Prince George Turns 1 and I Turn 64

OK… I’m shamelessly using this headline about Prince George in order to attract readers to our blog site. Everyone wants to know about Prince George turning 1. No one wants to know about me turning 64. And, of course these two things have nothing to do with one other, right? But, because I’ve gotten you to read this blog, I’ll make a connection a little later…

First…

I was shocked to hear that Prince George is turning 1. It seems like only a couple of months ago that we were bombarded (I mean thrilled) by everything having to do with the royal birth. People Magazine’s cover story this week screams … George Turns 1, Raising a Little Prince! Inside, incredible details about George’s past 12 months are presented in cute little bubbles, with the requisite 20 or so cute little photos.

(Yes, I read People Magazine. Please don’t judge me.)

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The article about the “perfectly adorable” Prince George provides details like the fact that he has travelled more than 32,000 miles to Mustique, Australia/New Zealand and Scotland. He has visited the zoo, participated in play dates and made new friends. And … so precious … he just started walking and is pictured accompanying his dad to a Father’s Day polo match.

What an event-filled life!

Are you ready for the connection?

This past year has gone by in a flash. What have I done with my 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days and 8,766 hours?

Here are the highlights:

  • I’ve gotten my teeth cleaned 3 times
  • I’ve had my hair cut and highlighted 8 times
  • I’ve played golf about 30 times (recording my score 0 times to avoid embarrassment)
  • I’ve written 24 blogs for this site
  • I’ve wrecked the car once
  • I’ve gained 2 pounds
  • I binge-watched 13 episodes of Orange is the New Black

Actually, it wasn’t quite as uneventful as it sounds. Like George, I have had some play dates with friends (including last month in Florida with my Fabulous Over 60 partner, Patty) and I traveled 924 miles to Maine last fall.

Writing this blog post, in addition to depressing me, is making me reconsider what I’m going to do with my next 12 months. I’d like to have a better story when Prince George’s 2nd birthday rolls around. Suggestions appreciated.

By the way, I already have plans to travel to the Turks and Caicos in September … 1,114 miles. The race is on, baby George!

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Cathy Green

July 17, 2014

Trying New Things

Getting out of our comfort zones gets harder every year. But the life coach in me gets crazy and starts admonishing myself to give new things a try. There are of course things, and things. Trying a new religion is hardly the same as giving up Essie’s Ballet Slippers as your favorite nail polish — but then again, we can get petty in older age if we are not careful turning nail polish (or whatever minor thing) into a major lifestyle issue.

Here are a few rather insignificant things I have tried this year — maybe they will amuse, motivate or amaze you. Start your own list to keep being fabulous. Yes, it can be a very short list. Go for 3 items. I did 6 so you would be motivated to take the next step. See this YouTube video on creating change — very interesting!

1. I never liked the way Spanx felt. Though of course the CEO is to be congratulated on her amazing journey to be the first self-made woman billionaire in the USA. Have tried and love the less expensive Heather Thomson “Yummie” items for keeping me trim.

2. Downloaded an app that really is simple and helpful — it is called The Vault. It keeps all usernames and passwords and other types of annoying but necessary rows of numbers or words so I can stop lamenting having to have them. Start the search for apps not by looking at lists of them, but writing down what drives you crazy – where is the nearest post office?  WHATEVER — trust me, there is an app for that! Apple and IBM are teaming up on apps now — got to be some great ones coming!

3. I cancelled plans to go to a family party due to an important shift in summer plans. I called and talked with the hostess. She lived. Most people constantly change plans — bet you know a few hundred. I don’t want to become a person who can’t be counted on by other fabulous women/men – most of whom believe if you make plans you keep to those plans — but commitment just for the sake of commitment sometimes just doesn’t make sense.

4. I have eliminated powder blush. If it’s been more than 2 years since you emptied the makeup drawer, take it all to a makeup counter of your choice (try a new one – just pick the woman or man who looks most patient) and decide with help what to keep, toss and otherwise change. Even if you do not want to spend large amounts on makeup, go at least once to a counter at a department store to learn — many of those women and men really do know what they are doing — although of course they are going to try to sell you. You are worth it and can use drug store brands once you learn what to do. Also see Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+

gloss book5. I stopped using my Kindle and went back to books while trying not to be embarrassed reading them anywhere but at home. Keeping my MacBook and iPhone but it only makes sense to carry a device like a Kindle or iPad to simplify reading – especially on trips. Am hoping to push myself to all digital magazines and newspapers. Not there yet but making progress.

Books-by-the-Bed2
6. I no longer own a single suit. Anyone who hasn’t seen me in 5 years will not believe this and wonder what I did with the suits I owned (found them new younger homes). It was time not just to “weed out but to actually let go and re-create” some of my looks. Also I do keep weeding — I never buy something without letting something go in that same category.

suit

OK, your turn. Keep us posted!

 

 

 

My 2014 Half Year Insights

1.) Making a clear choice on what to do and what NOT to do is ABSOLUTELY working for me. I have considerably narrowed both the type and time of my work efforts. Something professional must be something I am passionate about (meaning it interests me and feels important enough to spend time doing) and that makes me happy – even if the effort brings little money or prestige. Am writing several blogs, doing one-on-one life coaching with selected and committed clients (my max is 5 at any given time) and creating online content to provide inexpensive but practical workplace advice. Narrowing my focus has helped with all aspects of my writing.  New, more specific goals for the second half of the year are in progress with a smaller number of projects.  Hurrah!

2.) The decision to read two pages of spiritual reading per night – one new, and one a repeat of the previous night’s reading (using Self-Meditation: 3,299 Mantras, Tips, Quotes and Koans for Peace and Serenity) – has made a concrete difference in my stress level and feelings of peace.

self medit book

3.) Ceasing to seek constant advice from outside sources when I clearly know the answer and just need to implement it: definitely an important lesson for me — AGAIN but sticking to it this time! Went back to Weight Watchers (this time online – which was easy, relatively, once I figured it out). Weighing myself weekly and attempting to keep cutting portion size helped me lose weight.

4.) Buying something really fabulous that I feel (however foolishly) is something classic and usable “forever” is good for my soul and helps me increase the stuff going OUT of my closet. That which is an essential task of being fabulous — if I haven’t worn it in a while and it isn’t my wedding dress – it goes. Am hoping to get rid of my wedding dress soon.

The “buy” was a pair of classic Chanel pumps on final clearance at Saks. I may fall down in them before they wear out/go out of style.

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5.) The decision to just go ahead and do a few things never done before or buy a different brand or type of product/service – and most importantly stop doing some things I know don’t work – have all proven to be smart choices. I exercised my “out of my comfort zone” muscles in both small and large ways — and appreciated the results — not all of which worked but were, at least, interesting.

6.) Keeping my close friends and close family as a priority – yet not feeling any specific obligation to do or attend any given event is a delicate and tough balance worth continually striving for. That combination is making for more fun, less guilt and helps to know who needs to be in (and who needs to be booted from) my/our inner circle.

This combined with constantly lowering my expectations of others (oh do try this if you haven’t already — a true winner strategy) while keeping my expectations of myself high (because that is who I am and how I define myself) is shaping my life to be more of what I want, what I feel truly comfortable with, and with much less feelings of hurt, disappointment or anger.

Hope you learned some lessons from your own experiences as well. Would love to hear about them.

I Miss My Hair

First, I need to admit that I have always had hair envy. In the 60′s, during my teenage years, it was fashionable to have long straight black hair like my friend Bonnie. Since both my mother and father had thick dark hair, by rights I should have had it too.

Cher Portrait

But no. I had thin, mousy brown hair … and even worse — it was wavy. Wavy was definitely not “groovy”. This was well before hot irons, so when my hair was wavy, it stayed wavy. Humidity was my bitter enemy.

I wrote a blog post last year about hair (do you think this might be an obsession?) and admitted to using an ironing board to straighten it at age 16. I’m lucky I didn’t scorch it beyond repair.

Now in my 60′s, my hair still gets wavy…and, of course, once again, straight hair is back in fashion. But that doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that my already thin hair has gotten thinner.

A combination of getting older (which gets the blame for everything) and, until recently, an undiagnosed thyroid hormone issue (which is related to getting older, right?) are the culprits. I work with it … spending a lot of money and time on hair styling, coloring and “products”… and think I am doing pretty well. But I still worry that it could get worse one of these days.

Unfortunately, the hair on my head isn’t the only hair that is thinning. The truth is, hair all over my body has gradually disappeared. It happened slowly, but I began to realize a few years ago that I didn’t need to shave my legs or underarms as often as I used to. And my eyebrows didn’t seem to need as much tweezing.

So, you’d think that I would be happy about this lower maintenance, right? Well, I’m not.

I was talking to my friend Lizbeth recently as we sunbathed at a pool (yes, we wore bathing suits in front of people!). Out of the blue, she said … “Did your mother ever tell you that you would lose hair on your body in places you always had hair – and find it growing in places you didn’t, like on your chin? .. “No, I said, did yours?” It turns out that this was not a mother-daughter discussion that either of us had experienced, so neither of us expected these weird hair changes. (And those same mothers didn’t tell us about bigger ears, feet and noses — but that’s another blog post.)

Why didn’t they warn us about this so that we wouldn’t narcissistically think it was our own personal, never-before-experienced hair issue? Could it be that they thought it was their own personal, never-before-experienced hair issue?

If you are over 60 and losing hair and your mother never talked to you about it, consider this blog as something like a public service announcement … You are not alone!

Actually, we should probably feel lucky about these hair losses since it seems to be all the rage these days to get rid of every single bit of hair everywhere but on the head. Waxing, laser treatments and even a new “do it yourself” permanent hair removal tool (ouch!) that I saw advertised last week on late night television are all designed to save women from … god forbid … shaving armpits, legs or other parts. Men are getting in the act too. Smooth, hairless chests, backs and even “other areas” are apparently a big thing. No doubt the beauty industry is making a fortune.

models-Dolce-Gabbana-spring-summer-2014-fashion-show-shirtless-06

Maybe I should be thankful that I am back in style… Not much hair but without the pain.

Well, I’m not. I’d rather have my hair.

 

Photo credits: here and here

Movie Musts

Bill and I are movie nuts. We also GO to the movies weekly, sometimes twice in a week (that is when you know you are only partially employed). We always seem to be there with 5000 younger people seeing the latest “adventure” (lots of action and technology and volume through the roof) film. We now skip those.

I have two very strong recommendations for every FabulousOver60 reader. Both touched me and educated me in useful ways for our lives right now. Likely more than a few of you have seen one or both — but trust me if you haven’t, both will be favorites and are mature and adult.

Ida:

This is a fantastic history lesson and identity story set in 1962 Poland. It focuses on a young woman who was raised in a convent but learns through her aunt that she is Jewish. “The scene” for me as a coach/fabulous woman wanting to impart shreds of wisdom is when she and someone she has met while “on leave” from the convent (don’t want to play the part of spoiler) start discussing future life options. She keeps asking the question “and then what?” To me this is the coaching line of all time to help younger people think through their options and begin to unravel the importance of choice. Looking back, this may have been a line a loving aunt or friend shared with me as I embarked on my own life. This is a sad movie — but I loved and predicted the ending – Bill didn’t. It’s interesting who does and does not predict a film’s ending. Sharpen your own choice-making at this stage of your life and learn how to help others make their own best choices with this pitch perfect film.

Here is a movie review to really persuade you to see it — but read it after you see the movie — to me it spoils it some.

Chef:

Everything I ever needed to learn about social media was in this modern, heartfelt film that has nothing to do with teaching anyone about social media. But it is truly perfect for those of us still wondering how the whole ‘social media thing’ really works. Meanwhile as you are learning you will be hugely entertained by Dustin Hoffman as an LA restaurateur, Jon Favreau as a dad who becomes a truly sensational father while solving his own career issues, Robert Downey Jr. as a rich ex, and the mom (Sophia Vergara) who handles divorce with grace. The food is so mouthwatering – and plays a starring role. If cooking (or eating) is your thing you will love the kitchen action.

What is the big lesson for me/us? When people in our generation did something really stupid in our lives (hey, pick your really stupid thing) it hung over them forever. We always prayed no one would know – or everyone would forget. We thank God they didn’t have social media then. But the twist is, all that openness existing with the “help” of social media actually works to support and allow moving forward and moving on. Keeping secrets, the skill of our age group, had some great points – but it did not necessarily teach us to let go and move on. LOVED that social media lesson. Think you will love the film.

A review to read – again, maybe after seeing the movie.

The summer has started. Other than having to wear a swimsuit it is going to be the best summer ever – I know you understand.

 

OMG – They Are Wearing THAT?

“OK young lady — you just march right up stairs and change into something more appropriate to go to Aunt Jane’s — and while you are there take off all that ridiculous makeup!!”

OK let’s wake up from the 50s and 60s. Even if we could bring ourselves to say something this archaic, it would have zero impact on the “listener”.

appearance

Let’s start with the concept of “appropriate”. This word has disappeared from the language — very few people think there is such a thing as “being appropriately dressed”. From what I observe at airports, restaurants, religious events, concerts, graduations, family parties in the suburbs, and other venues is that many people – especially, but not limited to younger ones – do not grasp the concept of appropriate dressing.

Being appropriate means you choose and wear clothes not just because you like something or are comfortable in it, but to present yourself in a way that communicates to others. More specifically, presenting yourself to those hosting events, or owning establishments that work hard to please, that shows you care, appreciate the time and effort others put in, and want to celebrate or observe something important to others. Unless it is your own birthday party or wedding, one should spend some time thinking of how what you are wearing is perceived by others.

This of course is counter-cultural – the notion of ‘grab all the attention you can whenever you can’ seems to be the norm. “Being sexy is always a great look — man or woman — anytime, anyplace. If others don’t like it they are likely just jealous.” Or, at the other end, “I can’t be bothered to try to look a little pulled together — sure people used to care — but now — If I am OK with my ‘look’ the heck with anyone else.”

Is there a nice way for us to explain that neither extreme is appropriate? That both the “worship of sexy” look as well as the “I give up and will wear the same thing every day/year” look are EQUALLY inappropriate in most situations?

Let’s try to explain to some with the “hooker look” that it isn’t that the look is bad – it’s just that often times it is inappropriate; not thoughtful of how others see or perceive you given the setting. And, at the other end of the spectrum, let’s consider raising the standard a bit and trying a little harder to dress with care about yourself and others. Just being comfortable is not a universal rule that lets you off the hook from having standards about how you present yourself.

frumpy

In the modern age the term “appropriate” does not comprise a list of arbitrary dos and don’ts that went out with hoop skirts. It is not a moral command to resist being sexy. It is not being a prude or being a fancy pants person that should “chill out”. It is thinking and acting as if others’ sensibilities are valuable and important and should be respected. That’s really modern and fresh – paying some attention to what others think. OMG … really?

 

Photo credits: here, here, here and here

Remember to Stop the Insanity!

Remember Susan Powter and that 1993 book Stop the Insanity?

Always loved that title. Her point was that most dieting and exercising routines were just silly and losing weight is rather simple and relatively straightforward. Not that the search doesn’t continue with Americans still hoping for the magic pill or other process to take off weight and keep it off.

This phrase hit me again when FabulousOver60 received a comment from a reader talking about her worries about her future daughter-in-law. Seems the woman’s family has one style – and the future daughter in law’s family is simply the opposite. What to do she asks?

Stop the insanity is what you do. Meaning, it is simple — take our mother’s (and the Bible’s) advice—reap what you sow!

By the time you are fabulous and over 60 if you haven’t figured this one out you have to make a change — and QUICK. This is old ground. The only reason you are hanging on to nutty ideas is pure intellectual laziness. Take it from those of us who get it – which I am 99.9% sure includes you – don’t make these OBVIOUS life mistakes:

  • Treat your family with little respect — offering unsolicited advice and commenting on faults of people from smoking to being overweight?  Result: Hurt feelings and lower family happiness
  • Treat grandchildren and other young people ‘generically’ — “so how’s school…?” Not seeing and experiencing each as a unique and prized person?  Result: Generic “hi poppy/hi grandma” semi interesting relationship with future generations.
  • Talk about your grandchildren all the time rather than focusing on your friends and THEIR lives and current life issues?  Result: Friend doesn’t say it, but thinks “who cares about Jimmy’s SAT scores and what happened to OUR friendship?”
  • Complain about a job search that is taking too long?  Result: Man from Mars comes down and wakes you up to today’s economic realities and current workplace — if you are looking to get back in the game figure out how the game is played!
  • Combining your money with a guy you just met who is 20 years younger and suddenly so interested in sharing?  Result: All together now – are you crazy???
  • Pretending you are not getting older only better?  Result: Delusion, and worse: making the same mistakes our parents made and dumping the responsibility for handling your inevitable future tough situations on your family.

We are educated, sophisticated, have been there and done that, are informed and connected. Yet we all somehow want a break from the eternal law of the universe.

We need to stop the insanity and start doing more things we know make us happy and sane and healthy. Exercise, positive realism, patience with ourselves, spa time, laughing out loud, spending sensibly, traveling, involvement with our passions, looking for the good, making hard but important choices and being optimistic about the future. “It is all good till it isn’t”.

My girlfriend Barbara said that yesterday – and it is the wisest advice for FabulousOver60s. Stop the insanity. Do the things you know work and dump the obvious mistakes. Enjoy your life while it is good — and when it suddenly isn’t any more, as is inevitable, move on with grace — and a lack of surprise.

When Familiarity Breeds Entitlement

Our maintenance man of two years quit today. Actually, he didn’t tell us he quit. He just didn’t show up. When we called to see where he was, he texted back that he could no longer “financially” afford to work for us.

Let me digress: Like many grateful over-60s, we are at the point in our lives when the risks we took in starting our own business have paid off. We are comfortable — actually even a bit more than just comfortable. And, although being over 60 provides a lot of things, the ability to do challenging home projects is not one of them. So … help with the house is necessary.

Back to the story: Actually, Dennis’s text was no surprise. A couple of weeks ago, he and Ray talked about a job he had done for us – a very expensive job – that wasn’t done correctly. Ray asked him to re-do the job to make it right. He agreed that it had not been done well and, at first, said he would. Then, last week, he told us that he didn’t think he could do it and that we should get someone else. In other words, we should pay to have the job done again. Ray asked what he intended to do for us to make it right – for example, work off the money he had already been paid – and he said he couldn’t believe we’d expect him to do that.

In the early days, Dennis told us he was pleased to be working for us. We gave him the hourly rate he asked for (which was higher than others in the area, but seemed to be worth it since he had a lot of skills). We didn’t quibble over his charges. We employed his sister and mother for a few projects, as well as a friend and two nephews from time to time. We entrusted him with our house as caretaker when we left for the winter and paid him regularly (and significantly) for very little work. We gave him extra projects whenever he wanted them … and recommended him to two neighbors. We exchanged gifts at Christmas and shared stories about our families.

However, I became aware over the past few months that Dennis was becoming a little more familiar than I was comfortable with. He would make comments like … “I wish I could afford that” … or “more stuff for Goodwill?” In retrospect, I was often finding his attitude and comments disturbing. And, it seemed that his work for us was becoming more and more one-sided – his side. For example, he began to come by the house when he wanted to rather than on the schedule we set up with him. He decided that his work for us should fit into his needs rather than ours.

This isn’t the first time I have experienced this familiarity situation. One other time, many years ago, a worker’s last day with us was when he made the comment to Ray that he used a very expensive material without checking because “you can afford it”.

Stack_of_money
We know that it’s a luxury to be able to afford to pay for help with the house. But we also don’t owe our hard-earned money to anyone.

Dennis began to feel entitled, I think. And, he obviously didn’t think problems with his work should be his problem. Although he didn’t say “you can afford it” when he told us to get someone else to do the job, that’s what it felt like.

It’s sad that it ended this way. There seems to be a fine line between friendliness and familiarity. And, when entitlement creeps into the equation, the end is probably inevitable.

Cathy
PS… I actually believe that this story is reflective of a bigger issue in our society … an increasing sense of entitlement without accountability. I never felt entitled to anything I didn’t work for and have always felt that if I took on a task it came along with the responsibility to do it well. Sensing an entitlement mentality in others makes me uncomfortable … and sometimes downright angry. Do you have some thoughts to share about this?

Barbara Walters’ Fabulous Legacy

If you live on Mars you may not know Barbara Walters retired May 16, 2014. With what I thought was well-earned and deserved fanfare and a great exit line:

“Maybe instead of goodbye, I’ll say à bientôt, which in French means, ‘See you later.’”

Read all about the last show here.

Oprah was there who said what I think many of us would have said had we made the cut and been on The View with the other celebrities:

“I had to be here for your last show to celebrate you because of what you have meant to me,” Winfrey began. “You have literally meant the world to me. The truth is there are too many things I want to say but there’s not enough time to say them all. Like everyone else, I want to thank you for being a pioneer, in everything that word means. It means being the first. The first in the room, to knock down the door, to break down the barriers, to pave the road that we all walk on. I thank you for that.”

Barbara’s own 2008 memoir Audition is a great read — I recommend it highly.

Here is Ms. Walters talking about it in 2008 when it was published:

Some of my favorite lessons from Barbara are these:

  • Understanding that “fighting on” was a mu. She took great risks and took responsibility for the results – both good and bad
  • Having consistently high standards and working like crazy to keep them through many decades and career lows as well as highs
  • Trail blazing for women and believing that all the professional women who followed her are her best legacy
  • Changing and continuing to change every decade of her life. Now in her 80s she has plans — different ones obviously, but definitely plans that work for her

Given my long interest and work in coaching as well as psychology and change, it particularly fascinated me how Barbara Walters’ own upbringing and experiences shaped her life and choices. They always do of course. But I think her ownership and understanding of how her life shaped her and influenced her – including her parents, sister, and history – demonstrates how to integrate one’s own self knowledge into powerful self understanding. It is a great model for us all.

Barbara interviewed “everyone” — or almost everyone. I want to share one of my favorite interviews – one with Jane Fonda – another controversial but ever fascinating woman who like Barbara is aging (and sharing with other women) in interesting ways. The interview is based on the biography of Jane written by Patricia Bosworth and published in 2011. It is another great read.

Because of Barbara’s style and approach I heard some things that touched me in the same way Barbara’s own history touched me. Sorry if you hate Jane Fonda — maybe even if you do you can get something from Barbara’s interview — because what Jane shares is because of Barbara’s pitch perfect interviewing.

I won’t say “enough about Barbara” because in many ways there is always something more about Barbara’s life and work that helped make us fabulous and continues to inspire us. Maybe everyone who matters has said goodbye and thanks — but I want to add my own thanks to Barbara Walters. Think Ms. Walters would approve.

“Happy” Memorial Day?

Last year I posted a blog about Memorial Day. Since it seemed to resonate with many of our readers at that time, I thought I’d post it again as we head into 2014′s holiday.

I confess. I wasn’t thinking about Memorial Day as anything other than a holiday. I was busy with a house remodeling problem. I had a deadline for a company project. I was thinking about what to wear to a Memorial Day party.

And then Ray reminded me. As a Vietnam veteran, he never forgets what Memorial Day means. It doesn’t mean parties, rug sales, outdoor barbeques, baseball games or the opening of swimming pools. It isn’t even a holiday to thank veterans for their service (that’s Veteran’s Day). In fact, it’s not a “happy” day at all. It’s a day to honor those who died in our country’s many wars. It is a day of memorial and remembrance.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Washington, DC

Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, DC

I know that I’m not the only one who wasn’t thinking about it that way. In fact, I think it might be the most misunderstood “holiday” of all.

I looked it up. I learned that the first official Memorial Day observance was May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. I learned that until 1971, Memorial Day was observed on May 30. Then, the National Holiday Act of 1971 was passed and Memorial Day began to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.

I learned that the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) believes that the change of date that created a three day weekend has “undermined the very meaning of the day” and has contributed to the “public’s nonchalant observance” of Memorial Day.

I realized as I thought about my own nonchalance that I have been very, very lucky. I have never been directly touched by death from a war. My father and uncles were in the service at the end of WW2 … no action for any of them. Even though my college years of 1968 to 1972 were key Vietnam era years, no friend, boyfriend or classmate was killed in action. In fact, few of them even went to war. My brother and cousins were too young. And, I didn’t have sons who could be sent to Desert Storm or subsequent wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

I’m glad that Ray reminded me about the day’s meaning. It’s unlikely that families of men and women who have been killed in war – or veterans who came back when others didn’t — wish anyone a “Happy Memorial Day” or spend it shopping for bargains.

Cathy Green

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