“A balm for the soul”
Science

# A study reveals the cheapest time to buy airfare

### The average flyer misses the best deal by 15 days.

Taking a trip on the airline.

Everyone seems to have a theory on the best time to purchase airfare to save the most money. Some say it's right before take-off. Others will swear that prices are lowest six months before the flight. Well, now we have the truth. A scientific study was conducted by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Commission that found the best times to buy flight tickets to get the best deal possible.

Photo from Pixabay.

The ideal advance-purchase time for domestic flight to snag the lowest average airfare is 57 with prices climbing most rapidly in the 20 days leading up to the flight. On a flight that averages \$496, it will cost \$401 57 days before the flight and around \$650 the day of departure.

For a ticket that averages \$1,368, the lowest average of \$1,004 happens around 171 days before take-off. On the day of, the price will be around \$1875. Ticket prices begin to dramatically escalate 75 days leading up to departure.

(H/T Conde Nast Traveler)

Family

## A 6-year-old designed a custom t-shirt for his first day of school and it's seriously the best

### Thank you, Blake, for bringing some much-needed sunshine into our day.

When 6-year-old Blake Rajahn shows up to his first grade classroom on Monday, he will arrive bearing an uplifting a message for his fellow students.

Blake's mother, Nikki Rajahn, runs a custom personalization business in Fayette County, Georgia, and she asked her son what kind of t-shirt he wanted for his first day of school. He could have chosen anything—his favorite sports star's number, a cool dragon, a witty saying—anything he wanted, she could make.

Blake chose something unexpected—an orange t-shirt with a simple, sweet message for the other kids at his school to see. Five little words that might just mean the world to someone who reads them.

Ouch. My heart.

"I have to brag on my son. I told him that as a back to school gift, I will make him any shirt he would like. It could have anything—a basketball theme, football, etc. which are all his favorites. He thought a while and said, 'will you please make me a shirt that says "I will be your friend" for all the kids who need a friend to know that I am here for them?' Never underestimate your kid's heart for others! I love my sweet Blake! #stopbullying"

Apparently, such a gesture is typical of Blake. "He has always had a heart for others and is very genuine," his mother told Upworthy. She said she's donating part of the proceeds of her t-shirt sales to the Real Life Center, a non-profit that helps families in need in Tyrone, Georgia, all because of Blake.

"During the summer we had a vacation Bible school that he went to," she said, "and they did a toothbrush and toothpaste drive for the Real Life Center. He came home saying we needed to go to the Dollar Store to get some that night. We told him we would go the next day, but he had to use his money for it. He said that was fine, so we asked how much he would like to spend. He said, 'It's for people who don't have any, right?' We said yes, so he very matter-of-fact said, 'Well all of it!' And he did!"

Rajahn said everyone has been very encouraging and people are starting to order their own version of the t-shirt with "#blakesfriends" added to it.

She also shared Blake's reaction to hearing that his shirt idea was starting to spread on Facebook—and again, it's just the sweetest darn thing.

"Ever since I posted about my son and his shirt, I have sold some and told Blake about it. He said, "Oh good! Now more and more people are going to have more and more friends!" He is just so flattered so many want to be his twin too 😊"

Sometimes all a person needs is one friend so they won't feel alone, and Blake going out of his way to make sure kids feel welcomed by him is an example even adults can learn from. If we all reached out to people who might be shy or who might feel excluded, and let them know in some small way that we are open to being friends, what a better world we could build.

Thank you, Blake, for bringing some much-needed sunshine into our day.

Identity

## Man exposes the absurdity of sexist marketing by creating shirts that label men like we do women

### This guy exposes the absurdity of sexist marketing by creating shirts that label men like we do women.

Recently, Upworthy shared a tweet thread by author A.R. Moxon who created a brilliant metaphor to help men understand the constant anxiety that potential sexual abuse causes women.

He did so by equating sexual assault to something that men have a deep-seeded fear of: being kicked in the testicles.

An anonymous man in England who goes by the Twitter handle @manwhohasitall has found a brilliantly simple way of illustrating how we condescend to women by speaking to men the same way.

ManWhoHasItAll also highlights society's ridiculous need to label the women who participate in male-dominated fields. We can't just say that Amy Schumer is a comedian. She has to be known as a "funny female" or a "female comic." No one ever feels the need to point out the fact that Chris Rock is male.

When we qualify women for their professions, whether in science and technology or entertainment, it diminishes their involvement and makes them appear instead to be a token of someone who has earned their position.

Comedian Jen Kirkman has a perfect response to the question: What's it like to be a female comedian?

"This question is the hardest part – it's yet again another opportunity for guys to say that I'm complaining or to retread the same old stories. There is sexism in the world so of course it bleeds into every single area of life. I don't answer this particular question anymore," she said.

"Getting put on pink flyers. Being asked to do shows that are marketed in such groundbreaking ways as 'Chicks Are Funny Too,' 'Broads, Beer, and Belly Laughs.' Being introduced as 'a lovely lady,'" she continued.

ManWhoHasItAll has found a brilliant way to spread his message by creating a collection of T-shirts that condescend to men by labeling them "Male Scientist," "Male Lawyer," and "Male Programmer."

These shirts highlight the idea that we can be more inclusive by accepting women in these positions without the need to use a gender qualifier.

Here are some of the shirts you can find at ManWhoHasItAll's website.

Education

## Oklahoma revoked this teacher's license for standing up against book bans. She's not backing down.

### Summer Boismier's fight against censorship began in her classroom, when she covered her bookshelf in red tape that bore the words “Books the state didn’t want you to read.”

Photos courtesy of Summer Boismier

Summer Boismier drew attention in 2022 for covering part of her classroom bookshelf in red tape that bore the words “Books the state didn’t want you to read.”

Summer Boismier didn’t set out to be a teacher, and certainly not a “trouble-making” one. But over the past couple of years, as conservative states have enacted legislative restrictions on access to books in public schools, trouble making became an opportunity to take a stand. And take a stand, she did.

Boismier, who had been teaching English in Oklahoma for nearly a decade, drew national attention (and vitriol) back in 2022 for covering part of her classroom bookshelf in red tape that bore the words “Books the state didn’t want you to read.”

This was in response to her and other teachers in the English department being advised to restrict or remove student access to their classroom libraries, as to not violate Oklahoma’s new “divisive concepts” law, HB 1775. They received this warning mere days before the school year would begin.

Boismier also gave students a QR code link to the Brooklyn Public Library, which provides access to a variety of banned books. In an email interview with Upworthy, the 9-year teaching veteran said that though she knew there would be consequences, “it was important to me that my new students knew unequivocally where I stood on the state-sanctioned bigotry coming from the capitol.”

Cut to August of 2024, and Boismier got the retribution she had suspected might be coming for her. The Oklahoma State Board of Education (OSBE) voted unanimously to formally revoke her teaching license, stripping her livelihood. It’s worth noting that Boismier had already resigned from her original position in Oklahoma and began working at the Brooklyn Public library after receiving threats on social media.

And yet, this has not tempted Boismier to give up on her cause to fight censorship…a subject on which she does not mince words.

“Censorship makes the world smaller; it makes the world scarier. It teaches us to fear experiences and ideas different from our own. Censorship is a thief. It divides and conquers; it steals the possibility and opportunity that come from community, from what happens when we put our collective heads together.
Plus, censorship is just so darn tired. Empathy and understanding are far more interesting, far more worth fighting for because we already know where fear leads, but joy …?”

Repeatedly throughout our email conversation, Boismier states that her mission is “not about the books” themselves, but rather “the lives they reflect and represent and reify.” She has seen firsthand how students—especially those from LGBTQIA+ and/or BIPOC communities–are feeling the loss of stories “that speak to the fundamental parts of themselves,” and the empowerment those stories provide.

And this is why she continues advocating for them, license or no. She also encourages others to treat the situation not as a “red-state only” issue, but more of a “all-hands-on-deck five-alarm fire.”

"Ultimately, it’s not about the books, though. It’s about the lives they reflect and represent and reify, or as Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop describes, 'mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.” —Summer BoismierPhotos courtesy of Summer Boismier

## How YOU can help

Boismier has made a handy list of organizations working to defend intellectual freedom that you can promote, including:

EveryLibrary

Unite Against Book Bans

Brooklyn Public Library

Run for Something

You can also download and share The Brooklyn Library’s media kit, which includes a flyer, a printable sticker sheet, the official Books Unbanned artwork, Brooklyn Public Library's logo and a QR code, here.

In addition, Boismier urges people to use public libraries, call legislators, attend and speak at school board meetings, correct mis- and disinformation and last, but certainly not least this election year…vote responsibly.

As she so eloquently put it: “It is up to us to keep the words, keep the faith…and keep it up.”

Family

## They started dating as heterosexuals in 2004. Now, they've blossomed into a loving lesbian marriage.

### No matter what changes, some people are truly meant to be together.

via Instagram

Some couples are just meant to be together. Sarah, 38, and Jenni Barret, 37, have gone through some major changes as a couple and after 15 years of marriage, have managed to find themselves happier than ever.

Jenni and Sarah both met through a friend at Arizona State University in 2004. But back then Sarah was called Sean. Jenni identified as a straight woman and Sean, a straight man.

"I knew he was The One as soon as he gave me a killer head massage that same night," Jenni told The Daily Mail. The couple tied the knot in December of 2005.

At the time, Jenni didn't know about her fiance's gender issues, but she thought it was a little unique that she took such an interest in their wedding plans.

"I didn't clock it at the time, but looking back at the wedding, Sarah was a bit of a bridezilla," Jenni says. "I was happy to elope and get married just us two, but she organized every part of the big day, from tableware to the venue - all I did was try on the dress and turn up."

The couple would go on to have two boys, Morgan in 2007 and Toby in 2009.

After the birth of their second child, Jenni began to notice that Sarah would buy clothing traditionally meant for women.

"She started buying a lot of clothes like that, which were on the edge of what is seen as male or female," Jenni says. "She would wear a nightie to bed and on date nights she'd be wearing countless layers of clothes with a bra underneath, so no one could see. I noticed something going on, but it wasn't hurting anybody so I left it."

However, the couple's suspicions that their eldest son, Morgan, may be gay brought the issue to the forefront in their relationship.

"We'd suspected Morgan was gay since he was about two," Jenni says. "He just can't hide it — not that we would ever want him to. He was born singing theme tunes and being over the top."

The discussions about Morgan's sexuality pushed Sarah to put a mirror up to herself and have a tough conversation with Jenni.

"Sarah rolled over one evening in bed in 2016 and told me, 'I really need to talk to you - I think I'm trans.' I'd come to realize why I'd always been so drawn to her, it was because of who she was on the inside — a woman — and not her shell," Jenni said.

"I turned around and said, 'That's ok, I think I'm gay.'"

What began as a heterosexual relationship had transformed into a loving lesbian marriage. The next job was explaining the situation to their children.

"We explained that Daddy had a girl's brain and that it was in the wrong body — but doctors would fix it," Jenni says. "Now, we're both Jewish, the boys call Sarah 'Eema' — Hebrew for Mother."

Sean changed her name to Sarah and began to take a combination of of testosterone blockers and estrogen every day. The couple set up an Instagram account to celebrate their unique family.

"We're so proud of our LGBT family, although we do always say that, after Morgan came out in 2018, Toby must feel left out," Jenni says.

"He jokes that he's going to have to come out as bisexual to fit in!"

Wellness

## Woman shares her therapist's surprisingly helpful mental health tip: 'Run the dishwasher twice'

### "It blew my mind in a way that I don't think I can properly express."

"Run the dishwasher twice" might sound like strange mental health advice, but a viral post is proving that it's actually quite helpful.

Danielle Wunker, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor, shared a story on her Facebook page that is resonating with people who struggle with mental health issues. It originally came from an answer from Katie Scott on Quora to the question "Has a therapist ever told you something completely unexpected?"

"When I was at one of my lowest (mental) points in life, I couldn't get out of bed some days. I had no energy or motivation and was barely getting by.

I had therapy once per week, and on this particular week I didn't have much to 'bring' to the session. He asked how my week was and I really had nothing to say.

'What are you struggling with?' he asked.

I gestured around me and said 'I dunno man. Life.'

Not satisfied with my answer, he said 'No, what exactly are you worried about right now? What feels overwhelming? When you go home after this session, what issue will be staring at you?'

man sitting on chair covering his eyes Photo by christopher lemercier on Unsplash

I knew the answer, but it was so ridiculous that I didn't want to say it. I wanted to have something more substantial.
Something more profound.

But I didn't.

So I told him, 'Honestly? The dishes. It's stupid, I know, but the more I look at them the more I CAN'T do them because I'll have to scrub them before I put them in the dishwasher, because the dishwasher sucks, and I just can't stand and scrub the dishes.'

I felt like an idiot even saying it.

What kind of grown ass woman is undone by a stack of dishes? There are people out there with *actual* problems, and I'm whining to my therapist about dishes?

But he nodded in understanding and then said:

'Run the dishwasher twice.'

File:Dishwasher with dishes.JPG - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

I began to tell him that you're not supposed to, but he stopped me.

'Why the hell aren't you supposed to? If you don't want to scrub the dishes and your dishwasher sucks, run it twice. Run it three times, who cares?! Rules do not exist.'

It blew my mind in a way that I don't think I can properly express.

That day, I went home and tossed my smelly dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher and ran it three times.

I felt like I had conquered a dragon.

The next day, I took a shower lying down.

A few days later. I folded my laundry and put them wherever the fuck they fit.

There were no longer arbitrary rules I had to follow, and it gave me the freedom to make accomplishments again.

Now that I'm in a healthier place, I rinse off my dishes and put them in the dishwasher properly. I shower standing up. I sort my laundry.

But at a time when living was a struggle instead of a blessing, I learned an incredibly important lesson:

There are no rules.

Run the dishwasher twice."

Anyone who has been in a mental or emotional place where even just the most basic, mundane tasks seem overwhelming understands the wisdom in this lesson. Dishes might seem like such a minor detail of life, but those kinds of minor details can be the straw that breaks the camel's back mentally. If you've never stared at a basket of laundry that would take three minutes to fold and thought, "Nope, can't do it. Not now. Maybe not ever..." then you may not need this lesson, but there are millions of people who appreciate the express permission to let go of the rules in our heads about how things have to be done.

Adjusting expectations and arbitrary ideas about how something works is incredibly freeing and can provide a seemingly temporary fix for a seemingly insurmountable problem. Oddly enough, though, that temporary fix can be the necessary bridge that gets someone from unable-to-cope-with-daily-life-things to functioning on a somewhat normal level.

Mental health is such a tricky thing to manage, and many of the tools for managing it run counter to what we might expect. That's what therapists are for—to help us step outside the box of our own brains, adjust our thoughts and behaviors to create greater possibilities for ourselves, and give us permission to reject the negative voices in our head try to keep us locked in unhelpful or unhealthy patterns.

Even when that unhelpful pattern is as simple as letting the dishes pile up instead of running the dishwasher twice.