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Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 01:25 am
is that frequently they give a word I already know. And where's the fun in that? Or they go too far and give a word that's so obscure and specific that it's pretty much useless.

But today I have found the perfect word, the one word to rule them all: acnestis, n. The part of the back which an animal cannot reach to scratch

I never knew until today how much I needed this word in my life. Acnestis. That, incidentally, is also where you put the flea medicine. Cats can't lick that spot either.

Now I am very itchy. Excuse me.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 08:19 pm
So, in desperation I started reading the nail polish. This is how I discovered we have a nail polish named "SaGreena, the Teenage Witch".


New law supports first responders who treat injured pets in Ohio

Scientists measure how baby bump changes the way women walk

Secretive Alphabet division funded by Google aims to fix public transit in US

Researchers hope to go beyond wigs with 3-D printed hair

The Unknown French Horticulturist Who Made Lilacs Happen

Animals 'inherit' their social network from their mothers, study shows

Russia Actually Lights Rockets With an Oversized Wooden Match

Indoor farming gives former New Jersey arena new lease on life

A shampoo bottle that empties completely–every last drop

All Jews are related to Magneto

'Sweet business' of beekeeping helps protect Zimbabwe's forests

Honeybee circadian rhythms are affected more by social interactions

The Mysterious Origins of a Food That's Always Been Funny: The Sausage

Invisibilia: Is Your Personality Fixed, Or Can You Change Who You Are?

Cities create accidental experiments in plant, animal evolution

Should domestic abusers own guns? No, says Supreme Court.

The Texas Slave Who Conned Everyone As a Mexican Millionaire

Discovery of Huge Stash of Helium is a 'Game-Changer' for Industry

Fading fishermen: A historic industry faces a warming world

Previously Unknown Global Ecological Disaster Discovered

Justice Department mandates 'implicit bias' training for agents, lawyers

Blacks and Whites Don’t Agree on the State of Race Relations in the U.S.

Justice quest goes on after 'Freedom Summer' court cases end

The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

Texas may not restore lost abortion clinics despite ruling

Type of illness, race can lead to end-of-life care disparity

Health Risks Higher for LGBT Community

New studies explore why ordinary people turn terrorist

U.S. charity loophole enabled trading of 1,300 endangered animals

Amnesty says Mexican women victims of sexual torture

The Day My Brother Took a Life and Changed Mine Forever

Growing Arctic carbon emissions could go unobserved

Going to School in Syria

Iraqi army closes in on Islamic State militants near Falluja

Iraqis suffer in desert camps after flight from Fallujah

Ongoing war in Ukraine turns 1.7 million people into refugees
Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My boss retired but still won’t leave us alone

What do you do when your old boss finally retires and then still won’t leave you alone?! My old boss loved his agency and line of work so much that he worked beyond 40-hour weeks and was reluctant to retire in the first place. Then the arthritis in his hand got the best of him and he retired. We rejoiced. Now he won’t stop sending personal emails loaded with his opinions on how we should handle various situations that he intentionally sought to find out about through various social back-channels. Is there a polite way to say please just butt out already!?

Absolutely. Someone with authority could say to him, “Fergus, I’ve got to ask you to stop emailing the team about work matters because it’s confusing the message over here.” Or, if you don’t feel like you have the authority to say that, you could try, “Hey, Fergus, we’ve got this covered. Enjoy your retirement, and don’t worry about stuff here.”

And if that doesn’t work, you really could just ignore his messages. If that feels too rude, try verrrrrrry long waits before you respond, and then when you do respond, make it unsatisfying — just a quick “noted!” or something like that. It might wean him off the satisfaction he’s getting by still feeling involved. But really, ignoring is okay too, once you’ve done that initial “we’ve got it covered” message.

2. I’m terrified by the intensive business course I’m about to take

I managed to get a last-minute place in a course that runs for a few days, but I am terrified. The course is an intensive business/finance sort of thing, with speakers and lots of team work on the four days with a final presentation at the end. I decided to give it a go to challenge myself, maybe network a bit, and see if finance/business would be a career for me. I’m currently at university studying humanities.

Words cannot even begin to express how nervous I am about this and I need help in beating these nerves. I think it’s a combination of:
– having little to no business/finance knowledge so feeling out of place/inferior
– because my friend recommended me, I am an extension of their professional reputation and now feel like I have to do well (in fact they have reminded me of this, which is fine but it’s extra pressure and I’m very conscious of this)
– I’ve never networked before and worry just saying “I’m here to see what I’m interested in” is too vague or unambitious – it is designed for ambitious people and though I am ambitious I don’t know what I want to do
– no office/professional experience – the most I’ve done is part-time retail gigs

I suppose what I’m asking is, how on earth can I a) calm down about this and b) network effectively with little experience? I want to make a good impression on the other course mates who I’ll have to work with and the business people who will be there, and I know I can be collected and confident but I’m still panicking. Please help!

It’s is very, very likely that there will be lots of other people there who are similar to you. You definitely won’t be the only person who’s new to networking (and really, people with decades of work experience still feel awkward about networking — possibly most of us), and if the course is targeting university students, lots of them won’t have professional experience (or what they do have will be very minor). And “I’m here to see what I’m interested in” is totally reasonable; anyone who judges you for not being sure what you want to do professionally while you’re still in school must live in a bubble, since that’s a very normal way to feel.

And really, 99% of the time when you’re dreading something like this, it ends up being much, much better than you fear it will be. Will it help to realize that the level of anxiety you describe is out of sync with the reasons for it — that you’re stressing yourself out far more is warranted? I will send you a cupcake if I turn out to be wrong about this. (You just need to report back and send me your address if I’m wrong.)

3. Do people still put phone numbers on resumes?

I am job hunting in New York City for a luxury retail sales jobs. I got an interesting question yesterday. Although the interviewer had my resume with my phone number in front of her, she asked for my number. When I asked her why, she said, “Now no one puts their phone number, just email.” So, is this a new thing? And would you recommend I keep or lose my phone number?

It’s not a thing. I suppose maybe it’s a thing in luxury retail sales in NYC (I’d have no idea), but it’s not a thing in general. I can’t think of the last time I got a resume without a phone number.

Loads of employers still contact candidates by phone rather than email, and most of them are not going to be pleased to discover that they can’t do that. Keep the phone number on there. (And really, if for some reason it is a thing in your field and region, you’re not going to be judged for having a phone number on there, since it’s a totally normal thing to provide.)

4. Should I push back on this change to one of my job duties?

I work for a school district, for our child care program. Throughout the school year, we have a dozen schools with about 600 children enrolled. I handle the deposits of fees for our program, and all parents are required to pay online with credit or debit card; I reconcile a monthly report of fees collected and hand it in to our accounting department. We also have a preschool, which is part of our department, that has about a fifth of our enrollment. Soon, all of the parents at the preschool will also be required to pay online, which will increase their volume. Since I am the only one in our department who does our card deposits, the office manager will not need to process deposits anymore.

I don’t mind taking over the deposits, since I think it will streamline things and it only accounts for a single line on the spreadsheet. However, I am wary of taking on a function of her job, considering she already make more than me because of her particular title. I’ve brought it up to our program coordinator, who is actually retiring this week, and she agrees with my point, and thinks I ought to have the office manager reconcile her own account. It may not work in practice, though, and the director of accounting might not go for it. Should I just suck it up and accept it?

Yes. Job duties switch around all the time. This isn’t like being asked to take on a whole new area of responsibility; it’s just a change to an area you’re already involved with.

If there’s some reason why it would make more business sense for the office manager to reconcile her own accounts, that would be different. But it sounds like you agree that the change makes sense.

5. Do I have to paid for a full week when my last day is mid-week?

I am an exempt employee. I have given my two weeks notice and will be ending mid-week. Does my employer still need to pay me for the full week or does this change because I’ve given my resignation?

Nope, this is one of the few exceptions where the law doesn’t require exempt employees to receive their full salary for the week. They can pay you for a partial week if it’s your first week or your last week. (If anyone is baffled by what the hell “exempt” means, here’s an explanation.)

my boss retired but still won’t leave us alone, do people still put phone numbers on resumes, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 09:10 pm

You may want to start with Part 1


Xmonad is a tiling window manager. That means that, with very few exceptions, it lays out all of the windows in your workspace so that they completely fill the screen. You can have multiple layouts, and flip between them with a single keystroke. You can bring a workspace (there are 9 by default, but you can add more) to your screen with a single keystroke, or send a window to a workspace.

And the whole thing is configured using a text file that is actually a program, written in the functional language Haskell. I'll get to that later.

One of my main gripes about Gnome, etc., and one of the things I miss the most about CTWM, is that when you first start a program its window shows up at some random location on the screen, with whatever size the program thinks is appropriate. If you don't like those choices you have to move and resize the window yourself, and then do it all over the next time you log in. (There are some exceptions -- many newer programs remember where you put them last, and older programs, from the CTWM era, can be given a starting geometry.)

Xmonad's layouts are all deterministic, which is to say, predictable. When you start a program, you know exactly where it's going to be on the screen. When you change the layout, you know where everything is going to go. If you want to move a window into the main position (most layouts have one; e.g. the left-hand column) it's (as usual) just one keystroke to put it there.

But the best thing, and the reason I switched to xmonad in the first place, is the way it treats multiple monitors: it simply assigns one workspace to each monitor.

Undock your laptop, and its screen stays exactly the same. The workspaces that were shown on the other screens simply go back into hiding with all the others, and are still only a keystroke away. When you have multiple screens, you can move a window to another screen, or bring a workspace to a screen, or warp the pointer to another screen, all with single keystrokes.

When you go to a conference room and plug in a projector, a workspace immediately shows up there and its layout automatically adjusts to the projector's resolution and aspect ratio. When you get a new computer -- all the developers at work got new laptops just a month or two ago -- just copy your configuration files to it and everything will be exactly the same as it was on the old one. (Sometime later I'll write about my portable configuration, which makes it possible for me to set up my entire working environment in mere minutes.)


So let's go a little deeper into those magic keystrokes. First of all, you have to know that all of the commands (you can't really call them shortcuts) include a key that xmonad calls "Mod" (short for "modifier", of course). Mod is initially defined as Alt, but the first thing any Emacs user is going to do is redefine it as something else, usually the "logo" key. (That's the one on the left between Ctrl and Alt that usually has a Windows logo on it. If your keyboard has replaceable keys you may be able to get a penguin for it.) On old laptops that don't have a logo key I use Ctrl-Alt, but that's a matter of taste.

You also probably want to know that Mod-? gets you a list of all the commands. And that there's a fantastic collection of tutorials, documentation, and sample configuration files at

When xmonad starts up, you see a totally empty, black screen. Most people, myself included, add a status/navigation bar at the top, but you don't have to. I'll get to that later. You can start a program by typing Mod-P, or open a terminal window with Mod-Shift-Enter. You will immediately notice that the first window you open fills the screen. If you open another, xmonad will tile the screen with them, showing them side by side.

If you start a third program, it will get added to the right-hand column. You can probably see where this is going. When you move the mouse pointer into a window, it gets a thin red border to show you that it has "focus".

If you decide that you started things in the wrong order, move the pointer into the window you want to put in the left-hand column (the "master" column) and hit Mod-Enter. You close a window you're done with using Mod-Shift-C.

Here's where it gets interesting: Mod-Space will switch you to a new layout, with the master column turning into a master row, and all the other windows across the bottom. Hit Mod-Space again, and the currently-focused window goes full-screen. (I reconfigure my full-screen layout to put a row of tabs across the top. Wondering how to see the hidden windows? Mod-Tab moves focus to the next window in the stack. It also works in other layouts, so you don't need the mouse to move focus around. If you spend most of your time in a terminal and an editor like vim or emacs, you can throw your mouse away and still be productive. Mod-Shift-Tab moves focus to the previous window.

Mod-2 puts you into a second workspace. There are nine of them. (I add two more -- 0 and -.) If you want to move a window, say from workspace 2 to workspace 1, use Mod-Shift-1. That's kind of a recurring theme in xmonad -- Mod-something does one thing, and Mod-Shift-something does something related.

You can see that in action if you add an(other) monitor. Now, workspace 1 is in the left-hand screen, and 2 is in the right-hand screen. Think of the two of them as West and East.

Now, Mod-w will move the focus (and the mouse pointer) into the West screen, and Mod-e will move the focus into the East screen. Mod-1 through Mod-9 will bring that workspace into whatever screen has the focus. If the other workspace was already visible, they trade places. (Some people don't like that, so you can change it so that it just moves focus into the other screen if you select a workspace that's already visible.)

Add a third screen to the right of East, and call it Right. Now, Mod-r and Mod-Shift-R do exactly what you would expect. (There are no bindings for T, so I suppose that if you have space for a fourth screen you could use it for that.)

There are more key bindings, to move focus (Mod-j and Mod-k focus the next and previous window, respectively; shifted, they swap the focused window with the next or previous window), to shrink and enlarge the master area (Mod-h and Mod-l respectively), or increase or decrease the number of windows in the master area (Mod-Comma and Mod-Period respectively).

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 09:04 pm

So every time I reblog a post that has timestamps on it, I get a bunch of asks wondering how people achieve this sorcery. So as a public service, I’m sharing with you all that it’s a Snapchat filter. That is officially all of the information I can provide, since I am an Old and Snapchat is basically incomprehensible to me. 

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 05:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I plan a LOT of events for my company both during business hours and social outings. Recently I have run into a bit of trouble with some dietary restrictions for some of my coworkers. When planning food for events, I always make sure that there are substantial vegetarian items available because being a vegetarian is fairly common, and all of these foods are generally on the regular menu and able to be consumed by anyone whether they are vegetarian or not.

The wild card is that I now have someone who keeps kosher and someone who is gluten-free. Am I obligated to provide special meals for these people? If the meeting was mandatory and the food provided was the only way that they were going to be able to eat lunch that day, I’d get it…but that is generally not the case. There was a very awkward moment a month or so ago when the gluten-free person came up to me during lunch (which was a buffet before a presentation) and asked me if there was a gluten-free entree that she could eat (the lunch was sandwiches, salad, chips, etc.). I also once special ordered an expensive kosher meal to be delivered for a lunch meeting and the guy didn’t even show up to the meeting! Frustrations abound.

I am struggling because if food is provided people will come expecting to be fed…but can I really expected to remember and accommodate the dietary needs of everyone in this organization of 200+ people? I want to make everyone happy but where do I draw the line? Please tell me if I am being a grinch.

It’s not that you’re being a grinch, but I think you’re losing sight of the point of this responsibility. The point isn’t to just cross this item off your list in the way that’s easiest and fastest for you; it’s to provide food for a group of people with diverse dietary needs. And it’s also probably to use food to make people feel generally taken care of and appreciated. That means that, yes, it might end up being more complicated than just placing one straight lunch order; you might need to make special arrangements for people with different needs — but you should see that as part of the job, not an annoying distraction from the job.

Deciding not to bother to provide food that some employees can eat is a really good way to make those people feel left out or like the company doesn’t think their needs matter. But on the flip side of things, making a point of ensuring that those people have food they can eat is a pretty good way of making them feel valued and supported.

And you definitely don’t want to exclude people because of their religious needs (your kosher employee or anyone in the future who needs halal food) or health needs (the gluten-free person or any future people with allergies or other health-related food restrictions). Part of having a diverse workforce is that you’re going to have people with diverse dietary needs too, and you don’t want to signal that only the dominant culture’s eating habits are accommodated there.

So yes, if you’re charged with handling food for events, make sure you’re getting food for everyone who will be there.

how much should we accommodate employees’ dietary restrictions at work events? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 04:29 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I recently learned that there’s a rumor at my office (a company of ~250 employees) that I am involved with a male work friend of mine. This news is extremely upsetting since there is no truth to it. While we do talk quite a bit at work, it has never “crossed the line.” We’re both happily married, don’t have romantic feelings for one another… our friendship is strictly platonic. This friend and I frequently have lunch together, but always with other friends and always in the office cafeteria. We don’t do one-on-one lunches, we’ve never left the office together, etc. His wife (who doesn’t work with us) is also a close friend of mine, but I don’t think our coworkers are aware of this.

I’m perplexed as to how this rumor started since there is no evidence supporting it. I feel strange even writing this letter because the whole thing is just so ridiculous and immature.

I don’t know who started the rumor, nor does my friend. He was given a heads-up about it from another friend of his. Immediately upon hearing it, my friend went to his manager to set the record straight. He said he wants her to know the truth in case someone comes to her about it. I doubt that was the best move, but I honestly have no idea what else to do in this situation.

What can we do, if anything, to stop this rumor in its tracks? Or do we just have to wait it out and hope it goes away? I feel like my reputation is on the line, but I refuse to stop talking to a close friend at work on account of petty gossip. This news has affected my productivity level and, frankly, made it quite difficult to come to work because I’m so disturbed by it. Please help! Do we have any recourse here?

You can read my answer to this letter at New York Magazine today, along with my answer to someone who’s bored and has no work to do. (In case you missed it last week, I’m now writing a weekly advice column for NYMag! Head over there to read it.)


my coworkers think I’m having an affair — but I’m not was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 12:01 pm
Yesterday, Cordelia was scrambling, trying to find a copy of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that she could show to her new-to-Star-Wars friends on Friday. We don’t own it because Scott loathes it. Cordelia put a hold on a DVD copy at the library, but there were several people ahead of her and no copies currently available. She was going to try to get it from Netflix, but her current DVD wouldn’t have started the trip back to them until today, so the timing was tight. I looked around online to see if there was a cheap copy that I could buy that would arrive in time.

Then it occurred to me that the library pretty certainly had the movie in Blu-ray as well as on DVD. For watching here, Blu-ray is an option. It’s not at any of the other girls’ homes at present, but Cordelia’s plan was to show the movie here. Sure enough, there were five copies of the Blu-ray on the shelves at various branch libraries. I had Scott pick up the copy at Traverwood on his way home. It wasn’t much out of his way. He, of course, told me we needed a lead lined box to keep the thing in and that he’d check it out only with the understanding that it would leave the house again. I pointed out that, if we wanted a copy of the dratted thing, a used, former library copy would not be what we’d go for.

Last night, I lost the Ingress portal that I’d been holding for about six weeks. I’d hoped that nobody would find it, but… Whatever. Holding onto a portal is more than 90% luck. I enjoyed seeing the days tick over and add up, but it was a pretty minor enjoyment.

I tried another Stash tea sample today— Spice dragon red chai. It’s a rooibos based chai, caffeine free. I’m generally iffy on rooibos, but I quite liked this. It only has four ingredients: cinnamon, rooibos, ginger root, and cloves. The spices were at the right level of strength when I steeped the bag for about five minutes. I don’t think that steeping longer would have made things nasty, though.

Scott has changed the temperature settings for the house, putting things back at 80F. I’d had things set at 78F for quite a while. Scott has been having problems with being too cold at night; specifically, his feet got cold enough that he had trouble sleeping. Sadly, at 80F, I had trouble sleeping. I was warm enough that I got itchy and did a lot of tossing and turning. I rather think that it’s easier for Scott to get his feet warm than for me to cool off. We’ll have to negotiate tonight.

I’m trying to decide whether or not to take a walk. It’s quite cool today, but my ankle tends to get cranky after long walks. It doesn’t tend to bother me while I’m walking, just later on. That makes judging how much I can do kind of difficult. I need to get out and move around, however.

The Fluoridex sensitivity toothpaste is working well, so far. I’ve used it the last four nights as a supplement to my regular brushing and flossing, and my teeth haven’t started getting sensitive again (three days without Gel-Kam is generally long enough for me to have problems with heat, cold, and sweet). I don’t know that Cordelia has tried the stuff. She’s just after the fluoride and doesn’t have problems with sensitivity (I asked her specifically), so we may end up wanting to buy her a different kind than what I use as she doesn’t need the potassium nitrate.

I think we’re going to have to budget to get me a new bite splint. The current one is twenty five or so years old and has a rather large bit that’s on the verge of breaking off. I clench rather than grinding, so I’d hoped that this bite splint would last a good bit longer, but there’s a thin spot in it because I have one upper tooth that comes down farther than all the other upper teeth. Some time last year, that tooth broke through the splint, and now there are cracks from that point. The dratted thing might last another six months, but it also might not. Most dental insurances only allow a person one bite splint in their lifetime, so it’s very likely that we’ll have to pay the entire out of pocket cost for a new one. It’s remotely (very remotely) possible that our current insurance will cover it because it’s a different insurance than what I had that paid for the current one.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 02:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I was able to get a summer internship at a company that does work in the industry I want to work in after I graduate. Even though the division I was hired to work in doesn’t deal with clients or customers, there still was a very strict dress code. I felt the dress code was overly strict but I wasn’t going to say anything, until I noticed one of the workers always wore flat shoes that were made from a fabric other than leather, or running shoes, even though both of these things were contrary to the dress code.

I spoke with my manager about being allowed some leeway under the dress code and was told this was not possible, despite the other person being allowed to do it. I soon found out that many of the other interns felt the same way, and the ones who asked their managers about it were told the same thing as me. We decided to write a proposal stating why we should be allowed someone leeway under the dress code. We accompanied the proposal with a petition, signed by all of the interns (except for one who declined to sign it) and gave it to our managers to consider. Our proposal requested that we also be allowed to wear running shoes and non leather flats, as well as sandals (not flip-flops though) and other non-dress shoes that would fit under a more business casual dress code. It was mostly about the footwear, but we also incorporated a request that we not have to wear suits and/or blazers in favor of a more casual, but still professional dress code.

The next day, all of us who signed the petition were called into a meeting where we thought our proposal would be discussed. Instead, we were informed that due to our “unprofessional” behavior, we were being let go from our internships. We were told to hand in our ID badges and to gather our things and leave the property ASAP.

We were shocked. The proposal was written professionally like examples I have learned about in school, and our arguments were thought out and well-reasoned. We weren’t even given a chance to discuss it. The worst part is that just before the meeting ended, one of the managers told us that the worker who was allowed to disobey the dress code was a former soldier who lost her leg and was therefore given permission to wear whatever kind of shoes she could walk in. You can’t even tell, and if we had known about this we would have factored it into our argument.

I have never had a job before (I’ve always focused on school) and I was hoping to gain some experience before I graduate next year. I feel my dismissal was unfair and would like to ask them to reconsider but I’m not sure the best way to go about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Firing the whole group of you was a pretty extreme reaction, but I can understand why they were highly annoyed.

Y’all were pretty out of line. You were interns there — basically guests for the summer. Their rules are their rules. This is like being a houseguest and presenting your host with a signed petition (!) to change their rules about cleaning up after yourself. You just don’t have the standing to do that.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean that you need to suck up any and every condition of an internship. You don’t. But this wasn’t something like asking you to do unsafe work or work unreasonable hours; this was asking you to abide by what sounds like a very common and reasonable professional dress code.

They presumably have that dress code because, rightly or wrongly, they’ve determined that it’s in their best interest. Sometimes these sorts of dress codes make sense (like when you’re dealing with clients who expect a certain image). Other times they don’t. But you really, really don’t have standing as interns to push back on it in such an aggressive way. And beyond standing, you don’t have enough knowledge as interns to push back so aggressively — knowledge of their context, their clients, and their culture.

What you could have done was to say, “Would you talk to us about the dress code and explain why it’s important? We’re sure we’ll run into this again in future jobs, but coming from the more casual environment of school, it’s not intuitive to us why so many businesses have formal dress codes. We’d appreciate getting a better understanding.”

But instead, you assumed you knew better (despite being in a position where the whole point is that you don’t have experience and are there to learn) and then went about it in a pretty aggressive way. A petition is … well, it’s not something you typically see at work. It signals that you think that if you get enough signatures, your company will feel pressured to act, and that’s just not how this stuff works. A company is not going to change its dress code because its interns sign a petition.

Honestly, if my summer interns banded together and this was what they decided to take on, I’d have some serious questions about their judgment and their priorities. I wouldn’t fire you for it … but I would not be impressed and we would be having a very stern conversation in which I explained the above.

The fact that they did fire all of you for it makes me wonder if there were other issues too and this pushed them over the edge. Were you getting good feedback before this, or had you noticed your manager trying to rein you in on other things? If there were other issues, I can more easily understand them just throwing up their hands and being finished with the whole thing.

In any case, I don’t think you can ask them to reconsider. What’s done is done. But it would be smart to write a letter to your manager explaining that you’ve learned from the situation and that you appreciate the opportunity they gave you and are sorry that you squandered it. They’re not likely to invite you back, but a note like that will probably soften them up a little and will mean that they don’t think so witheringly of you in the future.

I was fired from my internship for writing a proposal for a more flexible dress code was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 08:21 am
Audition is tomorrow! I had to fill out two forms for it, one for eligibility checks (I don't work for any TV studios, I have never appeared on Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek, I haven't been on a game show since 2000, I think the last time I was on TV at all was for three seconds in the background of a news clip about the 9/11 response, and I'm not running for political office) and one for Things Alex Can Talk To Me About If I Get On The Show. Five things, no need to be more than one-liners. Wound up putting down the following:

- Working on my private pilot's license, about thirty hours into my rotorcraft certification training
- I worked for the Red Cross from 1998 to 2004-2005 and was one of the on-site volunteers for 9/11 and Katrina, among other disasters
- I climb skyscrapers for charity including the RCA Tower at Rockefeller Center, the former John Hancock building (it's 200 Clarendon Street now- the John Hancock company moved out), and several others
- I make beaded jewelry as a hobby, mostly with seed beads and crystals, and
- My great-grandfather successfully defended himself against charges of high treason against the Crown of England despite being a gold miner with no legal training (unless you want to count several years as a policeman of some sort in Australia but I don't think that really helps against, y'know, treason charges)

Seem reasonable to you?
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 05:22 am
Every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
Monday, June 27th, 2016 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Co-founder is out of control and a jerk

Our company was co-founded by a woman, her husband, and her father. The husband has historically been a general pain, but has always had good ideas to contribute (albeit rarely). We’re getting to the point where he is a total drain on the company’s resources and time, and is also rude and disrespectful to employees, which is not good for the culture. He barges into meetings regardless of the topic, completely redirects and derails large projects, and pulls people into projects that take up a majority of their time regardless of what their workload or job responsibilities are.

Our executive team (including his wife and father-in-law) is trying to find a way to get rid of him or reduce his impact without actually firing him (since that means they would have to buy him out of his shares of the company), but they and we are not having much luck thinking of how we can make that happen. There’s basically no way for anyone at the company to say no to his requests without getting berated for it. He’s known for lecturing people about how he founded the company and his “vision” when, in reality, his wife is running the show. Is there anything we can do to effectively take away his power (given that we do have the full support of the executive team)?

Well, the executive team could explicitly empower you to say no to his requests and to shut him down when he berates you (as in “I’m not willing to be talked to that way, so I’m leaving the room now”) without any negative repercussions for you, but they’d need to be 100% committed to backing you up. And people would need to believe them about that, or not everyone will do it. To help people believe they’ll be backed up, you’d probably need the wife or father-in-law to do it on people’s behalf first — meaning they’d need to find opportunities to witness him berating someone and say something like, “We can’t allow you to talk to Jane that way. Jane, please feel free to ignore this request from Fergus. Fergus, you need to leave Jane’s office now.” If they do that a few times, people may start believing that they can do it themselves.

But really, that’s a workaround. The real solution is for them to formally remove the husband’s authority over other employees (they can do that without firing him or buying him out), to announce to everyone that that’s happened and that people are not to accept assignments from him, and to be vigilant about stepping in if he continues to act as if he does have authority.

2. Interviewer told me that she’s hard to work for because her expectations are too high

I recently had an in-person interview at a large tech company. I went through an HR phone interview where I was warned the boss may be hard to work for. I then went to the in-person interview with said manager. She said in the interview that at the last two places she has worked, she has been told she is “difficult to work for.” She almost seemed proud of it and seemed to want to know that I was okay with it. I asked why she was difficult to work for, and she said her “expectations are too high.”

This is a huge red flag to me. Any thoughts here? I really need a job after being out of work for a while, but I’m worried I will be walking into a very bad situation if I am offered this job.

Yes, red flag. High expectations are good. I have high expectations. I’m sure some people think my expectations are too high, and I’m okay with that (and I disagree). But it’s the way she’s presenting this that’s the issue — that she’s proud of being told she’s hard to work for and she’s calling her own expectations “too high” rather than “high.” Plus, is she doing anything in her interviewing process to ensure that she’s only hiring people who have similarly high expectations, or is she just fine with hiring someone who she’ll then … what, constantly criticize?

Pair all that with HR’s comment about her, and I’d be pretty damn wary.

That doesn’t mean you can’t take the job if you’re in a desperate situation. You may not have other options. But if that’s the case, go in with your eyes open so that you’re not lulled into thinking she’s going to be a decent manager.

3. My sister was blacklisted from her former company over something she didn’t do

My sister used to work at one of the largest and well-known phone companies here in the UK. She was an assistant manager of a medium-sized store. She had always received glowing reviews and praise for her work. She even won an all-expenses paid ski-trip to France from the company because she placed in their Top 50 employees for sales that year in the entire company (out of tens of thousands of employees). She left her job six months ago to travel internationally. She left on great terms with her manager (who I’ll call Tyrion), her area manager, and colleagues, and two of them (including Tyrion) asked her to contact them when she returned from travelling as they said they would like to work with her again. Shortly before her last day, Tyrion moved to one of the largest stores in the company.

She returned home from her travels last week and went for coffee with her ex-colleague (Jon) to catch up. Jon told my sister that while she was away, Tyrion had suddenly been moved to a very small store in a small town after an investigation. Tyrion had been investigated for security breaches when filling out customer applications for phone contracts while employed at the store he and my sister worked at together. Jon then told my sister that Tyrion had blamed the entire situation on my sister (who was conveniently 9,000 miles away in another time zone) and as a result, my sister is now on a “Do Not Re-Employ” list and Tyrion has been allowed to keep a job (albeit a demotion) for “whistleblowing” on the “guilty” employee. To complicate matters, Jon should not know this information but was told by the new manager of my sister’s old store, and felt he owed it to my sister to tell her.

What she and I don’t understand is, how can this company conclude an investigation and put her on a blacklist without ever contacting her or interviewing her about it? Can she contact HR and ask for her file? Can she request an interview about the investigation even though she’s now an ex-employee? Regardless of whether she wanted her job back (she very much did), they have now damaged what would and should be an excellent reference, which will seriously impact her ability to find another job. Can she at least request that, as she was never interviewed or investigated personally, she is given a neutral reference? Is there anything she can do?

I can’t speak to UK law at all, so I’m giving you a U.S. perspective here. In the U.S., the employer wouldn’t be legally required to speak to a former employee as part of this kind of investigation. She could possibly request a copy of her employee file, depending on the state (some states require employers to share them upon request, and others don’t). She would, however, have recourse if the company was giving out false information about her as part of a reference; that’s defamation, and she could approach it on those grounds. But the first thing I’d advise her to do is to just get in touch with the company, explain that she heard this is happening and that the info about her is categorically false, and ask what she needs to do to have her record cleared, and particularly to make sure she’s not being defamed to former colleagues or reference checkers. If they stonewall her, I’d consider getting a lawyer to contact them.

UK law might give her additional options, though, so I’d check that first.

4. How long should you stay in an entry-level position?

I would like to know what your opinion is on how long someone should stay at an entry-level position? Seven and a half months ago, I started working at a radio station as an on-air news anchor, and announcer. I love the job, but it’s typical entry-level for the industry (part-time, work weekends, operating the board for remote broadcasts, fill in when the full-timers are sick/on vacation). I feel like I’m ready for the next step up. I get glowing reviews, and feel comfortable with the work I do. There’s no chance of promotion in the near future with my station, or its parent company. Do you think it’s too soon, or in poor taste for someone in my shoes to apply for higher positions?

This varies by industry, but in general you’d expect to stay in an entry-level job for one to two years. Seven months is generally much too early to be looking to move on.

That said, go ahead and send some applications out and see what happens. If your industry is okay with that timeframe, you’ll know because you’ll get interviews. If it’s not, you won’t.  Just make sure you’re ready to stay at the next place for at least several years.

5. Telling patients that we won’t see tourists

I work in a pediatrician’s office which happens to be in a resort area. The pediatrician’s office policy is that we will not see vacationers as patients but will refer them to an urgent care facility. How can I tactfully tell our visitors this without sounding harsh?

It sounds like your doctor doesn’t want one-offs and prefer patients who will build a relationship with the practice, which isn’t unreasonable, especially given a limited number of appointment slots. I’d say it this way: “I’m so sorry — our doctor doesn’t see short-term patients, but I can give you information for a nearby urgent care facility.”

co-founder is an out-of-control jerk, interviewer told me that she’s hard to work for, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Monday, June 27th, 2016 10:01 pm
In celebration, I've spent today saying the same few things on a loop:

1. 91% of abortions occur in the first trimester.

2. Actually, due to the fact that 2/3 of abortions occur before 8 weeks, mostly we're talking about aborting an embryo, not a fetus.

3. An embryo isn't a person, no more than an egg is a chicken.

3a. Unless you enjoy balut with your breakfast.

4. Actually, most people who have an abortion are already parents.

5. Abortion isn't traumatic for everybody, in fact, the most commonly expressed emotion is relief.

6. I know you are, but what am I?

7. Abortion is safer than root canals. If your dentist doesn't need admitting privileges, neither does Planned Parenthood.

7a. Abortion is also safer than childbirth. If minimally trained midwives are legally able, in Texas, to assist in homebirths, then clearly Texas has no leg to stand on when it comes to abortion.

8. Well, I'm rubber and you're glue, and whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

8a. Except for good things.

9. This has nothing to do with gun control/same sex marriage/Islam/terrorism/Brexit, and I have no idea why you brought it up.

It's really been great fun!
Monday, June 27th, 2016 08:19 pm


I feel absolutely fantastic after this! There’s actually the same amount of stuff in the second picture as the first, it’s just all actually put away or tidied together 😊 honestly I’m so satisfied!! Didn’t even realise this took me three hours until I checked the timestamps on the photos!! Who would have thought such a small room could hold so much

Habitat: unfucked

Monday, June 27th, 2016 03:56 pm
These are an incredibly simple recipe I acquired from a family friend a long time ago and are always super popular at parties: they're a small, nibbly form of protein, which is often not a big feature of most party foods.

They don't reheat very well but they taste just fine cold or room temperature. (You can reheat them once and they're fine while hot, but they turn to leather if you let them cool back off at all.)

Dietary and accessibility notes: )

Prep time: ~30 minutes, altogether
Bake time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: )

Directions: )

Despite the spiciness of the sausage, I have not found the end results to be spicy for most people. The cheese cuts through it quite a lot and it seems like you lose some of the sausage flavour if it doesn't have some kick to it.
Monday, June 27th, 2016 05:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I am a junior staff member in an office of about 20 people. I have a colleague, Felicia, who is also junior and a good friend. Felicia is smart and a great colleague, and both of us are usually the first to arrive in the morning.

Felicia also openly “jokes” about having OCD. (I insert quotations because I’m not really sure if she’s just kidding with the term, has actually been diagnosed, etc.) When she is stressed , she cleans the office kitchen, and people are very thankful that she willingly does so.

On one morning, I walked in to find Felicia wiping down the kitchen sink with Drano, using our communal sponge and her bare hands. She was lathering it on the sponge. I don’t know much about Drano, but I know it’s not intended to be used where people eat.

While I wanted to tell her to stop, Felicia is also my friend. I casually warned her that Drano is not meant to be used that way, and that she should be wearing gloves if she’s handling it at all. I also warned her that our building might not allow us to use Drano frequently, as many buildings in our area don’t want their pipes being damaged.

Felicia laughed it off and said that “nothing cleans the sink like Drano.” She also said she would rinse it out before anyone else came in.

However, she actually forgot to wash it off before a few more staff came in. I know at least one person washed their coffee mug with the Drano-filled sponge. A little before lunchtime, Felicia realized that she had forgotten to rinse it out, and ran over to the kitchen to do so.

I haven’t told anyone else about this, partly because I don’t think Felicia will continue to wash the sink with Drano and partly because she is my friend. However, I know at least a few colleagues are sensitive about chemicals and would be upset to hear about this. Since the incident, I have done some research to confirm that it’s actually very toxic and dangerous to human health. I don’t think she has the same understanding of what Drano is. I think she was presuming that the stronger the chemicals, the better.

We have an office manager, but she’s also junior and I don’t want to make Felicia feel attacked.

Part of me feels silly for making such a big deal about this, but I want to do what’s in my power to make sure we avoid this in the future. What do you think? Am I being crazy?

What?! She was wiping down the sink with Drano?! And lathering it on the sponge?! And then people used that sponge on their dishes?!

Drano is toxic.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Drano for drains. But I do not care to eat it or coat my mug with it.

You aren’t making too big of a deal out of this. It’s actually the opposite — you haven’t made enough of a big deal about it. That’s what I think is really interesting about this letter — the way that our relationships with people sometimes make us soft-pedal really important messages to them. (More on that in a moment.)

The fact that you’re friends with Felicia isn’t a reason not to tell her that she needs to cut this out. If anything, that might make it easier! But regardless, you need to say something.

In the moment, I would have said this: “Hey! That’s really dangerous! You could get people sick. We need to throw out that sponge right away and get the Drano fully out of the sink.” If she blew you off, you’d need to keep pushing it — as in, “I’m not kidding. People would be horrified by this if they knew about it. I’m going to give (office manager) a heads-up so she can make sure it’s taken care of.” (And frankly, I would have just thrown away the sponge myself.)

That moment has passed, but you can still say something to her now. For example: “Hey, the other day when you were cleaning the sink with Drano — I did some research to make sure I wasn’t overreacting, and it is indeed dangerous to use Drano that way. Someone used that sponge to clean a mug afterwards and could have gotten sick. Seriously, can you not do that again?”

If she pushes back, tell her that she can clean with Drano in her own house all she wants, but that if she’s going to insist on doing it at work, you’re going to give your office manager a heads up since you assume the office will not be okay with it. And then do that.

Now, on to the bigger implications that I alluded to above: Your letter has a lot of “she’s my friend” and “I don’t want to make her feel attacked.” But it’s really not attacking someone to speak up when they’re doing something dangerous to others. It’s sort of your obligation, in fact. And there are going to be other situations in life and at work where a friend is doing or saying things that are harmful to other people — whether it’s sexual harassment or casual racism or trying to cover up a serious work mistake or safety issue, or whatever it might be — and you want to be prepared to be forthright when that kind of thing happens.

I know that might sound like an awfully serious turn from a letter about Drano, but people opt out of speaking all the time because they’re afraid of offending. Sometimes that’s no big deal, but other times it’s what lets pretty serious problems take root or continue. So I hope you’ll resolve to speak up, whether it’s Drano or something bigger down the road.

I saw my coworker wiping down our kitchen sink with Drano was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Monday, June 27th, 2016 02:49 pm
Well, I got more sleep, but I also got a spam phone call and had Cordelia come in to cuddle for a while, so it wasn’t unbroken sleep. I think it helped, however. I went back to bed around 7 a.m. and got up for the day at about 11 a.m.

I came across this at the NPR Science Blog. It’s a little quiz that offers sonnets written by people and sonnets written by computers to see if readers can tell them apart. I thought the difference was clear, but I also thought that comparing the two was fascinating. My suspicion is that the programming will get there eventually, but it’s a long way yet.

I’ve also been poking at the SCOTUS blog. I’d seen that they’d ruled in three cases today, but I’d only seen information about two of the three cases and was curious about the third. The first case had to do with restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas. The second had to do with whether or not the federal government can use a state level misdemeanor (for domestic violence) as grounds to forbid someone from owning a gun. Both of those went in the direction I was hoping for— The clinics can stay open. Folks with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions can’t own guns.

The third had to do with what exactly constitutes actionable corruption by an elected official. That last is one of those rulings that is right, long term, but is being applied in a case where, despite the evidence not being sufficient, the person being prosecuted was doing something solidly on the dubious side of the right/wrong divide. But the justices were unanimous in the ruling, and when that happens, I look several times at the case. I have the impression that the court was concerned that any government official taking action on constituent concerns could be open to corruption charges if that constituent had ever made any sort of gift/donation. That interpretation could certainly be used to harass and destroy people, and I don’t want that as an option even if, right now, it’s being used on people I don’t like. My hope is that the ruling will result in clearer legal guidelines so that everyone has a better idea of where the line is.
Monday, June 27th, 2016 06:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

Quote Post Indigo: “I think that was the most insane week of my life.”
Jade: “Don’t you say that every week?”
Brett: “But this time it was true.”
Monday, June 27th, 2016 04:30 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

usnewsWhen you’re searching for a job, it can be easy to get so focused on getting hired that you overlook the red flags that can reveal a job or a company that isn’t the right fit for you. That’s a dangerous mindset to have, because it can mean that you end up in a job that makes you dread coming to work each day.

At U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about seven job search red flags that people often ignore, to their detriment — like rude interviewers, lack of clarity about the role, and more. You can read it here.


don’t ignore these job search red flags was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Monday, June 27th, 2016 02:59 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I’m just about to start my first professional internship, and I don’t shave my body hair for a lot of reasons I won’t go into. It wasn’t an issue at my last retail position because I was working in a air-conditioned warehouse and could stick with jeans. I could definitely just wear dress pants all summer, but I’d love to wear some of the shin-baring professional dresses I want to buy. Not too noticeable but maybe slightly too noticeable for some people, you know? Am I less likely to face issues if my new manager is an ex–Women’s-Studies prof? Am I going to be considered unprofessional in my first internship ever?

I think you should handle your legs however you want to, but yeah, there are offices where this could be A Thing.

That’s especially likely in particularly conservative environments, or in fields or regions that put a particular emphasis on conforming to a certain appearance (like the fashion industry, as an obvious example).

Even outside those examples, though, you will still run into people who think that skirts or dresses with unshaven legs is unprofessional looking or insufficiently groomed. Some will notice and then get over it, some will forever think of you as the intern who doesn’t shave her legs, and some may even say something to you about it (this group is by far the most rare).

That said, it’s reasonable to decide that you don’t particularly care how they feel about it. This isn’t like coming into work wearing a ripped t-shirt and shorts, where you’d clearly be violating a dress code; this is about how you choose to keep your body, and that’s really no one’s business. I’d be lying to you if I said that no one will have opinions or feelings or bias about it (although, yes, working for a former Women’s Studies professor probably means that your boss will not be in that group), but it’s unlikely to get you formally talked to the way ripped t-shirts would.

And you know, some people also think other people would look more professional if they wore lipstick, or had more polished hair, or stopped wearing flats all the time … and yet lots of people are quite successful without ever wearing lipstick or thinking much about their hair and despite never wearing heels to work. Unshaven legs are less common in offices than lack of lipstick/heels/chignons (or at least, visible unshaven legs are — I’m sure there are plenty of unshaven legs hidden under pantsuits), but if you’re okay with some people having Feelings about it, I think you’ll be fine.

are unshaven legs unprofessional? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Monday, June 27th, 2016 07:23 am


I went to the gym after work, came home for a healthy dinner, then unfucked some of the kitchen. The recycling will get better after the next pickup days.

I don’t know when I became a responsible adult but it feels good.

Monday, June 27th, 2016 08:54 am
Sorry I dropped off the map for a few days there, guys. I went to PortCon Maine and I don't much like the idea of mentioning times when I'm going to be away from my apartment for days at a stretch where it might be seen by would-be thieves. That being said, I enjoyed the con greatly, spent a lot of time at the panels, found a really nice little natural restaurant that caters to veg*ns and carnivores both*, and wound up with a whole bunch of games as a result of winning an auction lot. Also I got to see a pair of mockingbirds fighting each other like World War II pilots over Britain, which was kinda breathtaking to see.

I may need to start sewing again in order to learn how to really do it properly. I attended one panel by the 501st and they mentioned having a division called the Imperial Officers Corps. There are way worse cosplays than Imperial officers...

Oh! And I'm almost done with a necklace from this book. It's the one on the cover with the blue, red, and green crystal rings around the gold rope. That gold rope is supposed to be 23 inches of tubular peyote stitch beading around a length of cord and jewelry wire, so's you know. Tubular peyote takes forever, but at least it's the kind of thing I can do on a bus trip without too much trouble as long as the suspension is good. I'll post photographs when it's done.

*although the strawberry-frosted cake didn't really work; margarine is not a great basis for cake frosting, sad to say
Monday, June 27th, 2016 06:56 am
We had a generally good anniversary yesterday, with a few blips. I spent most of the morning trying desperately to jump start myself somehow. I was kind of mentally hazy, and physically, I felt like I’d already pushed my muscles to the point where they couldn’t do anything more.

Scott and I ended up getting lunch at McDonald’s, partly in hope that that would wake me up (whether due to being out of the house or due to the calories) and partly for nostalgia. We went through a McDonald’s drive-thru pretty much immediately after our wedding reception because there hadn’t been much food there that I could eat, basically just plain bread and the wedding cake. There had been supposed to be food I could eat, but Scott’s mother misunderstood what my parameters were and decided, without telling me or Scott, that the special arrangements weren’t necessary.

Scott and I did the grocery shopping after eating at McDonald’s (the Kroger and the McDonald’s share a parking lot). I’m not sure I should have done that because my ankle really ached by bedtime last night, but it was nice to spend the time together, and it gave me the rare opportunity to look for things that appealed to me in terms of canned soup and such.

We went to the library an hour or two after we got back from shopping. Cordelia came with us (she had two interlibrary loan holds that she was very eager to start reading), and we got bubble tea afterward.

Scott and I listened to about an hour and a half of Furiously Happy. He’s bothered by the amount of swearing and references to genetalia, but he does find it funny and worth going on with.

About 6:30, we got in the car to go get dinner at Palm Palace. They were very much not crowded, but it still took forever for our meals to arrive. We had soup (me) and salad (Scott and Cordelia) and bread, hummos, and garlic spread pretty much immediately, but the meal proper didn’t arrive until late enough (7:56) that I really shouldn’t have eaten any of it. The server was pretty attentive and brought us more bread and more water whenever we needed it, but the hour long wait for the main course was frustrating.

When we got home, Scott and I watched part of season three of Teen Titans, Go! The library had it, and I thought that something silly to watch might be a nice break. And it is really, really silly. I miss the old Teen Titans show which was much better, but I can still enjoy this very, very occasionally.

Scott realized, right before bedtime, that he needed to wash his uniforms or resign himself to wearing dirty clothes to work tomorrow. I was having enough hints of reflux that I thought staying up a bit longer was a good idea anyway, so I told him I’d stay up and put his stuff in the dryer. I got to bed a little after midnight.

I had dreams that there were things wrong with the world that I needed to try to set right, and for some reason, that involved sleeping in a particular (and uncomfortable) position and getting rid of the pillow under my knees. I was just awake enough to do all of that but not enough to be puzzled by what on earth my sleeping habits could have to do with— I don’t even remember what. Discrimination of some sort? Global warming? I think I remember Miss Marple, played by Joan Hickson, being involved somehow (I watched some of that on Saturday, so I guess it was in my head).

I’m a bit worried about the idea of dreams that make me do real physical things. In this case, it only resulted in back pain that made walking difficult for about ten minutes, and I don’t think that I could actually get out of bed without waking up fully enough to question what was going on, but… I’ve had dreams for months, going back to radiation, about needing to sleep on my left side or not on my left side for fear of terrible (unspecified) things happening. That seemed trivial enough because it’s just a matter of rolling over in bed. Are things escalating? Do I need to, for example, put my meds somewhere more difficult to get to when I’m mostly asleep? My meds come up in dreams pretty regularly, mostly in terms of anxiety about running out or about forgetting to take them. This is new territory for me.

I’m awake now because my legs ache. I’m not sure how to address that. It’s something I lived with during my high school, college, and working years, but it’s been about fourteen years since I consistently had trouble with it, and I no longer know how to sleep with it. When it was a constant thing, there wasn’t anything that I found that would help. Painkillers never did. Massage helped while it was going on but not after.

My hips, knees, and ankles want heat pretty constantly, and the rest of me, including the other parts of my legs, wants things to be on the chilly side. It’s the sort of thing that has me constantly shifting my legs around in search of a bit of bed that’s cooler than where I’ve been. Of course, that coolness only lasts a few seconds.

Right now, I’m applying heat to my bad ankle and a cold pack to the insides of my thighs. I don’t know that that will help when I go to lie back down, but I’m quite sure that I can’t deal with today on less than five hours of sleep.
Sunday, June 26th, 2016 10:09 pm


Unfucked the nook.

Going to move the big box upstairs when someone can help my weak kitten arms. Other “old kitchen” stuff is still there. Some day I’ll process it into the kitchen proper.

Kitty box moved to the space next to the basement stairs. (Where Meeky kept it.)

Don’t worry I’ll de-pancake the table before the party. ;-)

There might be enough room for the folks old school card table in there as well.

Sunday, June 26th, 2016 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Sunday, June 26th, 2016 08:18 pm


I basically snapped and did two 20/10s to get my mind and kitchen unfucked. It involved scrubbing, a lot of bubbles, recycling, and lunch. I even cleaned the fridge a bit and took out the trash!

Currently to clear my mind I’m trying to find a good bathing suit and simple patterned bird curtains.