The Raccoons have gone into torpor, which is sort of a voluntary hibernation. If there's snow or ice on the ground, not a single raccoon will come to the Wildlife Buffet Gary runs by the pear tree out back. (Latest dish: Purina ONE Turkey and Venison Formula). If it's temperate, above 40, we still get about five raccoon. Just the local ones, not the dozen or so that take the sewer to our yard.
Since I know how much Gary will miss the animals, one of his Christmas presents is a bottle of doe estrus. I imagine he can spray it on the pear tree and we'll get a slamming buck scene at the Buffet. (Of course if we do we'll take the venison off the menu).
I've really felt the loss of the raccoons, and was hoping for some deer to fill the emotional gap, so on the drive home Christmas Eve I made a point to crane my neck so I could see if there were any deer behind us in the special deer field on Pitman Hill.
There were none. That's why I sighed, "No deer ... " and turned my face to the road ahead, where there was a giant deer running directly across our path.
I saw the deer before Gary did. I gasped, instead of what Gary argued would have been a better reaction: screaming "DEER!" Still, my gasp alerted him and he was able to swerve into the opposite lane and avoid hitting it / totalling our car / ruining our impending road trip to Nashville - Asheville.
This Christmas Eve deer sighting follows the New Year's First Footing of 2007 and the Thanksgiving Deer Encounter of 2008. Deer running back and forth between deer parties on major holidays, I guess that's what explains it.
About once a month I've been going to my friend Anne's house and baking. This month we started with the plan to make Christmas cookies. But, we both like to learn (well, unless it's a Zumba dance routine), and neither of use knew how to make a French Macaron.
Well, full disclosure - this is how the time at Anne's was spent:
20% - playing with Anne's cats
30% - eating baked ziti, which I've never had before
30% - drinking hard cider by the fire, because Anne's house is like a resort
20% - baking macarons.
The original plan was the make the macarons and then paint little miniatures on them with egg wash paint. (As I say, Anne is of the same mind as I.) That's why we didn't add any of the coloring you usually see with macarons.
And that's how we learned WHY color is added to macarons, especially when you put chocolate ganache in the middle. If you don't add the color they look just like mini hamburgers.
They still tasted awesome.
Another new thing I tried this month was Zumba. I needed exercise, and Zoomba seemed like something cheery. Usually I exercise and I feel worse after. Angrier, more anxious. I know, that's the opposite of what's supposed to happen.
The first time at Zumba was hard, but for the most part I was able to move in the same general direction as the rest of the class. I thought, "It's okay, I'll be better next time." And then there was the next time and no, no, I was not better, I was considerably worse. Miss Abby from Dance Moms would sneer at me.
I cut my losses. Now instead of the Zumba class, I shall make my own version of Zumba in which I do the grapevine step and that's it. I'll grapevine three steps left, then three right, on and on until the dance playlist is over.
On the upside, while I am not coordinated enough to Zumba, it would seem I'm coordinated enough to make jewelry, put it on Etsy, and sell it. I've had two site visits in the two days the shop's been open and one of them resulted in a sale. I was prepared to wait for months. I'm just gobsmacked something sold. Gob. Smacked.
Well, my stint as Retail Barbie went as well as could be expected. I went with a friend who had loads of really gorgeous jewelry, and she sold one thing, and I had a meager amount of weird-looking jewelry, and sold two things. Both buyers paid cash, so no one wanted me to use my neat new swipy Square device that turns my iPhone into a credit card reader. (Retail Barbie: accessories not included.)
However, even with the low turnout some of the other vendors came by and they were very encouraging. Evidently making jewelry out of jigsaw puzzles is a code that's been waiting to be cracked.
Now I'm taking things to the next stage and peddling wares on the favorite marketplace of introverts: Etsy. I won't have to make small talk or even tell anyone my name. And my research says it takes MONTHS to make a sale. Given that it's been open since noon and only one person made it there (via Google, I suppose), I'll "Always Be Closing" at a nice leisurely pace.
Gary's making the raccoons do new things too. You'll notice on the right foreground, on the right front corner of the mat is a pile of a cheaper, reddish, beefy dog food.
The new dog food is an experiment to see if we can offset the price of the Lamb and Rice dog food because, as I told Gary, "They're not show raccoons."
At about 2 a.m. the skunk decided to dive in. He loved it.
This raccoon is perplexed. He seems to think his normal food must be hiding.
Eventually at five in the morning a raccoon decided to give it a taste. It doesn't look like he enjoys it.
Sorry, raccoon. We all have to try things we don't like just to keep things interesting.
A few weeks ago I felt the nip in the air and I got my seasonal party urge. I don't throw the yearly tea party anymore, but this year I'm making my lists and amusing myself with details for a non - party project.
TeddyJ is having their yearly craft fair and I'm going to try to sell some of the jewelry I've made since July. I have no excuse for how weird this jewelry is. These things demanded to be made. After months of fashioning jigsaw puzzles and dollhouse food into necklaces I did make one normal bead necklace just for my sanity.
Like the yearly tea party, I'm sure I'll enjoy the preparation much more than the actual event. In fact, when I quizzed the two friends who tried this last year, I found that if your goal is to actually SELL something you'll be disappointed. One person sold absolutely nothing, another sold a few things after slashing her prices.
Therefore, I have slashed prices to start. Five bucks for earrings. Fifteen for earring / necklace sets.
I feel very much like I'm playing Retail Barbie. Still, it's something I haven't done before.
We have two sizes of spoon in our spoon drawer: outrageously big tablespoon and normal sized teaspoons. We never eat with the big spoons. I want that known up front.
Yesterday morning I went through my tea-making ritual. The ritual ends with:
It's such a habit that I mindlessly did it while he WAS STANDING THERE LOOKING RIGHT AT ME.
He was too surprised to scream like a woman in his usual fashion. Instead he gasped, "Did you just do that?"
I started to laugh and choked out: "I .... do ... that.... every ... time."
In the past I would have not heard the end of it, but instead he wheeled around, ran like a bunny for his iPad and posted it on Facebook.
Things I Am Thankful For:
Because of conflicting family obligations, the in-laws celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday instead of Thursday. That meant that for the first time in over thirty years, Gary and I celebrated our First Thanksgiving.
Here are some gloomy, dark photos of Our First Thanksgiving.
Elegant Table Settings at Our First Thanksgiving:
Gary Ready to Eat Three Plates of Food:
I Am Thankful for Friends.
I've been going to a friend's house on a monthly basis for baking lessons (and refuge from MSNBC and Gary), and she taught me how to make a pie crust without tears. You use unbleached flour and Crisco along with the butter: that seems to be the trick.
I Am Not Thankful For Family.
Well, that's if you even consider in-laws family. Gary's nephew was off his medication, and without it he equals my brother on his worst unmedicated day. So far he's had screaming altercations with his sister, his aunt, and his grandparents, and since he's dead to all of them I offered our home as a place to stay after dinner. That was a mistake. He and Gary almost came to blows and he was gone before two hours had passed.
I Am Thankful For Distractions.
I've got demented jewelry projects going on. Necklaces made from jigsaw puzzles don't just make themselves, and yet they still insist on being made. (I did make one necklace out of beads like a normal human being. It took me three tries.)
I'm going to mediatate (seriously, would you ever imagine I'd start a sentence with that), then I think we'll spend the day drinking wine, eating pie, and binge-ing on new episodes of Gilmore Girls.
Mental Health. Remarkably, I'm now a convert to mindfulness and meditation. The last time I went on a walk I noticed that I was dwelling on the negative (losing Gary) and re-directed my thoughts to where I would live if I lost Gary (a warehouse loft that would look empty until I pushed a button and then tiny-house-style beds would drop down, origami-like sofas would emerge, tables would rise from the floor and yellow and white furninishings would unfold from all sides. Kind of like the end of Pillow Talk, but color-coordinated.) It's like I've won my Superego back on my side and it censors the negative instead of running a commentary on all my flaws.
Physical Health. I went for my yearly physical and two notable things happened.
First, for the first time in years I got a flu shot. I haven't gotten them in the past because of my bad reaction to raw eggs, but this year we decided to see what happens. And you know whhat? Nothing happened. I didn't end up in the bathroom. The doctor suspected that since the raw egg wasn't in my digestion, my digestion wouldn't reject it, to put it daintily.
Second, I gave a urine sample on the way out. I've given dozens - nay hundreds - of pee samples. You'd think I'd know how to do it. Usually it's without incident. For some reason this time I decided to read the directions posted on the wall. So I stood there reading the directions, unwrapped the towelettes, pulled down my pants and for some stupid reason - still standing - santized my area.
My area immediately said, "Wait? We're wiping already? I didn't even pee yet! Here, lemme catch up."
And I peed all over myself and my partially down underwear (but not my fully down pants) as I lurched over to the commode. I had intended to wipe, sit, unscrew the cap, position, and pee, but that was all happening at the same time now. Luckily I was able to fill the cup halfway, and luckily I had a zip lock bag in the car I could store my soggy underwear in.
It just occurs to me - that could have been my body rejecting the flu vaccine. Nah. Just me being dumb.
I was asked why I went to the St. Louis Anti-Trump March. Here are a few reasons:
I have no idea how many of us there were. We took up at least one city block: curb to curb on Broadway. The police were nice enough to block traffic from Citigarden to Fourth and Market, then down Fourth to Washington, where for some reason there was a sit-in. I gathered from all the shouting that the police detained someone, and then they let him loose so we could cheer.
My favorite chant was "I ... reject ... the president-elect!" My least favorite was "The people, united, will never be defeated," because that's a little cruel after your side has actually been defeated and that's the precise reason you are having the march. We were given approved chants beforehand and that wasn't on the list. One that was on the list was "This is what democracy looks like," which was also a little cruel, since democracy was what got us into the situation we were marching about, but whatever. We also whipped out some "black lives matter" and some "hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go."
Finally, my favorite sign.
Earlier this week I came home from work, and Gary went into his daily Rant About Trump.
I said, "He won't win. The news networks need ratings, so they tell you he has a chance so you'll watch. Stop watching the news."
He continued watching the news and shouting at the TV. I argued that he'd had all day to watch the news, and I had limited time to distract myself. After wasting an hour I realized there are two TVs in this house.
Just as I got up to change rooms, my brother called. He spent thirty minutes on the phone trying to send me something he saw in Facebook. The entire time I insisted that I was not at all interested in what he was sending me. Eventually after he Facetimed me I got to see this "wonderful" thing. A photo. A friend's wife was in the background with a humorous expression. I flipped him off through the power of Facetime and hung up.
In both instances I was annoyed that I have limited time, yet these men with infinite free time wasted my time. But of course, I was the one who wasted my time. I should have ended both conversations quickly.
Walk away. Turn your back. As always, the answer I give myself and everyone else is "Distance." Care less. But the price to be paid for that is less intimacy. Less support, less love, all the complaints I have today.
Then again, though I was ignored at the time, both Dave and Gary have become a little more appreciative of my time. Yesterday Dave only called three times for five minutes instead of once for thirty minutes. Gary asked if I wanted to leave the house (cabin fever contributed to my irritability earlier this year) and more important, turned off the news last night.
However, yesterday he did say, "Ugh, look at that balding woman on TV."
I said, "Hey, I'M balding."
He said, "Yes, but she's not old."
So he's still annoying.
Last Tuesday I thought I was well enough to go in to work, and my coworkers set me straight. In addition, enough people looked at me and said, "Have you seen a doctor?" that I made an appointment. One Z-pack and a wee vial of eye drops later and I am conderably better.
After only two days of antibiotics I looked at some code I'd written while sick and thought, "Did a child break into my database and write this crap? How stupid was I?" This morning the answer to something in my database that's puzzled me all month was lying naked under my nose.
I also got back to my guitar. I hadn't wanted to contaminate it, plus I was afraid I would have lost all my skills, but it seems muscle memory is immune. I'd say my brain and body are totally back to normal, only both times I left the house this weekend it ended with me staggering around with my eyes out of focus. Probably too soon to get groceries or blow leaves.
Nasty bug. Glad to see the end of that.
i just watched the documentary Weiner on Showtime.
Wow. I'd like to tell Anthony Weiner: as a politician, saying you have a blind spot about the sexting is like being a nuclear physicist and saying you have a blind spot about long division. Or being a brilliant doctor who doesn't take a client history.
Or like a president who has sex with interns? I guess so. Well, no, it would be like if Bill Clinton had sex with interns while he was being impeached.
I know it's a documentary, and there were probably many shots of Huma cuddling and nuzzling her beloved husband that didn't make the final cut.
I'd really recommend it.
Every once in a while TeddyJ throws free stuff at us, and that's why earlier this month TeddyJ sent us to the Saint Louis Symphony (classic!) to hear the Music of Michael Jackson (pop!).The symphony backed up a Michael Jackson impersonator. Vocally, he was uncanny, but physically he would have been better as a Ben Vereen impersonator.
Strangely, even though the full force of the Saint Louis Symphony was behind the singer, I never felt like I heard much from them, except for the strings. They soberly played their parts while the singer changed jackets, moonwalked, and at one point donned an afro wig. Took me right back to Branson, last year.
That was a surprise concert, though, and I didn't anticipate it happening so close to our planned concert: The Art of Time Ensemble (classic!) presents Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (pop!). But seeing them within two weeks of each other begged comparisons, and right now I'd be happy to ditch the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and trade it in for Toronto's Art of Time Ensemble.
I am in love with every one of them. There was a no-nonsense cello player who had to endure silly pop singers dancing and emoting directly in her face, trying to break her concentration, and she ignored them with only a touch of a slightly bemused smile, while the man right next to her played his instrument with a giant grin on his face the whole time. The woman playing the clarinet only smiled once that I saw, when she picked it up to quack out one humorous bar in one of the Side B songs. She put the clarinet back on the floor and giggled a little at herself.
You would think my eyes would have been locked on Steven Page, but a middle-aged violinist sitting right behind him was just killing it, all the while looking like everyone's mom and/or substitute teacher. I kept thinking if I had stuck with the violin I could have been rocking out too in my sensible shoes and a black velvet shrug.
Gary noticed the violinist too, but only because there were times the trumpeter put down his horn. I took to watching Gary every time a trumpet solo came up because his head bobbed, and his eyes shone, and his fingers danced just like he was playing along. I imagine he was probably triple-tonguing inside his mouth.
In fact, I'm afraid I kind of ignored Steven Page until one of the encores, when he just unhinged his jaw and unloaded on Oh, Darling. It combined the bridge of Break Your Heart with ... with ... I don't know, Ella Fitzgerald having an aneurysm. (His face did get dangerously purple.)
Some naughty person caught the same song on video six years ago. That link is actually a much more sedate version. For example, in the video he uses a microphone, while at the Sheldon he just essentially bellowed the doors off.
My cold hasn't let up, but it is easily quelled by medicine. I brought along some NyQuil and took a shot right before we went in to the concert. For some reason, the row right in front of me was entirely empty. I could have coughed and not infected anyone. Sadly, I held hands with Gary during All You Need is Love and now he has fallen to The Illness. He feels it was worth it, though.
Thankfully, this sickness isn't in my chest, or my digestion. I think the day I took the photo it was in my nose. Maybe a little in my eyes. It's now full-blown conjunctivitis and it's in my ears, too. My left ear is filled with sounds of the ocean, like I have a shell permanently attached to it. This means I have three days to get better before the Art of Time concert Monday.
To that end, I've been resting up and eating orange foods and popping pills. I've taken a ridiculous assortment of sinus and cold medicines, hoping I find a magic combo that clears it all up. I think I've taken fifty pills in the last five days.
That's why it surprised me when I was standing at the kitchen sink, slapped my three daily morning pills in my mouth, and one poorly-positioned one bounced off my lip and plummeted into the garbage disposer.
I spat out the remaining two. Damnit. The one that I last was the Gilenya, the MS pill. The one that costs $210 a day. (Granted, it costs someone else $210 a day: I'm off the hook.) I stared at the garbage disposer and considered the variables.
I opted to rescue the pill. After five minutes of fishing out bits of ham, I found the pill and popped it in my mouth, thus killing off the lymphocytes that might make me better. I'm counting on my neutrophils to rally and the baby carrots I had for breakfast.
A few nights ago, Gary was posting political screeds on his iPad at 2:30 in the morning, as is his wont, when he heard raccoons shrieking and chattering right outside the bedroom window. He checked and yes, the poor babies has eaten all the food he'd given them. Like a good raccoon slave he was out there three minutes later, piling up more chow into the Cone of Food he thinks all animals prefer.
I argued how unfair it is that he is raccoon-whipped yet I can't get him to do anything. He tried to convince me that when he feeds the wildlife the animals grow devoted to both of us. "Soon the birds will be dressing you and doing your hair," he claimed.
"So it's like we're Mr and Mrs. Assisi."
"You know it," he said.
I'd say he's anthropomorphizing the animals, but then I see videos from our backyard like this one. That raccoon has been watching Gary watch TV. They have all the same mannerisms. You could put a remote in that raccoon's hand and a La-Z-Boy under his butt and you'd have my husband.
A few weeks ago, I said to Gary, "You know what's weird about this election? I haven't seen a single Trump or Hillary yard sign."
But what Gary heard was, "We have to to put a Hillary 2016 sign in our front yard!"
I don't want that yard sign. I'm not a yard sign kind of gal. I was, for one term, an Obama bumper sticker kind of gal, but yard signs are a different animal. First, they're far more unsightly than a bumper sticker. I don't like things sticking up out of the yard. I don't like the advertisements the yard maintenance people stick I the yard, and those are diminutive compared to a yard sign.
So, first, Ugly, and then second, Futile. No one ever drove past a yard sign and changed their vote for president.
And third, of course, is that on my working class street I could just as well put up a sign that says Egg My House. They'd appreciate it as much as I'd like seeing a Trump sign in their yards, and if I put this Hillary sign out a Trump sign would sprout up for checks and balances.
Gary is so deeply in the tank for Hillary I know he's disappointed. He sees it as some type of mezuzah, I'm sure. I don't care. Good fences make good neighbors, and yard signs do not.
I personally want to take it and sneak it into the yard of either the friend who hates Hillary so much she's voting for a Trump, or the friend who hates Trump so much she's voting for Johnson.
UPDATE: while I was very firm in my objection, Gary decided to compromise and put out "only one" of the two signs he bought. If we disappear blame the neighbors.
Friday, Gary and I went kayaking at Creve Couer Lake. Since then I have woven kayaking into every sentence I can. "What do you want for dinner, Ellen?" "That kayaking really made me hungry. Let's have pizza." Or, "Ellen, do you remember the last time I bought nuts?" "Friday, either before or after we went kayaking."
The actual plan was to paddleboard, but even the experienced paddleboarders said it was too windy. I saw their two-person kayaks were not the turtleneck-of-death kayak that flips over and traps you suspended under the water, but instead an open-top plastic "ocean" kayak that wouldn't flip over, and even if it did you could escape.
We kayaked for an hour. At one point an egret landed four feet from us. It was all lovely. It would have been perfect, but I fell up to my neck in the water getting out of the kayak. So close.
I felt about thirty on Friday.
I woke up well before Gary on Sunday, and I decided to do a little research on my insurance situation. My MS drug, Gilenya, goes generic in 2019, and that's when the kind Gilenya folks stop paying for it. Or rather, the kind drug "loyalty program" stops paying my deductible. I suppose since my deductible is $3k, i shouldn't care that the drug has gone from $4k a month to over $6k. All the same to me. Still, a generic version of a $6k a month drug isn't going to be $150 a month.
Still, that made me start thinking about what I'm going to do after I retire. it looks like the insurance will be $500 a month and the deductible with be $6k.
My head was full of Medicare and prescription bills when I went out to tidy up the house, and I found a pile of Werthers candy scattered across the cluttered table by Gary's recliner, and is there a better thumbnail image for an old couple? Oh, of course there is. I put the Werthers in a crystal candy dish. There, that just pins it.
Sigh. I feel sixty. And we were kayaking just days earlier.
Various people are up in arms because some sports figure won't stand for the national anthem.
In junior high we had to start the day with the pledge of allegiance. I was one of the kids who never said the end of the pledge, the "liberty and justice for all" part.
If only we had to say the pledge before ball games. I can picture it.
The crowd starts at full volume, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
(volume drops) and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation
(volume drops more) under God,
(just a few people) with Liberty
(one old white guy) and justice for all."
When it opened, everyone went to the Ikea in Saint Louis Midtown. We went Sunday afternoon. I think if I'd been there in a great throng I would have broken free and run for the wall. It's like the British Tube had a baby with an abattoir and called it a furniture store.
I wanted to go, since I wanted to understand what all the pop culture references to Ikea meant. (And by the way, I know they want their name, IKEA, in all caps. Too bad, Ikea.)
Gary surprised me by parking in Family parking. The sign makes it clear what they consider a family.
I pointed at the sign and warned him that we didn't qualify, and Gary said, "F&^k that. We're a family. You and me, babe." Very un-Catholic of him.
If you haven't been to an Ikea, it is a cement building designed to shuttle you like a slaughterhouse cow past displays of white furniture and random dreck with Swedish names. There is a dark gray path painted on the light gray cement floor, and if you follow the path as it angles and turns you will be sure to see every white bit of furniture Ikea makes. They have helpful mass transit-style signs to be sure you don't get lost:
After three departments of the Ikea Death March I'd had it with the forced shuffle, and we decided to hit the restaurant for the Swedish meatballs and call it "en dag." I looked around at the other diners and was surprised to see no one else had opted for the fabled meatballs. Everyone had chicken strips instead.
I though it was odd until I realized chicken strips are toddler food, Ikea is a store where you bring your family, and if the pop culture references are true, Ikea is the store where you fight with your loved ones. If the Family Parking sign is right you'd be looking after a toddler, a child in a baby carriage, and a husband as you all trudge single file past furniture and candy. Who wouldn't fight, just to feel alive?
Ugh. After that I felt bad for parking in their spot.
Sunday began with a nice healthy breakfast of this:
It looks like bundt cake, doesn't it? It's actually a phyllo - ricotta - herb torte. I found the recipe at one of the blogs I follow. Magpie Musing? I can't recall. You can also find the recipe at the New York Times, People at work likened it to something called spanakopita, which I have never had. It's damn impressive.
After breakfast I was determined to make it to the St. Louis verison of Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I hustled Gary out of the house at ten thirty in the morning, under duress. Such duress, such indignity, poor retired man leaving the house IN THE MORNING, my God, my God. I insisted we get there early to get a decent parking space.
Well, we got a prime space because we got there an hour and a half early. I had promised Gary a hopping street scene and the streets were deserted. It was in Grand Center, so we went back to the Contemporary Art Museum, where we were just a few weeks ago. The Cow was still enduring her agonizing breech birth, but thankfully Sunday was the last day of that. The CAM re-invents itself four times a year. It'll be closed for several weeks and then re-open with all new art.
The Fringe festival was a little like a music festival, only with theater. Unlike a music festival, there was no wandering from play to skit to monologue. You bought tickets and you didn't come late. We got tickets to see an illusionist, and since we didn't want to be late, we decided locate the venue an hour befoirehand.
A pretty young brunette saw us poking around by the Fox.
"Are you looking for the theater with the illusionist?" She was the event director for that particular show, and had she not introduced herself, I would have been taken in by the illusionist's most baffling trick. As it was, he pulled her "randomly" out of the audience. A plant! You would think knowing how a trick is done would make you not enjoy the illusion, but I find it's better. I'd rather solve a puzzle than be mystified. He did stump us for a while with a trick in which he joined three rings together, but we figured it out on the drive home.
If you'd like to see some excellent photos of the show we attended, click that link and visit the St. Louis Daily Photo blog. I visit that blog every day, and in fact that's where I'd first read about the festival, so I was thrilled to see the blogger himself taking photos. I went up to him and expressed my appreciation. Regrettably, I imagine I stepped over the line when I recognized his wife from her infrequent portraits, and then even worse, mentioned their granddaughter by name. Kind of a creepy stalker move. Ah well.
When we emerged from the show, it was to the same deserted street-scape that had led us earlier to reprise "My Time of Day" from Guys and Dolls. So we decided to head out and instead visit again next Saturday evening to see "Big Hair, Big Dreams" (the Trump Puppet Show Musical). That'll be from five till six, and then dinner, and by then the usual theater crowd will be milling around. I think that's what's been missing from my last two visits to that area.
After a dearth, a DEARTH of activity over here, we did enough stuff in two days to fill either one extraordinarily long blog post or three smaller ones.
So you get three smaller ones. Because I'm busy over here stringing trash together to hang around my neck -. or what Etsy calls "re-purposed jewelry with found items." There's been a Monopoly necklace, a stamp necklace, a button necklace, and a Scrabble necklace. In fact, I spent so much time Saturday turning an old map into paper beads that I didn't notice the time slipping away to two in the afternoon.
But at two, we set out to find what we've been calling "The ASMR salon."
I first heard of this place when I was talking to the counselor. I mentioned Gary had developed a fondness for ASMR, but I couldn't remember the name. "BDSR? BDSM? There's and S in it, because it stands for sensory. Automatic sensory someth -"
She shot out of the room. I did a panicked replay of everything I'd said ("BDSM!") until she came back in, bearing a flyer for a new place in town where they test your urine, blood, stress levels, and then plug you into a set of headphones and ASMR the hell out of you.
I showed the flyer to Gary that night and he reacted very strongly that he had NO interest in publicly experiencing ASMR. So strongly that I threw the flyer away with many defensive apologies.
That's why I was surprised that he wanted to hunt the place down Saturday, and that's why we were unsuccessful - I'd thrown away the flyer. All I knew of the name was that there's an X in the middle. So, we drove to the place I thought I'd remembered from the flyer, hunted on Google maps, tiptoed up to several locked glass doors, and peek through windows to see if we could see any sci-fi headphone relaxation devices. All I know is there is an ASMR Salon someplace around west county named ___X___. Keep an eye out for it.
Our journey took us out to the fancy bead store on Olive, where there was a trunk sale and I got twelve strings of semi-precious beads for forty bucks. I have plans to string the citrine around my neck with jolly accents of dollhouse miniature junk food.
I saw this photo today at work and turned immediately to the article to read more about this girl who had the stones to do a headstand on the balance beam.
Of course, she isn't doing a headstand. My mind turned this into an optical illusion and pulled the balance beam right under her head, I guess.
Anyway, I deliberately watched the balance beam competition tonight so I could witness this feat, then of course I had to go to the photos to see how I got it so wrong.
Still, given all the insane stuff they do, you can't blame me for the misinterpretation.
We went to the Contemporary Art Museum this afternoon. (Warning: one of the installations is of a cow giving birth. I had to walk away.)
i knew the CAM was downtown. Google maps confirmed that it's on Washington, by the Fox theater.
The first revelation came when we took the Grand exit. I realized I've never gone to the Fox during the day, and I was surprised to see the Fox is on the city side of highway forty, not the south side. We always take the 20mph ridiculous cloverleaf in the dark, usually late, usually panicked. That's my excuse.
The next revelation came when I looked across the street from the Fox and saw Powell Symphony Hall right there. Again, I've been to Powell at least eight times, always in the dark, and had no idea it was in spitting distance from the Fox. My Fox neighborhood awareness goes: scary exit, SLU sign, Fox, baptist church, turn to go back home. I was gobsmacked to see Powell Hall the other side of the baptist church in the light of day.
(I also confess that on the way there I had seen signs pointing to the Grand Arts Center. "I'll have to go there someday," I thought, as I have so often before. Today I realized the Grand Arts Center might not be a row of art galleries I have in my imagination, and it might be the area with the theater next to the symphony on the way to the contemporary art museum.)
We turned on Washington and there behind the Fox was the Sheldon concert hall. I said, "Are you KIDDING me?" As before, I've been to the Sheldon, I had no idea it was anywhere near the Fox, always in the dark, blah blah blah. It started to feel like the city powers decided to rearrange all the landmarks one night at two am so they could call it the Grand Arts District. And if I wasn't actually in the Grand Arts District and that's some other neighborhood with the Pageant music venue next door to the Peabody opera house I don't want to know.
And then, THEN when we left the Contemporary Art Museum, I asked the parking attendant which way on Washington I should go to get to the Arch. (Not because I wanted to go to the arch, it's just because I wanted to get some idea of where I was, because clearly I need to work on that.) He explained the arch is east, and Washington goes north and south. This reinforced my city rearrangement theory, but still I protested that I was pretty sure that Washington was right there by the arch. I almost argued, "I know it's downtown, because it's where the hookers were forty years ago," when he said, "Oh, that's Washington Avenue. THIS is Washington Boulevard."
Seriously, though. I need to lift my head up and look around when I'm out at night.
Gary was excited to find an ant graveyard in the garage.
I, personally, had no idea ants even had grayeyards. When I came home on the day that Gary made this discovery, I got an education on ant funerals.
The other ant graveyard is under the car. Friend #3 asked if they were segregated by religion.
Here is a close up of the same graveyard.
You can get a nice overview here. That link also answers the question, "What happens if you spray a live ant with oleic acid," and the answer is that the ant mob inisists he is dead and drag him off over the smelly ant's protests.
Now that I look at that photo, it occurs to me that looks a lot like potting soil. Time to get the jeweler's loupe and take it out to the garage.
Moments later. Well, damnit. It IS potting soil.
Friend #3 did ask what would happen if I sprayed oleic acid on Gary.
Yesterday, after Gary left for his parents, a woman with a baby rang our front doorbell. I was in my bathrobe, because noon.
She said: "I'm your neighbor next door. I know you feed the animals ... "
Oh no, here it comes, I thought. The neighbors are putting a stop to the 20 raccoons at our Wildlife Buffet.
"... and there's a dead skunk on our patio."
"Oh, no. Does it smell?"
She wrinkled her nose. "A little. I called my Mom, and she said your husband feeds the animals - "
I didn't let her finish. Clearly this was our fault. Of course, perhaps that wasn't where she was headed. Perhaps she was coming to us as the Community Skunk Doctors. Perhaps we could revive it. Perhaps we might break the news to the skunk's family.
"I'll take care of it," I said.
"My mom said 'Call conservation, because it might be RABID.'"
"I'll take care of that too. And I'll mix up some of the stuff Mythbusters says will get rid of the smell. I'll be right there."
As I was pulling on my clothes, I heard Gary in the backyard. I thought he'd left. When he came in I whirled on him and emphatically pointed at the neighbor's house five times while telling him the story.
"Which neighbors?" he asked.
I almost threw my arm out pointing. "THOSE NEIGHBORS. Go!"
Gary "didn't see them in the backyard" when he left moments later and ran like a non-dead skunk to his parents' house.
I didn't realize that, so I thought Gary would be there when I arrived next door with a bag to put the skunk in. Let's call it Bag Number One.
I met the husband, and we discussed a possible Conservation Department Skunk Autopsy because it might be RABID, and I went to their back yard to collect the skunk.
There was an unmistakable smell, but not so much it would made my eyes water. No blood. Some drool.
I checked for signs of life with a stick. I started to kick it into the bag. That was too awkward, so I grabbed the very end of its tail and dropped it into Bag Number One.
I took it home, where I put it in the garage where Gary would see it when he slinked home, the coward.
I mixed up the Mythbuster's hydrogen peroxide / baking soda / dish soap concoction. In the minutes it took to do that, the skunk stank up the garage (No!) so I put it in Bag Number Two and placed it in our back yard by the skunk den as a Warning to all skunks who might think Heavenly Paradise is better then Earthly Paradise.
I returned to spray their patio, which did make the smell go away, remarkably. After I came home I took a shower to prevent the rabies (RABIES!), then read up on how to dispose of a dead skunk (landfill) and the increasing population of RABID skunks.
I went out and popped Bags One and Two into Bag Number Three.
I called the local conservation department.
"The neighbors have a dead skunk on their patio and we're all worried it might be rab -"
"It's not rabid," she interrupted.
I paused. "Really?"
"Rabies in skunks is very rare."
"Oh. Okay. So you don't want the body or anything? I just take it to a landfill?"
"Oh, no. Just double bag it and put it out with your trash, or of you live by woods, just pitch it into the woods."
Awesome. So, after I checked the wildlife cam videos for evidence of someone smothering the skunk, I made a final report to the neighbor. Done, right? I handled the situation entirely without Gary. I wrapped it up like a double-bagged dead skunk.
I'd decided not to speak of it when he came home. The therapist advises flight, not fight. I've been trying it.
That lasted until he said, "Why did you put the skunk right next to the house? What are you thinking?"
"Put your dead skunk where you like. It's your skunk now."
When he paraded the bagged skunk through the house I noticed a definite odor. (It smelled like a dead skunk that had been decaying in three Oven Roasting Bags in the 100 degree heat.)
I said. "We can't put that thing in the trash bin two days." So where to put it? He put it in the middle of the front yard, because he didn't want to upset the backyard animals and he didn't want it by the house.
I made it until ten at night before I said, "You cannot decorate the front yard with a bag of dead skunk."
He conceded that the flower bed by the side of the garage might be a better place. Also, he added four more bags.(Hereafter known as Bags Four Through Seven.) I hatched a series of plans to dispose of the body if we couldn't make it the three days till trash day.
I vaguely remember a midnight conversation about calling a skunk removal place, because from my description of the body Gary identified the victim as Mother Skunk, and that would leave Baby Flag and Baby Bernie (very messy white hair) without a Mom. Gary believes the skunk removal company would place the baby skunks for adoption in the woods, whereas I believe they would be sent to the other side where Mother Skunk would be waiting for them.
We didn't have a fight, though. Therapy for the win!
This morning I got up, put on my glasses, visited the kitchen, and on the way back to the bedroom I thought, "Wow, my vision is really blurry."
I stopped, took off my glasses, and checked to make sure they weren't Gary's. Nope. I rubbed my eyes. Did no good. I couldn't quite tell if my vision was better or worse; it was just wonky.
"Ah," I thought, "My cataracts must be advancing. Sometimes that makes your vision worse and sometimes temporarily better."
I just took it in stride and by the time I got back to the bedroom I had plans to contact the eye doctor and accept my fate.
Until I looked on the table, and saw what were clearly my glasses, which meant that I was wearing Gary's. I'd checked that, but I took off Gary's glasses to check Gary's glasses, so I was blind when I checked. I put on my actual glasses, checked the glasses in my hand, and then the differences became obvious.
I'm really pleased with how well I faced imminent blindness, though.
Since I hatched this scheme to make a jigsaw puzzle necklace, I've learned a lot about jigsaws. The most astonishing is that some jigsaw puzzles cost 80 bucks. They are wooden, and some of the pieces are what they call whimsies - identifiable shapes that fit in with the other pieces.
Of course, I didn't need a fancy puzzle like that, I just needed a old wooden puzzle from eBay and if pieces were missing that was fine.
The first find I got was labeled "challenging." Good God. Every other piece was identical. I got the border done and perhaps ten percent of the rest.
I wasn't too motivated to get it done because I knew puzzle B was coming. I had first spotted it on eBay and was elated to see one piece that looked like a bear.
"Whimsy!" I gasped, and bid $16.
It came today, and I put it together. I was so excited to discover there were multiple whimsies.
How cute is that? A bird, a bear, a four-leaf clover, a running man, an arrow, a beaver, a rooster, a swastika, and a rabbit. You know. Cute stuff.
I read the box for more information, expecting "Made in Germany, copyright 1942." Instead, there was a faded handwritten message:
"To Mother - on her 29th Wedding Anniversary from Harriet, Henry and Harrison. Dec 6, 1934."
Whew. A pre-Nazi swastika. The box also said it was made in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Just a nice innocent good-luck symbol.
While I was waiting for my ear piercing to heal, I tried to find earrings to match every necklace I have. I hunted for matching silver feather earrngs for one necklace. On the first of July it occurred to me that I could snip two feathers off the necklace, and "attach them somehow to some of those ear hook-y things. Solder them? I don't know. Hmdm."
Well, it didn't involve solder, and once I bought a pack of fifty ear wires for $3.98, I realized I've been paying Way Too Much for earrings. New sterling silver earrings for pennies, given that I still have 48 ear wires.
Savings = $19.84! That's what I estimate I'd have paid for matching earrings, minus the two ear wires.
This was the next necklace. Sadly, there were no two matching beads I could snip off of this one. However, the Internet had them. So, now I have five surplus red beads, a new pack of gold ear wires to match, 18 gold "pins," a number of bead caps.
That pair of earrings either cost about a dollar OR $15, including shipping and handling, depending on how you look at it. And, a new hobby, it would seem.
I remember Mom said flower gardeners pass through three stages when they start that hobby. 1) Annuals (initially cheap but expensive in the long run, initial gratification) 2) Bulbs (also cheap but you have to wait a season) and 3) Perrenials (a long term investment, and you might have to wait for flowers, but after ten years you can divide them). I just waited three years for my trumpet vine to flower.
There must be stages of jewelry-making as well.
Stage 1 would be earrings. Earrings are easy. especially if you have all the supplies. You start making earrings out of crazy stuff, like pencils and color copies of your nephew's stamp collection.
However, the purchase of the frames for those earrings (and the impending matching necklace) brought me into the next stage:
2) Findings. As far as I can tell, "Findings" means "Random crap that adds up to $200 over the July 4th weekend." Savings = -$200.00.
3) Tweaking your existing jewelry. I had a necklace someone on etsy made from found jewelry, which I suspect might have been jewelry she found on her workbench that didn't quite make the cut. I took it apart and put it back together with an extra gold bird I doctored with some patina I already had (more savings!)
4) Dismantling your existing jewelry for parts. The necklace above used to have purple beads in the center. Hey, I might need those beads someday. For earrings. Screw that lady and the necklace she made, and screw the Monet jewelry company, I need the beads you used to make your stuff.
5) Beads, or learning about foreign measurements. See these beads I bought. Aren't these beads glorious?
Fancy Czech Glass and copper glass-fired beads. It did say they were 6mm. "That's like half an inch, right?" I thought. Because we use inches here in 'Murica. After buying these tiny tiny fancy beads, each of which looks like a wee glass booger, I have learned what a millimeter is.
The step I'm currently on is Step 6) making ambitious and equally vague plans about a necklace/earring set made of wooden jigsaw puzzle pieces that are assembled in some places and loose in others.
Next, I'll probably buy a kiln and melt my old stained glass into beads. Or, I start knitting. I'm sure I would knit until I bought every color or yarn, bought a spinning wheel and a sheep, and unraveled all my old sweaters for the yarn. Then I would stop knitting.
Steven Page is finally visiting Saint Louis!
He comes with the Art of Time ensemble, doing a "re-imagining" of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. They idle quite a while around St. Louis in October, with one show in Urbana Il, 3.25 hours away, one in St. Louis (Oct. 17) at the Sheldon, one in Columbia Mo (90 minutes away), and one in Kansas City (4 hours away).
My love of this man's voice surpasses even my hatred of the Sheldon Theater. Plus, in October it'll be cold and uncomfortable instead of hot and uncomfortable.
Allow me to embed a little taste.
Sigh, tenors. Tenors and violins. My right hand is twitching at this moment.
While I still haven't brought my mindfulness rock out of its package, I have been viewing videos on mindfulness: ones my counselor published, and a Harvard video. Supposedly, when you succeed at it, you don't dwell on the past or worry about the future, you just connect with the moment.
You have to breathe, and concentrate, and center yourself. It seems to be yoga minus the physical effort.
In fact, it reminds me of the last few minutes of my yoga course at the MS Society, when we took five minutes to focus on breathing. I fell apart in tears on the last day. I think everyone assumed I would really miss yoga, but actually right before I'd left for yoga Mom and Dave had argued and it was the first moment I'd had to think about it.
I cry during my mindfulness exercises, too. I think that proves I'm bad at it. Strangely, they also make me impatient, as if I need to level up to advanced mindfulness. If only I were a Scientologist and I could just pay my way to Nirvana.
It also reminds me of Gary's latest enthusiasm, ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. He spends hours watching attractive women whisper and tap books and rustle pages, waiting for his scalp to tingle, or some such sensation. I tried it and found it was like the Magic Eye visual phenomenon, in that the appeal is lost on me even though I focus on it for half an hour. (Here's an amusing conversation about ASMR. Pretty on the nose.)
Well, it looks like my mind is the next body part to get under control.
When we view the videos of what Gary calls the "Backyard Wildlife Buffet and Petting Zoo," one thing we watch for is animal sex. Of course, animals giving birth would be the ultimate, but impossible, so we've been keeping an eye out for the next best thing, wildlife getting it on.
In the beginning of the video below, Gary claims he saw some skunk-on-skunk action. We rewound and replayed it over and over, like you do with porn, and while I have to admit the male is impressively male, I don't know if there was any action. Any action took place in the second of dark at the start of the video.
I finally conceded there might have been sex, just so we could watch the rest of the video.
Then the lights came on, and we saw all the raccoon babies staring, horrified, at the skunks. "In front of the BABIES!" Gary said, judgementally.
"Oh, they don't know," I said. AND THEN I WATCHED THE BABIES.
Everyone in Saint Louis but me has been to the hot new donut place, Strange Donuts. Gary slept in, so I went there to get one of everything. Well. Two of everything.
The thing is, a Strange Donut is a cake donut. Mom loved a good cake donut, and happily she lived close enough to Old Town donuts to get her weekly fix. I inherited her appreciation for the cake donut with the crispy crust. Deep fried cake. Who wouldn't love that? Gary. Come to find out, Gary doesn't love the cake donut. It's like I don't even know him.
Strange Donuts mix it up every day. There are a few normal donuts, but most have some little twist. At times they have a Stranger Donut. The latest was a donut crushed into a waffle shape, topped with fried chicken, to make a Chicken and Waffles donut. I missed that one, but I applaud the effort.
These were today's donuts.
These are token "normal" donuts, the donut cousin of the white rice at the Chinese restaurant. I didn't initially plan to get these, but I wanted some donuts for Gary in case he was put off by the odd ones.
I think this is what turned Gary against all twelve. Picture a glazed donut: a suspension of fat and sugar that dissolves in your mouth. This was not that. This was a cake donut with glaze on top, as the long johns above were cake donuts with icing on top. I understand his dismay. If they had sold me a French cruller and it was actually a cake donut, I would be none too pleased.
Well, here we go. Goodbye to the donuts that should have not been cake, on to the donuts that cannot be poor imitations because you've never had them before. This was unexpectedly bacony. 25% maple, 75% bacon. And it looked like real bacon.
Chocolate Whiskey Sour
Chocolate? Yes! Whiskey? No. Sour? What? Huh? That was orange glaze dribbled on it, but I couldn't taste it.
Peaches and Cream
A little too tart on the peach side, but the cream was lovely. This was one of my favorites.
Blueberry Lemon Sage
This was primarily cake donut, but in addition there were equal parts blueberry, lemon, and sage. 70% donut, 10% each of the lemon, blueberry and sage. I could have used more.
This was your classic crispy chocolate cake donut. Very nice.
Saint Louis is proud of our signature baked good, the gooey butter cake. It has a base like a chewy brownie, topped by a cloud of almost raw batter and powdered sugar. It's cake mix combined with a few sticks of butter. It's not just the taste, it's the texture. This donut asked sweet, I suppose, and buttery, but it felt like a donut.
I asked why this donut was in the "normal" side of the display case, and the cashier answered it was just a typical custard donut. I always shun the custard donuts. No more. Never again. This was wonderful. Like an eclair, but a donut. God!
This was another classic donut. They could have named this Kid's Cereal Donut. Color and sugar and not much else.
This might have been named southern sunrise instead of southern comfort. I'm not sure. I didn't notice an alcohol taste, or a sunrise taste. It tasted sweet.
When I was done tasting each one, I finished off the buttery tart peach one and the chocolate custard. (If anyone is curious, all my calories today came from donuts.) I thought about how sad it was that Gary doesn't like cake donuts - really, how did I marry him - and how my mom would have dealt with the selections at Strange Donuts. She would put on a pained expression and pitifully, patiently ask, "Don't you have any plain ...cake ... donuts?"
Gary announced his intent to make turkey soup, and I announced my intent to document his turkey-soup-making process, which involves sauteeing all the vegetables separately before putting them in the soup, and then he elected to make his soup after I went to bed.
That's why he was up making soup after midnight. It was officially Father's Day when he woke me up at three a.m. I had to be up at three anyway to run a test for work, but still I could see there was something extra he wanted to tell me.
"What's up?" I asked.
"The baby raccoons attacked me," he said, and chortled.
I was waiting while the onions cooked down in the butter, and I sat back down to read my iPad at the table by the french door. The house was filled with a delicious smell of onions, and maybe some of it wafted outside. I glanced outside and saw two little heads pop up in unison by the food dish. They made eye contact with me, and then suddenly they set off running full tilt at the house!
I thought they'd stop when they got to the patio, but they flew over the patio, leapt up on the stoop, and launched into the french doors at full speed. Then they tried to break through the door! They pounded their little paws on the glass and scrabbled as hard as they could, all the while making this crazed growling sound.
I was aghast. I was worried the glass wouldn't hold. They had these big eyes that said, "I WANT TO TEAR YOUR HOUSE DOWN."
I did not scream like a woman. Instead, I started to get up, just to see how close I could get to the door before they ran away --
I stopped him in this obvious lie. "You mean, you went to open the door, and then make them a plate of sauteed onions piled into a cone shape, and then pet them and dress them up until they infected you with rabies?"
No,he said, he didn't get a chance to even consider it, because Momma Raccoon twitched her tail and the kits "froze, then vanished like Zorro into the night."
It was the best of theaters, it was the worst of theaters.
In the past week I've been entertained at the best theater I've ever been in (the Starlight Theater in Kansas City) and the worst theater (a movie theater some miles away from my home).
Best Theater: Starlight Theater in Kansas City
The Starlight Theater is in Kansas City, and frankly, it is better than any venue in Saint Louis. Here's a photo from their website:
That shows off the brick proscenium, which is itself impressive, but it doesn't show the Disney-like array of fountains and flowers and wine bars you snake past on the way to your seat. It's just ... cunning, that's the only word I can think of for it.
Our seats were not the very best, but they were good:
This was the first BNL concert I've ever been to where there were seats in the mosh pit area. One of the openers, Howard Jones, had to plead with people to stand up and dance. I eyed the aisles leading up to the stage (and the large aisle in front of my seat) and thought, "Well, I guess there'll be dancing in the aisles, then." But no. See that lady in the purple shirt? People who tried to boogie their way to an upgrade got a dance-withering stare.
(Given the recent events in Orlando, many thanks to that lady for providing any security at a concert or dance party.)
The BNL Concert was, as usual, hugely enjoyable. I haven't watched Game of Thrones but I can imagine the words to the theme are indeed, "Horses,Tits and Horses." For the first time, though, I didn't recognize most of the songs in the encore medley. I need to get on that. I'm sure if I listen to one pop radio station for one hour I'll be caught up.
My only regret is that I spent half an hour getting Moscato and I missed seeing the bulk of OMD's set.
Worst Theater: Regal Cinema in Winghaven
We went to see Two Nice Guys at a movie theater that is a few miles from us. Just a few miles away, but in the Twilight Zone.
For some reason Gary wanted to see this comedy with Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. He knew the critics panned it. He was aware that he'd wanted to see it last week, and that this week suddenly we could only find it in one theater.
But, then, he read this quote, and he was sold.
"Dad, there are whores here n'stuff."
"Don't say 'n'stuff.' Just say, Dad, there are whores here."
And, to be fair, I laughed out loud a number of times. I also sat there in ... what's the German word for bored and in disbelief? Unglaubengelangweilt. I was in Unglaubengelangweilt. There was a final chase scene that must have lasted twenty minutes. EVERY car blew up (with no provocation.) EVERY major character crashed through something made of glass. EVERY minor character fell from a great height. Ridiculous, but not hah-hah ridiculous.
And the venue? A movie is supposed to take you out of your environment, and it didn't, because our environment was just creepy.
A) This cinema in Winghaven is one of the Regal Cinema chain. I have never heard of this chain. It's all AMC and Weherenberg in my suburbs. During the trailers various celebs showed up in pre-show ads promoting Regal cinemas. It was like we were at an off-brand cinema.
B) I don't know about other Regal cinemas, but the row we sat in had only two seats, because the rest had been removed ... I assume because of blood splatter or vomit or something else. Or, perhaps, they're replacing them with the leather reclining heated seats and our row was the only one they'd done the demo on.
C) It was isolated in a spooky farm field. This theater sits on a new exit in highway 40, Winghaven, where they opened the MasterCard headquarters ten years ago. There's a fancy shopping center, and executive homes I once gawked at, and a place where I once spent fifty dollars for lunch. However, the theater's not on the executive side of the highway, it's on the other side, and in my city that makes all the difference. There's nothing on that side of the highway but wildlife. You can tell they situated themselves in the middle of an imaginary shopping district that never materialized.
I suppose to be completely parallel, with good venue/ good art / good staff in KC, the cinema should have bad venue / bad art / bad employees, but all the employees were great. Funny, helpful, laid back, great. I had four interactions. The ticket seller was funny, the concession guys were helpful, and the ticket taker let us wander in and out for the hour we spent killing time because Gary will be late for weddings, funerals, but THE MOVIE IS STARTING IN NINETY MINUTES WE CANNOT BE LATE.
I'd go back to the Starlight to see a bad play, and I'd go back to the Regal Cinema to see BNL.