Open thread

We have an open thread all day.  Here’s a topic to get you started if you’d like.

This test is strictly for fun, but if you had to pick only one of these as your strongest trait which would it be?  Wisdom, passion, courage, honesty, intuition, or kindness?  And how does that compare to your test results?

What Is Your Dominant Personality Trait?

The way you look at these images will reveal a lot about your strongest trait. Which of these do you think it will be: wisdom, passion, courage, honesty, intuition or kindness? Take this test to find out!



134 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. My result is this “Your answers reveal that wisdom is your most dominant personality trait. ”
    So I guess I am wise? For most of the pictures, I clicked “something else” because none of the words described what I saw

  2. I got kindness as well. I doubt folks are impressed by my thoughtfulness, or that I am a person who can make a person’s bad day better.

    I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the images were, not so much answering the question. With the colors, the predominant color was usually the brightest, or the first I saw in the answer box because my brain saw the answer in the image.

  3. I had wisdom. I think the description “You approach situations and challenges with a level head and use logic when making decisions” was pretty spot on in regards to my profession.

  4. Also wise. The description mentions not jumping to decisions too soon, which links up with picking “something else”. Or maybe it’s random. I’m never sure about this kind of quiz.

  5. Courage – Hmmm…

    So, my DD#1 went to her internship orientation yesterday. There is currently 1 intern in the department from the first wave (overlap for 2 weeks) and 5 in her second wave. Interesting part – the lady from HR said they MUST wear business casual and that meant, amoung other things, when you bend over, no one should see your butt cheeks or your “cup cakes”. My DD had never heard “cup cakes” before. On one hand, I think it is good they are telling them the expectations, on the other, it seems that talking about neck lines and skirt length would be more appropriate.

  6. In news this group would appreciate – I bought a new car last week, or rather DH did – 2018 Chevy Equinox AWD, with the bigger engine. It has some nice pep. It was a hassle to get it, including one dealer who worked out a deal with DH over email, said he would have the car, and when DH showed up the car was not on his lot. Eventually DH went to another dealer, who offered a better deal and a better trade in. After all the deals, incentives, employee discount, credit card points, etc, the car came in $8000 under MSRP.

  7. “Also wise. The description mentions not jumping to decisions too soon,”

    Could just as easily be indecisiveness.

  8. AustinMom – I’ve never heard of “cup cakes” either. I can guess the meaning based on the context…. I’m not sure I’d appreciate HR using those phrases with me when going over the dress code.

  9. I got “kindness.” Mwa-ha-ha-ha-hah. I think we can safely say that accuracy has been conclusively disproved.

    Congrats Lemon!

  10. Congrats Lemon!

    Rhode – That’s why I wondered if it is a kid slang thing that the HR person thought was current.

  11. and I’m wise. Wizened I’d go for. Wise, I’m not so sure.

    “cup cakes” meaning revealing too much cleavage?

  12. OMG I was in the doctor’s office this morning and I saw E-trade’s latest commercials. I thought of this group, and Rhett in particular.

  13. I’ve never heard of “cupcakes”, and I think I like that HR lady’s style. :) What did your DD think?

  14. Lots of women wearing sleeveless here are being forced to cover up with a cardigan because the whole work place is so cold. Automatic enforcement of a modest dress code.

  15. I need a new coffee maker. I am the only coffee drinker, so I have single cup Breville that I love. You can use a k-cup, or your own ground coffee (I do the latter). It has a bunch of settings for cup size, and is on a timer so the water is hot and ready for me in the morning. But it is dying, and Breville doesn’t make it any more.

    I want something fancy and lovely. DH would appreciate an idea for an anniversary gift. Any suggestions?

  16. Lark – Nespresso makes excellent coffee and espresso makers. You have to buy their pods, but they are really high quality (way better than any kcups).

  17. I am actually a little bit anti-pod, because I love to find and use my own coffees (bringing home coffee from a trip is one of my favorite souvenirs). So I’m on the hunt for something that lets me use my own coffee.

  18. You can buy off brand refillable pods for the Nespresso, although I have never done that. I seriously love my Nespresso maker.

  19. Open thread…I’m in a concerted weight loss effort, and I’ve shed 10 lbs. It’s sort of a mild hybrid between Paleo and 8-Hour. My rules, which are a little more flexible on weekends, are no calories before lunch, and no carbs before dinner. No sugared drinks, no alcohol. Cardio (spin) at least three or four times a week, and 80 push-ups and 80 lunges every day, lifting once a week, Pilates once a week for flexibility. If I do cardio every day, which I did for a week or so, that’s when’s it starts to make me unbearably hungry. But doing it every other day, I stay comfortable.

    That’s it. When I follow that strictly, I lose weight. Well, I did, dropping 10 pounds in two weeks. Then we went on some trips, and weekends and stuff, and I relaxed the rules a little, but I was able to maintain if not lose further. So, for example, in NYC, DW and I would split a bagel sandwich for breakfast instead of me getting my own, and we’d split a sweetened iced coffee. Split a sandwich and salad at one lunch. another lunch (that pond place in Central Park), I figured after having the free bread, a single crab cake from the appetizer menu would suffice. That probably needs to be my new baseline for eating at this age.

    But now I’m back to losing mode without much compromise, because I want to lose another 10-15.

    My clothes stared fitting much more loosely. The chin is a little bit tighter. And so after working out in our basement exercise room, I got cocky one night and went to the closet of clothes that will never be worn again to try on the white pants I wore to my wedding. No way would they even fasten. They couldn’t even zip. So that’s why I’ve got to drop at least 10, maybe 15 more.

    The impetus to get started was about a month ago, the public affairs people at my alma mater were livestreaming on Facebook the annual climbing of the greased monument by the freshmen class. It’s quite a sight of 1,000 half-naked 19-year-old bodies all flexing and scrambling over each other, and I was sitting there thinking “I used to look like that. What the hell happened?” And that was when I started.

  20. Milo – I am reading your post while eating a Croque Monsieur. I am taking a break from Whole30 (I lasted a week this time.) I am sick of salads, sick of eggs, sick of not having milk in my coffee. I miss chocolate.

    DH has dropped 15 lbs since Christmas without much effort. Grrrrr.

    Far too busy a time of year – end of year school stuff and workwise – to take on a serious diet. I’ll give it another go in a week or so. Until then I am enjoying eating my Croque Monsieur.

  21. Milo – I have been reading about the 8 hour diet, which lead me to a fasting for weight loss group. Some of them are into multi-day fasts, which I am not sure I am up to.

    I realized that there are two very distinct approaches to diet – (1) large fast window/small eating window and (2) large eating window (small meals every 2-3 hours)/small fast window. I’ve been doing the second without a lot of results.

    After doing some reading, I am started with a 12/12 (no food after 7 pm and before 7 am) and will work toward the 16/8. So far, just under a week in, the hardest part is watching my snacking family between 8-10 pm!

  22. “Grrrrr”

    Yes, I know better than to talk to DW about any results.

    For me, it’s not without effort, but it’s not as hard as I would have imagined. I get excited about a giant scoop of tuna on my spinach salad at lunch, and different cheeses and olives, etc. At CFA, I’ll simply throw away half the bun, eat the kale salad vs. fries, and unsweetened tea. I do miss sweet tea. Lordy, do I ever. I still have it in small quantities. And we eat dessert every night, like a small scoop of Ben and Jerry’s, the anticipation of which is motivating theoughout the day.

    I have realized that I wouldn’t be able to do this, mainly to get in the required exercise, even a couple year so ago when evenings meant I was still giving baths, changing, brushing teeth, etc. It’s only their self-sufficiency now that allows it.

  23. Austin – MMM is the one who convinced me (right or wrong) that building muscle is the surest way to burn fat. And he gave me the push-ups and lunges idea. I’m think legs are your biggest muscles, so to get those hamstrings hungry for fat through a bunch of lunges is like outsourcing all the work.

    Back when I saw that picture of him in Figure 1, I decided he was somebody with advice worth heeding:

  24. Milo – I’ve definitely got to do more strength training. I just hate it more than many other things and lunges are my least favorite. But, it I guess if they are a trade off for food, I find them more acceptable!

  25. I would like to ask a few questions about how I do certain things that may no longer be necessary:
    1) When I wash towels I still use white vinegar in place of softener – suppose to keep towels soft without ruining their absorbency.
    2) I always soak my eggplant in salted water for at least an hour or put slices in strainer heavily salted, either of these methods are to help with bitterness.
    3) Use distilled water in my iron.

    Are any of these things still necessary?

  26. Milo – did you read this part ? He’s eating very healthy.

    Instead I eat mostly vegetables, nuts, eggs, oils (mostly olive but with no rules against butter and coconut oil!) and an average amount of minimally processed meats and dairy. It’s your basic low-carb diet, and I’ve found a 100% correlation between bending the rules of this diet (occasional pizza and beer), and the rapid softening of my waistline. If you haven’t tried this way of eating yet, you might be pleasantly surprised with how easy it is.

  27. I got intuition. “There’s a surprise!” I said to myself sarcastically. But now I actually am a bit surprised that no one else has reported getting that one thus far.

    Also, I quite liked that little dragon that looked like it was made out of yarn or fabric scraps. It was kawaii.

  28. Louise – he’s just eating low carb and high fat, like I do, with some flexibility for dinner. Whether or not it’s particularly healthy is anyone’s guess.

  29. Old Mom — it’s not necessary if you’re using Japanese / Chinese eggplant, but for Italian eggplant my assumption was that you were still supposed to salt-and-drain first.

    It can be fully purple too.

  30. I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that I am never going to be a size 4 again without plastic surgery. I exercise, I don’t eat a lot and there seems to be a set point that I am not able to get below. Soooo, I have decided to go in a different direction. I got Botox about a month ago. Holy crap is it awesome! Highly recommend to anyone considering it.

  31. Old Mom – For laundry, I follow the manual since I have HE appliances.

    On eggplant – never heard of that, but then again we don’t eat a lot of eggplant because it can be so bitter. Ha! Now we will give your tip a try.

    On the iron – I think it depends on the water in your area. NYC water has a lot of minerals in it, so using distilled for the iron makes sense. I don’t iron; DH does. Not sure what he uses or if he knows that tip.

  32. I don’t know about #1, but I salt my eggplant and use distilled water if available when I iron (which is rarely).

  33. I use vinegar in my HE with towels (always) and in lieu of softener mostly. One thing it helps in HE front loaders is the mold/mildew.

    I usually use distilled water in my iron because of the minerals in our water. However, in a pinch I use the water out of the refrigeration door that is at least filtered. Friends in the same area with whole house water softeners use water out of the tap. YMMV

  34. We used to have that Breville, but now we have a fancy separate grinder and a nice drop coffee maker. I don’t do pods – they just don’t have the same taste. We grind the coffee fresh every morning. Coffee is mail ordered from Porto Rico Importing

    You can probably tell we are coffee weenies.

  35. Milo, it could be any of a number of things, but “indecisiveness” doesn’t help explain how MM checking mostly “something else” led to a result of “wise”, does it? Or am I missing something?

  36. Somehow I’m not surprised that HM got intuition on that quiz. I got wisdom, but it seems either intuition or wisdom would be good dominant traits.

  37. I completely misunderstood “cupcakes”, assumed she was talking about very short shorts. I guess the term comes from those with enough “icing” to overflow a balconette bra.

  38. On the dieting topic, I saw this on FB from my funny relative:

    I read that if you’re hungry, you should drink a glass of water to fool your stomach into thinking it’s full. Yeah, unless that glass of water comes with a couple slices of pizza and a chocolate chip cookie, my stomach ain’t having it. 🍕🍕🍪 #mystomachisnotstupid

  39. Milo, Louise and I had (have?) a long-running discussion over whether diet or exercise is more useful to losing weight. I’ve always said, and have backed up with my own examples over the past year, that strength training is #1. She insists that she can’t lose weight by exercising, but must diet. (I have heard people say that exercise doesn’t work because it makes you eat more, but I think she’s being logical). My conclusion is that different things work for different people.

    I recall my mom being frustrated at my dad’s weight loss method in the 70s. He usually ate a bowl of ice cream with peanuts & chocolate sauce a couple hours after dinner. When he gave it up, he lost weight.

  40. SM – I was just being sarcastic about indecisiveness, as I got the same description for “wisdom.”

    As for weight loss, I’m just trying to hit it with all of the above, in amounts that I can tolerate, and get a new baseline before I turn 40.

  41. On the diet/exercise topic, I do have to say that I love how much stronger I feel with crossfit. I like feeling an actual muscle in my leg or arm; I like feeling like I am standing up straighter; I like it when I can lift a new personal record.

    Unfortunately, I am one of those for whom strength training jacks up the appetite; the only thing that depresses the appetite is hard cardio (i.e., 30 mins. @ HR of 170+), but even when I do that in crossfit, the strength training means it doesn’t depress the appetite quite the same as running did. So I have lost a few pounds, not a lot, but the clothes do fit better (although I did have the same experience as Milo of “hey, maybe I can get into those pants now” — uhh, nope). And I feel ridiculously better overall, including psychologically — I still don’t get a “runner’s high,” but when I am going 4-5x/week, I notice my mood tends to be far lighter and more stable.

    It is funny how much of it is psychological, though. Today the work was “work until failure” — 5 sets of bench presses at about 75% max, as many as you can do each time until you can’t do it any more. Hated it, with a passion — because each set ended in failure, and then each set was fewer reps than the one before it. OTOH, the day we hoisted heavy concrete balls over our shoulders and flipped gigantic tractor tires, I left feeling like freaking Wonder Woman — “I flipped a humongo tire! Hoo-ah!” :-)

  42. A relative in the midwest just went to the doctor regarding a probably tick bite. The doctor strongly believes it was a tick, but since there are no reported cases of Lyme Disease in the county, they did nothing more than send the patient home with a list of symptoms to look out for. I found it surprising that further testing wasn’t done.

  43. I always lose weight in the summer because I don’t like to eat a lot when it’s really hot. Also, I can exercise everyday since I can make my own schedule.

    The only good part about the renovation stress from two years ago was that I got down to my lowest weight in ten years.

    I’m back to my regular plateau and I’m ok with this weight. I don’t love it, but to lose the extra five pounds would require too many restrictions.

    I feel a little lucky today because I was almost on a subway line that had a major derailment. I only take that line a couple of times a year, but I was about to get on when I heard it derailed earlier in the day. I’ve only been on the subway one time for a derailment in 45y years of riding so I’m glad I wasn’t stuck today. I’m a huge fan of the subways, but this year is testing my love affair. There are so many problems.

  44. I have the same coffee maker as RMS, and we love it. We rarely make less than 6 cups though (which serves 2 in our house). When I am home alone, I have found that it can easily make 2-4 cups though (which is a single serving for me). For workdays, I fill up a 20oz travel coffee mug, and on non-work days, I have a big mug of coffee with a partial warm up in the middle.

    Old Mom – not sure about the towels – I use softener myself, but I have definitely heard that it isn’t good for them. If you buy smaller eggplants (even if not the japanese variety), I have found that the salting/straining step isn’t necessary. I never use distilled water in my iron or steamer BUT I do find that it makes a difference – there is residue from it inside the water chamber that doesn’t seem to affect the clothes. I just can’t be bothered to buy & stock distilled water at home.

    I got Courage on the quiz, which is laughable. I think it’s because I like the color red. Maybe.

    @Milo – congrats on the weight loss.

    I almost never eat between 7pm and 7am. I guess I would just be even fatter if I did!

  45. Lauren – glad you avoided taking that subway line! It is a mess lately. Cuomo should stop posturing and actually do something.

  46. “Also, I can exercise everyday since I can make my own schedule.”

    Another good thing about retiring from paid work. ;)

    I have been following just in the periphery the subway mess in NYC. It sounds bad though.

  47. Looking for recommendations for gift for a first birthday for a little girl. I would like to do something like a monthly book – something like that and then I will add an outfit. A little old for a one year old but is Shel Silverstein still appreciated?

  48. Old Mom – Do the parents like Shel Silverstein? I’d aim for books the parents will read to/with their child. Little Blue Truck was a favorite in our house.

  49. Old Mom – books are a great idea. Richard Scarry are good ones. Just make sure to include a gift receipt. Bookstores aren’t very kind about returns. I got stuck with 3 Goodnight Moons, and I hate that book.

    Another idea that I would have LOVED was a giftcard from the daycare that we used. I’m not a very gifty person, and we had so many gifts, and money was tight, and daycare costs insane. Someone covering a week, or half a week, would have been a blessing.

  50. Babybug is a fun gift for a one year old – it’s a monthly magazine for the pre-verbal set, printed on heavy, toddler-resistant paper. It’s from the Highlights people.

    If you are just looking for a collection of great books, I love the Herve Tullet books. All of my kids were enjoying Pink Lemon last night, also Press Here and Finger Worms.

    Around that age, my kids loved: these types of cube-ish board books

  51. My kids love Sandra Boynton – I can still recite parts of them I read so much! Like, But…not the hippopotumus.

  52. Y’all are making me nostalgic for the days when my kids were babies! Last day of school is tomorrow. They are no longer snuggly, are quickly catching up to me in height and frequently have that boy smell.

  53. I follow Sandra Boynton on Facebook. The Going To Bed Book is my favorite, but I would, still to this day, pick up any book of hers and read it.

  54. I’m neutral about the Boynton books but love some of the CD’s. My favorite CD is Dog Train and my favorite song is “I Need a Nap”.

  55. My trait was kindness.

    I’m wondering if that quiz considers quirkiness a trait. Or taking things literally.

  56. I hate the going to bed book! Why do they take a bath, put on pajamas and then exercise?

  57. One year old is a great time to introduce another language (or languages), which can be done through little kiddy books and music.

  58. Old Mom – what a fantastic idea. We love new books for the boys. We read a lot to them (3-4 books at night, and sometimes 1-2 during the day). We love reading Shel Silverstein, Dr. Suess, Golden Books (there’s a monster at the end of the book is a favorite). We have Jaberwocky of the “baby lit” line and want to add more. Plus Sandra Boynton. We also collect “Goodnight…” books whenever we travel (Goodnight Yellowstone, Maine, NJ, RI, etc…) as fun memory books for our adventures. Our favorite book is “An Island in the Sun.” It’s about a boy and his dog.

    Unlike the rest of the world, I like Goodnight Moon. It’s part of our bedtime routine… 3 short books (or 2 longer ones), prayers, then Goodnight Moon. Both boys know it’s bedtime then.

  59. 1. I’ve never used any type of softening agent on my towels and they seem soft enough for me.
    2. I’ve never salted my eggplant despite that long-standing advice and have never had complaints from diners.
    3. I do not use distilled water in my iron and that’s probably why it sometimes leaks on the clothes and why I get frustrated and buy a new iron every few years.

    Obviously I’m in the “minimize housework” club. I usually go with the easiest way to do things.

  60. I am a big fan of “Eek Halloween”. My oldest “eeks” and “boos” the chickens.

  61. AustinMom,
    A hog and a frog cavort in a bog….

    I can probably recite all of those too — but we bought new copies of some of her books for the grandkids and they are shockingly ever so slightly different from the originals. But they are still the favorites. I should just keep a stack of them on hand for baby gifts.
    There is also a wonderful DVD series produced by HBO called “Classical Baby” that has gotten rave reviews from several young moms in our extended family.

  62. My youngest loves Sandra Boynton, especially the various albums she’s put out. Who among us can forget the summer he played “Personal Penguin” on repeat until stopped, day after day.

    Incidentally, I have a theory that Pig Island (from the Philadelphia Chickens album, I think?) is secretly the same song as Youkali (Kurt Weill) and also Solla Sollew (from Seussical). I’ve never yet found anyone interested in digging into this with me so if anyone on the Totebag would like to discuss it in this open thread, I would be thrilled to do so!

  63. Kate, I agree on the Going to Bed book. Exercising AFTER bath never made sense to any of us.

  64. I gave a newborn “Goodnight Moon” recently along with some Gap outfits as a gift. Her parents seemed to share a knowing glance when they opened the gift, so I figured they had received a bunch of them already and/or hated that book. I told them they could donate the book if they already had a copy. It’s one of my all-time favorite books and of course I knew it by heart and my kids loved it.

  65. “I hate the going to bed book! Why do they take a bath, put on pajamas and then exercise?”

    They’re on a ship, and exercising topside. Could be any number of reasons why that wasn’t feasible or prudent earlier.

  66. Oh, Dr. Seuss books, definitely! They are completely musical and a joy to read aloud.

    And my kids loved Philadelphia Chickens when they were a bit older. Laurie Berkner at that age.

  67. “Why do they take a bath, put on pajamas and then exercise?”

    Even DS wondered that when he was in preschool. We used to say “they go up and….nonsensically…exercise!!”

    DS loves Shel Silverstein. Some of those poems are really timeless.

  68. Perhaps some Baby Mozart or other classical music. It might not make the kid any smarter, but OTOH it might make the kid more receptive to violin or cello lessons leading to orchestra and the associated peer group.

  69. Most of my life, I’ve lost weight in the summer. I think it’s a combination of being outside/active more, longer hours of daylight speed up my metabolism, and being happy probably does too, and not wanting to eat because it’s hot. None of that happens in Florida. We hibernate in the AC all summer, which isn’t particularly uplifting (<–understatement). My doc changed my antidepressant three weeks ago. I've lost weight, because I don't want to do anything. Not get out of bed, not eat, not anything. Turns out no food at all also works for me. When I've done strength training regularly, sets to failure have been my favorite. It is hard to push yourself to go that distance, but I love seeing my progress when I can get one more rep than last time. I need to get back to exercising, because even though I've lost weight and my waist is close to my goal, I still have a little pooch of a tummy. That would probably not be there if I'd stayed on the same regime.

  70. All the woulda coulda shouldas laying in the sun, talking about the things they woulda coulda shoulda done, but they all ran away and hid from one little did.

    Shel Silverstein… favorite poem of mine… and a good life lesson.

    Each Peach Pear Plum is another good one. And I’m not sure how many people have it. Dear Zoo is also fun.

  71. Did /does S Boynton intend her books to be for kids? I always thought they were intedndes as quirky, slightly ironic takes that could be read to children, but were mostly just playful for whoever felt like looking at them.

  72. “might make the kid more receptive to violin or cello lessons leading to orchestra and the associated peer group.”

    Or just cut to the chase and get the one-year-old a subscription to Town & Country magazine.

  73. For years, this was my go-to gift for one year olds. According to reviews, it seems to have later been made of cheaper plastic, and instead of a molded case to keep the tools in, I think they went to cheaper plastic. I’m not sure if that been changed back or not. These ratings are higher than it was getting for a while, so maybe it has.

  74. Now I have Chicka Chicka 1 2 3 in my head. Scholastic put out a bunch of great kids stories on DVD that my guys liked. There’s one about money and banking!

  75. I think one year old gifts should be for the parents, not the baby. :) Give them a card that says Happy One Year Anniversary of being parents! And a gift certificate for a dinner out. If you are close enough to the fmaily, also offer to babysit.

  76. Very Hungry Caterpillar was a kid favorite.
    Shel Silverstein was a great favorite for elementary grades.

  77. We loved Chicka-chicka Boom Boom! That’s the one that got DS asking about letters. It is nearly impossible to read without rhythm (although I have seen a teacher succeed in that challenge) and I sometimes shook maracas when I read it.
    I also like this one. At first it can be sort of like a Richard Scary book where you just look at and comment on everything happening in the pictures, but then there is also a story. If you’re sending it to a family far away, you can comment of flying to see each other. The official description says it’s for kids learning to read, but there are many positive reviews about much younger children enjoying it.

  78. Lemony Snicket has a great book and CD called The Composer is Dead, if you want to go the classical music route. Kindermusik used to have books that went along with their CDs. We got them in class. I can’t find them on their website. Maybe ask a KM instructor to order extra.

  79. On HM’s quiz, I am a lion or an ant. It all boils down to the first question – I seriously do not watch any of those shows. I’ve seen 2 eps of Stranger Things, that’s it. If I click “make me a lion” I get lion. If I unclick that, I get ant.

    Not sure what that says about my personality. :/

  80. Along the lines of Lemon’s suggestion – diapers/wipes or other consumable but expensive things are much appreciated at birthdays. Not nearly as fun to open, but seriously, that’s a good gift – that stuff’s expensive! Even a gift card specifically for that stuff is appreciated. They will get plenty of toys (maybe not books), and clothes.

  81. I can see why people don’t give diapers as gifts. They are not fun, and kids are unlikely to get excited about them, even if the parents happen to snap a cute photo of kids in one or even with the box. But if this is a first child, there is likely to be plenty of new baby gear the parents are considering. If you can figure out what they want, that might be a great thing to get. Some people use a special mixer & molds to make baby food. Others might be realizing that a few more sippy cups and sets of dishes/utensils would be helpful. Or an umbrella stroller if they’re sick of the full-size one that fits the pumpkin seat. The key of course is knowing what they want, so it doesn’t look like you’re being judgmental and telling them what to do. I recall being frustrated at my child’s first birthday because I had very specific ideas about what he needed, but my family thought it was more fun to surprise me, so there was no way for me to fill in what they didn’t get. Go ahead and ask the parents what they want/need.

  82. I am one of those odd people who lost weight as I got older rather than gained. No change to my diet, but… I tend not to eat much during the day. Eating a lot during the day makes me feel like crap, and in particular if I have to eat too fast because I am busy, I end up with indigestion. So I suspect that, plus regular exercise, has kept my weight down. Interestingly, I find that if I don’t do cardio, I lose my appetite completely. My husband reports the same thing. Oh, and as for losing weight via exercise, when he goes into marathon training mode every couple of years, he loses 10 to 15 pounds, while eating more. My guess is that people who can’t lose weight from exercise are just not doing enough. It may take a LOT of exercise to see weight loss.

    And as everyone here has heard me say, I have no restrictions on my diet. I will eat it all. I guess I avoid foods that say “lite”, or these days, “gluten free” because substitutes never seem to taste as good as the original. But otherwise, I will anything from a strawberry Poptart (yummy) to a dessert tomato to a nice bowl of spicy ramen with a gooey egg on top. Oh, and I just had my yearly well check, and they did that heart risk screen where they plug in your cholesterol results, age, weight and other numbers and give you a score. Evidently I am in the lowest risk category. So brng on the butter!

    But I know it is all the luck of the draw. My sister struggles a lot with weight. I take after the skinny parent, she takes after the overweight parent. It is just genetics.

  83. Ah, Sandra Boyton. We had some CDs of various artists singing her songs, which my kids adored. My oldest used to sing Snuggle Puppy to me when he was little. I wish I had recorded it. So sweet

  84. I just sent a letter to camp yesterday using Sandra Boynton paper. I don’t think it is going to be a hit, but I like it. I bought some fun stationery because my stuff isn’t very appealing to a teen. Too boring and plain.

  85. Now my minds wandering to try to figure out what’s not as disposable as a diaper that could be a fun and useful gift for later kids. Hats/mittens/scarves/sand toys (because they often get lost)? A doubles stroller? An electric toothbrush? A pint-sized clothes tree, assuming they have their own room? Seems like that’s another one you’d have to ask the parents about. Maybe they wouldn’t think these hooks are as awesome as I do

  86. Lauren – I just sent a letter to camp today that was from the Desk of [insert family cat name]. It was written from the cat’s perspective. I’m hoping it is a big hit with my camper.

  87. After a few years of trying various diets, I’ve found just eating a variety of foods and a decent amount of fruits and vegetables works for me. That and I’ve reduced the amount of meat I eat to once per day lately and feel pretty good. I keep reading lately about health problems connected to iron overload (due to all of the fortified foods, + all of the muscle meat people eat). So basically I am back to a balanced diet. And I’ve gained a few pounds this year after being home with the kids but I feel healthier so I’m more or less okay with it. I don’t think exercise helps you to lose weight, it just makes you healthy.

  88. I think fruits and vegetables are key. IMO, when people eat a diet heavy in wheat products it displaces the amount of fruits and vegetables they should be eating. Gluten free for most people in and of itself is not the solution but what they eat in place of it is. If they continue to eat Gluten Free packaged food that’s not the answer to being healthy.
    A documentary called What’s with Wheat was very interesting and food for thought.

  89. I’ve read a bunch of articles that say essentially that you cannot exercise your way out of a weight problem – the bulk of weight loss has to come from diet changes. Perhaps those of you who can lose through exercise alone have only a small amount to lose?

    I’ve been losing in fits and starts a net of about 40 pounds in the last year. If you count the total weight I’ve lost after regaining 3 pound here and there, I’ve probably lost 70. I had been on a great run, then got derailed on a trip with my daughter and regained 5 lbs, which I am now working on losing again. For me, carbs are poison. I am replacing much of what I enjoy eating with salad. I have salad every day for lunch and as my main course at least 3-4 nights a week, with a small serving of something else. This requires me to meal plan. If I get home from work hungry and don’t know what I’m making I’m all about the chips and queso or pizza. I’m doing more strength training now instead of just walking. I also try to do the 7-minute workout a couple times a day if it’s too hot to be outside.

    On the survey I got kindness.

  90. Mine was courage. “You never waver in the face of a challenge. People often look to you for your leadership ability. You may feel fear, but you never show it!” Although this isn’t what I’d pick for me, it does apply. I’m a marathoner so I guess that works. And I feel fear a lot but keep all in …

    Thanks! That was fun.

  91. Becky, I would think your current diet would be important in determining whether changing your diet would be necessary to lose weight. I’ve had nutritionists look at what I eat a few times, the first in my early 30s, and they’ve never suggested much change.

  92. Becky, that’s fantastic re the weight loss, especially sticking with it/getting back to it. I’m starting to think that’s half the battle, getting back to it before you have to lose the same ten pounds all over again.

  93. Ha! I got honesty. I will tell it like it is, I guess! :)

    I lost 5 (or 10?) lbs when I had to stop eating fat for my gallbladder before it was removed. I have gained that back this winter – I was having low blood sugar and needed to eat more, but then gained some weight (also from a foot injury and being inactive) Blerg. So now I am trying to get back to “normal”. I still need to get in better shape and exercise more, or at all. :-P

  94. @HM: oh, MOST excellent – I am Willy Wonka. Could not get any better. 😄

  95. I’m Ms Honey, sweet & kind??? That is wacky (which is how I’d describe myself)

  96. I’ve lost about 70 pounds on Weight Watchers in about 10 months. Apparently it really was my diet, not my big bones or slow metabolism. I just needed something to teach me portion sizes and force me to make choices. I also needed a plan where I can eat bad-for-me stuff sometimes!

    I do feel much better and clothes shopping is lots more fun.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts you all sent my way this morning. On balance, I am still lucky. Our beach vacations are actually big trips (we live in flyover country) and we spend a small fortune on the hotel. But it makes the trips manageable for us. Thanks for being a place where I can complain about how hard my life is while in the next breath I talk about our fancy hotel stays!!

  97. Congratulations on all the weight loss victories! And good luck on the ongoing efforts to improve health. We’re all doing what we can under the circumstances. When I was working FT with young kids at home I could never find time to exercise, but I think my lifestyle was more active.

    “Thanks for being a place where I can complain about how hard my life is while in the next breath I talk about our fancy hotel stays!!” — This describes most of us very well. :)

  98. Awesome Sunshine!

    And, yeah, that’s pretty much what we’re all here for, isn’t it? :-)

  99. Congrats all on improving your physiques! Inspiring. I have to step it up.

  100. Just because we talk about investments sometimes here, this is Merrill Lynch’s definition (from a survey I’m taking):
    By investable assets we mean:
    – all of your household’s savings and investments, including deposit accounts, mutual funds, stocks, bonds
    – EXCLUDING the value of your primary residence, real estate, closely-held businesses and any employer sponsored retirement plans (such as 401(k) or 403(b) plans).

    So they’re looking at how much you/we/I can easily transfer to them to grow their assets under management.

  101. I got Matilda. Speaking of, I took my oldest to Matilda the Musical in April and it was very fun.

  102. For weight loss, I’ve been doing the 2 day diet and eat Mediterranean on the other 5 since the last week of March. I lost just over 20 lbs and then to change things up I’ve started Whole 30. Kate, I feel your pain. I’m on day 18 and I am one grumpy person!!! Once I’m through my 30 days, I’m going do 3 days of restricted and 4 of Mediterranean. I’ve also been reading the Blue Zone Solutions and hope to incorporate many of their recommendations.

  103. “Thanks for being a place where I can complain about how hard my life is while in the next breath I talk about our fancy hotel stays!!”

    That is the spirit of this place! There is no shame in having 1st World Problems along with more serious ones.

    I’m impressed by all the weight loss here!

    I also tend to think that exercise is better for maintaining weight and improving/maintaining health than for actual weight loss. But I guess it depends how sedentary you are at the start, how long/intense the workouts, how much you have to lose, etc. I have never found working out to be much help in the weight loss front on its own, but feeling better about my strength/endurance and being active makes me more motivated to eat well and also just all around makes me feel better physically and mentally.

  104. Yeah, there’s a broad range of exercise types, intensities, durations, etc, so I don’t think it makes sense to generalize too much about its impact on weight loss.

    It’s not uncommon for certain types of exercise to cause weight gain, e.g., football players bulking up.

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