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Thursday, January 28, 2010

My One (and only) Claim to Fame

Undoubtedly you've heard.

Apple just came out with their newest gadget,
the iPad...

Mr. Rockstar Steve Jobs is plastered all over the news...

My one and only claim to fame is....

Steve and I went to high school together, shared several classes and graduated in 1972!

Here he is decked out for his senior picture:

It was probably the last time he wore a suit.

The last time I saw him (in person) was about 28 years ago at our 10 year class reunion. He greeted me with, Hi Karen! I felt "so special" because he was a celebrity then, but only worth in the millions.

Now, he is even more famous but worth billions.

He would not remember my name today.

Steve's long, dark, straight hair would fall across his eyes as he walked the halls of Homestead High. That walk was very distinct. He had a long stride, with a bit of a bounce, and would "bob" his head , sort of like a chicken.

Steve's crowd of friends were very smart- "nerds" to be exact. I remember Richard Menendez and Tim Brown were two guys that hung out with Steve. They all took the advanced math and science classes. I remember we were in the same Algebra II/Trig class --that is where we parted ways in the Math department.

Steve, (far right) as a freshmani is a member of the Electronics Club.

Up until the last semester of my senior year, we had a closed campus. School started at the same time for everyone and everyone had to stay on campus for the whole day, including lunch. At lunchtime, most of the students would gather in the quad. Each "group" had their spot to eat.. Steve and his friends would sit on the half wall in the north east corner of the quad to eat their lunch.

Could it be possible that the very beginning of the first Apple computer was invented right there?

I think I will suggest to the school that a plaque be installed which says:
"Steve Jobs ate lunch here".

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Office With A View

I happened to have my camera at work today
and thought I'd share some pics of the spot in the corner of the world
where I sit between the hours of roughly
10 ish (usually more ish than 10) and 6:30ish
on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Over the years, I've seen some incredible sunsets glowing through this second story window:

Notice how the parking lot continues to glisten from the moisture.

Here I am taking a picture of the reflection of me taking a picture:

I'd show you more, but my desk is not in the utmost tidy form.

Maybe, after a bit of straightening and cleaning, I'll reveal more.

I do work in a wonderful place...you should see the limestone/marble tiled bathroom and the granite counter topped kitchen with cherry cabinets. So sweet. On top of it all, it is less than a mile to work--I can walk it in 10 minutes, that is, if I choose to do so,


I work for the kindest person on the planet.

Can't ask for anything more.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My New Best Friend

I am the proud owner of Beauty.

At first I was filled with trepidation--and I didn't even take Beauty out of the box.

Then, I went to class.

I got Beauty humming....

I threaded, I stitched, I hemmed,

and we became acquainted.

We are now BFF.

I am in heaven.

Beauty is smooth and slick.

Visions of things we can create together

are dancing in my head.

How could I pass up the huge sale happening at Joann Fabrics ...

thread (50% off)...

( just love the colors)

patterns (99 cents--how can you go wrong there?)

and fabrics (50% off the red tags)...

Do you think I need any more fabric? patterns?

Do you think I have gone mad?

You don't have to answer that.

We are ready to rumble and roll, just Beauty and me--

P. S. I can't wait to show you my entire sewing room/corner....stay tuned....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Bit Bummed

I am a bit bummed today.

I stepped on Mr. Scale and he told me something I wasn't expecting. His arm pointed to a high number. I weigh more than ever..more than when I was 9 months pregnant. How can that be?

I really don't like you, Mr. Scale.

I have been working out regularly for several years. I joined the Y about a year ago, and added 2-3 days to my workout. I have been trying to be careful of the food that crosses my lips...I have eliminated soda from my diet (OK, I admit, I have snuck a few)...and in spite of all that, I am "rewarded" with this high number? You want high numbers at the Olympics, not when you step on Mr. Scale.

Wouldn't you be depressed? Why is it when I work out, I gain weight? I know muscles weigh more than fat. I know I've gotten rid of some of the fat. I feel so much better and stronger. I've reduced the rolls around my waist . So why do I weigh so much? I don't think I can attribute it all to crossing the border into Menopauseland.

I am so discouraged.

I have responded by slicing through the water during my workout with a bit more drive. I am also trying to be more efficient with my technique and I am also swimming farther..last week I swam a mile, a first for the year!

I have never had to diet. I don't know how. And anyway, diets don't work. Do all those people on the Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers diets really keep the weight off? They might lose it but it comes right back when they start eating real food again.

I like food too much, good healthy food and I refuse to starve.

So..to combat my disappointment and frustration, I've decided to keep a hefty distance between me and Mr. Scale. Currently, he sits under the sink in my bathroom, but not for long. A new home is in store. Sorry Mr. Scale, we are parting ways. You are not my friend. My eyes will not meet your digits. .... we are so very through.

So there, Mr. Scale, good riddins!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cars In My Life - Part 2

I have purchased seven cars in my adult life. I have also received one 38 year old car as a gift. We keep our cars for a long time....until they die. Some people have many cars. They might even lease their cars so they can have a new one every year or so. Not me. We seem to keep our cars until they no longer run, and sometimes we let the inoperable vehicle sit in the driveway for a very long time because a certain individual just can't let go. We have purchased foreign made cars (Honda, VW, Toyota, Alfa) . We express our patriotism through the color of our cars, they are all either red, white or blue, (and mostly blue). So when I purchase a car, I must choose very carefully and wisely; cars and I are connected at the seat for a very long time.

So, l'd like to take you on a tour down memory lane and introduce the top three cars in my adult life.

My very first car was a......

1970 VW Bug

Gwen, Judy and I leaving the driveway on Berkeley Court.

I purchased this powder blue Bug in 1976 from our neighbor down the street.

The trunk was in the front and the engine in the rear. It isn't the safest car on the block, especially if you rear end somebody, something I never did.

The upholstery on the back seat was well preserved because it had been protected with clear vinyl--this was removed immediately -it should be a sin to cover furniture with vinyl.

I drove my Bug back to school for my last semester of college and since there was no air conditioning, it made for an unbearable ride across the desert.

After I graduated from college, my sister Gayle, and I took a road trip to Northern California in the Bug--we camped, stayed in bed and breakfast inns and had a blast.

One day, on my way home from work, right after I had exited the freeway, my engine "threw a rod". My dad and one of his friends spent many nights rebuilding the engine. My dad is the greatest.

In the winter time, I would strap on my skiis and head to Lake Tahoe and go skiing, some of the best skiing in California.

Several times a month, Gayle and I would go to the flea market- our favorites were the Berkeley and Alameda flea markets. In those days, the flea markets were filled with many treasures, and many found their way to a new home in my Bug.

The ultimate treasure we brought home in the Bug was our daughter, Sophia.

Since our family was expanding, we needed a bigger and safer car, so we purchased a brand new....

1983 Volvo wagon

This car...

had no air conditioning
had a manual transmission
had five seat belts
had an odometer which quit working around 150,000 miles
was driven many, many, more miles after that...who knows the total
was taken on many family trips
was used to teach our three kids how to drive...with a stick shift!
was a solid safe car
had a tape player (pre cd) where we listened to books on tape while traveling across the desert
sat inoperable in our driveway for many years

So after the tow truck carted the Volvo away, we purchased a brand new.....

2000 Toyota Sienna Van

which I use to this day.

This van ...

is my truck ...
...carries loads of plants, kids, and stuff
...smells like dirt, according to some people in my family
(must be from all the plants and bags of planting mix I cart home)
...was used to carry our daughters and all their stuff to and from college
....is used when we go skiing at Lake Tahoe
...has air conditioning, cruise control, automatic windows, automatic car lock, and automatic door unlock!! Isn't automatic wonderful?
...has gone on several trips to the Forbush cabin in Wyoming, where we would rock along listening to music or books on the cd player to pass the time away
.....is my commuter car ( big commute! one half mile from home )
....is a good solid and dependable car
....will turn 10 this spring

... looks pretty good for an old geezer, eh?

When this car/van dies, I am not sure what I will purchase. I like having a vehicle to carry home large objects (i.e. furniture, wood, estate sale finds etc.). I don't purchase fancy cars. My car must be dependable, have low maintenance, comfortable and economical. What would you buy?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pitter Pat

This morning after I came home from working out, this is what I saw out my back window:

And this is what I saw out my front window:


The heavens have burst and the rain poureth forth.... all week I hear.

I am so happy.

The lightening and thunder during the night didn't bother me a bit..

Especially since I was nestled snug and warm under the covers.

My bulbs are soaking it all in.

Oh, how the Sierras must be blanketed with the white powder!

I can't wait...

I just can't wait... to go skiing.

...love it...love it...and love it....

This song from my past is whirling in my head:

Pitter pat, pitter pat, it's a rainy day
I'll dress up, snug and warm,
And go outside to play.
I'll get my coat and bumber shoot,
On each foot I'll pull a boot,
Get my gloves and,
Grab my hat and go out in the pitter pat.

It is now time for me to go to work...

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Honor of Martin Luther King

We stood where he stood...
and felt his significance....

.... over two score and six years later.

We have come a long way...but there's still more to do.

Thank you Dr. King.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Peter Turns 25

A quarter of a century.

Wow, where has the time gone?

make a wish.... and there he blows..

Peter receiving a a happy birthday call from his Opa

what a joyous ride we've had...oh how we love you so!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This Morning's Breakfast

What did you have breakfast this morning?

My mother would make sure we had breakfast each morning before we would go to school. I can't remember a morning when there wasn't a pot of hot cereal (Quaker Oats, Ralston, Cream of Wheat) on the stove. If we had cold cereal, it would be the "healthy" kind, i.e. Cheerios, Wheat Chex and the like (no sugar coated stuff). Often, we would not have time to sit down to eat...so, before I'd fly out the door, my mother would hand me a glass of a concoction she whirled up in the blender..a precursor to Jamba Juice.

So... this is what I ate for breakfast this morning....

....ruby red grapefruit from Indian River in Florida... so sweet, there was no need to add a dab of brown sugar. ... a dollop of the most deee-lish honey on a thin slice of whole wheat toast....mmm...fresh squeezed tangerine juice in a glass from DZ's mother..hot chocolate...sliced bananas atop spiced pecan cereal from Costco ..... I am ready to go!

be sure to eat a good breakfast....
each and every morning....
it is your fuel
to get going
it is a good way....
to start the day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sneak a Peek Week 6: Bulbs Are In..Almost!

I am happy to report that the bulbs are in---well, almost!

I spent all day Saturday digging, placing, and burying bulbs throughout my garden. This has been a long process and I am relieved to see the floor of my garden shed once more. I still have just a few more to plant....

Let's take a peek....

Here is the bed in the front yard where impatiens bloomed last spring/summer/fall. Over two hundred white tulips (Maureen) are tucked in the dirt here:

Narcissus, freesia and crocus have been planted near the lavender, iris, roses and succulents:

And hundreds of daffodils and tulips planted in pots:

I have more tulips and daffodils to plant in the backyard and then I am through. Phew!
While most of the country is covered in the white stuff or the ground is frozen, I am thankful I live in a place where the dirt is dry and pliable enough that I am still able plant my bulbs.
I look forward to spring when the "blossoms" of my labor will bloom....let's hope they bloom!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Cat

We have a cat. Our cat is black with hints of brown in his fur. The cat has no name. Well, not entirely. Adeline wanted to call him "Lindsay" but we refused to call a male cat a girl name. Over the years we have tried to name him. Sometimes DZ calls him "Buddy". When we want the cat to come inside, we call "here kitty, kitty, kitty. Maybe we can say his name is "Kitty". Since the cat is 5 years old, and pretty fat, the name "Kitty" doesn't quite fit. Nevertheless, he does respond when you call him "Kitty". I have considered calling him "Noname" but that really doesn't sound very good. So we just end up calling our cat "The Cat".

The Cat loves to have his head scratched. He is pretty fat--because he eats too much. He eats gourmet cat food i.e. "Fancy Feast" and IAMs dry cat food.

I love listening to his purrr while he sits on my lap. There is such a calming affect to the sound of a cat's purr. He purrs until he falls into a deep sleep. Then he starts to snore. Have you ever heard of a snoring cat? I haven't.

The Cat prefers to drink water from a running faucet.

The Cat has gotten so fat, he is no longer able to get up on the edge of the sink, so somebody picks him up and places on the sink so he can drink.

He can jump down....

....on his own

The Cat likes to perch on high spots. Such as a plant stand....

(maybe he thinks he is a plant)

or on top of the fence.

or on top of a box..

The Cat has his favorite spots in the house to sleep. He discovered this old wood box--and loves to sleep in it.

I thought we could start calling him T-Pak, the name on the box. But Sophie and David think that sounds like the name of a rapper. I don't see the cat as a rap(per).

Sometimes he finds a particular sock/underwear drawer open and nestles in.

I know, the top of the dresser is in desparate need of a dusting

And other times he will find the lone piece of paper on the floor or rug to plop his body down to sleep.

He is an interesting beast I must say.

The Cat likes to be around people. If I am out in the backyard, the Cat will come outside with me.

If I go to the front yard, he will follow me.

He likes to climb trees and he sometimes gets stuck. It is pretty funny watching him manuever his fat body down the tree. He can also climb ladders.

The Cat is constantly licking and preening himself. He could be walking along, and all of a sudden, he stops, sits, and licks--oblivious to all that is going on around him.

Can you tell we love our cat? Well, we do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Glimpse In the Rear View Mirror

I'd like to take a brief glimpse and reflect on my life in 2009:

1. Most memorable moment: The moment Sophie and David crossed the threshold of the sealing room in the Oakland Temple melted my heart. I was so overcome with joy to see the pure happiness in their faces. Sophie was glowing. I am grateful they found each other. I am grateful David was raised by such wonderful parents. I am grateful how David adores my daughter. I am grateful they made the choices in their lives that brought them to that ethereal place on that rainy day in May... who could ask for anything more?

2. Biggest accomplishment - Well, I really can't take credit for this one--but I would say putting on Sophie's wedding reception would be tops. The credit first goes to Martha. She was the engine behind the entire event. She was "my wedding planner"--from creating a "photo wall"; to baking and frosting a gazillion shoe cookies; to setting up tables in the rain; to buying bamboo, frames, sign-in books, white paper globes; to arranging for a rental company; to arranging for a gardener; arranging and arranging--the list is very long. Next is my friend Heidi who took care of the food. She is I N C R E D I B L E. And then next to her is another friend, Jeanette who created the most beautiful wedding cakes. She is a master and is so creative and is so talented. Plus she makes the most deelish cake I have ever tasted--ever. And then I have another friend Jenny who helped me with Sophie's dress and three of the bridesmaid dresses. She saved me big time. She is why I bought a Babylock serger. And another friend, Anita who did all the flower arrangements, bridesmaid bouquets and groomsmen boutonnieres in addition to hosting a shower for Sophie. And then I have many other friends (Patty, Crystal, Mary, Becky, September, Susan, Jim, Jenny, Natalie..and I am sure I have missed some here) who helped me clean, weed, deadhead, sweep, loan me their cleaning lady, pick up food, run errands and cook. And then there is my nephew Daniel, who beforehand hauled, raked, and wheel barrelled dirt, rocks and gravel--and at the reception, did the barbecuing. And there is my niece, Emma, who clicked away and manned the photo wall. And Paul and Bruce who gave Sophie her bouquet and an incredible flower arrangement for our piano and provided corsages for my sisters and mother. And sisters who made salads, and clicked their cameras, and greeted the guests and kept me from going crazy...I continue to feel so humbled that I am surrounded by such love.

3. Best meal: That is a hard one. First and foremost I must say the food at Sophie's wedding was pretty good. Someday (soon) I will share some of those recipes. Second, anytime my family gets together we eat. We usually do potluck and have such wonderful meals. So, the meals at Mary's birthday celebration, Easter, my dad's birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas stand out in my mind

4. Biggest Event: Inauguration of President Obama. Enough said, period.

5. Biggest mistake: Not starting to sew the dresses for Sophie's wedding sooner. Next wedding (Adeline) will be different. Sorry Sophie.

6. Proudest moment: Adeline's graduation from BYU. Sophie, DZ and I attended her commencement in April and was so happy for her and her tenacity.

7. Biggest adventure: During our trip with our dad to Orlando, Florida, Martha and I spent the day with an incredible guide in our own kayak on the waterways of Cocoa Beach. We saw dolphins and manatees and floated through these incredible mangrove "tunnels". It was magical.

8. Biggest change: Joining the Y and adding an extra three days of exercise (i.e. swimming) to my regime. Adding those additional days has resulted in my body feeling very good for a 55 year old lady. I haven't lost any weight--I guess it has just been rearranged. Inside, I feel 20 years younger. Unfortunately, the outside doesn't follow suit. I continue my battle with Mr. Gravity, where the epidermis droops and the creases increase.

9. Best trip: The trip to Washington D.C. with Adeline and DZ. Adeline wanted to check out graduate schools. This was the first time I have ever been there and we walked until we dropped. The National Gallery of Art is my absolute fave. I found myself skipping to the entrance, I was so excited to go inside and gaze upon the fabulous collections. Visiting the Capital buildings and sitting in on the House of Representative and Senate sessions were captivating. Seeing a glimpse of President Obama's motorcade with helicopters and a zillion black SUV's was thrilling. Gazing at Julia Child's kitchen in the Smithsonian and imagining her making her creations was mesmerizing. I could feel the city dripping with power--and history--and I loved it all. I would go back to visit in a heartbeat.

10. Biggest wish: That DZ will find a new job, that Sophie and David will find a house, that Adeline will be admitted to the graduate school of her choice, that Peter will continue (and complete) his education, and that we all stay healthy and happy. That isn't asking too much is it?
I guess this glimpse turned into a stare.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Running On Empty

Yesterday, DZ, Adeline, and I picked up Peter at the house in the city and went out to dinner at The Pizza Place (recommended in the current Sunset Magazine) in San Francisco with DZ's cousins, Bob (and his family) and Eben. Had a wonderful visit and some tasty pizza. They serve dee-lish sweet potato fries. Scrumptious.

We headed home around 10:00 pm and I am driving. Here's snapshot of our journey home:

As soon as we get on the freeway, the idiot "gas light" came on.

Me: I think we should stop and get some gas, the "gas light" just came on.

DZ: There is a station off Hickey Blvd.

Adeline: It's Sunday.

Peter: You have plenty of gas.

Adeline: You have two gallons of gas when the idiot light comes on.

DZ: Are you sure? How do you know?

Missed the Hickey exit

Me: I can take 380 to 101 where there would be more gas stations available.

Peter: I wouldn't do that--you have plenty of gas.

DZ: You missed the exit for 380.

I notice I am being influenced more by Peter and Adeline than by DZ.

Peter: You should just stay on the freeway. Be adventurous..live on the edge...

I notice a "gas" sign by the Trousdale exit sign. I get off the freeway

Peter: Why did you get off the freeway?

Me: There is a gas station down the street.

David: Where are you going? (he did not notice the posted "gas" sign).

Gas station is closed. It is now 10:30.

Peter and DZ: Don't go looking for any gas stations...get back on the freeway.

I turn around and return to the freeway.

I notice a sign which says: "Next Gas 19 Miles".

Adeline: We can't call anybody to rescue us if we run out of gas because everyone is in the car.

Peter: You have enough gas.

Me: If we run out of gas, you are walking to fetch us some.

DZ: If we run out of gas, we can call Martha. We've just got to get closer to home.

Me: Oh yeah, she would really like that!

Peter: You should turn off the radio, it uses gas.

Me: I didn't know the radio "uses" gas?

DZ: It is very inconsequential, but anything that draws on the battery affects the gas usage.

Me: Maybe I should turn off the headlights--haha.

I turn off the radio. I continue travelling around 60 mph--and remove my foot from the gas pedal when we go down hills--probably should drive like this more---maybe I would get better gas mileage.


Me: This has been a very interesting ride. It is so quiet.

DZ: This has been a STRESSFUL ride.

Me: You need to relax.

I notice that the gas gauge hasn't changed much --seems to remain at the "E" position! Really hope it is accurate. The gas light fades at times. Hope that is accurate too!
Reach El Monte exit and notice we are still running on empty. Phew--down hill all the way!

Adeline: You can just go through the stop sign--oh, good, there is no stop sign in this direction.

Luckily we have green lights all the way to home--well, one was yellow and I sped through that intersection.

DZ: You did good going through that yellow light--you were well into the intersection before it turned red.
I make a furtive glance to check for any cops laying in wait, waiting to slap on a ticket.

We roll into the driveway.

I'll get gas tomorrow.

What a ride, running on empty!

Moral to this story:

Make sure you are adequately gassed up BEFORE embarking on a trip.

(I hear echos from my dad, who was once a private pilot, and who never lets his gas gauge read below the halfway mark.)

POSTSCRIPT: I just returned from the gas station and filled up my tank. The nozzle clicked off at 18.9 gallons. I checked the specs on the gas tank capacity for a 2ooo Toyota Sienna and it is 20.9 gallons. We had 2 gallons to spare! A lot of unecessary sweat dripped last night.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sisters' Saturday Hike

Photo courtesy of Martha

Martha and I have been hiking together each Saturday morning for many years (it has been at least 6 or maybe 7 years). I give her a wake up call, motor to her house , pick her up, park (we go early because parking can be a problem), and up the hill we go. During our hikes, we plan, we discuss, we lament, we share. We never run out of things to talk about. Sometimes, we let people join us, like DZ, but that is rare. We have tried to start a tradition of having our families hike Thanksgiving morning, but it is really hard to get young adults up so early.

The week is never quite right if I miss my hike with my sistah... (like yesterday).

On occasion, we hike the "Dish" at Stanford. The Dish has become my least favorite hike for the following reasons: ...too many people...the asphalt path.... too little foliage and fauna ...people hogging the trail...and access (hours open) is limited. On the positive side, it has an incredible view of the bay and the hills, the terrain gives you a great workout and since there are so many people on the trail, you see people you know.

Our preference is to hike the Chamise Trail at
Rancho San Antonio , which takes us a little over an hour to complete. Well, we can make it as long or short as we wish--for we hike up to "our" summit and then head down the way we came.

A week ago, we decided to change our route and we hiked the Wildcat Loop Trail which took us past Deer Hollow Farm.

What a delight to come upon...

.... a lone cow, with her big brown eyes, gazing at us with her head resting on the top rails of the fence and belting out an occasional "moo"...

.... goats romping in the corral, jumping on the stump and baaaaing to the wind; and

....birds fluttering through the foliage; and

....a deer lazily chomping near the trail; and

... a wee bit of water in the stream; and

... a gorgeous view of foggy haze hovering over the valley; and

...coming across only a few people on the trail.

I feel lucky to live so close to such beauty (10 minutes max from front door to trail).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Twenty-Ten Resolution

Like many of you, at the beginning of each year, I make a list of resolutions.

Like many of you, not too long after I make my list, it seems like the things I have resolved to do (or not do, as the case may be) are soon forgotten.

Often, the same things are on that list year after year.

The intentions are good--BUT why make lists if they quickly become meaningless?

So , I have decided to choose only one goal to accomplish for "Twenty-Ten".

It is a monumental task.

I can't do it alone.

I need help from my family.

I have been practicing this past week (by purging, cleaning and organizing closets).

I figure if I tell you --I will be totally commited to my goal.

I want to be able to answer with a commanding YES when in 364 days, you ask me, "Did you do it?"

So--drum roll please....

I resolve to purge, completely clean, and organize our garage by December 31, 2010.

Now, my garage is a hazard zone. There is a lot of stuff and I haven't seen the floor for several years.

We have pathways to get in and out of the garage--and even that is treacherous.

I admit, a majority (51%) of the stuff is mine.

I admit, I am so embarrassed by the clutter, I don't like to have the garage door open.

I will only allow a partial "before" peek here...

So in one year, I look forward to showing off a renewed garage, where I can park a car, enter without fear for my life, and use the garage as it should.

If, by chance, I accomplish this task before the end of the year, I will proudly unveil the results.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Did It!

With Adeline's help......

I can now walk in the pantry.

I can now see the floor in the pantry.

I can now find food in the pantry.

The pantry is clean.

The pantry is organized.

I feel good.

I am on a roll.

,,,,,,next up is the linen closet,
.......then my closet,
........then the sewing closet,
........then the study
......will it ever end?