31 day Christmas challenge – day 27: Gift you didn’t get but really wanted?

Okay, here's the post where y'all find out how dumb I am. My husband asked me to make a list for him and I had the worst time trying to come up with one thing. I finally gave him a few ideas and it wasn't until last night that I remembered what I meant to ask for. I've wanted the Wacom Inkling (it scans what you sketch on paper directly into Photoshop, so it's editable) since I found out they came up with it, but I forgot about it when it came time to make a list. Now I'm bummed that I forgot to ask for it. Really bummed.

2010: year of suck

And I mean it.  

There are times on this here blog in which I share (maybe over share) and there are times when I keep things to myself.  For the most part I've kept a lot to myself this year because it's been one hell of a year and who wants to read about what a blogger has gone through?  After all, who am I — just a girl with a blog who is occasionally humorous and posts about bands and random videos and pictures, right?  A lot of you come to this blog everyday for a laugh or to see what's going on with your friend or because you've searched "BBW pin-ups" and no doubt you are sorely disappointed.  For whatever reason you come here, I know you've come to expect one thing from me and that is authenticity.  This isn't a place where you're going to read stories of a mom bragging on her kids or talking about how awesome she is because that's not me.  I mean, I may be awesome, but that's up to you to decide, not me.  

What I have decided is that this year has been full of suck.  I know this because I have a fantastic memory and this year ranks right up there with 1990 and 1993.  But this is about 2010.  To give you the story of 2010, I will first tell you about December 2009.  

One year ago this month I went for my yearly gynecological exam  had blood work done because of some complaints I'd had.  My gynecologist told me I was in premature menopause.  Not peri-menopause, premature menopause.  Now, my husband and I had decided three children was enough and I didn't have whole biological clock running out thing going on, but the news was hard to hear.  I was 35.  When you're told you're in menopause at 35 it makes you feel old.  My doctor put me on the pill for hormones and stuff and had me come in three times this year for ultrasounds because I have a uterus that loves the camera.  

Welcome to 2010.  In January, I was sitting on the edge of my tub, testing the water for the kids' bath, when I fell into the tub and hit my head on the edge where the tub meets the wall.  I saw little birdies and stars.  I was soaking wet.  I felt the back of my head and there was lots of blood.  When I climbed out of the tub I asked the girls to come in and look at my head to see if there was a big gash or if my brain was falling out (you never know) and the 6 year-old said "I can't tell – your hair is red and so is the blood."  I called 911, then I called Megan to come get the kids.  The paramedics put me in the ambulance and took my blood pressure, then asked if I had high blood pressure.  I told them my doctor said it was borderline and we were going to watch it.  I didn't think this was a good sign.  At the hospital, I was parked next to a ficus and Beth walked in because Meg had called her and Beth just loves hospitals.  What happened after that became some kind of hospital sitcom including the triage guy not being able to find a blood pressure cuff to fit my chubby arms, a man with Alzheimer's in the next curtained area asking who the monitors and such belonged to, the EKG guy who asked us to tell the people in charge he needed to go home early, and according to Beth, I did some flirting with the male medical personnel.  In my defense, I couldn't help it, my blood pressure was 263 over 1something and I felt drunk.  Plus, my ER doctor was really cute and so was the radiologist (shout out to Dr. McCutestuff). Anycutie, I was put on a blood pressure medicine and then my doc put me on a second.  If you're keeping score at home, that's 3 drugs I'd been put on in a month.  

Fast forward to August.  I started having severe pain that made me feel like I was having a heart attack and stomach issues for a few weeks.  When I went for a regular checkup, I mentioned this to my doctor who ordered lab work and an abdominal ultrasound.  When I went for the ultrasound, the tech said "I don't usually tell people this, but you have gallstones."  Lucky me.  Later that afternoon my doctor's nurse called to tell me I needed to see a surgeon about having my gallbladder removed and then she might as well have said "and hey, by the way, you also have high cholesterol and pre-diabetes, so we're putting you on meds for that. Is the Walgreens on 21 and 1085 still good for you?"  She was harsh.  I am not exaggerating.  Really.  Now we're up to 5 new drugs in what — seven months?  Good times.  

I had my gallbladder removed the day after Labor Day.  I don't miss it.  A week later I was at ScrapFest! doing my usual gig, but this time I was in pain and in recovery mode.  People told me I looked tired.  Here's a tip from Kerry: don't tell people they look tired.  

The next month was October.  I took a weekend trip to Shreveport and after having dinner with a friend, I hit a trailer that had come unattached from an RV. It had been towing a golf cart. An 18-wheeler hit it first, then an SUV hit the golf cart, then I sideswiped the trailer which was standing vertically in my lane.  You know, that old story.  I was shaken up for a couple of weeks.  

I spent most of November in pain from my wisdom teeth and crying a lot.  Yep, that's about it.  

Then last week I had three of those teeth extracted.  My mouth still hurts, but don't worry, they put numbing stuff in one of the areas yesterday and I'll be taking my Percocet as soon as I finish this post.  Percocet makes me feel drunk without the annoying taste of alcohol.  That should be their slogan.  Why am I not in advertising?  I'm like the Peggy Olsen of the 2000s.  Only rounder and with a better wardrobe.  

By the way, my oral surgeon told me yesterday that if my impacted-fused-to-the-bone last wisdom tooth ever becomes a problem he would probably have to break my jaw to remove it.  I'm sure that's what's going to be on tap for 2011.  

So, that was my 2010.  I've left out a few things.  There were a couple of bright moments.  Not many.  I did some work I was proud of and I stood up for myself when I needed to and I bought more shoes and purses and had great sushi.  

As always, thanks for reading.  My readers mean a lot to me and I hope y'all know that.  

Stay tuned for my new year's resolutions.  

what the hell Friday: Christmas school vacation

Note: if you happen to be a teacher, you may want to stop reading now.  It's not that I don't love you, I do, but I'm thisclose to losing it. 

When I was but a young lass, Christmas vacation was the best.  It was the best two weeks of the year, it was the shiznit if you will, pardon my hip hop slang.  Right before the break, all the kids had written their letters to Santa and talked about what we'd asked the big man for.  We had our Christmas parties at school and Christmas programs at church, the countdown was on.  The last day before school let out for the break, there was a flurry of activity.  I remember watching Christmas movies, singing carols, working holiday word find puzzles, and giving my teacher a small gift. 

These days not much has changed, sure the teacher gifts are a little nicer and of course the Christmas outfits and dresses are much prettier, but it's still the same excitement of getting out for two whole weeks of Christmas.  So, what the hell?  Now I'm the mom!

I don't know exactly when it was that I became an adult.  Yes, I know — I could vote at 18, drink at 21, but I wasn't an adult.  I married the hubs at 23, but I wasn't an adult.  I didn't become an adult until I was responsible for another life.  Little did I know that little 7 1/2 lb life would change a lot of things.  It started before she was even born.  I couldn't eat guacamole or brocolli when I was pregnant and when she came into this world, suddenly I had to turn the music down in the car, there was no sleeping in on weeekends, she controlled my life. 

And now, she and her sister are in elementary school.  Their brother is in mother's day out twice a week.  You know what that means?  Christmas vacation. 

Let me explain how things are now that I'm the mom.  We get the December calendars for school and both of the girls have Christmas parties, Molly has a progam, Andrew has a program — and here's the best part: the parties are on the same day and so are the programs.  And so it begins, the mad rush before the break.  Now, having three children means lots of gifts.  No, not for them!  For teachers, bus drivers, librarian, and 400 other people you have to buy gifts for if you're the mom.  So, by now you're broke and you've run around town like a crazy person finding gifts for people, outfits for programs, and then you get a note in the backpack.  For the program, your child's class has to wear cowboy gear.  What the hell?  What do cowboys have to do with Christmas?  Oh, they're singing the western version of Jingle Bells, which is the regular Jingle Bells, with a twang and a yee-ha at the end.  Makes perfect since.  And so you send the hubs to buy a cowboy hat at Target on the dollar aisle because they had them last week and you're busy wrapping teacher gifts.  The hubs calls to say no, there are no cowboy hats!  So, you send him across town to Party City and he calls asking if it's okay to get her a pink sequined cowboy hat.  Sure, at this point you don't care if has flashing neon flamingos on it, whatevs!

And so the Friday Christmas break begins they kids come in all high on sugar and bring in backpacks with all sorts of little gifts and candy from friends, tons of artwork and ornaments made from popcicle sticks, beads, pompons, and pipe cleaners that litter the kitchen table.  And the children say, "Mom, isn't it great?!  We're out for two weeks!"  Oh, yeah, just great.  Just wonderful.  Just shoot me in face right now. 

We're almost at the end of the two weeks and my house is a disaster.  I have stress acne.  They've eaten everything in the fridge and pantry.  I've watched more Noggin, Rudolph, Boomerang, and Strawberry Shortcake than anyone should ever have to.  Truthfully, it's cruel and unusual punishment and I wouldn't wish it on hardened criminals.  Well, yes I would, especially Yo Gabba Gabba and Dora the Explorer.  Come on vamonos, everybody let's go — yeah, go to hell, Dora!  I'm sorry I got carried away for a minute.  I really hate Dora.  Her head is shaped like a damn football.  What the hell?  Have the illustrators ever seen a human being?  We tend to have heads shaped more like baseballs, not footballs.  But I digress. 

My daughters go back to school on Monday.  When they get on the bus, I'll be doing the mother effin' Mexican hat dance and beating the hell out of a pinata in celebration.  I may start drinking for the occasion.  A little tequila in my coffee cup sounds about right. 

Also on Monday, I will be writing a letter to my congressman.  I believe I have come up with a plan to make the Christmas holiday a little more manageable.  I know it won't be easy, I know we have a long road ahead of us, but I know that it will make the moms of this country a little more sane and full of Christmas spirit.  My plan is to make Christmas a holiday celebrated much like Thanksgiving.  We will make Christmas on a Monday every year and New Year's Eve will be on Thursday.  That way Christmas vacation lasts only one week and sanity is spared all across this great nation.  But Kerry, we can't move Christmas! Oh, yes, my friends, we can.  You see, since we're celebrating the birth of Jesus and He was born in the spring as our theologian scholar friends believe, we're not celebrating it on the right day anyway, so it's okay.  But Kerry, won't that mess up the whole calendar if New Year's Eve is on Thursday every year?  Listen, I didn't say my plan is perfect and there are plenty of smart people who can figure this out.  Hell, we have leap year every four years and I still don't understand how they come up with when we have Easter every year.  I know we have Mardi Gras 40 days before Easter, but how do we know when Easter is?  See, there are people wiser than I who can figure these things out. 

No need to thank me, I'm sure there's already a statue being carved out of stone in my honor, hopefully it will be a little thinner than the flesh and blood version, I don't ask for much.  Don't worry, I'll keep you updated on how my bill progresses.  I'd like congress to call it the Give Momma a Break Bill.  Or the What the Hell Vacation Bill.  Either way, I'm sure we'll get the votes for it to pass.  I'll be willing to go to Capital Hill if need be.  Hear that, Hillary?  I'm comin' for you.  And I'm bring my kids for you to babysit.  You should have plenty of time now that you're going to be Secretary of State and all.  Maybe we can have lunch and enjoy some girl talk, you know, about hair products, pantsuits, whatever. 

have yourself a merry little Christmas

Dear Friends and Readers,

It's Christmas Eve and I'm thinking about this holiday and how much it means to me.  It's always been my favorite holiday, even with all the chaos that's always surrounded it as a child and now that I have children of my own.  As we celebrate the birth of our Savior and reflect on what that means in our own lives, I hope you will take the time to tell the people close to you what they mean to you.  While wrapping presents today, I asked my daughters what Christmas is all about and I was so happy to hear them say it's about Jesus' birth and giving.  It was a proud mom moment.

Being that I'm not actually Santa Claus, I knew it would be impossible give each of you a gift personally, but I hope this will do.  I'm posting two videos that say Christmas to me and I hope you enjoy them.  The first is my favorite Christmas song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," this is the Coldplay version.  A few hundred versions are out there, I have  my favorites and I like this one.  The Judy Garland original is awesome, and although I love Ella Fitzgerald's version, it's a little too up tempo for my present mood, which is reflective and actually peaceful. All of the covers of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are for your Tunes Tuesday.  Go visit YouTube for a few dozen versions.  Sinatra's is fab, but pass on Xtina Aguilera.  Here' the lyrics for you in case you haven't committed them to memory. 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be far away

Here we are, as in olden days
Happy golden days of your
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us
Once more

Through the years, we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

That's Christmas.  That's what this holiday is to me: friends, family, and forgetting your troubles while you're together. 

The second video is one of the best pieces of television ever aired. 
It's Linus' speech from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.  I've been
watching it my entire life and it always brings me joy at Christmas. 
The way Linus quotes the book of Luke and then tells Charlie Brown, "that's what Christmas is all about" is pure Christmas Magic.  There's something about the belief of a child that trivializes your
worries and brings things into perspective that makes all the chaos and insanity of the weeks before Christmas melt away.  I hear it in my children's voices.  To hear my daughters say Christmas is about giving is immensely gratifying and lovely to a mother's ear.  It makes me think maybe they are listening to me after all, maybe the commercialism of the season isn't ruining the meaning of Christmas after all.  That is a blessing and I am grateful for that. 

I am also grateful for each and everyone who reads this blog.  I wanted to thank you for spending some of your time with me and tell
all of you how much I appreciate your comments and emails.  The words
I've head from you make writing worth it.  I have such wonderful
friends and readers, y'all are just superfantastic and I wish you the merriest of Christmases. 

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night,

rock scrapblog

I heart scrapblog.com.  I use it to make a new desktop for my laptop every month.  It’s fun.  Here’s my rockstar, Andrew wrapping a mix tape around the sofa.  I think he has a career in music.  Or demolition.andrew the rockstar

no sleep ’til Birmingham

Things were looking good for me last night, I finished packing my scrapbook stuff and got in bed at 11:30 — that’s early.  I tried really hard to sleep, really I did.  Sleep wouldn’t come.  So, I got out my laptop, tried to order a dress, didn’t order the dress; the ship date is next month.  Tried to find the dress at another online store, only Nordstrom carries the plus-sized line.  Of course.  Gave up on that, wrote an email, ripped pages out of scrapbook magazines for my inspiration journal, turned off the computer, looked at the ceiling.  I tried not to think of the bird or bat or ghost that’s in our attic.  At two, I decided to take some Benadryl, got back in bed and closed my eyes.  The last time I looked at the clock it was a quarter ’til 3.  At 4 am on the dot, Katie and Andrew sound like a herd of elephants coming in our room.  Here’s how the rest of my night went.

  • 4am tell Katie and Andrew to get back in bed.
  • 4:15 tell Katie the smoke detector is a good thing and will not talk to her like the one in the movie they showed at school.  Tell Andrew to get out our bathroom 20 times
  • 4:30 give up on them getting back in their beds, tell them to get in bed with me
  • 4:30-5:30 tell Andrew to stop playing with Scott’s alarm clock, to get his feet out of Katie’s face, to get back in bed, to stop touching my hair, to stop getting all the way under the covers, to stop touching my face, tell him my boobs are not hills to launch his imaginary rocket from, tell him to lay down, tell him to lay down, tell him to lay down; tell Katie to ignore Andrew
  • 5:30 tell the kids I’ve had it and they better lay down and be quiet because we have 45 more minutes to try to sleep.
  • 5:30-6 wonder to myself why we thought three was a good number of children to have.  Can’t think of a single reason why.  Ponder selling kids to the circus.  Ponder taking a sabbatical from mommyhood.
  • 6 throw the covers back, jump out of bed and dramatically announce that we’re getting up, ’cause I can’t take it anymore.
  • 6:02 Scott calls, asking how my night went.  Close eyes, count to 10, and calmly tell him I have not slept and that Katie and Andrew…he tells me he’ll call me right back.  Throw the phone on the bed, say every curse word I can think of in my head, not outloud because the two sleep theives are looking at me.

I hope your night went much better than mine.  At 9 am I’ll be dropping off Andrew at MDO and will not see my hubs or munchkins ’til Sunday afternoon.  At this point, I don’t care if I get a layout finished or not, I just want to sleep alone and not have to use concealer for the circles under my tired blue eyes.

Y’all have a good weekend, I know I plan to.

a little show and tell and a little history

I don’t usually (ever) post pics of anyone else’s children, but I’m breaking my own rule today.  My bff in S’port, Darla, and her hubs Chris had twins in the spring and they are my unofficial nephews. And her dog is an old friend of mine, too.  This was going to be a short post, but after reading it, I had to tell you a little more.   I can’t tell a short story anyway, y’all know that.

A little history: Darla and Chris adopted my dog, Beau, 7 years ago when we moved from Georgia to Houston to Canada.  It was really hard for me because Beau was my first mommy experience before Molly and I hated to give him away, but was glad he was going to Dar.  (I was going to end this paragraph here, but went back and finished the story.) I had had two miscarriages before Molly, the first was three days before Christmas the year we were married (1997), and the second in February two years later; so Beau was really special to me.  Y’all know everything with me has to be complicated, so getting pregnant was no different.  We tried to get pregnant for two years after losing the second baby.  I was miserable and Scott was the best hubs I could have asked for.  I had made an appointment with an infertility specialist a few days before we learned I was pregnant with Molly and was ecstatic to be able to cancel it.  Later on I found out that I have an “inhospitable uterus” — turns out my insides are just as crabby as I am.  It was funny in the movie “Baby Mama” that Tina Fey had the same issue, but reality is pretty damn cruel.  Reality is having to take medication, have bed rest, have lots of ultrasounds, and still worry yourself to death just knowing something is going to go wrong because it’s happened before.  Saying it sucks or was rough doesn’t come close.  Plus, at the time, everyone we knew (literally) were having babies, so that made it practically impossible to get through Sunday school or lunch with friends without crying or thinking I’d faded into some sort of alternate universe where people with babies rule the world.  And I naturally have anxiety in normal situations, so this was bad, real bad.

When I was pregnant with Molly, Beau would sit on the sofa with me and put his head on my belly, we’d take naps on the sofa, read baby name books, and he was comforting when I was fired after I had told my boss I wouldn’t be able to come to work one morning when I woke up dizzy and didn’t feel like driving was a great idea.  After Molly was born, Beau would steal her socks off her feet while she was in the baby swing and hide them.  He was bad, but I loved him (he just prepared me for Katie and Andrew.)  Darla and Chris gave him a happy home and lots of love and I am thankful for that.

Darla and Chris are gluttons for punishment, so they bought another Basset, George.  And of course they had twin boys to go with the two dogs.

Here’s my new fave pic of Beau dog licking baby Luke as baby Bowen looks on at George.  The link to Darla’s blog is in the blogroll.  She’s awesome. 

new banner, just bored

Hey y’all.  I was bored with the fall banner and I can’t leave well enough alone, so I made a new one.  It’s the OCD in me.  I don’t have the good kind of OCD that makes you clean like crazy or comb the carpet fringe, I have the kind of OCD that makes me obsess over things people could care less about.  And buy way too many lipsticks in shades that are all so similar I’m the only one who could tell them apart.  That’s what makes me special.  I guess the banner’s not bad.

Today’s been weird.  Too much to do, I suppose.  Scott put my desk up in the old guestroom/new scrap office and I can’t wait ’til the sofa comes in.  I’ll do before and after photos, don’t worry.  Scott won’t let me put a chandelier up, so that’s out.  Did I ever tell y’all about the student I had when I worked in Atlanta named Chanda Lear?  Also had a Filay Mignon and I worked with Crystal Ball.  That was a surreal workplace.

So last night, we decided to put the guest room mattress on our bed and that was dumb.  It was a brick.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 2 am, then at 4 I was awoken by Andrew’s foot in my face.  I didn’t hear the ninja come in, but he was out cold between Scott and I.  By 6:30 I was tired of being kicked and elbowed, so I went to Andrew’s bed.  I tripped over My Little Ponies in the playroom and walked into Andrew’s toy box before getting to his bed.  So, after I climbed over the side rail and pulled up the Superman sheets, I remembered that Andrew sleeps with two gigantic bears.  Now, don’t think little teddy bears like we had as kids.  Picture life-size big ass bear cubs that could probably take you down in the woods.  Yeah, I slept great.  Stupid bears.  They’re 3 1/2 feet tall, no joke.  And there are 2 of them.  I put one in his bed when we transitioned out of the crib a few months ago, so he’d have something soft against the wall his bed is up against.  I know, I’m a genius.  Then Katie found the other one in the little storage closet upstairs and put it in his bed.  Sweet sister.  Now I can’t get rid of the stupid bears.  One of Scott’s aunts gave Molly and Katie the bears for Christmas 4 years ago.  Why I didn’t get rid of them long ago is beyond me.  And I don’t know what it is about me that says “give me big obnoxious presents I don’t need” but I don’t need anything like that in my house.

I have a new-found thing about getting rid of things I don’t need.  Not too long ago I started throwing out stuff and it feels great.  I’m down to one small box of stuff from high school and college.  That’s crazy.  You know what did it for me?  I got tired of going into my closet and not having room for new stuff because I had boxes of old junk in the way.  I’ve kept a handful of things, but that’s it, like really flattering pictures and some newspapers I was in.  Here’s some stuff I discovered I could live without: a couple of research papers, a few party invitations from the 90’s, some cassette tapes, corsages, speeches on index cards, a New Year’s Eve hat and party blower, sketches on random pieces of paper, a journal that was never written in, poorly written short stories and poems, an old pair of glasses, a self-help book (stop it), pictures of me with bangs, pictures of people I don’t remember (which is weird because my memory is vast — I mean, I’m the friend everyone asks when they need to remember stuff), a couple of earrings that were missing the pairs, and a letters from friends that weren’t particularly earth shattering (sorry friends, but there were no cures for cancer among them).  It’s crazy to think we’ve moved a few boxes of memories from Shreveport to Macon, GA to Atlanta, back to Macon to Brunswick to Houston to here.  I don’t think those boxes were opened in 11 or so years.  At least I didn’t bring them to Canada.  Like I said, I have a great memory, so I didn’t really need a few boxes of stuff to remember events, places, and people. I don’t.  And now with my favorite thing on the Interwebs, Facebook (or as Beth is calling it, Da Book) I can keep up with lots of old and newer friends, so I don’t need stuff to remind me of them.  Thank goodness no old boyfriends have found me on Da Book or my stalker from Tech  — but that’s another story for another time.  Like after margaritas.  And I’m pretty sure prisoners can’t use Facbook, but I’m not sure, so I’m omitting names ’cause I’m nice like that.  Oh, the good old days!

You know what else?  I’ve started throwing away my birthday cards. A couple of years ago, I would have said it was crazy-talk to throw away my birthday cards, but I realized I’m going to get new ones next year and it’s okay to throw them away.  Does this mean I’m a more secure person now or just that I’m better organized?  I’m going with more secure, just for fun.

new banner for fall

I’m ready for fall, ready for it to be a little cooler here in the hot & sticky south.  So, I thought I’d give the blog a little makeover with a new banner.  I made it with Rhonna Farrer’s digital scrapbooking kits from twopeasinabucket.com — great site.  I’m new to the whole digi scrapbooking thing, but I like the way the banner turned out.  Those are my colors, you know.  Let me know whatcha think in the Comments.

The girls are back in school, Andrew and I are hanging out during the day.  Monday was hard on him, he woke up at 6:15 when I got the girls up and we saw them off at 6:45, which is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too early to catch the bus.  School starts at 7:31.  Andrew asked “where MollyKatie where KatieMolly” a thousand time before we went to Target at noon.  He says MollyKatie and KatieMolly as one word.  Yesterday we went to the Mall of Louisiana with Megan, I picked up my iPhone (finally), we had a yummy lunch at Bravo, and he was great.  Today was lunch at Osaka with Megan and he loved it.  Here’s a funny one: we went to Books-a-million, which was filthy-gross dirty and the children’s books were a mess.  I was looking for potty books for Andrew, thinking maybe he will get interested in potty training.  I kept finding creepy books.  No one needs a pop-up toilet training book.  That’s just wrong.  There was not one, but two different pop-up potty books.  Two.  The only thing worse would be scratch and sniff.  Megan decided we should write children’s books after that.

Back to school scrapblog

I made this on scrapblog.com in just a few minutes.  I kind of like it. I tried to draw colors from their backpacks, since that’s the only colors I had to work with.  I love that Scrapblog is making little journaling cards, brackets, and titles that look like overlays.  Pretty neato.