card also doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees.

      I think the Chase Freedom card is pretty good for cash back, but I’m not sure since I don’t have that one. It doesn’t have an annual fee though, which is nice. Each quarter there are different categories of purchases that get you 5 points per dollar spent. If you have this card and the Sapphire Preferred card, you can use these points to transfer to hotel and airline points, but not if you have it alone.

      The other one that I have and like is the Starwood American Express. I like it because I like the Starwood brand hotels and they have good options for redeeming points for stays. We are planning to use our points for Maui for 5 nights because you get the 5th night for free on award stays. This card only gets 1 point per dollar spent on everything. You get additional points for using it at Starwood hotels depending on what level of membership you have in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. It has a $65 annual fee that is waived for the first year. The points can also be transferred to a ton of different airlines and if you transfer 20,000 points at a time, you get a 5,000 point bonus. Some of the airlines are just 1 point = 1 mile, but there are a bunch where you get more miles than that per point.

      If you’re interested in digging into all of this stuff for travel bonuses, I recommend checking out some of the travel blogs out there. Million Mile Secrets and View from the Wing have been pretty helpful for me.

    • As Sydney Bristow says, it really depends on what you want. I carry the Delta Amex, because I fly Delta primarily, and if Delta is your airline, it’s an awesome card. I also carry a Capital One Venture Visa, which has no foreign transaction fee, because I travel internationally a fair amount. It really depends on what you want. Bear in mind that if an Amex is your primary card, you’ll need a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover as a secondary card, because there is a significant gap between Amex acceptance and V/MC/D acceptance. Actually, if you don’t have a specialized type of rewards that you want, the Discover It card is a pretty good deal, because the rewards are basically cash (and although there’s a persistent belief that nobody takes Discover, almost everyone that takes Visa or MasterCard does). And Discover’s call centers are all in the US (seriously, the customer service is awesome – almost as good as LLBean, champions of customer service).

      Also, I think we’re all trained to stay away from cards with annual fees, but the fee on my Amex is 100% worth it in terms of the benefits, so don’t rule out cards with fees.

      • Yeah, I have a basic Discover card and I really like it. If you’re just looking for “general rewards” and don’t have a specific category of thing you want (airline miles or w/e) it’s great. You get 1% cash back on everything, 2% at amazon.com, and 5% on a rotating cast of categories each quarter (which are useful things like restaurants, gas, etc – not obscure categories). You can redeem them directly for statement credit, or you can stretch them farther by buying gift cards – they have gift cards available for dozens of major retailers, usually at a rate like 40 points -> $50 gift card.

        I find that it’s not accepted maybe 1-2% of places that I would want to use it. My debit/ATM card is a VISA so I just use that on those rare occasions.

  20. SoCalAtty :

    Thanks everyone for your responses on my MIL situation on the morning thread. We’re going to try and disentangle ourselves as gently as possible, and just…step back. Not “cut off,” but step back so that every interesting piece of mail doesn’t become my husband’s issue. We’re working on some new marketing material for my husband’s company, so we’ll put the new landline number there, and have that forward to the iPhone…at night, the landline will ring and the iPhone can go on silent.

    Since we’re home this weekend, we’re going to use it to just work around the house and go up to the barn and ride.

  21. So, this issue has been weighing on my mind heavily.

    I’m turning 30 next week and husband just turned 32. We are planning on starting a family this year. I am so torn regarding what to do about work once we have a child. Our original plan was for me to quit working but I really like my current position and it would be really hard to find the same pay and benefits in a similar position later (I got lucky). We have been saving money for the last 5 years and have paid our mortgage down substantially and have no other debt. The person I replaced did the same job in 3o hours per week (she’d been in the position for 6 years and I just started 6 mos ago so still getting up to speed). I could ask if they would be willing to drop my required hours to 30 hours per week but I still don’t think that would allow me the time and flexibility that I’ll want. So my option are:

    (1) Have baby and quit job entirely
    (2) Have baby and keep working full-time. Put baby in daycare.
    (3) Have baby, quit job, and do consulting work. I could easily get consulting work
    (4) Husband be SAHD – he actually suggested this!

    Addt’l pertinent information: Husband and I make about the same salary wise but my benefits are substantially better – $600 dollar health insurance deductible and 35% 401k match on every dollar contributed. His insurance is super crappy. It we be fine so long as everyone in the family was healthy. Also, it would be much easier for me to re-enter the workforce than it would be for him.

    I know many of you have already had children and have made this decision so any advice you have I am all ears.

    • I forgot option (5), put off having a baby 2-3 more years and continue socking $$$ away.

      • saacnmama :

        Yep, those are pretty much the options available to couples. Keep all of them open as long as you can. You don’t know what kind of kid you’re going to get (or even how/when) or how you and your husband will respond to parenting. There are lots of long discussions of the options available on the web (including this site) but what they all boil down to is that it depends on the individual kid and parents. If you’re like my mom (Jan honeymoon, Oct baby), you may well feel differently about things than if you’re like my college roommate, who adopted in her late 30s. Good luck to you both–enjoy the journey!

    • Keep your job. DH should keep his job too. After you have the baby, take all available maternity leave. Figure out if you enjoy being home with your baby 24/7. It’s always an option to work full-time between kid #1 and kid #2, and then become a SAH parent when you have 2 kids (if you want 2 kids). Don’t quit your job before your kid is born! You never know what type of kid you’ll have or how you’ll feel about being home all day with him/her. You also don’t know how you might feel about putting your kid in daycare and working at a job you love all day. Daycare has huge benefits for kids – including socialization and so many more toys than you’ll have at home – so don’t feel like daycare would be a bad option. No need to nail this down now. Get pregnant first! Good luck!

    • I don’t have kids, so take this with a gain of salt. I would not make the decision for either you or your husband to quit your current positions before you have the baby. That’s a big decision, with big repercussions. You don’t know how you will feel after having a child. And you can always make it if working at your current positions doesn’t work out after the baby comes.

      I would also not wait to have a baby if you want to have a baby. If it takes you a long time or if it is difficult for you to conceive, you may really regret waiting while socking away more money.

    • Bear in mind that if you ever plan to go back to work, your long-term earnings will take a substantial hit if you quit entirely, and the statistics show that you’re unlikely ever to make that gap up. You’re in a significantly better position if you continue working at least part-time.

    • Need to Improve :

      Lean In. Decide after you have the baby and take leave if you actually want to be home full time, part time, or at all. You may not feel it, but you are young and your career can be long and look many different ways.

    • Easy answer. Have baby, see how you both feel afterwards. It rocks your world and you can’t predict the outcome.

  22. Years ago my mother gave me her diamond studs that were gifted to her by my dad. Unfortunately, I just lost one of the studs. I’d prefer to keep the single stud as it has sentimental value. Does the HIVE have any idea what to do w/ the solo diamond? Do jewelers sell / make diamonds to match the old? Any thoughts are very appreciated! I loved my studs and wore them all the time but want to make sure I do something special with my remaining friend…

    • Long sleeve t-shirt recs? :

      Yes, I’ve replaced stud earring before. If you get a diamond with them same color and clarity, it should match. I live in a city with a diamond district, and that’s where I’ve always gone for replacements. Or you could make it into a necklace, which I did with a pearl stud after I lost the other one. Apparently pearls are almost impossible to match after being worn.

    • Anonymous :

      You can easily have the pointy back removed (anyone with welding equipment can do it) and then just put the stud on a silver chain for a pretty pendant necklace. I did this when a CZ set of earrings I ordered was too big and looked gaudy as a set of stud earrings — it looks much better as a necklace now!

      • You don’t need welding equipment, just a pair of side cutters and a metal file.

  23. winter rant :

    Warning: rant ahead.

    I live in Chicago, and I cannot stand the weather! It’s been our worst winter in years, and all I want to do is sit inside and eat. Well, not really. What I really want to do is go to the gym, but that would involve digging my car out from under two feet of snow. So I’m just sitting around eating and moping.

    You can’t do anything but walk from one heated place to the next. I feel like I’m going to freeze when I get stuck at one traffic light (and I’m wearing tons of layers). I can’t take it anymore! Remind me why I live here again?

    Sorry, I know this is unproductive and whiny, but I just had to let it out!

    • Yup – we’ve already had January weather for a month and now we get to do it again. MN has canceled school statewide for the second time in 20 years.

      Start a crafty hobby – crochet, knit, needlepoint? Keeps your hands occupied (so you don’t eat), gives you something to do while watching tv, you get a finished project and there’s the fun planning the pattern/color/etc. Find a nice stack of books to read with a cup of hot cocoa.

      Personally, I love sweaters. That’s why I live here.

    • Wildkitten :

      There’s free streaming Jillian Michaels online, legally, a number of places including Amazon Prime.

    • Yay! Open thread’s!!!! I love open thread’s! I am out with mom and dad b/c dad told me to get my tuchus out to the house b/f I get back to work. He told me that now that I am a PARTNER, I must dress apropriately, so we are goeing out to Manhaset Mall to pick up a few thing’s for me so that I look right when I come in to the OFFICE on Monday.

      I told dad that I have nice clothe’s, but he says that alot of them make me look like a cheap hooker–I know he is wrong b/c they do NOT show much, and the onley thing I can think of is that they are a littel tight on me (mostly b/c I work to stay a size 2, but am NOT alway’s sucessful, like now, when my size 4’s are tight– FOOEY!

      Anyway, he want’s mom and me to go with him and HE will pick out a new suit, a few dresse’s, a nice new coat, some boot’s as well as all acessorie’s that the Manageing partner will not reimburse for. Dad says that money is NO object, and he said he is prepared to spend $3000 if it will make me look profesional and not floosy-like. He also say’s I should consider cutteing my hair shorter b/c he has never heard of a blond haired partner with straght hair (right now it is long). I do NOT want to cut my hair — I get alot of complement’s on my hair.

      What does the HIVE think? I rarley read about peeople talking about hair style’s (and length), but will listen to the HIVE.

      Dad say’s I have to balance my need to look profesional with my desire to get a guy to MARRY me. I do NOT want to look MATRONLY — I am NOT trying to attract a 50 year old bald divorced guy with bad breathe and kid’s my age. DOUBEL FOOEY!

      I want a guy my age with a good job and money in the bank who want’s to have BABIE’S soon b/c I want to be a mom while I am still YOUNGish. Grandma Leyeh is still pusheing for kid’s now and Rosa’s kid’s are adorable. Dawn is already making snow angel’s outside. She is SOOOO cute! (I know all kid’s are cute, but she realy is.) I told Rosa she should be in comercial’s, b/c she has no tuchus — Dad says thank god for Ed’s family and that she did not inherit mom’s tuchus. Mom say’s thank god she did not inherit dad’s personality!

      As for the OP, yes it is cold, but do NOT sit around and eat. That is how my tuchus got so big since thanksgiving. You must go out and excercise and forget about food. I love to sit and watch TV and eat, but that will NOT get you thin, or get a MAN to marry you. Dad say’s that you can either have a man or a tuchus, but not both. I told him FOOEY!

      Dad is already calling out to me to get downstair’s so that we can do 2 miles with the fitbit now. He is serius about excerciseing, and told me he want’s to plane down my tuchus b/f we go shoppeing later. I hope we get good stuff and he does not interfere to much. YAY!!!!!

    • Moonstone :

      I am right here with you and it is killing me. I have no useful advice, just wanted to acknowledge how tough these last few weeks have been. And next week looks awful.

    • In NYC but equally miserable. I struggle with this question every year. My only consolation is mulled wine and hot cider. Also hot chocolate. All things I wouldn’t enjoy in Miami or SoCal. And I watch winter movies and try to pretend it’s a really magical time of year. But really I mostly hibernate. Maybe you could get some work out DVDs to do at home?

      • A positive note for those of you cold, if you have family there: family. I miss mine. I live in Seattle (did soCal and Miami, agree, too silly) and love it, don’t miss harsh winters, but now being a single mother reallllyyy miss my parents. So that’s a plus if your cold place has support networks for you.

    • It will be in the teens in Mississippi on Monday. So…. maybe no place is perfect. Hoping this makes you feel better. We had a fabulous winter last year and already have had true winter for over a month here now.

    • winter rant :

      Thanks, all. I dragged myself to the gym, and I feel a lot better. Like, insanely better. I think part of the problem is that I get in this vicious cycle of, “It’s too cold/snowy to go to the gym. I deserve a day off!” But then I go home and just sit around and eat and feel disgusting. Going to the gym, no matter how annoying it is to get there, is always worth it in the end. It changes my entire mood and how I deal with the weather and the rest of the day.

      Good idea about Jillian. I have the 30-Day Shred, so I’m going to use that on Monday and Tuesday when I don’t want to deal with going to the gym. And I’m going to try to focus on the fun stuff like cooking, reading, and hot drinks.

      I appreciate the commiseration!

    • I hear ya! I confess though that I’ll take these freezing temps in a second over the additional foot of snow we got today. Well normally that’s how I feel until my pipes froze Friday and we haven’t even hit the cold snap yet. I’m working from home tomorrow (unless a severe weather emergency is declared then I get an “excused paid absence”). My landlord needs me to keep my water running and periodically flush the toilet so the toilet doesn’t freeze. I’ve been at my boyfriends in the suburbs for the last 24hrs+ and I’m praying my pipes aren’t frozen currently. Challenge #1 is driving back from the burbs which I’m optimistic about because I assume the plows will catch up and the expressways will at least be ok. Challenge #2 is keeping my pipes from freezing.

      I had to dig my honda Fit out of the snow friday when I got stuck parking. I had a shovel in my car. I fully intend to layer up with my down coat, sorel boots among other things and get some takeout tomorrow. Unfortunately (fortunately?) for me I haven’t had time to go shopping and sitting around eating all day is next to impossible if I want to survive Chiberia. My apartment is drafty but I have layers and most importantly a heated blanket, so I’ll be okay.

      This winter really has been absolutely terrible and seems like the worst in my lifetime. Yet it’s only the beginning of January. Look at the long term forecast. It’ll cheer you up.

  24. I know it’s late and no one is likely to see this. But I just had a normal “oh, I think I have a cold” doctor’s appointment turn into a “please go downstairs immediately for follow-up testing, here are the potential problems, all of which are bad” nightmare. I just went from feeling like maybe I had the flu to a menu of options that range from shitty to fatal and I won’t know more until tests come back next week and I’m oscillating between trying to pretend none of this is happening and hysterical crying (and drinking. serious drinking). I’ve told my parents some of it, but not all, because I feel like it doesn’t help anyone for someone other than me to worry about this, but, well, none of you know me, and I’m really hoping that someone here has a story about getting terrible, terrible health news that turned out to be nothing. Please?

    • Most terrible health news turns out to be nothing. I had a friend who found a lump in her neck. Her doctor told her it was probably cancer, and she had a biopsy.

      Turns out it was a STRAINED NECK MUSCLE.

      • saltylady :

        My secretary says to me the other day, about my low back pain “oh Bob’s wife had low back pain . . . she got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August and was dead by December.” I wanted to strangle her!

    • Health issues :

      Wow, I am so sorry – that sounds really scary. The only similar story I have is probably going to out me to the other people I know who read this site, so I’m not using my regular handle. Several years ago I had severe abdominal pain and was diagnosed with a tumor, which was likely to be benign, but not certain. Also, the tumor was on one of my ovaries, so there were possibly fertility problems involved. I missed a bunch of work and had to have surgery to remove the tumor.

      It turned out not to be a tumor at all – my appendix had ruptured (obviously, I didn’t die; the bile or whatever is is was luckily contained). My ovaries were fine, I was fine, and all I have now are a few small scars from the surgery.

      I know my situation was a bit different from the one you described, but please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers (I think I remember you’re a practicing Christian; not trying to offend anyone). I hope you get good news soon.

      One more thing – I didn’t want to tell my parents about my situation, because I didn’t want them to have to worry, and I thought they would freak out, which would be stressful for me to deal with. When I finally did tell them, to my surprise they were great about it. They did not freak out, and were really helpful and supportive through the whole process. It might be that your parents and friends would appreciate the opportunity to support you, even if they also worry – you might think about letting them do that.

      Good luck, and please update back here when you learn anything.

      • Thank you so much – the prayers are very much appreciated. And I’m glad you came through that safely; I have a friend whose appendix ruptured as an adult, so I’ve seen how sick it can make you.

        I’ve told my parents, and one friend – trying to figure out how to talk to my closest friends, who are far away, about this. My best friend is on vacation and I’m not sure I can reach her until she’s back, but that should be Monday, so not too long.

    • Silvercurls :

      Hugs and rawrs. A friend of mine just came through a colonoscopy with the good news that the doctor found _nothing_. Since shitty trumps fatal, I am sending “shitty results” thoughts in your direction; no disrespect!

      Try to calm down, not because the options warrant it but because it will make you feel better in the present moment, and it feels better to wait for bad-or-worse news in a state of (relative) calm than in a state of complete distress and agitation. Drink tea, take a walk outside, cuddle a pet if you have access to one. AND find somebody locally or long-distance in whom to confide at least some of your concerns. This is what friends are for.

      More hugs. I hope you read this. I hope it helps. I’ll check back here over the weekend and during next week.

    • Sorry and hugs. I believe you’re a pet person, right? Our vet did some routine blood work on our dog and told us to get it retested right away because her platelets were very low (google reveals all kinds of horribles for this). On the second test, her platelets were still quite low, but they counted by hand, and apparently her platelets are too big for the machine to count, which is not a problem at all, they just have to hand count to get an accurate read.

      Be extra kind to yourself this weekend.

      • Thank you – yes, I am a big dog lover (and have been through some health scares with the family puppies more than once!).

    • Here’s my story. My health issue didn’t turn out to be “nothing” necessarily, but the absolute best option out of all of them.

      About a week before I was going to take the bar, I woke up with what looked like chicken pox. It became clear that they weren’t chicken pox but hives – painful, horrible, hives that wouldn’t go away. After 3 days of steriods, my MD sent me to a specialist who took me in on an hour’s notice (not a good thing when a specialist says, “Holy $&#*# get in here now!”). At her office, she came into the exam room, introduced herself, said that she would be right back, and came back about 5 minutes later with an intern, two other MDs, and a student, who all looked at me in horror (also not a good thing when the specialist takes one look at you and immediately calls backup). After they all poked and prodded, they said that they’re going to confer in the hallway (another not good sign when they don’t want to have a conversation in front of you)(Oh, this was about 4 days before the bar exam at this point). The doctor comes back in and says I have one of three possible things, two of which may be fatal and if not this time, then the next time I take any medicine at all it would be, and I need to run to the lab rightnow before it closes because, oh, my liver might be failing too. She said I need to come and see her Monday (this was Friday). I said, “Ok, I’m leaving to take the Bar on Sunday.” She said, “No, you’re not. Oh, and if you get a fever or your joints start to ache this weekend, go to the ER – don’t give it a second thought, just go, because that means your liver is really failing.” Awesome.

      So the following Monday I go into her office and it turns out my liver isn’t failing, and I have the one (of the three) possible syndromes that, while it sucks, will go away in due time, I can still take medicine, and I can travel that day to go and take the bar the next. The bad part is that I was in a ton of pain for a bit. The good parts are that I got to wear pajamas to take the VA Bar Exam and my skin cleared up really nicely. :-)

      • And now if you know me in real life, you know me. :-)

        • Miss Behaved :

          I don’t know you in real life, but I have a pretty good idea of what your diagnosis was. I had the same thing. Called my doctor and she told me to come in immediately. It was the day after New Year’s 7 years ago. Very, very painful and a little scary, but ultimately fine…

      • This makes me feel a lot better, because this is not exactly what happened, but is similar enough in terms of the rapid medical escalation that I know you know how I felt yesterday :-) Thank you!

    • I have several. A family friend was diagnosed with cancer and was in the midst of getting treatment and getting better when a routine x ray revealed something frightening. Apparently a potential side effect of her treatment for one cancer was another cancer that would kill her within 6 mos. And of course they wouldn’t know for a couple of weeks while they waited for test results. Luckily though, it turned out to be absolutely nothing! Another side effect of the treatment were scary spots on the lungs that looked like cancer but were actually just harmless dark spots.

      A few years ago, a coworker was diagnosed with something that just disappeared on his follow up visit. False positive on the xray, I guess. Same coworker was treated for prostate cancer and after his treatment, when he was waiting to find out if it “took”, his numbers started going in the wrong direction, he started to have all sorts of discouraging symptoms, was pretty much ready to give up, and then he got a clean bill of health. His doctors told him sometimes that just happens.

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I can’t even imagine how scared you must be right now. One thing that helps me when I am freaked out and waiting is to channel a little of my inner Scarlet O’Hara. There’s nothing you can do until you find out, so try (and this is so hard) to give yourself a break and just decide not to think about it until you go back to find out (in my mind, I picture that staircase scene in the end of Gone with the Wind and I say, “I can’t think about this now, I’ll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day!”). It might be nothing or it might be something, but there’s nothing to do but wait now. And if you can’t stop thinking about it and you don’t want to share all the details with family or your “real life” friends, please know you can always share here and this amazing community will be here for you. Huge hugs. I’ll be thinking of you. Fingers crossed it turns out to be nothing.

      • Thank you, so much. I freaked out – DEEPLY – last night, but I’m trying to keep my mind off of it today through a combination of housecleaning projects and TLC reality shows. I’m also trying to remind myself that I’m generally very, very healthy and I don’t feel sick – and that as the doctor told me, that does mean that of the possible options on the table, it’s most likely that this is serious, but not fatal (she did tell me that I would probably feel worse if the worst-case scenario were the case).

        • One practical note for all: we are going through so many of these scares. Partially because it takes a while to sort it all out. fyi there are some new cool clinics that fix that problem.. in a few major cities for certain things. eg breast cancer screening clinics will do a 2-day thing, compressing the tests from mammogram to consultation, biopsies, etc. as needed. in contrast to stretching that out over 3 months to go back, wait, go back, wait. and it’s better service- the same team sees you and your images and consults each other. so the model is changing for the better in a few spots. seek these out and support them- we all do not need the months of stress in our over-tested lives.

    • Coach Laura :

      Oh, cbackson! What a hard thing to go through, especially over a weekend. My story involves CT scans, MRIs and liver and kidney tumors, all of which turned out to be benign. But not before I’d re-written my will and asked my best friend to be guardian of my kids and planned my funeral. Strangely, doing these tasks kept my mind busy so that I didn’t have a true freak-out. I like AIMS’s idea – you could even visit Mitchell’s Museum this weekend for inspiration. I don’t “know” you but after years of seeing you here…well I wish you the best. Also, I just remember your story of your eventful marathon and you got through that so you’ll get through that too. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

      • Thank you so much. My mom is coming over shortly to help me deep-clean the apartment – I’m very much trying to keep my mind busy to prevent any further freaking out. I actually live only two blocks from the Mitchell House and I’ve never been, so maybe that would be inspirational today :-)

        • Coach Laura :

          Deep cleaning sounds therapeutic. Hang in there.

          I would have liked to have seen the museum on my last trip. I walked from my hotel to the park and then past the museum but it was closed. Family lore has it that an ancestor was Mitchell’s cleaning lady, hence my interest.

    • I was all of 19 years old when I found a lump in my breast that was not going away over time. I gradually started freaking out and my mom brought me in to the hospital for tests. I thought I was going to be entering cancer treatment, but it turned out to be a liquid cyst that posed absolutely no threat. It went away on its own and I have had no problems since, thank God.

      I am thinking of you and fervently wishing for the best. The other advice you’ve gotten already is great, so not much to add. (Most of my experience with serious illness is of the “yes, this is real” variety, so I am not the best person for it anyway.) We will all be here regardless of what comes. I hope you can find some peace or some distraction, whatever you need, and do let us know how you’re doing. Many hugs.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, cbackson! I’m so sorry you are having to go through this!

      My terrible-health-news story isn’t quite as scary as yours, but it was horrible at the time: I had just gotten braces off my teeth (at age 45-plus) and developed a toothache. Went to the doctor, who took an x-ray. The way I remember it is him looking at the x-ray, standing up so suddenly that his little stool skittered all the way into the opposite corner of the room, and shouting “THIS IS VERY ALARMING! You have SIGNIFICANT BONE LOSS! We need to get you to the periodontist TODAY!” Well, I couldn’t get in to the periodontist until the next day, and spent the next 24 hours thinking that I was going to lose all my teeth and trade my braces for dentures. It was the worst, scariest health thing I’ve ever had.

      Turned out it wasn’t nothing, but it was far from what I’d feared. At the end of the day I ended up with gum surgery, lost one tooth and replaced it with an implant, and have an undying love for my periodontist and an undying hatred for my (former) dentist.

      Big hugs to you!!

      • Senior Attorney :

        And by “not quite as scary as yours,” I mean “not NEARLY as scary as yours.”

        More hugs. XXX OOO

    • espresso bean :

      I am so sorry to hear this! It sounds very scary, but I hope that it won’t be what you fear. Wishing you the best.

    • Really hope you get good news soon.

      For “positive” stories: Both my husband and my dad are cancer survivors. My dad’s cancer has come back twice since 2005 and been successfully treated both times. This summer my husband ended up with some suspicious swollen lymph nodes and my dad had abnormal blood test results. Extensive follow up testing/imaging for my dad showed no cancer (or anything else) and a couple of blood tests/visits to the oncologist for my husband determined that the lymph nodes had been irritated by him swimming with a rash guard on. A few weeks of no swimming and all was well. My husband normally falls asleep the minute his head hits the pillow, but he needed a prescription to help him sleep while this was all going on. Hang in there!

  25. Sweater Thoughts... :

    It seems that I have fallen in love with the DKNY cozy cardigan. Sigh… The problem is that I really don’t have two hundred dollars to spend on a cardigan right now. I’m wondering if anyone has one of these cardigans and whether you like it. Does DKNY ever do any sales or promos that might let me get it a little cheaper? Or, anyone seen something similar from another brand?

    • Basics paging Sweater Thoughts :

      This might seem weird, but…

      I have one of these in the light teal color (don’t know what it’s called). Size P/S. 50% silk, 45% cotton, 5% cashmere. Purchased November 2012 at DKNY outlet. Worn once before I realized it is a terrible color for me.

      It is yours for the price of shipping if you want it. I think it will fit in a USPS flat rate medium box, which is about $15 in the continential US. Just leave me an email address (I’ll check back), and I will contact you if you are interested.

      PS on the “do you like it question:” I also bought it in deep red and do wear and like that one.

      • Basics paging Sweater Thoughts :

        Should have added: no pets. no smoking. so it is in new condition.

        • Awww, that is sweet to offer, Basics paging Sweater Thoughts! (I’m not the original poster or interested in the sweater, but I just had to say something!)

        • Sweater Thoughts... :

          Basics – Thank you so much, that is incredibly sweet! Unfortunately, I think I would need the L/XL size. But thank you!

      • If you are still interested in getting rid of this sweater – I will take it off your hands for the price of shipping! I can be reached at countc[thissite] at gmail doc com

    • I have a cardigan from DKNY…it is suuuuper cozy and for me worth the $200+. I actually got it at Shopbop during one of the site’s 25% off deals, so maybe see if you can find it on a site that’s currently offering some sort of deal? DKNY just had a 20% off promotion on their site a week or two ago, so I don’t know if another one is on the horizon or not…

    • I just googled to see what you’re talking about and it looks like there are several places to find this cardigan on sale right now. I see a bunch of new ones on ebay – I think if you’re cautious about the seller, you’d be fine. Also, now I want this sweater, it looks so comfortable!

  26. Does anyone have experience/recommendations with respect to converting a section of a room into a space for yoga? I have an extra bedroom that is sporadically used (so I’d like to keep the bed and furniture in there), but have about a 6’x10′ area that I could use for a yoga space. I am hoping to divide the space in a way that is easily removable or at least not odd-looking if a guest stays in the bedroom. I’d like to make it into a sanctuary-type space (albeit small) to relax. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

  27. Hi Hive. I just had another conversation with my boyfriend, the theme of which was “I love you, but I never want to get married.” It hurts. And honestly I don’t know that I’m ready to get married anytime soon but knowing that the option is off the table with my boyfriend of over a year really hurts my heart. I know I should probably find a way to move on, but its hard, and its really putting a damper on my day!

    • That does hurt. I’m sorry you are dealing with this, but three cheers for you for recognizing that you should move on instead of wait for him to change his mind. It will get better.

  28. Anonymous :

    Can anyone recommend a tailor in the Brooklyn/NYC area? I want to have a blazer taken in at the waist, nothing too complicated, but I’d like it done well…

  29. If you're thinking of divorce :

    I’ve noticed a number of posts from ‘rettes seeking advice about divorce, and I figured I’d say this in a new post instead of picking one from the past. This isn’t targeted at one poster because all of these issues have been brought up a few times by different posters over the last few months.

    I want to offer some practical advice about finances and divorce, based on seeing what has happened to friends (and friends of friends, and my neighbor’s daughter’s teacher, and so many others in my line of work)(in our non-community-property state.) This may not be relevant *your* situation but I think it’s something women don’t think about enough until its too late. It’s “worst case scenario” talk for women who get blindsided, who don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, who haven’t figured out yet (or who just realized) that their spouse is no longer on their team.

    Here’s the gist: If you’re thinking of getting a divorce, or if you think your spouse might divorce you, and you’re not in charge of the family finances, you need to bring yourself up to speed on your financial situation immediately. This goes quadruple if you suspect your spouse is cheating. Cheating often costs money – hotel rooms, dinners out, event tickets, gifts, or – if your spouse is especially slimy – cars, condos, cash gifts, vacations, etc. Maybe they’re smart enough to use cash, but maybe not. Don’t be the last to realize your savings has been halved to pay for a “business trip” to Maui. Don’t wait another year before realizing that only 50% of your spouse’s paycheck has been going into the family account because they opened up another account at another bank. Don’t expect that you’ve both been 100% honest about finances if you know there’s dishonesty somewhere else.

    Even if your spouse isn’t cheating, things have the potential to get nastier than you think. A seemingly amicable separation may give your spouse time to hide money – there are a myriad of ways, especially if they are self employed. You don’t want to be late to the game.

    In a practical sense, this means looking at the mail. Figuring out what accounts you have joint and what you have separate. Make sure the accounts you set up for your kids are still funded (a friend’s sister’s husband financed his affair with funds from their child’s UTMA. Horrifying but sadly true). Find out if there has been dishonesty in taxes, if there are bills owed, if there’s a joint credit card you don’t know about. Check your credit score. Debt incurred during a marriage is often shared during divorce unless you can prove it was incurred unilaterally.

    Once the divorce talk gets serious, once your SO realizes you might leave or ask them to leave, it could be too late to get this info. It’s an overwhelmingly emotional and painful time, and thinking clearly can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to work things out. But you need to protect yourself financially. The spouse with control of the finances can hire the best lawyer in the city before you pull up google.

    As for lawyers, start looking now, even if you think you’ll stay together in the long run. If they want to screw you over, all it takes is some phone calls. If your SO interviews the eight best divorce lawyers in your city, and discusses their case and what they’re bringing to the table, those are eight lawyers who now most likely have a conflict and can’t represent you. Your SO can do this on purpose or just incidentally, but if you’re proactive you might be able to prevent it.

    This was long and rambly and I’m usually a much (much) more coherent writer, but this is an issue I haven’t seen directly addressed in the admittedly few posts I’ve seen, so I wanted to add my thoughts. Please feel free to correct me (or call me out) about any of the above. This is aimed at women of any earning strata who have delegated the “finances” chores to their SO, but more broadly it’s a reminder that the worst could (but hopefully won’t) happen. I’m not a divorce lawyer but I work in a related field, and these issues occur in every kind of relationship and women in every profession.

    *I didn’t talk about alimony/spousal support, but that’s also a very important aspect a woman should look into – whether the obligor or the recipient.

    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest, ladies!

    • (I just wanted to add that even if you don’t think you’ll ever get divorced, you should have at least a general idea of how your finances are managed. An acquaintance’s husband died suddenly several months ago, and she’s still having a difficult time figuring out their financial situation.)

      • Yes. I’m divorced, but I was fairly up on our finances, so this wasn’t an issue for me. My mother, however, knows almost nothing about my parents’ shared finances and if (God forbid) something happened to my dad, it would be really difficult to identify all of the accounts and get them sorted out.

  30. Advice please –

    I brought dinner over to one of my friends who had a baby two weeks ago. He is the sweetest thing! I was holding him and when it hit 8:30 pm she suggested that we put him in his crib. She’s been laying him on his back with a bobby pillow around his head with a blanket over his legs. I immediately thought oh this isn’t good, but didn’t want to be the know it all friend so I didn’t say anything about my concern. I did some Googling about this and it sounds super dangerous – many incidents of SIDS from similar situations. Now I’m so worried! What should I do? Maybe call her tomorrow and mention that I saw something about boppy pillows (and blankets!) in cribs being really bad???

  31. This page is eating my comments…

  32. Marital Issue :

    I know it’s late on the weekend, but I’m hoping to get some tough love nonetheless. DH and I have been together for 10 years. We are great partners in many ways. However, I have always had a low s*x drive (like, I probably want s*x three times a year). DH could probably use it more like 2x/wk. I try to accommodate. However, recently, I have been almost grossed out by the thought. Like, I think I was making “ew” faces during the act. Partly this is a drive issue. Partly this is that while DH has many great qualities, he is not at all my type in terms of physical appearance. Partly this is that I have my own body image issues and don’t want to be touched. Partly we have been TTC for a few years now without success (am seeing fert specialist, and endo recently confirmed my hormones are all in good shape).

    I know I should see a therapist, although we are on a very tight budget right now and that would be a huge splurge. But has anyone else felt like this? Does it last long-term? Does it mean the marriage is doomed? Would love to hear that I am not alone in the world, that there is hope. I feel awful about this. TIA.

    • I would second getting a handle on finances. Even before my divorce I had gotten lax and let my no ex handle finances. It turned out we thought we had a cushion we actually had a deficit. And he was not honest with me about how much debt we had.

      Another really important point is PROTECT YOUR RETIREMENT!! I have seen too many friends either have to pay off an ex or lose retirement money at the time of retirement. And one of them had an ex sue right before he retired. They had been divorced for many many years. As a result I put this in my divorce settlement explicitly. Of course this is in a community property state.

    • Senior Attorney :

      One of the best books I’ve seen that focuses on sexual issues is “Passionate Marriage” by Dr. David Schnarch. If you don’t think therapy is an option at this point, it might be a place to start. Good luck to you. This is a tough issue.

    • It sounds like you’re dealing with a lot of difficult things right now. I don’t think that this means your marriage is doomed, but I do think it’s an important issue to address, and one that people too often ignore. S*x means different things to different people – for example, in my marriage, s*x was a critical aspect of emotional closeness and intimacy, and so the fact that my ex-h didn’t want to have it felt like an emotional rejection. To put it crudely, it was about feelings, not just about getting off (if that makes sense).

      It sounds like you recognize that this isn’t just about a mismatch in drives for you – I think a lot of people compromise on a level of s*xual activity that makes sense for them, because it’s pretty uncommon for people to have exactly the same level of desire. But here, if you’re actively put off by the prospect, I don’t think compromise will work – I think you have to address that issue before you can deal with the mismatch issue. Obviously, you married your husband, so there was a point at which his physical appearance was appealing to you – I wonder if the stress of TTC and your own issues with body image aren’t sort of conspiring together to put you into a place where it’s hard to feel the emotional attachment that likely once made you interested in s*x with him, even if he wasn’t your “type.”

      Understanding that the budget is tight, I think it might be worth exploring options that would make therapy available to you at a reduced cost. Do you have an EAP through your own job, or your husband’s? Those will often pay for a limited number of therapy sessions, at no cost to you. If you’re religious, does your religious community have counseling resources available? I tend to advise against just getting counseling from a pastor (unless that person actually has formal training as a counselor), but a religious leader might be able to connect you with reduced-cost resources.

      One thing you haven’t mentioned: how does your husband seem to be feeling about this situation? Have you all talked about it?

  33. Does anyone subscribe to Graze for healthy snacks? Would appreciate any feedback and an invite if you like it since it appears to be by invitation only.

    • wildkitten :

      I signed up yesterday and was already given a code this morning. It’s only good for one week and I won’t use it this week: 93HNGPN

  34. I am a recent grad and just started at my job a few months ago. I’m starting to feel like I’m losing myself more and more each day. Like most of my coworkers, I have mountain loads of work that’s impossible to accomplish and those who say they’re “available” cross their arms unwilling to teach me or lend a hand. As the new hire, I don’t want to disappoint my managers, but more importantly I don’t want to disappoint myself and hand in half-ass sloppy work because that’s not my style. Perhaps, it’s this way everywhere? Any advice on how to overcome this and also get the others on my side? Or am I just too naive to realize that I should stop caring?