Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Madness...MADNESS, I tell you!

Question: You’re on a toll road, waiting in line to go through the pay booth. You’re behind an Infinity SUV that has also been apparently waiting for a bit behind a big rig to finish paying. Suddenly, the Infinity driver puts his SUV in reverse and starts backing up toward your (rented!) SUV that you’re waiting patiently in.

Do you…
A. Stand your ground, and refuse to back up, no matter how close that Infinity asshole gets to hitting your rental SUV?

B. Back up, and move to another lane, because you figure something must be wrong or the dude in the Infinity wouldn’t just be backing up like that, right? Or…

C. Honk your horn, and flail about in response to the Infinity getting so close to your bumper, you can taste the Budget Rent-A-Car bill for damages in your mouth right then and there. And then roll your window down and lean out to tell the guy, “Dude! We’re on a TOLL ROAD! You don’t back up on a toll road, moron!” Only to have him respond in his overwhelming Chicagoan accent that the big rig is broken down…its hazards are flashing. You’re pretty sure that the big rig isn’t broken down…you can hear its engine from where you sit. But exasperated, and still being threatened by the Infinity driver’s reverse gear, you go ahead and back up since no on-coming traffic is currently on its way towards your (rented!!!!) SUV’s tail at the moment, and get yourself into the next lane over. The Infinity gets behind you.

You can go ahead and tell me what you would’ve done in my shoes, but the answer for me was C. I eventually backed up veeerrrry carefuuullllyyy, and moved over a lane. I needed to use a credit card for the toll, and I had been in one of the only cash/credit lanes initially, but the toll booth chick at the new booth took my card without issue.

The funny part of it all was when the big rig then put itself into gear, and moved on about 30 seconds after we moved over. So the Infinity moved himself back over into that lane, only to get stuck behind yet ANOTHER car (this time it was a minivan) that was having some issue paying. We were behind 2 other cars that moved through the booth we had moved to, and then we paid and got back on our way, while the Infinity guy was stuck still in his original spot, waiting for the minivan to clear up whatever issue they were having. Hahahahahahahaha! It was very hard not to wag our fingers at him and stick out our tongues as we drove away and left him in our toll road dust.

Also seen and heard this weekend on our way home from Thanksgiving festivities, both occurring on our Southwest flight home:

Lady with lots of little Louis Vuitton carry-on bags approaches the gate agent and says, “Is this first class boarding right now?”

“No, ma’am. We don’t have first class. It’s all general seating.”


Later, while on the plane, waiting for the last few stragglers to get on so we could gooooo...

Man approaches the flight attendant for help finding his seat in C58, or some shit. “Oh, no that’s not a seat assignment, sir. We have general seating. You can sit wherever there’s an empty seat!” Man looks quizzically back at flight attendant, and then walks through the plane again. I look at Leo and say, “REALLY? Good god, y’all…”

We had a great trip, thanks to fabulous family and friends that were willing to hang out with us all weekend long. Hopefully, we can do it again sometime soon! Hope everyone else had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I look like WHO? (Oh wait...yeah, you're kind of right.)

Last week, I was wearing a new pair of cutsie booties I'd bought at Anthropologie, because they fulfilled my shoe needs of closed-toed, brown, and heel. Done, done, and done!

I'd pull in a picture of them, but it seems they sold them all and now they're not on the site anymore. Oh well...they're adorable, is the thing. They make my feet look about 2 sizes smaller than they are (not that the size of my feet has ever mattered to me, really), and they're warm and comfy, and I'm happy.

Anyway, they're also a bit playful. I don't know what it was about those shoes that did it, but while in them, my coworker told me I reminded her of a chick on this show called Criminal Minds. A character named Penelope, or something. I told her I hadn't seen it. She said, "Oh, she's just the person they all go to for answers, and she's got a style that totally reminds me of you. She's the resident techie. AND she's a redhead. But it's a bit brighter than we are." (This particular coworker also has red hair, like me.) Then we chatted a bit more about other things, and she added, "Oh...she's kind of like that character from Drew Carry? Do you remember that? Mimi, I think? But without the crazy makeup." That got me started on my story about an old coworker I had YEARS ago who was totally a real life Drew Carry Show Mimi. Down to troll dolls on her desk, and crazy makeup, and everything. She was nice, but she was a wee bit scary with her style.

Anyway, the following day, that same coworker was over by my desk, talking to my boss while standing in his doorway, and she brought up the Criminal Minds reference again. And he was all, "Oh yeeeaaaaah! She does remind me of Faith!" And I was all, "Hey, wait a minute...yesterday, you mentioned that she was kind of like Mimi from Drew Carry, right?" And the coworker said, "Yeah, I guess so." And my boss was all, "She doesn't wear that much make up, though." And I said, "Yeah, is this chick FAT?" And they both kinda stammered and hemmed and hawed. And I went, "C'mon now, guys!" And they both said, "Yeah but she's really cool!" And I just gave them a look like, Thanks for calling me fat, you losers. :P And rolled back to my desk. (Mind you, I know I'm fat. I just don't like having it pointed out to me, is all. :P)

And then my boss mentioned that some people say another coworker who looks nothing like Matthew McConaughey looks like Matthew McConaughey, and I replied, "Are they drunk people?" Which made him laugh. And then I asked him please to not tell said coworker I said that, partially because he's a VP now, and he's likely to become my new boss's boss in the near future, but also because I don't wanna hurt his feelings. I just don't think he looks anything like Matthew McConaughey. And I don't see that as a problem, really!


So I finally got around to looking up this Penelope character on Criminal Minds, and you know what? Bitch DOES look like me!

I think I'm a little more understated, because my hair just isn't that crazy, but, yeah. I have to concede. I do, in fact, look a little bit like the (not as fat as I thought she'd be...in fact, she looks pretty good to me!) Penelope character on Criminal Minds. Who knew?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Probably considered animal abuse of some kind...

Leo and I aren't big on walking our dogs. We've been focussing more on our own health lately, with our trips to the gym, and the idea of walking the dogs even quickly around the block just never seems to pop up as a possibility anymore. Not that a walk around the block would be nearly enough for either of them. I'm picturing it now...us getting the harnesses and leashes on, and heading out the door, and then returning to the house after 3 minutes has passed. Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jake would sit down and mock us for a walk like that. He's totally all about the mocking.

We do play a lot, though. I like to roll around with the puppies on our bed when I get home from work, and get them involved in a wrestling match that I can walk away from in order to change into comfy clothes for proper TV watching and general loafing. Or one of them (*eh-em*JAKE) will bring me a toy to throw while I'm sitting and watching TV with Leo after dinner. Sometimes, I think Izzy is on the very brink of death, she's been so motionless on her puppy cushion on the couch between Leo and I, but as soon as I'm holding a toy in my hand, readied for the throwing, her head is up, and her tail is wagging! Which is reassuring from time to time.

Last night, Jake was bored and brought me this multi-colored rubberband type of ball we have, and then stood there with his head resting on the couch cushion, waiting for me to reach for it (at which point we would play the "I'm gonna grab it/Jake will bite it" game where my fingers inevitably end up being the big losers), and finally I threw it down the hall for him to chase. Izzy really got into the game, and at one point, I was holding the ball waiting for her to get down off the chair she was on so she'd have a better chance of chasing it and actually getting it before Jake did (he's very fast), and she started this mad dog-like barking that totally cracked me up. I made Leo pause the TV because I was now totally paying full attention to her, and I also wanted him to join in on being entertained. "She sounds just like Mr. Puppy right now! Listen to her!" (Mr. Puppy is the Twin's dog, and is Izzy's daddy.) Leo said, "She's being possessive! She shouldn't be playing right now." I put the ball into my other hand, and reached over to pet Iz. She was totally fine with it, and gave me a lick. "Naw, she's just being SUPAH-playful, see? She's being so funny!"

In the meantime, Jake had discovered that I had the ball in my other hand, and tried to take it from me with the aforementioned biting technique. He clamped down hard, and got my middle finger (a very important finger in my repertoire!) in there, and wouldn't let go. Good GOD it hurt! I was all, "JAKE! No, puppy! Owwww! My finger is in there, dammit!" I had to physically unhook his jaw from the finger/ball with my right hand, and then he proceeded to sit and look at me with the sad puppydog look on his face. Which is so fucking cute, and which he of course has down to a science. Then we got back to our game.

I always know the game is over when Jake jumps back up onto my lap, sans ball/toy, and lays down. Izzy might pretend to be into it some more, but she lies. If Jake is done, then there is no point. I think she actually uses him to fetch for her, when it comes down to it. She rarely comes back from down the hall with the toy...she seems to prefer to attack Jake for getting it first (while he taunts her with it, of course), and then she steals it from him somehow once he gets back to home base/the couch with it.

We really should get them on more walks. But until that happens, the fetching game seems to be doing the trick. At least its fun for everyone...save my fingers. ::sigh:: Maybe I need to wear protective gloves...::ponders::

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maybe wearing flat shoes would help...

I've got a lot on my mind lately, guys. Namely whether I will be forced into quitting my job sometime soon, and also whether or not my stupid sciatic problem that I've had for the last 2 months will EVER go away. (The job thing ain't helpin', that's for sure.)

On top of that, we have the holidays coming up, and time off to manage and travel to deal with and outfits to help camouflage the enormity of my ass to plan...

It's somewhat exhausting.

My face twitching has gotten to the point where I feel like the left side of my face is constantly in some sort of land war with the right side of my face. Even the muscle relaxers I take for my back don't help at all with the face, which is surprising. I'm hoping that the time off for the holidays, along with the eventual passing of the 1 year anniverary of dad's death will help mellow everything out.

But that's about all I can do! Just hope!

These are all such teeny problems to have to deal with, really. If my body and brain could just get some perspective, maybe it wouldn't be such a DICK all the time.

In the meantime, cross your fingers that the job shit resolves in a positive way, would ya? The upper management is trying to take my current boss away from me, and if they do, I'm not so sure I want to keep working here, is the thing. So send me positive job vibes, please!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dead klepto strikes again. And also, now we have a whole dollar!

I’ve been dealing with an existential/work crisis for the past 24 hours, so pardon the lack of post yesterday. (Existential with regard to my existence at my job, really. Not relating to my existence on this planet. Just to be clear. I don’t work for God, so it’s not stressful in a deadly way, or anything.)

That said, it has sucked. I learned more info this morning that helped it suck less, but we’ll see if it gets better next week, or not. I’m anticipating it working out ok…depends on how kooky my upper management team decides to be about it all.

This week has just been a shitty one, is all. I’m looking forward to the weekend and having a chance to decompress and lie around and take care of ME. Dammit. ::sigh:: Monday night, we had an unexpected visit from the house ghost, and I wound up being awake until 1:30 a.m. It wasn’t Jeffers’ fault…it was just my brain. I was asleep for about an hour, and then Leo finally went to bed and started snoring, and it woke me up. After I woke up, I just wasn’t tired anymore.

It started things off on the wrong foot, is the thing.

Jeffers was nice, though. We were reading in bed before going to sleep (we being me and Leo…not me and Jeffers! Just in case anyone was worried about that), and suddenly Leo pointed at my leg and was all, “Um…” ::points:: And I said, “What?” and looked at where he was pointing. I didn’t see anything. So I just looked back at him quizzically, and he did what he usually does which was to point more emphatically at the same spot. So I looked again, and kind of sat up a bit, and then I saw what it was. There was a quarter sitting on top of my thigh.

So I grabbed it, and looked at the date (1967? I think? Or 1965…I can’t remember. They all run together at this point), and kind of laughed it off, and added it to my drawer next to my bed, which is where I keep the other two quarters that Jeffers has “given” to me.

And then a minute later Leo goes, “Holy shit!” And pointed at my leg again. And, indeed, there was yet ANOTHER quarter! Hahahaha! This time, it was a bicentennial quarter from 1976.

So Leo is sitting there trying not to freak out, and I told him, “Hey, there could be worse things happening, right? I mean, if I wake up tomorrow buried in fucking quarters, would that be so bad? I don’t think so…” And that point seemed to settle him down, but still. He and I both expressed our desire, out loud, that the bestowing of quarters please be given a rest for a bit.

And then I was all, “Where is he getting them, anyway???” And then Leo started wondering out loud about the fact that there were sixes in all of the dates on the quarters that we’d received thus far, and if there was a connection to that. I didn’t think so, but maybe? I can’t imagine what it’d be.

We haven’t had any more money given to us the rest of this week, but one of the dog toys disappeared last week, and I expect it to turn up any day now. We’ll see. It was a red kong. I had dug it out from under the couch, where it rolled the last time we were playing with it, and was throwing it down the hallway toward our room from the couch, so Jake and Izzy could chase and fetch it. The last time I threw it, it went all the way into the bedroom, and then Jake went after it but couldn’t find it. He was over there whining for a bit, and I finally went to see where it was, but the damned thing was just totally gone. I’m pretty sure Jeffers took it! He’s such a smartass.

So when that pops up, I’ll be sure to let you all know. In the meantime, if anyone is missing any quarters, I might know where they’re at…

Monday, November 08, 2010

It's huntin' season!

Just a quick note before I really get this post started: I actually considered earlier that it was maybe a bad idea for me to write about what I planned on writing about today. Because who am I to make fun of people who live the way the main characters of this post live? That's right: I'm NO ONE.

Does that mean I'm growing up? Or that I'm becoming a boring person? Shoooot. I dunno. You are free to judge me accordingly in the comments! (Not that I won't judge you right back. Just to warn. ;))

Saturday afternoon, Leo and I piled into my car for a little jaunt down to Springfield for dinner and drinks with some online friends I've made through the Dooce Community site. I felt it was only fair to go there to see them, as they've driven long distances for a previous get-together that was held locally here in Kansas City, so off to Springfield we went!

The night before, I had a dream that the drive only took us an hour and a half, and that the meet-up was successful (as they usually tend to be...), and good times were had by all.

Of course, the drive is more like 2.5 - 3 hours for me since I don't drive much over the speed limit, but that's ok. It's a pretty drive, particularly when it's on a nice day like we had on Saturday, so that helps a lot. Also, it's broken down into 3 different sections, which helps a bit. The first section is leaving Kansas City heading south. The second section is when you get off 71 Highway and head toward Clinton. And then the 3rd section is from Clinton to Springfield. It's a 75 mile stretch, but it's not so bad, really.

After we got off 71 Highway and headed toward Clinton, I realized I had to stop for a bathroom break. So we pulled off the highway when I saw a station that seemed to be in good shape. Pulling into the parking lot was a wee bit of a challenge, thanks to the pot holes that were in the gravel driveway, but it was a relatively rural spot, and it seemed like the majority of vehicles around there were trucks, and stuff, so I made my way as carefully as I could. There was a restaurant of some sort right next to the gas station, too. As we pulled in, a couple of guys were getting out of their big ol' truck, wearing full camo gear. Pants, hats, jackets...whole nine yards. I was all, "We're in huntin' country now, Leo!"

No joke, because there were around 3 cars in the gas station lot, and they, too, had people in them that were in various camo gear. I felt a little out of place, but I also had to pee. So in we went. (Not that the camo was a deterent of any kind. I'm just not used to seeing so much of it all in one place. I really, really am a city/suburb girl. What can I say?)

I took longer than Leo, and met him out at the register where he was in line behind yet another dude in a big camo jacket. He was throwing money down and trying to get out the door, but the store clerk called after him, "Hey! I said $1.63. This is only $1.45!" So the guy came back and threw down another quarter after searching his pockets, and then said, "Is that good?" And then scooted out the front door. (Without his change...:/)

I was struck by the fact that he apparently didn't know how to count out change, but Leo was snickering because he had bought some big bottle of malt liquor called "Earthquake", and he had his own judgments he was making internally about the guy. The whole picture was brought together perfectly when we saw the guy head out to help the woman he was with (his girlfriend? His sister? Who knows...she was wearing a matching camo jacket just like his, though) roll back the ATV they were traveling around on so they could get it properly kick-started. It took a few tries. And then they were on their way as we headed back out to our car.

It was just a very colorful illustration of what true country life is like, if you ask me. A quick 10 minutes of life that made me appreciate the little things, like knowing math. And not knowing what "Earthquake" is or what it tastes like.

Later, as we returned home on a dark highway out of Springfield and came across our first deer carcass on the side of the road, I had a different appreciation for those folks in camo clothing way out there in the boonies. And I wished they'd step up their game, dammit! I immediately froze up. Leo made a joke about how much damage something like that could do to us. Sometimes, boys are just stupid, you know? I slowed from the allowed 70 MPH speed to about 60 MPH, and tried to keep from hyperventilating. Leo tried telling me he was just kidding! It didn't matter. It wasn't what he was saying that was getting to me (although it wasn't helping), it was the fact that I drive a car that doesn't technically belong to me now. And the idea of slamming front first into a stupid animal about half it's size wasn't exactly my idea of a treat, dammit! He kept trying to calm me down, and I finally asked him to just. stop. talking.


About 2 miles later, still totally alone on the road in the stretch we were in, we came across what can only be described as a massacre of some poor young deer.


Guys, it was so disgusting, and I was trying to go around the parts, but it was hard to avoid it all, and the entire time Leo was just quiet while I was literally screaming like a cartoon character, is the only way I can think to describe it. And then we finally came upon the actual carcass, which had somehow been pushed off the side of the road. Not that it mattered. I'm pretty sure I drove over/around/through legs, stomach, and other assorted pieces of it prior to getting to the body.

I was quiet for a moment after we passed it, my face frozen into a look of horror that I was finding it hard to relax from. And then Leo, for some reason still thinking he was making things better by talking said, "I'm sure that was from a big rig hitting it, or something." And I somehow found a way to make my voice work as I said, "You need. to. STOP. TALKING. PLEASE."

Every once in a while, I would allow myself to creep back up to a speed of about 65 MPH, but then I'd have a terrible flashback to what we'd just seen 5, 10, 15 minutes before, and I'd slow back down again. And I had to keep my eyes constantly moving, moving, moving across the road while managing to still peripherally scan the side of the road for anything that might be running towards us from the brush. I was clutching the wheel and crouched so hard in my unmoving clenched position that I had to silently tell myself over and over that I needed to relax...I'd have better reflexes if I would reeelaaaaax. But then a few minutes later, I'd find myself all tensed back up again, and have to go through the process all over again.

I felt a little better after we passed through Clinton. We stopped for a bathroom break, and I grabbed a small Diet Coke (fountain! YAY!), and felt a little refreshed and better after successfully traveling a good 50 miles without seeing another deer carcass.

But I can't help but wonder if that damned deer wasn't the reason why I was rethinking my posting about the people in camouflage that we saw. I mean, if that dude can't make proper change, and wants to finish his day off with 40 ounces of some crazy-ass malt liquor or another, I don't truly care. As long as he wakes up the next day, or what have you, and goes out and kills those poor deer in a more humane manner than what we were witness to. That's all that matters to me now. ::shudders::

Thursday, November 04, 2010

"Window" shopping...and found stupid people. Go figure!

I like to shop online. Not only can I fantasize by "window" shopping (it's strangely satisfying to plop a bunch of designer dresses and shoes into a shopping bag at saksfifthavenue.com, and then just navigate away from the page...), but I also don't have to deal with the people that go along with shopping in the everyday way.

Because y'all know how much I love people. :/

Today, though, searching through the Anthropologie hats for the one that would make me happiest, I found a fedora I liked, and checked out the customer ratings and accompanying comments for tips on how good it is in person. Here's the hat I was looking at:

And some of the comments from people who've bought it and seen it in person:

"One side of the hat was straight, the other bent, and it fit very crookedly and oddly. Adorable hat, horrible fit."

"As soon as I saw this hat online, I knew I had to have it. When i recieved it I was very disappointed. It is a beautiful hat but it is designed wierdly. One side of the hat bends and the other is straight. The flowers were beautiful but it just didn't look right. I was so sad to have to return in to the store."

Uummm...it's a fedora. Do people not know what a fucking fedora is*? REALLY? It is supposed to be straight on one side, and curled up on the other! THAT is, by design, what makes a fedora a fedora!!!

I can't leave responses to their comments online, without ordering the hat myself. Some people seem to get the fact that it's supposed to sit kind of tipsy-like on your head. But these other folks who think it's some sort of defect? Have they seriously never seen a fucking fedora before?

See, I think I escape the stupid by shopping from the comfort of my chair. But no. No, I don't. ::sigh::

*And for those of you who read this here blog, and didn't know what a fedora was before now, just FYI, it's like the hat Indiana Jones wears in the movies. You're welcome. :P

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

In honor of those who were bullied...

We're discussing bullying today over on a message board I belong to. A little delayed, compared to the rest of the world, maybe, but the discussion is happening, and it made me think about how I handled the bullying I received when I was younger. I made mention that pretty much all kids who aren't bullied themselves are bullies in some way. At least, in my experience, that was the case. Those of us who were bullied didn't have the opportunity to bully someone else. Hell, we didn't have the heart for it!

But now that I think further on it, I did bully...I bullied the Twin. She was the pretty one, with clear skin and non-developed boobs, and who didn't have to worry about her weight. I stopped using her real name early on - probably when we were 10, or so - and I started calling her "Ugly". It felt weird going back to calling her by her real name when we got older, and I didn't do it until she told me that I was hurting her feelings by calling her Ugly all the time. I think we were 17 by then. Or maybe 18, even. We were in therapy together, I know that. (I think.)

Anyway, the discussion we were having on the message board fell into a "how's the best way to handle bullying" from a parent perspective. A couple of people had parents get involved for them, and it didn't go well. I think I was the longest bullied kid in my family, thanks to my super genes that gave me C-cup boobs at age 11, along with a great big fat ass, AND a need for glasses. Oh, and let's not forget the cystic acne.

Basically, I was a walking pre-teen joke, ok? Ok. Moving on...

Being that my twin was pretty and thin, and we were oddities thanks to our twinness, I was still relatively popular. Also, I was a likeable kid, as ugly as I was. I had always been pretty outgoing, and having the ugly branch of the family tree thrown at me the way it was, I learned to develop my personality outside of my looks. Not on purpose, really. It just happened. So I was friendly and generally in a good mood when I was around people I wasn't related to. That made me likeable, I guess.

But when it came to the actual bullying I was faced with (and I think the Twin got some of it, too, just because we were kind of a team when we were in school together), I had to learn to fend for myself. My mom didn't intervene for me. But I do remember mom, along with my older brother and sisters, giving me some ideas for come-backs for the nasty comments that I got. Unfortunately, they were always after the fact, but they made me laugh. And discussing the bullying at home and receiving support like that from my family helped a lot, thinking back on it.

I can't remember a lot of the interactions that I had when it came to the bullying now that I'm grown. Just one or two specific incidents remain in my memory, and I guess I'm grateful for that. And I never will have kids, so I'm dodging the "how do we deal with it as a parent" bullet there, I suppose.

What do you guys think about the bullying thing? Do you agree with me that the ones that are doing the bullying seem to not get bullied themselves? At least, in school they don't. Maybe they're reacting to the way they're treated elsewhere, like at home, or by a coach or something. But as far as the peer bullying, in my experience, they're generally the ones that have it all, and for some reason, they feel a need to rub your nose in it.

If you have a kid that's popular in school, what will you do/what do you do to ensure they aren't bullying?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Look, I miss 'em, too! Stop talking about them!

Saturday morning, Leo slept soundly as I got up somewhere around 8-ish to let the dogs out. When I climbed back into bed and waited for the puppies to come back in, Leo started to mumble something. It wasn't discernable, for the most part, but suddenly he said, "Cigarette." Very matter of fact-like. Not a question or a whiney complaint. Just "cigarette".

So I replied, "No cigarette," in the same manner.

A second passed and then..."Cigarette." Said in the same way it was the first time. And now I started giggling. "NO cigarette!" I replied.

Then he went back to incoherent mumbling, and then it stopped all together. It was funny. I know he still dreams about smoking, but he doesn't usually chat about it.

Cigarette no longer looks like a word, btw. I hate it when that happens!

We went to Extra Virgin on Friday for our anniversary dinner, and had a really, really lovely time! Food was great, and the service was equally wonderful. Michael Smith came over to say goodbye as we left, and made sure everything went well while we were there. I thought that was nice of him. I look forward to heading down there again sometime to try other dishes that we didn't get a chance to taste. They have a pretty decent happy hour that I'd love to take advantage of, but it depends on whether we could get down there before 6 p.m. Regardless, we'll be heading back there for sure.

That's about it for this Monday. Life is pretty boring and mundane and consists of things like watching The Tudors on DVD (we're up to the 6th wife, finally, and Henry's on his last leg - literally!), working out and shopping for groceries, and cleaning up/winterizing the yard. I know...it's like we're rockstars, yo. Supah-exciting...