I feel like talking with you, but I don’t have anything in particular to say. This is where in-person friendships work a bit better than blogging. I’d lead with “I feel like talking with you, but I don’t have anything in particular to say!,” and instead of me continuing to look at a nearly blank page on a blogging form, I’d be looking at YOU, and you’d say, “Well! I have something!” and then you’d tell me about it, and I’d sip my coffee and listen. Maybe I’d get a doughnut. TWO doughnuts.

There is no actual reason we can’t do that. I will get a coffee. Do you have anything you want to tell me about?

269 thoughts on “Chat

  1. Susan

    Yes! First, I’m working (self-employed, working out of my home) and being distracted/procrastinating, so thanks.

    I’m working on decluttering / fixing / preparing my home for sale! It’s so stressful. What will I do with all the stuff? WIll we sell the house? WIll we get enough money to pay off the mortgage and the money we borrowed to fix it? WIll the buyers find some kind of terrible defect that will keep us living in this too-big house FOREVER? What if we sell the house and then our kid decides to move back with her two cats and there’s no space in our new tiny apartment? So that’s ONE of the things that’s on my mind.

        1. Another person named Rachel

          I love this idea. My mom recently had to clean out her parent’s house and I think she is doing this subconsciously!

    1. Gwen

      Yes! We are getting ready to start getting the house ready for sale and I am about to have a nervous breakdown just thinking about it, let alone doing it! And yes, we too think no one will ever buy this place or there will be something horribly wrong and we’ll never get to leave and I just want to go…and agggghhhh!

  2. Angela

    I do, but it’s not very fun. We have terrible wildfires happening here in Northern CA, Mendocino and Sonoma counties. My family and I are safe, as is our home, but we have several families at the boys’ school whose homes have burned quite literally to the ground. I know that stuff is replaceable, and we are thankful that everyone+pets made it to safety. But my mind keeps turning and turning to…all. that. stuff. Mementos, favorite stuffed animals, snuggliest sweaters, first onesies..the list just goes on and on!

    But taking action helps, I’ve collected a few articles of my own clothing to share, and am helping to spread the word (thank you Facebook!). It is good to see our community pull together to help.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share!

    1. Swistle Post author

      It is so alarming. I saw some photos of one of the burned-down neighborhoods and it was stunning.

    2. rlbelle

      I used to think that I wouldn’t care that much – that as long as my people/pets and maybe my phone/computer made it out, I might even be a little relieved to be rid of so much *stuff*. I could start from scratch! Minimize! (This is only how I feel for myself, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to feel that way). But we’re in Orange County and the Anaheim Hills fire was close enough to a couple of friends that they had to evacuate, and all this week I’ve been looking at things and realizing how much I would miss them. Like, I recently took up a fabric-related hobby and I have collected so many adorable fabrics that I have big plans for. They’d all be gone. I was going through a pile for a garage sale give-away and I almost didn’t let go of a portable changing pad I got at my baby shower, just because I got it at my baby shower. Do not ask me why, with a sentimental streak like that, I have delusions about being able to calmly accept the complete destruction of my entire life. Some things are more than things, and my heart breaks for all the people affected by all the disasters lately.

  3. Rachel

    I asked my boss to consider recommending me for her job when she retires early next year. She didn’t say yes, but she didn’t say no, so now I feel like I need a ribbon for bravery to wear for a few days.

    1. Swistle Post author

      YES. I recommend buying a pin or bracelet or earrings or something, and calling them your Bravery Pin/Bracelet/Earrings, and then wearing them preeningly.

    2. M.Amanda

      A couple years ago I got the nerve to tell my boss, who is lovely!, that I was very disappointed with the raise I got because I felt like I’d been way underpaid for a long time and the raise didn’t even come close to making up for it. The utterly defeated look on her face nearly did me in, but I presented my research (I had charts. CHARTS, yo.) and held firm and did not throw up. I didn’t get what I wanted for a year and a half, but it stuck in her mind for a long time (because I put it there in the first place) until she was able to get me where I wanted to be. Hang in there, Rachel! And good luck!

  4. Lauren

    I grew up in Oregon, lived in Washington, and have called Los Angeles home for the last 15 years. I really like Southern California. But we can’t afford a house here, and all of California is on fire right now, and much of Oregon (and Montana) was on fire this summer. And I’m currently feeling overwhelmed with fear about climate change, earthquakes, and the financial instability of this place. I love California, and the idea of leaving makes me sad. But I’m also filled with dread (politics, hurricanes, the recent shooting in Las Vegas, nuclear war, etc. don’t help), and I don’t know where I could possibly live that would provide me some sort of feeling of security in the short and long term. I’ve read that places like Michigan will “weather” these types of disasters better than other places, but I don’t know if I have the courage to move somewhere I wouldn’t otherwise (that is no slight to those who love Michigan, I just love where I live and the community of friends I have here). I don’t know what to do.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Geography stuff is the WORST. We moved away from a climate we hated—but then moved back to be near family. I periodically question that decision. And I share your fears about all the earthquakes and hurricanes and other weather disasters: it feels like playing a very dangerous game of dodgeball.

      1. Lauren

        Yes! Geography dodgeball! Thank you for this chat. It helped. I think I might go buy myself a doughnut.

    2. Jen

      Right?! So many things to think about! You really can drive yourself nuts thinking about all of the variable variables.
      I’ve lived in 4 different countries in the last 10 years and the best advice that I was given and now give to others who are thinking of moving is that you have to decide what, in the grand pantheon of pros and cons, are the most important variables for YOU. Every place will have its up sides and down sides but even that is subjective. I know families that live in Rwanda and say that it is 100% better than where they were living in the US because of THEIR particular values and needs. I currently live in Japan so I get to live in a clean, safe place with great public transportation…but earthquakes (and now North Korean missiles) are a real threat. This is a tradeoff that works for me, but might not work for someone else AT ALL. Decide what your non-negotiables are and let the other things fall into place. My non-negotiables are good health insurance and a reliable paycheck. I can handle no electricity and no water but thinking about medical debt will keep me up at night!

    3. Shawna

      I hear you. When I was in university my then-boyfriend and I planned to move to the southwest US when he finished school (I was done a year earlier than him). We broke up and I ended up settling here in Ottawa when I was born. Partly through inertia, partly through getting a good job, partly because my parents both live in the area, and then I married a man who also was from here and whose parents were here. My ex finally made it to California a couple of years ago with his wife and 2 kids, but while I am totally jealous of the weather because I HATE winter from January to April, the idea of being in fire/earthquake/Trump/unregulated guns country just terrifies me. I may yet leave Ottawa for somewhere warmer (BC, or even southern Ontario, or heck, Costa Rica!), or become a snow bird when I retire, but I have to say that I love being close to my family (aging parents and one grandparent still), and Ottawa is beautiful and has lots going on, and the political climate is balmy here these days. I guess things have worked out okay since I’m where most of my priorities are.

  5. Another person named Rachel

    I make Halloween costumes for my family every year. This year it snowballed into making 5 adults and 3 children’s costumes. I love group costumes so we got our neighbors involved and are participating in a Halloween fun run. The Flintstones!

  6. ccr in MA

    Ooh, can I vent, please? I’m in the US, but the company I work for is based in the UK. Today I was looking for something on the company intranet–you know, the website for ALL the employees?–and was surprised to run across a page that says I have 22 vacation days this year. I mean, they TOLD me I get ten, so, that’s a big difference! I dug around and found the employee handbook, which has been updated since I started, and yes, it says that employees get 20 days of vacation, plus a day for every year they’re with the company (up to 25 days). So that would be 22, all right. Sounds great!

    But apparently that’s only if you work in the UK. Even though that’s what the intranet says, and that’s what the employee handbook says, they don’t mean it. I am so mad! I know I can’t make them give me more vacation time than they’re going to give me, but I am kicking up a fuss about them fixing what the intranet and handbook say, because that’s just wrong. It’s honestly bothering me so much today.

    1. Suzanne

      Oooooh this would make me so mad!!! WHY does it only apply to people in the UK? Are you a contractor rather than an employee (it doesn’t sound like it, but I think there’s often a differentiation between benefits for a contractor vs. an employee)? In any event, UGH!

    2. Swistle Post author

      This is maddening. MADDENING. How are you not SPONTANEOUSLY CATCHING ON FIRE?? This is so unfair!

      1. ccr in MA

        I kind of am! I am composing a blog post, though I usually don’t write much about work, but I’m just so mad! And honestly, I have heard before the people in the UK get more vacation time than we do in the US, so that wouldn’t bother me as much, but they are rubbing it in our faces! It is really impeding my desire to work, today.

        1. Shawna

          This confirms something I’ve long suspected: many countries get more vacation than people in Canada or the US. Especially the US.

          I’m in Canada, but after 18 years in my job I actually now get 25 vacation days per year, plus 2 personal days, plus 5 days of leave for family-related reasons, but I think that’s not common.

        2. Anna

          That would be the legal minimum for full-time workers in the UK; they can’t legally give less than 28 days a year (so, 22 plus the bank/public holidays). In the US I don’t think you have a law like that so they can do what they like. But I can see why it would be maddening!

  7. Suzanne

    Outside of the now-normal constant feeling of existential and immediate dread, I am trying to figure out how to convert an acquaintance into a Real Friend.

    It’s so hard to make friends as a grown up! And even once you are friendLY with someone, it seems… somehow hardER to make that final leap into friendship. Last year, I boldly put a note on an acquaintance’s car asking her out to coffee (she’d been worried she hit my door with her car, which is why I did it via note; I’d said, “No scratch at all!” first, then left my number and the “we should get coffee” message under it), and it worked. We went out to coffee many times! But I don’t know that it went really beyond that. Which is fine! She’s super and we are still friendly and if we aren’t destined to be besties, FINE. I at least tried, you know? But now I have this other person who seems so! great! and I would love to be friends with her… but I don’t know how to get there. I know you can’t force it. But… is it really this hard? Bleh.

    Do I try the coffee thing? Or… We have a friend in common, sort of. I wonder if it would be easier in a group? Maybe I see if the two of them want to go get drinks? Or maybe I try to orchestrate some sort of dinner among our families? I am overthinking it and also worrying that I may reek of friend desperation.

    1. Kate

      Making new friends is, NO LIE, the hardest part about being an adult. You are doing a good job! Coffee is great, drinks is great, dinner is great!

      1. Britni

        Making friends as an adult is legit hard/awful.
        I keep thinking it should be easier bc people are (or SHOULD BE) so much more relaxed, “live and let live”, etc. at this point but it’s not.
        I’ve gotten outright told by another woman from work “I’m not interested in doing something with someone I work with” when I asked her to hang out for an hour after work on a Thursday. Like. OUCH.

    2. Swistle Post author

      This process is on my mind right now, too! I had coffee with a new friend a few weeks ago, but we kind of invited each other (I did the actual inviting, but she teed it up for me) so now I’m not sure whose turn it is to invite, and normally I’d just think “Well, I’ll take a turn this time and if it’s two in a row that’s no big deal,” except I got seized with shyness because she turned out to be more popular/busy than I’d expected when we FIRST arranged coffee, so now I’m worried it was a GRACIOUSNESS COFFEE on her part.

      1. Jessemy

        There is a memoir about this very issue! MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche. After reading it, I have the courage to pick up new friends wherever I find them, even (most recently) our eyewear shop! It is a lot like picking up a date, isn’t it???

    3. Cara

      Oh my goodness I feel you. My husband somehow managed to do this spontaneously. He meets someone he likes, immediately suggest a social thing and if that goes well another, and they either fizzle out to just acquaintances or they turn in to friends. Despite a front row seat, I can not figure out how he does it.

      I do vote for the group thing. I have definitely had better luck with that. Something about the pre-existing friendships paving the way.

      1. Alyson

        I recently had this. Sort of. Someone i like very much (our daughters dance together) but am unsure if she likes me as much as I like her casually invited me to a concert. Like a month+ ahead of time and we talked about it at the next dance class and she was like, i’ll email you the information. And, nothing. Didn’t mention it at all after that, so, nothing for like 3 weeks. (In the meantime, I had forgotten that I told ANOTHER friend that I would go to her political meet the candidate thing because, moral support, her husband is way more extrovert – the SAME NIGHT). And, then I remembered political thing. And didn’t want to bring up concert thing (I figured if she brought it up, I’d figure it out, but what if she was trying to sneakily get out of it by neglecting to mention it? and I had this other thing and, not a huge deal. It would be fun but it wasn’t like a private show by Adele or anything). And so, I said yes to political thing. And day of, I got a concert, meet up text! And I was like, Oh, for heaven’s sake. I”m like NEVER BUSY WITH ANYTHING. But if I am, you can bet there will be two competing things. So, I had to play that one off like I forgot (because I didn’t want to be like, well, you didn’t mention it for a while, so I thought maybe I was uninvited). She was gracious about it, the kids had a play date on Monday. I went to political thing – it did not suck, which was nice, I’ll vote for the dude, except WHY IS IT MOSTLY DUDES?? (and I know this, because it’s way too much crap and yeah, I refuse to do it, so does political friend, and we’d be awesome, but DO NOT have the bandwidth). But adult friending is SO HARD.

        It makes me happy that it’s not just me. Thanks y’all!

        1. Suzanne

          It is SO AWKWARD. I always think, I am adult! Why am I making this so difficult?!? But there is something about trying to get another person to like me that reverts me to a sixth grader.

          1. Maureen

            There is so much on this comment thread I want to reply to, but I’ll start with this one! Instead of coffee, how about a lunch date? It can still be short, but it seems a bit more substantial than the “meeting for coffee” thing. I totally agree, finding friends as an adult can be very tough. But, as a 56 yr old-I would really encourage people, if they find someone they seem to connect with, do make an effort. I met one of my best friends at Weight Watchers, of all places. After a meeting she came up to me and said “I really like what you said today, do you want to go out for lunch?”-we are still friends 20 years later.

            Maybe we need to think about what we value in ourselves, and keep that in mind when we ask someone for coffee or lunch. I think how much I value all of Swistle’s commenters-I wish we all lived close to each other, and we could have a big meetup-instant friends!

    4. Ann

      Same! My youngest just went to college, and she was involved in an activity the led to lots of socialization among the moms. I’m still Facebook friends with them, and there are couple that I’m close enough to text with, but we’re not really that close geographically. . If I make an effort, I can plan a get-together occasionally with them, but will it be a graciousness happy hour? I feel left out, as their daughters are still involved in the activity, and they still have that frequent connection. I’m not sure how to make friends that aren’t parents of my kids’ friends! And now, I actually have more time to be involved with friends, but fewer connections to casual social activities. That seems unfair, somehow.

    5. Trudee

      This — making new friends as an adult — is such a great topic. I met someone in my neighbourhood and sent her a text suggesting coffee but she never responded. So now I don’t know if I try again because maybe it didn’t go through or she didn’t get it or something. Or is it that she’s not interested and hoping I’ll let it drop? I don’t want to be a pest but I don’t want to miss an opportunity when it’s there. It is a bit of a problem that I work ft and have two kids under 3. Hard to find time for friends even when there is potential. Sigh.

  8. Brooke

    I just graduated from a program and am looking for a job. I have not job hunted in quite some time. I think, Swistle, that we are just about the same age, so I know that you and some readers will understand this. Job searching is not what it used to be. I just had to Google “what to type in the subject line of an email when applying for a job”. I am competent with computers and email and everything, and thought I totally had this. And then- that blank line was just staring at me and I sort of panicked. So, the cover letter (is it even called that when it’s an email?) and my resume are now flying through the wires and satellites and space to Australia while I sit at home in Canada and wait and fret, and think of how amazing it is that I can work from here and potentially have an employer over there.

    To change the subject a bit: My oldest will turn 16 soon, so I have been reading about sending your oldest to college with great interest. Thank you for that! I really love the updates. I feel like you are doing us all such a service by telling us what we might expect and worry about. Some things I hadn’t considered, and seeing how you handle different situations helps me think of how I might handle them in the future.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Eeeeeeeee, yes, I would feel very stressed trying to job search now. The last time I looked for the kind of job that required a resume, I remember researching what kind of printer paper to use for that. Whole different world.

    2. ButtercupDC

      Brooke, have you ever checked out Ask A Manager? ( She covers this issue and so many others and I can’t stop recommending it to friends and acquaintances who are job searching. It’s been a great resource to me and even just having her huge quantities of information on hiring norms at your fingertips might be a soothing balm as you apply all over the place. Good luck!

    3. Meg

      Hi Brooke,

      I’m in Australia myself and have done quite a lot of recruitment, though I’m not an expert and am not in the recruitment field per se.

      Now that I’ve completely undersold myself, if you’d ever like someone to take a look at a resume and cover letter for some basic help, please email me at classylassy at gmail.

      Jobhunting *sucks*. I sympathise.

      1. Meg

        Just some general comments:

        – Don’t put a photo, your age, or marital status. Don’t mention if you have kids.

        – Change your resume for different kinds of jobs. I don’t mean lie! I mean if your experience is in supervising a team of administration people, and you’re going for a position that involves supervision, then talk up those parts of your resume. Emphasize those. Go into detail about how you’ve dealt with HR problems, leave requests, performance reviews.

        If your experience is in supervising a team of administration people and you’re going for a position that’s in admin, has no supervision requirements, and is in a new or restructured section. Then talk up your experience at setting up new processes, at finding ways to make things work, at being methodical about data entry and records management and so on.

        – Unless specifically told not to, in your cover letter or in a separate document, address the selection criteria one by one. So make headings for each one and talk about how you meet them. Don’t just rely on a general comment in your cover letter about how you have the required skills and experience and you enjoy this kind of work. List everything and talk about how you’re confident with it and how you’ve done it in this way in this job.

        – Try to keep your documents fairly short. 1-2 pages for a cover letter, 2-4 pages for a resume, 2-4 pages for a statement of claim against the selection criteria.

        – Make it all as obvious and clear and easy for the recruiters as possible. E.g. use page numbers, put your contact details in full on the letter, put your name, phone number (perhaps not necessary for an international job!), email address in the footer of the other documents. Anything you can to make it easy for them so if they desperately want to call you when they’re on page 3, they can. Or if they print out the documents and then drop them, it’s easy to put yours back together.

        I have more rambling about job interviews which I may put together later, whether or not anyone wants to read it hehehehehehe.

        1. Kristin H

          All excellent advice. I would add: your cover letter is your chance to sell yourself. Don’t make it boring and full of business-speak. Make it interesting and let yourself shine through. That’s the best way to catch a hiring manager’s eye, in my opinion.

  9. Kate

    I am allergic to basically everything, so I can’t really eat any baked goods unless I make them myself. This weekend I made a pumpkin pie and it was SO GOOD and I ate the entire thing (minus two slices, which I kindly Shared) over the course of three days with really delicious non-milk whipped cream and I am so delighted. It’s been at least seven years since I had pumpkin pie and it was so easy to make and so delicious and I’m probably going to make another one very soon.

      1. Kate

        Oh yes, of course! It contains eggs, so it won’t work for every food allergy situation, but it’s dairy-free, soy-free, easy, and SO good. Just be sure to use full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk (like And I love it with So Delicious Cocowhip on top (

  10. Jill

    Remember your post about the Paint by Sticker books? I left a comment about how I ordered them for my friend’s girls b/c I didn’t think my kids would be into them, but it turns out they totally are. Especially my oldest (8, boy) although my others (6, boy and 4, girl twins) all can do them mostly on their own too.
    Anyway I have found smaller sheets of them at Michaels usually 50% off so have been buying those for them but my oldest just asked if he can get his own book of them like we gave our friends for Christmas and then I found out that Target actually sells them in store.
    So thanks again for that recommendation, it was a great thing to be able to hand them and make them play quietly when they were off school yesterday.

    1. Swistle Post author

      I’m so glad! I have been gradually acquiring more books as I see good price-dips on Amazon, and I am thinking about maybe getting the 2018 wall calendar.

  11. Judith Rosa

    My country has been devastastated north to south, east to west. On top of that my people are being called lazy, stupid and ungrateful.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Oh dear, yes. Imagine me patting your hand, then sipping my coffee in sober, acknowledging silence, and then passing you a doughnut that won’t fix anything but will taste good.

      1. Judith Rosa

        A donut or five would be welcome. I don’t know about the pat, I have been trying not to cry for three weeks now and id some were to touch me with kindness I am sure Ibwould start bawling.

    2. Susan

      Oh, Judith. My worries and concerns are so much less important than yours. I would never consider your people (any people, but I think I know who your people are) any of those terrible things. And anyone who would even suggest that (again, pretty sure I know who would do such a thing) is the worst kind of vile asshat.

      1. Judith Rosa

        Swistle: A donut or five would be welcome. I don’t know about the pat, I have been trying not to cry for three weeks now and if someone were to touch me with kindness I am sure I would start bawling.

        Susan: I think you guessed who the name caller in chief is. Thank goodness most Americans are not like that.

  12. deanna

    Here’s a thing that I am worrying about… my daughter has such extreme anxiety about the dentist. She is 12 and is facing a tooth extraction and a small filling. Last time we attempted to have tooth pulled, her anxiety was so much that the dentist ended up yelling at her and she and I both left the office in tears. Laughing gas does nothing for her. Do you think I can ask her pediatrician for something – like maybe, a child sized Xanax – that she can take before her next appointment? She is not a generally anxious child – so I have a lot of fears about opening up this issue with the pediatrician.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Oh, I WOULD. I would say as close as possible to what you said here: that your daughter is not usually anxious, but that she seems to have a particular and intense fear of the dentist, and then I’d add exactly what you said about how last time the dentist ended up yelling at her and you both left in tears. That is VIVID, and SAD, and it is an excellent example for the pediatrician to use to understand that we are not talking about slight nervousness. I hope there IS something she can take.

      1. deanna

        Thank you for your kind words! It was just the encouragement I needed to email the doctor.

        And happy update! She will prescribe 2-3 valium pills – we can start with one and add another if my daughter is still anxious. Fingers crossed for a happier outcome!

    2. JenC

      Can you go to another dentist? How can a dentist yell at a patient when so many people have dental anxiety? I have the sweetest, kindest dentist, who actually hums cheerfully when he does our teeth, and my kids are totally soothed by his wonderful ways. I can’t see how yelling makes the situation better or easier to return to. If you can’t change dentist, maybe you could do some things like let her wear earphones and listen to music while he is working? Laughing gas can be incredibly disorienting and freaking feeling as well, maybe that had a part to play in the tears and misery. Not trying to tell you what to do, this just seems such a tough situation and I wanted to send some sympathy!

    3. Holly

      Deanna, consider going to another dentist. We had the same situation with one of my children and ended up switching to a pediatric dentist. They now give him “sleepy juice” which doesn’t knock him out but makes him very chill and happy. It is quite commonly used! I didnt want the hassle of changing but my husband reminded me that we would rather give our money to somebody we like and we have been happy with our new dentist for many years now, even with having to travel out of town to get to him. Good luck!

    4. Tommie

      I take my ten year old to a pediatric dentist who specializes in kids with special needs. He prescribes what I call ‘baby valium’ to her anytime she needs actual work done on her teeth, such as fillings, extractions, basically anything that is more than a simple cleaning. It helps SO much. Surely your dentist could do that for your daughter. I’m so sorry she’s so anxious and that her dentist was mean to her.

      1. Maureen

        I agree with all these comments. My daughter has extreme dental anxiety, starting when she was 2! The pediatric dentist prescribed something for her next visit, it was a liquid. We gave it to her, and it became a family joke, because the whole way to the dentist she kept singing from her carseat “where we going, where we going…” it is 24 years later, and we still break out the chant. It helped so much though. Having someone rummage around in your mouth, all the horrible sounds, how awful that would be as a 2 yr old.

        Please do think about switching dentists. The one we have now has the energy of a golden retriever. He is so reassuring, my dental phobic daughter FELL ASLEEP the last time she was there. Anyone who yells at a child is has a problem. It really isn’t a big deal to transfer records between dentists, so think about it. My new, super nice dentist? Her first appointment with him, she sobbed. She was just so worked up, and he couldn’t have been nicer and sweeter. I would ask friends, family, who is good in your area. Good luck!

        1. Anon for this

          @Deanna I would totally switch dentists. I fired my son’s dentist as my son’s dentist (I still see her because she is great and I like her for myself) because when he was like 5, she told me he was doing ***much better*** at sitting still in the chair as if I should be not just happy about but even proud of this. Now I get why she would be happy about this and really, who wants to deal with little kids’ teeth (certainly not me) but if you can think a mom should be pleased that her 5-year old (and really, he may not even have been 5) is “sitting still[er]” than he used to be able to you can, conversely, think that a mom should be upset if her 5-year old is not sitting still. And just — no. Going to the dentist is really hard for little kids (and many big adults) and the ability to cooperate with the dentist and follow instructions at that age (maybe at any age!) is luck, not moral virtue.

  13. M.Amanda

    Currently my favorite radio station is having a contest to identify each song or artist in a set of 1-2 second clips of six songs. Each time someone get it wrong, the prize goes up $50. I’m pretty sure I’ve had all six for the last 5 hours, but I can’t get through! People keep guessing and missing by one song! I’m excited that the prize keeps growing in case I do get through and get to guess, but can’t help yelling at each wrong person. It’s totally distracting me from work at a busy time. Ugh.

  14. Slim

    I am about to go visit my parents for the second time since my father started having what we seem to be calling, genteelly, “memory issues.” Dealing with difficult situations is not my mother’s greatest strength.

    I realize this is not as bad as a lot of situations, but I stopped for donuts on the way here because I am trying to be one of the helpers. So this box is raised, and this one is cake.

  15. Elizabeth

    Not much to share except that I love this open chat style post and reading from everyone. I’m so sorry for those of you facing wild fires and post-hurricane devastation.

    A current worry: I have a child in Grade 5 who doesn’t write or spell very well at all. It isn’t bad enough to have a label and she keeps up – more or less. But it makes school a tiring, no fun, slog. If you find writing a challenge it affects almost everything else in school. I worry about her future – which may be ridiculous, but there you go. Sigh.

    1. Jean

      Have you noted the teachers being concerned? My 7gr child has struggled also with writing, but the teachers have always brushed it off. Frustrating. Then this year a teacher commented to my child about it. My thought was – Now they care? Argh.
      Is your child interested in art? Maybe some printouts of different lettering styles would be interesting. I remember trying out different ways to write letters in 6th grade. Of course we were passing lots of notes to friends back then, not sure kids do that these days.

    2. Pinkiebling

      You are so right – having difficulty with writing really does affect so much! Sounds like she’s been evaluated, since you said it’s not bad enough to have a label. Has anyone at her school offered any suggestions?

    3. Carrie

      Popping in to offer some parenting solidarity. I have a 5th grade son with a learning disability label (dyslexia and dysgraphia) and even with a label, getting him the support he needs is HARD. Knowing how hard our path has been, I have often thought about the parents whose kids are doing “good enough” by the school’s standards and the challenges they must face in getting any sort of support even when their child is clearly struggling and capable of more. Then of course I go down a spiral of worry and blame: worry for my son and his future, blaming myself for not doing more or doing the “wrong” thing (in hindsight), blaming the school system, worrying about the children with similar issues in lower economic areas who don’t have parents fighting for them….. I could go on and on.

      Keep up the good fight and know that YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB! *Now imagine me giving you the mocking-jay symbol or some sort of Celine Dion fist-to-chest thump to let you know that you are not alone*

      P.s. Just in case you want some assvice (feel free to ignore); If you haven’t had a private neuro-psych evaluation done, I highly recommend doing so. It’s ridiculously expensive but the information can be sooo valuable and force your school to provide support. Sometimes insurance will cover it as an out-of-network expense so you can get some of the cost reimbursed.

    4. Kate

      There is a person I work with who used to be my boss who is universally thought of as smart and strategic and great. He can’t write at all, though, and can only spell because spell check is a thing. Sometimes he asks me to rewrite emails for him, which is how I know. This isn’t a secret, sometimes he asks other people to rewrite emails too. No one cares. We are all happy to.

      He is literally the most successful person I know. From a business perspective. He built a company and sold it twice to a larger company and has an insane amount of money and now they pay him to stick around. He had a terrific family and tons of friends. I (and many others) owe our careers to him, and not just because he hired us, but also because he promoted us and mentored us and made sure we were noticed by the people in charge.

      1. Kate

        Oh, and my sister struggled to write and spell all the way through about her sophomore year of high school, and now she has a good job, is a great writer, and is also a published poet. So it isn’t just my ex-boss.

    5. Swistle Post author

      Oh, yes, I can see how that would make everything a headache and a struggle. I hope things go better for her soon. Sometimes it seems like they try and try and try and then suddenly something just CLICKS.

    6. Jd

      I was a kid who struggled with writing and spelling. Until in 8th grade we started using computers for all of our school work – spell check! I’m still a horrible speller with atrocious handwriting but no one knows except my husband who cannot read my shopping lists. It will be better!

      1. Maureen

        One of the smartest men I’ve ever met, could not spell worth a damn. My own husband has dyslexia, and is super smart-but cannot spell. Very creative people often are bad spellers, and bad writers. I would try to emphasize her strengths, and don’t worry about her future, at all! Think about it, emails are falling by the wayside, if she can communicate by texts-she’ll do fine. Once you are in a job, spell check and auto correct are your friend.

        My own two cents, try and keep her interested in books and reading. Graphic novels are great for keeping invested, and I am a huge believer in keeping books in children’s hands. The more they are used to having and reading them, I do believe it translates into a love of books. I used to work at a bookstore, and I cringed when parent’s wouldn’t allow children to buy graphic novels. They wanted them to read more “substantial” books. My own daughter was a slow reader, got turned onto graphic novels, and is now an English major in college.

  16. Teej

    My husband and I are trying to adopt an infant in the US, and I am feeling discouraged. Mind you, it has only been three months that we have been an official “waiting family” with our agency, and the national average is two years before adoptive families bring home a baby. So by the numbers, I shouldn’t be discouraged. I shouldn’t be discouraged for 21 more months, right? But our profile has been shown to four expectant mothers, and none have chosen us, and that feels discouraging. And also I am constantly on high alert for a text or email or phone call from our agency (or directly from an expectant mother, because we also have a Facebook page that would allow them to contact us directly), and that is exhausting. Oh, my phone is ringing! Oh, it’s not a number I recognize! Could it be something about adoption?!?!! Oh, wait, no, it is a phishing call about the IRS needing to speak to me immediately. Hang up. Sob. Repeat.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Oh, that constant vibration of tension and waiting and not-knowing!! I will hope there is a baby for you WELL before the average.

  17. Emily

    Love this thread!

    Last month I attended my community league AGM (is this a thing in the US?) and informally asked if I could join the board. I was told to just show up at the next board meeting, and they would make it official. Of course the first board meeting is tonight and I’m just now thinking that I should have emailed and made my name known to more than that one person who maybe won’t even remember me and I have to awkwardly show up where I likely am not expected and announce myself and it all seems quite horrible. It seems too late to send the email now…but I’m seriously kicking myself because this did not have to be an awkward thing if I had any bit of foresight!

    1. Swistle Post author

      I hope it is the kind of thing where you show up and the person has already told everyone about you and everyone expects you and is excited to have you there, and also someone has brought doughnuts to welcome you!

      1. Emily

        It was OK! I arrived slightly awkwardly early but by the time I went to the bathroom and checked out every news bulletin posted in the hall, my contact showed up. I recognized her (relief) and she remembered me and all was well. Sadly no donuts!

  18. Catalina

    So here’s a fun story for you: I’ve read the baby names blog for a while but just moved over to this one as well in the last month or so, but I hate not knowing the backstory and the blog went back SO FAR, so I decided to start at the beginning and work my way through the present and let me tell you: reading it that way was so fun (it’d be a good book). But I’m finally caught up, which is the worst, because there’s not a constant stack of posts for me to read. *sniff*

    1. Swistle Post author

      Oh, wow, you did a LOT of reading!

      I feel that way when I go back to the beginning of a comic strip: for awhile I can read AS MUCH AS I WANT. And then suddenly I’m caught up and it’s only one strip per week and arrrgggggghhhhhh.

      1. Catalina

        Honestly when there’s THAT MUCH to read, it really does just feel like a book. It was lovely, but withdrawals are the worst. It’s like when I make the Huge Mistake of catching up on a TV show and have to watch it weekly.

        1. Trudee

          I also found this blog through the baby blog but that was a number of years ago (maybe 2009? or 2010). At the time, I did the same: started with the first post and read straight through. Last summer, I had a second baby and I was feeling, well, those post-baby feelings. What made me feel better? Starting at the beginning of Swistle’s blog and reading through again. :) Not only was it enjoyable to read (I’d forgotten a lot), but it helped to read about your experience with baby Henry while I myself was dealing with mine. Very comforting!

    2. M.Amanda

      Like finding a new show and bingeing on NetFlix until you are caught up and then… you have to wait a week between episodes? What is this insanity? And then there’s a hiatus between seasons so I have to wait months? Noooo.

  19. Tric

    My son just started 4-year-old Kindergarten (in my state it is the first year of public schooling- and it’s 2.5 hours of his all-day childcare placement), and his teacher seems like she would be much happier teaching high school kids. I keep getting reports that he is “not sitting still,” or has a hard time transitioning between activities. I want school to be a great thing for him (I’m a teacher too), but I feel like all I can do is shrug and say, “he’s four?” At first I was really anxious that something was wrong, but now it feels like she doesn’t know to give positive feedback along with negative feedback. According to other parents it seems that a lot of kids are “struggling” with these issues and that she is very frustrated with all of our kids. *Sigh*

    1. Swistle Post author

      This is so frustrating. It does sound as if this teacher is not being realistic about four-year-olds.

    2. Alison

      Hi! I’m a public school special education preschool teacher. I cannot tell you how many people do regular preschool or my job or TK (my state’s K program for fall birthdays, makes everyone be 6 before they start 1st grade) or K for a few years because they THINK it’ll be all fun and games or they really do WANT to like it and excel at it because the kids are cute and the academics are “easy.” LEMME TELL YOU HOW WRONG AND UNHAPPY THEY ARE. So wrong. So unhappy. Starting new students from scratch is insanely hard and not just-for-funsies-OMG-they-are-so-cute-and-little.

      And then there’s the teachers in any grade where they are not actually a good fit for the grade (or profession) but they are too proud/stubborn/beat down to admit it to themselves. I bet you see that in the grade(s) you teach too!

      All that to say: I’m so frustrated on your behalf and your son’s behalf. Hang in there.

  20. a/k/a Nadine

    I rode a bike to work today. Well, from the parking lot to my office, so roughly one mile, but I am not a bike person. I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike on a real road, with real cars (and trucks! and buses!) It was terrifying and I’d been fretting about it for days. But I did it! I can totally imagine you writing a highly entertaining post about this sort of thing. Also, I should really invest in a bike helmet.

    1. Swistle Post author

      My parents got interested in bike-riding lately, and so I went on a bike ride for the first time in…my goodness. Decades. At first I was so shaky! But then I remembered how to do it, and spent some time mulling unoriginally about how it REALLY WAS “just like riding a bike.”

  21. Rayne of Terror

    I have a new job. At my last law office, I would bring in every new Oreo flavor and we would all try them over the course of a day or two then we would cheerily discuss the new flavor as an office. Yesterday I brought in the new Apple Pie Oreos and no one has tried them except me, the only fat person in the office. Harrumph. I’ve also been trying to set up lunch outings to get to know my new coworkers and have only had one person say yes. Everyone else says their schedules are just too complicated to commit to lunch in two weeks, harrumph. About two days before each paycheck I freak out that I shouldn’t be here. I only see my family a couple hours at night and I spend the whole weekend doing chores to recover from and get ready for the new week. Transitioning from part time, 6 minute commute, to full time, 50 minute commute, double harrumph.

    1. a/k/a Nadine

      I would LOVE to work with you. Have you tried the new cookie butter Oreos? I was SO looking forward to them, but was disappointed. The cookie butter flavor was not strong enough. I felt it was over-powered by the actual cookie. That didn’t stop me from eating the entire package, of course (not in one day, silly!).

      1. Rayne of Terror

        I haven’t. Most of the Oreo flavors aren’t that good, so when I was between jobs I didn’t buy any. But it was so FUN to try them and compare notes with my colleagues. I just saw the Apple Pie Oreos at the grocery store and I was like YES! It’s time! Let me say, the Apple Pie Oreos are DELICIOUS. They are my favorite limited edition flavor after Key Lime Pie Oreos.

      2. Swistle Post author

        Have you guys seen the new Mystery Flavor Oreos? I brought home a pack today and we all tried them and made guesses!

    2. ccr in MA

      I don’t know how long you were at your last office, but it is so hard to transition to a new place, and I really sympathize that the things you’re trying aren’t working yet. It takes time to feel like you fit in. And going from part time to full time, of course you feel like you’re spending All This Time there and it isn’t even comfortable. Just keep telling yourself, it will be better in time. It really will.

      1. Rayne of Terror

        I was at the last office 5 years and I’ve been at this office 9 weeks. My last office had 5 people in the space that just the receptionist area takes up here, so physically we were closer during the day and it was easier to chit chat. There are only 9 people here in what I would guess is 2,000+ sq ft.

        1. teen!

          I’m the complete opposite!
          2,000+ sq ft. / 9 humans sounds divine!

          *my current situation is desk sharing alternate weeks – oh how I LOATHE it

          1. Rayne of Terror

            My husband works in a cube farm and he does NOT WANT TO HEAR IT, when I say it’s too quiet at work. I sympathize, he did the no personal cube thing for awhile, everyone just working at long tables together and it was horrible.

        2. Corinne Brzeski

          9 weeks isn’t long enough to make friends. You sound delightful and in 6 months you’ll barely remember the old place. Hang in there and keep bringing cookies.

        3. M.Amanda

          You could be right on the mark. I recently read an article about telecommuting that talked about office layouts and how proximity really affects communication. It was thought the ability to IM would keep communication flowing even when office mates were moved farther apart, both those working from home and those whose cubicles were located at opposite sides of a space. It didn’t. They found that people kept talking (both verbally and through IM) to those who were physically seated closest to them and began speaking less with those who weren’t within earshot.

    3. Chris

      I empathize so much with this! Last year I took a job in a huge corporate office and have really struggled to make friends. I am a chatty, friendly person and had a great group of coworkers before, for the most part. Here, the silence (part of the day) and explicit exclusion (the other half of the day) are killing me!

    4. M.Amanda

      The tasting sounds so fun! It sounds like they need you like a breath of fresh air. Can’t stay cooped up going crazy with constant work.

      Have you tried all the Lays chip flavors? The fried green tomato was surprisingly yummy.

    5. Swistle Post author

      OH NO. All of these things are nerve-wracking, but an office that DOESN’T TRY THE WEIRD OREO FLAVORS?? What is going on?? Is it possible they are all just very good AIs? Have you seen any of them eat anything of any kind? Do they ever seem to GLITCH in any way?—little electric sparks near joints, eyes going static and then back to normal, etc.?

  22. Krista

    Chiming in to thank you for sharing your Rob-goes-off-to-college journey with us. We recently dropped our oldest daughter off at college (quarter system), which wasn’t too bad for me b/c I knew I’d be in the area again for work this past week. But now that visit time is over, and I had to drive away from her for real last night and I was so sad and sniffling in the car and it doesn’t feel like I can sob much to my friends about it because either A) Their kids are still in ‘regular’ school or B) They shipped their college student off weeks or (almost) months ago and are over it or at least certainly don’t need to be retriggered by my sadness. ANYWAY, your post yesterday made me tear up (but in a good way) because I could think YES, someone understands the whole confusing thing about being happy for your child and utterly sad that they are making their own way in life now and the family memories being made now don’t include her. So… thank you.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Isn’t the whole thing so WEIRD? Every so often I get a little stunned by it. Whole MONTHS go by and we just don’t see them at all! These people we used to see MANY TIMES PER DAY.

  23. Auntie G

    I cannot get ahead of my current cycle of migraines/back pain/OMG is this just getting old because F*CK THIS SH*T…can’t really tell if this is just fall, the midwestern season of huge and sudden weather changes wreaking havoc, or legit life stresses because…everything, or perimenopausal rage and running out of f*cks to give…but it also feels stupid to go to the doctor or clinic because “my head hurts.” Meanwhile I am keeping Advil in business. And crabby. And sleeping poorly. And drinking bourbon. *sigh* AND ALSO I STILL HAVE A HOUSE AND A JOB AND A FAMILY WHILE THE WORLD BURNS AND DROWNS AROUND ME.

    Imma need a few of those donuts, is what I’m saying. Love your blog.

    1. Swistle Post author

      I have been wondering similar things. Jaw pain, restless dreams, feeling creaky, having a VERY LOW rage-ignition point, wanting to eat allllll the pizza and ice cream—is it perimenopause? the state of the world? leaf mold? Rob going to college?

      1. Auntie G

        Again, I’m THRILLED I have healthcare options to explore, believe me…but previous experience with frustrating/hard to diagnose health issues has me already assuming I know how the conversation will go, regardless of the age or gender of my doctor: hey, you’re very stressed and that’s causing all of this. So reduce your stress! HAI WHAT DO YOU THINK EVERY WAKING MOMENT OF MY LIFE IS CONSUMED WITH NOW?! HOW TO COPE HOW TO COPE HOW TO COPE … what are you suggesting? Winning the lottery?! Waking up from a nightmare that’s lasted almost a year?! And we are back to rage, so. I take my Advil and carry on. *raises coffee cup in solidarity*

  24. rebeccaeee

    Well, I live in Las Vegas so its all been shooter shooter guns guns for a week and quite frankly, I could use coffee and a doughnut and some cute kitten videos. Consider this my excuse to now waste an hour at work scouring for just that. Any recommendations?

  25. Amy

    I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 3 months ago. Being in my late 30s, old for being diagnosed, right now it pretty much acts like Type 2 in that I need to watch my diet (limit my carbohydrate intake) and exercise really helps keep my blood sugar down. Also, I’m only giving myself 1 shot per day so far (but really, they are no big deal and I barely feel them, though they do bruise on occasion). And pricking my fingers to check my levels multiple times per day. Not fun, but has become routine.
    Benefit = thinner (lower carb diets do work!)
    Disadvantages = 1. ALWAYS hungry and NEVER feel full! Though I have discovered some very good low-carb recipes for snacks.
    2. I am even more obsessed with food now than I was before
    3. A 2 inch by 2 inch donut is 1 portion of donut, apparently (I saw a nutritionist). I assume this measurement is similar for Swistle’s Chocolate Mint Brownies as well. :( :( :( :(
    Does anyone make low-carb donuts? They probably wouldn’t be very good, so I guess not. Have some donuts for me, please!!!

    1. Swistle Post author

      UG, that is ridiculous, we ALL know “1 portion of doughnut” is, and it is TWO DOUGHNUTS.

    2. Bea

      I have type one too!
      I distinctly remember the gnawing hunger pains of those first few weeks! I was always just counting down till my next scheduled meal. It was terrible. In more uplifting news, it gets much much better, and soon you will understand it more and get taken off the limited diet and figure out how much to shoot up for two donuts and all will be right again in the world.

      1. Amy

        I am definitely looking forward to more shots, which is an odd thing to look forward to. If it means more donuts, I am definitely on board. Thanks!

  26. ButtercupDC

    I have a chronic condition I manage with a pretty strong medication. Last week, I had a flare up of sorts, and it was painful and disruptive and required me to spend a week away from work. I talked it over with my doctor, who is encouraging me to pursue a different treatment regimen for my chronic condition. The new treatment has a list of side effects I find terrifying. But if I’m having a flare up of related symptoms, am I doing myself a disservice by choosing not to pursue this treatment? What will ultimately be the best course of action? I could have ZERO side effects, or I could have ALL the side effects.

    The condition is genetic. My Dad is in remission, so I know this likely won’t go on forever. But should I really tough it out for 25 more years? Blurg. Pass me a donut. Blueberry cake, please.

    1. Meg

      Oh my gosh that sounds awful.

      Can you try the new treatment regimen for a short time and then drop it if the side effects make it worse? Or is it one of those things where you really have to be on it for months and months and only taper off gradually if you’re going to stop it? I’m sure you’ve thought of this already…

    2. Swistle Post author

      Every time Edward changes treatment for his Crohn’s Disease, I have a fresh flurry of worry and concern. I think a lot of it is because of the information sheets that come with new prescription medications. My goodness. It’s like the papers you have to sign before having a tooth pulled, where they warn you that of course this procedure could result in permanent injury and/or death, please sign here to say you don’t mind.

      1. ButtercupDC

        Yes! The two most concerning were: (1) you may have to be hospitalized to treat severe infection on occasion and (2) lymphoma. ?!?!??????!!!!!! Can you give me an over-under on these things happening? I feel like it’s hard to know if it’s worth trying when I *generally* feel like my condition is well-managed. It makes you wonder about the whole FDA process. Thanks for the empathy, y’all. And big hugs to Edward.

        1. Swistle Post author

          I can’t remember the wording, but one of Edward’s recent medications included the risk of something along the lines of “rapid death.” I looked at that and wondered if someone might be messing with me. And it was listed in a list of normal things. Like, “nausea, headaches, sudden rapid unavoidable death.” YES, like, “TELL ME THE ODDS, PLEASE, BECAUSE THIS IS A LITTLE IMPORTANT.”

  27. Mommyattorney

    I needed this thread. We are in the process of moving from one corner of the country to the other. DH has already moved and I’m mad about all that he left me to handle (packers and movers and inventories and cleaners) and pre-mad that even though he is there and supposedly will have time to unpack, I know he will either put things in the wrong place or not a tally unpack and leave it all to me. And I don’t have a job there yet. And stress. And I was trying to eat low-carb, but I just can’t right now. I need doughnuts.

    1. Swistle Post author

      This sounds so frustrating and overwhelming. I think you’re right: this is no time for low-carb on top of everything else that’s going on.

  28. Ginny

    Ooh, I have one! My partner have just made the Very Big Decision to try IVF. Our doctor is very optimistic about the odds (our infertility is a His Stuff problem) and so I am hopeful that after years of sadness and struggle and hoping we will soon have a pregnancy! And if not, we have a definite end point when we will stop trying to have a bio-child and pursue adoption, which is in itself a relief.

    Also my brother just got married and he and his wife want to start having babies ASAP, so I’m hopeful that we’ll end up with cousins the same age. If they get pregnant and I still can’t, of course that will be a much more complicated bunch of emotions, but I’m successfully putting off worrying about that for now.

  29. Portia

    I teach high school. I spent the first eight weeks of the semester feeling SO on top of everything. I am such an awesome teacher. I am so organized. I am meal planning and organizing and staying on top of all of my to-dos. Yay me! And then (you could have predicted this!) this week everything feels totally overwhelming and terrible and I’ve graded 75 essays in the last two days and I still have 25 more to go and progress reports are due and the grocery budget is shot to hell and things are exploding out of my closet and the new puppy has fleas and and and. Sigh.

    On a more interesting note, my boyfriend sent a text message to a friend saying that he’s planning to propose to me at the end of the month! Except my bf is extremely disorganized and managed to send the text to me as well. So there’s the surprise shot, but still exciting!

    1. Swistle Post author

      One of my good friends is a teacher, and this sounds so familiar. It is SUCH an absorbing, time-consuming job!

      I laughed at your boyfriend sending you the text about the proposal!

        1. Portia

          Hehe! That would be fun. I am trying not to be too cranky about the total lack of surprise and more cheerful about what a good story it is and will continue to be.

    2. Maggie

      I remember when Oldest (currently in 9th grade) suddenly started saying he didn’t want to go to school in kindergarten around this time of year. Up until mid-October he’d loved everything about school, suddenly no. Concerned, I asked his teacher about it (she’d been teaching well over 20 years) and she basically said this is the way it goes every year. School is great until about mid-October and then suddenly there is a dip and everything goes to heck for awhile. Everyone rebounds and it’s fine again. Nine years later and it happens to both of my kids almost every year. I have a feeling it must be the same for teachers too :-)

      1. Portia

        I do remember that last October was also awful! But that was my first year teaching and pretty much the whole first semester was hellish. It is very comforting to know that this might just be an every-year-blah thing. But then Thanksgiving, and Christmas (and Christmas break !!!), and everything is happier.

  30. Leah Ellcey

    I got invited to join a book club! I have been feeling a little lonely and like I just can’t find my people and this invitation is so encouraging! It helps that it is a small group of people I enjoy and want to know better so it seems like a win all around.

    1. Swistle Post author

      That is GREAT! This is exactly the sort of thing that lets a person get a claw hooked into the web of social stuff! And the fact that they invited you is even better!

  31. Meg

    I’m currently bemoaning that I’ve found some nice not-too-expensive yoghurts.

    Which sounds ridiculous, I know! But I’m vegetarian, which means I can’t eat a lot of yoghurt because of gelatine. Yet I need calcium in my life and I really don’t like taking supplements – the ones I’ve tried taste weird and I generally prefer to get what I need through diet anyway.

    Except I’m also lactose-intolerant. Soy yoghurt is freaking horrible, and while there are a couple vegan yoghurts I quite like, they’re REALLY expensive. So if I have these nice not-too-expensive yoghurts which don’t have gelatine but do have lactose, then after a day or two I’m in some downstairs distress.

    I know there are things I can take for it, and I really should explore them, heh.

    I guess part of it is that it’s nice to be able to distract myself from bigger more upsetting issues with something this small!

    1. Swistle Post author

      I hope the things you could take turn out to be GREAT, so that you can eat your nice not-too-expensive yogurts in peace and happiness!

    2. Alison

      I’m dairy-free right now because I’m nursing and my baby has a milk-protein intolerance and Yogurt is one of the things I miss most. I’m fortunate this is a temporary thing but I so so feel for you! You’re right, soy Yogurt is AWFUL. Almond milk yogurt is better but hard to find and still has a weird nutty taste.

      1. Meg

        Oh Alison that must SUCK! I think being able to have nice yoghurt a lot must be a very nice thing. I was really pleased to be able to start having it again at all.

        Ooh! I didn’t even know almond milk yoghurt exists! I’ll have to have a look for that, thank you for the tip. Thank you. :)

      2. Corinne Brzeski

        Is it any easier to go dairy-free when it’s for the baby? I think somehow I would mind that less than having to do it for myself (which would make me miserable). Maybe it’s the hypnotic lovey eyes that babies give you when they are nursing. “I am adorable, you must doooooo my bidding”

    3. Shawna

      I too am lactose intolerant and you might want to know that:
      1) there are brands that make lactose-free yogurt and they can often be found at regular grocery stores
      2) even if you can’t find anything like that, yogurt is one of those dairy products that actually very low in lactose because the bacteria that turn it into yogurt digest all the lactose before you eat it (another would be cheese, especially old cheddar, which has almost no lactose)
      3) if you find even a the very small amount of lactose in yogurt causes you issues, Lactaid or some other brand of lactase enzyme is on the drugstore shelf in Canada and the US (though of course I don’t know if you live in either of these countries), and is what I use so I recommend trying that

      Have you actually been diagnosed with lactose intolerance? Because my son has digestive problems with dairy, but it’s the protein he doesn’t tolerate well. Because I’m lactose intolerant, it’s what we’re used to dealing with, so it took us awhile to figure this out.

    4. Alyson

      Have you tried making the yogurt? It’s really easy. You’re vegan or vegetarian? I know the gelatin problem is that it’s made from animals…but, if you do dairy and not gelatin, you can make it (and the bacteria eat a lot of the lactose). It’s SO THE DUMBEST EASY THING I’VE DONE (ok, not the most, but, holy moly, so easy). You need yogurt to start – so finding one without gelatin is important – stonyfield in the US uses pectin and that’s plant based (none of it is ncessary). Then, heat 1qt milk to 180 farenheit. Turn off heat, cool to 110, whisk in 1/2c yogurt. over and keep in a warm place* for 6 – 8 hours, or more – the most I”ve done is like 9 or 10. Uncover, whisk (you can strain out some of the whey if it’s too liquidy or leave it**) change containers (I use an old qt. yogurt container), refrigerate, eat as desired save 1/2c. for the next batch.

      I use organic, whole, cows milk. I”ve heard you can use others, I don’t know.

      *I turn the oven on to 200 farenheit when I start heating the milk, I turn it off when the milk is finished cooling. I wrap the sauce pan that I heated the milk in in some old towels and place it all the the warm, but now turned off, oven – the goal is to keep it in the neighborhood of 110 farenheit while the lacto-bacilis bateria does its thing.

      ** I use a coffee filter (disposable, that I compost) placed in a funnel which is over a jar. I pour some of the yogurt into this makeshift strainer, a bunch drains out, add more yogurt as there is room. Leaving the pot out on the counter while the yogurt drains, and letting it drain to the consistency of cream cheese. Dump it out of the filter into the pot, whisk, pour it all into quart container.

  32. Kate

    I was searching for something to Chat about in a positive manner but my mind keeps going back to my current Fret instead, and I do need someone to tell about it, so: My boyfriend recently got a quasi-promotion/entirely new position that required he move to Nearest Big City but I just recently started a job that I love and didn’t want to leave. So we compromised and picked a place around halfway in between and I’m commuting 1 1/2 hr each way on Mon/Tue/Fri (staying in my job’s area Wed & Thurs) and he’s taking the train into work, around an hour each way. And I think that he hates his job and is regretting the whole thing. He hated his previous position but at least he was able to work from home and now he’s commuting and not getting home until 8 and he dislikes his coworkers and feels ineffectual and really dislikes his company but thought maybe a change in scenery would help and he’s worried about his mother who was his previous landlord since she still hasn’t found anyone to rent his old apartment and he had to leave his cat behind (with his mother, not abandoned of course, and absolutely the right decision for the cat, but super hard on him) and I think he’s just miserable and I just want to make things better for him. It’s only been a week at the new job though- I guess I’m just looking for someone to tell me that a week is way too early to tell how things are and how we’re still adjusting to all of the changes (haven’t even entirely unpacked yet!) and how we’ll settle into our new normal and everything will be ok…

    1. Swistle Post author

      I have two simultaneous reactions:

      1) Oh no, oh no, oh no, everything is terrible!!
      2) One week could be too early to tell, and maybe everything will be great.

      I hope it’s the second one. But your commute! That sounds dreadful!

    2. Meg

      A friend once told me that he gives new jobs a month before he feels like he’s largely settled in, and I’ve found that true with my last two.

      I sure haven’t felt like I know everything after a month, but I’ve felt like I have more times of “sit at my desk and pick up some work and be able to do it” and less times of “dum de dum I feel so stupid having to ask how to do everything even though people are nice about it”. After a month I usually have some level of comfort around some people too in terms of relaxing with them, laughing with them.

      I hope that’ll prove true for you too. I feel for you. This is a lot of change very fast.

    3. Maureen

      I made a rule for myself when I was in my 20’s-I give every big change at least 6 months before I make the call “terrible mistake!”. I was pretty adventurous when I was young, moving around or changing jobs-and almost always-once I made the change I thought it was the WORST CHOICE I EVER MADE! Then I get settled in to the job, meet more people, end up enjoying the new state I moved to. So at least 6 months, and I have to say, never once did I reach the 6 month mark and hightail it out of where I was. Change is hard, and I hope this works out for you!

  33. Deb

    I just weaned my quite-possibly-last baby last week and this past week has been so, so hard. The women in my family are good milk producers (gah I both feel AND sound like a cow) and so despite going really, really gradually I’ve been in lots of discomfort and straight up pain the past few days. Weaning sucks. So does having your husband be fairly sure three is it, but having doubts even though logically it makes sense. I just kind of want a say in the matter too, you know? But I feel like I can’t sort out my thoughts about it because I’ve got an underlying unease that what I want may not matter much anyway.

    Plus I weaned in part because I wanted to be able to take something for depression and anxiety without adding a worry about whether it would at all affect my daughter and I did in fact start those pills… only to experience the lovely side effects of dizziness, exhaustion, and constant nausea so bad that the PA at my doctors office told me to stop the pills. I still need to hear back from my doctor about a replacement though, so in the meantime I’m all kinds of hormonal mess and feeling sick and my chest hurts. And my husband is out of town so I’ve got three on my own and I just want to cry a nice, therapeutic cry.

    Whew. This felt like a nice, therapeutic rant instead. Love this thread and your blog!

    1. Swistle Post author

      Weaning can be SO HARD. And the whole “feels like husband gets to have final say on number of babies” thing. And then the medicines giving you all those side effects!! WHILE YOUR HUSBAND IS OUT OF TOWN. Girl. I am shaking my head, impressed at the way you are continuing to breathe air. I hope everything straightens up and flies right SOON: medicines with tolerable side effects, weaning symptoms abate, HUSBAND COMES HOME AND YOU GET TO GO STAY IN A HOTEL FOR A NIGHT, etc.

    2. Martha

      Hi, I am in exactly the same boat right now – in the process of weaning baby number three, husband is saying no to baby number four and I think he is probably right but I also WANT to have another baby so badly. AND my husband recently went away for a week and I had the three kids on my own so I took a week off work and just focused on them, and it felt good but also so hard, and then I worry would I be able to manage four? But I don’t know if I will ever have the chance! So we can therapeutically rant together. Thanks!

  34. Elsk

    Everyone’s probably already gone home from the coffeeklatsch (sp?) but I too have a Fret. I have a newish boss (for about 6 months) and he started out great, but increasingly, I feel like he has some sort of roiling pit of seething resentment and stress deep down inside of him, all the time, and this comes through in dribs and drabs via emails from him, directed at other people. But then the emails all end with this super cheerleader-y “you guys are great and we’re rocking this!” stuff. And it just feels… unsettling. Especially because he and I have had minor disagreements about what should count as a vacation day etc, and I don’t THINK it’s a big deal, but maybe it is to him, and he is slowly compiling some sort of dossier on me in order to shove me out at some point. You see how paranoid the cheerleader-y stuff can make you? UGH.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Oh. Oh. I have had a boss like this. Yes. The confusing external cheerleader combined with the constant trickle of evidence to the exact contrary.

      1. Corinne Brzeski

        Maybe he’s really frustrated with OTHER things at work and he’s just trying hard to make sure he doesn’t mistakenly take it out on you, and over-compensating with the cheerleading. Maybe?

        1. Elsk

          Very possible! He is definitely under a lot of pressure. I’m hoping he’ll settle down and be able to relax as time goes on. Thanks for listening 😊

  35. Ann

    Are there any donuts left? Let’s warm up the coffee, please! I have a bad knee (bone on bone osteoarthritis) and I’ve been debating whether to have a knee replacement. I’ve done all that I can to avoid it (lost 50 lbs., started exercising regularly, tried acupuncture, supplements, etc) but it still hurts all the time. Doctor says I’m too young (50), but he’ll do it. I’m a teacher, so I said I can only do it mid-December, and I just got the call today that they have a spot open. I said yes, but I’m still freaking out. I hope I don’t regret it!! My husband has been on the yes side, so was I on the no side just to spite him, or because it pisses me off that he thinks it’s so easy to decide?!?

    1. el-e-e

      My friend had knee replacement surgery (I’m pretty sure – Sherry, are you reading??) and she was much younger than 50. I don’t recall her having a single problem. I hope it will relieve your pain, which must be The Worst as a teacher on your feet all day. Good wishes to you!!

    2. Swistle Post author

      That is such a hard decision! I found, though, that when I got to “just got the call today,” I was HOPING it was “that they have a spot open” and not “and they can’t do it except when I’m not available.”

      1. Rayne of Terror

        My mom got two new knees and she is also a teacher and she feels awesome now! A guy I went to law school with is the youngest person they ever did a total knee replacement on at Walter Reed and he is back to biking and swimming and hiking with his kids. Good luck! Don’t skimp on the PT afterwards, it makes all the difference. I’m excited for you knowing how great my mom feels now.

        1. Ernie

          Meant to post my comment at the end and then come back to reply here but I got ahead of myself and my general comment ended up here!

          Definitely get both knees done. My mom had hers done – granted she was older than you. She was told to wait though. She waited for years and I think that was a mistake. They make the artificial knees better than they used to so there is no reason to wait. I am under the impression that they initially told people to wait because they feared the equipment wouldn’t last long enough and the patient would have a redo as an elderly person. My mom was also a teacher. She did great! My husband is a physical therapist. He handled my mom’s rehab. If you are in a western suburb of Chicago, you should see my hubby for your rehab treatment. He works wonders!

      2. Ann

        That’s how I felt, as well, so I decided it must be a sign that I should do it. Thanks so much for doing this post, Swistle! It’s been so much fun to read and I was almost in tears at everyone’s kindness in their responses. Such a good antidote to all the ugly in the world right now.

    3. Ernie

      Ditto the other comments thanking Swistle for this chat. I’m sorry I’m so late to the party and that I missed all the doughnuts, but I have celiac disease and can’t eat gluten anyway.

      I am truly sorry for all of the serious difficulties that people are facing – the fires, the infertility, etc. Heartbreaking. My issues pale in comparison.

      I have been having trouble sleeping lately – and unlike the other woman who is tired, my 6 kids are not babies so they aren’t keeping me up at night. I do remember those days – yuck and good luck to you. I have no normal excuse. I wonder if it is something that I am eating. Maybe I can’t tolerate onions. I can go to sleep without any trouble but then around 4 am I wake up and I am often done sleeping due to intestinal issues. Gross. Sorry, but I’m assuming you’ve all finished eating your doughnuts. :) It’s annoying and sometimes hard to function on insufficient sleep.

      We are also in the middle of a kitchen bump out/renovation. It was supposed to wrap up around the time the kids went back to school – or at least the main parts should’ve been complete. Instead, they ripped the kitchen out the day before school started. I sit in my house for toddlers during the week while my kids are at school. It’ll be amazing when it is done – in the meantime it’s getting to be obnoxious.

      I fly to New York on the 19th with 2 of my sons to watch my oldest play water polo at college. I don’t think I can get away without renting a car. Driving in New York makes me ANXIOUS!

      Enjoy your day!

      1. Swistle Post author

        Sleep issues remind me of neck/back pain: when they’re happening, they affect EVERYTHING.

        Driving in New York. My dear. I am putting a hand on your upper arm and looking at you with widened eyes.

        And a kitchen renovation on top of everything else! Never mind the doughnuts, I am handing you a bottle of gin.

      2. Shawna

        Definitely try to keep track of what you’re eating so you can see if there’s a commonality. And it might not be a specific food, but a specific style of food. For example, I mentioned further up that dairy causes me trouble because of the lactose, and my son because of the protein so that’s kind of a specific food or food family, but my father has issues with spice so he can’t eat anything even with a moderate amount of pepper in it, and woe is me hours after I eat something that’s exceptionally rich or high in fat (I like pecan pie, but pecan pie… does not like me).

        Good luck!

  36. AnyoneCA

    I’m definitely late to this chat, hopefully I’m not sitting here at the table by myself eyeing the doughnuts and talking to myself…..

    I’m currently looking for a new job, and hopefully new career, across the state from where I currently live. I have been incredibly unsuccessful for the past 6 months. The only feedback I have gotten from anyone is, “Thanks! But no thanks.” and that gets increasingly painful to hear each time. My husband and I are planning to move to the city I am looking for employment in by March, whether I have a job or not, which is adding additional stress and pressure. If I don’t find a job before we go, we won’t have health insurance, and we will be living solely off his income which will also take a hit with the move. Also it will mean I am quitting my job, which is incredibly stable with full benefits, and entering unemployment willingly and without job prospects. It seems incredibly foolish, but also we’re desperate and don’t have any other options. We’ve been living with my parents for almost four years now, and just celebrated our first year of marriage, and there’s no way we can afford to live on our own in the area we currently live. I feel like my life has been put on hold waiting for the housing market change in a way that would allow us to get our own place, but it just keeps moving further and further out of reach. So now we’re going to move somewhere slightly (only SLIGHTLY) more affordable so we can maybe live like a married couple and someday have children…….and I ought to be looking for jobs and updating my cover letter but instead I’m sitting here thinking about doughnuts (Which I can’t have, because I am also doing no carbs!) and wishing I had some sort of anonymous group like this to get coffee with for real. Because I clearly need to vent!

    1. Swistle Post author

      I will hope that this is one of those Big Scary Leaps that, years from now, you will talk about, and the end of the story will be what a success it all turned out to be!

  37. Ellie

    I’m starting to have true anxiety about the fact that I’ll probably never have a child. Part of the sadness is trivial but real: I like so many baby names that I’ll never get to use.

    I also just escaped one of the fires in Napa as it was coming over the hill. I’m trying to minimize the situation since I am safe and didn’t lose my home and probably truly had an hour to spare, but I feel like I’m still in a bit of shock while trying to appear outwardly composed.

    I’m going to distract myself tonight by trying to guess which baby-boomer names will be recycled in a few (two) generations. (Carol as the new Caroline variant? Gail?) Then I can see how wrong I am in another 30ish years.

    1. Swistle Post author

      I have wondered if the name Everly might lead us back to Beverly. I’ve also wondered about Barbara: it was SUCH a hit in its time that surely it will come back around. And Susan and Linda and Deborah!

      I’m so glad you escaped the fire. That sounds like a nightmare.

    2. Anonymous

      I don’t comment often here, but ditto. I’m approaching my late thirties, child free (not particularly by choice, just kind of worked out that way.) and most of my friends are done having kids. I totally get how you feel re: the bestest baby name that may never be.

      Also, I can’t imagine how terrifying the fire must have been for you. I live in an area that was threatened by one of the recent hurricanes (everyone was boarding up windows, evacuating, preparing for the worst, etc) and it ended up veering and causing very little damage here. I understand your sentiment about minimizing afterwards. It feels wrong to feel stressed/mentally exhausted after a near miss when so many others have lost everything. One thing that has helped me tremendously, though, is channeling that feeling into donating/keeping an eye out for opportunities to help those that did experience loss. A close call was a good reminder for me that we’re all in this together, and it’s so important to be kind to each other.

  38. el-e-e

    Seriously, can we do this once a quarter? It was like having a long list of mini-blogs to read and comment on! You’re a genius, dear Swistle.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Hasn’t it been FUN?? It seriously gives me the feeling of being in a big circle, all of us with cups of coffee, doughnuts on a table in the middle!

      1. Elizabeth

        Thanks for using your platform to host a community vent/support/sharing session.

        Big virtual hugs to all those facing hard things.

      2. Sadie

        One thing that has been cool about it is seeing what it might be like to have Swistle as a friend. Very encouraging and doughnutty.

        1. Slim


          And yet even Swistle has trouble finding her tribe IRL. “Funny, empathetic, insightful person seeks same” — why are they not bringing her doughnuts and boxes o’ joe?

  39. Lauren

    I just wanted to come over here and say that I am sorry I missed the main burst of this. I was halfway through typing out my current worries, and then deleted the comment for Fear of No-one Caring. So, today, the win is just posting the comment.

      1. Elizabeth

        True, that. We would have cared about your comment, Lauren xo Hope whatever the current worries are, that things take a turn for the better very soon.

    1. Swistle Post author

      It’s not too late! Comments are still coming in steadily! I keep leaving my computer for awhile, and when I come back there are more!

  40. whitney

    I have two small children. I am very tired. Baby sleep is the world’s most boring topic but it is all I want to talk about. Tell me, when do you think I will sleep again?

    1. Swistle Post author

      It’s funny: I remember how hard it was to get enough sleep, and what a struggle/issue it was…and now I regularly get enough sleep…so you’d think I’d remember when the torment ended, but I don’t. I wonder if it’s gradual? Like, the kids wake up less often per night, and then they stay awake for less time, and then they go back to sleep more easily and sometimes don’t even need you to go in there, and then they wake up fewer nights, and somehow it just HAPPENS.

      1. whitney

        You are so right. It was 22 months when my oldest slept through the night consistently. I am just ready. SO ready.

    2. Corinne Brzeski

      When the baby is 2. Set your sights there and anything earlier will be a pleasant surprise. You can survive. It’s awful and I feel bad for you and want to babysit so you can have a nap but I’m here to tell you, you can make it.

      1. whitney

        This warmed my heart. Thank you. We’ve had sick kids all week so the sleep deprivation is bad. I wish you could babysit too.

  41. WL

    Currently live in middle USA due to spouse’s job and hate it oh so much. I would prefer East or South. 2 days ago, South became an option for his job and I was immediately house hunting! 1 day ago, Further North became an option. While Further North was our original goal 5 yrs ago, now it sounds “eh”. All the anxiety (house selling/buying, me finding new job, kids moving schools, oh dear God making friends again???!!!!) Needless to say I won’t be sleeping anytime soon. After 3 yrs in middle USA I am comfy. Good village, fab schools, kids adjusting and have a great pool of friends even though I still overall don’t like middle USA. So much anxiety. Easier (for me!) to just stay put. But overall pros and cons lead us both to agree a move is best (but oh God not for my 8th grader!) Mostly I just needed to vent in a safe space.

    1. Gwen

      I feel your pain! We are in the South and….it’s just not for me… we’ve been here ten years and I’m done. Our 8th grader is losing his mind (as are our other kids). So much stress and anxiety. I think in the end it will be better for everyone, but getting to the other side just might kill me.

    2. Swistle Post author

      Moving is SO HARD. I know a very few people who love it and find it very stimulating to be in a new place with all new things, but I haaaaaate it. Finding a new pediatrician! new dentist! new favorite gas station! new favorite grocery store, and new route through that grocery store! figuring out how the new town/city handles car registrations and where to go for that! …Er, sorry, is this not making things better? Paul calls it the “not knowing where the toothbrushes are” feeling, after we moved to a new place and I’d forgotten my toothbrush at the last hotel so we had to stop to buy another one in our new city, and I couldn’t find the toothbrush section in the store and I burst into tears at HOW VERY MANY THINGS I didn’t know how to find.

      1. WL

        When I first moved here, the first week I went to a post office that didn’t sell stamps and a DMV that didn’t do drivers license. So painful to find all the new things! UGH.

    3. Shawna

      I can sort of relate: I didn’t intend to end up settled in my home city, but here I am. And my dream of moving to better weather has been put on hold long enough that I have a house (with a pool!) I’m almost finished renovating, parents nearby who are starting to rely on me a bit more and like being able to see their grandchildren, a very stable, well-paying job with great benefits, a husband with a business that isn’t portable, kids in good schools with good friends… Talk about inertia! But oh man, SIX MONTHS of snow! And likely no getting out of it until I can retire and become a snow bird!

      1. WL

        I had kind of accepted that we would ride out the kids’ school lives here and then retire and move to happy places (NO SNOW). A move is still “pending”, not a done deal but man my stress level is already through the roof.

  42. Ruby

    Late to the party, but:

    I recently moved from California to London, away from alllllllll my friends and family. I have PLENTY to say about that subject!

    The reason for the move is so I can get an advanced degree in my subject of choice. (It’s a rather obscure subject, and the school I’ll be going to is the only one in the world that offers this particular degree.) I don’t start classes until Monday, but in the meantime I’ve been VERY MUCH enjoying back-to-school shopping for myself. I love having an excuse to spend money on cute notebooks and folders and pens!

    I’ve also found it fun to do tourist-y things, but at my own pace. I’ll be here for at least two years (which is when I’ll be done with my degree), so I don’t have to rush to see all the sights right away. It’s been fun to visit a museum here, a monument there, without becoming too overwhelmed or exhausted (which tends to happen to me on shorter trips).

    1. Swistle Post author

      Back-to-school shopping is one of the best things there is!

      I love the thought that living there for awhile means you can slowly enjoy all the touristy things.

  43. Matti

    I just wanted to say thank you to Swistle, and to all the other people who commented. Just reading this, and the kind, considerate advice and wells wishes made my day better. How I wish we could have giant Swistle doughnut party!

  44. Lawyerish

    I have a question for you, Swistle! What happened with the group of people with whom you were having periodic get-togethers where everyone brought appetizers? I remember thinking that sounded really fun (plus we all got a bunch of recipes out of the deal) and I just thought of it and wondered if it was still going on.

    1. Swistle Post author

      It is still going on!! And it is one of my favorite things. We have been going for over four years now, and have even done a couple of overnight get-togethers. It’s such a happy thing in my life, I’ve thought about trying to start new groups for women with kids the ages of my other kids (this group I’m in started because we all had kids Rob’s age), but I have not taken any Actual Steps in this direction.

        1. Swistle Post author

          One member of our group has a house set up for big group sleepovers, so we had them at her house. We stayed up late, drank/ate mightily, and had a big joint breakfast (different people brought danish, fruit, muffins, etc.) in the morning. It was really nice, and some of our best Girlfriend Confidences happened then. But it is also a little stressful to sleep near people you don’t normally sleep near!

          1. Lawyerish

            This is SO GREAT. I am so glad you’re still doing it and that it’s such a positive thing! Plus, grown-up sleepovers sound so fun. This makes me very pleased.

  45. Alex

    Hello! I’m quite late, but I have a happy chat, so I thought I’d share. About 6 weeks ago, I was in the middle of ANOTHER first trimester after several miscarriages, throwing up all the time, crying and sleeping all day (plus taking care of my toddler). I was also in the middle of trying to finish a dissertation chapter and feeling like it was such an impossible hurdle to cross. But here I am now, past 14 weeks with a healthy baby GIRL, with my chapter submitted, and everything turned out okay! I lived through it! (And we are naming the baby Vivian.)

  46. Lisa Capasso

    This has been the loveliest thread to read. I’m late to the party, but will throw my low-level, not-really-a-problem in the ring.

    In July I managed to severely herniate two discs in my neck by doing a somersault, which was Unbelievably Excruciating Agony, and in August had spine surgery. (I cannot overstate how unbelievably painful this injury was. This dial goes to 11.) The surgery fixed it and I’m no longer in pain, as long as I don’t use my arms. Pulling up my pants and putting on my bra are, unfortunately, using my arms. We also moved 3000 miles across the country in August, right after my surgery (I managed to injure myself after my husband had already started his new job across the country and I was in our old house with three kids, unable to sit, stand or lie down). I was super lucky that my inlaws took us in and cared for me and the kids, then helped us move and unpacked my entire house. There is so much to be done in this new house…and I am sitting on the sofa, watching Fixer Upper all day long. I can’t drive, because I can’t turn my head far enough around.

    If you had told me prior to surgery that I would never be able to drive or do any household chores for the rest of my life but wouldn’t be in pain, I would have said OK LETS DO IT THIS AFTERNOON. If I had been told the only way to not be in pain is to amputate your arm I would have said Great! I’m healing well, and within a year (A YEAR) I should be back to normal. I have health insurance, I’m going to be fine, I just need to be patient. But right now I still can’t do much for myself and having to ask everyone to do stuff for me is so frustrating.

    I’ll be better eventually. I just have to keep sitting on the sofa and watching Fixer Upper. Pass the donuts, please.

    1. Chrissy

      I’m so sorry you’re going through that! I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be. Take care of yourself! The house stuff can wait.

  47. M

    I am super late but I need to let this out. I can’t stand my husband right now. We have some crappy things going on in our house right now- job uncertainty and stress and 3 kids w/ head lice. His reactions to things are not helpful and very team like. I’m wondering how much this is “you’ll look back and laugh one day at all of this” vs “I hate you so much”.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Every so often I think to myself that marriage is a really, really dumb idea. Like, I get that it can be a good social construct for raising children and so forth, but periodically I wonder could we think of REALLY ANY OTHER WAY AT ALL?

    2. Alyson

      oohhhh, I get you!

      Sometimes, my husband is the picture of helpless (yet defensive), white, male privilege. He won’t do the thing correctly but gets upset when you point that out. Illustrative point but not actually an important thing (unless it’s like the 20th thing in a week). We changed out window shades. The old ones were white, fabric, from ikea that have button holes, ties, and a plastic thing to weigh down and stabilize the bottom. So, you roll the things up around the plastic thing that’s embedded in the shade (but removable) and secure with the tabs through the buttonholes Right. So, took those down. Hubs was like, “what should I do with these?” i said, “put them in the wash, but take the plastic out first.” He scoffed, like, “I am not stupid, I don’t know why you act like I need to be told EVERYTHING.” Went to the basement 2 days later, to do laundry. Were the shades washed? No. They were sitting in front of the washer. So, I tossed them in with the whites. When they came out, they did NOT have the plastic in them but they were still rolled up with the velcro ties in various forms of attached. (I realize I did not say to unroll and secure the ties, because you scoffed at my belief that you need to be told anything, yet, clearly, if you are not told – and YOU WERE TOLD TO PUT THEM IN THE WASH – you do not do). Then he added “parent/teacher conference” to the calendar (because a slip came home) – which, again, seems helpful. Except, it’s a day when he’ll be at work, after traveling for the week – so it’s a no go. Because children cannot come with whichever adult is going, and I do not have a babysitter plus I refuse to PAY for someone to watch my children so I can go talk about one of them with her teacher. Also, parent/teacher conference was ALREADY on the calendar for the next week – but he didn’t look. He didn’t consider the date when he wrote it down. And then gets mad if I point out why his being helpful is often NOT HELPFUL. There are more, but, enough. And sometimes I think, WHAT WAS I THINKING WHEN I GOT MARRIED??? Because, honestly, it’s mostly another person to do laundry, cook and clean for (I do stay home) and, on top of that, I have to double check every friggin thing he does to make sure it’s correct and fix it if it needs fixing. He can be so like a 3rd child, but he’s an adult. How do you get to adult???? Because we let them, that’s how. Ugh.

      I do feel better though. And I hope that, if it’s the former, you get to that point quickly and if it’s the latter, you figure it out quickly and that your life from now on is less fraught with husband drama.

      Also, there’s been a bit of a thing where a woman who is done with child-bearing leaves husband for a woman (Glennon Doyle Melton now just Doyle married Abbey Wambaugh, is the biggest example, but there are more) and at first I was like, hhmmm. And now I’m like, perhaps these ladies are on to something here….

      1. Swistle Post author

        “He won’t do the thing correctly but gets upset when you point that out.” UG YES ALL THE YES.

    3. Maureen

      I was thinking about this topic the other morning. I’ve been married a long time, and seriously there are sometimes I want to kill him. I think how really, when we started pairing off into couples, people didn’t live as long as they do now. Plus, it was more do or die situations, which in a way are easier to deal with as a couple. Like-oh, potato famine, I’m not obsessing how you watch videos on your phone with scratchy volume, and make me want to crush your iphone under my boot. So, I guess I am trying to say, you are not alone in your thoughts, but what I always think, I’m not perfect, and I’m sure there are plenty of things I do that make him want to kick me to the curb!

      1. M

        Thanks! I know and I agree that there must be Something I do that really annoys him. But it was hard to figure that out when I was picking nits out of 3 kids’ hair past their bedtime and he was “so busy with work”

  48. vanessa

    OOOO I HAVE THINGS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. my best friend is trying to move to toronto because he doesnt want to raise his brown daughter in trumps america. we already live in different cities so it’s not like we see each other much here, but i’ve always felt like if he felt like it was safe to stay, it’s safe to stay. meanwhile i–like all of us–am living in a state of constant, sustained terror, and i am chronically completely exhausted from the stress of trying to figure out wtf is going to happen next in this completely insane country that i feel like is coming apart at the seams. i really want to have a baby but i am no longer sure if it’s even safe to do that. but i’m 32! and ugh, i haven’t DONE anything with my life and i don’t even know wtf i WANT to do with my life and i keep spending money i don’t have on fancy coffees from dunkin donuts and while i adore and enjoy (at least most of the time) 3 out of 4 of the kids i nanny for the eldest spends a lot of time telling me how much she hates me and swearing at me and kicking me and whatever and also talking about how she wants to die, and while she is in therapy it still isn’t enough, and i wish her parents would actually PARENT her….and now i’m done.

    Swis! great talking to you. wish we could do it in person!

      1. Shawna

        Swistle – Did you see me mention the SIX MONTHS of snow higher up?

        But that aside, yes, it is fantastic in many other respects. And if you like snow, you’ll be in heaven.

      2. M.Amanda

        Is it completely inappropriate to mention the Man That Men Should Aspire To Be Like that Canada has for a Prime Minister? And not just because compared to what we have now he’s a god, but because he’s just Man Goals.

        1. Shawna

          Oh I know! I feel like I can’t objectify my Prime Minister, but if I could…

          Looks aside, he really does represent what I want Canadian values to be: equality between the sexes, tolerance for all different sorts of people, concern for the environment, respect for science, etc.

  49. Becky

    I have a cat problem. We have three cats, aged 16, 16 and 12. Two days ago my son and I were outside and heard a mewing sound and it was a grey cat that we had never seen before. Youngish, thin, very friendly. It seemed healthy enough and I figured it was just an outdoor cat from someone’s house. Outdoor cats are pretty rare around our neighborhood, but it happens. We went in and the cat left. Yesterday we were outside and the cat was back. Very friendly, would not leave. (Yes, we gave it a little food, which it ate quickly!). It hung outside our house until nearly 10:00, then I couldn’t find it. This morning, it was sitting on our garbage cans. Question: what should I do with the cat? Hope it does have a home? Bring it to the shelter? Bring it inside? But I have three cats who would not welcome a new friend, plus I would have to bring it to the vet to be sure it is healthy, plus, I really don’t want four cats! But it is so cute! And friendly! And possibly homeless!

    1. Swistle Post author

      Oh dear. Immediately I want you to take in the cat and have four cats. But here is what I would do, if I were you (since I too have three who would not welcome a new friend): I would send the info (with a photo of the cat) to the local shelters, and maybe to my vet. I would also post a photo and info on my town’s Facebook page for residents; I’ve noticed that when people post stuff on my town’s Facebook page, other people will often comment that they’ve shared the info with such-and-such other pet-finding resource, so there are people who know what to do and they seem to go ahead and do it.

      1. Becky

        I have the end to the cat problem! So Thursday morning we saw the cat. He woke my husband at 9, who cuddled the cat. Thursday night I had conferences until 8, cat not in sight. Friday morning, cat meowing. My elderly neighbor took him in, put him in a cat carrier and brought him to the local vet. They scanned him, found the owner and called. Turned out they had moved to the area (2 miles from our house, right next to the school I teach at!) and the cat (Kanye!) had run off four weeks ago. They called the mom, who had young kids who had all been missing he cat, picked him up and brought him home. So, Kanye the cat is home and I didn’t have to adopt a nice, but not really wanted here, cat!

        1. Swistle Post author

          This is such a wonderful outcome!!! Imagine that family, missing him for weeks, the parents thinking there was almost no hope of finding the cat at this point but not knowing how/when to break it to the kids, and then…a phone call! the cat! safe and found! I am such a huge fan of microchipping.

          1. Becky

            I know! I had to sell it that way to my son. And me. Mew was so sweet! But we couldn’t keep him! It would be cold soon, and we live in MN, so the time was short! But the family was so happy! But we will never see him again! Someday we will be looking for new cats, but I don’t want to think of WHY we will have an open cat spot. But, happy ending!

  50. ThatMich

    Hiya! I just want to say it seems very nice of you to reply to everyone (or nearly everyone?) in the comments. In a pretty timely manner too! It must have been a little tough of things to say at times.

    Also, this seems like a good chance to weird you out: I am a ’99 kid! Just like Rob! I live halfway around the world though. I mean, I never MEANT to start following a blog written by someone who could be my mother. I was really passionate about names a couple years ago, so I came across your baby name blog; then I looked at your personal blog out of curiosity; eventually I grew out of the names phase but not of the let’s-stalk-a-random-person phase. I mostly lurk – I must have commented twice before today.

    Man, this is TOO weird. Maybe I should never have come out. I never needed to for sure. Oh well.

    1. Swistle Post author

      Hi hi! That’s fun that you’re the same age as Rob. It’s interesting to think of someone his age reading a blog by a middle-aged mom of five!

  51. Lilly

    Yes! I am nearly 100% decided on changing my name legally to the name I’ve been using for 12 years (it feels more like me and when I introduce myself by my legal name it feels like a lie). Given that I’m currently going through a horrible divorce now is a good time to change my surname, too, maybe to something cool that I like? I’ve long said I’d change it to Power but my friends are pushing hard for Thunder which I think is excellent also. I could go with Thunder. My chosen/preferred first name is Lilly, if that makes a difference? And I’d get to choose a new middle name. Suggestions?

    1. Swistle Post author

      For myself, I wouldn’t want the attention/comments a surname like Power or Thunder would invite. I wouldn’t say the same of Powers, however: it’s familiar enough that it doesn’t sound like a plural noun, but you’d know what it was about.

      If I were choosing my own middle name (fun thought—I’ve never considered it), I think I’d choose the name of someone I really admire—an author, politician, historical figure, etc.

      1. Lilly

        I also thought about going with R@hm which is the Hebrew word for Thunder so I would know that my surname was Thunder but it wouldn’t invite comment. It’s also a nod to my heritage.

      2. Jd

        This could be a baby blog topic in the future: what would your middle name be if you could pick it? I’ve never thought about that before!

    2. Shawna

      My sister changed her name entirely when she divorced her first husband. She took a very dramatic new name, switched her middle name to her old first name, dropped her old middle name entirely, and changed her last name to a variation of her original last name because she felt it “flowed better”. Then after all that she took her second husband’s last name when she remarried and dropped the fancy variation of her original family name.

      Perhaps it’s not very gracious of us, but every time it comes up on conversation among the family there is a lot of eye rolling.

      However, my kids each got different last names – we decided early on that boys would get their dad’s last name and girls would get mine, and we had one of each – so each kid got the other last name as a middle name, plus my son got an extra middle name to honour my husband’s mother who had passed away. If middle names hadn’t been pre-decided though, I would have liked to go with something more fun. I know someone who gave their son the middle name Danger, so he could say when he got older “Danger is my middle name”. And another nerd friend who is of Asian descent gave his son the middle name Atari; yes, after the video game system. I think I’d favour something fanciful like Dragon for a boy, or Ocean for a girl. I haven’t really let my love for hippy names be put to use.

      My sister would no doubt roll her eyes had I done so. That is definitely not her style.

  52. Maggie

    Well I’m very late but I need to unburden so here I am. My dad is dying. He’s currently in a hospice situation at home. My mom does not appear to really be coming to grips with the reality of the situation. They’ve been married 50 years and she is not the kind of person who is good at letting go and not fighting things, so this move to hospice care instead of treatment is very hard for her. So I’m worried about my mom and sad about my dad. I’m not sure what or how much to tell my kids (14 and 8). And finding the mental bandwidth to deal with any other even low level frustrations is hard. 2017 has been a kick in the pants.

    1. Jessemy

      I’m so sorry, Maggie. That is so hard. You are the middle of the sandwich and it must be exhausting!

  53. paula

    i’m having relationship problems…with my husband. I feel defeated, ugly, unwanted and like I could have a mental breakdown. He is a very strong, intelligent man but I don’t think he can handle my problem. It makes me very sad and I hate myself for not being stronger and more independent. And yes I know I said “my problem” because that is what he says it is….my problem. sigh :(

    Thank you for allowing me to say this on your blog. I don’t have anyone I would or could share this with…and it helps to just say it!

    1. Jessemy

      Hey Paula,

      So sorry you’re having these terrible thoughts and feelings. Normally I don’t press books into the hands of strangers, but in similar mindsets (what am I doing wrong/it’s all my fault) I’ve gotten a lot of help from books like “When Panic Attacks” by Paul Burns. It really helped me look and my thoughts and even talk back to them!


  54. Jessemy

    To riff on the making friends thread…I just invited a woman over to sample perfumes. I am sort of nervous that it might be too much for a first friend meeting, but…we met in an eyeglasses shop while I was trying on frames and the conversation turned to collecting eyewear, and then perfume. We’ll see! I’m not sure what to do to make the whole thing chill…can’t really decant perfumes in public, you know? Maybe I should say she can invite a friend? Or meet up at a department store?

    It is so weird to obsess over details like this as a 41 year old woman.

  55. Shawna

    Okay, I’ve been replying to others for the last couple of days and trying to figure out if I should post something of my own, but I’m going to go ahead and take the plunge because, while this will be part rant, I could also use some advice on the non-rant part.

    My grandmother is 93, and for the first time in her life has a serious illness. After much difficulty getting her to follow through on tests (her pattern has been: feel terrible, go to emergency, have tests scheduled, back out of the tests), we’ve gotten to the point where it has been determined for sure that she has a small mass at the very bottom end of her colon, and we’re waiting to find out if it’s cancerous or not, and what the recommended treatment will be. All the tests have been completed, and we’re just waiting for results.

    First the rant: Her 2 kids (my mother and uncle) are being not-so-great about the whole thing. Both are retired, my uncle lives in the same city as my grandmother, while my mother lives near me, 2 hours away. [consider this to be the spot where I put the long and detailed stuff, then decided you didn’t need a novel]. Both seem to feel very inconvenienced by the whole thing, and my mother seems to be viewing the potential radiation treatment that could be pending as a problem of logistics around getting my grandmother to and from the hospital, and not taking into account any possibility that Granny will need support beyond that. My uncle is angry all the time. My mother says she can’t possibly go to my grandmother’s city for a few weeks because she has pets and chickens (note, she also has a husband who can take care of that stuff), and she isn’t comfortable driving in the city. I drove my mom to one of Granny’s appointments and have promised to do so again when I can, but I also have a full-time job, a part-time job, a small business, and 2 kids, so I’m not really sure how much I can do if Granny needs daily support for an extended period of time. My mom is retired. My uncle is retired AND lives there. And his wife is retired too!

    And the non-rant where I need advice: Granny… is not a good patient. She is sick, but wants a magic cure. She doesn’t keep appointments for tests. She doesn’t take her prescription medication. But the hard part is that really, she doesn’t understand what is going on. She thought the MRI was a treatment and after it was over she’d be fine again. She keeps saying things like “it can’t be cancer because…” or “my problems are being caused by sitting on my sofa, because it’s synthetic and I’m allergic to synthetics”, or “I’m not having any more tests, I’m just going to treat myself by making sure my diet is really healthy”. But she’s said that she doesn’t want to die, and that she’ll have an operation if she needs to in order to survive. Everyone in the family does agree on one thing: she doesn’t really absorb any medical information, and doesn’t grasp a lot of what is going on, and can’t be trusted to comply with any medical direction. Yet she lives on her own in a small apartment, and is totally independent – gets groceries, cooks for herself, cleans, gardens at her community garden, etc. She’s clearly not incompetent at life skills, but she’s not really competent at the medical stuff. She is dead-set against moving to assisted living, but is there a way to get her some help in a way she won’t resent? Has anyone here kind of eased an elderly relative into a more assisted situation when they don’t really want it? I live in Canada if this is any help…

    1. Swistle Post author

      This all sounds so frustrating and stressful.

      I wonder if there are organizations near your grandmother that provide in-home elder care. The organization I worked for would send someone for X hours, Y times a week (totally varied—one hour daily, or two hours three times a week, or four hours daily, or three hours five times a week, etc. etc.), to do things like make sure medication was taken, drive to appointments, run errands. It might take some of the stress off of family members—and some people find it easier to be nagged and driven around by a paid assistant instead of by a worried family member.

      Also, I hugely recommend the book Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. It really helped me think about old age and end-of-life issues, for other people as well as for myself.

      1. Shawna

        You are exactly who I think of when I think of that sort of care being needed for my grandmother. I think “I know this sort of care exists, because Swistle did it.”

        Unfortunately I also know that my grandmother already belongs to an organization that provides volunteers to help the elderly out with things like errands and grocery shopping, BUT because she uses it for their social clubs, she has a serious aversion to her friends there knowing she’s having issues that require her to take advantage of the volunteer service side sort of things. (She lied about her age when she joined, so they think she’s a mere girl in her early 80s instead of 93!)

        And as for the services you can hire: my grandmother wants nothing to do with strangers coming into her house, and my mom has already flatly stated she can’t afford to contribute any money to her mother’s care. My uncle has been totally silent on the money issue.

        I’m going to at least her next appointment once all the results are in and will look for a chance to raise this sort of thing. Perhaps Granny will be more amendable to discussing care options when it will be impossible to deny that she will need them.


        1. Surely

          Okay, I’ll wade gently into these waters. We are currently what I call raising my in-laws (they are in their 80’s) and I have sung and am singing the song you are right now. Here is the super unfun part: there’s unfortunately very little you can do. It has to all fall apart for everyone involved to wake up, if you will.
          It leaves you feeling very frustrated, worried, and powerless but it’s really all you can do. Especially from a distance. They’re going to do what they’re going to do because they know better even though we all know damn well they don’t. lol
          I’m sorry that you’re struggling and that I don’t have a magic wand. Absolutely do read the book that Swistle recommended, it’s fantastic.
          Doughnuts are indeed the prescribed medicine for these situations. :)

        2. Maggie

          Oh Shawna, I’m sorry, this situation is so hard. Unfortunately I don’t have good advice because my experience has been much like what Surely described. Two years ago when my dad became ill, my mom refused to accept reality that he was never going to make a full recovery and it was going to be a long haul. She had to utterly wear herself out mentally and physically before she gave in to my regular prodding to get someone in to help her. I hope for better results for you, but in my case things really did have to fall apart before help was considered.

  56. Mrs Dragon

    I’ve thought this many times but never mentioned it because, as you point out, blogging does seem like more of a one way conversation. But since you asked and since I was thinking about this again earlier this morning, I just wanted to say thank you for talking so honestly and openly about the way you think about and cope with challenging things. I’ve been a reader for years and I’ve found many of the things you share useful. So much so that when I went to therapy a couple of years ago and realized I had anxiety, my therapist was surprised with how many functional coping strategies I already had. And I could look back and see the times in my life when that wasn’t true and how much BETTER things indeed were. And your blog is where I learned a lot of those lessons. <3

  57. Chrissy

    Okay this has nothing to do with anything really, but I was in Target today and I saw some flannel sheets whose pattern is different colored station wagons with Christmas trees tied to the tops, and I thought of you.

  58. hydrogeek

    I almost tweeted at you the other day and then didn’t because I don’t “know” you, but I’ve been reading forever and I recently had a “Swistle Knows Things” situation in my life. I lost a few pounds, partly by trying but partly by seeming magic and started thinking wow, I should walk a few times a week and only eat when I’m hungry and the weight just FALLS OFF but then no. Actually, it’s a sinus infection. Swistle warned me. I should have known. Losing weight is never that easy.

    1. Swistle Post author

      OH MY GOSH. YES. We are in this same sad club. The “Really, All I Have To Do Is Eat Smaller Portions, It’s So Easy, Why Have I Never Fully Realized This Before?” = “infection near the brain” Club. *sighing high-five*

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