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kitties off topic open thread

Open Thread for Personal Stuff: September edition

Hugs if you want them.
Hugs if you want them.

This is a continuation from here.  A thread to discuss personal issues and provide support for one another. No trolls, no arguments.

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Hyena Girl
7 years ago

Okay, the tiger hug just made my day better.

MrFancyPants
MrFancyPants
7 years ago

Kitty hugs make everything okay, right? RIGHT?!

kittehserf
7 years ago

I always smile and then feel envious when I see that tiger pic.

Hi, MrFancyPants, nice to see you back again!

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

GodDAMN do I forget just how LARGE full-grown tigers are.

MrFancyPants
MrFancyPants
7 years ago

Hi kitteh, you too! There’s just so much craziness to comment on, I’ve been remiss in stopping by here.

kittehserf
7 years ago

I’ve seen you on Pharyngula now and then, too. Did you see PZ picked up on that Neanderthal weirdness from here? 😀

theseventhguest
theseventhguest
7 years ago

i hope everyone is as well as they can be.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Hi, t7g!

Knitting progress report: the Mick Aston Memorial Jacket has reached this level.

katz
7 years ago

GodDAMN do I forget just how LARGE full-grown tigers are.

Until you go to buy one with weed.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Until you go to buy one with weed.

::dies::

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

15 litres of dill pickles down, 5 more to go*. Once I get more pickling supplies. And then about 10 litres of jalapeño mustard. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all the plums.

*It sounds like a lot, but I have recently discovered German rouladen, and we are consuming them in great quantity.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

@Unimaginative, since you seem to be on a roll, have you considered pickling them? I had 18 pounds of Italian plums to deal with this year so I now have halved plums in syrup, plum jam, plum pie, plum clafoutis, and (yes) pickled plums. I have all the recipes, like the shrimp guy from Forrest Gump, but with plums.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

I will consume unpickled plums for you. Pickle them and I’m not biting though.

(Dear gods does playing a Malk fuck with my brain)

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

Mmmm, plum jam. I haven’t sussed out a recipe yet, but I can see the result in my head. Gooey, sweet, mildly spicy spread. I’ll have to google some recipes. AFTER I’m done with the cukes and jalapenos. And get some sleep.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

I’ve eaten so many plums now, in so many forms, that I was looking for any way to vary things. They are actually quite wonderful, sweet and sour and seasoned with clove, star anise and cinnamon. Even the brine syrup is delicious, if you mix it with some sparkling mineral water. To me they taste like late November – pie and spice and deliciousness.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

Plum Jam: halve and pit plums. Chop finely, leaving the skins on. Mix about 4 1/2 cups of chopped plums with about a cup of water and simmer for maybe 5 to 10 minutes (I like this step because it allows the pigments in the skin to turn the jam a deep amethyst color). Add 7 1/2 cups of sugar and bring to a boil. Add a packet of liquid pectin and simmer about another minute. Put in jars and process in a water bath if you are weird and can resist eating the stuff by the spoonful! Otherwise pop those jars into the fridge!

kittehserf
7 years ago

I’m thinking of the results of eating all that fruit and OWWWWW.

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

Actually, those pickles sound wonderful. Would you share that recipe?

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

Heh, Kittehs, you don’t eat it all at once! That’s the point of preserving, so it lasts all winter.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

Well, Kittehs, that’s how I justified hauling out my Julia Child and my Je sais cuisiner and making things like clafoutis (it’s got eggs so it HAS to be good for you!) and poulet aux prunes (essentially a whole chicken roasted with brandy soaked plums). I love French cooking…

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

I’m delighted to share!

You want to halve and pit about two pounds of plums and pack them into a couple of quart jars. Mix about a cup of white vinegar (the 5% acidity one), 2 1/2 cups of sugar and 2 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan and add the zest of one lemon and spices to taste. I have grown to love using about a tablespoon of cloves, a cinnamon stick and half a dozen star anise pods, but you can do it with ground cloves, cinnamon and anise (about a teaspoon of each). You can also swap out about an ounce of sliced fresh ginger for the anise, and it tastes more Halloween than Thanksgiving to me. Bring the brine to a full rolling boil and then pour it over the plums. Seal and refrigerate. Water bath processing makes the fruit too mushy, so I just put them in the back of the fridge and wait about 10 days to 2 weeks. Then two slices over a scoop of ice cream and you are in heaven!

kittehserf
7 years ago

LOL I wasn’t thinking of eating it all at once, but just upping the fruit intake generally has that effect on me. Sort of like Gollum … It burnsss! It burnsss! /tmi

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

Pickle them and I’m not biting though.

Pickled fruits are divine. I didn’t discover them until I was in my forties, but I’ve been hooked ever since – plums, apricots, peaches, cherries, grapes – there are some terrific recipes around. I never liked chutney at all when I was a kid and not much even now, but pickled fruit? Yum!

If you’ve got lots’n’lots of plums, it’s worth turning a couple of kilos into plum sauce. Whether you do one to accompany roasted/ bbqed meat, or a version for Chinese cooking, having a few jars in the pantry makes life sooooo much better.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

@mildlymagnificent, Recipe or it didn’t happen!

leocigale
7 years ago

Hey I’m mainly a lurker but I’ve made a few posts…. 16 years old from Las Vegas, hiya.

I mostly simply don’t understand hate. Sometimes I think I must be insane or something. It’s an emotion that I cannot process or understand. I get angry, frustrated… But I’ve never in my life felt inclined to truly hate anything with such a passion that I spend hours of my day writing/thinking/blogging about it. This odd, mental “deficiency” hasn’t been kind to me, as I’ve had people hate me and do terrible things to me… But WHY?

What is to be gained from hate? I know, this is kindergarten sh-t, but really I have never understood hate on an emotional level. Isn’t laughter better? Hell, even crying your eyes out probably feels better…. What does hurting people and belittling them gain you?

I cry sometimes from my lack of understanding of this, because I want to know why people say/do such horrible things to others… Why people hated me so much… But I can’t. 🙁

And then, sometimes, my thoughts get away from me (I am in therapy for this, don’t worry) and I think men are incapable of love. I start to jump to crazy conclusions about it’s because they don’t give birth so how can they ever have a “love” programming to begin with….

I know those things can’t be true, but it seems the only “loving” men I ever see are in movies and occasionally on the internet. This blog gives me hope and makes me laugh, which is why I lurk, and finding “safe” spaces on the internet is helping my distorted attitudes….

I just don’t understand this world.

I feel like an alien, lol.

titianblue
7 years ago

Cn I recommend plum & orange jam. The orange works instead of pectin or lemon juice to set the jam and the combination is divine – like a sweet marmalade.

NonServiam
NonServiam
7 years ago

Hi all

Long time reader and first time commenter. This thread opened at a weirdly appropriate time. I’m having some major personal life problems and I feel really overwhelmed.

I’m in a city I have no family in and lately, many of my friends have left. I have (had maybe) a partner but lately things have been really rough. We had a huge fight last night and I walked out on him.

I feel totally alone and like nothing right now.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

@mildlymagnificent, Recipe or it didn’t happen!

Thanks for reminding me! I loaned my favourite recipe book of all time to someone and never got it back. I’ve now ordered one of the very few 2nd hand copies available. (I’m really not willing to pay $200ish they’re now asking for a new one – it was only $20 or so when it came out 20 years ago.)

And I’ll endorse the plum and orange jam recommendation, even a few bits of lemon peel gives a nice tang. We used to have a far too productive plum tree at our previous house so we tried everything. If you have a preserving outfit I strongly recommend a few jars of plums preserved in a port syrup. The other variation for a really sweet and aromatic jam is to add a packet or two of frozen raspberries (depending on how big a batch you’re making) and/ or a reasonable glug of rosewater.

KathleenB
KathleenB
7 years ago

My grandma’s plum cordial: equal parts damson plums (pierce the skin in a few places ), decent vodka and sugar. Dump everything in a big glass jar. Close the lid tightly and store on its side. Give the jar a quarter turn weekly. It’s ready to drink when the sugar is dissolved, but the longer it sits, the more mellow it will be.

girlscientist
girlscientist
7 years ago

Manboobzers, I have a question!

I have a friend who is in an abusive relationship and who I’m trying to keep in contact with. I’m pretty sure her significant other is not happy at all about the friendship, because I’m onto them, they can’t manipulate me and I’ve always tried to improve my friend’s self-esteem.

I’m pretty sure that my friend’s phone and e-mail are monitored, and I’ve been trying to find a safe and non-problematic way to keep in contact with her. So far, she’s told me once “please don’t contact me like this” and once “please leave that subject alone.” I know that a number of you have been in abusive situations. If you were her, would you want me to continue to keep trying? Or do you think she’s trying to tell me to leave her alone without hurting my feelings?

So far, I keep trying because in all the books I’ve read about abuse, they tell you to remain in contact as much as possible unless the abused person explicitly tells you to stop. I have no intention of haranguing my friend, just to be there so she doesn’t get too isolated and she knows that there is someone who cares and who she can go to for help in case she needs it.

I would really appreciate it if people who have been in abusive situations could give me their opinion, because I’m not always sure what to do. Thanks!

Dvärghundspossen
7 years ago

Leocigale: FWIW, here are my two cents on hate: I think hate mainly serves two functions: 1. Hating on someone who has hurt you (and fantasizing about hurting them back etc) can make you feel less powerless and passive.
2. Hating on people who haven’t hurt you, who may be quite powerless themselves and easy to push down, makes you feel better in comparison. Like “at least I’m not as bad as THAT person!”.
It’s not the most profound analysis and no, it’s really not particularly original, but I think it’s as simple as that. Hating on people for being different is one version of 2 – “at least I’m not as weird and abnormal as THAT person!”.

That’s not to say that we ought to pity haters or that all haters have low self esteem. I mean, I think 2 often works, and I’m certain lots of haters are really pleased with themselves for that reason. (If I remember my psychology class from university right, there’s also some psychological research to the effect that bullies often have, contrary to myth, high self esteem.)

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

@leocigale

What does hurting people and belittling them gain you?

Can’t help you with your ‘not understanding hate’ thing, but hurting people isn’t really the same as hating them. I mean, there are plenty of people I hate, (okay there aren’t plenty of people, but some) and none of them I really want to hurt. I just hate them, if I can be bothered enough to care about them. (ie: most manosphere dudes I just laugh at cuz they’re so pitiful. Someone who’s truly atrocious with a large audience, like a politician I sometimes hate.)

And then, sometimes, my thoughts get away from me (I am in therapy for this, don’t worry) and I think men are incapable of love. I start to jump to crazy conclusions about it’s because they don’t give birth so how can they ever have a “love” programming to begin with….

um…what does giving birth have to do with love? Also, kind of cissexist. There are women who can’t give birth and men who can. I mean, I get that you’re just speculating, but still. :/

I know those things can’t be true, but it seems the only “loving” men I ever see are in movies and occasionally on the internet.

I know I had a lot lower level of trust in men before hanging around more feminist or feminist-friendly spaces on the internet, so hopefully that helps you. Kinda rambly right now, sorry, morning brain, but I don’t think anything you’ve said is terribly strange? I mean it all seemed kind of understandable, sans the part I already said was cissexist.

God I hope some of that sort of made sense.

@girlscientist

I don’t have any good advice to give you, but I hope your friend gets out of that. 🙁 interweb hugs for the both of you, if wanted.

@dvarghundspossen

1. Hating on someone who has hurt you (and fantasizing about hurting them back etc) can make you feel less powerless and passive.

Yeah. Okay dvarghuspossen hit this way better than me. I mean I know I’m ramblying a lot, but I think actually allowing myself to feel hate and anger is soooo much better than the alternative for my mental health.

girlscientist
girlscientist
7 years ago

@Marie: Thanks!

bekabot
7 years ago

Tiger to man:

‘You may think I like you, but I’m actually just testing the consistency of your flesh. And I’m winking over your shoulder to the audience who knows better. So there, Two Legs.’

crazyladyblues
crazyladyblues
7 years ago

@Leocigale I think a lot of hate has to do with fear, mainly of someone or something different & unknown. Words like homophobia & islamophobia end in phobia, meaning a fear of, which I think describes it perfectly. I hope that makes sense.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

@girlscientist, all my best hopes for your friend, may she be safe until she finds herself in a place where she can get out of that situation, and then do so without further danger or damage.

I’d say that you follow her wishes. You can’t know the experience inside of her situation, so do your best (as much as you want to help her) to obey her wishes. Don’t reference her situation, don’t do or say things via text or email or anything that could cause her further trouble. Just be there. For movies, coffee, walks in the park or even just a trip to the grocery store. Abusers usually try to wear down and alienate the people around the one who they are trying to control by making them unavailable and unreliable (policing the activities they are “allowed” to engage in, and making them change their plans at the last minute) so that over time the invitations stop coming. Keep in the front of your mind that the abuser will be pushing and pulling on your friend, and set as your goal that you are going to leave slack in your line but never cut it. Be upbeat in tone and neutral in content whenever the abuser can monitor the communication, but absolutely relentless in making it clear that you are available whenever and for whatever your friend wants to do.

Show her you are supportive by supporting her, without trying to coerce her to act the way you’d prefer she would.

Don’t judge, don’t counsel, don’t advise unless explicitly asked to do so, and remember that your primary role is to show her the friendship and respect that she’s not going to be getting from the abuser. You can care for her and support her while being clear that you will leave all the decisions that affect her safety up to her. Make it clear you are on her side by refusing to pressure her to come to yours.

Just my $0.02.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

girlscientist. I’m not sure what you’re saying to her that he’s also seeing. She’s probably not able or willing to face her situation as clearly as she will eventually.

But … I’d agree with her to “please leave that subject alone.”

You have no way of knowing when, how and why he might come across such a message and you might be lining her up for a(nother) fight she’s not ready for at that moment. You have no idea what it’s like when your monster partner starts going through your stuff looking for evidence of …. something (this is never made clear, you just know that something will be used as an excuse to justify the outburst of temper and you don’t want her to be fearing that you or some other well-meaning friend has inadvertently provided some ammunition she’s not yet had a chance to delete from her records.)

If you raise or pursue the topic she’s far more likely to lose you as a contact entirely. Her partner’s probably been isolating her form her support network of friends and relatives. You’ll do her the most good if you can maintain a friendly relationship, no matter how intermittent or arm’s length it might be, just to be friendly and reliable and available and never mention her marriage or her circumstances or give her any hints about therapy or counselling or emergency services unless she raises the topic first. Make sure she’s aware of as many avenues as possible for her to contact you should she need you – without ever giving her a list that “someone else” might read as too broad a hint should he come across it (and he will). And if she ever needs you, she’ll really need you.

I’d recommend you read this link if you’ve not seen it before, but don’t send it to her, sounds like she’s got enough problems. http://stoney321.livejournal.com/621332.html But you might choose to do some things from the “overwhelmed” list as a precaution. Like keeping some cash aside and a throwaway phone and a supply of toiletries ready for her use should she ever call on you for help. If she doesn’t, then you can use them yourself or donate them to a refuge when you decide you can discard them or replace/update them.

Alice
Alice
7 years ago

I was friends with a woman once who began dating a man who hit her. I tried for months to support and help her, to be there for her and dry her tears. I even tried to be civil to her boyfriend even though I knew he was abusive. Eventually I could no longer take it and I snapped and told her that her boyfriend was an asshole and she needed to leave him. She then told me I was being a bitch and refused to talk to me for several years. I ran into her about three years later and they were still together and had just had a baby. We exchanged phone numbers and later had a long telephone conversation where she proceeded to tell me that she was unhappy and was going to leave the boyfriend. Still, nothing ever changed. We fell out of touch again after that. She mistrusted me, and probably felt awkward around me knowing how much I disliked her partner. I think eventually she left this man, or he ended up in prison (he had a lingering drug problem) but our friendship could never recover.

Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to maintain a relationship with a person in an abusive relationship, because one of the key effects of that relationship is isolation from friends. If you want to keep the friendship alive, the burden is unfortunately on YOU to maintain it. And you will have to restrain yourself from offering advice and urging the injured party to leave or get help, because doing so will end your friendship faster than you can blink. I know this is counter intuitive, but you simply must wait it out until SHE decides that SHE has had enough. All you can do is offer a safe place for her to land when/if she does makes that choice.

girlscientist
girlscientist
7 years ago

@gillyrosebee, mildymagnificent:
Thanks for your long, helpful comments. Just a comment, though:
I’d agree with her to “please leave that subject alone.”
“That subject” has nothing to do with domestic violence (I brought it up once – I’m not making that mistake twice).
I don’t really need much in terms of general advice: I’ve read a bunch of books on how to help abused friends/relatives, so I know that I have to remain low-key. The problem I’m having is that I keep trying different ways of keeping in touch, and she gives me feedback about what I do, but other than that she’s completely passive.

Alice
Alice
7 years ago

I think she is passive because she doesn’t have the emotional energy to deal with anything other than her own day to day survival.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

Passive may be a defense mechanism on her part (maybe she is punished for seeming to want to do anything outside of the house or with people other than the abuser?). Or it may be learned behavior (if you are punished often enough for expressing an opinion or a desire, you stop doing it). Assume whatever allows you to make the broadest allowance for her.

Being passive might be what helps keep her from danger, so don’t blame her for it. I am sure you don’t mean it that way, but your tone is a bit less than fully supportive there. Take a good long look at your expectations given what you know about the situation and recalibrate. She might not be able to be more active without putting herself in danger.

Again, I’d advise you to follow her wishes strictly (if she says don’t contact you a certain way, or at particular times, etc.) but otherwise be relentless. Expect that the burden is on you to maintain the connection, so if you can email her, send her something lighthearted once a day or so. If you can text her, send her a joke or a picture every few days, just to let her know you are not going to let her disappear (I know from different causes that, from the inside, though it’s sometimes impossible to accept invitations from friends, just having them come in can be a reminder that you exist and people care about you).

Above all, keep reminding yourself that her “passivity” is not a gesture of disrespect for you or an attempt to make your life difficult. It may be keeping her alive, safe and whole. Don’t judge. Accept it as a given and work with it.

mellowness
7 years ago

Here’s a picture of my step-dad’s cats, the ones who were saved in the flood:comment image

Those folks over there are still in danger, apparently. Last night, when I was on the phone with my mother, I heard my step-dad in the background yelling about another flash flood coming, and this morning I found out that they have evacuated once again and returned to Fort Collins. I’m very worried about them now. I’m glad that I’m able to contact them via phone now, though (they found their phone undamaged in the house), and they have their laptop now as well.

But having checked the weather for Fort Collins, I can see that there is a flash flood risk there once again. In other words, they’re still unsafe.

gillyrosebee
7 years ago

Ohai, kitties!

Ally, continued hopes and good wishes are headed to your mom and step-dad for safety.

girlscientist
girlscientist
7 years ago

@Alice, gillyrosebee:
Thanks, that’s what I needed to know. I’m trying very hard to do the right thing, but I’m not always sure what that is. I’m also really unwilling to appear stalkerish and scare her even more, which is why being relentless is something that I have trouble with(but I will stop worrying too much about and just stick to her wishes). But I will keep what you both said about her passivity in mind (even though sometimes I get really frustrated and angry at the way she sabotages herself).

Myoo
Myoo
7 years ago

That sucks Ally, I hope everything ends up alright.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

@Ally

Sorry you’re having to deal with the flood 🙁 Glad the kitties survived, and jedi hugs if you want them.

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

girlscientist — *sigh* I had friends before narcissist gaslighting ex. So, how’d I keep the ones I did? They insisted on staying in contact — sending me things they thought I’d be interested in, prodding me about stuff (mostly my fish, because damn can I talk about them all day!), emailing questions I could maybe help with?, the stupid little things that mean maintaining an open line of communication. Even if it’s just emailing her cute cats, it’ll mean she knows she can hit reply and, contrary what he might be saying, you don’t think she’s [insert insults here]

Offer to get coffee with her (or whatever it is you usually do together) when she has time — remind her periodically that it’s an open invitation. Not so often that she’s insist you stop asking, so no more than monthly, but tell her you’d like to see her periodically just to chat about whatever and catch up.

Don’t mention him, at all, don’t make her feel like you’re pressuring her to leave him, or do anything else for that matter, or she may pull back and stop talking to you. One exception, make it clear that no matter what he says, you have her back (though saying more like how you’ll always be there for her, no mention of specifics or him, might be better)

And remember to take care of yourself.

Sorry if I’m repeating things you already know, it’s just that going through that was a hard lesson in who my friends really are and who won’t run when the shit hits the fan (and trusting people again has been an ordeal, to say the least [hi pecunium!])

girlscientist
girlscientist
7 years ago

@Argenti: So sorry you had a run-in with a gaslighting narcissist. People like that should be launched with great force into space. Let them manipulate satellites, see how they like it (on second thought – satellites don’t deserve that).

Thanks for the advice. Yeah, taking care of myself is not something I used to be good at, but for her sake I’m making the effort – if only because the better shape I’m in, the more I can for her.

Alice Sanguinaria
Alice Sanguinaria
7 years ago

D’aww, tiger hug.

*hugs everyone who needs hugs*

Sredni Vashtar
Sredni Vashtar
7 years ago

@leocigale:

Hi, dude – don’t you think your inability to hate people might be a feature, not a bug? Hate is exhausting. A good bitching session (internal or otherwise) about someone you hate can be exhilerating (and if they’ve hurt you or if they think you’re ugly or stupid or a dick or whatever, hatred can serve as a kind of othering mechanism to help you to totally reject their opinions of you and prevent those opinions ever seeping into your self-concept). But then you feel used up, and irritable, and brooding. It’s like a hate-comedown.

And yeah, the thoughts you’re having about men being incapable of love are pretty sexist (and cissexist, I guess, given the birth reasoning) – but don’t beat yourself up about that, sounds like you recognise objectively that they’re not true and are seeking therapy. (Which is a hell of a lot better than running off to start a blog about male hypergamy or something!) So good for you. Plus, you’re only 16, and friendship groups at school and stuff can be pretty homosocial, so you just don’t have the field experience yet – once you get into university/start working, you’ll make male friends (and maybe a boyfriend if you are straight) and the thoughts you’re having now will be disproved. I know it’s annoying as hell to have someone saying ‘oh wait till you get older and then you’ll see’, but I swear it’s true in this case. 🙂

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