Sunday, February 28, 2010

"This Old House"

Before we were married the Big Guy promised me that we'd be wealthy one day....and we were!  I think it was October 27, 1995!
(such wit!) 

The point I was (ever so slyly) trying to make, is that we are not now, nor have we ever been financially solid.   We don't have creditors beating at the door, but we haven't won the lottery either (not for lack of trying!)  Unfortunately, the problem arises from the fact that both of us have expensive tastes in almost everything; which leads to a lot of frustration, deep sighs, and wishful thinking!!  Especially when it comes to houses. 

I absolutely adore looking at houses, going to open houses, searching for interesting local homes for sale, and driving around neighborhoods with interesting older homes.   I can't do it very often because I can get kind of depressed by all those places with so much potential and none of them are mine! 

My dream would be to find a hidden gem of a house, a house we could afford without selling off our firstborn child, an older house loaded with nooks and crannies and unusual details and a big wrap-around front porch just right for a swing.  If it were kind of neglected and in need of renovation or restoration and some TLC, but not a total dump, I would fall in love with it and get everything into mint condition and live in "this old house" for the rest of my days.

It's not going to ever happen again I know.  And, yes, it did happen once, at least partially.  We were still living in Chicago in our first home, the one my father-in-law said was a "nice little starter house".   After we had lived in our nice little starter house for about 20 years (!), I got the itch to move into a bigger, nicer house....not because we needed more room exactly, but just because I wanted  a house that was closer to that dream house. 

We did find one, not exactly like my dream house, but close enough that I think it would have suited us for a very long time.  Wonder of wonders, I talked the Big Guy into it and because he loved me, we moved about 3 miles from where we had been.

I may not have been blessed with wealth and riches, but I really won the office pool when it came to getting a guy that could do-it-himself!  Just as a little aside, in over 40 years of marriage, we have needed to call in a repair man no more that 10 times or so!  Seriously!! 

The Big Guy has repaired just about every major appliance we've ever had, he has installed wood floors, carpeting, lighting fixtures, cabinets, plumbing, created closets where none existed, built window seats, painted (repeatedly),  wall-papered,  torn out walls, put up walls, built kitchen islands,  turned closets into work spaces, put up and taken down doors, and lots and lots of shelving.  If we had those things "installed" or done by professionals, we never could have afforded half of it!  But let me tell you, if you can do it yourself well enough, you can do it for a LOT LESS MONEY!  The Big Guy isn't fast, mind you, (I was once without a functional kitchen sink or stove for four months!!), but once he finishes, its gorgeous and just what I wanted.

So when we moved into our second house, there was a lot we wanted to do to make it right.  So the Big Guy started on all the projects as soon as we signed the papers.  First he completely redid the kitchen and dining room.  He completely redid the first floor powder room, painted and carpeted the family room, completely redid the 2nd floor bathroom, painted and carpeted the third bedroom, tore out wall-paper and sports posters (which were glued to the wall) in the second bedroom, and recarpeted and wall-papered the stairway. 

That put him more than half-way through the "to-do" list.  Still to do was the master bedroom, the living room and the basement.  Well, you know how they say, that life is what happens while you're making other plans??  Well, all of those jobs that he finished were over a time period of about three or four years.  And that was when big changes came our way.  We moved to CA for really great job opportunities, leaving that old house behind!

In CA it took us a year to find a house we liked and could afford, but ultimately we did find one.  It was a beautiful house in great condition, we loved it.  And it didn't need any work!  We spent ten years in that house. 

When we moved from CA to Texas to be close to Ratchlet and her new family, we again found a newer home rather than a fixer upper that I had been thinking about.  This house is a nice house with a lot of great features, but it isn't my dream home.  Over the ten years we've lived in Austin, the Big Guy hasn't done any big do-it-youself projects here at all.  None were really needed and other than some painting, there aren't plans to do any in the future.

So were does that leave me in my desire to live in an older home, with lots of nooks and crannies, interesting details, charm and character?  It has gotten more and more unlikely that it will ever happen.  The Big Guy is not interested in moving again, nor does he share my love of old houses anymore, and we really can't afford finding a new house. 

I'll more than likely live out my days here in this not perfect but acceptable house.  In my heart of hearts I know that our second house was as close to "this old house" as I'll ever get. 

About the only thing that could change that, is if Ratchlet moved to another city, because we would most likely go too.  Or if we won the lottery!!  Then it would be off to the races all over again!! 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Those Oldies But Goodies"

It is amazing what you can find on the Internet!  Yesterday, I was idly surfing, not looking for anything in particular, just kind of bored, hoping something would catch my attention.  And, as always, the Internet came through....I found a site about one of my favorite things!!!  Music!  And not just any music; MY music!! 

Now anybody who knows me, would tell you that "My" music could be anything from Broadway showtunes to Classical. They would be close, but not quite on the money. It's true I have rather eclectic tastes when it comes to music.  In my profile, I say something about liking any music I can sing along with, meaning I prefer vocals rather than instrumentals, but that can depend on my mood. 

Anyone who knows me very well, could tell you that is not "MY"  music!  My music is most definitely "Those oldies but goodies" ....particularly what was popular music during my teenage years (from approx. 1958 to 1965).  Within those parameters 1961, 62, 63, and 64 was the best of the best....the music of my high school years!  "MY" music!  Oh, heaven!!

The site I found was  It has the songs of my youth to listen to or even to purchase.  It has lists of songs broken into a bunch of different genres.  You can find almost anything.  I haven't explore the site much yet, but you can bet I will.

I don't understand it exactly, but that music can transport me (and most other people my age, I'd wager) right back to high school.  If you loved a song then, you'll love it now; if you hated one, you still will hate it.  And if there was a song that had particular meaning for you, the emotions brought on by such song will pop up like shadows and make you remember with crystal-clarity whatever you felt originally.

For instance:  "Pretty Woman"  -  The first time I walked into the student union in college as a brand new freshman, they played that song over and over and over!!  Anytime I hear it, I'm there!

"It's My Party" - Crying my  eyes out over my broken heart at my friend's 16th Birthday party and being comforted by the family's housekeeper.

"Rhythm of the Rain"  -  When I got the flu in 1963 and my dad wouldn't let me talk to the boy who called me for the first time!!

"I Can't Help Falling in Love"  -  I always danced with the same boy every time this song played and never with anyone else when it was on!

"Duke of Earl"  - a pep rally with the entire football team seated on stage doing a synchronized leg-crossing thing.

"Cryin'"  -  At the first high school reunion, finally dancing with a guy I used to cry over.

And on and on...nearly every h.s. memory has a song attached to it and vice versa.  Those songs helped get us through those years which could be turbulent, ecstatic, miserable, lonely, hysterical, or sweet.  There was a song that fit any occasion.  The music inspired, comforted, excited, and entertained us.  It was a part of who we were.  We were the true Rock 'n Roll generation.  We were there for everything from Bill Haley and the Comets ("Rock Around the Clock") up through Elvis, the girl groups, Brenda Lee, Motown, then through the British Invasion that changed everything.  This was our time, our music, and our history. 

Most of the bloggers who read this posting are probably too young to remember any of "MY" music unless they heard it from their parents or possibly even their grandparents (moan!)  They probably liked what they heard when they heard it, but it didn't have the memories or the emotions attached to it the way we do.

Each generation has its own music memories, and emotions and that is how it should be, I guess.  But the music we had was the best ever.  It suited the lives and times we had.  When I hear any of it again, it makes me want to go back to the 1950s-60s and do it all again.  "My" music may be Oldies, but they are definitely Goodies and there is nothing better!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Bits and Pieces" -- 2nd Verse

*  Today is National Pancake Day!  IHOP (International House of Pancakes in some places) are offering FREE pancakes!  Whoo Hoo - Free Food!  IHOP is a 24-hour restaraunt so there's still time to hop on over (sorry, couldn't resist!) to get some of those goodies!  Bon appetit!

** So I went to see the Ophthalmological Surgeon today to confirm that my regular Ophthalmologist was right about needing cataract surgery.  After going through the same bright light test and the "Which is Better  1 or 2?" vision test (I hate those!  I can never tell the difference with certainty!) that I just did a couple of weeks ago, and then getting my eyes dilated, the surgeon looked at the results and said "No wonder you're having trouble seeing!"  I took that to mean that yes, indeedy, it was time to let him go digging around in my eye!  (whimper, whimper)  I asked if this was the time for me to tell him that the surgery absolutely terrified me.  He was pretty cool about, smiled a little smile, and said,  "Don't worry, we've got a great anesthesiologist and he's got great "no terror" drugs!"  I found that somewhat reassuring.  Then he said the magic words that will allow me to actually go through with this.  He said, "Besides, you'll sleep through the whole thing."   WHAT??  I DON'T NEED TO STAY AWAKE??  REALLY????  YOU CAN DO THIS WHILE I SLEEP??  The feeling of relief that flooded through me very nearly made me cry.  Oh Yay!  That's the best news I've gotten since I found out about the cataract!   Wheee!

***  I realized today while at the doctor's that I don't think I've ever had my eyes dilated before.  The tech expressed some surprise about that.  What can I say, nobody has ever done it!  When I mentioned that I had come by myself so there was no one to drive me home after the dilation, she told me not to worry, that it would be fine.  Okaaaay, if she said so!  So the exam was finished and I left the building on my way to the car, when I realized that I really couldn't see the obviously new bright white sidewalk there was too much glare!  (Did I mention that there was not one cloud in the sky and the sun was shining as brightly as I have ever seen it??)  I got in the car and was never so grateful for tinted windows in my whole life.  Luckily I only had about 10-12 miles to home.  That was a really good thing because I squinted the whole way home and by the time I pulled into the garage and out of the GLARE, my head hurt, my eyes hurt, and I just wanted to shut my eyes and go to bed!  Of course, the whole thing would have been just a mite easier if I had remembered where I put my sunglasses!

****When I got up this morning (just a tad earlier than usual!), there was still snow on the ground.  Oh! Didn't I mention that it snowed here yesterday??  (silly me!)  It left as much as 2 inches of the stuff scattered all over the place!  Big, fat, fluffy flakes that looked perfectly lovely for about 2 minutes!  Then I remembered what I don't like about snow.  That would be EVERYTHING!!!  It's cold, it's wet, it's slippery, it gets slushy and dirty and messy.  I've built a snowman, had a snowball fight, taken pictures, made angels, slipped in it, sledded in it, shoveled it, fell in it, driven in it, been stuck in it.  Hell, I lived in Chicago for many, many years!  There is nothing further that I wish to do with snow....except never see it again!!  Anyway, when I got up there was still a fair amount of the stupid stuff laying around.  However, my the time I got out of the doctor's office, thanks to that big ole' sun, most of it was gone!  All that was left, was the remnants of half a dozen small little snowmen that some of the kids had made yesterday.  I can live with that!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Witch Doctor"

I read on a friend's blog that she is suffering from a head cold with sinus congestion and is quite uncomfortable.  Poor thing!  She says its affecting her ears and she is having trouble hearing.  Oooooh, I sympathize.  I know how dreadful that can be.  How, you might ask?  Well, I  know through lots of  personal experience!

I have been plagued by sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, flu, and plain old colds my whole life. That in itself wouldn't be nearly so bad, but my ears and hearing are ALWAYS affected and its getting worse.  Its gotten to the point that when I get a bad one with enough head conjestion and discomfort, me head feels like it will explode and I become extremely close to total deafness.  Decongestants will help with breathing, but not with hearing!

When I was a kid, my head used to get so congested and plugged up that I was utterly miserable for days and days. The pressure in my sinuses and ears was so painful that I would cry. As colds went around, my sinuses were the first place any germ in the vicinity claimed as home. I hated not being able to hear out of either ear!  I feel like such an idiot repeating "I'm sorry, what did you say?" a hundred times a day. It was embarrassing. Even my family would forget and talk when they were turned away from me or they would mumble and I would have no idea what they said. It was awful. And I was sick a lot!

When I was a little girl my mom always took great care of me when I was sick.  But eventually it would get so bad and last so long, that she had to call the doctor.   Of course, this was back during the days when doctors still made house calls!  (Somewhat after penicillin, but waaaaay before the Polio Vaccine!)  

We lived in Chicago at the time and I remember that my pediatrician was Dr. Tigay.  She was a remarkable woman.  She had gone to medical school way back when that was a really unusual and difficult thing for a woman to do.  By the time I came along, there still weren't very many woman physicians in practice.  Nevertheless, she was an extremely committed and dedicated doctor.  So much so that she would take the bus or streetcar to our house at all hours whenever my mom would call her!!   I have no idea what age she was, but I thought she was ancient back then.  She was a lot older than my mom and her hair was all grey.   Of course, I only got sick in the winter time so that meant there she was, an older, grey haired woman doctor, all alone, on a streetcar, in the dead of winter in the cold and snow, with her medical bag to come to take care of me in the middle of the night!!  Someone like that today is beyond imagining!  The woman was a saint!

Anyway, Dr. Tigay would come and  examine me, listen to my lungs and chest.   (She was always worried about rheumatic fever.)  She'd prescribe some icky, disgusting, miserable, cherry-flavored, horrible tasting medicine and sometimes I got a shot and sometimes I didn't.  Then she'd get back on the streetcar and go home! 

She did her best, but there wasn't a thing she could do for my ears to help me hear better.  If there was an actual earache, she would have mom warm some baby oil (at least I think it was baby oil!), put a few drops in my ears, and stuff a small cotton ball in the ears to keep it from running back out!  That actually made it feel a little better for a while.  But in general, my ears wouldn't clear up till the cold or infection went away....sometimes not for 2 weeks or more!  I'd stay healthy for another couple of weeks and then get another cold and start the whole thing over again.  This went on from the time I was 3 1/2 till I was 7.  Then things began to get better because I finally had my tonsils/adenoids out and we moved to Florida!

I wasn't out of the woods as far as colds and infections and earaches where concerned.  They just didn't happen as often.  But the blocked up sinused kept making my hearing worse and worse with each cold. 

After we had moved to Florida, of course, we no longer had Dr. Tigay to come to take care of me.  Nonetheless, I kept needing to see a doctor in the hopes of figuring out something that would make it better!!

I'll never forget going to an ENT doc in a town that was about 30 miles away to try to get some relief. (I don't think such things as decongestants were available until I was in my late teens.) This doc had, well, what can I call "interesting" technique that he tried on me a couple of times.

OK, picture this: I would sit in his exam chair, after the exam, he took a long rubber tube that he would put just inside one nostril. At the opposite end of the tube was a bulb shaped thing (picture a baby's nasal syringe). He gave me a small sip of water but told me not to swallow until he said to. He then blocked the other nostril so that I couldn't breathe thru my nose at all. Then he would say "swallow". When I swallowed, he would squeeze the bulb, forcing air from the bulb, thru the tube, into my nose, through my sinus passages and out the ear!! It was like 10,000 sticks of dynomite going off in my head!! I thought I was going to die! It hurt like hell, but I could HEAR!! I could hear, that is, until we were back in the car, heading home and the sinuses started to fill up and it was back to stone deaf by the time we got home!!  It was total a waste of time and money.

Sadly, nothing we ever tried made any difference.  The only thing that ever really changed was the length of time the colds took to go away.  That got a lot better with amoxycillin and decongestants.  Now they only last a bit over a week usually.  So its better.... marginally.

Thinking back on the ENT doc and his technique, it sounds like some sort of medieval torture device.  I've never heard of any other doc doing this.  Even though it happened decades ago,  I can still remember how awful it felt.  

Now, I'm pretty sure that my mom would have checked that he actually was a doctor with a diploma and everything.  I don't know that positively for a fact, but I'm pretty sure.  Nevertheless let me tell you, compared to my good old Dr. Tigay, this guy could have been a "witch doctor".  If someone told me that, I'd believe it!   Well, I would if I could hear it!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

"I'm So Excited"

"I'm so excited!"  This post, right here, this one, is my 100th post!!  (TA-DA) That's amazing to me.  For something I started to do on a whim, blogging has become a bigger part of my life than I ever would have believed.  I have actually found 100 topics to write about!  Who knew I had so much to say? 

As you probably know, I don't write every day.  Sometimes I have no inspiration, or the words won't come easily, or I'm grumpy, or I'm involved in doing something else, or sometimes life just gets in the way.  Still, I usually get back to writing in just a couple of days.

I have an "addictive" type of personality. I'm a smoker, I only drink Pepsi at home; nothing else!, I check my email first thing EVERY morning!   This might be a kind of addiction too.  When the spirit hits, my fingers practically itch to get to the keyboard!

The other amazing thing is that so many people seem to like my writing!  That is sooooo cool.  Thanks to all of you for your comments, your loyalty, and your interest! 

First 100 down....who knows how many to go????   Wheeeeeee!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"You Oughta Be In Pictures"

I've worked with a lot of actors over the years....some extroardinary, some dreadful, and just about every level in between.  They were, at the time, all amateurs, most doing community theatre just for the love of acting.  And there were a few who had ambitions far beyond community theatre; they had dreams of being a professional, working actor, working on Broadway, or TV, or the best of all Hollywood!  To them the most magical phrase in all the world was "You oughta be in pictures!"

And for most of those professional wannabees that I knew, their ambitions remained dreams.  There have been few who were talented, committed, and lucky enough to have moved beyond their amateur days.  I know of three or four who have gone on to semi-pro, but none that have "made it" into the big time.  And then there are those who keep trying.

One such actor is also a friend, JZ.  I worked with JZ in two different shows.  She was just learning the craft back then, but she had potential as a character actor and even more importantly,  she loved it and wanted to make acting her life.  So she moved to Hollywood.

JZ was a large woman, not tall, you understand, just very, very....well....round.  As an actor, her size would be a detriment, but she chose not to attempt to turn herself into a thin, emaciated, starlet type just like hundreds of other wannabees.  She chose to be who she was and hope that her size would give her an edge for the odd or unusual roles that so frequently occur.  It is an interesting strategy and she hoped it would help her carve a niche all of her own.

I haven't seen her in a few years, but we are in touch via email and FB and she frequently sends photos of her current activities.  She has an agent and auditions for everything that she can....TV, ads, independent movies....anything she can get.  She's been cast in a some things, got some good reviews, but nothing major.  She hasn't yet had a "big break".  As we all know, a lot of Hollywood success stories only happen after a long period of no success.

JZ had sent out some photos and info a few months ago about a non-speaking role she got as the bearded lady in a circus for an episode of "Cold Case".  The photos were from the shoot and she looked great!! This is a first run network show (so I've been told....I don't watch TV).  Visibility in a show like this could lead to other things;  she was excited and her friends were all very pleased for her.  She never saw the final version of the episode, but was told it would be part of "Cold Case's" season.

She sent out a quick post this morning saying "Watch Cold Case tonight!"  So we did.  Realizing that for a non-speaking role her appearance might be very fast, so we watched closely.  As the final credits rolled, we had not seen her.  Her scene didn't make it to the final cut. 

This sort of thing happens all the time in film and TV.  A lot more film is shot that is actually needed and the director and film editor make the decision as to what is or isn't used.  Its a fact of life.  There aren't very many film actors that haven't experienced the disappointment of going through that.

Still, its a real shame.  We were so hopeful.  I wanted her to get her break, but this wasn't the show that will do it.  So often careers are made or broken by whether or not you manage to stay off the cutting room floor.  I haven't heard from her yet, but I'm pretty sure that JZ won't let it get her down, my guess is that she'll keep trying and giving her all for the career she wants.  Perseverence is essential in acting, somewhere out there is the role that will launch her into frequent, steady work in the industry!  You know??  'Cuz everybody tells her "you oughta be in pictures"!  And someday, she will!

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Goody, Goody"

My mother always told me that its not nice to  gloat, but sometimes you just gotta say, "goody, goody!" 

One of the blogs that I visit regularly and enjoy is "navel gazing at its finest" .  A couple of days ago she wrote about her young daughter's problems making friends.  (The link will take you to that posting.)  It was a very wrenching post in some ways, partly because it struck so very close to home.  Evidently it struck close to home for a lot of people, because she received 91 comments (!) from other women, nearly all of whom had had various and similar experiences themselves when they were around that age....including me! 

It's a very, very hard thing to go through, thinking no one likes you....not having a close friend....or having a friend turn into an enemy overnight....any of these can seriously affect self-esteem and self-image for YEARS after.  When you're 8 (or 10 or 13) having any type of related problem can be DEVASTATING.  At that age and into the teenage years emotions are right beneath the surface and it doesn't take much to send a sensitive kiddo into despair.  

And for a mom, watching  their daughter go through it is heart-breaking.  It's heart-breaking because its awful to see your child in pain and its made worse because nobody has a good idea of how to handle it.  Banging a few 3rd grader's heads together is totally out of the question!  But its tempting!!

It seems to be a huge problem, much more wide-spread than I ever thought.    Go and read the original posting and comments and you'll see what I mean.  (link above)  Post after post from women who said, "I thought I was the only one" or "This could have been me."  We all pretty much thought it was unique to us!  But I'm beginning to think it happens to every little girl in some form or other.

* No one came to my sister's 7th birthday party. No one! 

* I was the victim of the betrayal and cruelty of my former best friend at age 11.

* My daughter cried and cried because no one liked her in the 5th grade.

*Maddie-the-Great went through not having a best friend and thinking no one liked her in the early part of the 2nd grade.

As serendipity would have it, it's turned out that M-t-G was have a problem again.  She had met a Best Friend late last year and they were as close as girls can be at that age.  At the beginning of this school year, another girl joined the mix.  So now there were three best friends.  Well, a triad friendship is not easy to maintain at that age, there always seems to be jockeying for position and frequently two of the three will suddenly decide they don't want to be friends with #3 anymore.  There will then be some incident where hurtful or mean things are said and #3 goes home devastated and in tears, often more than once. 

Moms struggle to comfort, console, support, protect, and help their little one deal with the situation.  Often the moms' just feel  helpless and like a failure.  Its only natural. 

When M-t-G talked and cried to her mom, Ratchlet felt no different from all those other moms.  She didn't know what to do to help her little girl either.  But my Ratchlet, is a mom extraordinaire and she didn't give up.  I'm sure she researched it and then she advised M-t-G to confront the friends and tell them that what they did (whatever it was, I don't remember that part) wasn't very nice and that "friends didn't make friends cry".  The advice, in and of itself, was not that unusual.  Most moms probably try to get their daughter to stand up for herself.  But most little girls who are on the receiving end of this kind of thing are not able or willing to do this.  Confrontation doesn't come easy to 8 year olds. 

But, (and now here is the part where we can all stand up and sing, "Goody, goody")  Maddie-the-Great did it!!!  She went right up to them and said (paraphasing here) she didn't want to play with them anymore because what they said was mean and hurt her feelings.  Then she said, "Friends don't make friends cry!"  

WHOO HOO, MADDIE!!  Way to go.  I'm so proud of her I could burst!!  I am thrilled that she didn't just roll up and fade away like so many of us did.  Oh, she was scared, and nervous, and still upset and unsure what would happen but nevertheless, she stood up for herself and told her friends how they had made her feel and she walked away!  She didn't let the bullies win!  That's an enormous accomplishment.  She chose not to be the victim!  It was a very courageous thing to do. 

As a postscript, it appears all three girls are back to being friends.

Maddie-the-Great ....What a kid!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World"

Austin had a scare today.  There was another action by a seriously disturbed individual proving once again that we live in "a mad, mad, mad world". 

This morning, a man who lived in nearby Round Rock, TX, set fire to his own house, went to the local airport, got into his single-engine plane, and flew directly into a 7-story building, which contained IRS offices.  The man is presumed to have died in the crash.  Although several were injured, miraculously, he did not manage to kill any other people in the process, although there is one person reported missing. 

Its reported that he was furious with the IRS.  He had a website that talked about all his problems that led him to decide this was the thing to do. 

The incident occurred about 12 mi. from my house in a building I pass by several times a week.  Several people witnessed the crash and reported that it "looked like 9/11."  Unsurprisingly, the first response was to think it was a terrorist act.   According to the media, fighter jets were deployed to Austin as a precaution.  Fortunately, before a full scale panic could erupt, the identity and history of the pilot became known....not a terrorist, just a man with big problems.

Of course there was huge media coverage, and the gawkers tied up traffic for hours.  Although there was a big fire and a great deal of damage to the building, the bulk of the building is still standing. 

All in all, an event that could have been so much more tragic, turned out to be something much less.

It was shocking and frightening to see.  Is this our future?  Revenge actions by a mentally ill person with an airplane as the weapon of choice??  Thinking back to 9/11, I remember watching with horror as the magnitude of what was happening grew and grew over the course of that day. 

I still don't understand how the terrorists who flew those planes on that day could be convinced that flying into a building filled with basically innocent people was in any way justified.  But I realize that almost any act by terrorists and/or religious fanatics doesn't stand up to any sort of reasoning I would ever understand. 

But today was NOT the act of a terrorist.  I don't believe he was anything but a man who had serious mental problems and must have had them for some time.   Waking up this morning and suddenly deciding, "hmmm, think I'll go fly into a building today" doesn't seem real likely.   

My question is why can't anyone see before a tragic event that a person is acting strangely enough to realize that he/she might be a danger to himself and others??  This kind of thing happens over and over and over again.  All of a sudden, seemingly out of the blue, a person goes berserk and flies into a building, or starts shooting colleagues in a faculty meeting; or inflicts great harm to her own child or children; or brings a gun to school and uses it indiscriminately on the other students and teachers, or an army  doctor goes on a rampage and kills fellow soldiers.  These are in no way to be considered the action of a sane human being.  Why is everyone always so surprised??? 

Inevitably, neighbors, friends, family, colleagues, almost uniformly. state afterward some variation of:  "He was the last  person you would expect to do something like this; or  he was quiet, a loner, troubled, kept to himself, etc. etc.;  or I can't believe he (or she) did this."  Why is everyone always so surprised???  These people usually have families, bosses, children, friends.  Why does no one ever spot that someone has gone over the edge and is no longer a rational, sane, functional person.  There is help out there for the mentally ill.  There are police officers who might be able to prevent or divert the person from completing his horrible plan.  There are famiy members, ministers, counselors who could talk to them and get them the attention they need.  There are hospitals where a person can be involuntarily committed to prevent them and others from harm.   None of that ever seems to happen before tragedy strikes....and afterward, the evidence seems so clear that help was seriously needed but no one did anything!

Well, we've been getting a series of wake-up calls for years that just keep being ignored.  What does it take before we realize that there are more of these disturbed people out there.  What does it take to intervene?   I don't know about you, but I hope that I am never so oblivious, so cowardly, so self-involved that I ignore the trouble signs in someone I know.  So, what does it take?  Seriously, what does it take?  Somebody flying into your house?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"I'll Be Seeing You"

Some time back I wrote about my dismay at discovering I had catarracts.  Well, my dismay is growing because it seemed as though the dumb things are getting worse!  The vision in my left eye is seriously blurry, especially for distance (as in driving!), with glasses, without glasses, makes no difference.  So I went back to the eye doctor and she did the exam, and the bright light (!) picture thing, and showed me the comparison between my last visit and now.  The damn thing doubled in size!  In less than a year!  

So I asked what my options were and basically what it boiled down to is that there's really only one.... eye surgery!   Holy Crap!  I've got to let somebody poke little knives INTO my eye, let them pull out the lens COMPLETELY, and replace it with a new lens.  Knives into my eye???  Oh, and the kicker?  I get to be awake while they do it!!!  Are they nuts?  Do they truly expect me to just sit there and let them mess around with my EYE?  One of only two eyes I've got??  And they expect me not to freak out?????  Obviously, they do not know me at all.  The very idea of sticking a contact lens in my eye always makes me shudder and they want to use KNIVES??

So being a coward of the first order, I asked what happens if I don't get it fixed?  She told me the blurriness would continue to increase until I lost vision in that eye completely!  Oh great, now there's an option!  I can do nothing and wait to go blind or I can have the surgery and risk losing my eyesight NOW!

Cripes, what a choice!

Of course, I'll have the procedure.  I am not willing to lose the ability to SEE.  After its done, "I'll be seeing you" a lot better than I can now!  At least that's the plan....

Soooo, fellow bloggers, anybody out there who's already gone through this?  Is it as awful as I expect?  Does it hurt??  Tell me your experience.  (Actually, I'm hoping it will reassure me!)  I'm going to see the surgeon for the preliminary exam etc. next Wednesday.  Don't know the doctor, but my doctor told me he wasn't a particularly warm and fuzzy kind of guy, but he was a great surgeon.  Well, I guess if I had to choose, I'd go with great surgeon too....but it sure would be great to have someone who would coddle me just a bit at the same time.

What do I need to ask?  I've never known anyone who went through this so I really don't even know what to ask!  So I need your help, pretty please?  And maybe somebody to come hold my hand.....

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Another One Bites the Dust"

WARNING:  This post is about smoking, those of us who still smoke, and those who would grind it out of existence.  If you don't like smoking or reading about smoking, then don't read this!  

I am a fairly recent transplant to Austin so I had no opportunity to cast my ballot against efforts to legislate and control smoking by adults with the city limits.  Austin prohibits smoking in restaurants, public buildings, and a bunch ofother places, including bars!

There has been all this panic about how dangerous smoking is and how second hand smoke is even worse.  And one by one cities and states have surrendered to the rabid and fanatic crusaders who seem to think that their opinion is more important than mine.

I have always found it very telling that there has been very little effort anywhere to ban the sale of cigarettes completely. This country still subsidizes tobacco growing, for Pete's sake!!  Sooo, its okay to grow tobacco and its okay to sell tobacco, but not to smoke tobacco??  How hypocritical!!  All that lovely tax revenue, advertising money, etc. is a cash cow that the government freely and expediently takes and uses with no qualms.  If cigarettes, cigars, and pipes would disappear, so would all that money!   Can't have that!   So instead, we'll just hound smokers every single day and label them pariahs and outcasts!

About 30 years ago, after Koop's diatribe against smoking, we smokers began accommodating the escalating demands of non-smokers. Since then we have graciously given up smoking in our offices, our businesses, stores, restaurants, bars, and indoors in general so as not to offend anyone. Many smokers have even stopped smoking in their own homes lest the "taint" that a smoker lived there adversely affect the resale of those homes! (Including me, I only smoke in my garage or outdoors at home!)  And am I the only one who finds it fascinating to note how many people are smoking in cars!  Unfortunately, in an effort to avoid "offending" others and to be "cooperative" and a "good guy", smokers have pretty much given up without a fight.

I recognize the rights of non-smokers to choose not to smoke, but I do not believe that means smokers have no rights at all.

Smokers' willingness to completely bend to the will of others has only fed the endlessly increasing demands by non-smokers! Like all bullies, the more non-smokers can intimidate others, the stronger and more unreasonable their demands become. It is time to stop this onslaught of one group of individuals' rights at the expense of anothers'.

Now I am not naive.  I know we lost the war, the very first time some smoker agreed to put out his cigarette at the demand of someone else without protest.  What doesn't make sense to me is that no matter what "victory" the non-smokers win, it is NEVER enough.  Lots and lots of people do not frequent bars, taverns, saloons, bowling alleys, poolhalls, cocktail lounges, or casinos.  In fact, a lot don't even frequent restaurants much at all.  Never mind, some of them still voted to ban smoking in all those places!  Why??  What earthly difference could it make to them? 

While sitting in a legal smoking section usually in the bar, I have personally seen restaurant patrons separated by a glass wall and sitting as far away as possible, start to cough and fan themselves as soon as they see me pick up a cigarette....before its even lit!!!  That is absurd!  Truly!  (I can't help but laugh, I mean, really!)

Now in Austin there is only one place left for us to go. Hooter's!  No other place where it is still possible to have a meal, a drink, and a cigarette indoors, sitting down, and in peace!  Great choice!!  Excuse me, but I find Hooter's offensive.  I don't want to support a place that treats women so horribly!  I have been there.  I have watched a bunch of drunken louts sit and ogle and insult  the  waitstaff women with their breasts spilling out of their "uniforms".

That's it though, only Hooter's is left of those places which were "grandfathered" out of required compliance.  One, in a city of approximately 5,000 restaurants/bars!

If non-smokers don't like having smokers in the same building with them, then they should go somewhere else, just like smokers have had to do for years. Believe me, there are scores of places that are completely smoke-free! There are plenty of choices.  One by one we smokers have watched as smoking sections have disappeared from their favorite restaurants.  If an establishment is willing to accommodate the gazillion restrictions requiring separate ventilation, separate rooms, separate everything, let them do it in peace!

But no.  We've all let the bullies take over.   I really think they could have figured out that being in the proximity of a smoker is NOT an automatic death sentence.  Even the experts agree that breathing in second-hand smoke becomes dangerous after exposure over a long period of time, NOT after spending an hour or so in a restaurant that has a completely separate smoking section!  

Just outside of Austin, in the town of Cedar Park, TX. there is a Chili's restaurant and bar.  Cedar Park appears not to have a no smoking ordinance.  I have been driving the approximate 15 miles from my house to that restaurant for lunch several times a week for the past 2-3 years.  I drive past about 50 other restaurants on my way, including another Chili's.  Why??  They still have smoking allowed in the bar and it is legal.  There is a separate ventilation device and a wall separating the bar from the restaurant.  But as we all know (ha!) those measures are totally ineffective and folks who brave the smoky, smelly, unhealthy restaurant air will curl up and die of lung cancer before they can consume their dessert!

Last week Chili's posted a single piece of paper on the exit door, "As of March 1, 2010 Chili's will become a non-smoking restaurant."  Based on complaints received and the abuse the waitstaff had to take, the Corporate Office decided to cave in.

So "Another One Bites the Dust."  AAArrrrrgggghhhh!    And  again, the smokers go down without a whimper!

I wonder if anyone ever told all the fanatics the unpleasant truth.  It's easy to avoid facing the facts, but no matter how much you bully others and ignore reality, the truth is....
100% of Non-Smokers Die!

And all those bullies, fanatics, rabid, frothing busybodies should beware.  Losing freedoms is an extremely slippery slope, and sooner or later something you enjoy will be targeted by a different group of bullies and know-it-alls and YOU will become evil incarnate!!  I can hardly wait!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"My Cup Runneth Over"

Some people see a glass as half full; others see it as half empty.  Not me!  "My cup runneth over!"  Basically, there is no more room for anything more.  I do not have an empty closet, shelf, cabinet, bookcase, pantry, or storage space anywhere!  My house is full. 

In truth, its more than full.  I still have things in boxes that are unpacked because there is no place to put the things that are inside!  And we've lived in this house for nine years!  Does that mean it was full the day we moved in???  How depressing!

This has happened before in our house.  After all, we've been together for almost 44 years.  You accumulate a LOT of stuff in 44 years!  LOTS of stuff.  We have owned four different houses in that time; each one bigger (or at least equal in size) than the one before.  Usually when we first moved in and got settled, we had space left over!  It was a great feeling to look around and have a lovely, spacious, uncluttered home, with room for expansion.

I seem to remember (vaguely) that there is some law of Physics that is something about gas expanding to fill the available space.  I never knew that law extended to belongings too!  That open spacious feeling quickly disappears as more and more things become part of our "must haves." 

Yes, I admit it.  We are "Accumulators"!  Both of us!  The Big Guy keeps everything he ever owned.  Clothes, gadgets, pens, watches, electronics, notebooks, exercise equipment, former hobby  things, and papers....lots and lots of papers....all related to the different jobs he's had for the last 40 years.  I'm not kidding.  There is one whole room in my house;  99.9% of its contents are his things.  And 99.8% of that, is stuff he hasn't used or ever will use ever again.  Now I don't mean a few things discreetly hidden in a cabinet or closet.  Nope, I mean wall-to-wall, practically floor to ceiling!  No joke.  This is his "office".  (In our house "office" really means junk room!)  If he should have the poor taste to die before me and leave me with this mess, I shall hang his body in effigy in front of my house with a big sign that says, "He never threw anything away!!"

It really pains me to say this, but I am very nearly as bad as he.  The difference being that I keep things that I love, or I use, or has an important memory attached to it AND I put it all away!  Ergo, my full house!  I am a sentimental fool and so is the Big Guy.  This only makes things worse.  He is a charter member of the "But I might need it someday" club.  I am a charter member of the "Awwww, I remember this" club.  How do you throw away a memory?

Nevertheless, there comes a time when reality comes a-knockin' and you are simply forced to accept as fact that there is no room for even one more thing!   When you attempt to put things away and discover all of the "away" space is gone, there's no avoiding the truth any longer.  You either must purge and discard (gasp....hyperventilating), or move!  We can't afford to move, besides who wants to pack up all that stuff anyway!

Maybe I should look into one of those storage places.  Nope, same problem.  Another expenditure on our already tight budget and that dreaded packing thing. 

So there is no choice but to face up to it and make some room...somehow....somewhere....get rid of something.  Oh help!

Now all I have to do is convince the Big Guy that his cup runneth over too!  Wish me luck with that!

I must go lie down, maybe the feeling will go away.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"500 Miles"

"500 miles" is a long way to go.  $500 is a lot of money.  500 words is a lot of writing.  500 photos is a lot of pictures.  Are you beginning to get my drift??500 of anything is a lot of anything!  You can have 500 good things to celebrate or 500 not so good things to regret.  Just the number by itself is neither good not bad.  It all depends on what you're counting. 

So today I have 500 somethings I didn't have yesterday.  500 good things!  It's not money or photos or distance.  But I'm thrilled to have them just the same!Considering all of you are very clever folks, you've probably figured it out.  Anyone??

Okay, here it is (drum roll, please) my blog received its 500th visit!!  500!  That's huge!!  And amazing!!  Whoo Hoo!!!

When I started writing this back in July, I had no idea of whether or not I would be successful as a blogger.  It seemed like it might be the kind of thing I might start and then get bored with in short order.  I couldn't imagine what I would write about.  I couldn't imagine that anyone would want to read it!!  And yet here we are 7 months later and not only am I still writing, but enough readers stopped by to rack up 500 visits!  You may also have noticed that there are 9 official "followers".  That is so cool.  

The really nifty thing is that I can tell from the stats that it has been more than just one or two folks coming back again and again to bump up the number.   Nope, a lot of folks  come back for more visits and they leave comments and sign up to be followers!  (That's like receiving a tip!) I am so grateful for each and every visit!

It feels like I have a duty to try to be funny, interesting, and consistent for all the followers and visitors.  It makes me feel like I'm a writer!! 

My thanks to each and every one of you!  I promise, if you keep reading, I'll keep writing.  Maybe someday I'll have 500 posts for you to read! 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"

I stole this from another blog. Its consists of 99 things a person might do.   You're supposed to bold the things you've done.  Not surprisingly, none of them has anything to do with beer!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (well, I sang with a band, that's kinda the same)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland  (It was DisneyWorld, but what's the diff??)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person  (No, but I've seen the Leaning Tower of Niles!!)
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted 
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching  (Saw one too!)
63. Received flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
 76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (ewwwwww)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo 
 94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Hmmm, I've done 37 out of 99.  I guess I need to get out more!  How many have you done??

Friday, February 5, 2010

"Bye Bye Birdie"

I was walking past the windows looking out on our deck this afternoon when I saw the cutest little bird. It made me smile! Now I am not by any means a "bird" person, not interested in bird watching, can't tell you which bird is which or any of that stuff. I did get my "Birds" badge in Girl Scouts but that was 50 years ago! (You have no idea how much it pains me to write that!)

Also about 50 years ago (crap, I'm older than dirt!), my mother had a parakeet or two for a few years, Pete is the one I remember. After we had him for awhile, "Pete" started laying eggs (unfertilized, of course). That was the only interesting thing about him. His cage needed constant cleaning, he never did tricks, or talked or anything, he I guess I mean, she..., ultimately died....of a broken heart, I think! All those eggs, no babies! Anyway, that is my sum total experience with the winged creatures. But I digress....

, the bird I saw today wasn't colorful, or unusual, or especially clever as far as I could tell. Don't know what kind he was. He was just cute. Well, actually that's not quite it. What he was, was fat! Most regular birds don't seem to get fat, but this little did. His body alone was about the size of a fist, but he had a tiny little head, and little short legs, and straight tail feathers that bobbed up and down when he walking. He just looked too round for his overall size. Maybe I don't mean he, maybe she was "enciente" just like Pete! Do birds get fat when they are "expecting"? Beats me. Anyway, he/she hopped around for a few minutes and then took off for parts unknown. So, "bye-bye, birdie!" Thanks for stopping by.

Just the random sighting of a cute little bird, didn't exactly inspire me to write this posting. What it did tho, is put me onto a language track.

Have you ever thought about how many phrases, expressions, or song titles there are about birds? I have been having them running though my head all afternoon. Maybe if I share them, they'll go away and leave me alone! Anyway, here we go....

*Birds of a feather stick together.
*A little bird told me.
*A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
*Bird's eye view
*Bird brain
*Eat like a bird
*The early bird gets the worm
*Flip him the bird
*To bird-dog
*Make a birdie (golf)
*The birds and the bees
*Free as a bird
*Kill two birds with one stone
*Strictly for the birds
*Swan song
*Happy as a lark
*Sing like a canary
*Night owl
*Soar like an eagle
*Naked as a jaybird

*Feather your nest
*Nest Egg

Song Titles:

*"Listen to the Mockingbird"
"On the Wings of a Nightingale"
*"Bye Bye Birdie
*Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage"
"Yellow Bird"
*"Red Red Robin"
*"Bye Bye Blackbird"
*”Little Bird”

*”Lullaby of Birdland”
*"Bird Dog”
*”Rockin’ Robin”
*”This Bird Has Flown” [Beatles - Norwegian Wood]
*”A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”
*"Blue Birds Over the White Cliffs of Dover”

Just so you know, the song titles are from the 40s, 50s, and 60s ('cuz" they're the ones I know!) but I'll bet there are more.

Okay, so now have I "bird" you to death?? Now maybe the little birdies will fly off somewhere else. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"The Counting Song"

I haven't done one for awhile, so I feel the need to make a list!  So here (in no particular order) are more things I just don't get:

10.  Parents who allow their little girls to dress (and look) like tiny little hookers!  Do they like having people stare at their kids in disbelief??

9.  Why, no matter what I am shopping for, it is always in the farthest away corner of the store.  And the second thing I need is in the opposite farthest away corner!

8.  Drivers who do not put on their headlights in the rain, fog, snow, twilight.  Did no one ever tell them it isn't to help them see, it's to help US see THEM??!! 

7.  Why kids look so adorable when they're sleeping, but adults just look their worst.  Open drooling mouths, spiky hair, morning breath, and ratty nightwear just doesn't make a pretty picture!

6.  Why, on the day that you absolutely look your worst, that's the day you run into your old boyfriend!   Is that what happens when God needs a good laugh?

5.  People who ignore "10 items or less", or "No Parking", or "Limit: 2", or "Form a line here".  Why do they think the rules don't apply to them??

4.  People who do not flush after using a public restroom.  Were they raised by wolves??

3.  Why is it that when it has been grey and rainy all day long, the skies start to clear and sun comes out 15 minutes before it gets dark?  

2.  Why is it that people who are boring and long-winded NEVER know it??  Can't they hear themselves talk??

1.   Why my daughter ALWAYS finds an available legal parking space right in front of wherever she's going??   And why can't I??

Okay, deep breath!  I guess I've ranted enough for today!  No answers, but I feel a lot better anyway!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"I Know You're Out There Somewhere!"

But sometimes I can only guess that "you're out there."  Don't let me hang here all by myself....Leave a comment!!  Become a follower!!  Let me know what you think!  What could it hurt?  After all, it gets lonely here all by myself! 

"You Tell Me Your Dream"

They say that everyone dreams, and depending on who you listen to, dreams   1) are filled with deep hidden pscyological meanings and symbols, or 2)  are our sub-conscious resolving inner conflict, or 3) are just a chaotic nighttime ride through Oz! 

I've never really bought into the Freudian theories, to me a cigar is pretty much always a cigar!   Those theories just seem too convoluted and far-fetched.  Besides,  I don't believe that every person's mind could or would use the same symbols that mean the same things as every other mind.   Seems unlikely in the extreme.

The second possibility (that dreams are how our sub-conscious sorts through the hodgepodge of our thoughts to make it all come out right in the end), seems like it probably has some validity sometimes, especially when an actual occurence is recreated in the dream.  But I'm not sure that is always true.  Why don't I believe it?  Well, because most times my dreams seem to be devoid of anything meaningful at all.

Oh yeah, for me, its that chaotic ride to Oz!I  I frequently remember my dreams when I wake in the morning, mostly when there was a particularly interesting or desirable situation going on.  My first clue that a dream is going the chaos route is that more often than not, I dream about people I do not know!  How is that possible?  Now I don't mean like celebrities or people that I have seen but never talked to.  Nope, I dream about complete unknowns!!  Don't recognize them, don't know them, never seen them.  It's like I'm having someone else's dreams.  Who are these people???  Why am I dreaming about them???  How do I get them out of my dreams and go back to wherever it is they belong?!! 

First of all, its frustrating, because these folks are generally pretty interesting, or funny, or flat-out gorgeous.  (Hey, its a dream. I can't help what direction they sometimes go in!)  However, the situations don't make any sense at all  (with locations I've never been to, or skills I've never had i.e., playing an instrument,  etc.)  So I wake up feeling somewhat bereft over something I never had anyway! 

It hard for me to wake up from the really good ones.  I can feel myself struggling to stay asleep.  It doesn't work, of course.  As I reach a conscious state, I'm disappointed and slightly angry that its back to reality.  Still, why should I feel that way....I was dreaming about strangers!! 

It really doesn't seem fair.  I can never look to my dreams to sort out my feelings...because they are pretty much somebody else's feelings!!  I know lots of people.  Why can't I dream about them?  Its not as if my friends are boring, really!  I know some really fun people.  I'd welcome most of them into my dreams.  It would be really refreshing to dream about someone I know.   Maybe you dream about them, cause I sure don't!  

Hmmm, maybe I've got something there.  Here's an idea, "you tell me your dreams" and I will tell you mine!!  At least that way we'd each occasionally hear about people we know!  So hey, if you dream about someone really funny from Chicago that you have never seen or heard of, it's probably for me!

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