Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ragbrai Announces Route...And If I Get Lucky There Might Be A Bed In My Future

Just when I was starting to develop a steady stream of mom followers, what with my home improvement nightmares and my child's witticisms, I'm switching things up (against all the rules of blogging 101) to talk biking.

Forgive me, but there are very few times throughout this frozen hell we call winter, that we in the Midwest who enjoy two wheeled pleasures moreso than any other thing are allowed to gorge ourselves with a fat dose of hope.

And the day they announce the Ragbrai route is one. Come to think of it, I don't know of any other days during winter that lend this sort of hope.


On this great frigid day; we start thinking about training rides, beers in Cumming, grinders in Woodward, tents, overnights, pork chops, shammies, whether we know people in these towns, and about exactly how many times Jarid will play Kid Rock in this year's peleton. But perhaps most importantly, we will have ourselves a little reality check about our fitness (or lack thereof).

It is on this day, that many a midwestern Ragbrai-er decides either to:

A). Kick it in gear at the gym soas not to suck wind on those frightful cold, hellacious, WINDY first days in the saddle

B). Promptly crack open a Busch Light, PBR or whatever schwaggy beer your Team of Ragbrai choice drinks and ponder better days ahead

C). Belch and go back to bed for three months

D). All of the above

Yes, it's true, it's not ALL Barack Obama all the time here in Iowa... Ragbrai too offers hope. I feel it. The fifteen foot mountain of snow outside the office window might actually melt before someone finds me face first and frozen into it. Some day, summer will appear and we will blissfully return to bitching about something different: the humidity and mosquitoes.

But at least then we will be riding bikes.

According to the overnight announcement, there will be hills, and there will be BEDS in at least one town, and even an opportunity for laundry. And of course there is the given: FUN.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

25 Random Things About Me

There is a new game on Facebook and finally, after I'd been "tagged" about ten times I filled the thing out. I really don't know why I waited so long, as I love this stuff. And now, I am stealing Snarky Amber's idea and using it for a dual purpose post (I multi-task!). Heck, I may even tweet this puppy, come to think of it.

So this is how it write 25 random things about yourself, pick some people that are interesting, "tag" them and then hope that somone, anyone, buehler?!?...comments.

I am also going to include a couple comments I received at the end of mine because, well, they made my day and they might make yours too. You never know. So here it is:

You know the drill. Read it. Weep. Tag some people. Press on for my 25.


1. I absolutely LOVE reading these random things and have learned something new in every one. I feel a little funny about the broadcast though, I never imagine that someone will be as excited to read MINE as I am theirs.

2. Clearly, I have issues.

3. I moved back to Iowa from Bellingham, WA a little over a year ago. I miss the 'Ham especially during August.

4. I have been "writing my thesis" for a reeeeeally long time, but dammit I am putting a stake in the ground right NOW: I WILL graduate in 2009.

5. My job is somewhat boring and hence, I am told to "slow down" a lot.

6. My biggest dream that I have not yet attained is to attend the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training....and teach Bikram yoga.

7. I signed a contract to ride my bike for people who have never seen me ride, they just heard that I kicked some guy's ass once.

8. I love social media and the ultra fast pace of technology. Started with a MySpace, abandoned it, then FB, and am a twitter-aholic.

9. Tyler is nine and a half. You'd better not forget the half. It just became very important.

10. If you'd have told me that I'd still be a single mom ten years after the fact I probably would have jumped off a cliff...but I am surprisingly okay with it.

11. When I was younger I always wanted to be a teacher, now I think I would be in the looney bin if I were a younger kids. I want to teach college classes some day.

12. I am not very patient.

13. I struggle with staying present (hence reasoning behind goal # 6) and shutting off my monkey mind.

14. When I hear happily married moms say, "I am single mom for the weekend/night/week," it makes me want to punch them in the face.

15. I have one helluva roundhouse.

16. In the past 12 months my view of friendship, love, trust have all radically shifted and I am not sure that it is a positive shift.

17. I believe that most people should not marry before the age of 30 because it takes that long for most people to begin knowing themselves.

18. People tell me all the time that they would love to be as tall as me, but I feel like a bull in a china shop most of the time and cannot believe for a second if they were that they would like it. I also hate looking down at people when we talk.

19. OMG I think I would not make it through morning without an Americano. Black. Four shots. Please.

20. I have pencil lead in my back from a fight I got in at the library twenty some years ago with my brother. He does too. Our stories are the same, but different.

21. I never knew love until I loved my son. Sometimes I pinch him because I need a squeal/reminder that he is mine and real. Not just some very crazy dream.

22. I will remember with extreme clarity the night I held my screaming child away from myself soas to abstain from dropping him on the floor and running far far away... and I had the epiphany: "oh my god, my parents didn't have a fucking clue either." That night changed a lot of things.

23. I am legally blind and half deaf and left handed. See #2.

24. I am very much a scorpio and I will look up the characteristics/compatibility of others' birth signs to try to understand them.

25. I have a lot of questions.

The comments (edited to protect these people...cuz you never know):

Haha..I have to say yours was one of the better "25 Things" I've read! #14 made me laugh my ass off, couldn't agree more about #17 and I am a Pisces. :) I'm still working on mine...I've been tagged about 7 times now, I'm on #22, it's getting there.

This is awesome! Sometimes when I read people's random things about themselves I think they try to make themselves out better than who they really are but yours is so true to yourself! I love it and I love you even though it's been years since we've really sat down and hung out. Maybe the last time was from the summer of '93 softball??? I about cried at #21 because I feel the same way about my 2 sons :)

That was great! I really wish in high school I stepped out of my shell to really talk to people. In your 25, it shows how every one is more alike than not. And your right about # 22. I never thought I would have a child. But it is the best and it is scary!

Of course we're excited to read your 25 things. You are always honest and funny, which is why your so loved (and missed damnit). So wish you were still in the 'Ham, but so glad you aren't at the same time. :-)

then there's me again:
Jeepers...y'all are going to make me cry. I needed this today. Thanks!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

MonDaze School Drop Off

I always giggle a little when we pull into the circle drop off at T's school on Monday mornings at the last millisecond and find about a hundred other parents in the exact same frenzied state.

The drill: you pull up to this one way thing, stop, push your kid out into a snowbank and proceed onward, lest you hold up traffic out into the street in two directions. It is really organized chaos and typically each day you can witness a mini-van driving mother yeilding a cell phone nearly running over some kid that isn't her own.

Today was an ordinary Monday. We were last minute: first couldn't find one very important glove (with the grippers for catching footballs), then there was the missing checkbook (important for buying lunch tickets when the lunch account is in the red), the dog ran away/after a squirrel, I lost my cell phone (inside my running shoe), and I dropped a bowl of dry Honey Nut Cheerios all over the floor. Nonetheless, we made it to school three minutes prior to the bell.

Perfect timing, really.

Except so did approximately 200 other parents. So we waited. And waited. And finally we were able to turn into the drive. We were just one car length from the first drop off sidewalk and the car in front of me stops, pops its trunk, and we wait some more. Child number one pulls one backpack from said trunk. Things fall to the ground. She pulls another backpack out, and more items fall to the ground. She repacks. Cars are waiting. They are backed up further than I can see. She is then on the ground, rummaging for something underneath my car. She reappears. She shuts the trunk. Makes her daddy driver reopen the trunk. Finds one very LARGE hairbrush at the bottom of the trunk and looking happy and pleased, goes on her merry way. In the meantime, child number TWO appears from the backseat. His bags sort of burst from the door and again, go flying. There are boots, snowpants, papers, and yes, one more backpack. Something again is beneath my car and he's teetering on the edge of a snowbank, trying to motion me forward while I am motioning to him that it is okay to get whatever this treasure is, lest he fall on his face on the ice and kill himself while I pull forward. He finally get whatever this is, and in his frustration, throws everything into the school yard to regroup.

At this point, the dad in the car in front of me PARKS, gets out of the car (mind you parents are now HONKING), and proceeds to go try and "help" this poor child by SCREAMING at him. I hear his little speech on responsibility clear as mud through my NPR, defroster on four, and child talking. I am still stuck. And MY child, like all these other children, CANNOT GET OUT OF THEIR OWN CARS. Finally, the poor kid goes on his way up the sidewalk, tripping the entire way on one leg of his snowpants, which did not quite make it all the way into his second backpack. The father quickly makes his way back to his car.

And we wait.
And wait.
Finally said father reemerges from his car.
It seems, he's lost his keys in a snowbank somewhere.

Like father, like son?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Blog,

Sorry I have been such a neglectful blogger/owner. I promise to not leave you hanging like this again, as when I do, my posts are but a cluster of manic proportions. Here goes...

1. Home Improvement: the hallway, stairs, entry and living room are complete! And now we are on to the kitchen. Despite my child reporting that my initial efforts in the kitchen "looked like somebody took a little poop and spread it on the walls," I have to say, I am quite happy with how it's turning out. As you'll see from the pics, it is not yet trim complete, but I am happy with the transition that ties the two rooms together, and the dark brown...I totally LOVE it. A peek:

2. Guest Blogging: As if I weren't already neglectful enough of my OWN blog and responsibilities, I have taken on a few "side gigs" of late. It has been oh-so-fun, using my brain again. Not that anybody reads this blog anyways...but those that may stumble upon it should also go here as I will soon appear as a guest blogger on this very much more interesting than my own blog, blog. This mom has such a following that she even gives cool shit this...and this (you can still register for both). Some day maybe I'll be a teensy bit more, um, on topic and have people begging me to give away schwag on here too. Like trim paint brushes. Or new pedals. Hey! It never hurts to dream.

And as a related, but not related sidenote....I also am happy to report that I recently won some cool schwag here in a separate contest. Single moms are cool.

3. Running: given that I have not run longer than two miles in a single stretch since I completed my last half marathon, I figured I might as well sign up for another. A hilly one. And one that is earlier than any race I have ever run...well, ever. The motivation? This guy. Playing in a concert later that night, right there on the Vandy campus. Guess I'd best start training or I won't make it to the show, I'll be too sore to I was following the last one! Have I mentioned that I really don't enjoy running? At all?

4. Kickboxing: I keep thinking I am going to quit and try this instead, but then I have a class like the one last night, or the one the time before that, where first and foremost I get totally WORKED, and where a 300 pound man says to me after class that I am "scary" and then wonders if "you used to be a streetfighter." It feels good to be a badass. Just three times a week. Oh what to do....

5. Feeling presidential: I dreamed up five different blog posts where I would say pithy things like I hoped Georgie wouldn't let the White House door hit him in the ass on the way out and other such witticisms...but then I watched the inauguration and was so taken aback with hope that I decided it might be best to just make like a horse, chomp hard on my bit, put my blinders on, and march steadily onward. It feels good, this hope, unity, this beginning. Real good.

Monday, January 12, 2009

RIP Bailey 1994-2009

Happiest Old Man Ever: Bailey 1994-2009

Not unlike most kids, we begged our parents for years before they finally acquiesed and adopted us a dog. We found Barney at the local pound; he was a wild boar of a Golden Retriever we eventually tamed and had for the remainder of our childhoods. He was, for all practical purposes, a dream dog: sweet, smart, gentle and eager to please. As Barney aged, we all one by one moved out of the house; I became worried about my mother's fragile emotional state of dogless and kidlessness, so I took matters into my own hands.

For Christmas, in 1994 I saved the pennies made slinging pizzas and purchased for my parents a baby Golden Retriever. My thinking was that my mother would come to love him as he she did Barney, and eventually, when old Barney passed, this new one would lessen the blow.

Bailey came from what could well be described as a puppy mill, but my friend Jen and I were so proud of ourselves for "saving" him, we actually paid the mill people an upwards of $300 for the cute little guy. I promptly hid him in my pet free apartment, which I'd eventually get kicked out of for bad behavior, thinking I'd "save" him until Christmas. Needless to say, that lasted a night. The next day, my parents became the owners of the cutest, most expensive already- purchased, worm-filled puppy imaginable.

And then the unimaginable happened. Barney came back to life. Tasked with the training and care of this little wormy guy, the old dog we were sure was on his last lap before doggie heaven, sprung back to life in what can only be described as a determined miracle. He soon could be found chasing puppy Bailey around the yard, barking like a madman when he'd get away, and curling up next to him in the sun to nap.

Depressed and sad when Barney finally passed a few years later, I remember like yesterday Bailey's and sad goodbye cry as he curled up in Barney's old bed to mourn his old buddy's passing. And today, we mourn his in a cycle that has come full circle. A couple years ago he too adopted into his care a wild boar of a Golden we call Aspen, and we have watched as the same cycle repeated itself anew.

Aspen bounced onto the scene in all his goofiness and Bailey had a new lease on life. They played, took naps in the sun, cleaned each others' ears, and Aspen could often be found standing over Bailey to protect him as he napped. When I had a newborn and lived with my parents for a few months, Bailey would stand at attention when T slept on my chest. Any stirring from T and he'd nudge me awake. The same went for bedtime, naptime. Nine years later, T could often be found alone in the backyard, stroking him like somehow he knew he'd protected him, all those years ago.

In his latter years, Bailey became a fixture to all my parents' neighbors: wandering off when they'd least expect it, only to be found by various folks up the street--too blind to see his way home, too deaf to hear our worried calls. And always, smiling and happy to be led home by a stranger/friend. He had also recently become best friends with one of my mom's behavior disorder students, who would sit in my parents backyard for hours, stroking him, begging to walk him, talking to him.

This all is, until last night, when he laid in his bed a final time, closed his eyes and went to sleep.


Minutes before, my mom cradled him in her arms, told him goodbye and she swears, he held his head up and a tear streamed down his face.

One has never seen a happier dog. Half deaf. Half blind. Half full of cancer. And yet, always smiling, always happy, and always bopping around, trying to keep up with the other dogs 14 and 15 years younger than him. We will miss you so much, Bailey. The joy a dog fifteen years a part of your family brings is indescribable and knows no bounds.

May we all sunbathe and smile until our last tired breath.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hello Weekend!

I am not entirely sure how it happened, but the week sailed by, despite it being the first full one I've worked in oh, an eternity. My friends in the 'ham are flooded like they have not been flooded ever. I am fairly certain my former residence is immersed in water. My new one has not seen any fresh paint since last weekend. My dog is not fond of this new schedule and has torn everything she can get her paws on. I am in desperate need of a nap. And my child....well, he rocks.

I had a PR event for the cycling team last night, and he was invited. It was a shaking hands, kissing babies networking affair, and a couple of my friends would be there that he'd know. I tried to sell him on coming along, but knew there was an out.

His response:

"No WAY I am going to that thing. Give me the phone, I'll call Grandma and Grandpa myself. We can watch the football game together while you are there and then you, me and Grandpa will ALL be happy."

Amen, my child. And THANK YOU Grandma and Grandpa.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

T Says....

How I birthed myself a traitor who loves the Big 10 more than the Big 12 is another story for another day. Today I'll tell a different one. As you previously read (or didn't read) I was sick for nearly a week over my son's Christmas break. It pretty well sucked and with my body raging full of infection, I slept like I have not slept in years.

I am thankful and I am thankful and I am thankful for my parents, who captured and held hostage and subsequently entertained my son for a couple days as I slept an upwards of 20 hours in one day, and then nearly 18 the next. But upon T's arrival home, that first morning, still not feeling the best, I slept in. When I awoke at 11 (yes, 11 a.m.!), my child had, in his own cheerful words, "been awake for almost all day, momma."

He had during this time: made a hilarious attempt at making his bed, dressed himself, turned his dirty clothes right side out, put them in the dirty laundry basket, taken the dog outside to pee and poop, fed the dog, done his required daily reading, and was downstairs quietly watching television and playing video games (with the dog curled on the couch beside him), "because I knew you needed all the sleep you could get, momma."

Yes, this is my child. 9.5 years later.


So, like anyone in this situation, I express to my child a mighty thanks with lots of hugs and kisses and comments of pure amazement and I saunter around the house with an extreme heft of guilt at my sleeping through all of these accomplishments.

I hug him again. We discuss the remainder of our day, and I lament that he must be nearly starving. I'll make you anything you want for breakfast, I tell him. His response:

"Oh, I don't care. I just want something that will bring JOY to my tummy, momma!"

Seriously? This is my child.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sometimes TWO Posts In A Single Day Are Totally Necessary

Today is one of those days. HOLY LAUGHING MY ASS OFF!


I'll admit it, that Texas/OSU game sucked me up whole. And then of course on an alternate channel during commercials was the infamous "Single Dad Bachelor" premier episode, which is a whole other post for a whole other day.

And THEN...the America's Prettiest Person contest, which totally doesn't sound right but I am too lazy to google....whatever the heck it was. I'll be brave and admit it here, at one point during this show, I snorted. Ah yes, the things we do to entertain ourselves in this frozen tundra so as not to go insane. Which seamlessly leads me to home improvement. America's pretty people? Football? Needless to say, I did not so much as feel an inkling of desire to pull my trim brush from its protective saran wrap covering last night. I did, however, bring my camera today so here are some pics of the LR progress. I am one helluva painter, if I do say so myself. You ought to inspect my's a beauty, Clark.

A Simple Disaster?

Or a highly complex mixture of old fashioned goodness? Decide for yourself. I love schwag beer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Week of HGTV...I Am Inspired!

Ugh, the plague hit our humble adobe and smacked me hard. In the form of strep throat and two rubtured ear drums. That crap seems to worsen with age; at one point I had only one sense remaining. I am always blind so couldn't see shit, couldn't hear shit because of the ear situation, couldn't taste shit because of the throat, and sure as hell couldn't smell shit because of the snot. Pretty much awesome. That thing they say about one sense being heightened when the others aren't working...I found it to be oh so true, as I felt all over all kinds of SHITTY.

I am happy to report that I got some drugs, am on the mend, and have learned some great tricks from laying on my ass for a week straight. Here is what I did:

Watch football. Eat toast. Watch HGTV. Nap. And given that 98% of the football games sucked, watch even more HGTV (my head hurt too much to read).

Alas, now that I am feeling groovy, the home improvement projects have begun. I am, of course convinced that I too can remodel my entire house for less than $1,000 and that at any moment a hot guy in rugged jeans with lovely biceps will show up to help. And he'll show up weilding an air nailer.


Nonetheless, I am giving it the 'ole HGTV try. I figure I'd best get my house in order for a short sale given that I am going to soon win this (of course you'll all be invited to my first wine party, if you are lucky). So, first hardware for the kitchen cupboards.

For some architectural relevance/reference...we start with a photo of my 100 year old abode (only in your head you should add approximately one foot of snow and ICE to everything...and then add me slipping and falling on my ass as I try and shovel the driveway, for good measure):
Now, we move to the kitchen, which absolutely does not resemble the appropriate period of the home, but was lovingly updated prior to my purchase of said home with linoleum floors, oak cupboards, gold hardware, a really lovely berry type wallpaper border, and green checkboard wallpaper below said border:

So of course I pulled the berry border off. Next, I began the arduous process of peeling off the green checkerboard wallpaper below the chair rail, lovely as it was. And BTW, those twigs and weeds above the door are so not mine. I snapped these three pics at the inspection.

So yesterday I found some new knobs and pulls from the correct period on sale at Lowes, and I ditched the old hardware as a very do-able baby first step. I am totally itching to paint the cupboards, and see what lies beneath that linoleum but those little projects will have to wait a bit. Out with the old:

And wala!...project one, complete ('skuse the crappy bberry pics):

Given that I hate painting in cramped spaces and all the bigger chunks of my wallpaper border were off, my self diagnosed ADD kicked in and I was on to the next project. Painting my living room. There will be many more pics of this mess to come, but I forgot my camera today, so here are a few I snapped from my Blackberry. Before:


To be continued....

Friday, January 2, 2009

The New Year Quiz (Because I Am Bored...And You Must Be Too!)

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Signed a contract to ride my bike. Weird.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I cannot recall what mine was last year, so I am sure it was a smashing success. Therefore, I will make an infinite amount of them this year, and next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My seester birthed a cute little cherub called the Claire Bear. And my Keri got preggers. As did several hundred other acquaintances.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Quite a few friends of the family died. Seems like I've reached that point of middle age where someone dies at least once a month that feels like a good punch to the guts.

5. What countries did you visit?
Um, Canada? Only Canada. Man, that's pathetic..I don't even think I made it to Mexico!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Honesty from those I trust.
Peace of mind.
Some cash.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The election. The results. And the arduous process of getting from here to there. And then Hope.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
(Effing FINALLY) selling and then buying a new (to me) house.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Losing the friendship of one of my favorite people...ever.

Finding out that the person who I used to set my standard in all things love related for more than 20 deceitful and not who I thought.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Cripes, it feels like I was sick more than I was well.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My lawyer who provided a healthy dose or two of sanity. And a Wii. My gosh those things are FUN. And a spin bike.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My son's; he amazes me every day.
Our country's...people woke up and rallied for all sorts of things this year. It seemed like we were comatose for a really long time.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
J: never before and never again will a single person fall so far in a single day. I will never trust like that again. Ever.

Sarah Palin: Seriously, I still cannot even believe she happened.

14. Where did most of your money go?
To my lawyer.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My kiddo being totally jacked about this place, his buddies, school and sports.
The possibility of no more court.
Riding my bike with fabulous people who make me laugh my ass off.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2005?
Hell if I know. That was like, yesterday, right?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?:

ii. thinner or fatter?:
Same (I think?)

iii. richer or poorer?:
Poorer in cash, richer in wisdom, friendships, etc.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Kicking ass. Doing versus thinking.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Thinking before doing. Or thinking so much I did not do at all.

20. How did you spend christmas?
Surrounded by friends and was brilliantly uneventful and contained absolutely NO travel whatsoever...for once.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Every day. With my kid. And my dog. And a couple men I used to love...all over again.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Dirty Sexy Money and Private Practice

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is an icky word...but I have very angry feelings towards a couple and it kills me that those feelings exist and there is little I can do about it...despite my attempts in both cases to make things right. But perhaps therein lies the lesson....

25. What was the best book you read?

This is a ton of mediocre books but none immediately come to mind as "best." I really dug and recently recommended to high acclaim:
The Glass Castle.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The National
or Poi Dog Pondering or Black Crowes LIVE (how i never saw these guys live perviously is seriously beyond me).

29. What did you want and get?
Some serious time in the saddle with people who make me laugh.

30. What did you want and not get?
Unconditional love/honesty

31. What was your favorite film of this year?
I saw only animated ones. Not voting.

32. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went to see an 80s hairband after dinner with some friends. 34.

33. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Avoiding conflict.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Ha! Is this question for real? Yoga pants and hoodies.

35. What kept you sane?
Kickboxing, biking, running, yoga, and my friends.

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Hmmm... maybe Angelina Jolie

37. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election

38. Who did you miss?

39. Who was the best new person you met?
I have met a handful of amazing, strong women, all who have given me oodles of hope and support.

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
Those things that you put off saying/doing because you are afraid that by speaking/doing your thing may change something...say and do them NOW. If you don't, the end result will be the worst one imaginable. Fear is a response that should tell you more so than anything that whatever it is you are pondering is so important that you cannot possibly wait.

The older you get, the less space and tolerance you have for fake bullshitters.

Places are beautiful and amazing and breathtaking all at once. But there is something insanely different about having your breath taken away alone versus alongside someone you love. And sometimes you have to compromise the place to find the people.

And lastly....
It is way worse to be lonely IN a relationship than it is to be lonely and NOT in a relationship.

41. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "A long December and there's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last..."