I Lost 10 Pounds in 1 Day…Weight Loss Challenge Day 2

In this picture above I am almost 10 pounds heavier than my goal weight…but I think I still look good. Therefore, I’ve realized that it isn’t so much about what I weigh as much as it is about how I feel. I think I’ve decided to call my journey, Passport to Beautiful, in reference to my passport picture from several years ago that I showed in my video yesterday. If you didn’t watch my video yesterday, please watch it here so you can hear about my self challenge So Fat Weight Loss Challenge: Day 1.

Yesterday was hard. Really hard. Although I’ve known it for several years I didn’t realize fully until yesterday how strong my food addiction has become. Being a recovering alcoholic and addict for 17+ years I realized I’m going to attack this the same way I attacked my other addictions in the early days.

Your comments and messages have been so encouraging and inspiring so please keep them coming! And please join me on my journey. Watch today’s video: Lost 10 Pounds in 1 Day and keep the video comments coming as well. In fact…leave me some video responses and join in my journey.

As I said earlier, yesterday was tough as hell for me and I craved food all day long. But today…I feel great. So please watch the video, share it with people and hear about the struggles I went through on Day 1.

I love assignments, especially creative assignments. So…tonight I’m going to make a Passport to Beautiful, a traveling vision board of what I want to look like and what I encompass as beautiful. To me, beauty isn’t just about how you look in a bathing suit or if people envy your body at the gym. To me, beauty is in the laughter you share with others, the dreams you press yourself to achieve, the kind attitude you have in everything you do, having gratitude for everything in your life and the ability to love yourself. Once I’ve overcome my initial weight loss struggles, I will get just as honest about those things I need to change in my life so that I can eventually live the most beautiful life possible. (I don’t have much to complain about…my life is pretty damn good already!) Because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

And thanks for all of the suggestions for the movie Forks Over Knives…I plan to watch it tonight!


The One That Got Away…

This wasn’t the blog I was going to write tonight. I had something else completely planned but I got sidetracked. As many of you know, I believe everything happens for a reason and tonight has proven to be no different. Recently I started a YouTube channel called PEMOVISION. Tonight I recorded a video about an old, lost love inspired by the new Katy Perry song The One That Got Away. After recording it, I came home and edited it and posted it. Alex had told me to watch the video for the song, but I hadn’t actually had a chance to look at it yet. I sat down and searched for the video and began watching. I found myself transfixed by the images before me. You see, the video is about an older woman looking back on an old romance in her life.

I guess I related to it because I often feel as if I’m looking back instead of living in the present or looking forward. A lot of people comment on my constant dialogue about aging and think I have a problem getting older. That’s not it at all. I love getting older. I actually love the gray hair, the wisdom and the “I don’t care” attitude that comes with age. I just wish time would stop and we wouldn’t have to get any older, not because I’m afraid of the years. I’m just not ready for it to be over yet. I think my mom dying at such a young age forced some stop watch to begin ticking in my brain. If you have things you want to do, you better do them now. You’re not going to be here forever!

Earlier in the evening, we had a ridiculous fight at dinner which resulted in the two of us screaming at each other over the dog. Threats of break-ups and boundaries drawn were smeared all over the place. We hadn’t had a fight like this in quite some time. Interestingly enough, now writing this, I can’t remember how the fight originated. But, as I watched the video, I wasn’t reminded of my old, lost love, as I was when I heard the song and recorded my own video. This time, I saw Alex and myself, joking, laughing, fighting and loving on the images flashing before me. And I realized…I didn’t want that to ever stop either.

We grow up…maybe too much sometimes. All enjoyment of flight and fancy stops. We don’t have time to finger paint with each other, or watch movies in bed with movie popcorn and melting chocolate on our fingertips. Long car rides and even longer discussions about love and life stop as we have to be at work to clock in or get the kids to soccer practice on time. Time warps us into believing we have to live a certain way. Aging reminds us we’re living that certain way. And yet the clock just keeps on ticking.

I don’t want to live that way. Recently I got on a friend of mine for having her son go to bed so late. She told me she likes having him on her schedule. As soon as I left I realized what a cool mom she is because she makes sure he has everything he needs to grow up and achieve success yet he lives this bohemian lifestyle. He’ll probably be much better off than any of us.

My goal is to stop living by the rules we’re told we have to follow as we get older. I want to finger paint a little bit more. Drink fresh squeezed apple juice. Eat cookies on Christmas Eve with Santa. I want to live the greatest love I’ve ever imagined with my husband. Crazy, stupid love. He’s the one I chose to be with and I don’t ever want him to be the one that got away. And I want to enjoy being 39 years young…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

Check out the video…you’ll love it!

Happy Father’s Day, Love Dad…Get Up, Show Up…and Don’t Whine!

I rarely write about my father. People often ask me if I have any kind of relationship with him or if we’re close at all and the funny thing is, although we have our differences in politics, literature and opinions, we’re a lot closer and a lot more alike than even we like to admit at times. He often tells me, “you’re more and more like your mother every day. You don’t know how to pick your battles.” He’s probably right. Humorously, I was recently in line at Walmart and had waited with approximately 10 other customers in the 20 items or less “speedy checkout” lane while a grandmother and her 5 grandchildren piled over, and yes I counted, 150 items onto the conveyor belt, as she screamed at the checkout lady, “Faster girl!” The groans and moans of the other customers were heightened by the grandmother’s need to put back items such as Kool-Aid and Turkey Bacon, “NOT my pork rinds and sour cream…they’re for my diet!”, due to the lack of credit on her food stamp card. She continued to bark orders from behind an oxygen tank and mask while sitting in her electric wheelchair packing a box of Newports against her hand. “We only need to get down $16 more dollars!” she screamed at the kids. Quickly I reached in my wallet and took out a twenty and handed it to the cashier and smiled. It was truly only an act I could have rehearsed by witnessing my father in such moments, who would have done it, not altruistically, but because he had been “cooling his heels” for quite enough time. The woman turned around and smiled at me, “Bless you”, she whispered as she took the three dollars and some change of MY twenty dollar bill from the cashier and tucked it, tightly, into her bra. As she scooted off, the patrons behind me began to clap.

I had become my father…

Later, when I read my best friend the following letter, she smiled as she watched me finishing it, tears streaming down my cheeks, having waited so long for this wonderful acknowledgment. “Between your mother and your father”, she said, “you never had a chance.” And we both laughed. She had met him the summer before and told me how she watched him as I swam in his pool and how excited he was to talk to me and debate over issues. And in thinking back on this and all of the years before, I think what you must understood most about my father, is that he is completely misunderstood. While trying to find pictures of us from when I was younger I came across hundreds and hundreds of the most amazing photographs, but none had him in them. I only realized later this was because he had taken all of the photographs. The ultimate observer of life.

One year, this man known for his creativity, imagination and stealth risk taking abilities, made a Press Pass for the US Open and walked straight into Flushing Meadows, court-side, with his large Nikon camera around his neck, very much the image of a professional photographer. I used to receive tee shirts from places like Honduras or Banff Canada, where he would go sailing or hiking, typically by himself until he met other lone travelers.

At my age, he wore old tee shirts, faded jeans ripped in the knees, square toed boots, trucker hats, Porsche Carerra sunglasses and he sported a short beard. Today, he can often be found in some of the same attire. He can charm you with discussions of anything from native languages of several countries, the politics of Islam, Ann Coulter or tell you a joke he heard in surgery. He is happiest at home on the lake with his dogs, smoking a cigar, watching nature explode around him. My dad knows the words to tons of Willie Nelson songs but performed surgery, probably yours, to ZZ Top. He has sculpted and painted with movie stars, written books, made his own wood-cutting pressings and saved lives…mine, most importantly.

I guess, for quite some time, the hardest thing of all…is that I’ve wanted to be him. And if not be, than be accepted, because after all, don’t we just want to be loved and validated? So what I’m really trying to say, in this long winded introduction, is…thanks Dad! After everything you’ve ever done or given to me, this, by far, was the greatest gift of all!

A Dad’s Letter on Father’s Day

I have a description of Holidays: If the mail doesn’t come, the trash is not picked up, the banks are closed and you are off work, it is a Holiday; if not, it is a Hallmark Day!! Hallmark Days do not require any special attention other than what the guilt trippers of society wish to impose on us. That being said, I would like to reflect if I may on this artificial holiday.

When you came into this world, I was knee deep in a very demanding and competitive residency. Other than taking care of middle of the night feedings and walking you around Evanston when I would get home and your mother would say to me, “Here, you take him, he has been crying all day!” I must admit that your mother did most of your care for the first two years. There were good times obviously, I well remember you trying to knock my drink off of the round coffee table we had so I would divert you by letting you tear up newspaper in front of the fire place.

Later I remember I won a Santa Visit at a charity auction and when he drove up in front of our house in a Ford Bronco, you questioned his authenticity. I kept you believing in Santa a couple of more years by telling you that he got into our house the same way the radio or television signal did, and that we only gave you the chimney story because the microwave theory was above your level of comprehension.

I remember too, having to reschedule surgery so I could make it to your Epworth pre-school to enjoy crackers and butter you and your classmates made. Later on when you were involved in all the usual school activities I tried to do my part. Your mom enrolled us in a group called Foolish fathers. This group was set up by moms to make dads get the kids out of the house on Saturday morning. We had wonderful mornings together on gray rainy days having a hot dog cook out at 10 in the morning at the Noblesville Pumpkin Farm followed by a wet hay ride. Oh! The joy. When it was my turn I rented a Noble Romans and we all made pizza at 10 in the morning.

Later on when you were in Hockey I remember those 5:30 a.m. Saturday mornings getting you into your hockey uniform. You never could understand why you needed a cup in your jock strap. I said just do it. And then there were all those wonderful times we went twice a year to visit Phil, Sue, Shelly and Betsy. The time we went to Hawaii and our numerous skiing trips to Vail together. What great memories.

Later when Debbie(my stepmother)came into our life we had trips to the Caribbean and that really special trip to Williamsburg!!(Family joke!) How many trips to Chicago and of course the shopping for Gucci watches. Our Christmas in London and New Years Eve somewhere outside Oxford. Now that you were older and school involved more planning, it was Debbie who scheduled your flights and tutors and whatever. How fondly, I remember your school concerts and violin practice. (ee ah, ee ah, ee ah) Actually they became quite good and I even embarrassed you once by shouting out at the end of your recital; Bravo, Bravissimo!

Your announcement to us that you were gay and our total acceptance. Your earlier boyfriends and now Alex, your fiance. All of whom have added a dimension to you and our lives that can never be replaced. And probably most of all your sobriety which took so much personal courage and commitment and has taken you so far from those black days that started at Perkins Restaurant on that cold wet December 17th morning. (I will try to forget your DWI attorney who charged us $2000 up front for the worst defense ever offered by an attorney anywhere).

Your successes at Fairbanks and now in your own very successful practice there are so many elements of which a dad can be proud. I just thought it might be worthwhile to reminisce on this “Holiday” dedicated to dads. As dads go, you could have done a lot better than you did, but you could also have done worse. As a dad whose dad never once hugged me or said he loved me I believe he did. He just did not have the ability to show that side of himself. He did give me however a great gift. Get up, Show up and don’t whine.

Love Dad

My mom would have loved this. Especially that he said it before it was too late…because we’re on borrowed time as it is.

Getting Screwed…

Yesterday, all day, my car information system told me, “WARNING…TIRE LEVEL VERY LOW”…and of course I completely ignored it, waiting until we were going to an event last night to rush to the gas station and fill the tire with air. On our way home, I meant to stop and buy a can of Fix-a-Flat, but instead, opted to rush home and hide under the warm covers of our bed.

So it should be no surprise that when I woke up, excited to run to Starbucks and grab my daily 6-shot Iced Americano before heading out to lunch with our friend, that I found a completely flat, or as I called it, dead tire. And of course, it should also be of no surprise that I cussed out that ole truck driver in the sky.

And that got me absolutely nowhere.

So I came inside and started complaining to Alex who was lost in a world of Brother’s and Sisters and Grey’s Anatomy. “We’ll just call someone to bring us a can of that stuff and then we’ll go get a new tire. It’s not that deep.” He said, focused on the television.

“But I just paid the bills and now I have to buy a new tire and we don’t get to do anything else today because now our day is ruined!” I cursed. And he just stared at me. “Is there anything else you want to complain about?” He asked.

So I cleaned out the garage while we waited for our friend and I got more and more angry thinking about how, as Gilda Radner so appropriately said years ago, It’s always something! And that’s exactly how I felt. And then we drove to the tire place and the guy told me a new tire would be $200 and of course…I freaked out again. “I’ll give you some money,” Alex said, “How much do you want”, but I just really wanted to complain.

Until the guy came out and showed me the screw that had been stuck in my car tire. “I can fix it. It’ll only be about $25 bucks.” He said, walking away. And the guy behind the counter smiled over at me and smirked, “You got screwed!” And he was right. But not because of the tire, but because for some reason, I let it bother me all day. And as we were walking out, Alex reminded me of this as he teased me about how I had already spent the $200 on the tire before the guy even came out.

So I guess the lesson, which I give to everyone else, because it’s always easier to coach than it is to perform, is to take my own damn lessons and not borrow trouble and enjoy the present. Because the rest of the day was awesome and in my entire life…I’ve never been given more than I can handle in a day! And that’s a miracle.

And then I thought back to Gilda Radner and how I had always loved her humor on Saturday Night Live and how I loved her love affair with Gene Wilder so I started looking up some of her quotes because I think we need to look back to our teachers on a regular basis. And funny enough…I read the quotes, some of my favorites I had heard uttered so many times from my mom, and I realized, LIFE, is just not that serious…so I thought I’d share a few of them….

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.”

“It’s such an act of optimism to get through a day and enjoy it and laugh and do all that without thinking about death. What spirit human beings have!”

“The goal is to live a full, productive life even with all that ambiguity. No matter what happens, whether the cancer never flares up again or whether you die, the important thing is that the days that you have had you will have lived.”

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Damn! I needed that today. I needed to stand in my front yard and watch my puppies Boo and Tucker run across the grass for the first time in their life, I needed to hear a version of Mr. Tambourine Man I had never heard before, I needed to eat some delicious pineapple pizza with my man and I needed to drive and dance in the car, listening to great music…how amazing life is…if only we could remember that every second and live as such…and maybe, with a little practice, I will…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

Blame It On Rio…

It seems lately I’ve been getting tons of calls about relationship counseling. At the same time, I feel like every time I turn around I hear about another couple that “didn’t make it”, and I guess I’m wondering what’s been going on in the world of love right now. As someone who has been in several long term relationships that “didn’t make it”, I understand the need for separation and newness, but it isn’t always the answer. And honestly, in my last relationship, if we had come together years before and decided we needed counseling or became willing to work on our issues, maybe it would have “worked”, if I even understand the definition of “work”. But I am a believer that everything happens for a reason and we are all on a journey…each one being as different from the next.

But as a relationship therapist I know one thing…relationships are easier to reconcile and improve than they are to end and move on. If in fact your partner is not what you want anymore and they aren’t willing to change, or you two are just on two completely different roads, then maybe the best answer is to separate and discover new lives, as sad as that may be.

I know for me it was vital for me to leave my past relationship because I felt we weren’t experiencing the same passion and respect for each other as we once had and I just don’t think we were happy anymore. But I think counseling can fix these problems. Creative counseling with home assignments and a commitment to continue no matter what.

Which is not what I’ve been experiencing in my practice. I’ve met couples who are extremely invested in working together and doing home assignments and being as corny as I challenge them to be. And then I meet couples who don’t come consistently and don’t do anything I ask outside of the office and then grow frustrated because they don’t want change. Well, as a person in recovery I realize first and foremost that a desire to change is the most important part of the journey.

And I really want everyone to “make it”! Because there are enough lonely people out there that don’t have anyone in their life who constantly complain that they can’t meet anyone that we should be grateful when we do have someone…unless it’s not the right match or it doesn’t feel right. And there is nothing wrong with being single. Being single can be one of the most rejuvenating periods of a person’s life as long as they allow themselves to focus on self-improvement..enjoying time with themselves. In my practice, I am an avid supporter of not dating for a year after the ending of a relationship or just getting into recovery because it is a time which can be just for you.

Lately, I’ve been playing all these old 80’s movies in the background while I write. Into the Night, Hanky Panky, Legal Eagles and Blame it on Rio. It’s funny how those movies were different than movies now. Don’t get me wrong; I love everything that’s out there, but maybe we’ve all become a little too serious. Maybe, we need to go back to the bad hair and bad leather of the 80’s, enjoying bad music and just having a fun time. Maybe, we need to bring a little of the 80’s back into our relationship and try to just have some fun. I think we focus so much on the bills, the kids, the house that we forget all about having fun and remembering why the hell we’re together in the first place.

Find your 80’s moment…for me it’s the Brazilian music of Blame it on Rio, candles lit around the house, dancing barefoot and waiting for some fun nights out with Alex…as well as some relaxing ones too! It’s all in moderation. Just don’t be too hard on each other…relax, find the passion again, have fun…and remember why the hell you’re together in the first place.

And if that doesn’t work…call me…cause we’re on borrowed time as it is!!!

The Living Dead…On Borrowed Time.

I decided to go out to my mom’s grave today. I didn’t really have much else to do and I was just driving around in the snowstorm waiting for Alex to get off work. I rarely go out there because honestly I don’t get much out of being there anyway and my mom always said we’re just a bag of soul, so in reality, I know she’s not there. But I do find some solace in knowing her body is out there, being that I do still have some strange attachment to those things physical, as I believe most of us do.

Nonetheless, I sat there in my car, watching her grave under a foot of snow, music lightly playing in the background, and for a moment, I felt something, but I know it wasn’t her. She’s not there.

After I picked up Alex I told him I had gone out to the grave. Having a wonderful sense of humor that he knows I can appreciate he asked me if my mom was cold, as in “Do you think she’s cold out there?” I laughed and explained that strangely, I had thought about that while I was sitting there. Sometimes my mind goes to the strangest places.

As I drove away, Alex played on his phone and I imagined for a second that I was somehow having a conversation with my mother on this very topic and what she would say. “Oh honey,” she would laugh, “we’re just not that tangible. We’re just a bag of soul and we’re on borrowed time as it is.” And then I remembered that she got it from an old movie she loved…”On Borrowed Time”. Somehow, like many of her Bobbieisms, as we called them, it just stuck.

But what’s scarier is that I think she used it as a reminder that life really is short. Too short. Yesterday, I started making a list, inspired by the television show The Buried Life, of all of the things I wanted to do before I died. See Niagra Falls. Stand on the edge of Grand Canyon. Have my book published. Have a song written about me. And after a put my pen down I realized that these things didn’t really matter at all because they just emphasized the glass half empty not half full. And today I choose to live with the glass half full. Well, almost full actually. I have so much to do and so many small things I like to enjoy that life has become about enjoying the small details and trying not to get boggled down in all of the crap, as my mom used to eloquently refer to it.

The living dead; those people who don’t realize our time is an evaporating resource, are the scariest of all. Walking around, taking for granted the people and the opportunities they have in their lives. Not enjoying the taste of a birthday cupcake or the smell of the fresh snow, even if it’s on a grave. I like those details. Even now, as I write this, candles lit all around the room, a little John Coltrane on the stereo, Alex and the puppies upstairs…I am in love with my life.

Last week, while at dinner, I had a moment of true time appreciation. “If this was our life, for the rest of our lives together, would you be happy? Would you be content?” I asked him, hopeful, as I watched him think about it for a minute. “Well, I really want to live somewhere warm.” He said honestly. “But yes,” he said, looking at me across the table, “this would be enough”. And then he went back to eating, not much of a romantic. But that’s ok. I’m learning to be appreciative of the small things. I like writing about him. It makes me happy. It fills my cup. He inspires me to be alive, which is great because what I realize is that once…I was The Living Dead. But no more.

And all of us can change. We’ll be in snow covered graves soon enough and even if we leave a legacy, who could possibly know the details that meant so much…like the sound of a rainstorm on the roof at 3am or the feel of wet grass under your barefeet or laughing so hard with a friend you feel like you’re going to pee or crying so hard that you know, you just know, you’re alive. To me, that is living…and you better get to it soon, because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

Young Love…Jump Start Your Relationship!

Do you remember having crushes in high school? That feeling in your stomach when that person would walk by and you’d just stare out of the top of your eyes and wish, just wish, they would look over at you and say hi. Or get to your locker only to find an anonymous romantic note from someone and wonder who it’s from, hoping upon all else, that’s it’s from that guy you were staring at earlier in the day or that girl that was watching you skate with your friends around the parking lot. Well, what I’ve learned in my fifteen years of working with adolescents and generously being allowed into their lives, is that love at 15, really isn’t a whole lot different than love at 28 or 37. The feelings are the same and the my stomach still drops when they enter a room and look right at me.

Alex and I have been together for some time now and what I know is that it takes work. Love comes naturally, but it takes some work to keep that excitement and passion alive. I remember being single before I met Alex and my friends would ask me what I was looking for and I would reply, “someone who will walk around a book store with me on a Sunday afternoon and then go home and read in bed” or “someone who will stare at me across a room like I’m the only one they see” and finally, “someone who looks across the table at me during dinner and tells me they want to skip the rest of the meal and hurry home.” And all of that came true.

As most of our friends will tell you, we’ve had a rocky past. It wasn’t easy getting where we are today. And unlike Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher who swear they don’t fight…we fight all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, but enough that is continues to cause struggle in our daily life like walking across a bridge whose ropes might collapse at any time. But we’re still here dammit!

And honestly, I think Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to remember how important you are to one another. Every day I hear people say, “But you should practice that every day.” and “We don’t need one day a year to make me feel inadequate when I treat them well every other day.” My reply is simply a smile, but what I’m really thinking is that Alex better remember it’s Valentines day and buy me some damn flowers! And he will, because we’ve started to communicate our differences. We’ve started to explain to each other what’s important to the other one.

When I first got sober over 15 years ago, I dedicated my first year only to staying away from alcohol and drugs. It was so hand to mouth for me that I couldn’t understanding the thought process behind addiction and I couldn’t enjoy the benefits, past not being in jail or financial ruins, of not using. 15 years later, it is not a drinking disease to me but a thinking disease. Every day I enjoy what sobriety gives me including being able to stay calm in difficult situations like my mother’s illness and death, or to be patient when something doesn’t go my way or to try and understand where other people are coming from. Love relationships are the same. The first few months or year should be dedicated to the hand to mouth. The phone calls, dates, stayovers and random texts. After that, the true understanding of your bond begins, and although difficult, as were the later years of my recovery, the benefits are much greater because now you have a true understanding of one another.

No relationship is perfect. Everyone argues and everyone has differences. Imagine a Japanese man and a Swedish women in a relationship speaking their own languages. At first, they won’t understand each other, although they will assume they do through facial movements or eye gestures. After a few months they might start picking up a few words and finally being able to understand one another and truly speak to one another. That’s what we do every day in our romantic relationships. And a lot of us don’t try and pick up those small words…we just stay focused on the non-verbal cues, ruining what could be truly communicated. And some of us, like myself, probably say too much. Sometimes, less is more.

Honestly, and I don’t care what anyone says, we all want to be in love. It makes us feel good. Love DOES NOT suck! It’s awesome. We just need to jump start our hearts every once in awhile even if that means taking a risk. Allow yourself to be laughed at. Wear some sexy underwear or costume and heat up that bedroom, even if it inspires laughter. What greater way to get to know each other again than to be each other’s favorite comedians. Buy flowers…or pick them, hell, even a dandelion on a summer day makes me a little happy. Mustard plant and grass in a small glass jar can even look pretty. Make cards, or children’s books for each other. Cook for one another or buy them a slushy. It doesn’t take much to think outside the box. And not to toot my own horn, but I’m really good at this stuff so if you need any suggestions…please contact me.

What I’m really saying is, love yourself and your partner enough to do whatever it takes to get that car rolling down Lover’s Lane again. I’ve even started 2-3 session Cupid Couching Retreats for couples to help them spice up their life and allow love back into their daily lives and find that love they felt when they were 15. (If you’re interested please contact me). It’s in all of us. Young love. I want that…don’t you? I want a note on my windshield and a stare across a room. Now, I just know I want it from Alex.

So no matter how much you hate Valentines Day or think it’s corny or Hallmark’s way of making money, which it is but who cares, dedicate this Valentine’s Day to either improving your relationship or improving yourself…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!