Friday Open Thread

Clever Manka, · Categories: Open Thread


I am 100% done with even thinking about holidays. I am so completely uninterested this year. So have a springtime cat giving the blep of their best self. What does your best self look like this weekend?

207 Responses to “Friday Open Thread”

  1. CleverManka says:

    My best self is touching up her roots and leaving the house as little as possible. Bah, humbug, yes please!

    Amy emailed me after her surgery on Tuesday. It went well and they released her on Wednesday, minus the cyst and one ovary. She said the cyst had two gallons of liquid in it, and weighed like 20 lbs. YIKES. If you would like to send her a get well card, please email me for her mailing address (and let me know your handle name so I know I'm not giving her address out to randos).

  2. Doc_Paradise says:

    My best self is wearing a fuzzy black bathrobe and staying indoors. I might venture out for whiskey.

    I'm feeling better today. It's going to be a struggle to ever go back to that doctor's office, but one of my partners will go with me next time. Thank you everyone, for the support. I was a mess. It's so good to have a place to go and people to talk to about this shit.

    We are all off for the next week and a bit, so we will intend to do a bit of downsizing on our household stuff in anticipation of moving in the next year. I've got a bit of paid work to finish, but otherwise I intend to do a lot of reading over the weekend and watch more of the Behavioural Biology class. I have a new book, "Impersonations: Troubling the Person in Law and Culture" which is about case studies in the meaning of personhood in Canada.

    Edit: My kittens now have unobtonium, eludium… and I'm fully expecting the next weird material to be WTFium.

    • CleverManka says:

      Enjoy your fuzzy robe time! I need a new robe/housecoat but I know exactly what I want and it involves me making it, sooo……eh. Maybe next year.

      So glad you're feeling better because moving? Yikes. Are you scouting for places yet?

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        I'm feeling better because I worked through the panic attack and was taken good care of. Moving is a separate thing. That's stressful, but getting away from our property manager would be great.

        And we are looking at places. It's a bit slow finding a house to rent that fits our needs so we are starting way ahead of time.

    • Absotively says:

      Work kittens have a steamworks, and work computer is never off for silly reasons, so they should at least have a fair supply of beams, slabs, and manuscripts when I get back. Home kittens have a factory with an engineer making steel. That computer should be off, but the power supply is flaky and weird, so if it turns itself on at least the kittens will get something out of it.

    • Absotively says:

      Also, I am sorry to hear your doctor's appointment went so badly, and glad to hear you are feeling better.

  3. Heathered says:

    I've been out on a lot of walks around town, but my best self might hibernate a bit this weekend. On Sunday I'll make a pot of barley risotto for Christmas dinner (it's better if you give it a day to hang out). Keeping it mellow.

    So, I've lived here for almost two years and like my landlord, but I just confirmed a suspicion I've had for a long time: His memory is completely gone, and that can be a problem when you ask for a repair and he thinks he made it, or when he forgets having raised your rent 20% within the last year (that last one just happened for real). I don't know how to bring things up in a way that doesn't confuse him or put him on the defensive, but preserves my ability to be safe in my residence. Yeeeikes.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Barley risotto sounds delish.

      Perhaps keep everything in writing and with photos would help you?

      • CleverManka says:

        This. If possible get everything in writing. I've had to do this at my job recently for people who used to be reliable sources of information (including myself). Of course, I don't know a way to broach that once you've established a two-year relationship that didn't require it before…

        • RoseCamelia says:

          One of my idols, Miss Manners, knows what to do here. She says you present the problem as your own and ask for accommodation.

          "I've lost the ability to remember things. Please help me by allowing me to put everything in writing. Every time we talk I'll write down the date and what we said and I'll give it to you. I'll keep a copy. Thanks for helping me with this problem."

          • Heathered says:

            I've done this in the past (with my neglectful sexual harrasser landlord), but this is tricky because I'm hoping to get something fixed that he suggested needed repair when I moved in, then when I brought it up a year later he said, "Oh, but to do that we'd have to (do the repair he originally suggested)." There was all this scrap metal piled outside my door when I moved in that he said he'd move, and when I asked 3 months in about it, it played out like I was this weird demanding diva. If a faucet was leaking he would come and fix it no problem, and he recently HAD to come on short notice because my key stuck in the lock, effectively stranding me. But these someday, maybe things pile up a bit & I'm not sure how to get them back on his radar without him taking it weirdly.

          • RoseCamelia says:

            Sticky note on copy of original conversation. That's for going forward. I know you don't have past conversations on paper. But you can start documenting every interaction now.

            If it gets weird, it's because *he* made it weird. It's not on you. You're just being a perfectly reasonable tenant.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            What happens when he takes it weirdly?

          • jenavira says:

            Your landlord is an asshole and is probably not going to change, if that helps you to deal with it (where dealing with it can mean taking it in stride or preparing yourself to have awful conversations or deciding to move). I've had landlords like that and the only thing that fixed the ongoing issue of Getting Things Fixed Is Tough was moving.

            Are you near the end of a lease? That seems like a natural time to bring up "someday, maybe" things. (Maybe introduce it as "I know this isn't a priority, since it's not getting fixed can we knock a few bucks off the rent until it is" and give him some real motivation to fix it?)

          • Heathered says:

            Consolidating my replies here: No, he's a genuinely kind person and super invested in taking top-notch care of his properties! That's why I want to be as delicate as possible. We had one totally unnecessary falling out after which we didn't really talk for several months and I never want that to happen again because he's often here and working right outside my door. The issue is just that he spins out a lot of ideas and then, because his memory is Swiss cheesed, I think he wanders off feeling like he actually did what he merely said he'd like to do. Then I ask him about it and he thinks, Where does this bish get off asking the moon? It's complicated! I like him and do not want to hurt his feelings, I just want my security door to close without engaging the deadbolt, and when I tried to fix it I failed. Eh.

          • jenavira says:

            …I hear what you're saying, and I believe you that he is a decent person who wants to do the right thing and is maybe overwhelmed by things, but I do think it's worth pushing back on the idea that anyone who reacts to tenants asking for (reasonable) things with Weirdness and Defensiveness deserves the general descriptor of "kind." Well-intentioned, maybe. But that is not a kind response.

            Also, doors should stay closed. That is what they are for.

          • Heathered says:

            When I was living with my aunt she was helping to care for a friend with diagnosed dementia, and while this guy is lucid and 100% competent in his repairs, what I see in his behavior that reads as weird and defensive strikes me as probably feeling out of control because he has forgotten something important and is trying to avoid embarrassment. That's why I want to get these things accomplished, but without any sort of Me Against You vibe. I'm just not good at tricking people into thinking something is their own idea. (Also, I was just making a tax payment and he came to the door with a Christmas present for me that I'll open Monday. Last year it was bags of almonds and walnuts so large I'm still eating them.) There's a property manager who I pay rent to, so I may be able to gently leverage a fix with her and avoid upsetting him. That feeling that you're losing control of things that once came naturally, and also probably frustrating everyone who has to deal with you, hits me in a tender spot. I don't want to aggravate it.

          • Räven says:

            <3 That is such a hard navigation and you are being very kind and I hope you can make it work. I remember seeing my mom struggle with not snapping at her mother for forgetting things, because it is so hard not to take it personally as indifference to one's own interactions with a person, while they are bewildered that they're spurring such frustration. (I have spent a decade practicing for being patient with my own mother when this happens, which is already not my default mode with her). It's different obviously with your landlord, but he holds a great deal of power over you in quiet ways so of course you want to maneuver it in the best way. VERY BEST WISHES.

            Very jealous of the year's supply of nuts. Yum.

          • Heathered says:

            Thanks for this. My aunt and her good friend would get into these really heated fights because Friend suddenly had a soft heart for letting a neighbor's cat in the house, which meant the cat would beat up their cat and eat its food, but her awareness stopped at "kitty!" So hard. Once she was at the house where I was renting a room and walked in on me while I was tying my shoes, thinking it was the bathroom. She told my aunt, "I tried to go but there was some guy in there." 🙂

  4. Kazoogrrl says:

    My best self will be wearing my DNGAF crazy cat lady/Stevie Nicks dress tonight, and eating lots of food. When at home, my best self is wearing fuzzy slippers and a quilt (Manka, did you order slippers?).

    If anyone wants to talk Star Wars, I saw it last night. I enjoyed it, but my comment was "Wow, that really was a lot of movie". J's ADD meds wore off mid-movie, so he spent a lot of it giving Harry Potter names to the characters, so how we keep saying "Space Weasley" to each other and giggling. Also, I am very much in agreement with this article right here, which has spoilers in the text but the link will give you an idea of what it's about (don't read the comments!):

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      I agree with the article. I enjoyed the movie, but left thinking about how therapy or throwing a certain person in the brig at the right time would have rendered much of the movie moot.

    • CleverManka says:

      I haven't ordered the slippers because I haven't had spoons for a phone conversation yet. *sigh* I'm thinking after the holidays…

    • vladazhael says:

      Is it Space Weasley because said character looks like a Space Weasley (accurate), or because you know the actor in question played a Weasley (also accurate)? Because it is one of my great joys to know both these things are true and I feel the need to flail on the internet about it with people at every possible opportunity.

      Also now I want a DNGAF crazy cat lady/Stevie Nicks dress.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        Because he looks like a Weasley because J is not up on HP casting, but that knowledge makes it EVEN BETTER! I think of him as the hot Weasley.

        Also, my first thought was, "Hux is looking a little Harkonnen around the eyebrows"

        • vladazhael says:

          "Hux is looking a little Harkonnen around the eyebrows"

          Best phrase of the day. I'm calling it now.

          My first thought was "Hux needs a nap."
          My second thought was "Oscar Isaac has a real talent for ruining Domhnall Gleeson's day."

          • Kazoogrrl says:


            Yes, Hux is looking stretched a little thin*.

            I did see a good point online that that joke was more Guardians than Star Wars, and Poe is no Starlord. I felt that about most of the humor, it was funny but not in this context.

            * The events and power shift here make me wonder if Kylo's last chance at redemption is Hux trying to do something diabolical and Kylo has to stop him/save someone/etc.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Kylo isn't actually very good at being competently evil. Most of his evil is more temper tantrum. Snoke explained to him how to control Hux, but he's not doing it. If he's going to continue in this position, he needs to read and understand the Evil Overlord's List.

          • jenavira says:

            I'm looking forward to watching the First Order destroy itself with misplaced zeal and general incompetence. I hope it's prophetic.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Maybe the resistance can arrange for Kylo and Hux to tour the First Order… that should speed up self-destruction.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            I want to add, I love Adam Driver's face, it's so uneven and interesting. Add the shirtless scene and I have a bit of a Kylo crush, even though he's a dweeb.

          • jenavira says:

            I saw a photoset yesterday of "the saddest part is how incredibly charming and wonderful Adam Driver would be as Ben Solo" and, same.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            *sad sigh*

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            I wish they'd do some charming flashbacks so I could see that and it would twist the emotional knife a little more.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            OH GOOD. I'm not the only one who finds his face easy to look at. I'm also a voice person and his voice is great… the words aren't, but the voice is.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            Yes! And he's tall, and has large hands, and then I'm just done.

            I actually looked up the heights of the actors, and I think of Rey as wee but Daisy Ridley is 5'7".

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            He's HUGE. The movies have been down playing that and he still looks big.

          • vladazhael says:

            I was totally okay with the humor, but I have a lot of headcanons about Pilot Antics, specifically some that involve just annoying the shit out of Hux for funsies, so that beginning scene was a dream come true for me and it set the tone for everything else.

            And I see what you mean about Kylo's last chance at redemption – that could be a thing. I really, reeeaaaally hope they don't redeem him, though. The man is just one big red flag. His lightsaber is made of red flags. That's why it's all wonky and jagged.

          • CleverManka says:

            Making sure you see this Tumblr post. I am generally staying out of TLJ discussions, but this is priceless.

          • vladazhael says:

            YYYYYEEEEEESSSSSS. Yes, all of this. This is why I love it so much.

            Also, I think he's doing a Tarkin impersonation. Not Domhnall Gleeson doing a Peter Cushing impersonation – I mean I think Hux the character is trying to emulate Tarkin the character because that's his hero. He had the trading cards and everything.

          • jenavira says:

            That post is EXCELLENT and TRUE

            (I do not see enough acknowledgement of how great the Irish guy is at playing the colonialist fascist asshole, and I appreciate that.)

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            Between this, and a conversation I had with J about how Hux is coded as gay, I'm thinking of the Toast "Signs You’re About To Be In A Gay Subplot In A Period Drama" post.

      • RoseCamelia says:

        I used to have a couple of Stevie Nicks dresses. Because that's what all the girls wore . . . back then. Yes, I remember when those dresses were the height of fashion. And the hair. So long ago. And I get to see myself dressed that way every time I visit my mother. There's a portrait of me and my sibs from that era. I'm seated in front and yup, that's what I wore.

    • phantom says:

      Everything makes me want to see this movie, but it's not where I am at. The only theatre in town being an independent single screen theatre, which is lovely in a lot of ways but not in getting to see the latest movie when all your friends do.

  5. LaxMom says:

    ugh. I have working plumbing today but I melted down. I did not want to spend my birthday at my mom's I literally ONLY wanted one thing, which was to be done with my schoolwork and start trying to care about yule. Put up a tree and clean the living room and find decorations. Instead we fixed the gutters, cleaned out the crawl space, pulled furniture away from walls to look for gas lines, and in general destroyed what little space in my house that felt in control.
    Now we have a crafty day planned and my kids aren't even awake yet over at my mom's and I have to go back over there to do my birthday today since we didn't get it done yesterday and IDGAF. I have a sinus headache, my living room and downstairs are trashed, literallyl ALL I wanted for my birthday was to give myself permission to focus on holiday home fluff and fuck that.
    This is the last year I'll have Teenboy home for the before-christmas prep. And I am just a nasty bitchy mess. With a side of extra guilt from my mom because she's my landlord and I just cost them $300 in plumbers.
    I'm over it.

  6. vladazhael says:

    My weekend looks lovely, as long as there are no travel mishaps: I leave at 5:30 am tomorrow to see Manfriend, and I will be staying there until 1/3. There will be some hanging out with friends, some working, and mostly just chilling and soaking up together time to prepare for another longer apart phase leading up to my actual move. (With him visiting me in there somewhere, but that will most likely just be a long weekend and not the weeks upon weeks of contact I've been spoiled with lately.)

    Also I talked to my mom last night: I called, voluntarily, as promised, and she was in much better spirits and happy with this arrangement of talking more casually more often. She made sure to clarify more than once that it's not seeing me for the holidays she's concerned about, just a long weekend here and there, but overall it wasn't a lot of airing of grievances (at least not me-related ones), just chatting. We discussed two of yesterday's link dump articles – the intersectional crafting one, which I just told her about, and the Karen Grierson one, which I sent her and she found VERY helpful (so thanks for that). She still has a lot to work through and deal with, of course, but it seems like things are relatively stabilized, and she fully expects me to be focused on quality couple time during my trip and mostly out of contact.

    Dear Mankanauts, I hope you all have a lovely next few days in whatever form you celebrate, avoid, or endure it!

  7. Absotively says:

    I am at my parent's, so I won't be online much for the next week or so, because (a) holiday activities here don't generally involve sitting in front of the computer, and (b) I usually internet at home by sitting on the couch with my phone, and my mother assumes that anyone sitting in the living room wants to engage in conversation, so when I try that here I get interrupted a lot.

    Getting here took over 24 hours. The flight for the first leg of the trip was delayed several times, then cancelled, so I stayed with a relative who lives near-ish to the airport overnight. Then the flight for the second leg wasn't able to land here because there was exactly one cloud in the area and it was directly over the airport with a ceiling of 400 ft. They made one attempt, circled for twenty minutes, made a second attempt, took us to another nearby airport, had us wait in the terminal for half an hour while they refueled, then finally flew us in here and landed successfully.

    The upgrade to business class was definitely worth it, because by the time they cancelled the first flight I must have spent, like, six hours in the fancy lounge eating the free food. Only drawback is that in the fancy lounge you don't get all the announcements that the people at the gate get.

    My best self will be balancing spending time with people I don't see that often often with retreating to my room enough that my introvert tendencies don't make me grumpy.

  8. CleverManka says:

    Soooooo I sent this to my department listserv last week:
    There is something that smells less than fresh in the break room fridge. I can’t tell what it is, so on Monday, December 18, I’m going to throw everything that’s currently in there away. If you have something in the fridge that you don’t want trashed (insulated lunch boxes, for example), please remove it by 9am Monday, December 18.

    And I unfortunately had reason to just now send this:
    After fruitlessly waiting a week for the fridge to air after being cleaned out, I found the cause of the smell in the break room today. Someone left on top of the microwave a Starbuck’s cup full of milk in a cardboard to-go carrier with a bag of stir sticks and sugar packets (the milk might have, at one point, been cream not milk but it was well on its way to being cheese after seven days sitting out).

    Perhaps for 2018 resolutions we might all consider including things like Responsible Food Safety, Common Sense, or perhaps as a last resort (if the other two don’t appeal) Notifying the Secretaries of Perishables Being Left Out for Public Consumption.

    At least we can be grateful for the extra low temperatures in Wescoe right now, and that the milk/cream/cheese was discovered before the break room was closed up for the long weekend.

    Apologies to the person whose three-months-expired apple juice I needlessly poured out, thinking it was the source of the smell.

    Happy holidays!


  9. Rillquiet says:

    My best self will be unearthing her elastic waistbands, because Feckless Relative who's down in Texas managed to find a source of homemade tamales, and that's gonna be lunch and dinner for a few days next week. (Breakfast will be Texas-shaped waffles and poppyseed kolaches, #bestlife.) It'll be interesting to see what the air travel situation is like on Christmas Day; I'm very much hoping that it'll be less of a nightmare than flying in the holiday run-up.

    Family tradition calls for seeing a nerdy movie on 12/24, for Geek Orthodox Christmas, and this year's contender will be "The Shape of Water." Enormous kudos to the person on Twitter who asked why the Guillermo del Toro movie with the hot fish man wasn't the one he named "Pacific Rim."

    Happy winter everything, y'all. Thanks for being.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Oooo… "The Shape of Water" is on my to-watch list.

    • CleverManka says:

      I hope you love the movie! I want to see it SO HARD but it's not showing at the major theater here, only at the local art house (which hasn't even announced times yet) and although I love live shows there the movie theater is so terrible.

      Tamales and waffles and kolaches–Best Life Indeed. I'm pleased that Feckless Relative was good for something!

      • Rillquiet says:

        FR texted me about striking out and got a stern "failure is not an option, keep looking" in response; whether that worked I don't know, but reports of five dozen mild pork tamales acquired arrived soon after. Next time I'll know to make reservations early, but it only occurred to me on Wednesday that I could sic someone other than my gran on the quest. Were we proper Texans, of course, we'd be having our own tamalada or getting some through family connections, but instead we must buy them from strangers.

        Here's hoping that the movie hits your bearable theater soon!

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      I love tamales!

      The Shape of Water is very good, and the lead is lovely to watch, so graceful, but I wasn't as swept away as I wanted. But still worth it! There is nudity and a rather grim (as in, weird emotions) sex scene early on, and a visual reference to masturbation, if that changes things for a family trip.

    • vladazhael says:

      Enormous kudos to the person on Twitter who asked why the Guillermo del Toro movie with the hot fish man wasn't the one he named "Pacific Rim."

      *slow clap*

    • redheadfae says:

      May your air travel go smoothly and the tamales be delicious!

  10. jenavira says:

    My best self will be bringing the stretchiest, comfiest clothes to family Christmas. My mom might insist on "looking nice" for family photos, but she can't make me do makeup.

    Solstice was lovely: I dropped my friend off at the bus stop before work this morning. We watched Stranger Things, I knitted half of a scarf for my dad for Christmas and then had to rip it out and then knitted it again (I should be able to finish it tonight), lots of cheese was eaten and there is still a ridiculous amount of cheese in my fridge. As far as I'm concerned the important holiday is over, from here on out it's just exchanging gifts and finally getting to hang out with my sister again.

    Except, because I stayed up all night talking on top of a cold I already had, I have now almost completely lost my voice. No singing along to music on my drive to Iowa, alas.

    • CleverManka says:

      I am so much loving that everyone is all Eat All The Things and Bring The Expand-o Pants. And I'm so happy that your Solstice went well! I mean, boo for having to frog the scarf, but hurray for leftover cheese! I hope the cold bug passes soon.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      I admire your kitting patience. Ripping out and reknitting – that's beyond me. I should learn to be more like you.

      Sorry about your voice. Singing while driving is such a pleasure. But maybe you can dance while driving? That 's what I do to keep myself alert on solo road trips.

      Put on something irresistible and groove in your seat. Being a child of the 70s I turn to Lionel Ritchie, Tower of Power, and such. On cruise control over interstate highways, I can move my hips a lot. Arms get action even in stop-and-go traffic, though only one at a time, to keep a hand on the wheel. Honestly, I do my best dancing behind the wheel.

      • jenavira says:

        Yes! I do a lot of dancing on highway trips with the cruise control on. I haven't made my mix yet (I still have CDs, from when I needed to burn CDs to have music in my car, of the mixes I made for driving home from college for the holidays) but I will skew it more toward dance beats than my usual "fun to sing along with" maximum-volume selection.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      I haven't watched Stranger Things yet. Do you recommend it?

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        Yes! Scary and creepy but not too much, retro without being too nostalgic.

      • jenavira says:

        I enjoy it but I think it suffered from getting hyped up so hard so quickly – it's not the greatest TV show ever. But it's fun!

        I think the neatest trick it does is that, at any given moment, every character fully understands the tropes of the kind of story that they're in, but they're not always the same story, and they move between story types over time. CIA thriller, horror, D&D campaign, 80s teen romance, punk anthem – and at any given moment no more than 3 people are actually doing the same set of tropes. It's fun to watch the transitions, which are handled incredibly well.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          Hmmmm. Soundsl like a good meta watch.

          • jenavira says:

            Yes. Bonus points, it's so tropey that if you miss five minutes because you're ripping out the same ten stitches on a scarf for the fifteenth time, it really doesn't matter, a half-second glance at the screen is enough to tell you, "Oh, we've moved into the Conspiracy Theorist Is Actually Right part of the plot"

    • redheadfae says:

      Mmmm cheese.
      I'm going to make a yummy Camembert that involves onions, a TON of paprika and cream cheese, to be served on Very Dark Bread. It's a German recipe and I sure wish we could get Real Camembert here.

  11. vladazhael says:

    Also: I noticed on my last up north venture that my love for beer and cheese has me now nearly exceeding the capacity of my old hardcore winter coat, so recently I ordered a secondhand one that is almost exactly like the one Ally Sheedy wore in The Breakfast Club (as is my hair and much of my wardrobe), and I just got a notice that it was delivered today just in time for my trip and this pleases me SO VERY MUCH.

  12. exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

    My birthday is this weekend! I'm celebrating it with my family this evening. Because of this, my best self will be Reading All the New Books. Also spending time with people I love and things like that. But: books.

    • CleverManka says:

      Happy Birthday Book Reading! What new stuff did you get?

      • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

        I will try to remember to report back once I've received the presents. I gave my family a long list of books I wanted, but I'm restraining myself from checking that list because I want the pleasant surprise of "oh right, I asked for this!"

        I give my family a specific book list every year. Except my godmother–she gets to buy me interesting books I probably haven't heard of, since I spend almost all my time reading SFF and she reads barely any. So those are always an actual surprise.

    • jenavira says:

      Happy birthday! I wish you many excellent and inspiring books, but not so many that you are overwhelmed. Just the right number of new books.

      (I bought Too Many Books this year.)

      • RoseCamelia says:

        How can that be? I refuse to believe there is any such thing as too many books.

        • jenavira says:

          Well. I currently own 446 books that I have purchased (or been given, or got review copies of and promptly forgot about) and not read yet. Since I'm currently averaging about 3-4 books per month, that means that at the current rate, I will need almost eleven years just to get caught up on the current pile, never mind how many more books I will undoubtedly acquire in those eleven years.

          (I usually average closer to 8-10 books a month, to be fair. It's been a weird year.)

      • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

        Thank you! I was going to say I can't imagine Too Many Books, but then I read your follow-up comment…I suppose, in theory, at some point in my life, I could end up with Too Many Books. But it will not be this year!

    • LaxMom says:

      Happy Birthday fellow December baby!

      We are doing my cake tonight–it's when my oldest boy can show up and it's a do-over from plumbing hell yesterday. So cheers to blowing out birthday candles tonight!

      I tried to buy books on Saturday but they didn't have any of the ones on my list at barnes and noble. The only thing that saved my evening was that it was "everything on the starbucks menu is $1" night.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Happy birthday! Wishing you well-edited tomes.

  13. jenavira says:

    For someone who hates makeup a lot and rarely wears it, I sure do have a lot of lipsticks in my work bag. (Seven. And a liquid eyeliner.)

    Friends, on this incredibly productive and work-focused Friday before a major holiday weekend, what is the most uncharacteristic thing you own a ton of, and do you bother trying to justify it?

    • vladazhael says:

      Also lipstick, oddly, but that's mostly because I went through a phase about a year ago where I was trying to learn to use it properly and on a regular basis, and I discovered palettes.

      4-way tire irons (Actually that's not uncharacteristic; it's just that nobody truly needs 3 of them. Unless you like to keep them in your passenger seat as weapons, that is.)
      Catholic funeral prayer cards (If it's possible to be ethnically Catholic but not religious at all, I guess I'm that.)
      Shot glasses (I drink; I just don't generally do shots.)

      • ru_ri says:

        *adjusts pedant hat*
        Four-way tire irons are a far less efficient weapon than the two-way kind, the ones with a pry bar on one end? Those will fuck a motherfucker up. The four-way ones, you're likely to hit yourself on the head.
        That said, I am glad you have tire irons! Remember to loosen the lug nuts before you jack up the car (says someone who learned this the hard way…)!

    • CleverManka says:

      Ooo, what a fun question! I don't own a ton of anything (other than fabric which is Totally Unsurprising) but I am the perhaps-odd owner of an ancient bible with apocrypha (me being raised Southern Baptist and now Solid Atheist). Sadly, nobody has ever noticed it on our way too overloaded bookshelves and asked about it.

    • Heathered says:

      Coffeepots and makers, and nope! Would buy more. Probably WILL buy more. And I'm trying to quit coffee.

    • ru_ri says:

      Striped stockings. I have to force myself to wear skirts, and it's always too hot or too cold for my cool stockings. And yet I have like six pairs, maybe seven, in four different colors (and one hot-pink polka-dot pair, the acquiring of which was an Adventure).

      (I also have a lot of lipsticks! I rarely wear makeup, but I enjoy it when I do…just a hassle to take off, and it smears if I'm doing anything physical.)

    • Rillquiet says:

      Nail polish! Between doing straps at the barn and moving plates around at the gym, my DIY manicures don't often hold up for more than a couple of days, but since I own the polishes I just touch up the dings and call it close enough. Some joyless financial planner could certainly scold me for the needless expense, but as self-indulgence goes, you could do worse! (I do still pine for OPI's discontinued St. Petersburgundy, a bluish scarlet so perfect that total strangers would stop me to ask about it. And that grudge, too, is a small treasure.)

      • jenavira says:

        a bluish scarlet so perfect that total strangers would stop me to ask about it

        Oh, that sounds gorgeous. (My actual justification for all that lipstick is how much I love colors, and nail polish does the same job.)

    • redheadfae says:

      I have a ton of gorgeous eye shadows and never wear any. I love the pigments, and I've been known to dab some on my hair, but when it comes to shadowing my eyes, I just can't.

  14. ru_ri says:

    Beloved Mankanauts! I'm writing from my phone so this will be brief. I changed some setting on my computer that seems to have completely borked IntenseDebate.

    News: Still breathing. Feeling very happy that no one in my immediate circle gives much of a damn about Xmess. Going to spend a long weekend up north with my parents and bought one and a half rabbits to stew for Xmess dinner. Other than that, and work, and music, not much is planned. I did ask a Man out on a Date so I am going out tomorrow, but my expectations are low.

    Sending warmest good thoughts to all of you, and enormous gratitude to every one of you for your selves and what you bring to this community. ❤️💜💚💙💕

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Xmess. Never seen that before and I love it. Thanks for that.

      Happy to see you here again. Hooray for rabbit stew and confidence to initiate a date.

      • ru_ri says:

        *bows modestly* It's my own coinage…at least, I came up with it on my own (I'm sure someone else has arrived at the same thing at some point). Because Xmess is tied with Columbus Day for my least favorite holiday.

        I am glad to be back here! And now I am on my computer…turns out that if you turn off third-party cookies, IntenseDebate freaks out. I was trying to solve problems with my email account, but it didn't fix them anyway, so…

        Happy solstice to you and your amazing doggos. I send them gentle and loving skritches and bellyrubs!

        • RoseCamelia says:

          Thank you! The adorable little furry monsters scored double tummy rubs today.

          I gave concentrated attention to warm tummies this morning. When Mr Rose came home at noon they lied to him, doing the We've Been All Alone And Neglected pity pitch. He bought it and stooped in the middle of the hall to give more tummy rubs.

          Spoiled? My dogs? I don't know what you're talking about.

    • Heathered says:

      Happy Holidays to you! Still breathing as well (and letting there be light whenever possible).

      • ru_ri says:

        Aaaah you got the card! Yay!

        Holding you in the light always, my dear…keep on breathing (and writing, and just being you)! I am excited about your book plans (I have copies of Captain Underpants in three different languages and I think you will write the PERFECT middle-grade book).

        • Heathered says:

          I just tried to read The Snowy Day in Spanish and did a pretty bad job, but I used to love shelving Capitan Canzoncillos books. (Oh wow, do they have a Japanese version? I love the idea of Everybody Poops merging into that universe. Research will be done on this matter soon.)

          • ru_ri says:

            Yes! I have the Japanese and the Spanish versions (and also English).

            As for books, I am also very fond of things like the Martha Calling series and Click, Clack, Moo (though those are aimed a bit younger).

          • Heathered says:

            Cows that type, yes! A coworker at my last bookstore job was a little obsessed with those books. (Went to the library this a.m. and all the English language Captain Underpants are checked out, so obviously Christmas is ruined.) I meant to add a "strength to your sword arm" re: the date. I remain a little jealous of both your bravery and your ability to navigate the male of the species. Steer clear of woodstoves, and woodchucks, too, just on principle.

          • Räven says:

            This is an Utter Tangent, but I was telling someone recently that when I first read "The Dark is Rising" I assumed Will and his family were black – it wasn't till maybe my third readthrough that I realized they were just… Anglos. And I"m not quite sure why this was so: a happy family with all these sons and, what, a radio, sure it's plausible but not overdetermined. But I thought later, I wonder if it's because of the Snowy Day: the boy going outside alone after the snow, that's so strongly imprinted on you when you read it as a kid. Maybe I always associated Will with that child.

          • Heathered says:

            I love how those formative reads shape our future perceptions. Super solid argument for why #weneeddiversebooks. My whole rural hermit life could have been radically different.

    • CleverManka says:

      RABBIT STEW! I've heard it's delicious but, alas, haven't ever had the chance to try it.

      Crossing fingers the date pole-vaults over the bar!

      • ru_ri says:

        I will report back! I've never made it, either. All the recipes call for braising in red wine but I think I am going to use Guinness. And maybe make dumplings. Will let you know how it turns out…

        The date is going to be the topic of a whole other…thing…some day. We'll see how it goes. It's been a long time since I liked someone so well on first meeting that I asked them out. But I might just have been hormonal? Anyway, more on that next week!

        • Räven says:

          Very impressed by your date. I haven't been on such a thing in far too long and have no idea how it is done.

          • ru_ri says:

            How it went: met a (female) friend at a bar to see some music. She got a ride from her neighbor. He seemed like somebody I could get along with, which is rare.

            After, I texted her:
            So, your friend [name]
            is single?

            And she texted:
            Yes ma'am
            Should I ask him if it's OK to give you his number?

            And I texted:
            Yeah that would be cool
            BTW that message was preceded by seven minutes of sheer panic
            But OK

            And then she sent me his number and it took me two days but I used my words and called him, and left a voicemail asking him out to lunch, dinner, coffee, or a beer or whatever. And he called back and said, sure, let's do it.

            So that was weird and could potentially be disastrous, but at least it might be a good story. As long as he doesn't turn out to be a stalker. Or start telling me about the time he burned his naked penis on a woodstove (WHICH ONE GUY ACTUALLY DID ONE TIME, I have been on some of the worst dates ever). So, yeah, low expectations…

          • Räven says:

            Guys are so very weird about their penises, the troubles they get into with them, the spectatorial relationship they have with them… I have had two guys (one date, one old friend) tell me about having to remove a tick from their bits. How is that a story you tell people!!!

            But well done, you, on the actions and the asking. Most dates don't turn out to be spectacular, but in fact some work out better than others. Perhaps it will not be disastrous. Perhaps you will even enjoy his company.

        • redheadfae says:

          Rabbit in Guinness sounds delicious. I only had the stew once when I was a child and my folks had this lovely French friend. I was fascinated by having the jawbone in my bowl and so of course, she let me take it home as a souvenir.
          Best wishes for the date, many hopes it goes well.

  15. faintlymacabre says:

    My ex sent me a Christmas package and when I received it I promptly burst into tears and freaked out and wondered if I should just send it back (spoiler alert, probably should have) but damn my curiosity, I opened it. Mostly just random stuff (one thing said it was a pit bull ornament on the box, but had been mispackaged with a poodle ornament which made me laugh when I opened it) bug also had a card in which he drew pictures of us and our dogs which, just ugh. So I called a friend and freaked out and I guess that confirms that keeping the no contact rule in place is good. I keep having dreams with him in them and why won't my brain just let me move on?

    I'll work on Saturday, then Sunday is earmarked for house lounging and wrapping presents. I got a t-rex hand puppet for my tree topper, so I am looking forward to a cozy evening with my silly little tree and hot chocolate and a small respite from all the frustrations and trials that have been this year. I thought 2016 was bad, but hooboy, 2017 is in a whole 'nother class. I am really looking forward to this year's symbolic death.

    • jenavira says:

      a card in which he drew pictures of us and our dogs which, just ugh

      Always good to have more kindling in the middle of the winter!

    • CleverManka says:

      Yikes. That is a lot of uncool ex stuff to deal with. Kinda love the poodle ornament mixup, tho. I wish I had advice on Getting Over It. I hope you can reinstate the no contact rule with minimal drama.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Ugh. The box of Ex reminders was not a cool thing to do to you.

      I love your T-rex tree topper. It's perfect. Now I want one.

    • vladazhael says:

      Next step: do not share your reactions with him. That was either an oblivious move or a calculated one on his part, neither of which you need to deal with. (I mean of course you know this what with the no contact, but still. UGH. Next best thing to un-opening the box.)

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Fire can be your friend.

  16. pseudonymica says:

    Dispatch from a nightmare cave (blanket pulled over head): doubled over with cramps level The Worst. Trying to concentrate on breathing but PseudoMr's young adult son is right outside the bedroom door putting a few last ornaments on the Christmas tree.

    He is narrating every move – until he drops something, which is frequent. I've heard four glass bulbs shatter.

    I hate myself for resenting peculiarity that's almost definitely due to autism but it's such a complicated mirror of a situation, with him obstinately denying he's on the spectrum, inside his stupid bubble of a young, healthy white boy who is given all he needs to survive (including a basement lair he lives and high speed internet where he has a world of friends). And me on the other side of the mirror, also not contributing anything and becoming more peculiar by the day, thinking wicked stepmother thoughts.

    So that's my worst self! My best self is going home for Christmas. My dad is doing better. He went into septic shock Wednesday night and it got much worse but he's doing better. My family is going to have a mega old-fashioned Christmas of being happy to be together and loving each other despite our faults and supporting each other in our weaknesses.

    Probably Tiny Tim will show up and say "God bless us, everyone!" (Barf, not that part)

    I have emerged from my cave and I'm going to finish packing and make this happen!

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Cramps can just fuck off forever. I wish I could remove them from you.

      You are much more patient than I would be with Stepson. Since he's refused to accept less-than-adult status, and since he lives in a shared house, I'd be making daily requests of PseudoMr. "Today I'd like you to require your son to dust the living room furniture." The next day it would be vacuuming. Then cleaning inside the microwave. I'd exclude anything Son could break.

      Yeah, I'm not the go-along-to-get-along type. You're much nicer than I am.

    • CleverManka says:

      Best wishes navigating the situation with PseudoMr's son in ways that dn't cheat yourself of your peace of mind.

      I'm glad you're able to escape into your family this weekend.

    • jenavira says:

      coming out of your cave and you're doing just fine?

      (I'm sorry for this incredibly delayed and dated pseudo-meme, I am still getting over a cold)

  17. Räven says:

    I do not think my best self is making an appearance this weekend, unfortunately. Which is a shame because I love Christmas, but the lousy business year and the lousy world year have really put a kibosh on my holiday spirits.

    The job that never ends, with the terrible client, sent another round of notes that took till mid-afternoon, and the final product is still syncing to my dropbox. (This job was on a day rate, but the budget was capped at 8 days and when it wasn't approved it's not like I could just stop work but I can't bill for anything this month and this month has been A LOT.)

    I'm not used to having this cat so I didn't manage to confirm whether my neighbor can feed him, which she cannot, so I need to ask the super to come in on Christmas which means I have to tip him more than I can afford.

    And an elegant lady of a certain age just cut in front of me at the coffee store and I almost burst into tears. (All I wanted was half a pound of whole bean French Sumatra and she wanted a much more elaborate order.) When I told her I had been waiting she explained very kindly that she had no idea I was there, which I believe, because she walked into the store, glanced at the line, and went straight to the front counter like we were vermin.

    I'm tired of all this. I am usually annoyingly happy at the holidays and this year is all wrong.

    • Räven says:

      Also re 2018 health coverage, I have uploaded every document my navigator recommended, and just received my fourth copy of the State template "mmm, no, you haven't provided sufficient information, please upload something else that might change our mind" and I don't see why it is a fucking guesssing game. Like, what do they WANT me to upload, why can't they say what's missing instead of making me guess what the magic word is today. And they sent it at 8 on a Friday so now I can steam about it all through the holiday. Damnit.

      • redheadfae says:

        GAH! It's so bloody annoying, that guessing game.
        Is there anything else that would match the amount you estimated?
        Is there anything different about your circumstances that you can tell them? (ie, marital status, dependents, anything that makes your tax situation different from last year?)
        I'm so sorry, it's such a frustrating game.

        • Räven says:

          Well, I provided documentation that I am currently drawing unemployment, and that it is about to end. I'm not sure how else to document my current prospects – which are basically, Lordy, I hope there's work in my future… but nothing on my calendar. I assume the problem is that I have worked in the past and they cannot reconcile this with my not working in January, but who knows? I could be guessing all wrong! (Also you would think this is something they've seen before? People easily drop from the middle of the middle class to the bottom of it, it's the twenty-first century here!)

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Oh Raven, it's all just so much. Too much. Too muchness.

      As an IN-elegant lady of a certain age, I'd like to intervene with that ugly woman at the coffee shop. I'd body block her for you and pretend I couldn't hear her. Until I choose to slowly turn and lock eyes with her.

      I'd ask sweetly, but without smile, "and how long have you been waiting, ma'am?" "I see. My friend will be finished soon. Thanks for waiting."

      I'd stand between you and she all the while. No one gets around me when I'm full of righteous fury. Only lifting me off my feet will budge me. And I'm a biiiig scary bitch. Extra big when angry.

      After we leave with your coffee order, which will be exactly what you want or I will have words with the staff, we can either laugh at the elegant woman's ugly entitlement or I can awkwardly rub your back while you let out all the tears of fatigue and frustration.

      Better now? If no, what would make it better? I want to help.

      • Räven says:

        🙂 that did in fact make me smile, and that did help. Well played. Thank you.

        I am not especially big or scary, but I was wearing a bright red wool coat that I feel makes me hard to not-see. It was just so UNFAIR and I am not usually particularly intent on fairness, but apparently more so when I am tired.

    • ru_ri says:

      Man, I just wanna drop-kick this damn client of yours into the sun. What a fucking ASSHOLE. I am so sorry you're having to deal with that level of renascent shitheadedness, it just ain't right at all.

      And coffee-store lady, and cat, and insurance, and and … that is a lot, too much, and your frustration is completely justified. I hope everything turns around soon. All the Mankanaut hugs to you.

      • Räven says:

        I could in fact use a hug.
        I feel so silly, because of course these are all minor things in a way. I had a really lucky year last year and I'm sure this is partly just natural correction against that. And the city is full of microaggressions from white ladies; dealing with them could be my Olympic event, I spend so much time training on it. And I have no immediate need of the insurance, so full of grace is my life at the moment. I dined on Brussels sprouts in a warm home tonight and am drinking coffee that I had to WAIT TOO LONG FOR, but -there is a way to tell the story of this year that is not so put-upon.

        But at the same time, Many Things feel out of control just exactly at this moment and they are all taking quite a lot of time and attention, and then not sorting themselves out, and my safety net is thinner than I would like, and the cat does actually need to be fed, and THIS CLIENT, and grrr, and argh. Thank you for the well-wishes. 🙂

  18. redheadfae says:

    I suppose my best self looked like me yesterday, as I had a woman in HyVee tell me "You look Stunning" and another person stopped me on the street to remark that I looked "so stylish". I was wearing my simple burgundy dress with feather print, a 3 inch elastic belt, my turquoise necklace, cream knit tights and black T-strap shoes, with a long gray knit sweater jacket. My hair was swept up and I had not a scrap of make-up on.
    Being without my drugs messed me up badly and I ended up crying big time, then stayed up way too late (Xanax wires me, I never knew this until now).
    In health news, my surgeon is wonderful. He greeted me with "you have an *interesting* hernia" and I said "oh shit, I know what that usually means" and we both laughed. Long story short, part of my small intestine is poking out between only two layers of my abdominal muscle and under the outer third layer, but because it's in a dodgy spot right next to my iliac crest, it's going to have to be an open surgery, rather than laparoscopic. He did say that he would spare my ink, and do his best to wrap everything up so that I would not be likely to have another later. January 15 is the day, and all goes well, I'll get to go home that day. I got to see the CT scans.. so very interesting is right.

    So yay! I'm getting yet another medical oddity of mine fixed.

    • CleverManka says:


      I'm so glad the surgeon respects your tattoo!

      • redheadfae says:

        He's very personable, I've been so lucky with surgeons who listen carefully and take my concerns to mind. The woman who did my cholesectomy isn't there anymore, alas.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      So you look stunning and your hernia is stunningly unusual. I'm glad your surgeon laughed with you. It's a very good sign.

    • Räven says:

      I love that you had that day of spectacular on the outside even when you did not feel spectacular on the inside. I am sure it is not only your best self who walks around looking great.
      Your surgeon sounds like a cool and respectful guy. I keep misreading 'iliac crest' as 'lilac crest' so I am imagining your ink as a lilac bird of prey with a fancy head. Such are the invasions we make, in our imaginations, on other persons.

      • redheadfae says:

        A crested lilac bird of prey would be an awesome tattoo! I've been tossing around either a phoenix or a corvid of some type as a redo on a tattoo I already have. You were not so far off after all.

    • redheadfae says:

      UPDATE: Wahhh! I got the letter yesterday that states "you don't have enough money in your premium reserve, therefore you must pay COBRA for your health insurance for the month of December".. about $700. They couldn't tell me this was coming in November, so I could get on Jbird's plan in time, no. I'm going to have to pay it because I just had a CT scan and there's no way I can afford that.

  19. meat_lord says:

    Hey! Popping my head in to say that I am OFF WORK until the new year. Between that and Christmas with just friends and no family members, I am going to have a really chill holiday. Yay!

    I send seasonally appropriate blessings to all, consisting of meat and spirits and burning logs and togetherness and what have you. Possibly also some wassailing in there.

  20. Lee Thomson says:

    My better self would be doing some stuff consolidation so we could take the tree out of my car and put it in my house and then the elder and younger Crows would decorate it and it would feel more like XMas. I could bake too, well, she could bake. Since my better self does not get migraines, she could have a rum toddy and it would be lovely.

    My own self is in a wifi coma (Thank you for that description!) or four-way introvert dance (what the offspring call it) and I am sending to you my heartfelt best wishes. It is snowing and I am not actually required to do one single thing, so I'm not. The advantages to adulthood in myself and offspringen.

    • redheadfae says:

      Rum toddies and snow and not having to do anything does sound like adulthood done right. Even if the rum toddy is only imaginary.

  21. LaxMom says:

    My best self is apparently the mother of a kid who got engaged on the solstice!
    Um, at least he reminded me yesterday that I'm a year younger than I've been feeling depressed about being, while he was putting the candles in my birthday cake?
    I'm happy for them. It's not like it's a surprise. They've been dating for 6 years. But he's only 21!!! argh!

    • Onymous says:

      Man 6 six years is such a long time but 21 years is such a short time.

      I hope it ends well… Or "doesn't end" well depending on how you choose to think about it.

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