Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Wednesday Open Thread

Hello everyone! We are calling it a week fairly shortly, although you might see a Thanksgiving surprise or two over the next couple of days. Good luck and godspeed with any and all combinations of travel, food coma, unsolicited advice, involuntary solitude, blissful alone time, drunk uncles, sober mother-in-laws and critical cousin mass that you might be dealing with over the next few days. Or, if you are not from the United States of Terrible Historical Events Masquerading As Holiday to Celebrate the Blessed Union of Sweet and Savory, good luck with the rest of your ordinary work week!

We are thankful for all of you, and we'll see you back here Monday.

Photo via Patrick Q/Flickr

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granny squares

Happy Thanksgiving! What is everyone cooking?


@granny squares
I'm making cranberry sauce and butterscotch pudding to a potluck T-Day dinner. Can't wait to get started!

Miss Kitty Fantastico

@granny squares Wine and Rum Punch. My boyfriend and I are always responsible for the booze!

Maybe a pie if I'm feeling crazy tomorrow morning.


@granny squares Cranberry-pomegranate sauce, creamed onions, and baked squash. Currently finishing some take-out from the Thai place next door so that I'll have the motivation to start prepping.


@granny squares I'm making myself Ro-Tel dip. I may or may not eat it with a spoon, while watching the MST3K marathon. In bed.


@granny squares If I can motivate myself to use up these brown bananas, I miiight make banana bread. Maybe.


@granny squares - Boyfriend and I are making garlic green beans and a squash/spinach/cranberry dish as our contributions to the meal.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@granny squares Pecan pies. All the pecan pies.


@granny squares Paula Deen's squash casserole, Alton Brown's garlic mashed potatoes, some plain old roasted Brussels sprouts, and some pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting.

Oh my god I can't wait for tomorrow.


@granny squares The whole show. Alton Brown's turkey plus homemade cranberry sauce and all the sides you'd expect to see. Pecan pie and pumpkin pie with ice cream and homemade whipped cream (bourbon-infused?)for dessert.

It's also not Thanksgiving without banana fritters and claret sauce, for some reason, so those, too.


@TheLetterL Banana fritters! You just blew my mind.


@adorable-eggplant Absolutely recommended, and one of the only times you'll see me try to work through my fear of deep-frying! We have them with the main course.

granny squares

@Madeline Shoes Ooooh, what is your rum punch recipe?

granny squares

@phoebe_jeebies YUM.

granny squares

@JanieS Heheh, if I hadn't invited the entire city to my home, I would be right there with you. Actually, that's more my deal on xmas.


@granny squares
Mac and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Black Bean Pie.

And just cutting up some more of the ham we've been working through.

Faintly Macabre

@granny squares Cranberry sauce from Serious Eats, apple-cranberry pie from Cook's Illustrated (I made it 2 years ago and it is SO GOOD), and either pecan or pumpkin pie. I want to make Dorie Greenspan's pecan-pumpkin pie, but the rest of my family doesn't think it sounds good. Oh, and the world's easiest sweet potatoes that some kind 'pinner gave me the recipe for last year.

Harriet Welch

@granny squares
I am currently making some crockpot mulled cider (booze on the side). This is to make my house smell good so that I actually give a fuck about cleaning and food prep.
I'm hosting my first Thanksgiving (parents sold the homestead, so now I have the biggest house). It would be fun, except that I am pregnant so I can't get shit-canned on spiked cider and then dance to the hits of the 90's while I do the domestic.


@granny squares Everything! Turkey, mashed potatoes, whiskey glazed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole from scratch, brussels sprouts, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pie (at least an apple, probably a pumpkin for later), rolls, spiced cider. I'll have help with the cooking, and we're on year four or five of hosting, so we've got this down at this point. Also, we'll have a total of four people for dinner, so leftovers galore!


Ah I really love it@a


Wow! I almost forgot it's Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy guys. - Feed the Children

chickpeas akimbo

Yesssss blissful alone time. 4 days in which everyone assumes I'm having thanksgiving with someone else and I just get to do whatever I want.

I might get it together enough to make pancakes at some point.


@chickpeas akimbo That's how I did Halloween this year. It was great.

polka dots vs stripes

@chickpeas akimbo ......I might have to consider that for next year.

chickpeas akimbo

@polka dots vs stripes The day I realized, wait a minute, I'm adult, I don't have to do this crap that I fucking hate... it was a great day. Highly recommended course of action for misanthropes and curmudgeons.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@chickpeas akimbo I like you. As much as a misanthropic curmudgeon can like someone.


@chickpeas akimbo yeah that is the best idea, and it is also exactly what i'm doing this year. i'm excited to see who is open on seamless tomorrow, and which williamsburg bars have the best 2pm crowd.

chickpeas akimbo

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Us misanthropic curmudgeons have to stick together. But, like... separately.

chickpeas akimbo

@leonstj your plan involves putting on pants, which is impressive! Good luck to you.


My science work is not going how I want it to, unfortunately. But it's hard to be grumpy when my friend just got me an early-birthday present of kouign amann, the best cake in the world!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Who has a fun pre-Thanksgiving workout they like to do to increase their hunger before the meal?


@Beaker I've discovered the burpee... but have yet to find a motivation to do them. That could be the ticket, though.


@Beaker My condolences re: science work. Commiseration time? X_X


Stuck at the office. I was counting on leaving early this afternoon but there's an issue that will keep me here longer. I just might take an extra-long lunch to compensate.


@kristenpdx Everyone has left... except my boss, and therefore me. Blergh.


uuugh I have 4 major projects due for grad school, two due next week and I'm kiiind of screwed. Trying to get it all done today (HAH). pray for me.
Also, I LOVE thanksgiving, can't wait.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Dear Hairpin -

This year, I'm thankful for finding you. Not only do I get to laugh a lot here, but also think and share and get a better understanding through all the good people who spend time on this site. I've gotten real world friendships out of this, and for that I'm grateful.

Happy holidays; everyone be safe!


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I am thankful for the 'pin too! I should be having my holiday nap, but instead I am kvetching on the OT and it feels so good.

Also, I'm thankful for that time when I decided that going to meet someone I'd gotten to know on the internet to talk about Avatar: the Last Airbender was not a terrible idea. It was, in fact, lovely.


I front-loaded my holiday with the challenging family gathering first, and it has already happened. My sibling kind of hates our parents, but chose to visit anyhow, and spent the 24 hours I was in town in eye-rolling pasive-aggression. Cool holiday for fans of old people looking wounded. But, I got to hang with my sibling's kid that I haven't seen in a couple of years, and ate like seven enormous meals.
Then I magically avoided major east coast hell highway traffic, and later, it's on to the in-laws for Thanksgiving Two.
From here on out, all I have to worry about is being publicly asked when I'm gonna have kids!

granny squares

@frenz.lo Woot for getting the hard part over with right away!

For the children question, I am toying with the idea of saying "We already had them but decided to give them away when they refused to pull their own weight." Probably better than "Are you fucking kidding me, have you heard of boundaries?" :D


@frenz.lo I also like, "If all goes well with this gingerbread house I'm working on, I'll have plenty!!" (and then wicked cackle/mic drop)

ETA: That works if it's phrased "Are you..." for "When will you?" I'd change that to "When I get the finishing touches put on this gingerbread house." (still cackle)

Briony Fields

Oh zut, I forgot about Thanksgiving! That means the entire internet* is pretty much going to be shut down for the next four days. How am I going to distract myself?

*by which I mean, the sites I usually visit which are apparently overwhelmingly American.


@Briony Fields I am also very distressed by this. Fortunately, I have possibly over-ambitious cooking to keep me busy tomorrow (I happen to not have class), but whatever shall I do Friday?

Miss Kitty Fantastico

Our HR Director just walked around and told us to leave at 4, yay!!

Also I just bought 2 rugs for $75 (black and white stripe for kitchen, grey and white striped runner for our long, skinny "sun room") and I'm so excited for them to come in the mail! I've been waiting and waiting to find the right rugs - they're like the last two things I needed to finish up our apartment!

Also also a work update: My auction that opened last Friday is ROCKING (knock on wood) - we're almost at 60% of our total goal and we're not really expecting bidding to pick up until this weekend (it ends Monday). Yeah!


@Madeline Shoes Yay rugs! The day I put the rugs down in our new place was when I finally felt like we were really living in our place.


So my actual Thanksgiving will be spent with friends, and I am really looking forward to it. Food! Wine! Laughter! Hooray!

My weekend, however, will be spent at the in-law's. It is safe to say I am not looking forward to it even a little bit. And I made a joke to the hubs that I would need to take plenty of wine and I think that hurt his feelings, so now I have to keep my misery and boredom to myself. And, you know, to you guys! Anyone else dreading the family time?

granny squares

@coolallison I'm spending Thxgiving with my mom and friends, so I'm likely to enjoy -- but I am SO WITH YOU on the in-law thing because that's how I feel anytime I'm near my MIL. Only she frowns upon drinking. One of these days I will get a garter flask a la Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.

Which is a really long-winded way of saying GOOD LUCK. May the pain be dulled!

Harriet Welch

@coolallison IN-LAWS ARE THE WORST!
One of the reasons my family elected to move Thanksgiving to Saturday is so that I wouldn't be forced to suffer the extreme discomfort of hosting my mentally ill MIL with my family. She does a good job of ruining everything.
I usually get through dealing with her with lots and lots of whiskey.
I joked (/not joked) that I was going to avoid her at all costs while pregnant, since I can't use my usual coping mechanism. My husband did not think it was very funny. (Even though he makes MUCH meaner jokes, and spearheaded the campaign to keep holidays separate from his mom).

Good luck!


i'm not even going to see them and i dread them -- dread talking to them after!

my parents died about 5 years ago, and multiple relatives (my grandma is the worst about this) each individually expect me to travel 8+ hours to spend Thanksgiving with *them*, and feel hurt when I don't. But I don't want to spend Thanksgiving with anyone except maybe my spouse or friends or else volunteering at a homeless shelter, because it is very depressing to me to do a "family" Thanksgiving without my parents. Doing that makes me feel actively bad. The relatives don't stop to consider & be sympathetic about that -- they just feel grudging that I don't come out to spend the holiday with *them*, and are sort of passive-aggressive about it, implying that i'm wrong for not celebrating holidays the "normal" way anymore. it is just a crappy dynamic that manages to depress me every time. But definitely not enough to make the mistake of trying to do a "family" Thanksgiving again and feeling absolutely hellish. ugh.


@harebell Good for you for knowing what needs to be done and doing it. Sorry you have to deal with passive-aggressive fallout as a result. People, man, ugh.


Let's talk giving! Wo0t! I've made my allocations for the brunt of my planned giving and now I'm picking my pumpkin for the big lump of the remainder.

I'm leaning towards these folks: http://www.nyayahealth.org/ (transparent, efficient, locally empowering)

Who do y'all give to, and why? Or time-giving. I will chat about it all. :)


@adorable-eggplant Mainly Farm Sanctuary and the local Humane Society because I love the animals, and Planned Parenthood because, well, because. And now, even though this isn't a charitable thing but I am way too jazzed about it... the Wendy Davis campaign.


@coolallison Wendy Davis!!!! <3 <3 <3 I am going to wear out my feet canvasing for that amazing woman. She's on my list of politicians I am, in fact, thankful for.

granny squares

@adorable-eggplant I am unemployed, so I give my time -- I do pro bono legal work and I judge mock trials for my alma mater. :)


@granny squares Mock trials sounds like it might be pretty fun. Students in general provide a lot of amusement and as long as the cases weren't snoozy...


@adorable-eggplant Ooh, I love this thread! I think my bf and I are going to donate to the cat shelter where we got our cat. I already donated to a toy drive for the Leukemia & Lymphona Society and I'd love to donate to a hunger organization if anyone has any recommendations? Especially based in NYC?


Okay Hairpin, I know I haven't posted much but I've lurked for ages and know that this is a goldmine of wisdom.

So, can you talk to me about True Love and marriage? Did you fall in love right away or did it take some time? Is it ok if I don't feel it overwhelmingly all the time, only in occasional unexpected little bursts (love, that is.) ? Would I be doing something stupid if I married my boyfriend of four years at 26 years old? It's certainly not what I had imagined for myself, but let me tell you, he's one of a kind and the most amazing person in the world.

Here are two clichés I hear sometimes that hit me right in the insecurities. One: "I love you more every day." Nope, I love him kind of the same every day. It waxes and wanes even, although there's a certain bond that stays consistent when the fireworks and butterflies are nearly forgotten. Two: "I didn't know it was possible to love someone this much." Again, completely unrelatable. I actually thought being in love would be MORE intense. Although, it was pretty woozy and rush-y in the beginning, and I've never really been in love with anyone else.

My Mom says that "we're not a romantic family" so I shouldn't be surprised that it's not fireworks all the time. And that as far as marriage, no one can really know for sure what the future holds, even if they do feel certain when they walk down the aisle. I want to feel certain, though-- but is that just not the kind of person I am?

And what about major differences in socio-economic backgrounds, and significant differences in political beliefs?

We've been through a lot, and made it through a lot of circumstances that probably should've torn us apart. So I hope that bodes well for our future. Thoughts?


@emsiela One thing I had to realized is that, at least for me, marriage isn't like the movies. Some days, I like him. Other days, not so much. As long as you like him more than you don't like him, I think you're doing okay.

He and I came from different socio-economic backgrounds, which has led to a little friction when it comes to money, but we've only been married 2 years and I think we both still have some learning to do. Different political beliefs might be harder, though I guess I'm not sure. I get really political at times, and I appreciate that my husband is, for the most part, in agreement with me. But if you have different political beliefs and have made it 4 years, then I don't think it's that big of a deal?

I have no idea if I've said anything helpful. Sorry.


@coolallison You have, you have! The political differences are like, I am more focused on social justice issues and he is more concerned about drones and spying and has some strong libertarian leanings that drive me NUTS, but whenever we argue about it he usually concludes with "look, I know you're better educated and probably smarter than me about this stuff, but this is how I relate to the world and these are the issues I think are most important." So, I just let it go and it's not too bad.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@emsiela I'll be real: the only time I've ever felt "I never knew I could love someone this much" was with my dog. And my nieces and nephews, because babies do that sometimes.


@emsiela I think what you're describing sounds like a normal, healthy relationship! I mean, obviously everyone is going to have a different idea of how much passion (or fireworks or whatever) they require in a long-term relationship, but I wouldn't worry about living up to some imaginary ideal, provided that you're happy. I'm getting married next year after being with my partner for nine years, and my experience is similar to what you and coolallison describe -- sometimes I feel romantic and mushy about him, sometimes he's annoying, and most of the time it's something in between...a kind of warm connectedness and companionship.

I'd also recommend checking out A Practical Wedding on this topic. Despite the title, a lot of the content is less about wedding planning and more about all stages of being partnered with someone (thinking about getting engaged, thinking about leaving a marriage, etc.), and they do a good job of critiquing the dominant cultural narratives about relationships that can make a lot of us feel like we're doing it wrong. They also post a lot about managing differences with your partner, like different religious or political views, and the responses to those pieces are always really great for reminding me that everybody struggles with these things.

Briony Fields

@emsiela the last time I fell in love, it happened over a few months but there was no question once I realized it that I loved him very deeply. No, it wasn't butterflies constantly but over the 2.5 years we were together, I was always thrilled to hear from him and just enjoyed him and our time together so thoroughly.

Every relationship is different, though. My sister has been with her husband for ten years and she admitted it wasn't super passionate with him, but he's a steady, kind, funny man who we all adore and she's very happy with her decision to marry him. So....each situation is just so individual and ultimately it's up to you. Sorry! That seems very unhelpful. Good luck!


@CheddarBiscuit THIS. When I hear "fireworks all the time" all I can think of is my last relationship, which was seriously dysfunctional and beautiful and passionate. I was miserable. It's a cliché that passion burning bright burns itself out, but it was true for me.
ETA- so don't blame "We're not a romantic family" –romance in the Hollywood sense is highly overrated and is, by and large, creepy, stalkerish, non-consensual and non-boundary-respecting behaviour.

Harriet Welch

@emsiela I call bullshit on the "I love you more every day". Sure, some people feel that way, but I think it's a little cliche and people don't really feel that way.
There are days where I do NOT love my husband more than I loved him the day before. Any time someone says this I think of the two days in my marriage that disprove this to me. One day, my wonderful husband snuck out of bed, turned the heater up obscenely high so I would be warm, left the house and came home with coffee, bagels and flowers. The next day, we got in some dumb fight in the car and I made him pull over so I could get out and he left me on the side of the road.
I 100% did not love the husband who left me on the side of the road more than the one who turned the heater up to lure me out of bed. I think waxing and waning is the normal state of things and is fine and healthy.

The second thing, abut the "fireworks all the time"- I also can't stand that. I had a very passionate relationship with a dirt-bag. It was very fireworks all the time-y. It SUCKED it was unhealthy and stupid. I knew I was in love with my husband when on Day 10 of knowing each other, we sat on the couch eating pasta and watching Netflix and there was a warm, nice content feeling. No fireworks. We got engaged 3 days later and then married 4 months after that. People assume all the time there must have been some kind of love-at-first-sight, fireworks kind of situation. Not so, it was more that we felt so comfortable and happy we just couldn't imagine wanting to go through the drama and rigamarole of dating when we liked just being us.

Don't let weird hallmark cliches turn you off of marrying someone you want to marry.



People have already responded with such thoughtful comments. Especially knocking the "I love him more every day" crock (it's ups and downs -- relationships grow cyclically too) and the difference between the fireworks of infatuation and the steady strength of long-term love.

I just wanted to add that, for me, real love, the type that is strong enough to get married on, is measured not so much by how passionate you *feel* subjectively (infatuation is notoriously deceptive in this regard) but rather what you'd be willing to do with and for him. as in: do you feel comfortable having him make life-and-death medical decisions for you if you're incapacitated, rather than a parent? could you open a shared bank account and feel good about it? the million-dollar question: can you trust him to be generous if something really awful happens to you and you need support? actions or potential actions that show you can trust each other -- those count a lot more than subjective fluttery feelings to me.


@emsiela I get where you're coming from, because there are sentiments like that to which I can't relate at all, like, "From the moment I met him/her, I just knew." I'm roughly the same age as you & been dating my bf roughly the same amount of time, and I'm still not 100% sold on marriage. There are people in my life who think I should know by now or be headed down that path, and it's hard to articulate why I'm not ready for that commitment yet. To me marriage is a decision that has serious legal and financial implications, more so than proof that you're really in love with someone. Do you support each other? Do you have productive fights? How do you deal with each other's families? Do you share the same values and vision for where your life is going? Are you friends? Are you on the same page as far as kids, grad school, where you want to live? I'm like 90% of the way there w/ my guy, but I feel like I'm still growing up.

As far as your differences, one thing I've been learning is that our differences can also be what makes us a strong partnership. For example, my bf and I want very different things out of our careers, and it took me a long time to realize that that actually makes us more compatible, not less. There will always be things that aren't perfect. I think the boring stuff like communication and responsibility is more important than the fireworks, personally.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose True fucking that. My dog is a dangerous and really difficult beast, but I love her in a way I thought is reserved for a human child that comes out of your own body.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose agree - I love my dog more every day. I have never felt that way about a person.


Hai! Been reading The Hairpin for a while, new to the comments section.

Happy Thanksgivikkah!

like a rabid squirrel

I'm currently sitting in an empty classroom because our University doesn't cancel classes the day before Thanksgiving, meaning that all the TAs have to show up even though all of the students head home. I have one section at 3, and another at 4:30. All I want to do is go drink wine with my boyfriend, who is visiting from out of town. D:


This week with the Bergy Bits
(I'm thankful for those cute lil buggers, here's what they've been up to!)

The Diva has developed an obsession with earrings so we got crafty on the weekend and I made them some "earrings" and a "princess crown" with construction paper and bread twist-ties. She took one look in my pocket mirror, her little face lit up and she exclaimed "I'm a princess!"

"Guess what Dimples? You get to wear ballerina pajamas tonight!"
"No! I want to wear...[*thrilled face*] ROBOTS!"

2 packets of balloons: $3.
3 toddlers losing their minds with joy over balloons: priceless.

They hoovered up a 1-pound bag of baby carrots in one sitting, because we gave them ranch dressing (which The Clown calls "branch") to dip them in. The Diva ran out of carrots, tipped up her little tub of dressing and began drinking it.

Diva, to Clown: "[pointing at My Little Pony] That's a girl's toy! [pointing at dinosaur] This is a boy's toy." Obviously she hasn't heard of Bronies. I guess gender-norm enforcing has kicked in at daycare :S


@iceberg Yeeeeaaaaaaaaaahhh ranch dressing shots!

Harriet Welch


Amazing!! I teach preschool and whenever we give kids a vegetable with ranch for snack, they always just suck the ranch off of the vegetables.

Fuck the gender-norm enforcing daycare! That is the worst. One of the things I LOVE about the place I work is how militantly we oppose it. You probably couldn't walk the halls without hearing someone say "There are no boy_____ or girl ______ there are just _______" (colors/toys/hairstyles/dressup costumes).
It's normal for kids to do it, but it sucks that your school is reinforcing it.

Clara Morena

@iceberg I love your stories. down with the the gender-norm in daycare!

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@iceberg Thank you for keeping up with your weekly BBs stories. They're so cute.

And I say let the kids play with whatever they want to play with! My cousin's 1-year old daughter is starting to play with her 3-year-old brother and his toys, and she likes some of his toy cars, and so far no one has told her not to and I hope it continues that way. (My family does seem to reinforce gender roles more than I'd like them to, especially with kids, but I hope they won't be strict about things like toys, especially not when the kids are so small!)


I volunteered last minute to make latkes for tomorrow. Anyone have a favorite recipe?


@Audley - We always made ours in a meat grinder, but I bet a box grater would work too.

Peel all the potatoes and skin 1 onion for every 3 potatoes.

Grind on the loosest die (or grate I guess) 3 potatoes, then 1 onion, then 3 potatoes, then 1 onion, back and forth.

We would always grind them directly into water, so the potato wouldn't oxidize. Then, just mix it all up, grab a latke-ish sized clump, make a ball, press between a clean dishtowel to get the water off, and pan fry.

Simple as heck!


for those of you following my asking-out-a-crush saga, after a paltry two weeks of dating, he has informed me that he would like to be just friends. i don't know how he went from holding my face in my hands, telling me he was so happy that i asked him out, to wanting to be just friends, but there you have it.

luckily, it is thanksgiving, the ideal time to eat one's feelings. and i'm doing okay, more or less. i mean, i am upset and disappointed but also...frustrated and kind of pissed off? those are some mashed potato feelings, if i ever had any.

Clara Morena

@yeah-elle He is obviously someone not worthy of you. I'm sorry about crush boy. hug?


@clara morena thanks, really. HUG!


@yeah-elle Also, it is never too early to start the eggnog dranking. Tis the season! It does not diminish your awesomeness for tossing your hat in the ring. Boys r dumb.


oh, barf. the best revenge is always living your own life really well and enjoying it, though, so in a way that is a good challenge/reminder to go out and do some of the things you've been meaning to for a long time, or learn a new skill. and have a fantastic cozy thanksgiving far away from him!


@yeah-elle TEPID DUDES TO THE LEFT. Sorry, though. :(
Imagine, if you hadn't asked him out you'd probably still be pining over him and thinking he is the cat's pajamas. Instead, you are a badass with a bunch of imminent amazing food options.


thanks, guys! it is you who are truly the cat's pajamas, all of you.

honey cowl

@yeah-elle Girl, that happened to me SO HARD a few years ago, and I cannot believe how much I pined or how long it took me to get over. Actually, wait, that happened to me TWICE! I feel your pain!

Treat yo' self, it will be okay in the long run even if it's not okay now!!!!

Harriet Welch

Are there any scientists here? Why the hell are all of the scientists working all of a sudden?
My husband is a scientist, but he also performs an essential support function for the research his lab does. So, everyone is basically cramming and he has not been home before 10pm any day in the last two weeks and there have been at least three times where he didn't get home before 4am.

I am 6.5 months pregnant and on "modified duty" due to pulling a muscle in my abdomen. I can't bend, lift or do basically anything. So our house is a mess, we're hosting Thanksgiving (Saturday, thankfully), and I am struggling with not really being able to clean or prep much and my poor, dear husband is exhausted and also feeling guilty about not being around to help.

I am also struggling with not being able to add all of the whiskey to the crock-pot of cider I have going (which is cooking in order to cover up the fact that I will be unable to clean my smelly carpet). THAT would motivate me to spend the next three days doing about an hour's worth of house work.


@Harriet Welch My dude is a scientist and works ridiculous hours. But loves what he does, so it works for him. I think it must be everything-is-due season, though, because it has gone from amusingly over-the-top to I think you're micronapping midsentence now...

And thank goodness for crock pots! And scents. I am not above boiling a pot of water with spices if I need a mood boost. A few drops of eucalyptus oil in a pot of boiling water also works a charm for fostering the illusion of cleanliness. ;)


@Harriet Welch If your husband's lab gets funding through NSF, that might explain some of it. There's a bunch of due dates coming up precipitously at the end of November/beginning of December for their applications. The due dates for NIH R01 grants are also coming up in January.

Another reason might be that, they're working on reviewer suggested experiments for a paper submitted. Those have a month deadline, usually, for revisions/addressing peer review concerns.

The wooorst is when a piece of equiptment isn't available 'till the dead of the night. Have definitely spent a couple of evenings with the microscopes before due to that.

Harriet Welch

@Harriet Welch
I'm glad to hear it's not just the weird, slack-tastic jerk-faces he works with (they are notoriously 4 hours late, call him on Sunday to ask where he is, don't fill out paperwork, leave giant messes...).
He loves his job too. I usually love his job for him because he finds it stimulating and rewarding. Plus, he's doing big, important work. I can passionately justify his absence from home given the circumstances.
Today, however, the dog dumped a pound of sugar on the floor and shredded two sticks of butter all over the house. I calmly told my husband I would take care of it, dropped him off to do science, then came home and cried.
What kind of il and spices can I boil to make it look like scar-face and Paula Deen have not thrown a party in my living room?


@Harriet Welch The jerk-face behavior from his co-workers is probably not helping. I used to tech, and at one point wound up having to lay down the law, as it were. Advanced notice is necessary for me to prepare 5 extra liters of media just for you, people. :P

Sounds like it has been a rough day for you already! My sympathies.

If you already have rosemary and/or bay leaves around the house, those smell great when left to simmered on a stove. Really, anything aromatic can be simmered on a stove as the sneakiest room scenting materials ever.

(Ahahaha, I'm also at lab today, ahahahaa.)


@Harriet Welch Oh man, I am more tempted than ever to get the commiseration thread going on the regular in the Open Thread, because, guuuurl. You get a hug.

[awkward introvert hug, because that is my style]

Harriet Welch

You hit the nail on the head! His boss has an R01 in the works. They are busting ass to get the worst jerk-face published so he can GTFO (which will make the world a better place) and they had a veritable fuck-ton of submissions and grant proposals going out. Some of their projects are actually getting some really interesting stuff, and there's a conference in February that they need to submit to present at.
My husband is a tech/lab manager/still has his own projects. He does flow-cytometry and is basically the only person on campus who can/will do it. It makes him a busy person. Luckily, his PI is AMAZING and is always actively trying to find ways to make our lives easier. He joked/not joked that as a baby present he's getting my husband an assistant.

I am with you on the laying down of the law! I have urged him many times to set firmer boundaries. The problem is, he comes up with these systems that he thinks will "force" people into sucking less. Turns out, people who suck just don't follow the system anyway. Although, one genius thing he did, was fix a machine to not give the user access to their data without filling out the use log :) that way he was able to track down the people who routinely left the place a mess or who didn't refill tubes or ring and whatever. They still screw it up, but at least he can bitch at them personally AND the use log gets filled out. He doesn't do conflict well, so he's working on passive ways to force compliance.

and adorable-eggplant

Thank you so much. It's so weird how the internet can make me feel better and awkward introvert internet hugs are the best.
I try super-duper hard to not bitch about my husband to my real-life people. They are wonderful, but they tend to be more emotionally involved and they get upset at him. THAT is not the goal. I am not upset at my husband. I am upset at the damn dog for making messes and my stupid house that doesn't clean itself.

Also, did I mention that I am pregnant, so weird crying is kinda just a regular day for me...

In happy news: The cider wasn't cutting it, so I took ya'll advice and threw some random shit on the stove. Lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon and an apple that was a bit past the eating stage. I also turned the heater to 75 and put on some Hulu. I got the dog mess cleaned up and now I am feeling much better about my life.


@Harriet Welch OMG, just the R01 submissions make entire labs crazy already what with the funding cut-off percentiles being what they are right now, and it sounds like they have way more than just that going on. O_O

Your husband's PI sounds pretty awesome (which- win!), maybe he ought to go through the boss about setting boundaries/advanced notice? Just a thought. PIs are basically the rulers of their own little fiefdoms, aka labs, so it might have more weight than your husband trying to system the grad students into submission.

Harriet Welch

@Harriet Welch
This particular grad student (the worst one EVER!) is on his third lab. It's the department head's mission to get him graduated, so there is a lot of pressure on the PI to do that.
The PI routinely has "come to Jesus" meetings and lab cleanliness/don't fuck the lab manager talks. This guy just does.not.fucking.care. He will be alright for a couple of days, then he comes back with a vengeance.
To add insult to injury, he likes to tell new people and underlings that certain things don't really need to be done (namely, the things that my husband says do need to get done). He is a super privileged person and he has never had a job with a boss that could fire him. He does not acknowledge the role of the "lab manager". He says that person is just in charge of ordering. He also just thinks that rules don't apply to him.
The PI, while AMAZING, is very new at being a PI and is a new lab.They have only been up and running for a few years and, because he got shafted with the dregs of society to start with, the lab has not graduated as many people as the PI would have liked. AND while having a ton of science kind of stuff on his plate, he also has a very...erm...interesting family development. I.E. his family imploded and he made a new family and now has 4 kids under the age of three.

IDK. It seems like science is a bizarro land where you basically can't get fired.


@Harriet Welch ...how has someone not murdered this dude? He is SO wrong, even if the lab manager was only in charge of ordering, that is whom you depend on to have all your supplies for your experiments!

I'm honestly kind of surprised someone hasn't just told that guy to GTFO of their program/grad school. That...would not fly around here.

Science is a bizarro land where policies/what is acceptable vary wildly depending on PIs, boss of PIs, and like, everything. Everything.


@celeec4@twitter I had the same thought! But then I wondered if my observation was of an unusually harsh department (seriously, the impression I get from what I've seen around here is that you pull your weight or get put on an ice floe: and that's actually kind of reasonable when you think about how interdependent everyone is for results/things not going pear-shaped). But if it's a young PI, maybe they aren't used to laying down the law yet? Or maybe this dude can pull a rabbit out of the hat sometimes? Or someone owes someone else a major favor?

It's so hard to be supportive (or vent about how hard it is without making it seem like it's worse than it is, too) when it's feast or famine as far as stress. Like, there's a deadline and suddenly that's just it... everything else goes out the window. Or the just semi-constant travel. Did I not just drive you to the airport for a conference? Was 5am the ONLY time you could get a flight? The funniest moment, so far, in retrospect [because I didn't snap] was after I'd sent a text to my boyfriend that was something like, "I have peanut butter sandwiches. We are having lunch. Period." Then about 15 minutes later we were sitting in the building lobby having our sandwiches and my boyfriend's co-investigator person came down and said, "I'm just going to borrow him for a minute." And then proceeded to ask about a million questions. Never before had a peanut butter sandwich been eaten so sullenly. Fifteen minutes. I mean, do they follow each other to the bathroom? Argh.

But then there's the joyful moments, which are awesome, and the calm moments, which are awesome.

Harriet Welch

IDK two other PIs have told him to GTFO. He's had to change gears and even had to change programs finally. Basically, my husband's lab got piggy-backed onto the center-director's funding so they got their extra lab space, people etc. until the PI could be funded with his own lab. For some ungodly reason, this guy is the department chair's project (I won't say pet. Everyone hates him) so it's everyone's goal to get him graduated.

The politics are such: the current center director would like to focus on some outside projects and is actively looking for someone to "take the reigns" within the next five years. There are basically 2 competitors, and everyone is trying to get as much stuff published and funded as possible since the director puts a lot of weight on outcomes and not a lot of emphasis on a smooth-running lab.

It's not a bad research facility. It's definitely one of the best in the region. I hear they're like 12 in the country among public schools. IDK what the deal is. I would hate to be the PI that has to write a reference letter for that person.

@eggplant hahaha I have had ALL of those conversations. It's amazing. When I worked part time I would always bring him lunch. People would stop to talk to him and I would kind of joke/not joke "Sorry, you get him the other 23.5 hours today, I get him now. See you!"
That only works because I am very visible in the lab. I have given presentations at lab meeting about talking to little kids, using Prezi etc. I also make cupcakes for everyone's birthdays and babysit the PIs kids when they can't go to daycare. Everyone recognizes the insanity that is my husband's work life and they usually are very understanding when I'm finally like "Nope. Sorry"

Funny story: My husband is presenting at a huge conference with lots of exciting data (everything he is working on now) THREE DAYS before my due date. I told his PI he could have him then, but then he gets to take a whole month of paternity leave. (We have a running joke about all employment negotiations going through me)
Now we always say "bye honey, I'll see you in March"


@adorable-eggplant Ahahah, ice-floe'd, that's a fun way to put it, but yeah. Maybe I'll use that phrase next time someone asks me about my 1st grad school lab.

@Harriet Welch It sucks that it sounds like this dude is the beneficiary of the dept chair's determination to say x% of grad students we take graduate. Hopefully, things will become less crazy once jerkface no.1 is out of the lab. People underestimate how awesome it is to be in a smoothly running lab.


@Harriet Welch You are a saint. And also brilliant. I did send cookies once because I had leftovers after a party and also dropped off a pizza during an all-nighter, so perhaps I should start cashing in those good will points.

It's sort of like having a significant other who plays the weirdest team sport ever, with short but intense seasons. It does help knowing the other people in the lab as real people (rather than just the jerks who sometimes call at odd hours) and it can be nice to root for them in their various tasks.

The funding and politics stuff is just a whole other layer of stress that I cannot even fathom. And reviewers. And all of it really.

Hats off to you @celeec4@twitter, for being down in the trenches yourself. I'm in constant awe of the folks that have the fortitude to make it happen.

Clara Morena

Ok, I made a plan. Next Thursdays, I will give Arch-boy a letter with my contact info and asking him out.
Is this a horrible idea or a terrible idea?

This is what I wrote
I know you are probably drowning in school work and reading ,so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I think you are cute and smart and I am wondering if you wanna get some coffee some time.
If you do/interested feel free to text me.

If you do not want to, please DO not text apologizing . I can handle rejection I cannot handle pity.

Am I getting into the Carrie Bradshaw obsession territory here?

isabelle bleu

@ clara morena Hooray!! DO ask the Arch-Boy out. What an exhilarating sense of Doing A Thing you will feel afterward! Very not Carrie Bradshaw of you.
If I may - - I suggest that you cut out the end line "If you do not want to.." as there's no need to instruct him in what to do if he's not interested. Let him work it out in his own way. You can always delete a sad "Sorry, no" text, or mock it amongst friends later! I say, sally forth with confidence! Don't make it seem that you anticipate uninterest! Stun with your irresistible awesomeness!

Clara Morena

@isabelle bleu Thank you so much for the feedback! I will do that.


@clara morena I am not familiar with the Arch-boy saga but I second the above advice from isabelle and think you're good to go otherwise!

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@ clara morena I second Isabelle's advice! Go you! You're being direct and going for it.

Clara Morena

@zamboni Thank you! :D

Clara Morena

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) aww, thank you!


I'm making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I'm my own boss. This is what I do, www.Best96.com


I'm making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I'm my own boss. This is what I do, www.Best96.com

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish I was eating turkey.

I also wish I could find someone to come to a party with me tomorrow for free, but I've asked like five people and none of them can go! Why do I always have trouble finding people to go to things with me, even when it's for free?


@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) Are your friends mostly introverts? I have a particularly awesome friend who is often inviting me to things (local theater, picnics, cool stuff) and I am always like, "But didn't you realize I have a date with my couch and netflix?" Because my battery needs to charge forever before I am ready to be Out and About. So maybe it would help to find a like-minded stuff doer for 99% of activity doing, and then ask other folks along once in a blue moon [I do leave my house, I swear!].

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@adorable-eggplant Not all of them are, no. It might be that this particular instance is just due to schedules not working out - lots of friends have work on Friday night or Saturday morning, and one of them is going through some family stuff.
I guess I just have bad luck when it comes to these things. I think I also just have to admit to myself that to most people, I'm that friend who gets invited to things when people are in large groups. I don't have a lot of friends who are big on going to a concert/movie/whatever that I want to go to even if they don't want to go, and I don't get that many random invites if two or three people are getting together for a quick bite or something. I'll usually last-minute invites when a mutual friend is visiting from out of town or something.

I probably sound really lonely and whiny! I swear I'm not always this bad (or maybe I am, I don't know.)


@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) No, whining is totally what open threads are for! It's therapeutic.


@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) Haha what when is a party not free???

Also I would go to a party with you where I didn't know anyone. Just imagine me (this stranger here) there, wearing a too-low-cut dress, taking my shoes off an hour in because I "thought maybe I CAN wear heels actually" and asking men I don't know to tell me what they think about the concept of masculinity. Then play off that.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@LaLoba You're hired! (For another time.)

I had one extra free ticket to this party (because yes, this particular party required tickets) but couldn't find just one friend to go with me, which is basically the story of my life, so through some subterfuge I managed to get two friends to come with and just bought another ticket, because I'm not so great at going to parties and stuff by myself.

My friends had an okay time. I guess I'm also not great at making things more fun for people. womp womp.


I suggest that you cut out the end line "If you do not want to.." as there's no need to instruct him in what to do if he's not interestedbuffet infantil niterói

Leoliva Görsel Sanatlar

Everyone has left... except my boss, and therefore me. Blergh.


It is the day after thanksgiving, and I am making up for having semi-secretly quit my job due to a culmination of freeway anxiety attacks and dreams of self-harm by selling off all the collectible doll clothes and furniture I had as a child, and building connections to potentially become an all-but-in-name discreet prostitute.

I'm taking the GRE tomorrow, and as far as I am concerned, a Master's in Lit will solve all my problems.

I don't have a boyfriend, I have been telling people whom I love that I love them and decided to no longer be afraid of acting on sexual impulse. I'm supposed to be using my "time off" to write heavily, which has partially been successful, but December awaits. If I can't find some wacky way to snare alternative cash or employment, I'm taking out a school loan and going back to community college in January. I'll take any class available that lets me touch gears with my hands or draw a circuit.

My choices of late might seem risky, but I don't care. I may not have another opportunity in life to impulsively act for my psychological interest alone, with nobody else depending on me except for a scrappy dog. And I don't want to spend another second of my life helping old racists make money.

Clara Morena

@LaLoba I have nothing useful to type besides to write good luck on your GRE


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