Something on your mind? Chat about it here.
If you’re fan of colorful Birkenstocks, you know that now is the time to get some of the best colors before they all sell out. (The neutrals are always in stock.) I saw these and immediately wanted them, even though I’m more of a Gizeh girl myself — the bold color, the big buckles, they all look great.
I should note that these are velvet, not leather or suede, which was a bit of a surprise when I realized it — velvet + sandals seems a bit weird to me, but I guess if I think about it so does suede. There are also a ton of shearling-lined Birks sandals out right now!
Readers, what are your thoughts — would you wear velvet Birks? For my own $.02, I think I would, but more for errand shoes than walking-everywhere-on-vacation shoes, if that makes sense.
The sandals are $160 at Zappos and Nordstrom; there’s also a lovely midnight blue velvet option.
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Workwear sales of note for 5.26.23:
- Nordstrom – The Half-Yearly Sale just started! See our thoughts here.
- Amazon – Memorial Day Sales! Lots of discounts on Amazon Essentials and more.
- Ann Taylor – Extra 30% off lots of sale styles (prices as marked).
- Anthropologie – Extra 40% off sale.
- Banana Republic Factory – 50%-70% off everything + extra 25% off purchase (ends 5/31).
- Boden – Sale, up to 50% off.
- Brooks Brothers – Extra 25% off sale; already up to 70% off (ends 5/31) – also mix & match sale with men’s shirts, 4 for $249.
- Cole Haan – Up to 50% off sale styles (ends 5/31).
- Eloquii – 400+ styles starting at $19; up to 50% off everything.
- Express – Summer kickoff sale, 30-50% off everything (plus $35+ steals) (ends 6/1).
- H&M – Up to 60% off online and in-store.
- J.Crew – Up to 50% off “dressed up” styles (lots of cute dresses!).
- J.Crew Factory – 50% off everything, no exclusions.
- J.McLaughlin – The Sale Event, extra 30% off.
- Loft – 40% off full-price styles
- M.M.LaFleur – Short but sweet sale (ends 6/1).
- Madewell – Get 30% off your purchase.
- Ministry of Supply – 25% off sitewide (ends 6/1).
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty.
- Shopbop – Up to 50% off designer sale!
- Sue Sartor – Lots of cute dresses on sale!
- Talbots – Extra 40% off all markdowns (ends 6/1)!
- Theory – Up to 60% off + an extra 20% off.
- Universal Standard – 25% off sitewide (ends 6/1).
Other noteworthy sales:
- CB2.com – Up to 50% off everything!
- Joss & Main – Up to 60% off, plus an extra 20% off with code.
- Tuft & Needle – Save up to $775 on mattresses. (Reader favorite bed brand; Kat really likes hers!)
- West Elm – Memorialy Day Sale, up to 60% off.
In a couple of local instances, construction workers were killed on the job (scaffolding or trench collapse). And a couple of professors we knew died of various dieases. Their families all had go-fund-mes for their funeral expenses or their families. That got me to thinking — is it not the case that if you are killed on the job, that there generally aren’t employee benefits that would pay for a funeral (like life insurance, etc.) such that you’d have to raise funds for it? And even for white collar employees? I’m really distressed to read this — I guess we are all closer to the edge and now I need to pull all of my employee benefits and see what I actually have or my next-of-kid could get to in a pinch if I don’t make it home from work today (unlikely, but we’ll all a car crash away from this being us).
Yes. Company benefits and lack of thereof can vary considerably. Working at a small employer has made me appreciate benefits that I always took for granted. In past roles, I always had a 401K with varying levels of employer contribution, short-term disability, health insurance, dental insurance and vision coverage. I have a master’s degree and work at a director level and have done so for 8 years. At present employer, I have none of these benefits and even pay for my own computer even though I’m a full time employee. (Why I’m currently looking to leave–I only accepted current position because I had been suddenly laid off and really wanted to avoid a gap in work history. Yes, I wish I hadn’t settled, pretty much every day..) It’s also possible a lot of what you are seeing are contractor arrangements where the person working at the large company is not actually an employee with associated benefits. At my former employer, turning roles into contractor status was a favorite past time to save money. Truly horrible practice since I’ve rarely seen compensation make up for it.
My dad took out a 10K life insurance policy that we used for his funeral, as he intended. Mom paid for her funeral arrangements in advance.
Doesn’t Social Security pay you something when you die?
And I have an “accidental death and dismemberment” policy through work (not sure if it was given to me or I had to opt in) that pays me something if I die (or get maimed, apparently). I work a desk job in an industry where accidental injuries are not a thing, so maybe it was a cheap add-on (so no risk of dying in a trench collapse, which I understand to be a common sort of thing, sadly).
The lump-sum Social Security death benefit is $255. Surviving spouses and kids up to age 19 may be eligible for monthly survivor benefits, depending on their ages and disability status, but it probably takes some time for all of these to be processed and paid. And the deceased person had to have worked the minimum number of eligible quarters (at least 40) for the survivors to qualify.
Many of those benefits require monthly premiums. People simply don’t opt in, even if it’s a small amount. Alternately, they might need money right now and not whenever benefits pay out.
I will caution you about assuming that professors make a good salary. Furthermore, even if the family has enough cash on hand for a funeral, the GFM will be set up because there are other expenses (probating a will, yes the estate pays but money is fungible; cleaning out a house or apartment; if the prof was a parent, something to help the kids because even good life insurance only covers 5x or 7x salary). TL;DR – money is fungible and people may be giving families some extra when they need it.
Yes, this is true. That is why they have all those commercials on TV for the $9.95 per month policy to get insurance that will pay for “your funeral and final expenses”, which the manageing partner says includes your credit card bills and travel to the location where you will be buried. Even if you have a 401K, that may be enough to pay for it, but there is no way your executor will be able to get that out quick enough to pay for your “final expenses”. So unless your family has ready cash on hand to pay the undertaker and the funeral expenses, you should look into it.
A friend’s brother died in a tragic freak accident. He did have life insurance, but the bills were due immediately, before any life insurance check came through.
A lot of the go fund me’s that I’ve contributed to, either the people had no life insurance, there were bills for the family that were due NOW and they needed to bridge the gap until any life insurance came through, or were for situations where the cause of death negated any life insurance payouts (suicide, OD, etc.)
This is wild to me: you don’t get life insurance $ if you kill yourself or OD? I get that if you buy a $5M policy and kill yourself the next day, they won’t pay, but if it’s like free life insurance through work, wouldn’t they pay (ditto the OD)? I never get any fine print to read on employee benefits and now I’m really curious. They pay if smokers die of lung cancer, no?
Suiclde exclusion is 2 years, sometimes 3 years for individual policies. For group policies, there may not be a suiclde exclusion. There are exclusions for fraud too. If you make a mistake in your application, that’s not usually fraud. But if you willfully misrepresented your age, finances, and so on, there will be an investigation determining that. I never heard of an exclusion for an accidental overdose. Also, a lot of people just don’t have employer life insurance or any life insurance for that matter.
Huh – I’ve seen it under ‘risky activity’ and also seen an exclusion because the death was caused because someone was committing an illegal act. In this case, it was illegal drug use and thus was excluded.
Yeah, some life insurance policies have a suicide exclusion, others do not. FWIW, my friend who died by suicide had stopped paying his premiums, so there was no payout.
Isn’t that why the Murdaugh guy wanted to stage his death as a murder, so the insurance would pay out? (as opposed to shooting himself).
Different policies have different exclusions. The brother of a friend of mine killed himself. His life insurance still paid out because he’d had the policy over 2 years. However, he had designated his live-in partner as his beneficiary years before – and they had been broken up for over a year by the time he died. She got the insurance money. There was no path forward for my friend’s mom to challenge her son naming the ex-girlfriend as the beneficiary. So there are a kinds of reasons why someone may need crowdfunding for expenses.
If someone is killed on the job, workers’ compensation offers a death benefit. The amount and what it covers varies by state but it tends to be in the hundreds of thousands. Workers’ Compensation is a mandatory coverage (I’m not getting into opt out states, but they still have to offer an alternative but equal benefit) so unless your construction worker acquaintances were self employed or worked under the table/for an employer who was breaking the law, there should be a benefit.
Benefits vary WIDELY even in the same industry. I went from one firm to a direct competitor and didn’t realize I no longer had AD&D and life insurance until our financial advisor asked about it. I now have both an individual policy AND a work policy as my current job offers AD&D plus life insurance coverage for something like $1.50 a month so why not pay for it.
I have had several younger coworkers ask me about AD&D, as well as short term and long term disability insurance, during open enrollment, and I encourage them to sign up for all of it as long as the premiums aren’t too high. People are more likely to become disabled than die, but accidental deaths happen also and coverage for these things is usually pretty inexpensive through an employer.
Dumb question, but: my honey keeps crystalizing. We’ve tried keeping it far from the stove and ovens, but it feels like they all crystalize within 6 months. Is this a normal life cycle for honey? Do I need a honey pot or something? (Looking through the Neiman sales and saw this, thus sparking the question: https://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/neiman-marcus-botanical-honey-pot-prod248900241?childItemId=NMHES7E_&navpath=cat000000_cat000730_cat14720735_cat81450751&page=2&position=10
Buy smaller containers of honey.
Ok this is adorable and you definitely need it. I live in Houston so it’s fairly humid and my honey keeps crystallizing too. I have no idea why. I’ll be interested to see if the hive has an answer.
That honey pot is adorable! I don’t use honey (except in hot toddies) so I only buy very, very small portions so I don’t have any advice
That is adorable and it would 100% get broken in a month in my home. I love my pets and kid but man are they incredibly destructive.
This is adorable but I can only imagine the horror it would become when our invading springtime ant horde discovered how easy it was to access their favorite gooey treat in that.
Omg I just had a flashback to when I found our own invading ant hoard in our pantry this summer. All syrup/honey/bbq sauces/and unsealed jams now must live in the fridge must to my husband/son’s dismay as they ‘hate cold syrup and honey’. Well, I hated having to toss half our pantry and spray down every single shelf with vinegar so you have to learn to deal.
It’s cute, but I don’t see how something like that would help if crystallization is your concern. It’s the sugar in honey that make it crystalize. The container doesn’t matter. I just microwave it or put it in a bowl of hot water when that happens to my honey.
I would totally break the cute little bees off that adorable honey pot in, like, the first couple of weeks.
You can liquify crystallized honey in the microwave. If it’s in a plastic jar, I would use a lower setting like defrost until it turns liquidy. It will recrystallize again but you can repeat the process.
anon for this
Some honey crystallizes because when it is bottled, part of the honeycomb is scraped into the jar as well. You’re not doing anything wrong. If your honey is in a glass jar, you can pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and it will bring it back to its liquid state to use (and then it will re-crystallize in the cupboard).
Signed, relative to many beekeepers
You can also soak the jar in a cup of hot water if you don’t want to microwave.
I think the cold makes it crystallize faster, so maybe keep it closer to a warm place like the stove. I don’t think the jar will help but it is cute.
Honey is a super saturated solution of sugar molecules. That means it WANTS to crystallize and will use any external molecules it can find (bits of honeycomb, a few bits of sugar off a spoon, crumbs from a knife) to crystallize. To avoid crystallization, you can keep it in a warmer place or re-liquify it by putting it in the microwave or a pan of hot water.
To avoid it in the future, it helps if you pour out the honey you’re going to use versus going in the jar. Some commercial honeys use corn syrup to discourage crystallization. I don’t even think about it – it’s totally normal and fine.
This was my thought (just means it’s real honey and not the fake kind!).
You can do the corn syrup trick yourself, too: https://www.hawk-hill.com/prevent-honey-crystals/
I always thought crystalization is a good sign of honey being “pure”. I keep mine out of direct light and rather pour out on a spoon vs go in the jar with a spoon. But my consumption of honey is quite high so it doesn’t get a chance to crystalize.
I buy the smallest container of honey and this happens to me too – I just boil a mug ful of water and put the honey tub into that
PSA – If you microwave the container of honey, make darn sure there isn’t any of the foil backed seal left on the neck. It might have a plastic skin, but double check. Wow, fireworks!
measure NO2 from gas stove
I haven’t been paying as close attention to the health risks of gas stoves as perhaps I should as someone with breathing-related health issues. My plan is to replace my gas range, but for a variety of reasons I’d like to wait awhile if my other mitigation strategies are fairly effective. I need help figuring out how to evaluate which, if any, of my mitigation strategies are effective, and to what extent they work in my home.
1) Can anyone recommend a device to test NO2 in the home? I have a TemTop that does particulates and CO2, but doesn’t look like they make NO2 devices.
2) Is there anything else I should be measuring, and is there a device your recommend?
Do you have an exhaust fan? I’d just run that while you’re cooking and not replace the stove, which has its own environmental cost.
measure NO2 from gas stove
I do have an exhaust fan. It’s exceptionally loud, so I tend to not want to use it unless I’m cooking something that puts off a ton of particulates, like pancakes or homemade tortillas. I know I should use it more, but it is frays my nerves to have it on for long.
What? How do pancakes emit a ton of particulates?
I think she means frying.
Are you deep-frying your pancakes? I do not get this — how is it different than a grilled cheese? Or any other pan-frying?
measure NO2 from gas stove
Maybe I’m just bad at making pancakes and tortillas? The particulate levels in my house get high when measured with a Temtop or Purple Air–it’s not always super noticeable by nose/sight.
I also find that particulate levels rise when I make pancakes. I assume it’s from buttering the pan.
Do you have a good fan? If your fan does a good job of getting rid of cooking odors, then it’s probably doing fine at venting everything else too. If it doesn’t, I’d be more concerned.
NO2 is a really really short lived species in air- this is not one I’d worry about, as in normal conditions it’ll react itself out of existence.
the cooking process will produce plenty of CO2, so if CO2 sensors are easier to obtain, you can use CO2 concentration as a proxy for cooking fumes and to see whether your ventilation is sufficient.
Here is some more research https://indoor.lbl.gov/news/range-hood-advice-indoor-air-quality
Do you mean CO or CO2?
CO2, not CO. CO monitors are important too but regular cooking shouldn’t release CO, that would be extremely worrying.
It’s good that you have a CO2 monitor.
Do you run an air filter, your range hood, and open a window?
I am not a big fan of gas stoves (I’d prefer induction), but I’m honestly not planning to replace the one I have before its time when “cooking food” is so bad for air quality no matter what kind of stove I’m using.
measure NO2 from gas stove
I run an air purifier and sometimes open a window and use the range hood, depending on what I’m cooking. The range hood is really loud and frays my nerves, so I don’t like to use it much.
I’m trying to figure out the effectiveness of opening windows v. using the range hood v. the air purifier and what combination I need in order to get decent NO2 levels. If the range hood is necessary to get decent NO2 levels when cooking, then that would move me to replace sooner since I can’t tolerate the range hood for the amount of time I cook each week.
I also hate the sound of the range hood fan (and don’t understand it since there are so many quiet effective fans in the world these days!).
There are some air purifiers that respond to something they’re detecting with a sensor. It scared me in an airbnb when all of a sudden they turned themselves on full blast while I was cooking!
So um holy f*** therapy after cancer is hard as frillyheck. (Thank you, recent commenter who gave me this word.)
Apparently I needed to believe it was fine and not a big problem and therefore have been ignoring all evidence to the contrary and repressing all my feelings for a year? (Not what the therapist said, just observing my own thoughts.)
Commiseration welcome. Also, thanks for telling me to go back to therapy in December, y’all.
The brain is wild – you don’t realize how awful the situation you’re going through is until you’re on the other side.
I’m so SO glad you took the leap into therapy. Also, here’s my quarterly plug that EMDR sounds crazy but helped me more than I can ever put into words.
I just started EMDR to begin to process some childhood drama and holy crap, it is so intense, but the realizations I am having, and the connections I am making are insane.
My sister is LOVING EMDR. We are doing imaginal processing, which I think may be rooted in similar brain understanding.
Ha–*trauma* not drama. Although I suppose it is both.
+1 to “you don’t realize how awful the situation you’re going through is until you’re on the other side.”
I really feel like our minds go into triage mode during emergencies, even extended emergencies, and we can’t always afford to acknowledge how bad something is while we’re still in it. Sending a hug.
Definitely – I recall having a traumatic thing happen at the beginning of a college semester that promised to be insanely busy. A couple months later, one day after meeting a big school deadline, I had a vivid dream about the thing. The brain knows! Big hugs, Curious. You’re doing everything you need to be doing. <3
Seriously. And I’m realizing that in this case I could not tolerate the belief that this was hard, because if it was I might not survive it, and then my baby wouldn’t have a mommy. So I just decided I was fine. Which is no longer a particularly adaptive belief but heck, it really did help at the time!
Aww, big hugs, Curious! Congratulations for taking the plunge and going back!
What the frillyheck? (WTF) That sucks! Glad you’re working through it now. Progress is tough!
I didn’t have cancer, just the general stress of trying to survive the pandemic as a working parent in NYC (and some marriage stress, FIL died, etc), and had a similar realization when I went back to therapy yesterday. I thought I was fine! I want to be fine! Can we go back to me being fine, please? Hugs to you Curious!
Oh man I want to go back to being fine, too. Let’s both do it!
I’m so glad you’re doing therapy, this internet stranger is super proud of you – think of it as a gift you’re giving to future you and your family.
But you’re right, it is HARD. It helps a bit if I think of it as mental crossfit – no pain no gain! When I was doing therapy to process my assault in college I would block off my afternoons to nap/watch happy movies and otherwise veg and my roommates/friends all knew I was basically MIA those days. Maybe plan for the rest of your day to be on autopilot and give yourself something to look forward to afterwards?
Do you follow TheCancerPatient on Instagram? If not please do! The stories are amazing. It’s very normal to struggle more emotionally after treatment. During treatment you are busy getting better and after treatment you have to reckon with what happened. Good luck! I didn’t stop crying every session for 6 months :)
OMG, that is my favorite instagram (obviously, I am also a cancer patient… if you aren’t, it would definitely seem morbid and crazy, but as a cancer patient, it seems relatable).
Curious, the aftermath is so much harder than treatment and no one thinks to tell you that (or if someone did with me, I’m sure I didn’t believe them). Like so many things, it does get better though. Be kind to yourself! It takes a lot to trust your home again when the foundation has been so shaken.
I will.. thank you.
Not cancer, but I experienced a cardiac event and nearly died, and it took me almost a year to admit the level of trauma I had experienced and the horrible impact it was having on my life. You’re supposed to just be happy that you survived – in fact, you’re supposed to be happier than you were before! Because now you know What Really Matters! You got a second chance! Etc. etc. etc. But I was really not okay, and it was probably two years before I stopped feeling like death was sticking to me like bits of spiderweb, and I didn’t get my ish together and go see a therapist until my priest very gently pointed out that I was pretty clearly experiencing symptoms of PTSD.
I went through several medical scares in college. It just helped to have people tell me that of course I was scared, overwhelmed, and worried about something else getting me. A fair number of people gave me crap about it; I was “not enjoying my youth” or “of course these things happen.” Not helpful, dudes (and it’s always dudes).
Wow. Those dudes were awful.
Oh Curious, I feel you so much. The post-cancer therapy was so incredibly hard for me, far harder than all the work I did processing being a survivor of childhood s-xual abuse. Probably because the cancer triggered all that and then yanno cancer.
It was worth it though. You can do this.
I’m sorry. I haven’t done it but need to after recent events. I’ll send you an email – offering an ear if I can help.
I have decided that my new Friday evening ritual will be taking an hour between wrapping up work and whatever plans I have that night to make a fun cocktail and enjoy drinking it. I like the idea of taking some time to do something special (a cocktail at home feels special) and transition from the work week to the weekend. With the way my life is now, Friday night is the only reliable downtime I have so I really like to make it special.
In the warmer months, I have a patio to sit out on, but I’m trying to make this time special in the winter. In an ideal world I’d light a fire and put on a record or something, but I have neither a fireplace or a record player. I already have some fun glassware which I will definitely use.
Also, drop your favorite winter cocktails below. I’m partial to a hot toddy but I’m sure there are some other fun ones. I don’t drink vodka and would like to keep it relatively simple to make, but otherwise am game for whatever.
I mean, I 100% suggest great music and a YouTube video of a fireplace to add to the vibe in the winter.
When I look for winter cocktail ideas, my first place I go is to fabulous restaurants I’ve been to in the past and look at their menus for inspiration; however, I’d suggest a maple toddy, a perfect Manhattan (actual drink!), or an old fashioned.
If you have people over, Nigella Lawson’s mulled wine is wonderful! I wouldn’t try to scale it for one person, though.
Bourbon in warm apple cider is easy to make for one person.
I like bitter cocktails so I always enjoy a Negroni: equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, on one big rock garnished with an orange twist. (Or you can double the gin – I won’t tell!)
I love a Negroni! It’s a summer drink for me, but maybe I can rethink it. (not OP)
I feel like the color is Christmasy, so…
You can do a hot negroni (google for recipes)! It’s really good!
I love a Negroni too but my favorite is a Boulevardier, where you swap the gin with rye or bourbon.
DC Inhouse Counsel
I love a negroni and I just saw a recipe for a coffee negroni with half the sweet vermouth subbed for coffee liquor, which feels more wintery to me!
My husband loved a Lodge Negroni for winter to replace his summer Negroni.
1 oz scotch wiskey
1 oz campari
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz coffee liquor
Mix over ice, strain. Serve in a lowball glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel
Easy cocktail: One part cognac to one-and-a-half to two parts amaretto (adjust for the level of sweetness you prefer). This is a slow-sipping drink and can be enjoyed over ice or at room temperature, which I prefer when it’s cold.
My little local movie theater for a while was doing a signature cocktail for each movie, and this was called the Chessboard Revolution, to go with Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch.”
My husband’s winter cocktail is a Manhattan. Mine is a Sidecar, and I obviously think mine is better.
Shake 2 oz Cognac with 1 oz Cointreau and 1 oz lemon juice. Serve in a chilled martini glass. Traditionally, you sugar the rim, but I dropped that a long time ago because I don’t like sticky hands. You may like more Cointreau (the sweetener) if you to that.
It’s delicious and beautiful to look at. Enjoy!
Oh, and get yourself a good champagne bottle stopper so you can enjoy a champagne cocktail or a Kir Royale!
Or just use little splits of champagne.
Or, if really indulgent – mini bottles of Moet. They cost about the same as a full size normal bottle of champagne, so if you would only have a glass or two you can rationalize as cost effective.
I used to call Fridays my date night with myself. I would not have gone out on a Friday night for Benedict Cumberbatch himself. So I support this completely. For winter cocktails – one of the best things I did this year was infuse whiskey with apples, maple syrup, and cinnamon. The result is like Fireball, but yummier, and two fingers of that over ice feels very wintry and special.
Could you sip your fancy cocktail while soaking in a hot tub. 10/10 would not recommend for multiple drinks, but it sounds perfect for a single, ritual drink.
Warm a high quality apple juice on the stove, adding warming winter spices like cloves, cinnamon, star anise and ginger. Let the mix steep over the heat, but not boil.
Strain into a suitable toddy cup, let cool slightly very hot, add dark rum.
If you like, add some lemon and an apple liqueur.
I love an old fashioned in cold weather.
Maybe dim the lights, put some nice music on and light a nice wintery candle?
I just want to vent. I hate my job and company so much. There’s not much posted right now but I’m really hoping things are posted in the coming weeks as people shuffle around after year end reviews and bonuses.
Aw I’m sorry to hear. Remember there are millions of other jobs out there.
I’m sure the perfect opening is out there for you!
I am sorry to hear this. I’ve been there and I can empathize. I’m not sure if you are asking for advice, but I have some to offer if you will indulge me. A lot of jobs are never posted. The last 3 jobs I’ve had (and I’ve had many), we’re not posted publicly. I reached out to a mentor at a different place and was genuinely asking for career advice and she talked to people internally and got me an interview in the group that I was most suited for, which was not her group and hadn’t actually posted a job posting yet (they hadn’t made a firm decision on whether they needed someone). The next job I got because I was asking someone in my network about her thoughts on a different company that she had worked for in the past. This person also knew of a need that arose because someone had given notice just days before I reached out to her. The last job was through a recruiter. In any case, I strongly encourage you to invite people you know even loosely (like former colleagues, people you volunteer with, anyone who works at a company that’s interesting to you) for coffee meetings. Once you do that, people will be looking for opportunities for you and will be telling you about things that may not be posted publicly. Good luck!
Unloading a bit:
You know the saying, you are only as happy as your most-miserable child? That’s me. Teen. Lots of psychological and developmental issues, all of which we are trying to get kid help for, none of which is going fast, all of which involves various professions currently either overwhelmed with volume or having staffing turnovers. There is no roadmap. IDK whether any given day will be vanilla or end in tears and screaming. I hope it’s a rough patch that will level off b/c it didn’t always used to be this way, but OMG I start and end each day with a prayer for strength and insight and patience and I am just so fried but I need to keep it together for everyone else’s sake.
Parent of two teens and one pre-teen here. It can all be so overwhelming at times being a parent. I so empathize with you and I hope you are able to get access to the resources you need. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.
I’m pretty sure that a big part of why I decided not to have kids is that I saw what my parents went through for years and years with my two younger siblings. I avoided my house as much as possible because of the nonstop fighting and screaming that I wanted nothing to do with it. There were suicide attempts, a lot of violence, and one dropped out of high school. But my siblings eventually grew up and are now both functional members of society with graduate degrees, families, and, as far as I can tell, completely normal behavior. It might take a while, but most of the time, it will get better. Best of luck to you and your kid.
Just trying to send you all the love and strength possible! I’m not a parent but I have a sibling with severe mental illness and a nephew that struggles in this area. It is incredibly difficult on my mother and sister. I hope you and your family can get the professional care that you need and things get easier for you.
I’m so sorry. I had a handful of a toddler son who I thought was my problem child, but he turned out to be the easy teen. My daughter, the perfect toddler, was the hardest one in the teens. Good kid, OK grades, but lots of friend and boyfriend drama, and when she was miserable she was MISERABLE. And she had raging undiagnosed “girl” ADHD until midway through HS, which didn’t help at all.
She’s in college now and it’s so much better. She’s more mature, she got away from the high school cliques, and I think she and I would both say she’s very happy now.
But I remember being in your shoes and it was so, so hard.
FWIW – my toddler son was a terror, it was so hard, and everyone kept telling us “he’s going to be an easy teenager, he’s getting it out of the way early. Turned out to be the truth. We’ve had our “teenager moments” of course, but he’s 100x easier as a teenager than he was as a three year old.
I have 2 severely autistic kids – well, young adults now. So I hear you loud and clear. The thread above about pretending bad things are fine definitely spoke to me too. Is my head literally above water? Yes. Has my life taken a major hit that I’ll never get back? Also yes. No one is checking on us, that’s for sure.
Hugs. I literally just called around to schedule some talk therapy for myself today as I realized I’ve spent the last year getting my tween help with his neurodivergence/managing his feelings/therapy/school assistance and I am just TIRED. It also doesn’t help that for his privacy I don’t/won’t talk about this stuff to my mom friends or family members so it feels very lonely some days.
I’m sure you’re doing an awesome job. Your kid is SO lucky to have a parent who figured out something is going on, is actively trying to get help, and cares about them. On bad days when I feel like I failed my kid I remind myself that we’ve ID’d that there was an issue, have gotten my kid help, and are educating ourselves on how to most effectively parent. And bonus, we’re not resorting to violence, yelling, or alcohol) so I am KILLING it vs. my parents dealing with my teenage neurodivergence!
Anon for this
We went through some really, really hard years with one of my kids, from about the age of 3 to 20. Things got very much worse before they got better. There was a time that I thought things would never be ok. But they eventually did get better, after years and years of therapy, medication and eventually rehab for drug addiction. I now live what feels like a happy, normal life with reasonably well adjusted, responsible adult children. So please work on getting whatever help and support you and your family need, and don’t give up hope. Things can get better.
I’m so sorry. That is so hard. FWIW, we went through a pretty rough patch with my eldest teen recently, and it’s so much better now.
Woo hoo just got a $42 price adjustment on some stuff I bought at Ann Taylor a few days ago. Great customer service.
Meanwhile the crap I bought at J.Crew during Black Friday sales and had to rush to return by Christmas wasn’t received in time so I only got a credit. Grrr.
I hate nothing more than a 30 day return window, it’s just not realistic for where I am in life right now!
I am shocked and amazed but: Southwest cancelled my son’s flight home after Christmas and rescheduled him for a flight 5 days later. We ended up finding him a flight with a different carrier a couple of days earlier, but it was hundreds of dollars more than the cost of his ticket with Southwest. I filed a claim through the Southwest website and they agreed 1) to refund the cost of the ticket for the cancelled flight, instead of issuing a credit, 2) to reimburse the cost of the expensive ticket on the alternative carrier (money is already in my account), and 3) gave us 25,000 reward points with a value about $300. It was a huge inconvenience but I’m impressed at the lengths they went to to make things right.
If you have anxiety, what are your day to day coping skills? I know therapy and or meds are the keys, and I’m working on those but I’m also thinking of life strategies that work in the moment. In case it matters my anxieties pertain to health, career – being stuck in a dead end forever, and growing old alone as being over 40 and not partnered, it’s been a hard time esp as my friends all move on with young kids to raise. I have started meditating and I find it helps a bit though probably haven’t done it long enough to really gain that mindfulness where I can just STOP myself when I’m suddenly worried about something. What else?
I don’t find that I can “stop” my anxious thoughts unless my mental health is in a really great place. Last time I was truly stuck in the anxiety spiral, the only thing that got me out was medication and therapy. I know that’s maybe not the answer you’re looking for, but I was unable to have successful coping skills until I dealt with the underlying issues in therapy and tamed the anxiety spiral with medication. Therapy also helps you identify patterns, and once you identify those patterns, it becomes easier to manage the symptoms (or at least it has in my experience).
Once I got to a place where my anxiety was more manageable, I started running for my mental health (and eventually used running to wean off of an SSRI). I also leaned heavily into meditation. Running is primary coping mechanism now, as well as leaning on friends.
Do you have the Anxiety and worry workbook? Some of what your describing seems to be about an uncertain future and I felt the workbook had tools for being more comfortable with being uncertain. Good luck!
I can’t stop my thoughts, but what helps me is to take action towards the things that cause me anxiety. For example – I also am afraid of a stagnant career so I am always looking for new things to take on or try out, networking opportunities, and I job hop every 3ish years. I have watched some relatives age VERY well and some relatives age TERRIBLY, so I work hard on living a healthy lifestyle.
For me, getting enough sleep (regular time to bed/getting up), not too much caffeine, and exercise are critical. I think you need to talk about strategies with your therapist, as your approach/desires for mindfulness are not really how that works. It builds your ability over time to be able to focus on the moment, clear your mind, not beat yourself up when your mind wanders to other anxiety provoking things (normal!) and teaches you how to refocus. By doing it regularly. Over time. Not something you can necessarily count on right away to help you if you have a sudden anxious moment (see below), but something that helps lower your overall anxious baseline.
Do you have a daily exercise? Yoga is a great one for anxiety, but also great if you can get outside (even if brief) for a brisk walk every day or any kind of cardio. Use that to help break up your day, or wind down after work or dinner. This will also help your sleep tremendously, if that is disrupted by anxiety.
For things to do in the moment when you have a particular anxious moment, learn the simple breathing technique (4-7-8) and 5-4-3-2-1.
And the Anxiety workbook is a great idea.
And be careful if you use alcohol as a “treatment” for anxiety, without realizing it. Alcohol can mess with your sleep and is a very unhealthy way to treat anxiety. But it is probably the most common way people self-medicate, and for some, it is a slippery slope.
prevention is worth a pound etc etc for for me i HAVE to maintain my base levels of regular, hard, varied exercise (hiking, peloton, pilates, yoga, HIIT) at least 3x a week but more like 5-6; good eating but not so good that I feel deprived (but for me I know sugar substitute heighten my anxiety so I don’t have them), and good sleep.
In the moment a body scan meditation is HUGE for me. just google or find one on youtube, this really makes a difference.
I do all this so I can keep avoiding medication but honestly I probably should have tried that years ago – but these days I am doing ok. good luck!
Trying to stop anxious thoughts can just make it worse. Try writing down whatever it giving you anxiety at the moment. It helps to externalize it (it’s on paper now, not just in your brain) and can be really useful for reference when prepping for therapy sessions.
Find something, however small, that you have control over that can make your life better and do that thing. Whether that’s sprucing up your resume, booking in with a medical specialist (you mentioned health anxiety), making a nice meal, reorganizing a drawer, anything.
Look for friends who are in a more similar stage of life to you (not married with kids). We’re definitely out there.
Maybe a nice relaxing spa day at home. Surround yourself with relaxing things, even if you yourself aren’t fully relaxed, your brain will register the vibes.
Working out always helps with my anxiety as it gets some of that pent up adrenaline out of my system.
I walk outside a lot without anything in my ears.
The DBT911 app (not sure if it is available for iPhone) is awesome. The app has various tools you can use in the moment to self soothe.
I’m so bored of broccoli, green beans, brussel sprouts — are there any other non-white veggies that are in your regular rotation? We make a lot of things with spinach included.
Carrots? Love them roasted. Asparagus steamed. Purple or yellow cauliflower (since you don’t want white). Sweet potatoes/yams are a nutritional powerhouse. Brussels sprouts, roasted are delicious.
Asparagus is a regular in our house. Also roasted carrots.
I know zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes are summer vegetables, but I made a pot of ratatouille a couple of weeks ago (substituting 2 cans of tomato paste for the tomatoes) and it was delish.
Roast sweet potatoes at 250 for 3 hours, give or take. Stick them in the oven with the timer set to start it before you get home. Makes them extra-sweet.
Things I’ve actually purchased and eaten in the last two grocery trips: asparagus, avocados, carrots, tomatoes, and lots of lettuce. We seem to go through a tub of lettuce every week right now to fight the winter blahs.
I was involuntarily gifted several pounds of onions a month ago so they aren’t on the grocery list anymore, but don’t forget you can do a lot with onions!
Winter squashes! Prime season for acorn, butternut and honeynuts!
Carrots, beets, onions, squash, radishes, edamame, peas, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, cucumbers…
Cabbage, usually with noodles and peanut sauce, plus bell peppers and carrots.
Also a big sweet potato fan.
Beets (so delicious roasted with Indian spices, or even simply steamed with salt and butter).
Tomatoes (I have fresh ones on my counter at all times – Campari is the only reliable brand I find – Costco)
Sweet and purple potatoes are my carb indulgence because .. healthy. I make mashed potato mix of both!
bell peppers, onions, all sorts of cauliflower, lightly sauteed cabbage or salad mix (i’m weird, i know but i prefer my greens somewhat cooked), mushrooms (technically not a vegetable but many kinds are brown in color), asparagus, zucchini, corn, edamame, lots of various greens from the asian supermarket.
i usually keep a bag of frozen veggie mix to add to fried rice or noodles
Asparagus for sure. I’ve really been liking the bags or tubs of baby kale at the grocery store for salads or as you use the spinach. Other favorites are asparagus, carrots, parsnips, and many cold veggies like cucumbers, celery, and radishes in salads.
I also get very excited about spring onions this time of year, and I like to make leek-heavy dishes any time I see some nice-looking leeks. (Plump, not dried out).
I like the super greens salad mix, and I like roasted cauliflower, both the regular white kind and that super interesting looking chartreuse variety with the Fibonacci spiral patterns.
Cucumber! I eat a ton of cucumbers. There are so many easy cucumber “salad” options on Pinterest. I make a jalapeno lime with cilantro, an asian version with soy sauce and chili crisp, German style with sour cream and dill, etc. The choices are endless!
Some non-white veggies we enjoy on a regular basis (cooked): zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash, carrots (raw or cooked), sweet potato, mushrooms, spinach. I don’t love peppers, but that’s another option. Also raw cucumbers.
Indian recipes have tons of vegetables in them.
Roast asparagus at 400 degrees until it’s as done as you want it. Anything from al dente to slightly browned and crispy. Then give it a little salt and pepper, maybe a drizzle of a good balsamic vinegar.
Slice zucchini into half rounds and sauté in a pan with butter or olive oil. A little salt and pepper. Maybe grate some Asiago cheese over it right before serving.
Mixed roasted vegetables. Some or all: sweet potato cubes, carrot chunks, red bell pepper pieces, ditto onion, zucchini chunks, yellow squash chunks. Tossed with olive oil. I prefer to add minced garlic right at the end so it doesn’t cook too much and get bitter. Toss leftovers with a nice vinaigrette and serve at room temperature.
For those of you with retiree parents who are on the older side – so not the fun young 65 year old retirees, how often do you talk to them? Do you enjoy talking to them or does it feel more obligatory like Sunday night, got to call dad? What do you talk about? That’s the one I’m struggling with as there’s literally nothing to say and I have no interest in what item is on sale at what department store or the details of their cleaning lady’s life, and yet I also know this is mean and this is just how it is as you age unless you really happen to have a huge social life and many interests.
It’s an obligation and our conversations mostly consist of them interrogating me about my life and particularly the things on my to do list that I haven’t done yet (even if I’ve done 50 things this week, “ohhhh you still haven’t done #51”), guilting me for not visiting more often, and chastising me for not keeping up with my childhood classmates.
Geez, how do they know you haven’t kept up with Suzy from second grade? That would drive me nuts. I stopped listening completely to my mother’s phone calls before I just stopped talking to her. Such a relief!
Mine at 75/76 and we text daily and talk several times a week, and see each other weekly or every other week. We talk about my kids, my job, their church, politics, books we’re reading, my dogs, whatever they like on TV, the weather (which admittedly I find exhausting but is a fixation of my mom’s)…I don’t think it’s about having fun young retiree parents, I think it’s about what kind of relationship you had before they were retirees. I like my parents and have always liked them (I love them too, but I’ve also always *liked* them); they are interested in and are a part of my life, and I’m interested in and am a part of theirs.
I talk to my mom around twice a week. She has been retired for over 20 years. I can’t really tell her about things going on in my life because she has severe anxiety and I don’t wanna deal with her stressing out at me about stuff going on in my life. Honestly, most of the time I just kind of tune her out and am doing something else at the same time (make dinner, clean the house, etc.). Maybe that makes me a bad daughter, but she just has no concept of my life. And when I have shared things with her in the past, I don’t have to deal with her anxiety over it. For example, when I told her I was switching jobs (after the decision has been made and I had already told my prior job), she tried to convince me that I was making the wrong decision I needed to just stay at my old job even though she knows nothing about my field
If you’re a bad daughter, so am I. I treat calling my mom for anything other than a birthday like you would a podcast – time to fold the laundry.
My dad (78 this year), brother and I share the same alma mater, so we have a robust group text talking mostly about whatever sport is season. Basketball now, of course. My brother and I also talk on it about our kids and their sports, activities and honors (our kids are mostly young adults now). Honestly, if it were not for sports and politics, of which we are all of like mind, I don’t know what we would talk about. Texting helps, as does having a sibling. I am way more entertaining via text than in person or over the phone, plus, he finds it hard to hear me over the phone (although would it kill him to TURN OFF THE DANGED TV WHEN HE IS ON THE PHONE WITH ME?), so I am thankful that he will text.
Do they have any interests or activities? My parents are still working, but my grandfathers both died in their mid 90s. 1st grandfather it very much felt obligatory, but the 2nd grandfather was vivacious until he went on hospice at 92. He had congestive heart failure and metastatic cancer, so physically he wasn’t well (couldn’t do any stairs, couldn’t walk more than 15 or so feet), but he was still active in other ways, involved in his community, and had a great outlook on life.
Could you gently coax them into having some hobbies or interests? Or try to involve them a bit in yours?
Do you live nearby / how often do you see them? What can be tedious over the phone can often be more fun in real life.
That is me – sunday night call for an hour. I just listen to all the stories I’ve heard before, and try to comment on the sales or whatever. I am not making the call for my sake, after all.
Yes, I enjoy talking to my 90 year old dad. Though he’s old (and is really starting to slow down physically), he’s still fun and interesting. He lives in an apartment in a retirement community and so we talk a lot about what he’s involved with up there; honestly he does so much I can’t keep track: the band, the chorus, the trivia team, bridge games, a few volunteer groups, the shuffleboard team, and though he’s had to stop other things he’ll still go watch his friends at the bowling, tennis or putting green. He keeps me very up to date on everything that’s going on up in his community.
We also have a lot of shared interests. He no longer travels, but my in-laws have a house on the same lake that my dad grew up vacationing on so we talk a lot about that. I still go to the church that I grew up going to so we talk about what’s going on there. We are both sports fans and of the same teams.
Most of what we talk about though are my kids. He follows their activities very closely and we bring him to usually one sports game a week. We also talk about what’s going on with my siblings and nieces and nephews. My dad played soccer in college and my kids both play in high school so we talk about that. He’s very close with both of my kids (and with my nieces and nephews) so they also talk to him and visit him a lot. I really, really love that they have such a great relationship. He and my son both love Stephen King books so that’s another fun thing they talk about. My kids love their grandad so they kindly put up with hearing lots of random stories about the old days.
I usually see my dad once a week (pick him up, we all go watch a soccer game, and then he comes over for dinner and then I drive him home) and talk to him on the phone every other day (usually only 10 or so minutes). My kids see him for soccer/dinner like I do, but also either call or visit him every week or so on their own. I have 3 siblings, 2 of whom are local, and they both see him and talk to him about as often as I do.
Three things really help here: we were always a very close family, so we’ve been talking about the same things we always talked about; despite being 90 and not in great physical health he is still active and interested and interesting; he’s been a very involved grandfather and really, his biggest joy in life is his family.
I love this.
I love this too, and it makes me wistful for what “might have been” with my own sweet Dad if we hadn’t lost him at fun aged 70. Enjoy him extra for those of us who can’t enjoy our own!!!
Yes, I understand. This is pretty common.
We used to talk about what we are watching on TV/movies and recommend things to each other (we have similar tastes), how we did on WORDLE, what’s happening in the news/town/neighbors and yes…. I listen to any story they have about anything they have done/gone out to do, hoping to encourage them to stay as active as possible. I nudge about good healthy habits/follow-up with doctors. I fill in info about other family members. I usually think about ahead of time what I want to “reveal” from my personal life, if anything!
In an ideal world, I try to ask them for “advice” or “help” occasionally, since it can be really helpful for them to feel less isolated and that I still respect and value them. And yes, sometimes venting to my parents can be helpful. Not always though.
Aging is hard. Aging without near family that you are close with is hard. Yes, your life becomes very small and your concerns less … concerning (if you lucky/healthy that is!). It is often lonely. Depression is common.
Sure we all hope we will have a perfect retirement…. healthy! no financial concerns! healthy spouse/partner! great relationships with close friends and family nearby! easy to keep going out to do things you enjoy safely! travel!…. but honestly…. most of us wont have that. My parents were both severely ill or dead by retirement age. So OP… you are actually incredibly lucky, but do not realize it. You are just dealing with the “my parents are old and boring and (lonely? depressed?)”. It sounds like they are healthy and don’t have financial concerns that you have to worry about every week. You are so lucky! The fact that they have made it this far without health/financial issues means you will probably be in a similar situation when you reach their age. That is so lucky! So I know it can feel like a chore, but keep the phone calls going because one day you will be old and alone too and will wish you had been more understanding with your parents!
I appreciate this comment. I know parents can be a whole range of things but as my peers and friends start to lose their parents – my partner lost his dad this year – it’s such a reminder about how they won’t be around forever.
I would never tell someone to keep a toxic relationship even if it was family, but a run of the mill not great one when it is a parent? I’d find a way to keep a connection. I like asking my parents about stories from their childhood, about their elderly relatives I never knew, anything to get them talking about something deeper. I did storyworth with my parents last year (and I am very close with them) and I learned a TON. It was really great.
Oh, that is lovely. I hope you can make a few recordings of your parents doing their storytelling. I so regret I don’t have any recordings like this, and now they are all gone..
Agree with asking for help from them once in a while. My dad can/could do anything, or so I thought until I was well into my teens. He was a lifelong farmer with a college degree from an era when most farmers did not go to college, and is also very intelligent. I get advice from him on household stuff-most recently, what to do when my daughter’s faucet froze and how to remove a stripped screw, and share my successes: “Look-I repaired my dishwasher!” It is very much the 55 yo version of “I made all As on my report card.” He has no context if I tell him I landed a great client or untangled a tricky problem at the office, but when I tell him that removing a stripped screw makes me feel like Wonder Woman, he gets it.
Nice. I totally get it.
My dad is in his 80s. He and I have fun talking about family history/genealogy. I’m on ancestry so I often have new things to tell him about. I traced our paternal family name back 400 years and he was very interested in that. Also, we’re both in the same profession so he likes hearing anything and everything related to my job, current projects, etc.
I vascillate between the two. I talk to my mom most days – she is in my city and a very involved grandma – but sometimes struggle to connect over things that aren’t my kid. I’ve discovered that asking her questions helps a lot though. As I’m older I have so much more interest in what my grandparents were like or I find myself curious about her career or her siblings. We are immigrants and my mom talks to her family a lot but doesn’t get to go back often, and she really loves telling me about her life growing up or what my cousins are up to in our old home. I even made her drink wine with me last week and after a glass she spilled a family secret (nothing too scandalous and nothing tragic but my mom is very proper and doesn’t gossip) and I honestly think it was such a great moment in our grown up relationship.
to add : my mom’s been out of her professional field for 30+ years, but I still ask her to explain stuff I’ve read about in the news (helps that I’m not in the same field, so she genuinely is an expert to me :). I usually learn something interesting, and I think she enjoys the chance to be the intellectual technical expert, which no longer happens much in her life.
Other things we talk about : local politics, their bird feeder, tech problems she’s having, gossip about my siblings, where would you go if you could go anywhere :) (we both love traveling), random chatter chatter from my life (she really loves stories where I come out favorably against the office Tradwick), local politics from my hometown
In a conventional sense, I guess my life is “more interesting” but to be honest, I actually find it really genuinely fascinating to hear from my mom what’s important to her, and how that evolves over adding. For example, she always imagined a wild nomad retirement, moving every 6 months, and she says that’s simply no longer appealing — it really is appealing to her to have roots in town, and have strong opinions about financing for the local park system! (and still travel but not give up the sense of having a homebase). And that’s totally different from my own life experience right now, and just super interesting to me on that front.
I think it’s ok if you’re feeling more the obligation side of things though. I can’t quite figure out the right words for this, but there’s something really good about being able to do something for another that’s not “fun”/reciprocal in an immediate sense, but is part of such a long-standing relationship that it’s ok that it’s imbalanced for a while. for what it’s worth, I have a sibling with a serious, terminal illness, along the lines of ALS, and the last few years of their life have been really hard. They were really sad and angry (understandable!) and desperately wanted someone to explain why this all was happening and I just did not have that answer, couldn’t do anything but be present for the pain. And sometimes, I did make those phone calls out of obligation, and I can empathize with the feeling of just not wanting to do it — but I’ll never regret having made a single one.
I talk to my 90 year old father nightly. He lives alone and I just want to make sure he’s okay. I live alone and he wants to make sure I’m okay. Sometimes we have far-reaching conversations, usually it’s just a how was your day sort of conversation, and sometimes it’s a brief “you still vertical, yep, me too”.
Been craving pizza all week. Any favorite recipes? Planning to buy dough from Whole Foods but could use recommendations on toppings!
Figs, proscuitto, arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic is a favorite! I also usually order a veggie lovers (mushrooms, onions, green peppers, olives) when I’m out because nobody else in my family likes those on a pizza but me :)
BBQ sauce, manchego cheese, cooked chicken, sauteed red onions. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro once it’s out of the oven if you’re a cliantro-liker.
Ooh, we do something similar – usually Monterey jack and both red and green onions. Sometimes black beans, too.
Basil, bacon, big dollops of ricotta and a drizzle of hot honey. Red onions if you like them.
My fave lately is pepperoni, pickled jalapenos and a light drizzle of honey after baking!
Live in a high rise in Arlington Va and feeling VERY cooped up in my apartment lately. Any suggestions for where to go to get some outdoor time and sunshine? Wanted to have a few places in mind as we are hitting that part of Jan where we are bound to get some random 60 degree day and I’d love to take a day off and just be out. I do walk in my area but the streets of Clarendon as everyone runs in and out of places with coffee isn’t what I had in mind, plus you don’t always get sunshine depending on the height of buildings around you.
I know there are parks in the area, but I find the ones right near me to be empty in a creepy sort of way – I think Bon Air park is one that comes to mind? I’m guessing it’s because kids are at school and retirees who walk in parks maybe do so first thing in the morning, so if you randomly show up any other time it is bound to be empty and you feel like it’s very obvious that yours is the only car there. Is Great Falls worth it? Are the botanical gardens in DC an outdoor thing – as opposed to say green houses? There was a botanical garden in Richmond that I loved but that would be more of when I’m in a road trip type of mood. Not looking for a place to be packed or anything but just a reasonable weekday crowd.
I think the Billy Goat trail is fun if you’re up for a bit of a scramble. I would also recommend the National Arboretum. If you’re in a road trip mood, I would take a day trip to Shenandoah or to a town along the Chesapeake. I also love Harper’s Ferry for hiking!
Friend, I got you – if you have a car there are many many many many places to go!
Great Falls – absolutely worth it. Virginia side has the easier trails but better overlooks in my opinion. Maryland side has the harder Billy Goat A trail, but also has the flat canal towpaths if you’re not up to a bit of rock scrambling.
Huntley Meadows park
Riverbend Potomac Park
Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
National Arboretum for the largest botanical garden & park in the area.
Meadowlark Garden in Vienna, VA and Brookside Garden in Wheaton, MD are the other two regional larger botanical gardens in the area, primarily outside with some indoor areas.
Kenilworth Aquatic Garden in DC, peak time is in the late summer for the lily and lotus blooms but a nice walk other times of the year too.
Theodore Roosevelt Island is also accessible from the Metro, and is just off the mount vernon trail
Thank you so much! I’m in the exact same situation as OP and I’m also new here… I just screenshot this.
I’m glad you found it useful! I luuuurrve giving garden/park recs in the area – I’ve lived in the DMV area for about 20 years now (wow can’t believe college was that long ago), with most of the time in Maryland but a few years across the river in NoVA too. I *still* keep finding more and more outdoor places around here to walk and hike every year and it never gets old, though I have a few favorites.
Why not go into DC and walk through the zoo? I used to go once a winter on an unusually nice day; it’s an excellent place to wander in the sunshine.
I loved Zachary Taylor Park as a kid. Great hiking trail that crosses over a creek in places, plus you can hike all the way to the Potomac. You can park and start hiking at various spots along the trail, as it intersects with roads a few times.
anon a mouse
Roosevelt Island is perfect for what you want, and close by. You also could cross the river and walk along the C&O towpath starting in Georgetown for as long as you can. We like Windy Run (Arlington) and Turkey Run (off the GW Parkway) for afternoons when we want to be outside for 2-3 hours.
Look into the Potomac Heritage Trail — it connects several smaller parks along the Potomac, including the two I mentioned above, Donaldson Run, Fort CF Smith, and others. If you want to explore other places near-ish, I’d recommend Fountainhead Regional Park (Fairfax) and Catoctin Mountain (Frederick County Md.)
Get your miles in
Arlington has tons of parks and trails! (https://www.walkarlington.com/tag/trail-walk/). Get on Custis Loop and walk over to the connection with W&OD. Or go the other way and hop on the Mt. Vernon trail. I’m near Shirlington, so I have walks to the west on W&OD, walks to the east/south on 4 Mile Run/Mt. Vernon, an urban walk through Crystal City that goes up to the aquatics center, and those are just the ones off the top of my head. If you’re willing to drive/Metro/bus somewhere to serve as a stopping point, there are many more options.
What’s the urban walk through Crystal City called? I just moved there
Long bridge park!
I walk long bridge almost every day! great way to get those steps in and just zone out
The GW Parkway south of Old Town to Mount Vernon has a wide, paved trail that follows the Potomac. (It’s only local, residential traffic and whatever history buffs are on their way to MV at this end of the GW, so it’s not like you’re on 95.) Very safe – lots of people out running, walking, biking, walking their dogs – but the trail is never crowded. There are pull-offs every so often with a few parking spots. I live close by and so enjoy the days I walk along the river!
Starting a side business I guess!
For a few years now I have been decorating my home and helping friends decorate theirs. Recently, a friend of a friend asked me for help decorating her house and insisted on paying me. To put a long story short, since having a baby, I have drastically changed work/career and am thrilled to be doing this “for real.” In Illinois I can call myself either a decorator or a designer — just not a registered designer. It will just be one or two clients for now and I will take it at my own pace, but I think I should set up some legal entity to make this legit, right? An LLC I suppose? I believe to work with trade-only providers that I need some sales tax certificate but I am not sure how the logistics of that work. Does anyone have a recommendation for a small Chicago attorney that can help me set up what I need to? Has anyone set up a small business like this before? Do I need to be proficient with Quicken or just be good about tracking invoices — and I guess paying the sales tax? Still not quite sure how that sales tax thing works! Any advice or recommendations? I don’t have expectations to be making big money with this right now; it’s more something I enjoy doing and want to make it legit so we don’t get audited for not paying taxes haha.
Actual interior designer here (the registered kind.) You need an LLC. Errors & Omissions insurance plus liability if you will be doing any sort of construction-type projects (like planning or supervising a bathroom reno.) Once you have a business set up, you can apply for a sales tax exemption certificate. I had a quick-books type I got for free- give it an internet search. I would love it if you called yourself a decorator because the difference between decorator and designer is about as big as between paralegal and attorney, but that is your choice.
Here’s a burner email if you’d like to chat more! firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m self employed as a consultant. I have a sole proprietor LLC. I could have set up as an S corp but that really has more to do with deferring taxes and in my personal situation it doesn’t make that much of a difference for the amount of hassle it would add.
You should definitely buy professional liability insurance in case anyone tries to sue you. I also buy a very inexpensive commercial general liability policy just in case anyone who visits my home office might sue me, even though I’ve never once had anyone meet me there.
Don’t forget that you can set up a self employed IRA and you can contribute a % of your income to it every year. I do the calculation quarterly and send it in. Talk to an accountant about how much you can contribute.
Speaking of quarterly, you’ll also need to remember to pay quarterly estimated federal income taxes.
I use quick books self employed to issue invoices for my services and keep track of expenses for tax purposes.
Oh one more thing to add. Establish a separate bank account and credit card for your business so you can keep everything walled off from your business. It’s much, much easier to keep track of business expenses this way – I have my business account linked to quick books so it’s super easy, I just have to categorize each transaction, and you can set up rules to automatically categorize after the first round.
When I take income from my business I just make a transfer to my personal account and mark it as personal. I don’t do any personal spending transactions on my business accounts. It’s much easier to keep the accounting straight this way.
Accountant here, please use Quickbooks. I’m not even sure they’re still updating Quicken.
Quicken has gone the annual subscription route (yuck). I’m a small business accountant, and I strongly recommend QB over Quicken. QB’s annual subscription for the desktop version is much cheaper than the online version, with really great reporting features and way more capacity for the total number of customers/vendors/categories you can have.
I had an artistic side business for years and I think an LLC is absolutely unnecessary and a big headache. I paid taxes under my own SSN, did good accounting and had insurance for the kind of work I was doing. That covered the liability risks just fine. You may want to get a business license too (I never bothered and it never mattered).
I’ve recommended LLC Beginner’s Guide 2023 by Thomas Newton. There’s also NOLO’s Quick LLC.
I took out $4,000 from my 401k to pay for emergency car repairs and medical bills. I feel like such a failure at adulting that I didn’t have the funds to deal with these things, not to mention the stigma about touching your 401k. It’s causing me to take a deeper look at my budget so I can start saving an emergency fund, but the shame that touched my retirement is hard to shake.
We cashed out our first 401k, paid the penalty and everything, because our roof died a spectacular death when we were young and broke newlyweds and had no other realistic option. It was not fun, but also meant we fixed our home without going into more debt that we didn’t qualify for and couldn’t afford.
It took a long time, but we are in a much more secure place, have built back our retirement accounts far beyond that point, and it’s fine. Nothing to be ashamed about.
Please give yourself grace. Four thousand dollars is a lot of money – it’s what my C-section cost after insurance paid and I got on a zero interest payment plan. You have the 401k to borrow against; only 41% of American workers can say the same. Median balance? $30k. You are not a failure for this! Many people would be hauling out credit cards or even selling the car.
Two thoughts for perspective:
1) It’s extremely common for Americans not to have much of a financial cushion. This community is very skewed toward higher earners/savers, but in the rest of the population you are more the norm. Granted I have no idea what your income is, but…
2) I have some very well-off members of my extended family who have dipped into their retirement funds without shame. None of my business specifically why they did it, but this tells me it’s even more common than I had thought, including among people you’d never suspect.
Just set about planning for an emergency fund and don’t beat yourself up.
It happens … give yourself credit that you had money in your 401(k) to help you through a patch when you needed it! I don’t know if you did a withdrawal (with taxes, etc.) but many plans will let you take out a loan … you pay yourself the interest, and payments can be auto deducted from your paycheck. If you separate from the company, you often have to pay it back right away, but it’s a decent option.
Has anyone been diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia despite having a normal-ish blood panel for B12 at first glance? Do you know which additional data points were needed to be diagnosed? I am getting increasingly fatigued, breathless, and increasingly have concentration problems and pins and needles. MCHC is borderline normal (but on the very high end of normal) and ferretin, thyroid, liver, kidney function tests came back fine. B12 came back very high in the past despite not being on supplements, but I’ve heard false highs or normal readings are not uncommon.
I’ve had an H Pylori infection for 20+ years and extensive Intestinal Metaplasia so I’m suspecting I might need to ask for Intrinsic Factor antibodies testing, but asking in case the Hive has any personal experience with this that they might be able to share. TIA
I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia despite normal-to-high serum B12. Anti-intrinsic factor antibodies, anti-parietal cell antibodies, MMA, and homocysteine are other tests my doctor did. I don’t remember the endoscopic tests my doctor did, but somehow the endoscopy did confirm hypochlorhydria as well.
“Trying B12 shots to see if they work” is also legitimate test when prior tests are inconclusive! We know none of the tests available today are as sensitive as the old nuclear medicine test we used to have.
I forgot to mention that I also had a skin punch biopsy done for small fiber neuropathy. If you actually don’t have pernicious anemia and the pins and needles continue, a neurologist will probably order the biopsy to investigate the paresthesia at some point. I remember they tested me for Celiac and Sjogren’s and FGFR3 and TS-HDS antibodies when investigating the small fiber neuropathy, as well as some genetic conditions, but when B12 shots completely cured all my symptoms, it wasn’t as big of a mystery anymore what the neuropathy was from.
Your B12 shouldn’t be high if you aren’t on supplements. That needs to be repeated, and if still high, you needs someone to figure out WHY, as that might explain your symptoms.
I’d start there.
My B12 was in the dumps level wise, so I can’t help you there, but I can echo what the poster above said about B12 shots being a legitimate “test.” But do ask for the intrinsic factor test. It took my medical provider YEARS of effing about with supplements and shots and on and off B12 panel testing before they tested for pernicious anemia via IF test. i knew nothing about PA so I didn’t have the wherewithal to do any of my own research and push for it. I give myself B12 shots now and it’s all good!
*Sees hot guy in elevator of my building, we both get off on parking garage level*
*Driving behind him to exit building, I see he has the yellow “don’t tread on me” snake license plate*
I hate seeing them, but thanks, Virginia, for making it easier to weed ‘em out I guess??
Comments like this make it obvious why so many on this site end up dealing with losers.
If you want a beta boy, they’ll act like on in other ways too.
Harsh but not inaccurate. It actually started its 21st century life as a Tea Party symbol. Virginia approved the plates in the 2011 legislative session, and they proved to be quite popular.
Nope, accurate. Read carefully.
The Gadsden flag is racist? People has sued against it for the implication of racial discrimination and won. I don’t know how ruling out racists makes you a loser.
Also, wtf are you talking about with ‘beta boys.’ Please go to a man-o-sphere subreddit where you belong.
Many racists are also police officers whoi fly the blue line flag. The tread on my symbol is not racist just because many who are drawn to it are. Stop it.
Even if the flag wasn’t racist, as you say, it’s still been adopted by the “muh freedom” crowd which I would not want to date.
So don’t date him. There is plenty of racism in this country but let’s not make it up based on a flag. So weird.
How is avoiding racists looking for losers? Seek help.
Are you saying all non-libertarians are losers? I’m confused.
Yikes on bikes!
Lol who wants to bet that many of the angry, won’t help around the house/with kids, refuses to get therapy, silent treatment giving husbands that women on this board have divorced meet this commenter’s definition of “non-beta”
No step on snek
I can’t imagine having so little to do in life that I decided to tr0ll a women’s workwear blog. Pathetic.
A… beta… boy…. I didn’t know incels read here!
I know. Troll tries for a take down, and we’re just eye rolling instead of … what? … being out in our place? Cringing because we don’t have some self proclaimed alpha male beside us? Rolling in the floor laughing my effing a$$ off because my phone just autocorrected “alpha male” to “aloha kale”.
Spoiler: It’s the last one.
Ew, gross. I’m so sorry you hate yourself so much that you think being with a misogynistic conspiracy theorist is some kind of win. I hope you can work on that at some point.
He could be military, it’s been a military thing longer than it’s been a tea party thing.
This is such a weird reason to rule someone out, and I am a staunch liberal. Talk about judging a book by its cover.
If the cover had the Confederate flag on it and the title of the book was pro-Confederate flag, would it be okay to rule it out? People are allowed to have standards that are different from yours.
Is this the only thing it ever means though? I feel like it wasn’t that long ago it meant something like “I like how the liquor is cheaper in New Hampshire.” Maybe still a red flag but not exactly a confederate one.
It’s a completely valid reason. Differing political opinions is a dating dealbreaker for a lot of people.
It hit me this week that I am ‘workplace mentor’ (office mom) to at least 3 people and it is SO WEIRD to be the one being asked for advice. And then I realize I’m in my 40’s, I’ve got 20 years work experience, dealt with discriminatory/gross bosses, worked full time through the daycare/elementary school years and survived the pandemic with my sanity (mostly) intact.
I’ll also shout out the value of cross-generational work friends – I deeply, deeply cherish the women 10+ years older who told me to just keep swimming when I was in the thick of the kid germs, who counseled me on switching jobs and dealing with tough bosses, and who I still turn to on a regular basis for their wisdom. I am honored to step into that role and hope I can do justice to the grace and wisdom I benefited from both virtually here (thanks all!) and IRL.
I love this, and have had the same feeling. Clinical interns were coming to me with questions, and expressing that my answers were very helpful to their development, and I was like “…really? me?”
Well, yes. I’m 41 and I’ve been at this a while. I am an appropriate person to take questions! I just hadn’t thought of myself that way.
I remember being in my mid 20s talking about my friend’s baby shower and my friends were like you have a friend who has a baby?! And I had to explain that it was a work friend who is 10 years older than I am. She’s been a great mentor and friend, but it was funny because my friends were in very different careers and couldn’t fathom a friend that much older or more senior
I loved being the young graduate student in a lab/room with all women senior post-docs. They took me under their wing and enjoyed my naive enthusiasm and energy, and I loved getting their advice and hearing their stories about surviving and thriving in a male dominated career. They are still very dear to me and helped my career so much.
And one of my most precious friendships right now is with an amazing woman in her 90’s!
Some of my best work friendships have been with people who were 20+ years older than me. Now that I’m in my early 40s, I really hope I can be that person that younger women feel comfortable going to.
Heck, Anne-on, *I* think of you as a workplace mentor! Thanks for passing it all on.
This is so lovely!
I wished so much for someone like you when I was younger. No one exactly like that ever materialized, but I did slowly build similar relationships with a variety of unlikely characters. Women younger than me and junior to me but with more experience in our industry who saw my inept sincerity and were willing to share their power-user skills. Men my dad’s age who recognized I had valuable job skills that were hard to find AND that really appreciated hearing about their niche nerdy weekend hobby, so they included me in socializing with what was previously a pale, stale, male group (and have since welcomed a much more diverse and vibrant crowd to join). The many semi-retired admins from my grandma’s generation who helped me determine which crap was worth fighting against to be taken seriously and what did not merit my attention. My best work BFF, a man my own age who was at a very different level in the hierarchy when we first met but who realized I was capable of so much more and not only helped me learn the unspoken expectations and navigate the often messy politics of our workplace, but also championed me to higher ups every chance he got and continues to coach me and be my sounding board to this day, even though we are in different places now.
Now that I am mid-career, I find I’m the one forming these unlikely connections. The young new dad who can barely stay awake because of sleep training difficulties comes to me when he needs to hear things do get better. The department head looking at his pending retirement takes comfort in knowing that I understand the reasons behind key decisions and am able to effectively communicate those to the upcoming leadership. My favorite is when the interns who are so delightfully naive, full of gloriously ridiculous questions, realize my door is indeed always open and that I take them seriously, won’t laugh at them, and will usually give them a little tidbit of harmless but juicy gossip about their boss’s awful karaoke skills. Watching them graduate, move on to real jobs, and hearing about their progression is so incredibly rewarding.
Yes, I remember when I went from asking the questions to answering them. It is an awesome feeling. I am afraid some of this will be lost for the young women who are beginning their careers in a remote capacity. I already have a strong network so I am happy at home.
If you’ve ever been to the Mayo Clinic (MN), I’d be curious to know where you stayed and if you recommend it. I’m going up there in late March for a second opinion and will be at Mayo for two full days of testing. It’ll be a three night stay, total, for me and my husband, and we have no physical restrictions. I want the hotel or place we stay to not suck (clean, comfortable, cozy) but it doesn’t need to be the Four Seasons. Thanks in advance.
It’s been over a decade since I was there so no specific hotel recommendations, but I went in February and stayed at a hotel that was connected to Mayo which was key! My testing was quite spaced out during the day so it was nice to be able to walk back to my hotel during the gaps instead of having to take the shuttle, go outside, etc.
Kahler hotel or the Marriott. I grew up there but have not lived there in years. Good luck- please update us on how it goes! They do a great job of coordinating appointments, etc and I hope they can give you the help you need!
Any of the hotels in the downtown area are good, but I think the Kahler Grand Hotel is the nicest/priciest. There are several in different price ranges connected to the clinic by skyway. Mayo also has valet parking, so you can stay further out and drive in if you want. There are several good restaurants in the area; my parents loved Pescara when they were down there for my mom’s appointments.
Hi – welcome to my lovely hometown. The new Hilton or the Kahler will work just fine. They both have shuttles, skyways, and/or outdoor walkable access to the main downtown buildings. Late March could be forty below forty above, or forty inches of snow. But if you stay at the Hilton or Kahler you won’t need to worry about it. Chesters, Terza, and Forager are about the best food we have to offer here. Mother Mayo has a concierge service if you need anything else. If you fly into the local airport there is a downtown shuttle. if you fly to MSP, there is a local shuttle/commuter van. On the local subreddit this question is answered at least once a week, if not more. You will find much more advice there. Safe travels!
Get something connected to the clinic by underground tunnel. The tunnel system is extensive and the “clinic” is like 4 buildings all connected. You can arrive, park, and not touch your car again the whole time. Just use the tunnel system and most of the best restaurants and some extensive shopping is all right there for you. If you have some free time I really enjoyed the art tour and architecture tours they lead. I agree with the Kahler or Marriott other of which are connected to the clinic. I highly recommend Thai Pop, Pescara, and Cafe Steam.
Oh so anon
I was there over a decade ago and stayed in one of the hotels attached via the walkways. I would recommend the clinic to anyone – they (literally!) saved my life.
I’d like to learn how to use Excel. Are there any free tutorials that are good for beginners?
It probably won’t be free unless your employer has some sort of arrangement, but every college and university has a course with a name like “Spreadsheets for Business”. It took me from knowing the basics to getting really good with Excel and I use (and expand on) stuff I learned in that class every single day. I did it online.
For me, being enrolled in a class that cost money and I received a grade for kept me accountable in a way that free online tutorials don’t. I do use online resources when I’m stuck on a particularly gnarly issue, but for gaining initial proficiency, I recommend the class.
There may be classes on LinkedIn Learning, which a lot of companies subscribe to. You could also check Kahn Academy. Microsoft may offer some online classes too.
Search YouTube for some specific functions of tasks, like make a histogram. There are lots of great tutorials there, but you need to have a sense of what you’d like to accomplish.
Pardon my vagueness here… tldr: should I give my current service provider (who I like but can be sporadic and unresponsive) a chance to make our services more routine at ~40X our current business – or should I go with a similar expert who already offers the routine service, as recommended by a friend? Or do a bigger survey of field of this kind of survey providers?
I own my own business and sometimes pay a skilled third party (A) for a service; she’s freelance and doesn’t have an assistant afaik. I really like A but our correspondence is very sporadic, and she isn’t always responsive. I don’t really know if she’s doing a good job or not because this isn’t my area of expertise. I’m not great at staying on top of/nagging these kinds of providers; I’m also not great at implementing her suggestions. Last year I paid her $500.
A friend with a similar business told me she pays a similar service provider (B) $20k a year for regular, routine monthly service and they do the bulk of the work. This would be great, it sounds like exactly what I need. I’d be ok with price and services; this is an important thing for my business.
My first thought was I should ask A whether she can do this stuff, what her quote would be. But then I started wondering if I’d be spinning my wheels – the other company (B) probably has the infrastructure (assistants, technology) and work flow down to a science – if A offered this she would have suggested we do it.
(It’s likely there are other similar service providers, might be lower prices and/or better, so I could also research further or ask in some business groups for further suggestions.)
Thoughts? WWYD? Include A at all?
If you are comfortable with the cost, dont bother to second guess it. I would go straight to the recommended service. There is a cost to analysis paralysis, especially if this isn’t your area of expertise.
Signed – I am trying to take on this advice for myself.
Does A do for you as a favor and has real clients paying full freight? Given the price discrepancy, her current slow response seems entirely understandable. But if she just moonlights doing this at a small scale and doesn’t otherwise do this at the 20k level for other clients, I would be very hesitant to ramp up with her as it sounds like you may have outgrown what she can support.
Does A do *this* for you…
my thoughts exactly
I’d go with the reliable provider if you’re making this a major portion of your business plan.
I know some readers here own a second home and others aspire to own a second home. Is it possible to make money off a second home by renting it out when not in use? Thinking specifically of a small house that can accommodate 4 in a rural coastal or lakeside area within two hours drive of San Francisco. I’m thinking I’d use it a handful of times a year and then rent as a vacation rental. I am pretty handy and enjoy shopping for household items and home decorating.
We rent it to offset some of the expenses but not enough to make money.
I think you need to research the specific area to see how much money similar properties bring in, if there’s seasonal peaks, etc. to evaluate whether it would actually *make* money or just offset the carrying costs. Like, are other cabins booked solid on Airbnb or is it spotty occupancy? What rates can they charge? Near me, NJ shore homes rake it in all summer, but that essentially has to cover the other 9.5 months of the year.
also, if there’s an emergency at the house, will you be able to drop everything and drive to deal with it? will you hire a property manager?
Not likely in the Bay Area. I looked into it several years ago because we love to spend a week in the Russian River area every summer. But the numbers didn’t pan out for us. We still rent every year and let someone else deal with the hassle.
My sister does it around Austin and makes money, though. It’s just that real estate is still way too expensive here in the Bay Area to make this kind of thing work.
Check the town or county limits on short term rentals. There has been a big push back against short term rentals in most resort areas and they can be heavily regulated.
We own a place in Russian River and no, you don’t make money at it. We vacation rented for about 5 years before the pandemic and it never made enough to offset the costs. We kept it anyway and use it all the time ourselves. It’s a fantastic thing to have and I highly recommend it, but wouldn’t go in thinking you can afford it with renting it. There are a lot of really reasonable cabins in the area – look at Guerneville, Forestville, Monte Rio, Occidental and even Healdsburg (some reasonable condos there) and you might be surprised that it’s very affordable without the need for renting it out.
PS – happy to talk offline as there’s a lot to know, post a burner email if you’d like
We have a family home in a touristy area of New England. We rent it out year round at a huge discount and barely cover the costs of maintaining the house. We could probably make a substantial amount of money if we rented it out summer only, but then the house would be unoccupied all winter which creates its own sets of problems. Probably less of an issue in California.
Fortunately, we have a longer term tenant in our 2d home in CA right now, or we would not have been aware of a roof leak until really serious damage had occurred. There are risks in keeping a house vacant, for sure.
Yeah keeping a house unoccupied is risky anywhere. I meant more that maybe the tourist rental season is more year round in CA than New England. In New England you can really only rent Memorial Day to Columbus Day if you’re looking to rent by the day/week.
We don’t rent our ocean front place but could easily cover it’s costs if we did. It’s rustic (not new or fancy) but in a gorgeous sailing oriented village in Eastern Canada (if you watched season 4 of, “The Sinner” it was filmed in an almost identical Nova Scotian town to ours, playing Maine). We could make $2500 or more per week. We sleep 8+ in three double bedrooms, plus a box room for one plus a pull out plus a huge sleeping loft over the barn for kids that sleeps another 8. My boss has a comparable property on a lake in Ontario and makes 25k a year renting it but they also use theirs a lot more than we do due to proximity.
Any recommendations for an every nail polish color? I don’t want something too out there but I am also tired of light pink.
Apparently, french manicures are making a comeback.
To those with ear pain in airplanes, see ear g a s. M for ear plugs that are especially for this. Hth.