Thursday, May 29, 2008

In living color


I spotted these the other day on the way to work. Today I came back with the camera. I don't even know what they are, but the day I first saw them my daughter was getting her yearly dose of sensory overload by watching the fireworks over the Old City. The flowers, too, looked to me like nothing so much as tiny frozen fireworks.

I also bought some flowers today. Two bouquets, to mix together and divide in two.





I laid on my stomach, supported on my forearms, to take these. Connected to both my sons, at that moment what I felt most was love.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Because it's good for you

Well, not you you. But it's good. A good thing to do. And, therefore, actually good for you.

Allison of Our Own Creation has a problem. Not of her own creation, mind you (yeah, bad pun--sue me; must be that reunion of my college living group I went to last weekend-- we did bad puns there like nobody's business, it was an art form actually). Wordpress thinks that the definition of THE.BEST.DAY.EVER!!!!OMG!!!TOTALLY!!! is the day you get the most visits on your blog. Raise your hand if you know that not to be true. Raise your hand if you know it can be your worst day, the day something unbelievably awful happens to you. Yeah, I thought so. For Allison, it was the day her surviving twin, Zoë, died. Having already lost Zoë's twin, Lennox, weeks before, Allison and Shannon are understandably a little sensitive to that particular day being designated as, you know, good.

So please, go to Our Own Creation, and then click through to the blog Allison created for Zoë, for it too has the very same designation for the very same day. That's all you have to do. If you have access to multiple machines and some time, go the extra mile and click through from all of them. How often is there something you can actually physically do for a bereaved family? And with only a click. See, I told you-- it's good for you.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Show and Tell Sunday: Once and again

Last year on Mother's Day we decided to go to Arboretum for the Lilacs festival. We didn't want to be cooped up in the house, the day being as nice as it was, but we also didn't want to be anywhere among the usual suspects-- restaurants, playgrounds, anywhere, really, where we would be assumed to be out celebrating the day. Arboretum sounded like a semi-safe bet, and indeed, we encountered very few babies and even fewer pregnant women.

We brought a bike with the rear attachment that turned it into a tandem, and JD and Monkey rode that around for a while. Until a malfunction rendered it unridable and unfixable in the field, that is. So then the bike rode JD to the car, and Monkey and I headed for the lilacs.

I love lilacs. In the Old Country they signaled the end of a school year. In fact, there was a tradition to head to the botanic gardens in your city on the last day of classes, to hang with your classmates and see lilacs. Somehow they seem to bloom a few weeks earlier here. But the smell... the smell is unmistakable, and intoxicating, and reminiscent of only good things for me.

What I discovered last year, though, is that many a thing are called lilacs. Things that look much like the lilacs of my childhood, but don't smell like them at all. Things that smell exactly right, but look ever so slightly off, or even very much off. I took many pictures last year, and not one of them looked like what I remember from those last days of school so many years ago.

A funny thing happened last year at the Arboretum. As we went from one tree to another, Monkey getting cranky from all the walking, and me getting a bit frustrated with the futility of my search for that one perfect tree I suddenly got a feeling that brought so much comfort it literally stopped me in my tracks for a moment. See, last year we were just getting by, just learning to put one foot in front of the other, to not ask too many questions, to just muddle through. Today I still live very much without looking too far into the future or making many solid plans. But the difference is that today I am more aware of it, I own it more, I know why this is, and why this is the way I need it to be, at least for now. Last year it was a response, pure instinct, the path of least resistance. It wasn't bad, or even unpleasant. Just not what I have been used to, not how I have lived before.

So the feeling. It's funny, really-- walking around that hill in the Arboretum, looking for something that as it turned out wasn't physically there, I suddenly had this feeling of knowing exactly what the future held, on this one silly point. In a week we would be in the Old City, and there would be lilacs in bloom. Lilacs that looked and smelled right. It was like catching lightning in a bottle instead of being hit by it, like being normal, if only in this one tiny way.

In my new life I couldn't count on much. And even as much as I earned for the Old City, I didn't know exactly what to expect of it. Would it be kind to me, to us? Would it welcome Monkey, would she take to it? How would it go seeing friends who either didn't yet know or knew but only via email? But suddenly there was one thing I knew, one thing that was a sure bet-- there would be lilacs.

As I write this, the Old City is bathed in the sunlight of a new day. I know that Monkey was up late last night, so she is probably still asleep, as, most likely, is JD. The City is now my daughter's beacon too, and they have their own relationship, one that is so far mostly about wide eyed stuff of vacations-- ice cream, mindblowingly good children's theater, incredible public parks and playgrounds, but also friends, and fireworks the likes of which she has never seen at home. In practical terms, for us, her going is a language and culture booster shot, good parental hygiene. In less practical terms, I love that she loves that City, it warms me, it promises me things, things still invisible over the horizon.

I thought of going to the Arboretum today, to see the lilacs. Until I looked at my pictures from last year and realized it would only make me sad to once again not find the proper tree. I thought of still going, for the smell, because the smell of all those trees in bloom, if I close my eyes, it's the right smell. But some things you can't unlearn, and knowing that should I open my eyes, the illusion would be shattered is itself somewhat illusion-shattering, no?

Funny thing, though. I finally crossed our tiny dead end street today to look at the lilac tree our neighbors across the street have going. It felt rude, for some reason, to just walk up to the tree before, even though it grows right by the road. It just felt like an intrusion somehow. But today I said screw it and just went. Nobody else was outside, so I didn't feel too conspicuous. You know where this going, right? That tree is light years closer to the lilacs of my childhood than the fancy onces at the Arboretum. Go figure.

The future is still very hazy to me. But sitting here on my couch, alone in a very quiet house, I know that next year we will all go. Next year is big-- class reunion for JD. The timing will be shifted a bit, so there may not be lilacs anymore, but there will be friends, and there will be the City. I am slowly learning to trust that some things are constant, unshakable.

This is written as part of Mel's Show and Tell Sunday. Go here to see what the other kids in the class are sharing.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Crazy together, or not your typical Hollywood screenplay


JULIA trows the last piece of her dark rye toast with goat cheese into her mouth, then gets up from the table to put her plate into the sink. The camera follows her gaze to the wall clock-- she is noting the time she finished eating so she can do her glucose reading two hours later.

JULIA: So, Monkey, I am heading upstairs to brush my teeth and get ready. You know what you need to do, right?

MONKEY: I am going to finish breakfast and go brush my teeth too, so we can leave. Are we late yet?

JULIA glances at the clock again.

JULIA: No, we are actually doing ok. We might actually get there before the time you and daddy usually do.

MONKEY downs another spoon of oatmeal and smiles.
The camera follows JULIA upstairs as the instrumental of DUST IN THE WIND begins to play. It continues to play, barely audibly, all through the next scene.

While the camera pans around the bathroom, sounds of JULIA struggling not to throw up as she brushes her teeth are heard. As the camera finishes the sweep, JULIA stands up in the mirror, a bit pale, but looking relieved. A brief moment later a puzzled look comes across her face, and her hand goes to her stomach. With the look of a still ongoing internal calculation she turns towards the shower, takes a step, and reaches to turn the water on. She then withdraws her hand, and walks to her bed. She plops heavily onto the bed and reaches into the drawer of the night table for her doppler.

JULIA lies down, turns the machine on, and the crackling sound of interference comes out. JULIA applies gel, and sticks the probe on top of her belly.

The first sound is the THUM-THUM-THUM of her own heartbeat. JULIA moves the probe, and soon that sound is replaced by the THUD-DUM-THUD-DUM-THUD-DUM of the baby's heartbeat. She listens for a few seconds, then picks up the monitor part of the machine, to watch the numbers dance on the screen.

JULIA lifts the probe, turns off the doppler and reaches for the tissues to clean up.

MONKEY appears on the threshold of her bathroom, visible through the bedroom doorway. She is holding her toothbrush in her hand. The music stops.

MONKEY (cheerfully): So how is our little brother? He didn't die yet, did he?


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Because children are our future

I resent being used as a prop, I really do. Especially in a political debate, especially for the side I vehemently disagree with.

So there I was, having a screwed up morning that caused me to be driving to work much later than usual. And there it was, on my radio, a talk show on NPR discussing the California Supreme Court decision on the legality of same-sex marriage. And there he was, the anti-gay marriage guest, Douglas W. Kmiec, Professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University School of Law, sounding all reasonable. He was impressed, he said, with the integrity of the Justices in the majority. He disagreed, he said, with their decision, but it was, he said, well argued and well reasoned, and while reasonable people can disagree, he said, you can see how they got there. Hm, I thought, this commute might not suck today.

But then... There is always a then, isn't there? Then he was asked to explain why it was that he thought the decision was incorrect. He started, sounding all reasonable again, about how there are benefits of marriage that are undeniable, this, that, and the other thing, then got slightly less reasonable when he suggested that people who view marriage as a religious institution should be accommodated (um, say what? nobody is making those people marry a person of the same sex, are they?). And then the rails and the train parted ways altogether as the good professor turned to a point on how even if we leave the religious considerations out of it, there is a compelling state interest in keeping marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.

Can you guess what that interest is? Can you, can you, can you? Because it's not that I have never heard this one before. It's just that he sounded so... well, reasonable, before, that it took me by complete surprise to see him fall back onto this ridiculousness. It's the children, people. Our future. Favoring the unions open to natural procreation is that compelling state interest. Procreation, procreation, procreation. Cause there are places, you know, where population is declining. And what does that do to the social security problem? And of course, if you look at Western Europe... and so on, and so forth.

I knew there was no way I would get on the air, but I still dialed. A number of times, actually, while driving. Which is something I try not to do, btw. Busy signal every time. I didn't get to listen through the end of the program, so I don't know whether anyone else got on to make my points, but since I am still boiling over here, even two work meetings later, I think I'd better put them down in pixels. So here we go.

1. 12.5% of the population is infertile. Which doesn't mean 12.5% of couples, since sometimes two sub- or infertile people marry, but let's round it out to maybe one in twelve couples. I think that's generous, but what the hell? I am feeling generous here. So, are we going to start having fertility profiles as part of the application process for marriage licenses? And are we, as a result, going to simply notify the other party, or are we actually going to deny the licenses to the infertile partners? Or will we allow licenses but only upon proof of insurance coverage for infertility?

2. Speaking of which, should I expect to see Professor Kmiec among the leading supporters of the universal insurance coverage for infertility? Because if the state interest in us procreating is so compelling, I think leaving out one in twelve couples (generous, remember?) is dumb public policy. But no, quick google search shows that the only context in which Professor Kmiec talks about infertility is in his 2004 paper where he argues that that acceptance of the procreative state interest does not depend upon excluding from marriage those who cannot physically procreate because of age or infertility and that adoption and asexual reproduction by homosexual couples do not substantially affect procreation rates. Hm, really? Because one in twelve seems like a big deal to me. Not while being able to procreate depends on how much money you have, of course. But if we had that insurance coverage.... Perhaps a study of mandated coverage states vs. not might be in order.

3. So, while we are at it, should we deny marriage licenses to women over, say, 45? Or should they be able to visit their beloved in the hospital, but only if said beloved is of male persuasion? If grandma and grandpa, in the waning years of their lives meet and want to spend the rest of those years together, is it ok? Because it's beautiful and touching, and doesn't affect the population so much. But if it's grandma and grandma, that's a problem, right? Or, heaven forbid, grandpa and grandpa? Eeeewwww, gross... Right?

4. And finally, does Professor Kmiec really believe that denying homosexual males the right to marry another male is going to cause them to, en masse, pick a female, marry her and have children? And because I happen to know how much lawyers in general, and law professors in particular love hypotheticals, here's one-- would the good professor wish a husband like that for his daughter? Just asking, you know, because the state interest is so very compelling.

I am an immigrant, an academic, a Volvo-driving latte-lover, an infertile or a subfertile, depending on how you look at it, and a mother of a dead baby. I am sure there are many prop masters out there who would love to use me in their scenarios. They better make sure I don't hear about it, though. Cause I also have a big mouth and a temper.


Blog abandonment was entirely non-intentional-- just burning the candle at both ends and from the middle in the past week. But I do have things to say-- one from all the way last week, and one that I have been mulling over since this morning, a sad thing, that needs more time and patience to articulate itself. So this week may be the flood to last week's drought. See you around.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I was all set to write about choices today. About how making them is a means of constructing a reality you can live with, like I did with Mother's day yesterday. Define the parameters (no calling anyone else, and if they need to pout about it, they can do so in their favorite corner; only Monkey self-initiated stuff is ok as directed at me, no making a deal out of the day merchandised beyond the last inch of its life; it's just a Sunday) and see what happens. It was nice, by the way. Mostly peaceful, and when Monkey remembered, she wanted to sing a karaoke song for me, and she did, very well. I even got in a short trip to the cemetery, and while I was there I had a thought that, look at that, it's just me and my boys. We learn to jump for scraps, don't we? But it was still nice, especially since I think the cemetery people put some effort into cleaning the temporary markers for the babies buried years ago, the markers that started to sink and that have been looking forlorn. Yesterday they all looked cleaned, and I think even dug up a bit.

I was also going to write about how making choices requires having choices. Oh, sure, we always have choices. It's just that sometimes all of them suck. I imagine bereaved mothers with no living children would have a much harder time pulling off a similarly ok day for themselves yesterday, no matter how they dress up their choices. They were never far from my thoughts yesterday.


So I was going to wax poetic about this-- making choices, having choices, defining choices. And then this morning I heard that there was a big earthquake in China, and it was likely that many people died, and at least one school collapsed, trapping about 900 children. My mind wanted to make it just that-- trapping. They will be ok, once the rescuers come. Slowly, slowly I got it. No, most of them won't be. Even slower-- this is China. This is 900 families facing the loss of their only children, facing the rest of their lives as bereaved parents with no living children. My mind reels, and I have no words.

Later in the day I had the radio on again, and other things slipped in-- the bodies outside, uncovered until the parents can find and identify their children, parents laying out their children's bodies on whatever they can find nearby, covering them in a religiously appropriate manner, using whatever they can scavenge, burning small fires near the bodies. Burning money, for example. I know the actual religious point of that is not the image it evokes for me, but that is still the image it evokes for me-- who needs the money now? What amount of money can make this ok?


Monkey is having a hard time again, for no reason I can pinpoint. She was in playdate heaven Saturday-- we picked up an extra kid after her dance class, and then friends were coming over with their two. So for a while she had three other girls here, and overall she had kids here from before noon until ten at night. But suddenly, in the middle of happy, she ran for me with tears in her eyes. She was sad about her brother. She missed him. She made a card for him, leaving her playmates to fend for themselves for a bit. We haven't had any cards since March, around her birthday and the anniversary of his due date. We also lit a candle before bed, and she was happy to discover that a whole new box of them arrived.

Today she had another moment, in the midst of playing upstairs, and she wrote him a letter. With an envelope and everything. The envelope has hearts and stars and jar candles, and it's signed From the older sister to A. The letter itself is over a very good drawing of the dining room, complete with the correct color walls, a reasonable rendering of our fairly unique table with the candle on it, the puppy, and a few other things she has since added to the setup around our candles, and it reads "Dear little brother. I miss you very very much."


We lingered at pickup today. One thing to another, and walking out it was only us and this other mom, Ora, who I have long thought was cool. We happened upon one of the teachers, who proceeded to say something like "We have been hearing things, and I don't know if they are correct..." I fessed up, and Ora's eyes got really big.

"That's one well-places shawl," she said, which was funny because she had previously complimented me on the design thereof. Yes, yes it is, I said. She asked whether it was on purpose, and then asked why. I drew breath and said because this is the third child. I couldn't have possibly wished for a more appropriate reaction, with the sorry, and the how far along, and the sorry again, and the no need to explain the hiding, and that they had losses, but much earlier. I left knowing I was right about her general coolness, and putting her mentally firmly in the good third.

That, as we say at Passover, would've been enough. But Ora sent an email tonight. She didn't think she expressed clearly that she knows nothing of what our loss was like, implying that she was afraid she trivialized it with mentioning her own, and can she take me out as we get to that 34 week mark. I haven't replied yet-- still looking for words that say how much that meant to me without going high melodrama on her ass.

Some days people surprise you in good ways. Today it was particularly poignant, coming as it did on the day I had been thinking of that rule of thirds (and reading about everyone's experiences in the comments there), and with everything else in the pot. I notice, too, that I never realize how much I need a thing like that, an inflator of the universal goodness, if you will, until I am staring right at it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Have you seen my zen? It's gone. All gone. Nowhere to be found. I have misplaced my zen, lost it, likely.

Monkey's music teacher is a woman from the Old Country who we met at the playground the first week they moved here from out of state. We had them over, they had us over, blah, blah, blah. After Monkey turned four, she said that she had this interesting system for teaching little kids to read sheet music, and that she likes to start it with kids who are interested about six months before they would want to start playing piano. This way, she said, they are learning one thing at a time and there is less pain for them when they do start playing. Monkey was interested, so that September we started. We had a keyboard, and that was supposed to be enough for the first six months, while she learned her notes, intervals, rhythms, whatever.

By mid-September, when we started, I was in the early part of my second trimester with A. By early October, when the teacher called to say that she is very sorry, but Monkey is progressing much faster than she anticipated and we need to get a real piano, I was beginning to show. She gave us a couple of weeks to get a piano so that Monkey would have enough time with it to practice for her first recital in January, and I started to comb craigslist. Sometime in the next couple of weeks Monkey asked whether there was someone living in my belly, and JD went on an overseas business trip with a little time tacked on at the end to visit family and friends. And I was left to search out a piano with an understanding that he would be responsible for arranging its move after he got back.

I have never felt so unprepared and incompetent to accomplish something so important in my life. I do not play a musical instrument. I have learned to carry a tune, but it took me until well into my twenties. I do not so much read sheet music, as I can count off the notes from a reference point if I have enough time. I was armed with a list of things to look and listen for from a family friend who is a music teacher and a tuner in another city, but that didn't help tremendously much. It helped some, in that I was able to reject one piano that was clearly hopeless, but that was about it. In the end, our music teacher took pity on me and came with me for a return trip to look at a couple pianos one night. She made the final choice.

I thought that was hard and nerve-racking. Turns out I knew.. how should I say it... oh, yes, NOTHING about nerve-racking. I expected that it would get hard again the week between 23 and 24, and for the four or so weeks after that when viability gets likelier and likelier by the day. But I thought that since so very little of this is in my hands, I could just maybe sleepwalk through that and try to wake up on the other side to some NSTs and some BPPs, and some general commotion. You know, if we made it to the other side.

Turns out, though, that since so little of this is in my hands, but none of it is in anyone else's on a day to day basis as of yet, I am definitely not sleepwalking. I did not realize until last night, when an unfriendly interaction with my husband literally zapped everything I had left, how tightly wound I am, and how fragile. The word to live by appears to be vigilance. Hyper vigilance, to be exact. I realized last night that I more or less, much more than less to be honest, exist in two planes all the time. In one I am doing whatever it is I am doing-- listening to student presentation, shopping, talking to people, reading blogs, helping Monkey with her Old Country language homework, while in the other I am listening, feeling, running the internal stopwatch, and worrying if it has been too long.

Nothing can be done now if things go bad. Even later, after 24, and after 28, at any point really, I know that some things can go bad too fast for anything to be done. Yet, for now, I am the only one who can know if they go bad. And so I count, and time, and keep my split-plane vigil.

This is normal, right? No way through but through, right?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Better days

Today dawned the same shade of gloomy as my crappy Monday of a week ago. But then, as if the whole thing had been nothing more than an elaborate set up for a cosmic just kidding joke, the day blossomed bright and sunny, with enough warning for me to grab my sunglasses on the way out the door.

Our meeting with the cemetery president on Thursday went surprisingly well. It didn't start out in what you would call the most auspicious manner-- a major accident on the one and only reasonable route JD can take from work to the cemetery stranded him between exits and unable to either seek alternatives or beat a retreat. Both of us bummed, I said it's ok-- I'll go in alone, just as the accident in front of him got cleared and the traffic began to move. He was late, but he made it.

Later he told me that it looked like Mr.Awkward got schooled but good because he was nothing but sweetness with a side of uncomfortably guilty when JD walked in. In the meantime, in my conversation with Mr.President, I probably set up Mr.Awkward for another uncomfortable hot water excursion because I related our encounter in vivid detail complete with the way he made me feel and with contrasts to how I believe a compassionate person in his line of work should have acted. Mr.President apologized multiple times, said that all of the many screw ups of the last 15 months, but particularly, the last month, are unacceptable, that he will have to look into how the lot of them could happen. And then he wanted to know what he could do to make it right now.

Luckily, I had my answer ready. Landscape the section, I said. It should look better. You will not believe what happened next. I certainly wasn't sure I was hearing right. Well, he said, we are coming out of a harsh winter, and many places in the cemetery have bare patches. But you are right-- it needs to look better. And we are already working on it. Turns out they are expanding the section (yeah, they will need it soon enough, unfortunately). They have prepped the previously unused portion of land on the other side of the bushes. So now the bushes are going to come out, and new bushes will enclose the entirety of the newly expanded section. They will add in flowering bushes, benches, and they will try to repair the lawn. A big part of the section is in the shade, and that apparently makes it harder, but he said they have a plan.

We ended up driving out to the section together, and he brought his chief crew guy. Everyone agreed that the marker was placed on the wrong end of the grave after it was filled, and the crew guy said that he wants us to know that everyone who works at the place takes this section personally and doesn't want to mess around with it. His voice caught when he said that he has children himself. That was so genuine I almost wished Mr.Awkward would hang with the crew guys for a bit, you know?

The thing we started this whole process with-- the question about the vase was still open. What I didn't know is that the vases invert into the ground when not used. I assumed you screwed them out and took them home, but in fact you screw them out, flip them upside down, and screw them into the base. Weird. But it also means that whether we could put one there depended on whether there was enough depth to the liner to accommodate the construction (and it explains the cost, too). Today Mr.President called back with the final bit of good news-- there is enough depth, particularly after they put down whatever they need to put down to repair the lawn.

So I am left now with this weird feeling of this shouldn't have happened, but... The but is that I am gratified to know that I was probably dealing with exceptional outliers of the profession and the outfit before, and the ones who truly mater are in the right line of work. And the ones who aren't, are getting their comeuppance.

I also tried to get them to do one other thing-- to repair the temporary markers on the older graves that don't have permanent ones. Mr. President said he can't promise it, but he will see whether they can accomplish it in the scope of the renovations. I figure there are smallish things I can do to increase the likelihood of it happening, so I plan on doing them. The reason they even need repairing is that unlike our funeral home that engraves metal plates for temporary markers, others use paper and sometimes their frames are flimsy and let the elements in. So I am going to go count how many are in need of repair and will call our funeral home to see how much it costs them to engrave one of these. And I will go from there.

And finally, JD is coming home tomorrow, on schedule. Due to an airline foobar, he ended up spending the night in his layover city yesterday, instead of at his destination. The company, which can take it, ended up paying for two hotel rooms. Monkey, though, wasn't sure she could take daddy probably having to stay for an extra day because he was late getting in, especially since he has another one day trip later this week. But he was super efficient, and is in fact flying back tomorrow. Extra cool because he can now take her to school on Wednesday morning and I won't need to be late for work or take her to my sister's to spend the night to ensure that I am not.

Why, all of this is almost enough to make one check the weather for the day outcome forecast. Almost. (Because we won't mention the unfortunate blood glucose readings that have been happening way too often in the last week. After all, proper ladies do not speak of such unpleasantness, do they?)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why, yes, those are snakes

Bon called us medusas, transformed by our grief into creatures to be pitied, vilified, and, oftentimes, avoided. With snakes for hair, snakes that we carefully tuck away under our everyday hats. To fit into the world, to not stand out too much.

We take the hats off sometimes. On the blogs, when we are talking to each other, even when we are with some select others, who are not medusas themselves, but who, somehow, get it, who are not afraid of the snakes. Yet, most of the time, we cover up. We don't want to call attention to ourselves, we don't want to risk being hurt by the world that has no way of knowing.

Today, along with five remarkable women, Bon, Janis, Kate, Niobe, and Tash, women I would be honored to so much as play cards with, we are launching a new blog. Glow in the woods is a medusa refuge, a no hats sanctuary (hey, did I kill the metaphor yet? ahem, sorry about that), our place for sacred and profane.

There is a post up from each of us already, and more to come. You may have noticed a blidget in my sidebar showing the latest posts. Snazy, no? We are also slowly populating the site with other materials. There are pictures and bios, and an incipient article library, containing, for the time being, a greatly revised and expanded article on stopping lactation.

We are also giving out a pony to the first one hundred visitors. No, we are not. But come see us anyway.