30 December 2008

Crafty holidays

(thanks for your sweet comments on the last post, and to those who didn't comment but who e-mailed or called. Seriously, thank you).
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
When I wasn't eating or taking pictures of snow at the in-laws, I was watching V dance and crocheting. I've been making dishcloths, and getting a bit tired of squares, so I decided to make a hat. Every so often I held it up to V's giant head...and here it is, modeled by an uncharacteristically camera avoident girl:

It's a bit beret-y on top, which wasn't really what I was going for, but if she ever wants to tuck all her hair up under her hat, this will hold it. Of course, this is more of a summer hat, and by summer her head will probably be bigger. But for now, I'm proud of myself.

Before the end of the semester, I had about half a day between grading marathons and I let myself craft. That's when I made the slankets, remember? Well in looking online for slankets, I found a pattern for a scoodie, a scarf-hood combo that I found irresistable. I must warn you: below is the dorkiest picture of anyone ever taken.

(I told you it was dorky) My scoodie has cuddle-soft lining and quilting fabric on the outside. If I make one again, I would do three things: make the hood smaller (it's folded up here, otherwise it hangs over my eyes), line it (so it would be super warm, instead of just pretty warm), and make the scarf longer. It barely goes around my thick neck twice. I've also seen these with mittens at the end of the scarf, but I think a scoodietten is a little too much multi-tasking for me. Shaun thought it was fine until he realized I intended to wear it in public. Which I do. With pride. Looking just as dorky as I can.

I almost bought the pattern for this, but I'm really really cheap, so I didn't. But you could get me that as I present, if you wanted to.

In other news, my aunt Shirley wants me to audition for this show. I'm kinda chicken-livered, though...what if I had to go? What if they made me hike around the fjords? I'm in no shape for that. I need a scoodie-sewing reality show to try out for.

Hope those of you in the midwest are staying warm. I'm wearing my scoodie and my slanket at the same time, and though it feels wrong, I'm pretty sure it's right.

28 December 2008

Nearly twenty-three years ago, now

January 9th, 1986 was a Thursday. I know this because Thursday was bingo night, and as my mom left to go play, she said “Keep an eye on your dad. He’s not been feeling well lately.” What? I was twelve, in that blissful age before puberty, when I still secretly played with Barbie dolls but acted too grown up for them to everyone else. We’d just gone back to school after Christmas break, and seventh grade was finally starting to feel less scary and more manageable. That Thursday night was the first time I’d thought of my dad as vulnerable. And I did keep an eye on him. I watched him pace, because he was worried. I watched him fold his hands on the dining room table, then move his left hand away, leaving his right hand, unmoved, where he’d left it.

The next morning, Mom woke us up at 6:30, which was unheard of. We always got to sleep until 7. We came downstairs to find both our parents, clearly concerned. Dad was going to Moorhead to see the doctor. They’d talked to him on the phone, and he’d said, “Oh, Dewey, I’m sure it’s a pinched nerve. But maybe you better let me check it out.” Uncle Harry would drive (because my dad didn’t like my mom to drive while he was in the car, because he was sexist that way) and they were leaving right away. Could we get ourselves to school? Of course. I was twelve, Jess was eleven. “Don’t worry,” Mom said. “We’ll call when we find out anything.” Dad was quiet, though. And when he got up to put his coffee cup in the sink, his right arm brushed the jar of jam on the table, and he didn’t even feel it.

We didn’t hear anything until after lunch. I figured this was good news: if it was a big deal, we would’ve heard by now. Instead, during lap 3 of gym class, the high school secretary called for me from the gym door. “Your dad’s in intensive care,” she said, gently. “They’re taking good care of him.” I didn’t know much about hospitals, but I knew nobody went to the ICU for a pinched nerve. I cried a little bit, then, in the gym, but swallowed hard and went back to running laps. “They’re taking good care of him” I said over and over in my head. In the end, my Aunt Beverly had decided to not tell us it was a stroke. She didn’t want to scare us, and didn’t want us to hear it from school personnel.

At the end of the school day, we went to Aunt Bev’s house. Our mom wasn’t home yet, and Dad wouldn’t be coming home for a while. We didn’t know then that it would be 5 months before he could come back to live at home. We didn’t know a lot of things.

My mom came home around 8pm. She brought with her a slim photocopied book called “So you or someone you love has had a Cardiocascular Accident (CVA)?” I read that thing cover to cover that night, and though I learned he had nine of the ten warning signs of a stroke, I still had no idea what had happened to my father. I knew by then, though, that he’d had a major stroke on the doctor’s examining table. If he’d had it at home, 30 minutes from the hospital, he likely would’ve died.

On January 10, 1986, my childhood ended abruptly. Our family’s protector, breadwinner, and comic relief was in a hospital room, and he would never be the same. None of us would ever be the same.

Every stroke is different. They can be caused by blood clots or hemorrhages, and depending on where they occur, they can cause damage to various parts of the brain. In my dad’s case, he had a large blood clot on the left side of his brain. This left his right side totally paralyzed, and his speech was very affected: he now had an inability to speak coherently.

Doctors assured us that we were lucky. He’d been in the hospital when it occurred, and had gotten treatment right away. He was quite young for a stroke victim (55) and was very very strong. I remember one dark-haired doctor assuring me that though my father may never regain the use of his right arm, he would surely walk again, and probably talk, too. But after a week in the hospital, doctors were concerned. Dewey wouldn’t wake up. He didn’t eat or drink any fluids for a day and a half. It turns out that because he was young, his brain had not shrunken as much as older patients, and when it swelled in response to the injury, it put him in a coma. For four days.

Our pastor drew us to prayer. One especially hard day, just after Dad had moved home, Pastor met with Jess and I and encouraged us to believe in miracles. Pray hard enough, be pure enough of heart, and your father will get better. Perhaps this is my flawed memory, but that was the distinct impression I got.

I prayed everyday for a year. I prayed with my whole heart, begging God to heal my dad, to let him walk again, to let him tell me he loved me in clear English. I realize that praying for strength, or patience, or calm might have been better prayers, but I didn’t want those things. I wanted my father back.

He was still my father, of course. In his wheel chair, with a thick plastic brace for his right arm, he spoke to us enthusiastically of things he wanted checked. Did we turn off the basement lights? Did mom’s bike need new tires? Could we get him more coffee? He communicated all these things, and so many more, with only nonsense syllables and the occasionally confused “yes” and “no.” We played a lot of twenty questions, and we all got frustrated often. But we did it.

We cared for him at home for six years. He could feed himself, but my mom dressed, bathed, and toileted him. She became both parent and caregiver, and Jess and I were assistant caregivers. We went to Courage Center a few times, and it was helpful. We all grieved for what we’d lost, and felt guilty because he was still with us, after all. I was a horrible teenager in many ways, and looking back it’s clear that I should’ve had counseling. Instead I got really angry for a few years.

My first year in college, Dad started getting sicker. We found out later that he had near toxic levels of his anti-seizure meds (4% of stroke survivors go on to become epileptic as a result). Because of this, and because I was three hours away in Morris, and because we didn’t want to lose two parents to this stroke, we decided to find him a room in the nursing home six miles away. At first he resisted, but one morning in September, when Mom and Jess were both at school and I hadn’t gone back to college yet, I woke to him yelling. Running downstairs, I found him lying on the kitchen floor, surrounded by hot coffee: he had fallen out of his chair while getting himself a fresh cup. I lay down beside him, and started crying, and said “Daddy, we can’t keep doing this. Okay?” And he agreed, and we lay on the floor and cried together awhile. And then we cleaned up the coffee and called our neighbor to help me pick him up. Within a week, he had his own room at the Lutheran Memorial Home.

Once we straightened out his medications, he did really well at the home. The nurses adored him, and vice versa. My mom spent every day after school with him: as a nurse aide, I knew this was unusual, and I told her one day, “Mom, you don’t have to be with him every single day, you know.” She looked surprised. “But I love him. He’s who I want to be with.”

Eventually, he lost both his legs above the knee from complications of diabetes. Other than that, though, his health was largely stable. He would wheel himself (in the electric wheelchair he got as a result of the amputations) out to our car with us after we visited, and check to see that our tires were properly inflated. He held our hands, laughed at our jokes, and tried to tell us the nursing home gossip. It wasn't a bad life, really.

On June 26, 2002, he and my mom walked me up my driveway to the backyard, where Shaun and I got married. It was a wonderful day, and Dad tooled around town in his chair, and we took lots of pictures, and then went out for dinner.

Less than a month later, on July 25th, he died in a small town hospital after a major heart attack. We were all three with him, and Jess and I stayed up all night, telling him everything we could think of: what we hoped to name our children, if we had any, and how we would tell them all about him. We promised to take care of Mom and of each other. But that’s a story for another post.

This is why strokes are so close to my heart. Thanks for reading all this way. I still miss him. If you didn't know him, it's too bad, because you probably would've liked him.

27 December 2008

Healthy Holidays

We had a lovely Christmas with both sides of our families. There were many gifts, and so much laughter, and food, and game playing. But after both celebrations, things fell apart. We left my mom’s Christmas Day around 8pm, and the stomach flu struck her by 8:30. Emmy, the almost 6 month old, started it, the little germ-carrying bundle of cute. Anyway, at least Myra held off on the barfing until we were out of town. And she’s better now: it’s about a 12 hour thing, as far as we can tell. It seems to have been similar to V's stomach flu earlier this month.

Shaun’s side of the family took things even further. The day after our big holiday brouhaha, Shaun’s mom pulled me aside and mentioned that David (Shaun’s dad) had been feeling heavy on his right side. She mentioned the words “numb,” “swollen feeling,” and “do you think he should go in?” Um, yes. Right now. For those of you who are unaware, strokes are near and dear to Languishing’s heart, and I was more than a little stunned by the fact that he had felt that way most of the day before, but figured he’d feel better after he slept. Please, dear readers, if you or someone you know is feeling numbness or tingling on one side of the body (either side), even if there are no other symptoms, GO TO THE DOCTOR. Do not wait until tomorrow, or until your company leaves, or Tuesday because you were going to town then anyway. Please. Worst case scenario? You slept funny and need to stretch more, and the doctor sends you home with a pat on your head. Best case scenario? They catch a stroke before it scrambles your brain. (I guess best/ worst case scenario is sort of hard to apply here…but I think you’re following me).
Anyway, the doctors do think that David suffered a small stroke on Sunday, though he’s no longer numb and seems to have no lasting effects that they can see. I mean, aside from relentless teasing from his sons. He was also diagnosed with Type II diabetes, which is one of the top ten warning signals of a stroke, so this will cause some major changes in his (and Mary’s) life.

What’s the moral of this story? I don’t know. I guess that our parents are so thoughtful in their respective illnesses that they tried not to let them interrupt the holiday, or maybe it’s that we make people sick in a variety of ways. And certainly we are deeply thankful for David's ongoing health. I do hope, though, that you’ll heed my advice and go to the doctor at the first signs of numbness/ tingling/ heaviness on one side of the body. Please. And have a piece of divinity in my father-in-law’s honor, won’t you? Because he would if he could.

23 December 2008

Capturing snow

This weekend, we went out to Shaun's parent's house and had our family Christmas. It was lovely, with a bit of extreme drama there at the end, which I'll get into in another post. For now, though, some of my photographic adventures. Feel free to vote for your favorite when you get to the end.

At this time of year, I adore snow. Snow was so much of my childhood, every holiday season, that I can't really get in the spirit of the holiday without it. Luckily, this year we've got snow to spare. But even though I love snow, it's really hard to take a good picture of it. It's so...white. Even when it's breathtakingly beautiful in person, in a photo, it just looks blank. I tried photographing things in the snow, like these trees, to show how the snow leaves divots around each tree and goes on forever (that's the lake in the background)...
This snow is right next to the back sidewalk, on the lakeside. It's sculptural and ridged and neat. But the picture? Meh.
Here's the classic "snow in the pines" shot. The lighting wasn't too great, though, but I like how the arc of the snow follows the needles around.

Here's inside the shed, in the front yard. I liked the ridge of snow on the door, and the misty snowy pines in the background. A close up of snow clusters. V is really interested in snowflakes these days, and often presses her face almost into the car to see them close up. A tree with red berries, shot from below. I like this one, even though, again, the lighting could be better.

This one is festive. I like the three wrinkly berries in their little hat of snow.

I went inside to warm up, and came back just after dark. I need you to understand that these photos were taken in -11 degrees, and I can't use mittens/gloves with this camera. So appreciate how I suffer for art, will you? Here's the front sidewalk snow, at night, with the light from the living room windows. It kind of looks like a giant bird head, doesn't it? Still, the ridges of snow are clearer and kinda neat, I think.

Back in the front yard, here's one of my favorite trees, taken from near the shed door, looking up (obviously). The light is odd back here, because there's a streetlight in the yard. I kind of like it, though you can't see any snow here.

Finally, the same tree, just a few seconds after the above picture, this time with the flash on.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

21 December 2008

Getting long in the tooth.

Teeth are fascinating to me. From the first time the tooth fairy visited until this past Friday, when I had a tooth pulled, I find them almost magical, somehow. I mean, I know they're NOT magical (please don't write to point this out), but they are so unusual in the realm of the human body. Little visible bones that grow and break down and hurt and shine in photos and make us look older or younger or poorer or richer than we maybe really are. I find it fascinating that modern dentistry didn't much take off in the US until after WWI, and really became popular after WWII, because soldiers were provided dental care and came to like having their teeth cared for, I guess. Fluoride toothpaste was introduced in the 1950s. I find it compelling that the history of dentistry is linked to industrialization in many ways.

And teeth are BIG. I mean, they don't seem that big, do they? But the molar I had pulled Friday must've been an inch and a half long. How crazy is that? We just yank these things out of our heads? I found a drawing (read: not gross) of a tooth to illustrate my point here. Only that little bit above the gumline, and then it just hangs on to our jaw for dear life.

I have had more than my share of tooth trouble: seven root canals, two non-wisdom molars pulled, a chip from a Leinenkugel's bottle...right now, though, all's quiet in there. I know that drinking large quantities of Coca-Cola does not help me, and I don't floss as often as I should. When we were kids, our dentist was a nice enough man, outside of the office, but in the office he was impatient and not very good at getting novocaine in the right place. He also had really thick fingers, which is normally not an issue for me, but with fingers that thick one really ought not to be a children's dentist. Or a guitar player, frankly, but that's beside the point. My sister was especially traumatized by this guy, and still needs to take Xanax for most dental procedures.

Anyway, I'm very thankful for my new dentist, who I've been seeing for about three years (that sounds romantic, doesn't it?). He pulled my tooth on Friday without causing me pain at the time, let me have some vicodin for the pain later, and didn't make me feel guilty that I didn't want to try to save a tooth that was not vital. I often have felt at the dentist like I do at a mechanic's: I just have to trust that they're not screwing me over, because I don't know anything at all about the field. I trust these folks, which is a good thing, because it's not like I'm gonna stop drinking Coke anytime soon.

10 December 2008

Make your own presents.

A lot of folks in the blogosphere have taken the "handmade holiday" pledge, giving only gifts that they made or someone identifiable sold to them (wait, that sounds sinister. You know what I mean, right?) I like the idea of this, but I also feel like it could go terribly wrong...I hear Sally Brown (Charlie Brown's sister) saying "This year I'm going to make all my Christmas presents. And guess what I'm getting everybody....paper airplanes!"
So no, I'm not making all my Christmas gifts. But Megan, one of my commentors, has asked for more information on my jewelry making habit, so here you go.
I first started making earrings in college, and bought my first computer (a Mac 530 or some such thing: I loved it) with the proceeds. My friend Tami taught me how, and as is my way, I got carried away. So this is how I do it, if'n you're interested.

Step 1: Be organized. Here is my main toolbox of beads. I say "main" because there are other beads rolling around here somewhere, I'm sure.

Step 2: Choose some beads. I originally got my beads from the corner craft store: JoAnns or Ben Franklin, for example. That was back where there were only 6 different beads available to buy. But then I started checking out thrift stores (grandmothers and great aunts have the best jewelry for dismantling) and telling everyone I loved to bring me beads when they went on vacation. My collection grew and grew and grew (see above). Once people knew I made earrings, they saved broken bracelets to give me, or just handed over complete necklaces they no longer wanted.

For a long time, a lot of my earrings looked alike. Three beads, two on either side of one main bead. My friend Nena was really good at thinking outside that pattern, though, and helped me to mix it up a little, so now I spend more time trying out different combinations. Oh, also, you'll need a small pliers with a wire cutter. I bought mine in the hardware department, because the ones in the craft department with the pretty pink handles tend to be crap and more expensive too. Why anyone would pay more for pink crap is beyond me.

Step 3: Make up your mind and cut your wire. I figure for most of my earrings, the headpin or eyepin (what the beads are strung on) doesn't touch skin, so I tend to use basemetal findings for this. They're cheap. As you can clearly see, I use the technical "half a fingertip" measurement for cutting my wire: you'll have to figure out what works for you.

Step 4: Bend your wire into a loop and slip on an earwires. This is one area where I don't skimp on materials. I only use sterling silver earwires or gold-plated sterling silver. I didn't always, but even I started breaking out from basemetal earwires, so I figured I better step it up.

Close up your loop, finish the second earring in the same way, and you're done. Easy peasy.

When I get rolling, I can make maybe 15 pairs in an hour. But that's only if my assistant is napping.

My supplies largely come from this enormous stockpile that 15 years of jewelry making has grown in my basement, but occassionally I see beads at Michael's or JoAnn's that call my name. I order my earwires through South Pacific Wholesale Company, a beading company I discovered way back when and just really enjoy shopping with. Their prices are MUCH better than any craft store, and I just like them a lot. I often order beads or other gee-gaws there, too, because I am easily swayed into unnecessary purchases. Back off.

So there you have it. All the pierced ears in your life can be bejeweled, by you, in time for stocking stuffing! How exciting! If you are going to sell these commercially, you'll need to get a tax license and all sorts of other things that I don't wanna talk about because it's boring. Have fun!

09 December 2008

Hey, nice Slanket.

Thanks for the well wishes for Miss V. She's feeling much better, though she still has a fever so will be missing school today, too. Poor bored little girl. Shaun is certainly under the weather, but he's holding his own, so we're hopeful we can ride this particular storm out.

In other news, several weeks ago, Shaun and I were watching late night TV and saw a commercial for the Snuggie. It was as though angels began to sing. We looked at each other, then at the TV, then at each other. Shaun reached for the phone, but I stopped him. "I can make that," I said. So I did.

Here's Shaun, cozily wrapped up (next to our drafty window, no less!) yet still using the laptop. How conveinent! How comfortable! How stylish!

I also looked at this free pattern, and considered the Slanket, a name I prefer greatly to the Snuggie or Snuglet. Note that the Snuglet is more of a blanket with sleeves only, as opposed to a caftan-style dealio, like the other two. Shaun and I agreed that we wanted that full back coverage. I bought four yards of the flame fabric, and used some leftover orange to make the sleeves. It is not quite warm enough to keep out all the cold from Drafty McWindow, but it helps, and doesn't he look cute?

Now, for the record, the 2 for 19.99 deal on the Snuggie is pretty darn impressive: if you aren't an obsessive do-it-yourselfer, I might suggest you go ahead and order those. The amount of fabric for one Snuggie is gonna cost you near $20, anyway. Of course, I don't know how thick that fabric is, and you can't have fancy prints.

Shaun and V in their Slanket/Snuglets. For V's, I omitted the separate sleeves and just sewed a square of fleece straight up the sides, leaving about 2.5 inches for her hands. She looks a little like a flying squirrel with her arms out.

Isn't this exciting? I love when a craft project actually comes together in a functional way that is at least as good as I'd envisioned.

Now, say "Slanket" five times fast. Isn't that fun?

07 December 2008

Holiday spirit

On Friday night, I made some popcorn, scooped it into paper lunch bags, and warmed up the car. The three of us piled into the Mazda at about 7 pm, excited to have a little drive just to look at lights. One of our nearby parks has a special lights display, and we've been going every year since before V was born.
V isn't often out and about in the evenings, so even the streetlights made her ooh and ahh. And the houses? This one was one of her favorites. (Pardon the blurry photography. Shaun refused to slow the car down for my artisitic pursuits. I kind of like motion pictures, though).

These were all on the way to the park. Once we got there, we gave our $5 donation, turned off our headlights, and drove ahead slowly to see the wonderment up ahead.

Then V threw up.

Seriously threw up. Barfed and barfed and barfed.

Oh, the poor girl. Shaun pulled over, I jumped in the backseat, and started trying to clean her up. She said "I'm not going to do that ANYmore. Let's see more lights." Sweet, lights-loving girl...no, we said, we're gonna go home. We'll come see the lights another time.

Okay, she said.

Friday was a long night, with bedding changed seven times, until finally, at 4am, we gave up and V and I came downstairs. She dozed on the living room floor, curled up around her emergency bowl. She moaned some. She slowly started feeling better. By last night, she was singing along with Ariel on the DVD.

Now, some of you know that stomach flu is much more serious in our house than the average preschooler's family. January of 2007, for example, was darn near the end of us all. In retrospect, doctors were pretty sure we had rotovirus or something equally sinister that week, and since V only threw up about 9 times total in the last two days, we're feeling like we got off easy. So far. Shaun still has this paralyzing anxiety associated with vomiting, but we've been working on it in the last two years, and so long as we can manage to get sick just one at a time, we're hopeful we can handle this like a normal family handles the stomach flu.

But we're not making any promises.

In the meantime, here's hoping y'all can enjoy the lights with no further drama, and may the stomach flu skip your house entirely this year.

04 December 2008

Men Like Meat

Years ago, before I'd even met Shaun, I briefly moved home with my mom. It was the classic out-of-grad-school-don't-have-a-job debacle, and I needed to live SOMEPLACE, and she had a spare room.

It was kinda fun, actually, mostly because it didn't last too long. One of the things I got to do was cook once in awhile: my mom is a really great cook, but I wanted to share some of my new recipes with her. One was Caribbean Black Beans, from one of the Moosewood cookbooks...it's got orange juice and fresh ginger, neither of which were used much as ingredients in my mother's kitchen. I adore these, and when I am feeling most bleak, these are the ultimate comfort food.

Now I know you're wondering, what did Myra think of these? And let me tell you. She didn't like them. Well, she thought they were fine, but she pointed out they didn't have any meat.

Mom: Where's the meat?
Me: There isn't any. It's from a vegetarian cookbook.
Mom: Hm. You know, you could add a pound of ground hamburger. That might be good.
Me: Why would I do that? This food is perfect.
Mom: Well, you know, men like meat.
Me: What?
Mom: Men like meat.
Me: SO? What on earth are you talking about?
Mom: Just that. Men like meat, I'm telling you.
Mom: Well, if you ever meet someone to cook for, he's going to want meat.
Me: What if I fall in love with a vegetarian?
Mom: (snorting a bit) I doubt it.
Though I'm still not sure what she meant by that last thing, in the end, she was right. Shaun's a carnivore, and he doesn't like black beans and rice. I refuse to add hamburger to it just on principle, so we don't eat it very often. Maybe that's why it's my comfort food: it's all mine.

In the meantime, this is one of Shaun's favorite meals. We served it for his family birthday party. Because, you know, men like meat.

Jen's Famous Meat Polygons
(so named because when I first started making them, they were extremely lumpy and far from ball-like)

Preheat oven to 375.
2lbs ground beef
1 cup breadcrumbs (or a bit more. I never measure this)
2 eggs
splash of milk
3/4 packet of onion soup mix
Take off your rings and wash your hands. Using my favorite yellow bowl, put all the ingredients in and then mix them up. Really get in there and squish things through your fingers...you want it mixed up right good.
Form into balls a bit bigger than the size of golf-balls. These just fill the palm of my hand just so. I try to roll them all and stack them nicely on a plate, because it makes me happy to stack things.
Using my big frying pan. lightly brown all the meatballs. You may need to do this in batches. Don't let them scald, but don't leave them too pink, either. This is where the balls usually turn into polygons for me.

When they're nice and brown on the outside, transfer to my pink Pyrex cake pan (already sprayed with non-stick stuff) and dump a can of cream of mushroom soup mixed with 3/4 of a can of milk over the top of the whole lot. And some fresh or canned (and drained) mushrooms, cover the Pyrex with foil, and bake at least 45 minutes. I usually pop some baking potatoes in the oven before I start this process, so everything gets done together. Serve alongside green beans with butter. And don't forget to put your rings back on.

Perfect for impressing your carnivorous friends. Or Shaun. Or Myra, frankly.

02 December 2008

Why more people should take Intro to Women's Studies

Two students standing in the hallway at the college where I work. I overheard them talking.

Boy: I dunno, I think she's a feminist or something.
Girl: Oh? Why?
Boy: Because everytime I ask her for help in lab or whatever, she's all snotty and stuff.

I call them "boy" and "girl" even though they are over 18, because they annoyed me.