Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wherein I Begrudgingly Admit That Jerome Creek in March is Not Entirely Devoid of Value

The first thing I’ve discovered since returning home is that I seem to be back up to a pretty good level of fitness after my China Flu.  This, I am sure, would’ve taken much longer if I’d been in my own house, with only my two dogs (or even only Spackle, which I did when Ian was in Hawaii during my recovery). I would’ve left them to their own devices, or at most given them nominal walks, just enough so that Spackle could poop outside his yard (Hoover is, alas, much less fastidious). But with four dogs, two of whom are high-energy indoor wrasslers if not properly exercised (and I have yet to exercise them too much, even if my estimates of them running up to 60 miles in a day are correct), I really would only get peace if I wore them out. Yes, this wore me out too for the first couple days, but by the end of the week, I could charge up a hill at a fast clip for much longer without getting short of breath. And my riding lesson yesterday, even the day after chemo and Herceptin, was fun and a workout, and pretty much like my lessons were BC (before China). So, yes, my week-long boot camp did my body good.

Also, Seattle’s spring is advanced somewhat in vegetation and temperature (no freezes at night anymore, although the days are not as warm as many days last week in Idaho), but by no means dry, and I learned last week that I am not, it turns out, the Wicked Witch of the West. I can get wet without melting. And so Ian and I put on boots and rain jackets today and drove the dogs up to Carkeek Park, which has a lovely, steep woods criss-crossed with trails and few dogs (and those we encountered just went right on by while Hoover made a fool of himself. And, I suppose, us.). Spackle is much more lively in the woods, as I believe pounding the pavement is hard on his hips. And Hoover can roam a little on his expando leash. Ian and I plan to continue taking advantage of Seattle’s excellent outlying parks, for our own good too.

And, I was given a good opportunity to examine my rose-tinted future plans for home and farm on Orcas. Do I really want horses of my own, let alone other livestock? There are seasons on Orcas as well as on Jerome Creek.  Am I interested enough in horses that I want to ride them several days a week to keep them fit and healthy? There’s a lot more involved in getting a horse ready to go than leashing up a dog. Even two dogs. And/or do the work to get the horses back in shape every summer if I give them a few months off? Further, do I really think there will be a time when I will no longer be interested in weeks’-long overseas travel? And that I would be young enough when I’m done with travel to still reasonably own horses? If there’s anything I’ve been learning about myself lately, it’s that I am not currently interested in doing one thing all the time. Dogs are relatively portable, and compared to horses, relatively cheap (well, Hoover so far is).

Lastly, sun is important to me, which I knew, but it’s become important enough that I now know I will need access to it regularly throughout the year, not just 6 weeks of Seattle’s glorious summer. I may not always choose Las Vegas as a retreat, but I’m looking forward to being completely anonymous poolside for a couple days. And completely warm.

So, thank you K&A, you have again done me a huge favor in letting me be the supervisor of your peerless domain.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Last Wintry Jerome Creek Pics Posted

I posted the remainder of the slightly more interesting pictures of my Jerome Creek stay, with captions. The last six pics are a series, taken almost every day that I was there.  Hoo boy golly am I looking forward to that sun in 10 days.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vegas, Baby!

I have decided to take my need for sun into my own hands, and yesterday I booked an Alaska Airlines Vacation package to Las Vegas. I’m going to be staying for 3 nights at the Mandalay Bay Resort, which has 9 (NINE!) pools, including a wave pool, a water park, and, as Ian pointed out when I told him of my plans, a million-gallon shark tank full of interesting Selachimorpha. But, as he said, it’s MY trip, not his, so I only have to go look at the sharks if I want to.  One interesting things about having been married for more than 10 years is that I’m planning to go have a look at the sharks simply because I can’t tell anymore if I would like it, or if Ian’s likes are now so deeply embedded that I can no longer tell the difference between his and mine in some cases. Anyway, it looks like the weather will be in the upper 70s (hot for a Northwesterner steeped for months in 42-degree rain, with cubes of blistering cold thrown in for spice), and I will have no one and nothing to distract me from full hedonistic egotism.

There will be no bills to pay, or taxes to figure out, or endless tidying to do. I won’t have to cook or clean up after myself. There will be no dogs to walk, or hike with, or have to manage in any way. No muddy footprints--after THOUSANDS OF THEM. There will not even be an Ian, although considering how little time we’ve spent together in the last couple months (me in China and him in Mexico, then him in Hawaii, then me here in Idaho, then, now, me heading off to Vegas), I’m not sure I remember any longer just how much, and what type, of management my relationship with him takes.  But I’m sure it’s something, and I’m equally sure that 2 ½ days to be warm and completely self-indulgent will go far toward recharging my dangerously taxed internal reserves.

And then I can go back home, refreshed, and let Ian and the dogs indulge me more.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Last night it POURED rain most of the night. At 8:00am when I got out of bed, it was gray and dismal outside my window, with the hillside mostly brown, and the temperature hovering just over 30. Okay, so, not AWESOME, but not bad.
By the time I was dressed, however, about 2 minutes later, it had started to snow. Again. Heavily.

My limbs felt leaden as I pulled my rain pants on this morning, preparing to let the horses out into the mess. I noted that the rain I’d heard in the night had, in fact, caused the water in both White Trash Creek and Jerome Creek to rise by several feet, and I wondered, not completely idly, if I should park my car on the other side of both the bridges leading out of the yard. They look pretty sturdy, but then, this IS, by all accounts, a particularly wet spring (okay, I made that up. But by MY account it SUCKS.).

The mostly brown hillside outside my bedroom window is slowly turning white again. After China, this is just insulting.

I don’t think I can wait until July 5 for summer to begin in the PNW. I’m looking at a long weekend away to Vegas, which is pretty much the exact opposite of where I am now, and where I can have a pool to lie beside.

That’s how bad it is.

To add to my distress, I took a picture of raging White Trash Creek in the snowstorm, and even though Blogger and Picasa are both Google products, they don't speak to each other. They claim they are going to, but they don't. And so if you want to see what it looks like here today, you can't just look at it on this blog. You have to take an extra step and go here

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Before I go into how today is a better day (still no horses, aside from rubbing long, dense wisps of hair from Shadow’s rump as she tore into her morning hay), I want to add a postscript to my post about Sadie. Last night for dinner, after having eaten nothing all day, including the little cheese heart I gave her when I left for the morning, she again turned up her nose and made no attempt to eat her food, the presence of other dogs having absolutely no effect on her. No, she had devised a new plan for their, and MY, as it turned out, mortification: she got me to put a serving spoonful of lamb stew onto her dinner, in the presence of the other dogs. Then she deigned to eat.

Having been sufficiently shamed last night, it was a simple act for me this morning to add another scoop of soup, this time fortified with rice (my own dinner last night was quite tasty and filling), to Sadie’s bowl, without even attempting to get her to eat beforehand. However, I pulled one over on her by giving Spackle an equal scoop of soup on HIS breakfast.

I am so whipped.

Today has been a better day, though, because I slept much better last night then I have since arriving here. There weren’t any whumps off the roof in the night, as it hasn’t snowed enough again to cover the roof, and so there were no panicked barks from Tessa on the porch. Spackle has made it clear that he doesn’t want to worry about a long, slippery span of stairs at night with tired hips and so stayed on his bed down here without me worrying about him, and Hoover kept me company upstairs in the guest room. I woke at 7:30 rested instead of resentful, and enjoyed the trudge/slog/wade over the hill to Maple Creek Meadow. Someone’s been doing some logging over there, and there are a couple large piles of shorn timber waiting for a melt. And then a dry. So, several months from now.

There is another sound I had to learn to identify, before it scared me too much when I’m out in the wilderness alone with 4 dogs (who are a dubious comfort). For the first couple days, the sound kept making me think of Yetis, or creatures from another dimension stepping in and out of mine: a subtle, broad sound of snow being crushed, or stepped on, by a massive foot just behind me and often to the side, and out of range of my peripheral vision. Freaky, no?

This is what I think is going on: as the days lengthen and warm, the ground has been thawing and water running under the drifts of melting snow, and creeks, puddles, even ponds are forming between the snow and the earth. At night, when the temperature again drops to well below freezing, the underside of the snow drifts refreezes, although in a somewhat different place, perhaps an inch above the earth, than it had been. As I tramp around through pristine meadows, I occasionally step where this underlayer hasn’t yet melted again, and a series of fractures races out from my foot, like throwing a rock into a lightly frozen pond or through a window. Those fractures allow the heavy, wet snow to settle, sometimes over quite a large area.

It is preternaturally silent out here, in this place where the subtle sounds of my digestion can send sleeping dogs leaping up, barking hysterically at the door. Not a good place for the paranoid.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Sadie sure knows how to work the system for maximum attention—when SHE wants it. She is also good at taking herself out of the mix when she doesn’t want attention anymore, going and lying down on her bed on the back porch, or standing pointedly at the door there if it’s closed.

She is an Australian Shepherd, not a Lab, and so tends to be, or would like to be thought, a dainty eater. Working under the assumption that she, the delicate, pretty, sensitive thing needs protection from the ravening competition, wolfing down its food and then turning to her and breathing hot stinky breath down her neck as they hover over her food, K&A tend to feed her in the kitchen, away from the other dogs.

This seems to work well enough when it’s just Sadie and Tessa, because Tessa can be fed on the porch or outside, and in five seconds when she’s done, she can come back in, but there are people around who can help Sadie protect her food long enough to eat it (up to some hours or not at all, if you, as the person, get tired of waiting for her and simply take it away). “She doesn’t like to have the other dogs around,” says A, and I used to believe her. Not so much anymore.

For the last three mornings that I’ve fed the dogs, Sadie has wandered around the kitchen studiously avoiding her bowl while the Labs are gluttoning outside. The moment the Labs are let back onto the porch, Sadie goes on the alert. The Labs all know that her food is off limits, though, and have known it for a long time, and so they pretty much ignore her. This does not suit her at all, and she gives a sharp bark to draw their attention to her full bowl, because up until now she has not eaten one bite. Hoover or Tessa, more willing than Spackle to eat things that aren’t theirs, will come into the kitchen to investigate, at which point Sadie puts one paw in her bowl, bares her teeth, and snarls. She then slowly, delicately, begins her meal.

Sadie eats one piece at a time, chewing carefully, taking her time, gauging the reaction of her audience. There is no danger of her throwing up a stomach full of not only undigested, but mostly unchewed food. She is a chewer. It’s more frustrating for the other dogs that way. When the one-piece-at-a-time method gets boring for the observer, who still knows that the human in the room will help Sadie finish her meal, and the observer wanders away, Sadie issues another sharp bark, and someone else comes gamely in to watch. This time, Sadie removes food from her bowl, three pieces at a time, and drops it on the floor next to the bowl. The predator Lab looks to the human for permission, at this point, to eat those pieces. After all, they’re not in the bowl. But no, they are still Sadie’s, and she eats them carefully, smugly, one at a time, chewing completely each piece. This demoralizes the Labs more than anything a human could do.

Thursday evening and yesterday morning I fed Spackle and Sadie together in the kitchen, since I’d changed Spackle’s food, and thought perhaps he’d chew better if he himself wasn’t dogged by Tessa and Hoover, but mostly he was distracted by being in the kitchen, and when he wasn’t wolfing, he was wandering, at which point Sadie immediately launched herself at HIS bowl, not at all above stealing herself if offered an opportunity to do so, which I assume she never had been before. I had to point Spackle back to his bowl and Sadie back to hers multiple times.

This morning, Spackle half-heartedly ate his food, but Sadie wasn’t interested in hers at all, even when the other dogs came back in, and so she’ll get it for dinner. She did have the runs on the walk today (wasn’t that pretty on the snow!), and I probably have been giving treats slightly more than the farm dogs are used to, so Sadie probably didn’t need the calories. We’ll see how dinner goes in about an hour.

Her behavior is not limited to mealtimes, however; after we returned from our trudge today I gave each dog a tiny rawhide stick. The Labradors each found a comfortable bed to lie on and munched until their sticks, within two minutes, were gone. Sadie wandered through the kitchen and dining room, hers in her mouth like a cigarillo, and would not sit down. Kit, K&A’s useta dog (a designation I accidentally coined long ago trying to describe a former dog of my mother’s, who used to be around), would take rawhide out and bury it in the manure pile; I actually saw a piece retrieved once, and it was the strangest translucent, rubbery, rectangular thing dangling from Kit’s teeth. Anyway, I was trying to forestall the treat burial, so for a couple minutes I wouldn’t let Sadie outside. But then I relented, told her it was a gift for her, and she could do with it what she chose. She trotted outside and I closed the door.

Less than a minute later, she gave a peremptory bark, and Hoover gamely got off his bed and went to the door. I opened it to see if Sadie wanted to come in, but no, she wanted Hoover to go out. I guess she showed him where she stashed her rawhide, but she wouldn’t give it to him, so after a couple desultory minutes he gave a bark to come back in. Sadie, after another minute or two, barked again, and this time came back in when I opened the door and went to her bed, rawhide-free.

After another short time, Hoover got up and asked to be let out. Sadie immediately ran to the door, pushed him aside, and preceded him through, reappearing with her rawhide in her mouth again, looking askance at Hoover. “Okay,” I said, amused with, but also bored of this drama, “you can have this another time,” and I took the rawhide from Sadie and put it on top the fridge with her breakfast.

All dogs are now snoring in blissful, exhausted peace. 


So . . . after three days of working my sweaty way over white and melting, then crunchily ice-limned, then slushy, and occasionally just muddy, ground, I have decided that early spring is not a time I like to be in Northern Idaho. All I can do with the horses is watch them walk by (or groom them, which I may do tonight, although, meh), and yet the dogs need huge amounts of exercise ANYWAY, and they seem to need it from me (i.e. an audience is necessary), and so there I am, hobbling and crunching and sliding my way up and down wet, snowy hills, wearing snowshoes that occasionally become splatchers. I know it’s excellent exercise for the dogs, particularly Spackle, who really has to use his aging and somewhat debilitated hips, and who is obviously enjoying himself so much that the struggle isn’t a struggle. It’s all fun for him.  Hoover launched himself into barbed wire today and yelped like a puppy, but got himself out (which was good because it would’ve taken me at least ten minutes to plow through the 25 feet of drifts separating us—that’s the distance, not the depth, which is almost embarrassingly small for the amount of effort it requires.). He left drops of blood in the snow if he stood still long enough, but as that happened a total of one times during our outing, and the rest of the time he was leaping about, I decided not to worry.

It was bright out today, too—not sunny per se, enough to actually use sunnies—and much of what I see in the brightness are some floaters in my right eye, resulting from the injection of Decadron I had there two weeks ago. I don’t really notice the floaters when I’m inside, or when I’m looking at colors, but they are QUITE obvious against a backdrop of pure, glowing white. Plus (I’m looking out the dining room window right now), as the snow ages it becomes discolored—by mud, but also by pile after pile of dog poop and seemingly endless piss holes in the snow. It’s not pretty.

For the first time that I can remember, I am feeling much more like I’m doing K&A a favor than that they are doing me one by letting me be out here. But that’s okay—I am thrilled that they get to go to Australia for the first time ever, and I really am one of the best, if not THE best, person to care for this place in their absence. And Hoover’s continuous joy out here, regardless of whether or not horses are involved, does give me (however begrudgingly) joy as well.

But don’t expect another series of posts from here (this series will continue) until June at the earliest.

Friday, March 23, 2012

White or Wet?

Yes. Both white AND wet. This is the earliest in the year that I’ve come to Jerome Creek, and it’s snowing, but it’s only just hovering around freezing, and the ground is so super-saturated that White Trash Creek, normally a narrow, gravelly, dry ditch bisecting the yard, is a raging torrent of 33-degree water. It snowed during my last darkening hour of drive out here on Wednesday evening, from 7pm to 8pm and Colfax to here; it continued to snow through yesterday morning; and even though it stopped for much of the day yesterday, it started up again last night, and is falling now. K&A were THRILLED to be getting away from it to head off to Australia for a couple weeks, and I can understand why. This winter was not one in which I spent many long days soaking up the sun in the southern hemisphere (Kenya in November and December was pretty chilly, actually, for being an equatorial place), and I’m feeling, like most Northwesterners, as if I’ve been huddled under a damp rock for several months: stiff from the cold, half-alive, moldy, and blue-pale. My friend L charmingly pointed out my silvering temples at lunch Wednesday before I hit the road, and I realized that my latest haircut had removed the last blond ends from my hair, thus removing the last gray-hair camouflage from my year of sun, Nov 09-Nov 10, when I spent northern winters in the southern sun of Valparaiso, the Seychelles, and Australia, and of course northern summers back home. It turns out I like having a tan, and baby-blond hair. And a marrow-deep warmth.

Dogs and I had a long, slow slog through the snow yesterday, which was not without its joys (I will be posting pics on Picasa), particularly for them. Sadie kept thrusting her snout deep into the snow, presumably searching for ground squirrels just like in the summer. Hoover ran hither and thither, seemingly in slow motion as he flowed through the snow like a dolphin, arching in and out of drifts. Spackle and Tessa lumbered around, large Labrador grins on their faces. Tessa threw herself to the ground in several places and gave herself serious backrubs, and even though the ground was 99.99% white, managed to come home with a mousse of something smelly giving her neck a spikey style. Spackle had not done well with yesterday’s slightly different breakfast food, puking it all up (much of it un-chewed) before we took our walk, but he seemed to have enough energy for our outing. All dogs have been MUCH more sedate this morning (particularly Tessa, who had a long night of warning us about invaders as snow warmed and slid off the metal roof).

I did make a trip in to Moscow yesterday to replace Spackle’s lamb, rice, AND VEGETABLE food with pure lamb and rice, which is what he eats at home and what he tolerates most easily, and I managed to buy an awesome pair of Wrangler’s at Tri-State, Idaho’s Most Interesting Store. Spackle managed to keep down both dinner and, so far, breakfast, so I’m hopeful I won’t have any more huge piles of puke to clean up. I won’t be doing any riding until I can at least see a road surface, so everyone keep your fingers crossed for some sun!

Photos here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Death Warmed Over (but not by much)

The first half of my time in China was cold—COLD—like I thought I would die just going outside. I was a walking advertisement for Smartwool, or would’ve been if the Smartwool actually kept me warm. Certainly I wore a lot of it. My typical outfit was ski socks, long underwear, jeans, faux fur knee-high boots, a tank top, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater (or two, either short or long), an almost-full-length Patagonia down sleeping bag with the hood up over a handknitted scarf wrapped around my neck and around my face, a handknitted hat, and mittens that I both knitted and lined with fleece.  My palms, in an attempt to heat up my body, I guess, were sweaty pretty much 24/7—which meant that my mittens started to get damp, which meant that my hands sweated more and my mittens got damper. There was not a single other piece of me that sweated AT ALL, though, for the first half of the trip, even on our hike up Black Mountain to the aerie-like temple on top.

So I just reread (scanned) my first entry about China and see that I already talked about my typical outfits, and how cold it was. Yeah. Well, it was cold.

Anyway, midway through my trip, the day we left Dalian for Beijing, the air quality (which had been lovely and clear for the first several days) went south the way I’d been expecting it to from the start—the vistas from the penthouse faded into murky distance, the sun turned orange at midday, and I began to feel tight about the chest. S also felt tight about the chest, and we decided that, indeed, the air was bad.

Alas, we were only partly right.

We were SICK, and as our days in Beijing progressed through the chill of national monuments and open-air markets, we got sicker. And China is not a place you want to be sick. As my chest filled with grit and phlegm and I hacked my way through successive tourist stops, sucking on green tea and heated BPAs from the plastic cups and straws, I asked about codeine. “Nope,” said S. “Pain killers are illegal in China. Even after surgery. For surgery, you get a local anesthetic; when they send you home, you can take aspirin but that’s it.” No codeine cough syrup for me, then, and so my nights were spent sitting up in bed against my pillow, taking Tylenol PM and clonazepam that I’d brought myself, and eating through a tin of Fisherman’s Friends, trying to rest. When my fever reached 101 I started the antibiotics I’d been clever enough to request before leaving Seattle; but all the Levaquin did was give me explosive diarrhea and lingering joint twinges in my hands.

Levaquin, by the way, is a scary antibiotic: its side-effects can cause death, and you’re supposed to seek medical attention immediately if you have any of the severe ones. That’s comforting in China. I stopped taking it after two doses. I won’t take it again.

The runs aren’t fun ever, but some of the peculiarities of public facilities in China made my runs so ridiculously inconvenient as to be almost humorous. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself. There are a lot of public toilets around, which is great. They are universally unheated, however, which is sucky, and they are almost universally squats, which are facilities you want to be really careful with ANYWAY when you’re wearing 17 layers of clothes and thick coats that you need to hold out of the way. Adding diarrhea adds the comedy. Or at least the resignation. In the hutongs, where we ate our Peking Duck lunch (yum!) and where our hostel was situated (blessedly updated, as I’ll get to), the public facilities consist of 4 or 5 squats all in a row—no heat, no paper—but also NO SEPARATION BETWEEN SQUATS. That’s right, Ladies and Gentlemen, whatever you have to put into that hole, you put in publicly.  C and S said on more than one occasion that I was the only person they knew who could really handle the situation. I just figured I didn’t have a choice. The WC (as it was signed) closest to the duck restaurant did also have a grim, icy metal toilet, and I waited until the woman in the nearest squat left before using it. It seemed only polite.

The hostel we stayed at in the hutong, the Fly By Knight, (S took care of all the money and arrangements during this trip and I happily followed her around like a duckling and let her) was one of the best parts of the trip, and was a perfect oasis to be ill in the middle of a cold wasteland. My bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever had the pleasure to sleep in, barring not even my bed at home (in fact, my nights since I’ve been home have been studies in imperfection, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to fix our domestic slumbers). The headboard was padded and upholstered, so that I could, in fact, lean my pillow against it and sit up and still be as comfortable as was possible with the hacking and the fevers. Breakfast of sausage, egg, hash brown, bacon, toast and peanut butter and jam was included, as was hot or cold filtered water, and alcohol or noodle bowls were available for cheap. On our last evening, S and I, coughing dismally in bed, were treated to a guitar and singing concert (through the wall of our ensuite bathroom) by one of the other hostel guests; it was just what we needed to pass our last, sadly uncomfortable hours together.

I hadn’t let my illness keep me from seeing the main sights of Beijing, in part because it was increasingly obvious to me that I would not be venturing back any time soon (read: in this lifetime) and on Sunday morning, the last full morning, before C and Little P and A returned to Dalian, I ventured out with them to the outdoor Dirt Market, one of S’s favorite places to go for interesting tchotchkes and possible antiquities (S, alas, stayed behind with a pounding headache). Even though I arrived ready to puke and pass out from the taxi ride, I rallied with an exquisitely beautiful glass of green tea and professions of love and support from my dear friend C, whom I’d met in my dorm room on my first day of college as a callow 17-year-old. It’s amazing how much the love of friends can assuage all kinds of hurts.

Comforted and sustained at least for a short time, the Dirt Market outing yielded traveler’s gold to me, too: I bought a horse, probably bronze, possibly old, certainly very, VERY awesome, and I bargained the seller down from 600 kwai to 275 (about $90 down to $40). Little P bargained for a unique stone 4-faced Buddha head for S’s birthday which was, of course, the next day—and she was going to be spending it hacking up her lungs at the airport in Seoul because her relationship as one of two mothers isn’t recognized by China as a legitimate dependent relationship, worthy of being on C’s work visa.

The climates of China—political, social, and meteorological—are all profoundly inhospitable. But that didn’t keep my last taxi driver to the airport, after dropping off S at her terminal for her forced fleeing to renew her visa, from walking my heavy bags the quarter-mile through the garage to the international departure gates at my terminal. He had noticed I was on my last legs, and so China, or at least one small part of it, took care of me at the end.

I had upgraded to business class for my flight home and so was able to sleep, and the flight attendants custom-mixed orange and apple juice for me and gave me my own two-liter bottle of water so that I could hydrate whenever I awoke, so that wasn’t so bad, and my sweetie-pie met me at 7:00am when I arrived last Monday morning at SeaTac. I slept for 40 of the first 48 hours home, my mommy came and made me lots of soup, and I was able to drag myself out of the house for chemotherapy on Thursday. I lost something like 7 pounds in China, though, and as I was a lean, mean, mountain-goat machine before I left, I am now pretty much skin and bones. About the only fat remaining on my body is the modestly-sized fake boob I’d recently downgraded to.

I’m still very glad I went, but the charms of Hawaii or Mexico in late winter are reasserting themselves into my psyche. I may make some different travel choices in future.

For the best of my pics, go here.