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On Friday Open Thread

This has been an absolute bully of a winter, you guys. In addition to colds and flus and money woes, my father-in-law died rather unexpectedly just before Christmas (he got sick around Thanksgiving and had ups and downs before taking a rapid turn for the worse). My mother-in-law is very sweet, and is clearly grieving. But she's also only thinking about herself - she has not offered any support to her children (my husband and his sisters), has not asked them how they are doing, dismisses their arguments that they might want some of their dad's things and keeps trying to throw out the boxes in the basement. Every time she wants to do something it's a crisis situation and has to be done NOW. She also doesn't seem to understand the concept of now being on a budget (deceased FIL was the sole earner) and keeps buying things "from savings" that she can't afford (including a new car!) and with a bashful smile keeps telling me that she hasn't cared to cook or clean since FIL died. I finally called her out on this last one - she didn't do that stuff before, he did, and it's only now that she's noticing.

This is so frustrating because I have no idea how to navigate it. Is this a normal part of grieving? Is this just her? Would it be possible to ask her to have some compassion for her kids and their own grief? Any other advice on how to help my husband deal with this loss would also be helpful.

And now if you'll excuse me, I need to locate some chocolate.

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm 1

On What You've Named Your Outlets For Maternal Feelings

Though I don't live in NYC, if I did my spaniel Lucy would be either a Yorkie living on the upper west side or a Shih Tzu living in brooklyn. Not sure how I feel about that.

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 11:07 am 0

On Beauty Q&A: Remember Crystal Gayle?

@queenofbithynia Yes and no. I work in DC too, and sometimes look at myself in the mirror in the morning and say "I have to change; I look like the intern." Usually that happens when I'm wearing a cardigan and a pleated/swing skirt and flats (less so the pencil skirt). I think it's an exercise in trial and error.

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm 0

On Beauty Q&A: Remember Crystal Gayle?

@breccia I'm 30 and skew about 5 years younger. It's not as much of a problem now, but when I was just starting out as a professional (with a graduate degree) I used to get asked if I was the intern. In fact, I went to a meeting early last summer and the girl next to me (bless her heart) asked if it was my first day as an intern too.

My trick is generally to wear neutrals or bold colors (e.g. black, grey, navy, purple, olive, red, etc.) and no pastels. I also wear bold patterns (stripes, etc.) but no ditsy florals. Wear heels if you can manage, and modern-ish statement jewelry. Sadly, anything with a "vintage" vibe is going to make you look a bit twee. Stay away from skater skirts. Pencil skirts, silk blouses/shells, and cardigans/blazers are your friend.

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm 0

On He Doesn't Know If You've Been Bad or Good

@leon s I always ask for pajamas and socks, on the assumption that even if they're ugly as all get-out, I will still wear them and thus be able to tell the giver that I use them all the time.

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm 0

On He Doesn't Know If You've Been Bad or Good

Re: elf on the shelf, I agree it is creepy as all get-out. I prefer my co-worker's strategy. She tells kids that all the security cameras you see in the grocery store, at the mall, in Target, etc., all send a private video feed to the north pole. Kids are most likely to act out in public, and you can tell them "Santa's watching!" without having to rely on a creepy magical elf that moves around the house by itself at night.

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm 0

On Toy Guns, Barbies, Open Pill Bottles...

My mom hated strawberry shortcake too! And Cabbage Patch Kids were "too creepy."

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm 0

On Toy Guns, Barbies, Open Pill Bottles...

@Springtime for Voldemort Same here. There weren't specific bans, but I lived in constant fear of my mom finding me watching anything on TV other than PBS. I distinctly remember getting in trouble once for watching "Home Improvement," which is pretty innocent as sitcoms go.

So I was the kid in first grade who knew who Gorbachev was, but didn't have a clue about the Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles.

Also: no barbies (unless they came as gifts), nothing religious (long story), no books with swear words or sex in them (which became really hard to regulate once I was past the Babysitters Club, and no pants (as in, dresses, always. Unless it was the weekend). I'm pretty sure my parents were convinced we lived in 1957.

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm 0

On Have You Voted Yet, Are You About to Vote, When Are You Voting

@snuffleupagus (not that I'm bitter or anything...)

Posted on November 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm 0

On Have You Voted Yet, Are You About to Vote, When Are You Voting

@Probs Mine was run moderately well, but the lines were ridiculous. I waited 2 hours (after waiting maybe half an hour in 2008). In DC! Where our votes really don't even count for anything!

Posted on November 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm 0