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I caught my new nanny doing drugs
An idle thought when hiring future nannies - if one of them discovers an employer filming her secretly for unknown purposes, you may develop entirely different retention rate issues. No one I know - and I do know a couple of career nannies who have, to my knowledge, no dubious habits - would stay in a home like that one minute longer than needed.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:44 AM on July 25, 2014

Please help me become a more likable, better person.
Think about your past close friendships - how did you meet those people? What did you talk about? What made you feel close to them? Now that you're older, you may be missing the things that enabled those relationships to grow - maybe you saw those people more regularly, or had certain types of interactions with them, and as a result you could built up trust and they could see the appealing sides of your personality. There are ways to recreate some of that stuff in adult life - in particular,... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:10 PM on July 22, 2014

How to leave work for job interviews?
Exercise accident/back injury and PT? I actually did have an old injury kick back up and needed weekly PT appointments for a while, and because it was an old injury, I wasn't actually visibly injured.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:20 AM on July 19, 2014

Looking for eggplant recipes
Seconding microwave suggestion - it's Cooks Illustrated-recommended, for one thing, and IME it really cuts down cook-time and oil.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2014

Desperately searching for new webcomics
You've seen A Redtail's Dream, right?

If you are interested in comics on paper, you might enjoy Berlin, which is beautifully drawn and has a plotline set in lesbian circles in the Weimar Republic.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:33 AM on July 17, 2014

Help a young male create his capsule wardrobe!
I would look at all the "essential wardrobe" pieces and then do some thinking. (They always tell you that you need white shirts, frex, and white shirts aren't flattering on many complexions and are best worn under a suit unless white is a really good color for you.)

$1000 will not get you a suit, dress shoes and supplementary miscellany worth the name unless you go used and pay for tailoring. And even then, you'll have one suit and some miscellany. I would... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2014

I don't know how to deal with my sister-help?
You know, I could easily see saying "I bet it's going to be a big baby" when I specifically meant "it looks like there's a high baby-to-pregnancy-weight ratio going on there" and was thinking of that as a neutral observation. Granted, that would be a stupid thing to say, and I'm glad you said it first so that I will never.

Are you sort of a science-y person who makes these observations thinking they're neutral? I get that a little bit from the... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:34 PM on July 10, 2014
(my point being the if you're a certain type of oddball, you may think "this is a neutral observation" when it is totally not experienced that way, and you - like me! - need to watch that so as not to hurt others.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:37 PM on July 10, 2014

And then he pulls out... the domestic violence card...?
I do not like the sound of this at all.

I'm assuming that by "hit the side of his body" you mean "gently poked at him" - kind of like kicking someone gently under the table to get them to stop being rude or elbowing them for the same purpose. I agree that this is a bad habit to have - it used to seem completely natural to me, since it's a normal kind of joking physicality the way I grew up, is never intended to hurt and is not consciously intended... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:44 AM on July 9, 2014
It also occurs to me that most of the people I know who do that "oh, you!" little smack, or elbow someone to get them to stop telling off-color jokes or whatever - are women. And that the underlying issue is "a gentle poke can be passed off as just a joke, but actually saying 'stop telling racist jokes' will provoke conflict". I think that while women can absolutely commit domestic violence, and while no one should do the... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:07 AM on July 9, 2014 marked best answer

handling cat-care while on vacation
I would never, ever leave my cat at someone's house if I thought there was a possibility of the cat getting loose - and it seems like a cat in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people is much more likely to bolt and then really run away, as opposed to going out into the yard for a look-see.

I would hire a pet sitter, if possible, or pay a friend or the responsible teenage children of a friend (responsible ones only). Failing that, I'd much prefer the vet, since... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:06 AM on July 9, 2014 marked best answer

I don't want to talk about that, but I don't want to stonewall, either
The way you describe this makes me very uneasy.

Do you feel that in general your wife respects your boundaries and this journal-reading/intrusive-questioning thing is only about this one topic? Or is she this way about a lot of stuff? If it's about a lot of stuff, this sounds like a really bad scene.

What does your therapist think about this situation? Does your therapist have any... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:46 AM on July 8, 2014
You know what? I think you should leave her. I really do. I looked at all those other questions and I think you should split up.

Think about this - you're my age, you're getting on for forty. We don't have infinite time in life, our risks for cancer, cardiac events and just general decline are starting to climb. Do you want to be in this relationship for another twenty or thirty years? Do you want to look back when you have something terminal and say "this... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:59 AM on July 8, 2014

So my Mom is on low carb diet and her birthday is coming up...
You know what I just had that was delicious? I mean, it has fruit and I'm not sure how much fruit you can get on a low carb diet, but it was really good. And while it seems weird, I can get the two ingredients at Cub (go to the gluten free/Bob's Red Mill/variety flour section for the hemp seeds). So anyway....fresh mango pulp topped with hemp seeds. It sounds absolutely bizarre, but a friend of mine made some and told me I had to try it, and it was amazing - partly because... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:43 AM on July 8, 2014
(I apologize for the not-low-carb suggestion - I should have checked.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:31 AM on July 8, 2014

Why won't Mexicans speak Spanish with me?
Yeah, this seems very much like a "build a relationship first, then ask permission" situation. There's an awful lot of stuff that comes up on metafilter - like asking people about their jobs or where they are from, asking about their gender, asking about childhood stuff - where it seems like the governing answer should be "if there is a possibility that talking about/doing [THING] is going to be uncomfortable or put a person at some kind of risk [of being outed, losing their job,... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:13 AM on July 8, 2014

Transitioning to a Vegan Diet
I actually have gone back and forth on being vegan - sometimes I'm a committed 100% vegan, sometimes I have lapses involving eggs and cheese. But that's more about my issues with food and stress than about actual vegan lifestyle stuff. Here are a few thoughts from when I started being vegan:

1. I chose a time when my routine was already disrupted - I was doing a week of volunteering and for activism-specific reasons it was going to be very easy for me to access vegan... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:53 AM on July 7, 2014

Helping him but not forcing it
I think you should tell him that if he won't take steps to get some kind of treatment, you'll leave him, and if those steps are not taken by [time], you'll leave.

Don't drop out of school. Leave him first, if that's what it comes down to. Dropping out of school - even if you go back and finish later - has a lot, a lot of costs associated with it and will really hurt you in the long run.

There are three likely scenarios... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2014 marked best answer

I want to apologize like a BOSS
I'm going to assume that this is a great relationship being borked by stress, and that basically everyone is grumpy and feeling worse about things than they normally would.

I'd suggest getting his favorite dinner tonight and spending the night doing something fun but low key. Call or text him, ask him what he'd like and make it happen. Don't frame it as "oh, I am such a screw-up, I must apologize" just say that you're sorry breakfast didn't happen and you... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:01 AM on July 3, 2014 marked best answer

Is this turkey safe to eat?
Would you eat a turkey lunchmeat sandwich that had been sitting in a bag lunch for a couple hours, one of which was unrefrigerated? I would and have.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2014

Maybe we are stuck-up jerks.
I have lived in Chicago and Minneapolis.

Things I miss about Chicago: good Italian, good Greek, good French, good Polish; broad choice of independent bookstores; multiple neighborhoods that basically do the same thing but different (ie, there are multiple neighborhoods that are sorta artsy; multiple areas with good bookstores; multiple left-wing spaces, and they're all slightly different. Here I feel like it's pretty much the hippie boite,... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:55 PM on June 29, 2014 marked best answer
It is true - there aren't donuts. I mean, I have had some very fine donuts from various non-donut-centric pastry shops, and I've had some very disappointing overpriced hipster donuts but I never in all my life thought I would miss Dunkin' Donuts. I thought donuts were a great cultural universal, and you'd think that - due to our collective fondness for fried things, starches and sweets - donuts would be a natural food here. But no!... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:44 AM on June 30, 2014

not technically depressed but is this as good as it gets?
I don't know what will happen with you, but it takes a long time to get better.

I have always been an anxious and depression-prone person.

I had an episode of severe depression and anxiety starting in 2003. It took a year after the worst part of that episode before I really felt that I was starting to recover, and it was probably two years until I was back at my baseline "pretty good most days, not so great sometimes, kind of lonely and... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:36 AM on June 30, 2014

Do prostitutes date and marry? How does that work?
Aside from the other issues people note, there are a lot of sex workers who don't "sleep with multiple strangers every day."

As I understand it, one of the big advantages to the safer and more comfortable kind of sex work is that you work comparatively little - you can make a middle class income for far less than full time hours. Sex is expensive, unless you're dealing with desperate people in... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:21 PM on June 27, 2014

Child reading books in the summer
I think that the more pressure you place on someone to do something For Moral Reasons the harder it can become for them to actually do it. Obviously, reading has become pretty loaded - probably far more loaded than you would ever feel it to be - at your house. It seems like a prime place for a power struggle, and power struggles can be totally unconscious. (There were lots of things I just Did Not Want because there was so much family pressure to value them, for instance, and my father... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:56 AM on June 27, 2014

novice party host seeks help!
I feel that if you're holding a party at the dinner hour, you're expected to provide enough food to feel like dinner - it doesn't need to be dinner, but it needs to be pretty serious snack food. Also, you don't want a bunch of hungry people boozing it up and getting lit up really fast because there isn't enough to eat.

If I were doing this and really didn't want to cook, I'd invest in some tasty hummus and hummus-like things and... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:53 AM on June 25, 2014 marked best answer
Also put everything on plates or trays - this will help it feel more like dinner instead of "pitas out of a bag and hummus out of a little plastic tub.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:55 AM on June 25, 2014
If you have the budget, too, here are a couple of other ideas:

Chevre with herbs - get some of the plain goat cheese at the grocery store and mix with chopped fresh herbs; serve with crackers from an attractive bowl

The nicer kind of nuts - stick to one kind to save some money, just get some cashews or almonds.

Baguettes or ciabatta and good butter (vegans can use the artichoke spread, tapenade, etc). Again, I've had... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:04 AM on June 25, 2014

Help with a huge career decision
Leave leave leave leave.

1. No one is as irreplaceable as we think we are, given the medium term.

2. If you need to think of the good of the company, think about this: this project maybe isn't as great as it could be right now, and the company learns at least a little lesson about not structuring work this way. They may not reform, but chances are they'll adapt a bit.... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:10 AM on June 25, 2014

My cat is messed up. Help!
I'd call the vet and try to get in right now on an emergency basis. This sounds, based on my experience with our older cat, very concerning.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:54 AM on June 24, 2014
Poor little baby. But at least she seems to be doing okay otherwise, and she'll be done with the pills soon enough.

I do wonder about the new foods, though - now that I think of it, we ran out of our usual a few years ago, I got something else and the result was bloody diarrhea - just awful, but it cleared up literally the day after we switched back to the old food.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:50 PM on June 24, 2014

Squares for Safety! Help me talk to my bf about burn rides.
As a cyclist, the idea of someone deciding that he is in fact not actually too high to drive a car scares the living fuck out of me. All that has to happen is that his reflexes are off when something unexpected happens, and I am a bloody heap on the pavement. I had no idea this was even a thing - "I'll get just high enough and then drive around"? What?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:30 PM on June 24, 2014

Panic attacks and other fun
No, you should not panic about your resting heart rate.

If you are consistently getting a resting heart rate in the forties, pop in to see the doctor.

Hearts can do all kinds of funny stuff, especially when anxiety is a factor, with no underlying issue at all.

My dad has always had a really low pulse, around 50. As he's aged, he's gotten into real, serious brachycardia - waking rate in the thirties. This is a... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:28 AM on June 24, 2014
Oh, on the "managing anxiety" front: I have things that I try not to read or look at (certain health articles, mostly) because they trigger anxiety. I allow myself to be low-information about certain health issues, even ones I have, because I don't want to fall down the google-hole - and people have been effectively treated for [non-emergency conditions] back before they had PubMed and could second guess their doctors.

I also have some anti-anxiety media - I... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:44 AM on June 24, 2014

Mind Games!!!!! To help me fall asleep.... Tell me yours
I envision imaginary homes (which might solve your "favorite home feels far away" problem). They're all impossible - an ocean-going floating pavilion, a house carved out of a mid-ocean rocky cliff, a sequence of loggias built along a mountain stream, a flying house, etc. But the rules for all of them are that if I live in them I am perfectly safe, nothing bad will happen and neither I nor my cats will age or get sick, because magic. I occupy myself laying out the rooms, planning the... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:38 AM on June 24, 2014

French music recommendations needed!
I really liked Zebda - I haven't heard any of their recent stuff, but Le bruit et l'odeur was considered quite good when it came out, and I like the whole album with "Tomber la chemise" on it, Essence ordinaire. I felt like both of these really boosted my vocabulary.

And while it's not contemporary at all, I really like Francoise Hardy's Vogue Years compilation. "Non, ce n'est pas un reve" and "Je changerais d'avis" are... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:07 AM on June 24, 2014

Clean eating and living...or is it?
I'm what I call a bad vegan - I'm vegan most of the time, but under stress or on special occasions I have egg-based and cheese-based lapses. So this is not unlike drinking while healthy, or whatever.

Why don't I just go back to being a vegetarian? Because having a goal of being vegan keeps me from eating lots and lots of non-vegan things. (Back when I was vegetarian, my stress-lapses were meat-based.) I know myself pretty well - I'm not one of... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:37 PM on June 23, 2014

Light, Humorous, Feelgood Books for Cancer Patient and Family
I just got done with Sorcery and Cecilia, Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot - the plot is a little bit lightweight, but it was very charming.

I also like James Thurber's The Thirteen Clocks ("The Cold Duke was six feet four and forty-six and even colder than he thought he was") and The White Deer. They're both very funny. The facsimile edition of Thirteen Clocks is great, in particular. When you read the plot summaries, you may think that... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:59 AM on June 23, 2014
You might also enjoy Angela Carter's Wise Children - of all her books, it is the sunniest. Wikipedia tells me that Carter wrote it after she had been diagnosed with cancer, which I did not know. I'll tip you off right now in case you do decide to read it - SPOILER -

there are several sad moments in the book, but later they are proved to be based on false information.... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:11 AM on June 23, 2014

What to do about a HIPAA violation at my son's pediatrician office
Personally, I'd call and talk to the office manager before doing anything else.

I have received another person's faxed medical records when someone misdialed, and all I did was call them to tell them and then shred the records. I think that things are going to go wrong occasionally even with medical records, and the best thing you can do is assume (absent some other evidence of carelessness) that people can self-correct given the information. This could easily be a... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:29 AM on June 19, 2014

Dinner for 75
I think pizzas and a keg might be the best solution. Or what about pizzas and fancy drinks? Put your energy into making a couple of fancy fruit punchbowl drinks - maybe one boozey and one non-. Serve ice cream and sorbet for dessert, maybe make some cookies to go with. Just tell everyone that this year you're traveling.

I am known as one of the "good cooks" in my social circle, and although people are always happy when I make something, honestly, they are... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:35 PM on June 18, 2014

Suggestions for unusual, exciting condiments
This entry looks like a stand-alone dish, but in any middle eastern or eastern european grocery store you can find it in jars - imam bayildi. Next to it you will probably also find jars of zucchini spread and various other delicious vegetable toppings. All vegan.

Also, try putting sumac on things. I really like sumac on buttered (buttery-spreaded, actually) toast, sumac on popcorn, etc.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:03 AM on June 18, 2014

Healthy Eating for the Anti-Foodie
Things that have dramatically changed up my eating:

1. I buy a two-pound bag of baby carrots every week and a couple of handfuls every day.

2. I buy a tub or two of the fanciest little cherry or grape tomatoes they have - the best ones vary from year to year and region to region - and eat six or seven with dinner.

3. I buy some form of tasty-yet-healthy crackers - I like Dr. Kracker - and a tasty/healthy spread - good... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:35 PM on June 17, 2014

Nonviolent sff: where is it?
If you can stretch a point and read some dysoptian near future semi-woo, The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk, is explicitly about nonviolence and its uses. There's violence in the plot, sure, but it's not a major theme.

The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy, is also interesting on the use of violence.

Joanna Russ's short story collection (Extra)Ordinary People has a lot of stuff that is... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:53 PM on June 17, 2014 marked best answer
Oh, and the Three Californias trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, I just love those.

You might also enjoy Delany's Babel-17, which is much more with the space and the interstellar excitement.

I have only the haziest notion of what is meant by "urban fantasy", but if you mean "regular people plus magic in a contemporary city setting", you must read The Folk of the Air, I mean you really... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:02 PM on June 17, 2014

Pretty hairstyles that stay out of your eyes but also stay put
Back when I had an entirely different gender presentation and had grown my very thick and coarse hair long, I used to use these expensive barrettes from France Luxe. The ones they have now are much prettier and more various than the ones I used to have. To hold all my hair up, I needed two of the barrettes in this shape. Honestly, even the cheapest ones are expensive ($12 per - although they didn't have any for under $20 back in the late nineties, weirdly enough) but they were absolutely... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:42 PM on June 16, 2014

How do you deal with family-in-law that's in a cult?
I think that if the very bad results are very bad, you need to consider cutting off contact with the parents. If what is going to happen is there will be really ugly yelling at every meet-up, constant mean/scary remarks, harassment by phone or letter, or worse - and your fiancee has a realistic sense that this is what is going to happen - then what I would do is figure out a way to broach the "we are not in this organization any more and don't want to... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:29 AM on June 15, 2014

How do I make better use of my personal time? (work 40 hr weeks)
I second doing stuff on the way home from work - gym, groceries, errands. This frees up more weekend time.

I tend to get home and just collapse, but luckily I collapse and read so I at least get reading done.

Simplify your weeknight meals - many nights, I have baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, home made or seed-heavy crackers, a chunk of protein (either something vegan or sometimes cheese or an egg; you could have meat/tuna/etc) and an apple.... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:57 PM on June 14, 2014

Trans etiquette: nosy person edition
I think I'd refer to them as "they" for now. What will happen will either be that someone will correct you or someone will ask and you can say "I just don't know what pronoun they use".

While it's a bad idea to use "they" when you know that someone prefers another pronoun (in particular don't "they" a trans woman who uses "she") I think it's acceptable in most circles to say "they" both if... [more]
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:19 AM on June 13, 2014

Cast Iron Radiators of Death
(We have hundred-year radiators too and everyone told us not to do this - that it was miles and miles more trouble than it was worth. Yours may be worse than ours, so this may not apply, but I was genuinely surprised by how much, much better they looked after a light scrape to remove any loose bits and a fresh coat of paint. I am happy with them least the ones in the few rooms we've fixed up...sigh.)
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:42 PM on June 11, 2014

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