Tag Archives: Malati Marlene Shinazy

Botox to the Rescue ©

Botox, loved by Malati Marlene Shinazy

My mother had a few warnings that resonate continually in my mind like humming birds dive-bombing past my head on their way to the feeder:

# 1.  If you laugh all day, you’ll cry all night!

# 2. Put on sunscreen or you’ll end up looking like an old leather purse!

botox# 3.  Keep frowning like that and your forehead will stick in that position!

Many of these warnings were meant to scare us children into one behavior or another, so we generally ignored her.  Little did I know, however, how genetics lends some credence to caution # 3.

Recently, Shinazy, BOBB’s publisher and my sister, wrote a story, ‘Botox ‘n Duct Tape’, proudly promoting the secondary use of various tapes for reducing frown lines.

“Ha!” I thought, suddenly envious, “Easy for you to say.”

“While we both inherited extraordinary breathtaking beauty and brilliant minds (place smile here); you inherited most of the best genes in our family“:

“You are the marathon-running-every-continent-on-earth sister.”

“I am the sister who, like our grandmother, trips over small twigs and pebbles.”

“You are the sister who has hardly-worth-mentioning salt-and-pepper hair.”

“I am the sister with super-wide silver streaks at my temples — resembling a skunk ready to ruin everyone’s day.”

“And, while you can joke about those itty-bitty lines between your brows that you affectionately refer to as wrinkles,”

“My brow creases would need surgical retractors to hold them apart.”

botoxI’m not sure my mother’s warning that my tendency to chronically worry and frown as a child, adolescent, young adult, and older boomer would force the corrugator supercilii and procerus muscles to fix into permanent contractions.

To me it hardly matters.  When my staff kept asking me if I were angry or upset upon arriving at the office first thing in the morning – after I’d had a great night’s sleep, peace-inducing meditation and a satisfying cup of coffee, I started my hunt for Botox® Cosmetic.

Now, periodically, I invest in a Botox® treatment– the savior of genetically compromised sisters.  I advise the younger members of our family to entrust their foreheads only to professionals like a Registered Nurse at a Board Certified Dermatologist or Cosmetic Surgeon’s office.  — I have found that these specialists unfailingly inject the Botox® in such a precise manner, it removes involuntary scowl lines, yet still enables me to animate my face — unlike many celebrities we know who sport a fixed-expression countenance after their Botox® treatment.

And, I give thanks to all those scientists who discovered at least 20 medically critical uses for Botox® before they found its benefit for people like me, a boomer who wants to look happy and cheerful whenever I am happy and cheerful.

My sister may have a few genetic advantages.  I have Botox® Cosmetic.

photo  courtesy TomiTapio


Recycling In The Days of Old ©

Recycling for Earth Day with Malati Marlene Shinazy

recyclingWhen my oldest kids were in preschool and primary grades, many weekends were spent at the playground, going up and down slides – for hours.  They never missed a weekend.

They also never wanted to miss a periodic family ritual.  We lived in a part of the US that had just begun recycling.  Our recycling center consisted of four giant igloo-type structures placed dead center in a huge empty parking lot.  Two igloos said, “Glass.”  Two igloos said, “Newspapers.”

Going to the recycling center was an enormous undertaking.  We collected newspapers and glass bottles for weeks.  When we finally had sufficient quantity, we loaded all this stuff, two young kids and an infant into the station wagon.  We drove forever because our so-called recycling center was in the light industrial part of the closest Big City (not very close).

What was totally, 100% entertaining, however—and well worth all the effort it took to get there — was to watch my kids conduct the Recycling Ritual.  Those huge igloos were so tall, steps and a platform were built around them so that stalwart recyclers like our family could reach the 7” recycling hole at the top.

So, up my kids went, a glass bottle in each hand.  Then, poised oh so carefully over the 7” hole, they would take turns throwing a bottle, with all their might, into the igloo.  With the loudest, violent detonating blast of glass crashing onto glass, the bottles landed…  The kids would burst into peals of sustained laughter that were almost as loud as the recycling blasts!  It was contagious; even the baby would break into screaming laughter.

  • Bottle In!
  • Crash!
  • Explosion!
  • Three Children Scream With Delight!
  • Second Bottle In!
  • Crash!
  • Explosion!
  • Three Children Scream Even Louder With Delight!

And so it went, for clearly thirty minutes, while their dad and I struggled to stuff weeks’ worth of thick newspapers into itty-bitty igloo holes.

I have to admit, this was indeed an odd pastime for a young family that tried to eschew violence (with obvious varied degrees of success).

Recycling = Violent Explosions + Fun and Laughter

recyclingToday, even in the smallest hamlets, recycling has become quite civilized.  It is now pedestrian – and – thought-free.  Children interface with recycling by spending their weekends going up and down slides in playgrounds made of recycled flip-flops.  We fill up city-issued recycling containers, roll them to the curb and voila, away go the “office paper, newspapers, cardboard, phone books, magazines, aluminum & tin cans, glass & plastic containers (except polystyrene).”

Yes, gone are the days of schlepping station wagons full of a pack-rat’s bounty of newspapers and bottles to remote places to hear young children take primal pleasure in aggressive, and LOUD, planet-saving….  What’s totally perfect, however, is:

This recycling story is now on a Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe and gets to be recycled – forever.

photos by malati marlene shinazy and shinazy

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Traffic School ©

Malati Marlene Shinazy at Traffic School

traffic schoolAwhile back I wrote a story entitled, “Paying Attention.”  It was all about this luscious first date I went on and how I concentrated on every minutiae of the gorgeous man, meal and good-bye kiss.  As I drove home, attention to detail flew out the window, replaced by a daydreaming drive — until I found myself looking up at the friendly face of the law, writing me a speeding ticket…. Flash forward to Traffic School.

As a first time offender, the state rendered a two-fold fine. I had to pay money (approximately $400) and time (Traffic School).

Traffic School was more than just “time spent,” however, as there was an irritating little decision to be made. Do I attend Traffic School:

  • On-line? Or through live delivery?
  • Comedy delivery?  Or lecture?
  • Lecture in posh college classroom thirty miles away? Or lecture in a drab community room two miles from my home?

I chose live lecture in the drab community room, two miles from my home.  Heck, if the perfect summer day is going to be spent as an indoor hostage for 6.5 – 8.0 hours, what do I care if the seats are upholstered or plastic?

My attitude is: Go to traffic school and be done with it.  My insurance company never hears about the speeding ticket and as long as I don’t get another one in 18 months, it disappears from my driving record. End of Story.

But the story doesn’t end!  It took on a new life once I posted a photo of my fellow speed-demon Traffic School hostages on my Facebook page.  By the flurry of responses this post received, one would have thought I had robbed a bank.

Friends felt obliged to scold me for speeding, tell their stories of how “they fought the law and won,” or chide me for getting caught (this reprimand came from a cop friend). Three days later, the tally of Comments approached 20.

The strangest statement was, “Has anyone here missed a mortgage payment?”  The author of that non sequitur is a friend I’ve known since he was a baby MBA from an Ivy League university.  He is now a senior executive for an $8 billion corporation.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say he must have been drunk when he wrote that comment … If he was driving as well, he’ll be the next hostage in Traffic School.

photo by nathan e  photography

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Waste Not, Want Not ©

Malati Marlene Shinazy on Waste

wasteEven as I wrote the title to this story, Waste Not, Want Not, I wasn’t sure what it meant.  It was one of those wise sayings my mother’s generation used in an attempt to control my behavior… I think she meant, “If I eat all of my food (waste not), I’ll never go hungry (want not).”   Sounds good on the surface, but the logic is off.  I digest every morsel I eat; it becomes waste; and then I want more.

In a previous story, Recycling in the Days of Old ©  I wrote about the delight my children took throwing and crashing glass bottles into recycling igloos in the days before curb-side recycling.

These days, we can recycle nearly everything we use.  We just throw the item into the appropriate colored canister if we live in a municipality that has pre-sorted waste.  Or, we throw every darn thing that might be recyclable into a single canister.  The separating of paper from newsprint and glass from plastic occurs somewhere else, by some magic patented separator.

Despite wasting even less than I did before, I still want more, of something else of course, because I am a member of the Tribe of Wanters.

But wait. I may have found a solution for my shame for being a Wanter.  It’s all about balance: Want Less and Waste Less.

I want chocolate, all the time:

  • I want a chocolate mocha for breakfast.
  • I want chocolate fudge after lunch.
  • I want chocolate chip cookies and milk before I go to sleep.

The chocolate itself never goes to waste; it just makes me fat.  If I want to eat a lot then I’d better want to exercise a lot, too – again, balance.  Working out at the gym and yoga recycles the chocolate from my waistline into the great unknown.

But the wrapping?  Mostly, that’s just considered trash.  Although my recycling bin is filled with newspapers and office paper, my trash bin is filled with wrappers that covered some kind of chocolate.

The curbside recycling company wants me to turn my wants into waste.  But my new balanced solution has found an operational component: Terracycle.com.  Terracyclea company started by a couple of smart college kids, will take those wrappers of wants and turn them into something useful I also want, like park benches.

So I’ve joined 30 million other people who are now recycling all kinds of waste from what we want.  We just print a mailing label and Terrracycle pays for shipping the box of empty wrappers.

I’m a member of these Recycling Brigades:

  • Candy Wrapper Brigade
  • Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade
  • Coffee Bag Brigade

There are a total of 48 Brigades at this writing, including a Paired Shoe Brigade and a Flip-Flop Brigade, for footwear Wanters.

This form of “Waste Not, Want Not” may be unfamiliar to my mother, but 2,421,760,561 items of non-trash converted into $4,457,039 of money for charity would certainly be a program she would want.

photo from www.terracycle.com 

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Weary Wonder Woman Withers ©

Wonder Woman, aka, Malati Marlene Shinazy 
wonder woman
Last week, BOBB’s publisher, my sister, wrote about our family’s long line of Wonder Women. She started with our great great grandmother who emigrated from Paris to San Francisco during the Gold Rush.
When Sister acknowledged she couldn’t juggle everything on her over-full plate, I was not unhappy.  Why?  I’ve always seen her as perfect and me as… well, not.
For background on this sibling-disorder, read my “Botox© To The Rescue” story:
I tentatively decided to take this opportunity to gloat a bit.
Here’s a partial history of this Wonder Woman’s accomplishments:
After college, I worked as my husband’s research assistant while he obtained his Ph.D. “So what’s the big deal?  Women do this all the time.”
Here’s the Big Deal: This 5th generation San Franciscan had to move to Philadelphia, schlepping my first-born.  Besides helping my husband, I found and furnished a home for us.  I sourced, purchased and renovated houses for a fledgling rental portfolio.  And, every winter I slipped and fell, sending my first-born air bound. Did the same when baby #2 arrived.
Just before Dad completed his degree, I began working full time and started grad school.  Picture this:
·         Working full time
·         Raising two smart, articulate, wild kids
·         Being a great business partner to my husband
·         Acting as general contractor for our rentals
·         Totally renovating our new home: built in 1911, 4,000 square feet, 3-stories
·         Staying up until 4:00 am to write research papers.  And…pregnant with baby #3!
Flash Forward
Returning to CA, Wonder Woman started a successful consulting and training company so she could be Super Mom.  I worked client meetings around driving kids to three different schools, ballet lessons, violin lessons, guitar lessons, soccer practice, soccer games, and camp.
When I wasn’t being taxi-mother, I was flying to client sites like Panama, as the US Government was turning over the canal to the Panamanian Government.
Flash Forward to Now
After a few years of working 13-hour days in corporate America, I am currently:
·         Re-launching the consulting business in another part of the state
·         Treasurer of the local Lions Club (service club)
·         Dating 25% of the non-incarcerated single men within a 50-mile radius…not as much fun as it sounds.
·         Working out regularly to keep myself fit and vain
·         Writing clever stories for BOBB
·         Administering thyroid medication to the cat twice daily
·         Conducting seasonal maintenance on my rental in the mountains
·         Skype-ing my “almost launched kids” at all hours
Yes, Sister, this Wonder Woman is on a roll.    
Until Yesterday:  I missed my Lion’s Club Treasurer Report deadline.  I slept straight through the morning alarm and was embarrassing late for a breakfast date.  And my right wrist started aching.
·         I seem to be unable to meet my commitments
·         I seem to be overly tired
·         I seem to be developing repetitive motion disorder

It seems this Wonder Woman is weary, too.
I take it all back, Sister.  We need a vacation and cortisone shot for my wrist.
photo by Arne Hendriks
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Free at Last: Adults at Play ©

Adults play around near Malati Marlene Shinazy

adults playI was suppose to be working … sort of.  I wanted to observe TheGoGame    a unique team building game, so I was tagging along with the CEO as he played with a group of professionals.

As I donned the orange jump suit that signaled I was part of TheGoGame staff, I suddenly realized: These office workers were going to be Free at Last: Adults at Play!  And, so was I.

TheGoGame has all manner of high tech urban adventure games for different clients.  The most salient common denominator though is: FUN.

The afternoon started with each team opening a super-hero themed lunch box and giving the team a name.

Inside, were the tools needed to accomplish each “mission” of the game:

  • Web enabled cell phone
  • Initial instructions
  • Camera

Missions contained components of planning, stealth and play.  The game was two hours long and each mission garnered a certain number of points.  Each team had to decide whether to complete more missions or focus on the creative ones.

All of these elements were exactly what adults at play need:

  • Strategy
  • Luck
  • A bit of confusion to overcome

… … just like at work!  No wonder, TheGoGame’s tag line is, “Play Like It’s Your Job.”

A small sampling of the missions:

  • Driving a remote-controlled car around an obstacle course, while blindfolded and coached by teammates.
  • Videotape your team disco dancing behind an unaware stranger.
  • Trying to calm and then catch a sobbing, then dashing away bride, who had just left her fiancé at the alter.
    • After you catch her, you have to convince her to tell your team where to go next … BTW: the bride is an actress.

Video taping successful missions is where Adults at Play is really displayed. Adults at Play = Taping the company VP being eaten by a zombie!

At the end of two hours, the teams gathered, their mission video clips were downloaded, and music selected for each one.  As each team’s mission video was revealed to the entire group, the other groups used the web enabled phones to cast their votes.

The voting scale, like everything else, had an element of humor in it.  Who knows for sure, I was having too much fun to remember the details… but I think the lowest score was something like, ”That video sucked.”  The highest score, “That video rocked.”

Watching the videos, everyone laughed, applauded, and continued to play.  After the final scores were tabulated (mission accomplished scores + the video voting scores), prizes were given out:

  • Lowest Scoring Team > Rubber Chicken
  • Next Team Higher > Sigmund Freud Action Figure
  • Highest Scoring Team > Well… you can only guess  🙂

This was truly an afternoon where fun reigned and the employees were given the chance to be Free at Last: Adults at Play… me too!

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The Smart Phone Saga ©

A Story by Malati Marlene Shinazy

Chapter One:

My cell phone is an important tool.  When cell phone developers became smart enough to develop smart phones, I jumped at the first fiscally responsible opportunity to own one (I.e., I didn’t break my zillion year contract and pay my provider a million dollar fee for the opportunity).

Finally, I had a smart phone.  My son and I upgraded at the same time, so were on the same steep learning curve.  It was his suggestion that developers refer to these devices as smart phones because learning to use them makes us feel… well, rather dumb for awhile.

It took about two weeks to learn the basic functionalities of my smart phone… Then, it started calling people without me touching it.  I returned to the reseller store.  The smart phone had a problem. They ordered me a new one.

Chapter Two:

It took an evening to establish settings for Device #2.  All was right with the world…. for about two weeks… Suddenly Device #2 got so smart it not only called random numbers, it went on and off by itself.  Surely, this one was possessed.  Back to the store, whose manger assured me of the rarity of my experience and graciously ordered Device #3.

I got Device #3 functioning quickly.  A month passed, then two months…  I finally had a Device that worked… Until I dropped my laptop on it and shattered the screen.  Device #3 still worked, I just couldn’t see the buttons or keys.

Quite embarrassed, I returned to the store and activated my insurance for Device #4… This operated like a pro — for about two months… It then stopped working altogether: nothing, nada, nullité.

By now, my original smart phone was no longer available. Device #5 was an upgrade.  “Not so bad,” I thought, “At least I secured an out-of-cycle upgrade without paying a million dollars.”

How naïve to think Device #5 would last longer than it’s predecessors.

  • Bigger? Check.
  • Faster? Check.
  • Stronger? Check.
  • Reliable?  Ahh, that would be a loud, NO!

Unceremoniously, I went through Device #6.  Its death didn’t even surprise me.

What did surprise me was the scolding I received from the provider when I called to question why Device #7’s charging port wouldn’t hold onto my chargers.

“Silly woman,” chided the customer service rep. “Why’d you wait so long? It’s now out of warranty.  You’ll have to return to the store where you purchased the original phone.”

I imagined the voice of Hal, the super computer who takes over the spaceship in the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I can see you’re really upset about this.

I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.”

Upset?  Try… Livid!

Device #8 arrived last night.  It took 1.3 minutes to get it running.

Eight smart phone devices in 14 months!!  

And now we wait for …

Chapter Three

=  =  =  =  =  =

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photo by shinazy

Guest Rooms ©

A Story by Malati Marlene Shinazy

I have two good friends, one woman, one man, who each live 2-3 hours drive from me.  “Mi casa es su casa” is not just a casual term for either of these friends.  It is quite literal.  Not only are their homes always open to me, they’ve given me keys, so I can pop in whenever I like.

Like many families, their homes have designated guest rooms.  Unlike many, however, I am the nearly the only guest — I’m at one home or the other at least monthly.  Over time, the guest rooms have been affectionately re-labeled, “Malati’s Room.”  One has a bed I gifted my friend years back; the other has a bed I recommended during a refurnishing spree.  I have purchased favorite high-loft pillows to leave in each room, and have moved the table lamps around to accommodate my late-night reading patterns (light over my right shoulder, please).

One of these guest rooms is a gallery of my daughter’s college artwork, and includes a triptych of photos of my kids at three stages of their childhood. Come to think of it, it has more of my children’s presence than my own room at home.

I most always call and ask the same question, “Is there room at the Inn this weekend?”  And, quite naturally, the answer is always some variation of, “Of course; your room is always ready for you, Madame.”  Still the gracious guest, I alert them my approximate arrival time.  But, as it’s often late at night, I sneak quietly in like an errant teen, careful not to awaken them.

In the morning however, out of the guest rooms I come, the ceremonial coffee awaiting me, with milk, if I remember to bring it.  At some time during the stay, we catch up on gossip at one house and solve all the problems of the world at the other.  I always have other tasks on my visit agenda, but protect time for the treasured chatting sessions.

These guest rooms have been mine for over a decade now, and I seldom think how truly fortunate I am to have such caring friends.  Raised to be well mannered, I often bring a little something to thank them, but staying in these guest rooms has more meaning to me than I express.

But now, as I sit in the living room chair I always occupy during a visit, while my friend prepares our evening meal, I realize…

This Is Wonderful!  I am one of the most fortunate women in the world.  I am home here too.

I have two precious friends whose guest rooms have been deeded over to me. Guest rooms aren’t really guest room in these homes, they are Friends’ Rooms. 

photo by elisaself

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Natural Freedom ©

A Story by Malati Marlene Shinazy

I’ve been watching babies, toddlers, and preschool kids a lot lately.  With nice weather, they appear outside with their moms, everywhere, like naturally free wildflowers do in in  the springtime fields.

Nine months ago, a young family moved in next door: Mama Bear, Pappa Bear and Four Baby Bears, all under the age of nine.  Although I knew they were there, and saw them on their way to school and karate practice, they were relatively silent and invisible all winter and spring.

This past weekend, the weather started a sustained hot-spell.  Dad spent most of one afternoon installing a canopy, splashing pool and swings set.  As soon as the installations were complete, as though on cue …  out of the house emerged two screeching and laughing daughters, a slightly quieter son, the mom and baby.

For the rest of the weekend,  the kids played in the backyard, chatting, chortling and throwing water at each other. This was natural freedom at its most joyful expression.  Occasional spongy balls, towels or flip-flops would find their way over the fence into my backyard.  The kids didn’t hesitate to shout my name as loudly and as prolonged as necessary to get my attention…  Hey, they were just exhibiting their rights of natural freedom…. They even transformed the three syllables of my first name into multiple singsong melodies … distinct songs, same intentions:

  • They enjoyed  playing sound games singing my name
  • They really did  want me to get the ball back to their side of the world

For the first time in years, the neighborhood was truly alive with a natural freedom of speech.  The kids engaged each other in and out of the pool, on and off the swing set… supervised only through the wall of windows along the back of their home.  No adults interfered with their play. No adults limited their voices. No adults put restrictions on their volume. … They were free and full of energy, life force and creativity.

As I listened to the little kids wind down toward bedtime, two thoughts came to mind:

FirstThought: “I finally got the meaning to a Jim Morrison poem:

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are  … That kind of freedom can’t be granted. Nobody can win it for you.”

Second Thought:  Last week, like a mad cheerleader, I easily coaxed 500 high school students, parents, teachers and school administrators alike to stand on the hard bleachers and “shake their booties” half way through the insufferably long, boring High School Scholarship Awards Event (see previous BOBB story, High School Scholarship Night.

Something totally out of the norm for these sorts of rituals occurred… We all laughed and  played with the natural freedom of the little kids next door.

photo by shinazy

High School Scholarship Night ©

A Story by Malati Marlene Shinazy

Half of the gym floor is covered with red plastic sheeting to protect it from shoes. Now, however, it’s a perfect trip-and-fall opportunity for 75 teens wearing stiletto heals or six-inch platform shoes. The flip-flop kids are equally at risk as they shuffle their way to the bleachers.  Also in danger, we baby boomers, parents and presenters alike, simply because we’re not the nimble plastic sheet-walkers we use to be.

This year, the presenters have been upgraded from sitting on hard wooden bleachers to fifty-year old cracked plastic chairs that pinch the skin if one wriggles, even a little.

The Pledge of Allegiance is followed by the National Anthem.  Then, 500 +/- people attempt to get comfortable for the endurance event: The scholarship presentations themselves.  Last year, this took three hours.  The optimistic school principle promises it will be completed in two hours this year.

We proceed… In a deadened monotone, the first presenter drones, half hidden behind a podium:

“ Hello, my name is Mrs. Beverley Somebody (Fill in the Blank).

I represent the Women of (Fill in the Blank).

We are happy to present some amount of money (Fill in the Blank) to the following student (Fill in the Blank), who wrote the most impressive essay and will graduate to go to college (Fill in the Blank).”

As the student descends from the nosebleed section of the bleachers, we watch her step carefully over sweatshirts, backpacks and her classmates’ parents.  Finally reaching the non-plastic section of floor, her stilettos emit the loudest sound our ears can endure.  It seems the school’s microphone stand is a strong amplifier.  Through the old sound system, we can hear the recipient’s footfalls with more audible definition than we can hear Mrs. Somebody’s muffled voice!

And on it goes, one uninspired presenter after another, each offering a version of the same speech.  Only the unexpected stiletto-bongo-walk of a random recipient keeps us awake.

After the first hour, there’s rustling in the bleachers:  The students are restless; their parents are chatting; little brothers and sisters are running around.

Finally, it is our turn to present.

With the loudest, crispest diction I can project through the old sound system, I SHOUT:

“Everybody, Stand Up! 

Get off those hard bleachers, NOW!

We’ve been sitting for a Full Hour!

If my tuckus is numb, surely yours is too!

Shake it out!  Stomp up and down.  Move around a little!

That’s right…  Move around a little!”

While most of the presenters hold steadfast to their cracked plastic chairs, a bleacher rumble bursts forth.

The energy is infectious… even a few whoops and hollers!  After a few moments, the bleacher denizens are refreshed and sit down.

I laugh aloud and thank them for playing with me.  After my presentation, I leave the gym for a photo shoot with our organization’s scholarship recipients.  Behind me, I can hear the audience:  They are awake and re-energized for the next hour or two of scholarship presentations.

My job is done… until next year.

Congratulations, Class of 2012!