Friday, January 29, 2010

Hi, my name is Tiff

It’s gotten so I don’t even hide it anymore. Time was I’d try to cover up my addiction, pretending to be better than I really am, but now I don’t really care who knows or sees that I can’t go a day without it. What does it really matter anyway? It’s not like being an addict changes much about who I really am, because it’s part of who I am and that compulsion is a bit of what makes me tick.

So no, I won’t just quit a game of Bejeweled Blitz because someone walks up to my cubicle. I won’t even try to hide the screen anymore. They can be made aware of how dependent I am on a stupid 1-minute web game, and if they’re offended? Well, that’s just their problem.

I STILL won’t use the boosts though. I do have my principles, you know.


Purchasing an extra-deep tub for the shower remodeling project was a fabulous idea. I’d show you a picture of it, but that’s not terrifically exciting when all that’s to be had are the catalog photos off the Lowe’s page. Far more exciting is the sensation of soaking in neck-deep hot-hot water, gently bobbing up and down with each breath, watching steam rise from the surface and listening to the gentle lap of wavelets against the UNSCARRED and SINGLE-COLOR sides.

Ah, bliss in a bucket, it is.

Gone is the old partly harvest gold, partly spray-on white finish. Gone is the line of black schlyme at the top of the shower surround, the filthy/gunky hardware, the clunky tub stopper. GONE! Sweet Maria, what relief. It feels GOOD to sit in a tubby now, letting the water gurgle and splash, and even though there’s no real spigot for filling (instead a foot-long piece of pipe pokes out of the wall and shoots a stream of water halfway into the tub, which is kind of cool but probably hazardous on a long-term basis) and even though there’s no shower head (yet!), the experience of bathing is ever so much more sublime than it was a week ago.

We’re officially through the “hack at stuff with the Sawzall” and “rip out yards of trim” and “be grossed out by how truly nasty everything was behind those walls” stage already. Demo is done, now it’s time to put it all back together. Biff is on the job, and I’m wicked proud of him and his skills. Not to be too girly about it, but there is something nice about having a handy dude around the house. It’s fun to watch boys operating power tools!

Yes, dear feminist friends, I’m sure I could do most of this stuff by myself, and in fact HAVE done similar things before, but it’s a whole heck of a lot better to turn the reins over to someone who does reno for a living instead of stutter-stepping through a process in half-blind hesitation, praying that the plumbing doesn’t leak or the tiles don’t fall off the walls three days after install. Sometimes it pays to 'hire' a pro. :)


Also, has it really been since TUESDAY that I posted? Dang. No excuse at all, no reason either (said ‘EYE-ther,’ please), just…haven’t. Something about not having much to say, I’m thinking. Also, Facebook.

And watching the kittens play.

And going to tile shops and lawyer’s offices.

And being very lazy.

Somewhere there's a big black hole that is taking the hours in the day and crushing them down into tiny specks of time, rendering them nearly useless for anything but pursuit of quick pleasures, for that is what one does with infinitesimal bits of chronology – one jams as much fun stuff into them as possible while ignoring most of the drudge work, which explains the giant pile of laundry and the leaves on the kitchen floor.

So much can be attributed to black holes, and with good effect, don’t you think?


Y’all PLEASE have a lovely weekend. We’re bracing for winter weather here, and I’m sure the 2-4 inches of snow that are expected will make it a real horrorshow on the highways and byways. Yee-HAW!!! We'll be watching the news tonight!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

oooh, a ranty one!

I wish the Facebook would quit mentioning my age in every dang advert they sidebar. I KNOW how freaking old I am, I don’t CARE for it, so quit reminding me.

And no, I don’t want any UGG boots, any auto insurance, any tips to whiter teeth, and simple rules for losing my age’s worth of pounds (and how dare you for implying the degree of my lard-assedness, anyhow?). I don’t think the president really cares that I go back to school, those dancing ladies will NOT get me to purchase any product whatsoever, and I daresay that Mr. Obama could identify someone in our vast governmental bureaucracy to urge me to refinance rather than doing it himself.

I refuse to click on those links. Won’t you pledge to not do the same, and use this as your FB status for at least an hour today?


Also, just as a little op-ed thing, it’s my humble opinion that Bejeweled Blitz did not need to get any better. Why, it was just last week that the fine folks at FB (or was it PopCap?) asked our opinion of the newest beta version of their deliciously addicting game, fooling us naysayers of the new bells and whistles into believing that hey might actually be listening to us and possibly NOT deploy what, to this purist, looks like a cheat-ridden upgrade. There’s no need to purchase an extra 5 seconds of play time, is there? The game’s a minute long, you make as many good moves as you can, some games are great and some suck hobo toes, and that’s the way of life. You can’t purchase an extra few years at the end of your life just go get more points out of it, CAN YOU? No, you can’t, and so neither should you be able to buy your way into more points in a game like this.

IMHO only. Lots of folks seemed to love the new ‘improvements.’ They’re probably the ones who can’t break 100K on the regular pro version of the game. Buncha whiny babies, wanting a way to purchase a higher score, and FB GAVE it to them, regardless of what high-scoring mavens of the game (like me!) had to say. Sure, our comments counted. Not. I feel so ripped off, so undervalued. I haven’t spent HOURS A DAY over the last few months driving up my score to claw to the top of the leaderboard for NOTHING. It was hard work, requiring focus and dedication, and now some snot-nosed punk with no skill but hours to spend racking up points to but a special gem AND more time AND whatever other flat-out cheats are for offer will be able to sail to the top with no mention at ALL of that fact that he (or she) BOUGHT their way to the top. Their sullied scores will be as shiny and awe-inspiring as those from someone like me who fully intends to NOT buy their shiny new badges to flim-flam a world-ending point tally.

Now, ask me how I really feel about some stupid minute-long game that’s taken way too much of my time and attention. I'd be glad to tell you.


Oh, and it’s that time of year again when I declare that I’m officially sick and tired of being fat and vow to ‘do something about it.’ Seems the weight-loss fairies did NOT visit me this past holiday season (again!) and whisk away with 20 or some extra pounds (a good start), so it's apparently fallen to me to offload 'em myself.

Doesn’t help that this year there’s a significant HS reunion coming up, and the start reality is that if I lose a pound a week in preparation I’ll still be…

Wait…let me get the abacus…

Only about halfway to what I’d really like to lose, all in all. Frighteningly similar to what Facebook thinks I need to lose.


Plastic surgery seems the easier option at this point.


Gotta go. Much to do and the day’s growing short. Y’all stay as smooth as just-brushed teeth, mmkay?

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's just not Wheaties if there ain't no wheat.

So, there’s sushi to look forward to.

And then a trip to a lawyer’s office to start the process of writing up wills and estate plans and naming executors and guardians and Grand Lord Poohbahs if anything terribly untoward should happen to me or Biff in the next several years.

Also, benefits to sign up for at work – which plan at which deductible, how many multiples of annual salary to take as life insurance, dental preventive or just dental discount, etc etc blah blah blippity blah.

Never mind the work stuff, which I just made up a list of for ‘to do’ and which now sits glaring at me in orange dry-erase marker over my right shoulder, daring me to take a bite out of it, go on, just TRY.

All of which buzzes around my bleary noggin, for a combination of

1) some mystery really really BAD smell in the house plus
2) being a touch too warm plus
3) a restless spouse plus
4) kittens playing with toys at 3:45 a.m.

combined to make for a very odd rest after waking up at the aforementioned 3:45 a.m.. Amelioration action items included:

a) opening the BR window to help with the smell (which I suspect is coming from the dog),
b) ignoring the cats as much as possible because we all know that nothing will calm down a cataranging kitten (much less TWO of them), and
c) kicking off the covers to help with the warmth,

but even so, the sleep I got in the second half of the night was the semi-awakey kind when the act of falling asleep is accompanied by the sensation of falling which in turn wakes a body up so that one can catch ones-self before impact. That, and every time I thought I was falling asleep it felt like I was choking, and so had to wake up to fix THAT lil’ problem. Eventually, thankfully, there was some sleep happening, but because I’m me the rest was not restful and instead filled with dreams of gigantic dual-rotor helicopters whizzing overhead, tornadoes that seemed to want to chase only me and my family, trying to hold onto children while in the midst of said tornado, and other Armaggedon-ish nightmares. Something tells me I shouldn’t have started a conversation about the end times with Biff over nachos and cocktails last night, for while I learned a great deal about his personal philosophies and beliefs on that subject, my brain is still just beginning to gnaw on the low-hanging fruit of that particular tale, therefore rendering it all too active trying to chew the philosophical cud during the semiconscious hours.

Oh, and we ripped out the tub/shower last night, so there’s not even the clarifying balm of a scalding hot shower to put into play. Eh, once we put in the brand-spanking new super-deep soaking tub, that little item will be somewhat rectified. Now there’s merely the questions of what kind of tile to put in, in what pattern, and with what grout. Let’s hear it for spur-of-the-moment renovation decisions! Even if they are accompanied by a thick coating of “OMG that’s so gross” when the tub comes free and all the gross moldy damp mouse-chewed insulation and backerboard become apparent. This is what rubber gloves were invented for, and why having about 800 55-gallon contractor’s trash bags at the ready is such a good idea. Because dang – don’t touch that crap but let’s get all of it out of the house as soon as possible. Also, try hard to not breathe very often, because fiberglass and mold and mouse ick = nothing you want to have in your lungs. At all. Ever. It’s cleaned up now, and is airing out, but that hole in the floor where the plumbing comes up from the crawl space is squicking me out and must be dealt with soon else I have visions of rat heads peeping at me while I’m pooping. It’s me, people, you know it’s only a matter of time.

Anyhow, there’s sushi to look forward to. Maybe a heaping helping of wasabi (wasaaaaaabi!) will help clear my head and get me to a place of unmuzziness. Could happen, but don't bet the farm on it.

Keep on rocking, y'all. See you around.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Title goes here

The email system at work has been down for 2 days now. You'd think that would make a person happy, but no. No email also means no contacts, no calendar, no access to those messages I was storing until 'later when I could get to them,' which of course is now.

Essentially, I'm stagnated on the important stuff and have access to only the back-burner items. Weird. Bottom line is that it could well be that the pile of approval forms stacked on my desk will get to archiving today, and perhaps that 60-page document that explains all the new company benefits might get read. After that, it's anyone's guess as to how my time will be allotted. Many a hallway conversation might be in the near future, and that would also be weird as this company tends to live on email. Face to actual FACE with someone? Perish the notion.


I LOL'ed yesterday at this:

Passive agressivness FTW!


Last week, on the first leg of our journey north, something amazing happened that might well be a normal part of how the day passes to night, but I don't think so. We were flying at sunset, a gorgeous time to be in the air, and as the sun was going down we were still above the clouds, so sunset took a gloriously long time. The WAY it set was extra-special, it seems, because as it slid over the edge of vision it left behind a horizon-wide rainbow.

Seriously. ROYGBIV from the bottom up, stretching as far as the light was wide, reaching up into black night sky. Not your normal sunset, at least not like those I've seen as a ground-based unit.

The spectrum persisted as long as there was light, and as time went on it became deeper and more burnished, until all the colors ran together into umber then faded into a slice of light right at the edge of the earth. It was spectacular, and then it was night.

Don't think I'll ever forget it, and even if that sort of show gets put on every day at 35,000 feet, my opportunity to see it is so limited that this might have been my only chance. Best to not take it for granted.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time for a change



That was one tough week.


And it's at this point I decide to, because it is my natural bent, go back to the comfort of everyday life. Sorry folks, but the sob story will go underground at the least and completely covert at the worst.


Can't believe the Dems lost the blasted seat. Is there NOTHING more sacred in politics than that seat from MA?


The 2 new kittens in the house are quickly turning into cats. They should be neutered/spayed by the time they're 6months old, and we have no idea how old they are now.

Sucks. They might be bereft of HRBLS and KTCNTS any days now.

Sorry guyz!


Love y'all. I'm out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A quiet day

After yesterday, folks around these parts pretty much shut down. Our personal local news superseded all other, the biting wind and brilliant sun of a Michigan winter afternoon wiping away concern for anything else.

As the casket was raised to its new home 4 rows high and moved into the empty crypt, all therein gathered watched in silence. The scrape of plastic tray against concrete was the only accompaniment to my father-in-law's final ride. Someone maybe should have played a soundtrack of motorcycle engine with an Amazing Grace chaser, but those were details not thought of until the moment had come and nearly gone.

So too were the details surrounding how seating arrangements at the funeral would be worked out. As the spouse of one of the bereaved, it was my place to sit up front with him during the service. As the second wife of one of the bereaved; whose first wife, their kids, and her new husband were in attendance and sitting in the third row; seating arrangements became very dicey very quickly. In the end, my actions were cowardly and I sat in the back, 50 feet from Biff, watching the service like a stranger. At the moment, it seemed to me that sitting up front would have been an affront to those who had shared so much more history than me, legal and binding marriages notwithstanding. I'm not proud of how I chose to act; in fact, I am ashamed of the cowardice which I shrouded in a blanket of 'sensitivity for the family.' My place was with him, and I failed. Never again will this be allowed to happen. I am his, he is mine, and we are part of this big family together. That much was preached to me by more than one family member after the service, and I must step up and take my place, because these are people that it wouldn't really 'do' to disappoint. Nice people never are.

Watching grief take place is bizarre. Knowing that mourning is in active process, and not being able to fully engage with the assembled masses is disenfranchising. Thank goodness the funeral came with a strong message of hope, of peace, of connectedness and forgiveness. There were no loud bursts of weeping, no overt shows of sadness; instead the final goodbyes were messages of salvation, love, service, and redemption. Fellow chaplains, fellow motorcycle riders, fellow model airplane makers, old neighbors, former coworkers, and not a few former inmates to whom he ministered were in attendance. The homages were honest, heartfelt, poetic at times. To have such witness to a life served well is a testament to a man who meant to save the world, one lost soul at at a time. To see the measure of his success in the people who spoke of their love and admiration for him is inspiring. Bonds were forged, tears were shed, and then there was lunch.

Not a bad way to send off a man of such diverse interests, of such deep faith, of such strong family ties.

Still, too damn soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How things are different

It’s a little after 8 p.m. as I write this. I’m sitting in a bookstore listening to a Russian girl talk on the phone, listening to a group of folks talk about housing prices in Guatemala, listening to the whirr and gurgle of a cappuccino maker, and listening for the phone’s ring signaling that the coast is clear for me to return to the funeral home. Not that I want to, not really, because they’re not all that great to hang out in, but would rather be there in support than stranded here, waiting. But, in order to be reasonable, mature, accommodating, understanding, and sensitive, my exile to the bookstore is necessary. A learning experience, driving a strange car through strange streets at night in winter, a stranded weird escape from just a little too much family.

These past few days have felt very out-of-place, as we’re staying at the home of the deceased, sleeping in what was the master bedroom, combing through piles and piles of papers looking for those bits and pieces that will indicate what the plans were for end-of-life issues or if indeed we’re totally hanging in the fierce breezes of chaos. Despite some very assiduous digging through what seem to be the important papers, there is no current will. There is nothing filed with the county either. There is no clear indication of how much insurance was carried, who the beneficiaries might be, how big is the estate, what he actually owns and what the bank really owns, who’s liening on whom, and just how to move forward with so much remaining a mystery. What’s clear though is that Biff is going to have to return to his home state soon; the task of cleaning up, digging out, straightening up, moving forward is just too huge to be done in a week, even with many hands working at the Herculean task. Life moves on and is leaving a certain whiff of dread in the air as the hours march past. Too much to do, not enough time to do it, and then there’s the question of the cat.

It should come as no surprise then that the idea of a bourbonless January has flown out the window like a cartoon safe. Some things require medicating; the facts of this matter demand liberal applications of feel-good juice at regular intervals. Yes, yes, I could be strong and do this thing stone-cold sober, but that would mean existing through yet another death experience fully aware of how much it hurts. The familial grief and brave face of mourning picks at the scabs of my own experiences with death, and I’d really rather that exercise be blunted with the fumblefingeredness of a little happy glow. Being too aware, being too nimble, could lead to too-adroit uncovering of old deep hurts, a thing to be avoided when running ‘support services’ for a family who has been plunged deep into the heart of sudden mourning.

Having buried my own Dad 18 years ago, having buried my former father-in-law nearly 10 years ago, I have some practice on what to expect, but nothing is ever the same as the time before. This time I’m not in the core of hurt, which is a relief but odd at the same time as I’m married to someone who is at the center of a world-shattering experience. As I see it, this time around it is my job to be capable, to be strong, to be calm and cool. Being weepy and teary-eyed would be a touch disingenuous, for the length and depth of the family’s hurt is a decades-long history of love and family I don’t yet share. All I can hope to do in these days and hours is to be a strong-enough partner, a source of relief for those who utterly exhausted at being so very sad, and maybe a voice of experience and reason and hope. So I speak with the chatty, we get to know one another through 5-minute interchanges over coffee in the back room. I sit at a table sharing dinner with almost-strangers who are family, hoping I don’t do anything too foolish or say anything too stupid. I smile and laugh, hug and listen and hope like heck I’m doing it right, for this family, in this time. They are wonderful people, and deserve so much better than this precipitous launch on a monstrous dark journey.

One step at a time, one tiny baby step after another toward resolution and out of a world of hurt. After tomorrow, after the funeral, after the bashing together of this world and the next, we start the walk toward what becomes the new normal, knowing nothing will ever be the same.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A few points, before things get too dull

Go see 'Avatar' in 3D. Who cares if you can forecast the story line in the first hour? It's exciting, gorgeous, entrancing.

Plus which, naked alien heineys! Woot!


We bought a humidifier a couple of weeks ago. Worked great for 1 week, then started making gravelly, rattly noises the clearly were signaling that something was horribly wrong.

And so?

Biff took it back and got a better one, for less money.

!!!! Took.It.Back. The concept floors me.

I would have just took the old one to Goodwill and bought a whole new one, because I am not a fan of the retuning of things and just hate for people to think I wasn't happy with their product, even if they do suck. Obviously, I need to buy me a quart of spine.


Also? It's possible to return a used waffle maker.

I KNOW! Who would have guessed it? Not me. The one we got three days ago was not producing mile-high waffles a la 'the second best hotel you ever stayed at that served breakfast in the lobby', and so it too was returned.

USED. Again - !!!!!

The store took it back, and daggone if we're not the possessers of a new fancy-azz flippy-aroundy waffle maker that should provide hours of entertainment, rather akin to a Snuggli, or Garden Weasel.

What? Things are slow around here. A new waffle maker might just make the cover of our local paper, if I make the right calls, such is the rampant excitement.


And because of the new waffle maker, right now we're (Biff is) poring over waffle recipes, deciding which one will get the honor of being the test batch for tomorrow's breakfast.

This is the moment that you realize with a pang that you wish you were me. Envy all you like, my friends, but it takes a stout countenance to withstand the onslaught of adrenalin this life demands in order to keep up with the fast-breaking speed of change and challenge. For you, I live it first then report it here, so that you can vicariously experience Life in the Fast Lane.

Surely, it will make you lose your mind.

Ah - I'm being called to consult on the perfect seasoning oil for the new appliance. Must dash!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Paper, not plastic

Have you ever lived a ‘weird’ patch of life? Like, when things just don’t seem to be progressing correctly, or things don’t go how you expect them to, or stuff occurs that you wish you could change because even though they might be little things, they pile up and suddenly you’re all irritated and twitchy?

That was last night at our house. For ALL of us. The cats were hissing constantly at the kittens, the kids were picking at each other and gyrating in the path of things that needed to happen, the spousal unit and I were both slightly testy, and for no really good reason. Everything felt like it was made of wool, and nothing could be done to cure the itch.

Things could have taken an ugly turn after the accidental wine glass smashing, but thankfully did not, perhaps because by that point we were too full of The Most Excellent Shepard’s Pie Ever to even care that needle-sharp glass could become embedded in our feet at any moment. I’m pretty sure by that point the wine I’d had and the promise of homemade chocolate chip cake for dessert were also gently clouding my perception and reaction.

Sometimes life just goes like that.

And then, sometimes life is a grade-A coont and just keeps throwing curve balls at you, so that even AFTER announcing the prior evening that there would be fresh waffles from breakfast (waffleversary!), one teen boy gets up at 6 a.m. and has a bowl of cereal for breakfast which is kind of irritating because you know he knew about the damn waffles already and that sets teeth on edge. Full-on grinding occurs when said teen puts the empty bowl and spoon into the sink that you’ve just emptied to prepare to wash dishes, which is a sure sign of flippant effrontery at worst and of completely clueless teendom at best. At those moments (it being only 10 past 6 in the morning, keep in mind), the very best thing one can do is crawl back into bed for a half an hour with your already-retreated spouse and pray for peace and understanding.

After 30 minutes of trying to get a fresh start, you look at the love of your life, sigh, say ‘happy start to our second year,’ and announce that it sure is getting off to a weird start.

To which she will reply ‘yeah, it sure is’ and squeeze you tightly, because she knows just how hard this all can be and how very proud she is to be married to someone like you who addresses rough patches with as much aplomb and humor as can be gusto’ed up on short notice.

And as a small tribute to her spousal unit's grand good nature and how much he means to her, she reads the words she said to him in the company of God and a few friends and family a year and a day ago and decides to include them in a blog post because they’re more true now then 366 days ago, yet not as true as she suspects they’ll be 3000 days hence:

I promise you these things, in no strictly particular order:

To love you, fiercely and tenderly, all the days of my life
To hold to you and no one else
To comfort you with patience and goodwill,
To find joy in everyday things, as is our wont
To laugh until breathless, as is our bent
To keep focus on the good, through everyday actions
To appreciate you deeply.

For now and always, I promise.

Happy Anniversary, Biff. You totally hang the moon.

(Image from here. This dude rocks, but does not hang the moon, for that is Biff's job.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Seems the weekends were made for blogging

First - my blog is borked. I know. I'm working on it.

(UPDATE: rehosting some pics on my own Photobucket site works for the header, got rid of the images in the post body and list formats, and have imported all the old posts to Wordpress. I've been told the WP is the cool kids' way to change might well be in the works. It's surprising me just how much I'm resisting it.

It's clear I've become stuck in my rut, and quite like it here.)


Ah, the long slow demise of a personal blog. First, don't post on the weekends. (Did that a couple years ago). Second, quit posting every day. (Started that about a year ago). Third, pretty much quit posting at all, and when you do make it a hastily thrown-together mess that would compel no-one to come back to read what might come next.

I believe mission might well be accomplished.

Maybe I should make 2010 the year I get the writing mojo back. Used to be some interesting things going on around here.


To that end - I never thought I say this, but yesterday I wrote and helped to write some limericks about a psychic and Rasputin's pickled member. What a way to ring in the New Year. You should try it, or at least go on over and read some of the entries - people can be so daggone CREATIVE, ya know?

(Of course you MUST be aware that the subject matter is completely adult, and does come complete with a photo of the object in question. Yikes.)

Thanks to BuzzardBilly for the find!


Ah, and in ratherbig news: there are now two extra kittens in the Tiny House. Read all about WHY, here. Yes folks, Biff posted again, and who and I to steal any of THAT thunder?

On a related note - it's kind of tough being hitched up with another blogger when interesting things happen in life. I found myself propositioning Biff the other day with "OK, if you don't post about A and B in the next day, they're fair game for me" (for my motivation skills are just.that.subtle). Because honestly, some things simply scream out to be blogged, no matter who might be reading. Go read his post. You'll feel way better about your neighbors afterward, I promise.


Lastly, might I just say that there's no better bonding experience with a spouse than working together in a dirt-floored 2-foot-high crawl space to jack up a kitchen floor? Even better if the very first thing one does when embarking on such an enterprise is to drop a giant concrete block on one's arm.

No really, that's the very best way to do it.

The big payoff is of course that the kitchen floor no longer bounces like a trampoline when people or pets walk past the sink, and that the floor is now far more level than it was previously. Oh, it's a grand thing alright, and worth every bit of heaving and ho-ing, lifting and crawling, straining and dissing that needed to be done to get the support blocks placed and the jacks arranged and the beams put on just so and the whole works cranked up into 100+ year old joists that were understandably a little bit creaky. Kind of exciting, really, to watch good posture return to a slumping set of construction materials, much like embarking on a course of house yoga or somesuch.

And with that done, we now move on to the 'what kind of floor do you want?' phase of kitchen remodeling 101. Oh yes, the game (as the pocketbook allows) is on.


Gotta go. There are kittens to be played with and a Christmas tree to take down. In 2 days I'll be back at work, so it's time to sloth to end the bizzy to being agin.

Dang it.

Y'all have a fantastic weekend. Hope to see more of you around in MMX.