Monday, January 2, 2012

100 useless things to know about me (Caution: Read this if you're REALLY bored)

A coworker of mine was talking a few weeks ago about a blog she had read in which the blogger generated a list of 100 things about himself.  She seemed pretty impressed by this and wanted to take on the challenge herself, to which she was successful (and I'd like to add she generated a better list with fewer 'cheats' than the other guy).  I believe myself to be a quirky person, and so I thought that generating a list of 100 things about myself would be no big deal.  I was right....

1.  I've played the piano since I was about 7 years old.

2.  In high school I also played the cello and was nicknamed (undeservedly) "Yo-Yo Ma".

3.  I stopped playing the cello after I fell of the stage (backwards), landing on my head with my chair landing on top of me (see # 42).

4.  I will always remember that I was born during the 3pm hour because my mom always joked that she had to miss Oprah because she was giving birth.

5.  In my life, I have been "the human" to...a lab-mix named "Peewee" (he was given away because he was too hyper), a Pekingese dog named "Pepe" (died of natural causes), a black cat named Shadow (my parents gave her away to my Godparents, but I was never sure why), another black cat named Midnight (my mom told me she was hit by a bus), a couple goldfish whose names I can't remember (I'm sure they died from shock after all those times I'd transport them from their aquarium to the bathroom sink so I could pet them), 2 tabby cats named Peso and Dodo (my mom gave them away after I moved in with my dad I believe), a parrot named "Rocky" (who flew away when my mom had his cage out on the apartment balcony and opened the cage to change his water - she felt terrible), a fleet of sea monkeys, another parrot named "Buddy" (best parrot EVER, but he was lonely for a companion and I couldn't have two - so we gave him to a bird lady), two guinea pigs named Snoopy and "Lester the Molester" (for obvious reasons), a black lab named Abby who passed away June 2011 and is greatly greatly missed everyday, our beloved cat Bella who we're pretty sure continues to plot Ryan's death daily, and finally our boy Toby.

6. I have the palette of a 5 year old.

7.  As a result of #6, my favourite food is still Kraft Dinner.

8. I get giddy and giggly when I'm cold.

9.  I get bitchy when I'm hot.

10.  Winter sports and I have never met (includes skiing, snowboarding, curling, snowshoeing).

11.  I knew how to ice skate when I was 5 years old, forgot how by the time I was 7 years old and we've never been reacquainted.  I'm okay with this.

12.  In grade 5, some crazy girl kicked my feet out from underneath me when I was standing on some ice, and when I fell my two front teeth went into my tongue.  Lots of blood.

13.  As a kid, I was a self-taught 'gymnast' and would spend hours and hours each day practicing.

14.  I had braces...twice.  (wear your retainer kids!)

15.  I also had this contraption installed in my mouth that had a lock and key that was designed to expand my upper jaw slowly but gradually.

16.  I have no siblings.

17.  I wanted siblings.  So much so that I misinterpreted those sad commercials of the starving African children as an adoption agency and not a sponsorship. When I brought my parents the phone number and exclaimed "now you can get me a brother or sister", they laughed in a "aww, isn't she cute" kind of way and broke the news to me.

18.  As a kid, I figured out in grade 6 that I wanted to be a forensic pathologist after reading "Blindsight" by Robin Cook.

19.  My desire to be a forensic pathologist stayed with me until the end of first year university in a science program when I felt I had to choose between having a family or doing another 13 years of post secondary.

20. My biggest goal in life is to be a good mom and a positive role model for my kids.

21.  I desperately want to have twins (or any multi-birth really).  Possibly as a result of wanting to spare my child the experience of #17.

22.  I have a lot of fears in my life, one of the biggest being that I won't achieve #20.

23.  Other fears include...spiders.

24. ...Alzheimer's

25. ...sinkholes.

26. ...someone breaking into my house and killing us all.

27. ...cancer and just about any other life threatening disease.

28. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (can you tell?) .  For further proof, refer to #'s 43, 49 and 84.

29.  My memory is questionable at best.  I can often recall trivial details, but the critical pieces of information seem to get kicked out of the brain space.

30.  I often have tingling limbs/scalp/face.

31.  As a result of #'s 29 and 30 I underwent a series of tests a few years ago where I discovered my brain is "above average" from a physiological standpoint (showed less wear and tear than other brains of the same age - I was mildly insulted by this.)

32.  I love love love reading - my favourite pastime.

33.  I love love love writing but have yet to "find my voice".

34.  I love talking - ask anyone who knows me.

35.  As a result of #'s 33 and 34 I kicked-ass at doing speeches in Elementary school.

36.  No, really...I actually participated in several speech competitions as a kid (which, in hindsight groomed me for my current job).

37.  I'm a nerd.  (see #36).

38.  I've never had to wear eyeglasses.

39.  I've never broken a bone.

40.  I can't be trusted with knives or scissors because I always end up cutting myself.

41.  I hold my scissors "backwards" (this my explain #40).

42.  I fall down.  A lot.

43.  The main reason why I don't wear high heels is because of #42.  This is also why I'm afraid of stairs.

44.  I participated in a student exchange program in high school.  I remember that we left for France on March 6th but can't remember the name of the town we stayed in or the names of any of the people I lived with (please refer to #29).

45.  I backpacked through Europe in May 2007 - 9 countries in 30 days.

46.  I got engaged the night I returned from that trip.

47.  Hubby and I got married two years later on our 7th anniversary.

48.  Embarrassing story:  as a toddler in the bath, I thought that my clitoris was a second nose and started screaming "Mommy!  There's a nose in my vagina!".  (this story mortifies me, but I figured if I just share the damn thing on the internet it'll lose its power over me and my mom and cousin won't be able to use it to embarrass me anymore).

49.  I shower, I don't bath.  Baths stress me out because I'm always afraid that the tub will fall through the floor.

50.  If I was a boy, my name was going to be Clint.

51.  My favourite physical feature is my heart-shaped birthmark on the backside of my left hand.  It's very subtle, and very unique.

52.  My second favourite physical feature is my nose.

53.  Those are the only two physical features that I actually like.

54.  I have low self-esteem and it seems to get worse with age.

55.  I would describe myself as a caring person who loves to help people.

56.  I am also very loyal, but if you prove yourself "unworthy" of the loyalty, I have a very hard time getting over it.

57.  I have a hard time trusting women.

58.  I genuinely like my in-laws (not just saying that because I know they may be reading this!).

59.  I hate feet....with a burning passion.

60.  I struggle with nakedness (possibly a result of #53).

61.  I love to plan and organize things, but almost always stop half way through the execution of my plans to question my sanity.

62.  I once got pulled over by a cop on a horse (in TORONTO) for making a left turn onto a street less than 5 minutes before the end of the "no left turn" time.

63.  I believe in lifelong learning - I will always pursue further education (mostly to fight off the onset of #24).

64.  I have high expectations of myself and of others.  Sometimes unfairly.

65.  If you're in customer service, a large corporation or a neighbour and you don't meet my high expectations, you're likely going to be getting a passive aggressive letter or e-mail.  (see previous blog entries).

66. If I think someone in the retail/service industry has given great customer service I write their manager to tell them so.  (see?  I'm not always a bitch...)

67.  I love writing letters on behalf of inanimate objects.

68.  My favourite chocolate bar is Oh Henry - I love it so much that I sent Hubby out in the "snow squal warning" weather to get me one after he gloated about the chocolate bar he bought for himself and scarfed down just before coming home.

69.  I HATE having my picture taken (see # 53 & 54).

70.  I'm frugal and almost psychotically organized about money (spreadsheets and cash boxes anyone??).

71.  Dance music from the 90's makes me furiously happy.

72.  I lived in Toronto and have never been up the CN tower.  I have also been to Paris twice and have never been up the Eiffel Tower although I did try and climb it (didn't make it too far though).

73.  Even at 27 years old, I love to be swaddled/cocooned in blankets.

74.  I've been married three times: once as a toddler when the older kids in the neighbourhood married me off, once in kindergarten, and again (for real) when I was 24.

75.  I have problems with the "texture" of a lot of foods.  This makes me a bit of a fussy eater.

76.  I have a habit of leaving food in tupperware containers until its no longer recognizable.

77.  My sandwiches must be cut  on the diagonal and I always eat the half with the rounded crust first.

78.  I always save the thing I like best as the last thing I eat on my plate.

79.  My first word was "Hi" - I was 5 months old and it scared the crap out of my aunt.

80.  When I was about 1 1/2 years old my blonde curly hair fell out and grew in brown and straight.  I looked like a boy and my mom nicknamed me "chemo baby".

81.  I'm a daddy's girl (see #80).

82.  I have had 11 piercings - 10 in my ears, 1 in my bellybutton (two I had to have surgically removed).

83. I desperately want a necklace that is my first name in cursive writing on a 16" snake chain.

84.  For the past 5 months, I have had non-stop consecutive night terrors in which I'm dying, being murdered, running for my life and/or watching people around me dye.

85.  As a result of #84, I am very, very tired.

86.  The doctor has not yet figured out what's causing them or how to stop them.

87.  The last new years resolution I ever made was to stop making new years resolutions.  It was the only one that stuck.

88.  I love the smell of gasoline (which may explain a lot of this list).

89.  As a child I was raised Catholic. As an adult I'm Athiest.  A lot of people don't know this about me and I think some may not like it when they find out.

90.  I've made difficult choices in my life regarding important relationships. Some people don't like this.

91.  I will not be influenced by those who take issue with #89 or #90.  I make my decisions mindfully and with purpose.

92.  I'm stubborn.

93.  I want to become a runner.

94.  I also want to learn how to work a pole (for fitness, not stripping - recall #60.)

95.  I happily live in a bubble in which I am ignorant to most current events.

96.  If you try to get away with not washing your hands after going to the bathroom, I WILL call you out on it.

97.  I never play the lottery.

98.  I don't smoke.

99.  I have a "system" when eating a lot of foods (ie: fries) that can just not be explained.

100.  I LOVE WRITING LISTS (as evidenced by #'s 1-99).

Happy 2012 everyone!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No hunny, you can't go to the exotic massage parlor

I am constantly hearing stories from other women and complete strangers that marriage is the pits, and men are generally the cause.  My husband seems to (so far) be the exception to a lot of rules, and I am truly thankful for that.
There are times though, when he'll say something to make me question how much of (or at least what kind of) an exception he really is. 

For example:

The last two and a half months I've been driving him to work in the mornings and picking him up at the end of the workday.  His work site is located about 200ft away from an ethanol plant with multiple silos the size of large office buildings, each filled with an alarming volume of flammable liquid.  Apparently, this went unnoticed by him until quite recently when on our morning drive he proclaimed "Huh - that is a large ethanol plant right by my work.  If that thing blows up, I'm a goner.".  I was concerned by the alarm in his voice as it indicated this may have been his first time even noticing the giant combustible building we had driven past nearly a hundred times already.  It took me a while, but I eventually realized what may have had his brain so occupied that he was oblivious to his daily proximity to the ethanol plant.  A little further down the street is a strip club, which was no surprise to us at the time.  What was surprising though was the discovery of the "exotic massage parlor" which is located right next door.  What was even more surprising was the fact that he didn't get whip-lash when saying "Yeah??!?!?!" and suddenly craning his neck in an unnatural direction to confirm the existence of the rub-n-tug after we drove by.  I'm secretly wondering if by the time we get to the ethanol plant he's so focused on trying to come up with viable excuses to have the car (and thus freedom to make a stop on the way home) that he's never actually noticed the plant. 
Hunny - if you're reading this?  The answer is no.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Insert Foot In Mouth

Do you ever suffer from foot-in-mouth disease?  What about writer's remorse?  I am plagued by both on a pretty regular basis, and I'm going with that as my excuse for my absence for nearly two months.

I've noticed that lately I just don't know how to keep my mouth shut.  It's not that I blab the secrets of others or participate in gossip...I just honestly can not stop running my mouth.  I will decide that I want to keep something to myself even if just for just a few days, but do you think I can do it?  Not a chance.  It's like my brain decides that hey, maybe not everyone needs to know my business all the time, but that filter between the brain and the mouth is entirely disconnected.  Before I know it, I actually hear myself saying the very words I swore I wouldn't speak out-loud.  My brain is simultaneously shouting at me "YOU IDIOT!  WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!  WE WEREN'T GOING TO TALK ABOUT THAT.  EVER!"
Now sometimes I may decide I don't want to nor should I speak because there's risk that my words may come across as insulting.  Sometimes it's because I know I have a habit of saying the first thing that comes to mind and always come up with something better when it's too late.  Mostly it's because I realize that I've had a lot of stressful things going on in my life lately and that when I discuss these things with individuals, it makes me sound either very negative, or a little bit sociopathic.  I haven't decided which.  Either way?  It's not good.

Prime example:
My anxiety has been flaring up a bit recently (something I'm sure I'll elaborate on in a future entry), and I've noticed that one of many themes to this anxiety centralizes around the fear of someone breaking into my house to kidnap/murder me and quite likely the Husband too.   So when Hubby suggests that we go see "Straw Dogs" and I end up asking him to please explain again what the movie is about, I have to gently point out that going to see a movie which involves a young couple battling crazy townies who are breaking into their house to kill them might not be a great idea for me right now.    Upon reflecting why I'm so unnecessarily focused on people breaking in I have a flashback to a point in my childhood where a friend and a cousin and I are having a sleepover on the floor of a bedroom in my aunt's house.  There's a weird shadow being cast on the wall, and I painstakingly spend a great deal of time trying to convince the girls I'm with, that the shadow is of a man with a pointy nose and a hat who is on a ladder outside of our second-floor window waiting for us to fall asleep so that he can break in and steal us.  I had them convinced to the point of tears.  I was about 8 years old.
So when today at work while my colleagues and I were sitting at our respective work stations working quietly and diligently I felt the need to share this story?  I DON'T KNOW.  Why I'm sharing this on the internet?  Well, that brings me to my next affliction....

Writers remorse.

I'm quite confident we've all suffered from this at one point or another.  Remember when you were a kid and how you kept a diary where all you and your boy-obsessed brain could write about was who you had a crush on and how you were destined for wedded bliss and babies with a fast car and a mansion?  No?  Alright, the cheese stands alone.
I remember looking back in that diary or through notes shared with girlfriends and thinking "My God.  If this is part of what being a pre-pubescent girl is about, then I want sons.".

It is for this reason I have been avoiding the blog, facebook, and any social media in which my foot-in-mouth can be formatted online for anyone to see.  We've been experiencing some "issues", one of which will be causing us to go to court in the near future.  The rage and frustration over this situation with a negligent contractor has me nearly bursting at the seams.  Since there is the ever apparent likelihood that we will be moving forward with a court case, I've been hesitant to write for fear that I will say or do something that could come back to bite us in the ass at some point during this process.

So please, forgive my absence these past two months.  Don't hesitate to distract me from my living hell by sharing embarrassing examples of when you've suffered from foot-in-mouth or writers remorse.  We're aiming for a "make Loony feel good by comparison".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Birthday

They say that with every year you not only get older, you get wiser.  Little did I know that one derives a lot of wisdom on the actual day of her birthday and not just over the twelve months that follow.

Let me preface my birthday tales with this: I don't fear aging.  Maybe I'm too young to fear it, or maybe I'm too intrigued by the later years to be hesitant about their arrival.  Either way, the actual act of turning another year older doesn't make me itch - it's the expectations surrounding a birthday that make me want to claw my skin off.  It feels almost reminiscent of New Years Eve.  Everyone wants to know what you're doing to celebrate the big day, and if you have somewhat ordinary plans you receive that knowing head tilt and "ohhh" that reeks of pity.  It's clear that those who are judging your plans (or lack thereof), believe that you're not wanting to celebrate because you're in denial about turning yet another year older.

Let me tell you something; just because I didn't actively make plans, doesn't mean the plans didn't seek me out.  There were definitely some surprises...

Surprise #1

With my birthday falling on a weekday, of course I went to the office.  I was surprised to find that some coworkers had beautifully decorated my workspace for the occassion and my boss brought in an array of cheesecake flavours to choose from (the super awesome part about this is that they didn't even know that cheesecake is my favourite, but it was chosen because they know that I'm weird with food and textures/texture combination's, so they felt cheesecake would be the safest bet.  Good choice ladies!).  Also, another coworker outside of our department brought in some celebratory timbits to keep it on the "safe side" after learning of my weird food things (maybe I should do a post on the weird food fixations I have???).

An entirely different group of coworkers serenaded me with the "Happy Birthday" song in our building's cafeteria and presented me with a birthday breakfast muffin which included a homemade candle in the middle (made of a yellow post-it, and red pen to symbolize the open flame we're not allowed to have in the office building).

What I learned from surprise #1: 
Sometimes the people you work with are more than just the people you work with.  The unexpected celebration of me by my friends from work was probably the most heartwarming part of my whole day.  Normally, one does not put that kind of expectation on her coworkers, so it truly was a wonderful surprise.

Surprise #2

The Husband picked me up from work since I didn't want to spend my birthday getting sweaty from a walk or a bike ride to-from work (aka: it's my birthday and I'll whine about physical activity if I want to!).  We get home to discover that after having started the process of switching Toby's foods, his digestive tract had turned a little rebellious.  As soon as I walked in the door, I could smell something was amiss.  As soon as the Husband could see that Toby was in his cage facing the "wrong way", he knew something was amiss.  As soon as we both got to the kitchen and saw the dog poop EVERYWHERE, it was pretty evident something was most definitely amiss.  My Darling Husband thought Toby just had the runs and couldn't hold it any longer, however, I knew better.  The patterns of poop splatter told me that Toby had, without a doubt, sharted

The multi-directional splatter indicated that Toby was facing his regular way and farted, but when he felt something come shooting out of his back end like water through a hose, he turned around in a panic as if to say "What the hell was that?!".  That's when it either happened again to a much smaller-scale, or it was an ongoing shart and his turning around was merely providing a sprinkler effect.  (Why do so many of my blog posts contain poop talk?!)  We had poop splatter all over the floor, all over the wall, all over his cage, and worst yet, all over Toby.

Do you have any idea what it's like bathing a 115lb dog (or small horse) who is terrified of the hose?  My greater concern was no longer getting a little sweaty on my birthday. 

What I learned from Surprise #2: 
1.  Having a sick dog is very much like having a sick baby who's the size of, has the same attitude as and produces the same amount of poop as a 13 or 14 year old.
2.  I missed my calling as a crime scene investigator.  No one can read poop splatter quite like I can.

UPDATE:  I failed to mention that I also learned I'm a TERRIBLE mother as I could not help but laugh hysterically when the Husband and I watched from the window as our poor dog was suffering from constipation and would assume "the pose" with no effect.  Again, picture a giant dog, back arched, butt facing down, and tail over 2 ft long jetting straight out as he looks around waiting for something to happen.  When he had no success he'd walk forward two feet and try again.  It looked so goofy and I think if I didn't laugh at the situation I'd cry.

Surprise #3

The progression of social media tools has changed the rules of social etiquette (an argument that has no-doubt been overdone by countless people over the short but eventful lifespan of Facebook, Twitter, etc).  While on the one hand you receive countless messages of well-wishing from people you haven't spoken to or seen (in-person) for years, those who may carry the social expectation to call you or see you determine that sending you an electronic message along with the masses meets their obligation.  Is this an issue of circumstance?  Convenience?  Does it reflect a subtle change in the direction of your relationship with that person - the equivalent of a demotion in relationship status?  Or does it basically all even out in the wash and one should just be happy she got anything?

What I learned from Surprise #3: 
1.  The "me me me" mentality of a birthday can cause one to become slightly hypocritical.  On one hand I complained about the inflated expectations surrounding the celebration of a birthday, and when I felt that what celebration did take place wasn't quite enough I considered it as a reflection of my existential status. 
2.  As a result of point #1, I need drugs.  Lots and lots of drugs.

I guess now I know what to ask for for Christmas :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Time I Got Someone Else's Poop In My Eye

My dad's biological mom lives out on the east coast, and has for the majority of my life.  It's pretty routine that she and her husband Ed come to visit every two years.  Generally, they would spend one week or so with Ed's kids, and then a week at my dad's house before starting the trek back home.  During those formative years when living with my dad, I would obviously be present for the visits with Grandma and Ed.  It didn't take long for me to form a negative opinion of Grandma's husband, and being the person that I am, I naturally made it clear that there were things about him I did not approve of.

The first time this happened I was home with Ed and Grandma (who, by the way is the SWEETEST WOMAN EVER), and it was approaching lunchtime.  Ed decides he's hungry.  Ed turns to Grandma and tells her that he wants a sandwich.  Knowing that Grandma is more than ready to promptly get up and make his sandwich for him, I am quick to notify Ed that if he's hungry there's deli meat in the fridge and the bread is in the cupboard.  When Ed gives me a dirty look, Grandma gets up and makes his sandwich.  She puts it on the dining table, we all sit down together and eat (I made my own sandwich thankyouverymuch).  As soon as Ed finishes, he gets up, leaves his dishes at the table for Grandma to put away and proceeds to walk past the dishwasher.  I alert him to the fact that since clearly his legs and arms aren't broken, and since he has to pass the dishwasher anyways, he's certainly capable of taking his own dishes and putting them in the dishwasher since Grandma was kind enough to make his lunch for him.  It worked.  Several similar circumstances have occurred over the years, which have taught Ed that I do not tolerate seeing him treat my Grandma like his servant.  Not once do I ever see him get her a drink or a snack or ask her if she needs anything, but he expects her to be at his beckon call. 

A couple weeks ago, Grandma and Ed came for a visit, and this time, they stayed at our house for a night.  True to form, Ed tried to get Grandma to do everything for him, short of wiping his ass.  To be honest, I'd have preferred if he got her to do that for him, because then maybe I wouldn't have contracted PINK EYE.

Ed got his revenge.  Knowing he was on my turf, he was in prime position to engage in some subtle biological warfare to retaliate against my  modern-day, woman's-lib mentality.  He decided to stop washing his hands after using the facilities, spreading his fecal bacteria on countless surfaces.  I think I can say with confidence that I contracted the conjunctivitis when electing to do my make-up at the dining table so that Grandma could have the bathroom.  After using the facilities myself, I washed my hands, grabbed my makeup bag and headed off to the table where I was touching my eye.  My mistake was not washing my hands again after opening up the bathroom door.

Do you know what it feels like knowing that your eye is discoloured because you have someone else's poop in your eye?  Even worse when you know precisely whose poop it was, and it comes from someone who should not only know better, but was actively trying to get you all worked up the whole time he was in your home?

This is an 82 year old man who found it appropriate to wear nothing but tighty whitey's as pajamas and walk around the house that way with no intentions to cover up.  *Shudder*.

Grandma,  you're welcome back anytime - but next visit?  Let's have you leave Ed and his dirty hands at home, yes?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Scarred for Life


Some things you just can't unsee.

I'm pretty sure I just brushed the top three layers off of my tongue to make sure it doesn't look like this.  Maybe you should too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kill the zombie turkeys by masturbating with the stolen used-underwear

Those who know me in the real-world understand that I choose to live in a "bubble" that consequently leaves me oblivious to current issues.  I find the news to be too depressing, and I get quite rageful when the news anchor goes from talking about some gruesome and tragic death to a light-hearted story about a water-skiing squirrel.  When I'm eventually murdered or die in some sort of freak-news-worthy accident, please kill the news anchor who reports on it then follows up with a weather report where they complain that it's too hot, too cold, too wet, etc.  Unless it's armaggedon, that asshole has nothing to complain about compared to the tragic-loss of yours-truly.

When it comes to newsprint, I generally stay away from my city's paper because (according to what I heard from other well-informed individuals), our local journalists are about as talented and insightful as a drug addict in withdrawl (no offence to any addicts reading this...).

One day this week though, I went to the local newspaper's website to discover the following hot-topics deemed news-worthy (aka, front page) for my area:

First, let me please say that I live in a CITY.  We don't generally have free-range turkeys running about.  What concerns me is the follow-up which states that a turkey flew into a pickup truck and caused damage.  What the hell kind of fucked up turkeys are these?!?!  I'm thinking that they are in fact ZOMBIE TURKEYS, and thus the title should read "Zombie Turkeys Coming to 'Gobble Gobble' Your Brains"
Way to fail us all, local journalists.

More interestingly, and hopefully much less fatal is the front-page story about the stolen underwear.  Why does this make the news????  Unless it's been discovered that used underwear doubles as a suitable weapon against the zombie-turkey apocalypse, then I don't want to know about the panty-fetish of one of my fellow citizens.

I think we know who stole the underwear...
Can we please note that story #1 is about a tragic death, followed by a story about masturbating.  I believe I'll call this a case-in-point. 

Back to the bubble I go...