Sunday, March 01, 2015

Heard around the house (Part Two)

Girl-child: It's true, I am strong; especially my mouth.


Heard around the house

Hubby: Have you brushed your teeth?

Boy-child: Not yet.

Hubby: Well, you'd better get on that, Hoss.

Boy-child: Who's calling who 'Hoss,' huh?

I guess it was one of those you-had-to-be-there-moments but it sure was funny.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

It all happened so fast

You know how they say when you’re in danger, everything becomes really clear?  Well, I can attest to that now.  And that “it all happened so fast” statement is also true.  This morning, while driving to work in all the leftover slush and snow, on badly-plowed roads, I did something I’d never done before, and honestly, it all happened so fast I’m not 100% sure how it happened.  The entire incident, start to finish, took about 30 seconds.

Anyway – there I was…driving to work, on a road I travel every day.  On a good day, the speed limit on that road is 40 (maybe 45, I can’t remember right now) mph.  I was going maybe 30 mph, tops.  Like I said, the roads were pretty sloppy and I’m pretty careful.  I think I hit a pothole (that, of course, I couldn't see because it was covered with the slushy mess) and suddenly the back end of my car is slowly spinning around like it’s trying to do-si-do with the front end of my car. 

I took my foot off the accelerator, left the brake pedal alone and I remember clearly thinking, “Steer into the skid, steer into the skid” – trying to recall my driver’s education training.  And then it was over.  I was facing the wrong direction completely stopped in the median.  

In my next moment of clarity I thought, “Threat assessment!  Where are you?”  I looked up and took note that this normally busy road was completely and totally empty.  There was not another driver to be seen and I was on one of the straight-away stretches!  What luck!  If this had happened on any regular morning (which I doubt it would have) the danger at that point would have been getting tagged by another car.  

I thought, “If I’m not actually stuck here (which was a distinct possibility), I should be able to reverse and get myself out of here.”  And that’s exactly what I did.  I popped it into reverse, tapped on the gas and my car responded right away.  I turned around the right way and continued on to work; myself and my car no worse for the wear.  I was shaken up, yes – but totally unharmed.  And yes, I still had a cup of coffee when I got to work.

This little incident isn’t going to deter me from driving to work in similar conditions, though admittedly, it might have if this had happened ten years ago.  I know now, in a situation like that, I can keep my cool and not flip out.

Go me.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Age and Eccentricity

I shall dye my hair some obnoxious color, give it a tight perm and start wearing rhinestone-studded spectacles.  Or maybe allow my hair to go fully gray, and grow it out long enough to wear in a thick braid down my back.

I shall wear flowing, bohemian skirts and weigh my neck down with lots of necklaces – at least one of which must have huge hunks of raw turquoise.

I shall turn the storage building in the back yard into my personal workshop where I shall make beauty products from natural ingredients, beaded jewelry and handmade greeting cards.

I shall keep bees, collect their raw honey and sell beautiful, golden jars of the stuff at a roadside stand.

I shall read Jack Kerouac, write haunting poetry, stay inside on a Thursday simply because it’s Thursday.

I shall have a cat and never name it because cats don’t come when they’re called so it doesn't really matter if they have a name.

I shall have a basset hound and name him Arthur.

I shall become comfortable using a typewriter instead of a computer and foster several false starts at writing the great American novel – or at least a book of passable poetry, thoughts and observations.

I shall live in an old Victorian home where the peeling wallpaper only adds to its charm.

I shall have a personal library and walk into it every day simply to inhale deeply and breathe in the scent of the volumes I've collected.

I shall turn my home into a bed and breakfast, fill the guest rooms with antiques and local artwork and the bathrooms with my homemade beauty products.

I shall kneel in the garden caring not one whit about the dirt on my knees or under my fingernails and wear a large, floppy hat to combat the sun and wrinkles.

I shall send my children baskets filled with love and my grandchildren shall receive pieces of ribbon and buttons and other leavings and findings with instructions to make something beautiful for me to hang on my refrigerator.

I shall help my husband tie his neckties when he deems the occasion fit to wear one and, with pleasure, listen to him sing to himself when he doesn't think anyone else is listening.

I shall smile secretly to myself at some half-remembered dream.

I shall feed the birds all year long and rise early to catch worms.

I shall paint my toenails simply because it makes me happy and then wear boots so no one can see what color I've chosen; it shall be my little secret.

All these things I shall do because I shall have no qualms at showing my age or eccentricity – though perhaps I shall begin today so my new penchant for flowing skirts and dirty fingernails doesn't come as a surprise to anyone tomorrow.

First, I must win the lottery.


NOTE: All this brings to mind Jenny Joseph’s poem, Warning.  I didn't realize it until after I’d written everything above how similar they are in some respects – but as a matter of note, I, in no way, intend to copy or reproduce her work or her style.  My style is my own, and so is my work.  I simply note here the similarities.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

And since we're on the subject of snow...

It’s one of those times when, because it’s all around me – physically manifested on the ground, talked about on the news, the topic of most conversations around the old water cooler – it’s kind of hard to get it out of my head.  So, since Mother Nature is still on a snow kick, so, too, apparently, am I. 

My brother contacted me after my post the other day regarding throwing snowballs at memories and said that he remembered that particular incident and further stated (sorry bro…spillin’ your secrets here) that it was not the only time he’d engaged in that particular activity.  He further stated he was pretty certain it was the only time that he managed to convince me to engage in it, too.   I was right in remembering I was not the one to come up with the harebrained idea.

All of this – everything from the weather itself to remembering my brother’s goofball idea of fun – got me thinking about other winter activities I engaged in while I was young. 

  • I used to walk outside (and still do, sometimes) barefooted…in the snow…just to see what it felt like.  It’s a quick, shocking cold, but not an altogether unpleasant one.  And the snow feels good.  It is kind of like very cold sand between your toes.  One observation is that flash-frozen toes actually warm up rather quickly.
  • I remember the snow-blower my father used to clear our driveway, sidewalks and paths.  A big, loud, red, spinning, monster machine that ate up the snow and spit it out in a cyclonic fury leaving giant piles of snow in its wake.  My brother and I used to dig tunnels and forts in those piles and line them with black, plastic trash bags for insulation.  We’d be absolutely frozen, but we had a ball.  The best part was when we finally made two opposing tunnels connect.  It was like discovering a treasure. 
  • I remember making orange snow slush (no, not yellow snow – getcher mind right) and eating it with a long-handled, stainless steel spoon.  We’d get plastic cups and fill them – packed tight – with freshly fallen snow.  It had to be fresh or it was of questionable edibility.  Then, we’d pour orange juice on top and marvel at how the concoction would stick to the stainless steel spoon. 
  • I remember a back yard full of snow angels, footprints (child and dog), and thickly reinforced fort walls used for shelter during snowball fights. 
  • I remember the entire neighborhood - all the local kids - gathering at the elementary school down the street for sledding.  Hours and hours of hauling our various sledding implements of choice up hill and whizzing down, again and again and again until no amount of hot chocolate, no fire too hot, no clothes or homes too warm could thaw our frozen, elated bodies. 

Snow now, as an adult, is so much different.  I wish I still could enjoy it with the innocence and enthusiasm of a child – of my children – but mostly it just annoys me now.  Oh, it’s beautiful to look at, don’t get me wrong, but all the things that it are affected by it (school/business/bank closings, bad roads, sketchy driving conditions, power outages, frozen pipes) that interfere with adult life have taken some of the magic out of a good snowfall.  I need to remember now, when my kids want me to play outside with them in the snow, that it’s not about me anymore.  Who cares if I no longer own any waterproof winter boots, snow-pants or gloves?  I’m from North; I’m made of stronger stuff than that.  Come on…gimme whatcha got.  (Wait, actually, don’t.  I’m kinda done.)


Monday, February 23, 2015

SERIES: Email Diseases: How they affect your life and how you can avoid them (Issue 2: SHOUTY CAPITAL LETTERS)

Do you like to be yelled at?  Does anyone?




Argument A
Picture, if you will, an email exchange between two individuals engaged in an electronic argument.  (I shall not make something up here because my ability to argue successfully extends really only to myself – I tend argue with myself a lot – and to very few others.  Needless to say, debate class in high school was not my very favorite thing.  Though some would say I live to argue, this is simply not the case.)  These two individuals have allowed their virtual disagreement to escalate to a point where one user (let’s call him USER 1) has finally lost his ability to reason effectively and has resorted TO SHOUTY CAPITAL LETTERS in order to make his point.  The other user (let’s call him USER 2), upon receiving the SHOUTY CAPITAL LETTERS, sits back in his chair feeling defeated and thinks: “Well!  You don’t have to yell at me!” Followed by some choice words (fiercely unspoken) directed at USER 1.

Argument B
Imagine, now, this same exchange – however long it may have been – in person.  Two people, standing nose to nose, both red-faced and obviously ticked off, each about a stones-throw away from coming to blows.  To the outsider, it is apparent one individual of this duo is the instigator and the other is simply doing his best to hold his ground and not allow himself to be bullied.  Both are furious with one another.   Both believe they are right and the other is wrong.  The shouting is disruptive to others around them both in a way that disallows these others to be productive employees and in a way that makes these others truly uncomfortable.  It could be that a few of these others are interested in this heated exchange in the same way a passer-by might be interested in a train wreck, but for the most part, people have scattered to other parts of the building to attend to suddenly urgent duties elsewhere.  This argument culminates in one person finally blowing his top and shouting, “YOU’RE WRONG!  YOU’RE JUST WRONG!  YOU’RE STUPID, YOU DON’T KNOW THE PRODUCT OR THE CUSTOMER BASE AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!!”  Whereupon hearing this, the other individual deflates, says something quietly to the shouter which witnesses can’t really make out, and slinks off to lick his wounds.

Does the “winner” of either argument actually win?  Or is that person simply better able to argue some point or another and, possibly, better at wearing down his opponent?  Does it make the “loser” less right, or his argument less sound?  Granted, it will depend a lot on the actual argument and since I did not see fit to imagine one for you we’ll really never know.

But…what does all this have to do with SHOUTY CAPITAL LETTERS?

In my most humble of opinions, using SHOUTY CAPITAL LETTERS in an electronic exchange is, quite simply, unacceptable.  I tend to use capital letters if I am trying to place emphasis on a word or phrase that underlining or italicizing will not draw adequate attention to.  But in those cases, it is usually very obvious that I am NOT shouting.

I read a story once (well, actually, if I’m being honest I’ve read this particular story multiple times) about a group of Solomon Islanders who had an ancient practice of felling trees by yelling at them.  (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum -  The theory behind this practice was that yelling killed the spirit of the tree and so it died and fell over. 

I believe that being yelled at does, indeed, kill one’s spirit.  Especially if one is yelled at often and for an extended period of time.  To make one cower before you by the very act of yelling – out of anger, frustration, intent or intensity of feeling – is a lowly act and one that only makes you a bully.  Yes, there are absolutely reasons why yelling, on occasion, is warranted; but only on occasion.  If you go around yelling at people all the time, will you have any friends?  Will anyone truly love you and will you be able to truly love?  Will anyone respect you?  Listen to you?  Act on your words or simply ignore you?

Ending an argument by so thoroughly defeating your opponent is akin to abuse and yes, in some cases, even murder.  Do you really wish to kill someone’s spirit by yelling at them?  I believe there are much better ways to win an argument and that, my friends, requires finesse, an adequate understanding of, and ability to use, the English language, and a genuine desire to make your point without completely steamrolling your opponent.

Just some food for thought.


(Cross Posted:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Throwing snowballs at memories

All this snow and ice and wind and all the school closings and being around my kids, watching them react to everything, has brought me back, time and time again, to childhood and growing up in the North.

This morning, while listening to Pandora and Depeche Mode Radio (yup...still stuck on it), Pet Shop Boys were singing about West End Girls and I thought of my younger brother. A few days ago, he'd sent me (and boy-child) an email with a link to that song's video on YouTube. Apparently any time my brother hears music like that he thinks of me. So just a little while ago, when it came on Pandora, I sent him a text message just to say hello.

So, I guess you're probably wondering (besides the obvious) what one has to do with the other. Simply that one of my strongest memories of winter and childhood and North is the time that my brother and I (and a couple neighborhood kids, if I remember correctly) got it into our heads that it was a good idea to throw snowballs at passing cars...after dark. I don't remember who came up with the idea, and it doesn't matter, but we had fun. For all of about one minute.

One of the cars that received a barrage of snowballs stopped short in the middle of the street and the driver came flying out – FURIOUS – and chased us through the neighborhood. I remember being absolutely terrified that he'd catch us and it made me sick to think about how much trouble we would get in. I don't remember what happened to the other kids we were with, but I vaguely recall hiding in the bushes until the very angry driver man went away. It's all kind of a blur, actually. But my brother and I made it home safe and sound.

I don't really remember if our parents ever found out about that and I suppose, all these years later, it doesn't make any difference. The things we do as kids define us, in some way, as adults and I am sure, beyond a doubt, that was the first time I ever feared being caught for doing something I knew, deep down, probably wasn't a good idea. Which is probably why I never got into too much trouble growing up and in teenage years, and in my young adult life. Fear.

Oh, believe me, I had plenty of opportunities to get into a TON of trouble, but somehow I managed to keep myself together and stay out of it. I'm lucky. My life could have turned out so differently if I'd been even slightly less fearful of things.

It's interesting to me that as an adult I've shed a lot of my old fears and, in some cases, formed brand new ones; especially where my children are concerned. I fear for their health, well-being and safety more than anything else. It's the reason I get so upset when boy-child does something downright stupid and risks his own safety. I know, I know, boys do stupid things and at some point all of my fear for his safety and well-being isn't going to amount to a hill of beans and yes, he's going to have to learn his own lessons. But maybe, just maybe, while he's still young, I can instill some awareness in him that will protect him in some way when he's older?

I don't know. I'm sure he'll have his own throwing-snowballs-at-passing-cars-after-dark-and-being-chased-by-a-mad-man moment, but hopefully it will only serve to make him a better, more thoughtful person. I still haven't quite figured out what it did to me.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Vice grips on gray matter (aka: Headaches)

I am, unfortunately, one of the myriad humans prone to headaches.  Granted, since giving up soda my headaches occur less frequently than they used to, but I do still get them.  And boy, today’s headache is turning out to be a doozy.  I’m pretty sure it’s weather related, but so far three Tylenol and two cups of Death Wish Coffee haven’t touched it.  It’s ratcheting up and is beginning to affect my vision, which ticks me off to no end.

Mostly, beside the pain of a headache, it’s all the other things that go along with the vice grip on my gray matter which irritate me the most.  Light sensitivity, for example.  Years ago, I had an infection in my left eye which, after all was said and done, left me hyper-sensitive to light.  At first they thought it was pink eye, but when the treatment they were giving me only seemed to make things worse, they looked elsewhere and came up with Endophthalmitis.  Don’t ask me to pronounce it.  It was no picnic, I can tell you.  But after visiting the eye doctor every other day for about three months, losing 70% of the vision in my left eye, hearing the panic in my parents’ and doctors’ voices over concern for my continued ability to see, the infection petered out.  I was left with hyper-sensitivity to light and, at least for a few months afterward, had to wear these stupid blue-tinted glasses that (from what I recall) were supposed to filter out a particular kind of light.  (I’m no doctor, and I’ve probably forgotten a lot about this whole incident because honestly…?  It was terrifying and therefore I have conveniently blocked a lot of it out.)

All that being said, it’s part of the reason that the continued light sensitivity issues I’ve carried with me since that infection are so irritating when a killer headache invades.  Also, when the headaches are at their peak, there is sensitivity to smell, sound, touch…  Basically, anything except a dark room and sleep, and even then sometimes the bed sheets are annoying.

This is a good visual representation of
ophthalmic migraine aura.
I also get ophthalmic migraines which are these strange, pulsing, geometric sort of things (an aura, they call them) that begin in the left side of my field of vision and flash through the front of my vision, eventually fading out.  They’re painless, generally, though afterward I am usually exhausted and so must sleep for a bit.  These are much less frequent than the regular old painful migraines, but they’re so odd I must include them.

I know that many of you, my loyal readers, are sufferers, too – and some are not.  It’s hard to explain to people who don’t get migraines how debilitating they really can be.  Frequently I find that when trying to talk to a non-sufferer they can be less than sympathetic, bordering on rude or openly unfeeling.  Just take a pain killer, is usually their response.  At that point, even bothering to try to explain that painkillers don’t always do the trick is simply worthless.

Jen…do you have a point?

Not really, I guess.  It’s just that I don’t think I’ve ever written about what it is to suffer from these headaches and supposed that there would be a few of you out there who might be able to commiserate with me.  Plus, this blog is a lot about sharing my experiences and thoughts on things both normal and nonsensical so….why can’t I write about headaches?

Plus, I like the title of this post.  It suits my appreciation for all things weird.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fuzzy Teeth

About 2:30 PM, just about every day whilst at my humble place of employment, the cravings begin.  Well, I’m not sure the word “cravings” is exactly the right way to describe it, but let’s just roll with it, shall we? 

Anyway, the first nearly overwhelming craving is for a toothbrush and toothpaste.  It doesn’t matter what foods or beverages I have taken in during the course of the early part of the day, but by 2:30 PM my teeth feel fuzzy and a good brushing is about all that’s stopping me from taking another step or two toward insanity.

The second craving is for another cup of coffee.  You heard me.  It’s not like I haven’t already had two or three cups in the morning – but after about 10:00 AM I tend to slack off in the Coffee Department as things have usually picked up in the Busy Department.  Both departments are necessary, yet they’re very far removed from one another and typically, the employees (liquid and paper) don’t get along well together.  (You like that analogy?)  But by 2:30 PM the desire for another cup is nearly overwhelming.

The thing is, though both cravings are nearly impossible to ignore, coffee is always going to win.

Eeew, Jen!  That’s gross!  Just brush your teeth, for goodness sake!

No!  Hear me out, will ya?

Fine.  This had better be good.

The reason coffee is always going to win is, well…have you ever tasted coffee, even really super amazingly awesome coffee, after having just brushed your teeth?  It’s terrible!  I’m a coffee purist.  No milk.  No sugar.  Just the good old strong black stuff.  But even the good old strong black stuff tastes awful after a good tooth brushing.  It’s akin to drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth.  ICK.

OK.  I have to admit it…that’s a pretty good reason.  But still, fuzzy teeth?

               Yeah – I know.  Fuzzy teeth are gross.  But do you want to hear my solution?

Sigh.  Whatever.  I know you’re going to tell me anyway.

I brush my teeth after drinking my coffee.  It’s still kinda gross, but not as awful as it would be if I’d brushed beforehand.

See?  I’m clever like that!

At least I’m not sitting at work at two or three o’clock in the afternoon craving chocolate cake. 

Oooh!  Chocolate cake!

I must go now.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

That elusive thing called Sleep

As most of you probably have figured out, I love sleep just about as much as I love coffee.  Sleep, however, is becoming more and more elusive for me and I must say: I really don’t like it.  (Hubby would probably be making comments here right now about snoring and stealing covers, but he rarely reads my blog so, whatever.  It’s funny, the person I most want to read my blog…doesn’t.  I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t care, he just doesn’t want to take the time to read all these words.  It is the same with when I’m telling him something face to face; there comes a point in any conversation where I can see he’s tuned me out and isn’t really listening anymore.  It’s OK.  I’m pretty sure it’s a guy thing.)

Anyway – back to sleep.  Or, more accurately, the lack of it.

So the other night it was about 11:30 and I had put away Netflix for the evening because I felt it was in my best interest to attempt a few hours of sleep in order to be fully prepared for work the next day.  (This would have been Sunday night, I believe.)  Here’s how that went:



                                                                Flop again.


Hm…I’ve never noticed that red light before, I wonder what that is...?

                Flop.  Sigh.

                                What time is it?

                11:40 PM.

                                                Sit up.  Pound pillow in frustration.  Adjust, adjust.  Sigh.

Blink, blink.  That street light is awfully bright.  I really need to get some black out curtains.

                Hm…I wonder what time it is?

                                                11:45 PM.

Crap.  Am I gonna do this all night?

Flop.  Adjust, adjust.  I think I might need a snack.

                                No, you don’t need a snack, dummy!  It’s almost midnight and you’re counting calories.


                NO!  Stay where you are…I’m warning you!

                                But…can’t I just go look in the fridge?

Oh, for heaven’s sake!

                                                FLOP!  SIGH!  POUND POUND!  Crap!  Did I just wake up hubby?

This, essentially, went on in a similar form or fashion until about 2:30 AM when my exhausted brain and body finally gave in to that elusive thing called sleep.  I woke at 5:15 AM to take my thyroid medicine (as I always do), fully expecting to sleep another 30-45 minutes (as I always do) but NO-OOO!  I was awake now.  Not as in simply not asleep anymore.  I was A-W-A-K-E!



So, going back to the Netflix thing.  It seems to be that the more occupied my brain is with other things the less likely I am to sleep.  I try to numb my brain into submission by occupying it with something else, like reading (which doesn’t work as well as it used to) or, now, Netflix or Amazon Prime movies and TV shows.  If I’m watching a movie, I choose something I’ve seen so that I might grow bored earlier and drift off to the Land of Nod without missing something exciting, or, at the very least interesting.  If I’m watching a TV show, it’s harder because if the show is good, I want to binge watch and immediately move right on to the next episode, and the next, and the next, and before I know it it’s nearly midnight…again.

Reading used to help a lot.  I’d get into a book and, regardless of how good the book was, I’d eventually get to a point where I realized I was reading the same sentence over and over and over again.  I’m off reading right now, though.  I haven’t found anything lately that piques my interest and I don’t want to re-read any of my old standbys.  I guess I’m in a Reading Rut.

I know there are a bazillion tricks that people all over the world have to help one sleep.  Counting sheep, sleeping on your left side instead of your right, changing your pillow, adding a pillow, removing a pillow, turning down the house temperature, meditating (something I’ve NEVER been good at, though I’ve tried hundreds of times), warm milk (ick), warm bath…  The list goes on and on.

Counting sheep bores me.  I already sleep on my left side.  I switch out my pillow situation about every other night.  Hubby keeps the house temp at 67° at night anyway, which is either too cold, or too warm.  And that’s another thing, I’m usually TOO WARM.  But if I kick off the covers, then I’m too cold.  If I cover up, and kick one foot/leg out that helps, but then when I turn over I get all woozled (yes, woozled) up and I have to start all over again.

I won’t bore you with more.  I’m sure, if you’re human (and possibly a female human in her forties) you’ve been through this.  I envy those who can put their head on a pillow and be out like a light in about thirty seconds (ahem…girl-child!).  My friend, Scoop, can put his head down, be asleep in about thirty seconds, sleep hard for like five minutes, and wake up completely refreshed and ready to go.  I’ve never understood folks like that.

Anyway – wish me luck.  This time, it’s been about a week since I’ve slept through the night.  Not taking into account the night when I took some cold medicine and was down for the count.  That’s medicated sleep, which I do not recommend as a viable alternative to the real thing.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ice, ice baby

So, an ice storm blew through here yesterday and left about a quarter inch of ice on my car and about 2 inches of it on the road.  My car doors are frozen shut.  Thank goodness I have already communicated with my boss, because it doesn't look like I'm going anywhere any time soon.

We're lucky where we are, though; we didn't lose power.  Tananda, who lives just south of us, hasn't had power since about 10:30 last night. She says thanks to camping gear, at least there is coffee.  She even covered the cold cat with her Jack Daniels t-shirt.  Now that, my dear readers, is luv.

The big road in front of my house has been plowed, but it still looks treacherous.  I have a vague inclination that I will be working quite a bit extra this week to make up for time lost.  Hubby says there's really no sense in trying to chip away at the external ice on the car, but I dislike being away from work when I should be there and there is stuff to do, so I'm feeling very unsettled.

Kiddos are thrilled with the time off, though. They were both completely entranced by the falling sky icicles yesterday and boy-child kept commenting on how many inches he thought had accumulated.  (I think I may have a little weather man in the making...along with a master gardener, an architect, and an environmental scientist.)

Anyway, I suppose now that it's nearly 10:00 in the morning, I need to figure out some way of getting to the office because I know at least one other person is there, so therefore the roads in must be passable.  I shall leave you now and attempt to make myself presentable for what is ahead of me today.

Here's hoping, if you're local, that you're not suffering too much.  I think about all my friends and family up North who have not just a quarter inch of ice and a lot of yucky roads, but feet and feet of heavy snow, with the threat of more to come.  (sigh)  I dislike Winter.