Helping You Help Yourself #31

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Hey did you know there’s a National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, started by social worker Erica Woodland? You can list yourself if you’re a QTPOC clinician and/or find someone to see if you’re in need of a therapist in the US! Also, online therapy provider Talkspace is providing 500 free months of therapy to the LGBTQ community. Apply at the link today!

I’m constantly freaking out over the dumb things my cats eat because I can’t remember whether it’s poisonous to them or not. If this is you too, here’s a list!

File under extremely relevant to my interests: how to sleep comfortably in any position when you have back pain.

Some Pokemon Go stuff for the nerds (and me, I am also a nerd): Yelp has a Pokestop filter, an app that crowdsources info from Pokemon Go users to help you locate specific Pokemon, and one that uses Niantic’s API to show you where Pokemon are in realtime.

“Serious DIYs for people who really, really love their cats.” Sounds like that could describe a few of you around here.

Upgrade your storebought veggie burgers.

This is billed as a 70-minute cleaning routine to do on Friday so you have a chore-free weekend (although I’m not sure this would actually come to 70 minutes, at least for me). That’s a fine idea; I think it could also be a fine routine to do once a week on any day, OR something to split over the whole week; it’s already broken into seven ten-minute increments, so you could do one in the morning or before going to sleep every day and have all that time to watch an episode of Stranger Things on Friday evening.

I have never really gotten why so many people are so into Wawa, but here’s how to make the entire Wawa hoagie menu on your own, if that’s your thing.

Here’s a bot that will recommend Netflix shows that you talk to through Facebook messenger.

Eight things in your apartment that Apartment Therapy thinks you probably need to replace right about now.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. “Serious DIYs for people who really, really love their cats.”

    Welp. That’s the totality of me in one sentence.

    • yessss me too! although i have to admit that just looking at the outdoor things, like the screened-in patio or catwalk, stresses me out SO much. maybe other people’s cats are different, but i have no doubt that mine would find a way to chew or scratch through the screens on day one and immediately escape.

      • Oh, for sure. They look so happy out there in the sunshine — but no. Absolutely not. Rescuing these dudes from the street one time was more than enough!

        • Are all the bobbis indoor cats? I am thinking about rescuing a cat – my first ever, I didn’t even grow up with them! – but I am feeling really conflicted about whether the cat should be let outdoors or not. Obviously keeping them indoors is much, much safer, but it seems like cats are less domesticated than dogs and somehow it doesn’t feel fair to keep them in? I’ve put off getting a cat for many years because of this! What do you think, Heather and Rachel?

          • Yes, all of the Bobbis are indoor cats, except for Mama Bobbi who was way too feral for way too long to ever be socialized. She will never, ever let us touch her, so we just have to feed her at the same time every day and keep our outdoor area as tidy and cat-friendly as possible and make her weather-proof shelters and hope she just never leaves. We have to use an ASPCA trap to get her taken care of at the vet, and they have to give her a local anesthetic to knock her out to treat her.

            I’ve had indoor and outdoor cats when I lived in the country. The outdoor cats were really indoor/outdoor, and as long as they were up to date on all vaccines, heartworm prevention and flea/tick medicines, they all did just fine!

          • all the cats i’ve ever had have been indoor — it’s true that in some ways cats seem more like “wild animals” than dogs, but not (i don’t think) in ways that really have to do with being outside or inside. mostly i think they just want to hunt and chase things more than (some breeds of) dogs do, which can happen pretty easily inside with toys and when you make dedicated time to play with them each day. speaking for me and many of my cats, at least, once you have one you realize that honestly seemingly 70% of their time is spent sleeping, which doesn’t have to happen in any particular place, you worry about it less.

            that said, if you feel really bad keeping them indoors (which i get!) you can always take them out on a leash, like a dog, which many cats love. and while we live in an urban area so i’d never feel comfortable letting our cats out, my dad lives in a very rural area with almost no traffic and very few natural predators, and his cats are indoor/outdoor, and have lived long and healthy lives!

          • When I was younger and lived in a rural area our cat at the time was indoor/outdoor. As Heather said, as long as they’re up to date on vaccines and whatnot, it’s fine for the cat.
            Now that I’m an older, crotchety environmental educator, I would never have an outdoor cat again. (My current guy is indoor only because I knew I’d be living in a more urban area and was concerned for his safety.) Cats are hunters, and if they go out they kill whether or not they are hungry. If you’re living near a huge rodent population, that’s fine – and there’s a growing number of “working cats” who are strategically placed in warehouses and such to keep the rodents in check. However, I’ve gotten to love birds as much as I love cats, and I just can’t justify all the birds they kill, just for the killing. If only they could be trained to hunt invasive house sparrows and nothing else! As it stands, though, I’ll play with the cat indoors on the daily in the name of biodiversity.

  2. I am giving that “70 minute” cleaning routine a whole world of side-eye.

    Dust your home in 10min?
    Vacuum and mop in 10min?

    I have 30m2 and that is still not possible.

    • SAME. I prefer the “don’t worry about cleaning generally at all unless someone is coming to your house then do as much as your possibly can in the one hour before they arrive” method.

  3. Friggin cats! I would add hair ties to that list. My cat swallowed one once and spent a couple days puking his guts out. The day I was gonna take him to the vet, he managed to hack it out. Luckily, there was no damage to his insides. The same couldn’t be said for my bath mat.

  4. As a Philadelphian, I’m pretty sure there is some law against saying this, but: I don’t understand the Wawa obsession, either. #teamsheetz

    • Sheetz is so good! Its the only gas station I know of where you can get a completely healthy vegetarian meal while traveling but also get fried food at when you’re drunk at 3am!

      (I used to live across the street from a Sheetz. It was the best/worst thing ever)

    • Hi yes hello I’ll also confess I’m not really a fan of their coffee–learning to drink coffee at Starbucks spoiled me for anything else (it was free)! But doesn’t it just make you feel homey seeing that first wawa sign after a long drive back from out of state?

  5. The veggie burger tips were very welcomed! I bought a bunch this weekend. A good bun and toppings are always going to be a plus for any kind of burger

  6. Rachel! I haven’t commented in forever because I’ve been having a hard time and the world right now is overwhelming and community and stuff has just been a little too much for me lately. But! I read every damn one of these (and basically everything else y’all post on here) and I just want to say thank you and I’m sorry that I haven’t been showing my appreciation lately.

  7. You know, a great article might cover that same cleaning routine for people with disabilities. Tips, tricks, suggestions? I know I’d appreciate new perspectives and resources for normal household chores that present more of an obstacle for me.

    I also need to make that catwalk a reality. :D

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