Today is my last day at work with the State of Alabama. I will miss the people, but I will not miss the phone. This job has involved a lot of answering the phone and having the same conversation with different people every day. It is always pleasant to talk to someone who has mastered professional phone etiquette. But it is more entertaining to talk to the unprofessional callers. Have you ever been serenaded through the phone by a drunk plumber playing the guitar? I have.
Something I have noticed at this agency is that the people who really have their act together found all of the answers to their questions on the FAQ section of the website. Everybody else called to ask me their questions and they were never really ready for the answers.
“Give me just a second, I got to find a pen.”
“Hold on, I’m driving, let me pull over.”
“Can you e-mail me that? I ain’t got nothing to write with.”
My parents named me Zane after the dentist turned western novelist Zane Gray. I realize that this name has grown in popularity in subsequent generations, but not many of my peers share my name. Couple this with speaking through the phone and it is understandable that people mishear my name. To be clear, it doesn’t bother me when people get my name wrong over the phone. I gotten so used to it over the years that I have made a game of it. I have been updating an Excel spreadsheet titled Names I’ve Been Called since December 2018 and I wanted to share it with y’all. I omitted all of the cuss words.
I should have included Buddy and Boss. I’m not sure why people in this particular industry have adopted those two nick names. For the record I prefer Shane over Buddy.
I made a similar list a while back that you can read here.
I love ice cream. I once received an emergency haircut after I snuck out of bed to finish off the ice cream. I stuck the empty plastic ice cream bucket over my head and licked the sides. There was no hiding the evidence in my hair the next morning on the way to take Zach to school.
My parents had an old Amana ice cream maker that was louder than three holiness preachers. Like so many other appliances from the 80s, it was brown and tan. I am not sure it came from the factory that loud. When you’re a kid you think broken things are normal, like the refrigerator that won’t stay closed. The noise didn’t ever stop us from partying though. And my parents hardly ever made ice cream without it being a party. After all, what you need to have a party is special food and special people. So by that definition, every night was a party at our house.
I suppose the rackety Amana was better than the hand crank ice cream makers that some of my older friends have told me about. I guess you’ll gladly do whatever it takes to have some ice cream. I imagine you could rig up an exercise bike to an ice cream maker if times were tough and you were smart enough. I bet Creed could do it. Anyway, I’m not thinking about engineering, I’m thinking about ice cream.
Like I was saying, the ice cream machine noise was part of the atmosphere of a party. All the adults would be sitting around the table playing Rook. They yelled anyway, but they had to put in extra effort to raise their voices above the electric motor whining away in the kitchen. The kids probably got away with more mischief since the noise was running interference for them. No one ever said anything about the noise until someone turned the machine off.
“Man that was loud.” Somebody would say as if Jesus had just rebuked the sea and the disciples were marveling at the calm.
They always made vanilla and strawberry. Those were the only flavors I thought homemade ice cream came in. Man was it ever good. Strawberry is probably still my favorite, but ice cream has to be real bad for me to not like it. In Virginia they made Grape-Nuts Ice Cream and acted like it was the best thing ever. If you’re not familiar with Grape-Nuts then you probably don’t know about fried bologna neither. It’s a cereal that poor people used to eat instead of food. Just put a little bit of fine gravel in the vanilla next time you make a batch of homemade ice cream and you’ll get the same texture and maybe a little better taste. It tastes bad because you had to grow up eating it for it to taste good.
To someone out there, homemade ice cream with Grape-Nuts in it will bring back a flood of fond memories. It just didn’t do it for me.
Sis. Beane made some lemon ice cream one time at youth camp. She put it three or four times the amount of lemon flavoring that the recipe called for. Bro. J.L. Parker took a big bite and made a sour face. “Sister, that’s the best I ever tried to eat.”
Dad used to tell us about how Pop would ask him and Uncle Melvin what kind of ice cream they wanted from the store.
No matter what they asked, Pop always brought back Cherry Vanilla.
Dad would laugh about that story.
It was around the time that he knew he was about to die that Dad asked for some Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream. As many times as he told that story, it was the first time that I ever remember seeing it. One of the last things I saw dad eat was Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate. I fed it it to him. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat that flavor again and not think of him.
So I’m thinking about getting an ice cream maker, or seeing if Creed can do the bicycle powered deal. I want to experiment with some different flavors. I think peach ice cream would be good. And apparently they used to make that at Nonna’s, but I just don’t remember it. Or maybe we can use some of these blackberries that grow on the back fence. I mean just about any fruit will be good in ice cream.
“Anything with five cups of sugar in it is bound to be good.”
No one is going to be impressed if you tell them, “Today I rode my bicycle.”
Unless you are a child who has never ridden a bike, or just got off of training wheels, there is nothing remarkable about that. Any average adult could’ve done the same thing with little effort and no planning.
But it if you tell someone, “Today I rode my bike 100 miles.” Then you are more likely to get a different response. Some people will be impressed, some will think you are crazy as an outhouse rat. But most everyone is curious about things that require something more than marginal effort. It is that extra effort-work, planning, dedication, etc.-that stands out to people.
Riding 100 miles on a bicycle sounds like a nearly impossible task for some people. But it is really quite simple. It’s just takes hard work and some planning. To a cyclist (I guess I am an official gel eating, ride in the rain cyclist) riding 100 miles, or a Century, is a right of passage. As ridiculous as it may sound, it is something that cyclists work their way toward achieving.
I am not saying that it is not possible to get on a bike without any training and ride 100 miles without a plan. But I am saying that it will be difficult to ride the day after you do that. In fact it will be difficult to do anything the day after. I also can’t promise that you won’t injure yourself.
I’m sure there is someone more qualified to tell you how to go about riding 100 miles, but if you are a regular reader we both know that cycling is not really what we’re actually talking about here. At any rate, this is what I would recommend if this is something you really want to do.
Commit to Cycling.
Unless you commit to cycling and go out and purchase a bicycle, riding a century is going to be like anything else that you would just like to do. There is a commitment beyond simply purchasing the bike: riding the bike. Every day. Something will hurt every day that you ride. You will be out of breath and have to do the walk of shame on some of the hills, pushing your bike up as you wonder if you’ll ever get to a point where this won’t hurt. It won’t quit being hard, you’ll just go faster.
Eventually, there will come a point when that one hill doesn’t whip you any more. This only happens to the people that don’t quit.
Set Small Goals First.
There will come a time when you will have to set a distance goal that is beyond what you are capable of doing in your early morning ride. You won’t be quite sure how hard it will be to ride x miles, but you have a rough idea of how much time it will take because you ride n miles every morning and n•5=x. You’ll be confident you can ride that far because you have done it every week for a few weeks, but you’re not certain that you can do a week’s worth of riding in one day.
This is when you have to saddle up one morning and not get off until you have completed your goal.
Fortunately for you, you have me to tell you to pack plenty of food because you stand to burn about 2,000 calories for a 50 mile ride. If you don’t eat and drink enough you will run out of energy and it will take a while for you to feel better.
If you think you don’t need those padded underwear you will change your mind after that first Half Century.
Plan a Route.
The first time I rode 50 miles I had to psych myself up for it. If I am honest I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself to finish. So I purposefully mapped a route. It is hard to give up when you are 25 miles from the house.
Mapping out a route is even more important when doing a Century. Nothing kills motivation like not having a plan.
Where there is no vision, the people perish…
You don’t want to have to spend the last 15 miles of a Century mapping out a route. You won’t be in the right frame of mind.
Follow the Plan.
I believe in following the plan. You made the plan when you were thinking straight. At mile 80 you won’t be thinking straight. If you planned to do 100 miles, then all you have to do is follow the plan.
For your first Century I would avoid any roads with “mountain” in the name.
Once you ride 100 miles in a single day, any distance below 100 miles doesn’t seem that far. It is a psychological barrier that must be broken. Once it is broken there is also the danger of not riding shorter rides any more because they aren’t 100 miles. I feel pretty strongly that these simple daily rides are just as important if not more important than any Century ride.
Light gains, heavy purses.
-Poor Richard’s Almanac
Anything in life worth doing is probably going to be hard. Easy things hardly ever stand out as great things. The paradox is that great things are generally simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy.
You may have great things that you would like to do but haven’t done yet. I believe that you can do them. It is amazing what you can do with a little commitment and planning.
I enjoy listening to people talk about their gardens. Even the hippies. The new age hippies that think the government won’t know where they live if they quit paying the power bill and live out of a converted horse trailer. They will talk on and on about non-GMO milk, free-range green beans and raw, unpasteurized chickens. I am not quite a hippie but I have been using organic toothpaste since the Bush administration. I can appreciate their enthusiasm though. Especially on social media.
I can appreciate anyone’s garden enthusiasm on social media. I genuinely enjoy seeing someone share a picture of their garden. The people that care about gardens, really care. When someone shares a garden picture what I see is a lot of forethought, patience, and hard work.
Who I really like to listen to talk about gardens are the people who have had gardens for fifty or so years.
“Did you get any lids yet? I got enough for 75 quarts of green beans, and 105 quarts of vegetable soup base.”
“If you run that heavy tractor tire between them rows it’ll pack that dirt down hard and won’t no weeds grow in it.”
“I like to put some of that field-kicker on it.”
“I only plant Rattlesnake Pole Beans. Them’s the ones you like.”
I think the retired people have the best looking gardens. They have the kind of time it takes to keep rows neat and tidy. I see these kind of garden’s out in the country while I’m riding my bicycle. It’s as if they are expecting the Garden Inspector General to swing by unannounced and grade their work.
The last two years I’ve had Bro. Art come over and plow up a garden plot that is way too big for me to manage. It usually gets out of hand around mid-July and I feel guilty for letting the weeds overtake it. I don’t want that to happen again this year so I had Bro. Paul come over and plow up a garden plot that is way too big for me to manage.
In an effort to keep our garden as low-maintenance as possible, I didn’t plant any pole beans this year. I think I’ll just plant two crops bunch beans staggered by a couple of week. Sarah did plant one lonely tomato plant, although neither of us eat tomatoes. It just seems like the right thing to do.
I do chuckle a bit when people say they are planting “non-GMO” crops, as if people for thousands of years haven’t been crossbreeding plants to arrive at what we have today. The Native Americans from the Maya all the way up to the Iroquois planted the Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash. None of these crops are found in the wild, they have to be cultivated. The Three Sisters grow well together; the beans will climb the corn stalk. Meso-Americans were so good at developing this kind of agriculture that the pre-Columbian population could have been as high as 112 million. I don’t plan to grow on that scale anytime soon, but it is fascinating to me. This is the kind of stuff I think about when I look at a garden.
It would be difficult for most of us to pick a favorite vegetable. Except for the potato people. Potatoes is the only vegetable that they even eat. I think I would have to choose green beans, but I would make sure that all the other vegetables knew that I loved them too. My favorite way to eat green beans is sauteed in oil and garlic. Or cooked to death in bacon grease; I’m not particular.
Earlier this week my beans started sprouting. I was so excited. I told my brother thinking he’d be just as excited.
“I feel like I’m talking to my Dad.” He said laughingly.
It is a wonderful feeling to see something shoot up out of the ground from a seed. It is a spiritual experience. One that never gets old. I hope that you all grow record tomatoes this summer and that your beans don’t quit producing until it frosts.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and not shall not cease. Genesis 8:22
Sometimes I wonder if people who don’t go to church on Sundays still take a Sunday afternoon nap. My parents always took a Sunday afternoon nap between church services. When I was little kid, I didn’t fully appreciate this practice. Instead of napping, I would read the Sunday comic page. Or that was always the first thing I did instead of napping. The Sunday comics were special because they were in color, and many of the strips followed a different story line on Sunday. Some comics only appeared on Sunday, like Prince Valiant. Which I read religiously even though I always felt like I started in medias res and that the only way to get the back story and fully understand what was going on was to have started following the comic back in 1937. But the artwork was good so I toughed it out while Mom and Dad settled in for their nap.
We had to be quiet during the nap, or at least until they fell asleep. Being quiet meant not stomping around or yelling. You can only read the comics for so long and then they are done and you have to look at all of the photographs and read the captions in the various articles until you find something that might be interesting. Then you could read the whole article, or until you got lost in all of the Balkan names. The 90s offered us a lot of good news content. Kosovo, Princess Diana, Monica Lewinski, Elian Gonzalez. Even world events get boring after awhile and I’d go find something else to do, but the newspaper ritual continued as long as I lived at home.
When I started playing guitar I would go back to the church on Sunday afternoons and hang out with Jacob, a friend who was also learning to play guitar. Perhaps that’s misleading, he was learning, he already new how. He was a gifted musician. If it hadn’t have been for him, I probably wouldn’t have started playing guitar. Initially I wanted to play the bass. But Jacob got a bass before I did, so I got a guitar.
He was always saying, “Go get your guitar.”
We’d meet back at the church after lunch and hang out until the next service. I suppose the statute of limitations has expired so I don’t mind telling you that we raided the Sunday School refrigerator and snack cabinet quite a few times. I don’t think they missed that forgotten vanilla ice cream though.
We would spend the afternoon all of the guitar riffs that we new and some of the ones that we didn’t and we couldn’t tell the two apart. It was great fun. I still kind of do the same thing now at band rehearsal. We just don’t raid the Sunday School snack cupboard. And we are practicing church songs that we are going to sing for the evening service, and not trying to perfect Lynyrd Skynyrd licks.
Jacob was notorious about waiting until I had just finally got handle on a rock’n’roll guitar lick enough to make it remotely recognizable when he would suddenly say, “Sir?” while looking toward the front door of the church. It never failed to scare the daylights out of me.
On rare occasions, probably due to impending weather, we would help Pop haul hay on a Sunday afternoon. There was always a tangible unspoken urgency to hurry through the chore in order to make it to church in time for the six o’clock service.
Appreciation for a Sunday afternoon nap comes with maturity. Just like having a steady job comes with maturity. Perhaps the shiftless can enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap, but they didn’t earn it.
There are a lot of differing opinions on the art of a Sunday afternoon nap. Clothes or pajamas? Recliner or bed? Post nap shower or no? I’m a pajama-bed-shower man myself. But sometimes the nap is so good you just have to get up and get to band practice and hope for the best.
“That was a good nap huh?” Adam will say if I ever skip the post-nap shower.
“Yes. How’d you know?”
“You got that nap hair going on. Hehehe.”
I don’t always get a Sunday afternoon nap these days because we have a one year old who can’t entertain herself by reading the Sunday comics yet. But as soon as she can read, I’m taking a Sunday afternoon nap.
“I’ve always thought skydiving would be fun. I’ve just never found the time or money to do it.” I said this to a friend who skydives all the time.
“Doesn’t everything take time and money?” He asked.
It is true. You can get a lot of things done when you have a lot of time and money. Everyone may not have the same amount of money, but we all are given the same amount of time. The difference is, if you have a lot of money you can buy other people’s time. When I write it out like that it makes me wonder if I’m selling my time too cheaply.
“What’s time to a pig?”
I had a conversation recently that on the surface was about organization of a daily routine and getting better sleep. At the core though, this conversation revolved around time. And more specifically, the frustration and guilt over the mismanagement of time. In an effort to help my friend, I shared my thoughts about time. It was nothing new, but I think it helped him. So I’m sharing them with you.
Time is currency. We spend it, waste it, or invest it.
Each of us is given and indefinite amount of this currency made payable only in the present. We can make plans on how to use our time just like we make plans to use our future paychecks. We’re not really sure when our time will run out. And we know that at a single instant everything could change. But we do not like to retain this in our knowledge. If dwelt upon, the uncertainty of time is unnerving.
Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:1
The gift of time is a great responsibility. If time is indeed currency, or money, I want to get the best deal for my hours and minutes. Perhaps it comes with age or possibly is a byproduct of sheer laziness, but economy of time is very important to me. Let me explain.
I am allotted one hour for lunch. Lunch can cost me the full hour, or I can choose to only pay five minutes for lunch and then have fifty five minutes to spend practicing guitar. If I do this five days a week, that is four hours and thirty five minutes of practice gained.
Currently I have precious time bound in my commute to work. In order to make the most of that nonnegotiable hour in the truck I listen to audiobooks. Which means I can read a book a week on my commute alone. If I adjust the audiobook speed I can sometimes squeeze in two books a week.
There are some times when I’m less concerned about how quickly a task can be completed, or rather how cheaply I was able purchase an activity with my time. Some things are worth however long it takes. I am thinking of the time I invest with my wife and kids. I do not believe that all moments are equal. Five minutes on my lunch break is not worth the same amount as a five minute conversation with my five year old.
Then there are the truly priceless moments of opportunity that can never be regained nor renegotiated. How can we measure their worth? These are the moments of decision in life. It may be possible that they can be anticipated by the wise, although they often go unrecognized by the foolish. These are the moments that if missed will be a source of regret and anguish, if acted upon will be a source of strength and resolve.
So what are you doing with your time? If the Chronological Examiners Board showed up at your door to do an audit could you endure their report?
My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you would take time to address the areas in your life that are of eternal significance. Thank you for your time.
We used to go Christmas Caroling when I was a kid. A group of us from the church would pile into a trailer filled with hay, wrap up in blankets and drive all over the town surprising elderly people with a few Christmas Songs. It was a lot of fun.
Pop and Marion used to have a couple of Percheron horses, Hawk and Holly. Aside from the occasional parade, I think their sole purpose was to pull Santa Claus in a wagon around Vandiver and Sterrett. Santa Claus would hand out candy to children. If you still believe in Santa Claus I’d like to warn you to skip the next sentence. The last year they did this I’m pretty sure my brother had to be Santa Claus, and he was pretty sulky about it too.
I still like to sing Christmas Carols, without or without a hayride, or hot chocolate to burn your tongue. Every song is better when someone sings it with you. I’m fortunate to have a little songbird for a daughter. This year we sang together at the Christmas Concert at our church, Cornerstone Revival Center. I know my parents would’ve been proud. They’d have loved to be there holding Hollynn while they listening to Miriam lay that vibrato on thick.
I wish I could pull up to your house in a horse drawn wagon and sing you some Christmas Carols, but this is the best I could manage this year. Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.
I have two pecan trees in my yard. Hurricane Zeta knocked all of the pecans out at one time. They’re good pecans too. We picked up half a five gallon bucket just off the porch. I’ve tried to inspire the children to pick up pecans, but I don’t think they’ve caught the vision yet.
I grew up in the remnants of a pecan orchard. At one time there were probably thirty or forty trees behind our house and the next three neighbor’s houses. By the time I was a kid there were only about seven left. Over the years some of those pecan trees were blown down in different storms. We’d play on a fallen tree for days until someone came over with a chainsaw and hauled it away. Dad used a lot of that wood to grill and barbecue.
Very ofter Dad required us to pick up a five gallon bucket of pecans before we could go gallivanting around town with Jared and Creed. I can’t lie and say that picking up pecans is fun, or has ever been fun. But we did it. We would sell them to the local grocery store Smith’s, where I’m sure some grandmother would buy them, shell them, and make with them a delicious pecan pie. Nowadays we would have marketed them as handpicked, and it would’ve been true since we threw the pecans with wormholes into the kudzu patch.
Pecan pie may be what every pecan aspires to be. I used to think that it was the only pleasant way to eat a pecan. Fresh pecans cracked in your hands- take two pecans in on hand and squeeze with all your might until one of them cracks-have always had a slightly bitter taste to me. I still do it out of nostalgia though, and to impress my kids, but pecans are ingredients, not stand alone snacks.
Pecans need some love, or sugar as we say in the South, to really come alive. Candied pecans, praline pecans, cinnamon and sugar pecans-they all taste great even though I’d be hard pressed to tell you how to make them.
For all they’re bitterness, I still love pecans. It makes me think about being a kid. I also think pecans are pretty with their dark streaked shells and their orange to yellow meat inside. I like the smell of pecans, and the oily feel of the fresh meat.
I think I finally understand why Dad wanted us to pick the pecans up. The harvest was just laying on the ground, all we had to do was pick it up. As an adult, waste bothers me. So I’ve been picking up pecans when I get a chance. When I get an afternoon where I don’t have a deadline approaching I’m going to figure out how to make something sweet out of those bitter pecans.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I think that it is wonderful that there is a day dedicated to giving thanks, giving thanks to God. I have so much for which to be thankful.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Everything good thing in my life is because of Jesus Christ. And I have a lot of good things in my life.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
Time would fail me to list everything that I am truly thankful for. So I have chosen to write about what is dearest me.
I am most thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I cannot understate the joy and the peace that the Holy Ghost has brought to my life.
The next best thing that has ever happened to me is my beautiful wife Sarah. I am so blessed. My children are so blessed to have her as a mother. I am so thankful for my wife.
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord. Proverbs 18:22
I am thankful for the Word of God. I have never had a question in life that the Word of God could not answer. My sincere prayer is that I may have a deeper understanding of the God’s Word.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalms 119:105
I am thankful to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven. I love my church. I love my pastor. I do not want to live any other way.
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. Luke 16:16
I am thankful for my children, Wesley, Miriam, and Hollynn. Oh what joy!
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:3-5
I am thankful for my brother Zach and sister Lindsay. We’ve always been close, but I value our relationship more than ever now.
I am thankful for a godly heritage. My parents have passed on to their reward, but I think about them every day. I was truly blessed to have Perry & Sonja Wells as parents.
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:2-3
I am thankful for dear friends, kindred spirits.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
There is something that happens inside of me when I begin to sincerely thank God for his blessings. It is refreshing to my soul. God has been good to me.
Thanks to everyone who reads, shares, and comments on my blog. Iam always in wonder when someone mentions to me that they read it. I hope that it brings you joy.
One of my favorite things about a being a parent is having someone to listen to my accumulated trivia. Lately, I have reached the point in parenthood where my children are beginning to pose questions that sometimes stress my intellect. For instance, “Dad, what is manners?”
I usually try to give a clear and concise definitions.
“Well, manners are the principles that govern proper social behavior.” I replied.
I sat back in my chair and smiled, feeling satisfied with my quick thinking without consulting the dictionary.
A moment later the child asked, “Dad, what’s principles?”
This is what I mean by testing my intellect. I’m afraid their curiosity is about to outpace me. At any rate, I am going to attempt a more thorough answer to the original question, because some things require not only clarity, but elaboration.
Manners, best-beloved, are what my Mom and Dad taught me little by little and day by day about how to act around folks.
– Keep your elbows off the table
– Say ma’am and sir
– Keep your feet off the table
– Don’t talk with your mouth full
– Don’t interrupt someone
– Hold the door open for a lady
– Stand up and let a lady or an elder take your chair
– Don’t invite yourself anywhere
– Don’t cuss
– Use your blinker
– Cover your mouth when you cough, sneeze, or yawn
– Don’t smack (chewing with mouth open)
– Don’t ask someone how much money they make
– Don’t ask someone how much they paid for something
– Wipe your feet
– Don’t wear a hat indoors, unless you are a lady and the hat is classy
– Don’t yell inside
– Answer when someone speaks to you
– Don’t stare
– Don’t pick your nose
– Don’t take the last piece of chicken
– Don’t scratch
– Don’t spit
– Don’t reach over someone’s plate
– Don’t grab or snatch
– Don’t talk about gross things at the dinner table
– Don’t tell dirty jokes
– Don’t laugh at dirty jokes
Now this is not an exhaustive list, best-beloved, and we’ll add things as we come to them, but we have to start somewhere. If you follow these guidelines, when you come something you are unsure about you’ll probably make the right decision. Just do what your Mother would do and you’ll be ok.