Why Em See Ay Oh Em Gee

Yesterday at the gym was quite thrilling. Having skipped a week for college visits with my eldest, my idea was to do only fifteen minutes on the stationary bike. But there were several other differences that lead to my thrilling workout.

My legs are long enough that the seat should have been raised one notch higher than I usually keep it at. So up the seat went a notch.

As the pedaling began it quickly became apparent that my trim in the shower was a little shorter than it usually is. Combined with the increased pressure on the bicycle seat from the extended legs, the steady round and round and round of the machine got more than my heart rate going.

It wasn’t even two minutes into the workout that things began to really get going. Thankfully there was no one to look at other than a few older men on the weight machines and a couple of overweight women on the treadmills. My thoughts were able to bring me back without making a spectacle of myself.

Just what the gym needs, a woman enjoying herself on the bike a little too much.


Stick Out Your Tongue and Say Nanny Nanny Boo Boo

Don’t you just love the American way of life? Think about it… Every year, I get my annual physical complete with mammogram, Pap smear, cardiac stress test, eyesight test, hearing test, flu and pneumonia vaccinations, any needed booster shot for tetanus, blood work that encompasses over four pages of individual markers, skin cancer screening, and even a colonoscopy (preformed at a leading university hospital complete with an MD anesthesiologist and four nurses). Plus, the clinic provides me with breakfast after my fasting blood work is done, lunch, a private lounge area with wide-screen HDTV and computers, and actual pajama-like button-front monogrammed scrubs to wear during my day at the facility.

It’s zero out of pocket and no health insurance claims to file. All gratis thanks to my husband’s company.

Never mind the fact that I’m a healthy, non-smoking, very light drinking, daily exercising, within the good range for weight, BMI, blood pressure and heart rate, monogamous, under 45-year-old female. Bring on all those preventative tests that tell me I don’t have cancer or heart disease or diabetes. I’m not paying for it. What do I care if I take up the time of doctors who could be seeing patients at risk for certain health issues? It’s better than seeing my former general practitioner.

He and all the doctors in his practice went to a boutique practice where you have to pay $1800 out of pocket non-insurance reimbursement eligible just for the privilege of calling him your doctor. Then every time you see him, it’s the regular visit cost which is eligible for insurance reimbursement, after your copay.

He’s making the same amount of money and seeing fewer patients. I’m getting better care for free. Insurance companies are still making a healthy profit for their shareholders and paying lobbying companies like my husband’s to make sure that the insurance companies stay in business.

So, you see, I have a vested interest in making sure that health care in America remains status quo. So what if health care costs consume an ever growing share of the U.S. economy, up from $993 billion in 1993 when reform was last considered to over $2.3 trillion in 2009? Why should I pay more taxes to offset the cost of health care reform when my husband is fortunate to make in the top 5% of American salaries? Why should I give up my platinum health care just so other people can get an appointment? Why should I care if rising health care costs threaten to bankrupt some families, become unaffordable to more companies, and push the federal budget to the breaking point? After all, America is the last great Free Market in the world. Ain’t life grand as long as you are one of the health care haves?


I'm a Reader! Who Are You?

While visiting potential colleges with my eldest daughter, I dragged her along to visit a few things of interest for me. My literary side-trip.

While in Salem, Massachusetts, we visited an old graveyard to inspect the headstones as well as attempting to visit the House of Seven Gables. Unfortunately, we spent too long in cemetery and didn't make it into the Seven Gables. But some of those headstones were remarkable in their detail and design.

In Amherst, we made the very last tour of the day for Emily Dickinson's house. Yes, she was a recluse. But a brilliant recluse with a love of baking, gardening, and reading. Over 2000 volumes in the family's library.

Upon returning home, I found a stack of children's books by the back door which my youngest culled from her bedroom bookcase. No doubt taking up space that she wanted for books in her current level of reading.

It's so easy nowadays to treat books the way we treat most other things, as disposable. Cheap enough to own and cheap enough to toss when we're done. Gone are the days of a family being lucky (and wealthy) enough to own more than the Bible. Other than travel books and genealogical research tomes, I can't think of the last book that I borrowed from the public library.

But walk into any room in my house and you'll find shelves and shelves of books. Even the kitchen. My own private library. Most fortunate. But never a recluse.


Triple Usually-Decaf Grande Latte

The good thing about not drinking caffeine is not having to depend on the stuff to wake up in the morning. Another good thing is that when you really need a good dose of high octane (like for a long-distance drive) it keeps you wide awake when you need it. But that's a double-edged sword.

When you're not used to drinking caffeine and you get yourself a triple shot latte on the road, not only does it keep you alert for the drive but it keeps you awake for hours and hours on end after you've arrived.

Maybe I should have gone for a single shot latte.


Tell Me Are You a Christain Child?

My second daughter was supposed to do the yard work in order to gain her freedom from the most recent grounding. She was supposed to do it Saturday.

Saturday came and went. No yard work. Sunday came and went. No yard work. Monday. No yard work. The wisteria was beginning to grow across the front gate making it impossible to open.

As I was pushing the mower yesterday, a woman handed me a flier about a neighborhood Southern Baptist church. I told her I was an Episcopalian.

"Do y'all believe in God and Jesus?"

"Um," stunned for a moment. "Yes, we do."

Blank stare on her part.

"We were one of the first Protestant churches."

Continued blankness.

"Like when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door?" hoping it would jog something in her memory.

More blankness.

"He was a German Catholic priest or monk who wanted to reform the Catholic church, which began the Protestant Reformation."

"So you're a Christian?"

How can people be so ignorant of history? Especially the history of their own denomination?

When I recounted the story to our youth minister at church last night, he told me there are some people who don't think Catholics are Christian. When several major branches of the Christian Church are in ecumenical communication, it seems very isolationist to consider one's denomination to be the One True Church.

As she turned to leave, I thought how sad that her daughter standing beside her might turn out just as ignorant. But any hope for future generations was dashed as she told me she was a teacher.

And people wonder what they're teaching kids in school these days? Ignorance must be bliss to some people.


Gaelic's Addiction

Mr. Gaelic let me have a subscription to a genealogical website. In the past few days, several new pieces to the puzzle that is my family history have fallen in my lap. It's a treasure trove.

Photos of family cemeteries in remote parts of the country, including closeups of the actual grave markers; old family photographs of long-ago ancestors; military records that almost prove a line I've been working on for ten years. And the biggest catch was closing the loop on a family dispersed in the mid-1860s by a horrific double murder of the parents. Just what everyone always fears - finding an axe-murderer in the family closet. Thankfully, he was a brother-in-law to my direct ancestor.

The trouble is that now I'm even more addicted to the research than I was before.


The Episcopal Tower of Terror

Yesterday's sermon began with a confession. The priest has an obsession with McDonald's french fries and all things Disney. It was to his greatest pleasure that the Episcopal Church held its General Convention in Anaheim.

He went on to compare the proceedings to riding the Tower of Terror. Is everyone familiar with that ride? At the top of the elevator, it opens the doors to the beautiful surrounding of Anaheim before dropping you, seat off your chair and all, then stops and takes you up and down in quick succession.

Let me get you up to speed on the proceedings of the Episcopal Church. A few years back, New Hampshire elected an openly gay man living with a partner as their bishop. Several parishes balked as did many of the dioceses in Africa. Some parishes left the Episcopal Church of the United States to join Anglican dioceses of Uganda and other African countries. Nevermind that some of those same African countries punish homosexuality by imprisonment or even death.

Fast forward to Anaheim and my priest was reporting that homosexuality is an issue that we'll struggle with in our generation, just as other generations struggled with whether to wear clothes of mixed fibers, to eat meat given to idols, to own slaves, and to have women priests.

I listened as the priest reminded us that the Bible speaks to divorce many more times than to homosexuality. He pointed out that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was about homosexual rape and that any rape is wrong. He reminded us that even though the Church denounces divorce it has come to accept that it is a part of our current culture. I remember my own grandfather after his divorce would never remarry because he believed that in the eyes of the Church he and my grandmother were still married.

As the priest reported that the Episcopal Church will begin exploring the possibility of gay marriage, my stomach bottomed out as if dropped in that service elevator.

As anyone who's ever darkened the door of a law school, I understand that marriage is at heart a contract. Why else would divorce court be so expensive? But that's the state side of marriage. I've always believed that the religious side of marriage was to procreate. Something that can't be done the natural way in a gay marriage.

If I were Empress of the World, everyone would have to be married by the state - both straights and gays - for the contractual agreement of marriage. (Don't even get me started on the perils of living together - that's a whole other blog.) If a straight couple then wanted to be married in the church, they could. But in my mind, a church marriage for gays would be out of the question since I held firm to that procreation belief.

That's when my beliefs were challenged. Right then and there, sitting in the fourth pew listening to my priest.

What about couples who choose not to have children? Or enter a marriage knowing they can't have children? Or older couples on a second marriage after a beloved spouse passes away?

My procreation argument was blown out of the water.

To me in my religious mind, I must now accept either that only couples who procreate should be married or that marriage should be available to all couples who truly love each other.

It's that love/hate relationship with church. Where, like as the doors open at the top of the Tower of Terror and you get comfortable in that view, suddenly your comfort is challenged. To me, that's what being religious is all about. Because if you're comfortable every time you listen to a sermon, you're just going to a church where you'll hear what you want to hear.


Getting a Red in Life

Q: What's safer: a redhead or a piranha?
A: The piranha. They only attack in schools.

Q: What’s the difference between a terrorist and a redhead?
A: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Q: What's a redhead's idea of the shortest way to a man's heart?
A: Through the breastbone.

Q: What do you call a redhead with an attitude?
A: Normal.

Q: What two things are necessary to keep a redhead happy?
A: One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other is to let her have it.

Q: What's the difference between a blonde and a redhead in bed?
A: A blonde let's you leave the bed when you are satisfied - a redhead let's you leave the bed when SHE is satisfied.

Q: How do you know when you've satisfied a redhead?
A: She unties you.

Q: What's the advantage of a blonde vs. a redhead?
A: At least you can ignore the blonde safely.

Q: What do redheads and McDonald's have in common?
A: You've never had it so good and so fast.

Q: What do a redhead, an anniversary, and a toilet have in common?
A: Men always miss them.


Shirting with Disaster

My second daughter is taking summer P.E. at her high school so that she can take an academic class in its place during the school year. Class goes from 7:25 a. fricking m. to 2:35 p.m. The first session of the day is spent in the classroom. Currently that’s the Drivers’ Ed part of the course. During the second session of the day, she dresses out in her school P.E. uniform.

The other day she left the house before I was up. After running errands was the first time I saw her that day. The first thing out of my mouth was, “Where’re your shorts?”

She smiled and tugged her dress down at the hem.

“What do you have on under there?”

More tugging and, “Underwear.”

“You’ve got to be kidding?” as I lifted the side of her dress to see her black undies. “That’s a shirt, not a dress.”


“I bought that as a shirt to wear over jeans.”


I looked at it again and remarked to my husband, “When I was a kid, we wore dresses that short.”

He shook his head.

“Don’t let me catch you wearing a shirt as a dress again.”

More tugging at the dress and her face turned the cutest color of red.


Dirts So Good

‘Tis better to have fallen and recovered than to never have fallen at all. That’s not right. ‘Tis better to not fall in the first place. At least if you’re on the downside of 40.

It all began with noticing just how dry the yard is. So after mowing, a quick dousing with the sprinkler should do the trick. I positioned the sprinkler to point down the side yard next to the driveway. After thirty minutes, it was time to reposition the sprinkler.

Not wanting to get wet, I decided to do an end-run around the spray of water as the sprinkler was pointing in the opposite direction. So I took off running in an arc toward the outside of the driveway.

You know how everyone says that when something bad happens it happens in slow motion? Well, that didn’t happen for me. My feet hit a slick spot on the rocks of the driveway and down I went, landing on all fours on the rocks. About that time, the sprinkler wooshed back around and soaked my entire side head to toe as I tried to erect myself quickly enough to avoid the water.

Mixed with the water dripping down my leg and arm, it looked like there was a cup of blood spurting from my knee and the heel of my palm. ‘Tis a good thing kneeling isn’t a required activity of my daily life.


Airport Misadventures

My eldest daughter returned yesterday from a three-week exchange trip to Austria. The return flight information was in my Blackberry based on the original information from the American teacher. There was either operator error in inputting the flight number and arrival time or the flight number and arrival time changed from what was in the original parent packet. Either way, waiting at the international arrival gate at the airport for over an hour for other parents to show up was not on my afternoon agenda.

People-watching is a great way to kill the time. There were the Delta attendants sporting the new, and highly controversial, red designer duds. There were the Air Lingus attendants that reflected their country’s demographics of 50% blondes and 50% brunettes. There was the bilingual couple behind me whose conversation easily flowed between French and English. There were even our across-the-street neighbors returning from a family vacation is Scotland. (Sadly, there wasn’t enough space in my vehicle to give them a ride home.) Finally, the American kids and their teacher rounded the turn to be enveloped by hugs and kisses from parents, siblings and friends.

The most important lesson that you will learn from today’s blog is to never, NEVER put your parking ticket next to your cellphone. Similar to what happens when you put your hotel key card near your cellphone, my parking ticket was demagnetized. After several attempts at the in-terminal payment kiosk, it finally dawned on me what had happened.

But when you can’t prepay your parking ticket, you have to wait in line with everyone who’s paying cash. Two lanes out of a dozen or more were Cash Only. Not that bad, only three cars ahead of me. However, when the cashier manually rung me up, the price was bumped up to the next portion of an hour. I looked at the clock in my car. One minute over the hour. One minute! And he made me pay the extra hour!

Lesson learned. Never put anything magnetized near your cellphone.


Generation Why

One of the problems with being born on the cusp of anything is not quite fitting in to either group completely. While I’m definitely a Leo, I’m sort of Gen X. Technically speaking, I was born within the year span for Generation X. But my upbringing was done by the Greatest Generation parents and an older Baby Boomer sister.

My husband is a Baby Boomer. Since I had my children while I was relatively young (by today’s standards), most of my close friends are Boomers as well. I fit in very well with them in certain aspects, even though I still love me some Police, Prince, and Michael Jackson (rest in peace).

One thing where I fit in better with my parents’ generation is my child-rearing philosophy. The problem began with the Boomer generation who decided to allow their children to call adults by their first names. They dropped all honorifics, including Aunt and Uncle so that Uncle John became just John. Amongst my set of friends, we have a rule that we all instituted without confirming with each other first – children address all adults as Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So. Does the fact that my close friends are all friends from my parish have anything to do with it?

One of my biggest pet peeves is placing children on par with adults, such as inviting children to adult parties and adults to children parties. I may be friendly to children but I’m not friends with them. They should have their own friends just as I have mine. When we were invited to a neighbor’s birthday party, I knew that the momentous occasion would include children. Looking at the invitation alone was enough to make the hives welt up on my neck.

At the party, I watched in both amusement and horror as a mother explained to her preschooler that the two drinks in the pretty dispensers were alcoholic – one with gin, the other with rum – and that the child didn’t like either of those, “remember?” To the side was a pitcher of a red colored drink for the kids. Why should a child serving him or herself settle for red if he or she likes green or blue better? Thankfully, only one child tried to help himself to the blue adult drink (at least that I saw).

The last 50th birthday party that I attended was an adult-only affair. The adults could be adults and mingle with other adults without having to worry about whether their children were heading off into the street or helping themselves to the blue rum-based drink. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re going to invite the whole family, save the hard liquor for after all the kiddies have gone home. At which time I’ll have my Old Fashioned made with bourbon and on the rocks.


Blush Blush, Keep It Down Now

Two back-to-back compliments came my way yesterday. The content and the speakers completely floored me.

A group of us ladies carpooled downtown for our State Society DAR luncheon. The ballroom was packed with close to 500 of us. Given where the luncheon was held, the food was much better than our regular local chapter meeting luncheon fare. Hats were everywhere; but only the pages wore white gloves.

Following the luncheon, my carpool companions wanted to walk over to the DAR building for some shopping at all the vendors who occupied the perimeter of the hall and the entire basement level. My sole purpose for shopping was with the official jeweler to buy my two state pins (the state of my chapter as well as the state of my patriot) and chapter officer pin.

Finding a seat amongst the vendors was difficult so I moved outside. Since my carpool mates would be exiting the door I was perched near, I decided to wait outside after pinning my new purchases onto my ribbon. My hat shaded my face from the sun as I enjoyed the fresh air. Two ladies walked past on their way into the hall. I looked up through my sunglasses and smiled.

"You look just like Audrey Hepburn," the first lady said as she passed.

The second lady, quick on the first's heels, topped it with, "You're beautiful."

Taken aback with embarrassment, I mustered a "Thank You". Women love to hear that we're beautiful. Especially from the men in our lives. When it comes from another woman, we begin to wonder why our men don't say things like that more often, without prompting.


Woe and Behold

How often can an ex-boyfriend make you cry? Perhaps it depends on whether he remains a part of your life. That’s what Facebook Former did last night. Made me weep buckets.

He didn’t rehash any arguments or relive any adventures. He did something much more endearing. He sent me a picture of my father’s grave marker.

Facebook Former lives just up the road a ways from my hometown. He visits my hometown quite often on business. Knowing that I hadn’t seen a picture of my father’s grave marker yet, he offered to take a picture if I supplied the directions to the grave. That’s when Google Earth comes in handy. The zoomed-in section of the cemetery accompanied the directions in an email.

Last night while I was online, an alert popped up on my screen announcing a new email from Facebook Former. No subject line. Just a quick two sentences telling me that he ran into a judge who was also one of my father’s pallbearers and that the judge sent his greetings. This is what happens when you’re from a small town; everyone knows everyone. And the attached picture. Just one frame. But enough to tear at my heart.

Even though both of my parents are now deceased, as long as Facebook Former remains a part of my life, the ties to that small town will never be cut.


Salt and Spice and Everything Nice

Lucille Ball and I are one and the same person. Or so I believe. Especially after yesterday. Let’s recap, shall we?

We’re both redheads. We share the same birthday. We’re both of Gaelic descent. And we’re both totally, comedically incompetent at times.

Like yesterday.

I found a bootleg recipe for my all-time favorite barbecue sauce. Not Kraft or anything you can buy off the shelf. We’re talking a little barbecue joint deep in the backwoods of my home state. You can’t buy the liquid gold in the store, only order it or buy it at the “restaurant” (and I use that term loosely). To get to the place, you have to go with someone who knows the way. It’s down a road, make a right on a dirt road, go down a ways and when you see all the BMWs and Jeep Cherokees parked outside, you’re there. It’s a tar paper-sided shack that serves two things – ribs and white bread. You can get a half slab if you want. Either way, you get a stack of Wonder bread to sop up the sauce. Oh, yeah, they also serve Bud and Co-cola products.

The ill-gotten recipe calls for two tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of salt. I didn’t realize I had grabbed the salt instead of the sugar until I was about to add the salt, which was listed near the bottom of the ingredient list. Oh. My. God. Two whole tablespoons of salt when it called for just one teaspoon.

Off to the grocery store I went to buy enough of certain ingredients so I could increase the recipe to make up for my mistake. It ended up being cooked down in my canning pot. Which for those of you who haven’t put up your own jars takes up about two burners on the stove. Perhaps the guys next door might like some bathtub barbecue hooch. They’re always grilling out.


The Decemberist Airplane?

Is she channelling Grace Slick or what?

What's the American Translation from English?

Lots of you have already seen the new Evian babies advertisement that's making the rounds on the Internet. But which version have you seen? The international version or the U.S. version?

Seems like as with many things in life, Americans are given a different rendition.

How many of you know that "The Philosopher's Stone" is in the dictionary, but "The Sorcerer's Stone" isn't? In America, the book and movie are known as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." In the rest of the world, it's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone."

So what did Evian change? In America the opening graphic asks, "How does drinking Evian make you feel?" Whereas the rest of the world is told, "Let's observe the effect of Evian on your body." It seems like such a niggling little thing to blog about. But why do companies change things for American audiences?

Sure, Sorcerer sounds more exciting than Philosopher. But what gives with Evian?


E Pluribus Divertere

How were the fireworks? Thunderous? Exciting? Moving? Did you hear the Declaration of Independence reread? Did you sing the National Anthem? What about other national songs? Did you pray?

Huh? Pray on Independence Day? What for? It’s a celebration of our defeat of tyranny. We should go out and make noise, not sit in church with our heads bowed quietly praying. Let the world know how proud we are.

Pride in one’s country is all good and fine. But what about the providence that helped bring about our freedom to shoot fireworks into the night sky?

The last time that my family ventured downtown for a concert on the 4th my father was in tow in his wheelchair. There’s a great photo of him and my husband with flags surrounding them whilst sitting at the top of the marble steps waiting for the Pops to begin and then the 1812 Overture with cannons and fireworks.

This year, I opted for something completely different than the hubbub of all the crowds and security checkpoints. Church beckoned, with the promise of organ fireworks and a dramatic reading of the Declaration. The way the organ master made the windows shake was better than fighting for blanket space on an overly crowded lawn. A lunch of hot dogs and all the trimmings finished out the morning. More celebration than worship. Any day that you can sing all four verses of “America, The Beautiful” in church, especially the fourth verse about “alabaster cities … undimmed by human tears”, surrounded by folks you know and love is good enough reason to celebrate.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful tradition.


The Shots Heard 'Round the Family

The Americans began the battle with 910. The enemy had 1,075. At the end of the battle, the casualties were: American dead 29, American wounded 58, American missing/captured 0, enemy dead 244, enemy wounded 163, enemy missing/captured 668. Outcome? It was "the turn of the tide of success." So said Thomas Jefferson. The date was Saturday, October 7, 1780.

While Maj. Patrick Ferguson was en route to join Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis, he learned that a large group of Patriots was following him. He established his men in a defensive posture atop a ridge known locally as Kings Mountain in South Carolina. Ferguson was isolated on Kings Mountain without any chance for reinforcements. With everyone in place, he waited for the Patriots to come and attack him.

The combined Patriot militias of Cols. Issac Shelby, John Sevier, Joseph McDowell, and William Campbell came together in late September. They learned that Ferguson's Loyalist force was invading the Carolinas and threatening to hang them and burn their homes. Outraged by this, the Patriot force set out to destroy the Loyalists.

The Revolution turned families against each other. At Kings Mountain, one of my husband's direct ancestral lines had one American and three Loyalist brothers fighting. Family history states that the American brother shot his Loyalist brother at the same time that the Loyalist brother shot the American brother. The brothers knowingly killed each other, each for his own political ideology.

So as we celebrate the 233rd year of our Independence, it's good to know that the only thing we'll shoot is fireworks. And that we keep our political ideology in check and not let our emotions get the better of us when it comes to people whose views are different than our own.


It's Been a Hot Day's Night

Hit the ground running and don't stop for love or money. That's the way our tour company planned out our days in Savannah, Georgia, with my Girl Scout troop. With the ambient temperature reaching 98°, even a drop of moisture in the air was enough to send the heat index into the triple digits. We were all glistening, and not in a good way.

The tour company geared everything, everything around the girls. At Old Fort Jackson, we had a private Girl Scout militia session complete with a War Between the States-era drill sergeant wearing his wool uniform and barking orders for us to perform. At least standing on the parapets one could get a breeze off the Savannah River. There was the 178-step climb to the top of the Tybee Island lighthouse. Thank goodness for ballet!

There were the tours of Savannah - a walking scavenger hunt, a horse-drawn carriage ride, a walking ghost tour. Bonaventure Cemetery wasn't on any of the tours, much to my chagrin.

Where dead souls didn't make the cut, live dolphins did. The three-hour cruise took us into parts of Georgia and South Carolina where some dolphins live in the brackish waters feeding in the abundant waters. The boat captain was able to get a whole slew of mamas and their babies to surf in the wake of the boat as we cruised back towards Georgia. Those dolphins were having a blast, jumping out of the water and playing.

The troop got to play in the water at the hotel pool, complete with a pizza party and birthday cake for our birthday girl and everyone else. Even three adults got in the pool in front of the privately hired college-boy lifeguard.

All that fun and excitement wasn't what we were in Savannah for. The city is Mecca for Girl Scouts because of one woman with the foresight to announce to the girls of Savannah that she had something special for them, the girls of America and the world. Her name was Juliet Gordon Low. Her birthplace is where we spent our last full day in Savannah with a program to let the girls and the "tall ten-year-olds" dress up in 1870-style dresses and practice arts and crafts from the period when Daisy, as she was known, was ten years old.

The girls brought back many memories of Savannah. I just wanted to bring back my beloved Spanish Moss. And boiled peanuts. But that's a blog for another time.