19 July 2010

Slainte, Dublin

We may have landed in Ireland Wednesday, but it has taken until today --  Monday -- for it that fact to sufficiently sink in. Pity it took me so long to wake up and smell the peat fire burning. I suppose I had to spend most of my time and energy thus far adjusting Bunni to her new surroundings and time zone. I also had to spend a few days mourning the trips to Dublin of yore, when the Mister and I were footloose and fancy free, traipsing willy-nilly into pubs diminutive and crowded as a tin of sardines, carousing with friends  -- then emerging, squinting, into the winking dawn to seek a taxi home.

I've tried to reconcile myself to the fact that I may not get to have a pint at O'Donohughes,  prowl through my favorite charity (i.e. thrift) shops in Dun Laoghaire, eat fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, or hunt for razor clam shells along the Sandymount Strand this time around.

What follows is, to date, what it took for me to finally feel settled in this time:

-the donning of wool socks (in July!)
-11 cups of hot, sweet (for only in Ireland do I take siucra), milky tea
Father Ted : Complete Box Set [1995]-one episode of Father Ted 
-two perusals of the Irish Times weekend edition
-2 1/2 Twix bars (thank you, Irish chocolate, for tasting like chocolate instead of wax)
-two tawdry BBC4 "documentary" tv programs
-one exquisite, satisfying Carvery-style lunch of roasted turkey breast, gravy and roast potatoes,  homemade by my mother-in-law
-one covetous pore over the beautiful book, Romantic Irish Homes
-one tea cup-size serving of my own improvised rice pudding (basmati, milk, sugar, egg yolk, tangerine peel and a teaspoon of Hennessy simmered in a pot until I couldn't wait any longer)
-one proper dress up dinner out done right; consisting of Gin and tonic, appetizer (or starter as they say here) wine, main course (the pan seared Hake was good but Tim's duck breast was even better), dessert and then coffee
-two trips to the new Booterstown nautical-themed playground, where I get to take in the views of the Irish Sea and Bunni gets to see the train passing
-9 pot shots taken and approximately 4 received (because sarcasm is the second recognized language in these parts and if you can't take a joke made at your expense here, you're better off staying home)
-one long walk through the narrow streets of Rathgar to the black-painted wrought iron-ringed Harold's Cross park

This trip is our second to Ireland with our daughter but the first where her needs dictate our movements. Many accommodations must be made to her sleep schedule. Fortunately, sticking close to home isn't so bad. We're ensconced in the ground floor flat of a charming old house. We have our own kitchen, and a living room facing a beautiful walled garden, so this time around I get to have friends and family over, and serve them food and drink for a change. If I can manage that, a trip on the DART to Howth, and a new camera battery charger (so every post won't be so sadly bereft of images) then I can go home happy enough.

24 June 2010

Mr. Clean

I was introduced to this song circa 1995/6, by my friend Nate. As was typical in those days, he put it on a mix tape for me.

Someone told me Bill Withers was a janitor before he was signed as a recoding artist. I think they were thinking of Kris Kristofferson, but let's not let the truth be the enemy of a good blog post.

Little Nate (as we called him, to differentiate him from another friend, Big Nate) impressed the hell out of me for sticking around the morning after one of my parties to help clean up. He got down to business quietly and matter of factly, putting all the dining room chairs on top of the dining table so he could sweep and mop underneath. I'd never once thought to do that, to clean so thoroughly. It was a small gesture, but it made an impression on me.

Little Nate was, as my friend Becca would have put it then, a bit of a drunk. I wonder if he's still as committed to the whiskey as he was then.

Here's to you Nate. I hope someone is hoisting the chairs up onto the tables and making sure the floor gets a good mopping for you - metaphorically, or hell, literally, why not. 

The Only Way Out is Through

I've been doing a lot of reading lately about how memories take shape, and how they in turn shape us. Parenting From the Inside Out gets pretty deep into brain mechanics, in an effort to explain how our childhood memories effect how we raise our children. A lot of the brain-talk is a little more scientific than this blog needs to get, but what stood out for me was this fact: the human brain is thought to be the most complex thing in the known universe. The most complex thing. 

Makes sense then that we are the only entity concerned with "truth".

Here's a question I've wanted an answer to -- the truth, as it were -- for some time.

As I've noted before, this parenting thing has been hard for me. I look around at my mom friends and wonder: why am I struggling so hard? Most of said women are not only succeeding as moms, but are also juggling jobs, cottage industries, daily blogs, or pursuing their dream project on the side, or dealing with multiple children, or at the very least, not falling apart as often as I seem to.

So what gives?  I've got one stellar child. A little active, maybe, and a frequent night waker, but by all accounts a model mini-human being. I don't work, I have a very proactive and supportive husband, my health, and lots of friends and resources at my disposal. What is wrong with me that being a mom is such a struggle?

10 group therapy sessions, 6 individual sessions, a few 12 step meetings, multiple pertinent books and hours of reflection later, I understand a little better.

Bear with me. Some of you won't like this much.

Apparently, I have not been merely experiencing my daughter's childhood; I am reliving my own. Which was light on roses, heavy on the thorns (if you get my drift.) Additionally, I am feeling for the first time all the difficulties that I was unable to accept and absorb as a defenseless child, one without the benefit of facebook, cathartic writing, warm baths, margaritas, reckless driving and the ear of good friends that I enjoy today. What I couldn't take on board then got stowed away below decks, if you will.

I'd really rather not get much further into this line of thought because I know plenty of readers will consider it 100 proof BS, and I'm not prepared to defend my nascent standpoint. But that's where I'm at and let me tell you, it's not a fun place to live most times (big shout out to my husband for being dragged along on the roller coaster).

Along the way I found the incredible Mary Karr. She became an illuminated signpost in the dark unmarked path I was straggling down. I have now plowed two-thirds of the way through her memoir triology,

The Liars' ClubCherry : A MemoirLit: A Memoir

so let me summarize her journey for you: spectacularly traumatic childhood leads to eventual alcoholism and general babymamatraumadrama. Things begin to turn around when she 12-Steps her way into religion. Stability, personal and professional success and general satisfaction with life are the end result (but please don't take my word for it -- read for yourself. I don't do justice to her extraordinary powers of storytelling).

Hmmm, I began to think to myself. Religion. God.  Prayer. There's a concept. Heck, I remember God. Used to be pretty tight with him back in the day.

So I tried it. I thought long and hard about what I wanted, what I really, really wanted, then took a deep breath and asked for it: more of the Santa Barbara feeling, please. I'd like more of the contented inward stillness I get when I'm in that town, descending the Thousand Steps or under the eucalyptus on the Douglas preserve or watching the top of Los Padres winking through cottony wisps of coastal cloud. I'd like the peace that comes from being with people who care about me and want the best for me, like I get when my half-sister and I converge there and hang out with her dad (who lives in SB and is the reason I know the area at all).

That's what I asked for,  and the very next day my half-sister called to tell me that her dad was thinking of us and wanted to sponsor a little trip, for she and I to be together.

Wow, I thought. If that's the power of prayer, than count me in.

Of course, if you've read my older posts, you know that this is not the first instance of me reading helpful intervention as From Above. But I have to learn something about three thousand times before I really believe it, apparently.

MythologyA few weeks into this rapprochement with the divine -- because though I was willing to recognize a higher power, I wasn't necessarily reuniting with my childhood notion of the Great Bearded One -- and I stumbled into a problem. While reflecting on the way I had as a child been sacrificed to my parents' needs, I remembered the story of Iphegenia. Re-reading my high school copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology I came across this passage about her:

"The Greeks, as has been said, did not like stories in which human beings were offered up, whether to appease angry gods or to make Mother Earth bear a good harvest or to bring abut anything whatsoever. They thought about such sacrifices as we do. They were abominable. Any diety who demanded them was thereby proved to be evil, and, as the poet Euripides said, "If gods do evil then they are not gods".

Which made me wonder: why am I praying to a god for resolution to a situation s/he/it allowed in the first place? If god can remove/resolve the effects of a painful situation, couldn't s/he/it have prevented it from happening at all?

At the 12 step meetings I attended, I was bereft to hear member after member exclaim how little they knew after so long, even after years in the program. I don't want to sit in a cavernous hall ten years down the line to realize I still don't know anything. I feel like shit now, thank you very much. I would like to feel less like shit tomorrow, and even less the day after that.

Somehow, I don't think praying to a god to take my pain/sins/flaws away is the way to feeling less shitty. Not for me, anyway. I know it works for other people, and bully for them. For me, the only way out is through.

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time on a small green island there lived a certain young man. The youngest of four black-haired brothers, he grew up surrounded by guitars, pianos and melodies. Music would always be at the tips of his magical fingertips, his grandmother -- herself a concert pianist -- told him. She was right. By the time he was 20 his songs could be heard all over his small green island.

This was one of the songs the young man wrote.

At much the same time, halfway around the world, there was a young woman who lived in a candy-colored house by the ocean. When she couldn't sleep she would walk through the fog to the water's edge and ask the sea lions lolling there to sing to her. Some nights those sea lions would grant her a song, serenading her all the way home, until her eyelids became heavy with sleep.

The young woman used to read many books, one by a famous man who talked about an "oceanic feeling" that is universal to all people everywhere. The famous man had never had that feeling, but the lonely girl had. While thinking about the oceanic feeling,  and feeling sorry for the famous man who'd never felt it, she painted his picture one night.

Many years later, the lonely young woman met the black haired man. A small voice inside his head told him "this is the woman you will marry". But the young woman wasn't so sure.

One night, under a full moon lunar eclipse, he played her the song he had written, so many years before. As he picked out the chords on the guitar strings, she felt the oceanic feeling wash over her like a tide. Something about the song felt familiar; then she recognized it. It was the song the sea lions used to sing to her.

He asked her to marry him that night underneath the full moon; she agreed.

So off the two went to a faraway land where lotus flowers were left as offerings at gilded temples. Together they knelt before nine monks dressed all in orange, who tied them together for eternity, marrying them.

Today, when their baby girl is sleepy, they softly sing the same song to her, so that she can dream of sea lions splashing in cold green waves, and of smoke curling above lotus blossoms in golden temples.

The End.

Who Am I Kidding?

In college I dated a lanky art student who once invited me to the university's art studio. He painted, Pixies playing in the background, while I read on the sidelines -- happy as a fireside-napping tabbycat.

We didn't date long. I probably gummed things up by getting overly pre-occupied with him, or maybe I just wasn't his type. In any case, we didn't drop our respective veils enough to let the other in on our secrets. There was one exception: he told me that every once in a while he would be felled by insecurities that showed up in the form of the question: Who am I kidding?

I immediately adopted the phrase for my own. Even today, all these years later, there is a distinct satisfaction in how those words distill my anxieties so succinctly. Who am I kidding?

Welcome to one such phase of self-annihilation.

A fellow writer friend told me last week over drinks that my latest blog posts seemed to be teetering on the verge of increased self-revelation. That was very perceptive of her; I'm not even sure I knew that was happening.

It is true that I've made a conscious effort to keep things on the frothier side around here, not wishing to plum the depths of my soul out in the bare air of the WORLDWIDE web. That's a lot of eyes.

And yet at the same time those depths are too big a part of the operation around here to ignore. So I'm going to brave it, a little at a time. We'll see how it goes.

If Wishes Were Horses

...this house would be carpeted with road apples.

A while back I offered up an arrangement for our living room that requires some new furniture items. I didn't think anyone would much notice my sketch, let alone read it (Hello...hello...hello... Anyone out there?...there?...there?..) But to my surprise, a few did. So I'm following up.

Here is my list of new items necessary to complete my ideal arrangement:

1. Flat screen tv
Nothing jumbo-tron-ish need apply. Just be flat, easy on my fading eye sight, and unobtrusive.

2. Sectional Sofa
I know what you're thinking. Those giant L-shaped monstrosities? How gauche. Sectionals are the minivans of couches!
I know. I thought the same way. When my oldest dearest friend (a mother of three) told me she was desperate for one of these behemoths, I looked at her askance. That was several years ago, before I joined her mothering ranks. Now I get it.

When you get so little time to sit down in front of the tv, you want that time to be comfortable. And I want to be within touching distance of my darling husband. On a sectional we can both recline, feet up ideally in one or the other's lap.

You know who didn't get it? A production designer friend. She tried very gently -- yet insistently-- to talk me out of a sectional. "Just get a cheap used couch with good bones and recover it. It'll look so much better." I think she was on the verge of a style intervention. But I was (am) adamant.

So, is this one really so bad?

3. TV credenza

I'm kind of into this orange piece at CB2which is really just a sad simularcum of this
Gorgeous right? I love orange in a living room. I read it's supposed to foster conversation. It's a warm, cheerful color that works surprisingly well with many styles and palettes. It was also this guy's favorite color, I hear.

A few things I've learned about myself the past year.

Got your magnifying lenses out?  Good, because today we are navel gazing, after the jump. If you're not bursting with interest in my navel, you may wish to skip this post. But since you've already got your magnifying lense out, why not stare into your own depths for awhile. Go ahead, I give you permission. Go on, its good for you.

08 March 2010

But rich or poor the woman has to work for both of them

Did anyone else find it patronizing that the Oscar orchestra played "I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)" as Kathryn Bigelow walked offstage after accepting her academy award? 

And what took so long for a woman director to receive the award, anyway?

In honor of International Woman's Day, here is a little song for you. What I'd like to know is, what one thing can you think of that would improve the lives of women you know?

03 March 2010

Pardon Our Dust

I've been AWOL for awhile. This can only mean one thing: La BunBun hasn't been sleeping through the night. Which means, of course, that I haven't been sleeping through the night. Sleep deprivation is the lumberjack, and I, dear reader, am the tree, felled at the knees.

Lack of sleep doesn't just make me tired, it sucks me dry -- leaving me a brittle shell of myself; someone stumbling, bleary-eyed and vacant, through her days; surviving instead of living.

In the past few weeks, running on fumes and too tired or resistant or stubborn or scared to ask for enough help,  I'll admit I've come unglued. Bear in mind that this delicate piece of machinery called Me was held together with a chewed stick of Trident and a broken bobby pin to begin with, so the results have not been pretty.

Or fun.

No one told me when I was fixing to pop out a baby that in becoming a mother, you aren't just magically bestowed a beautiful new life; your old one is taken away in exchange. All the hard fought and won ways I had learned to function in the world, the person I'd honed myself into over the last thirty-odd years, my tricks and skills for getting through my days, for staying sane and being content -- these all ceased to function. Were made redundant. Evaporated in an instant. No longer applicable or possible or available.

Sometimes it feels like I walked out of a fire with third degree burns and now I have to stitch together a new skin for myself out of my own charred remains. 

Try doing that on a few hours of sleep here and there.  (I know many of you have, and didn't even need to complain about it, and I am in awe.)

With absolutely no other choice, I've had to ask for more help -- a proposition as enticing to me as gargling Clorox. But unbelievably to me, help is forthcoming. I've circled my wagons and am watching the cavalry crest the hills in the distance, on their way to me.

This morning my friend Jen posted this video on Facebook. It was filmed down the road from me, but hits close to home in a much more metaphorical way. It speaks to the tyranical control freak in me, but gives me hope of a creative outlet for that maniac - the operative word being outlet -- as in LET her OUT already.

I hope you enjoy it.

09 February 2010

"It amazes me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being [relegated] into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners."
                                  - Rev. Al Sharpton to the Atlanta Tabernacle Baptist Church, January 2009
LGBTQI Contingent
MLK Kingdom Day Parade January, 2010
Los Angeles, CA

05 February 2010

Photo Finish Friday: All A-flutter

Monterey Park, CA June 2009

26 January 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rom-Com

Oh, Hollywood. You paint the world in such broad strokes. You would have us believe that estrogen hard-wires the females of our species toward an affinity for the chick flick, that genre of cliche-ridden, tear-stained, make-over montage-featuring, romance-worshipping movie that is your supposed contribution to womenkind. Honestly, Hollywood, I'm insulted. And not that interested in watching your ingenue du minute meet cute, get hurt by and then proposed to in a rain storm/train station/crowd scene. Snore city.

And yet.

I recently discovered that I don't actually hate your chick flicks, after all. Let me explain.

When I was younger, I wanted my movies to challenge me. Drugstore Cowboy, The CelebrationThe Celebration: these were amongst my favorites. Movies that wrung me dry, didn't tell me how to feel, beat me severely about the head and shoulders with their angst. That kind of thing was my kind of thing.

Then a little something called life happened. Now that, as an adult, life is itself a challenge, I don't particularly need my movies to be so, too. Gimme beauty, fun, frivolity. Hell, a few songs never hurt, either.

My slow descent from art house cinema started innocently enough with the period drama. I've always been fascinated with the past, and until they discover a time machine that actually works, the period drama is the closest I'll ever get to experiencing it.(Visit here for a fantastic selection of period dramas, listed by era.)

Now within the category of the period drama is an important subset called the costume drama. Beautiful clothes makes me happy, so is it any surprise that I'd slap down $12 to see pretty ladies shrink wrapped in corsets and crusted in jewels? Gimme some costume loving, particularly set in the distant past,

Sophia Coppola's incomparable Marie Antoinette: confectionery color palette shaded with human darkness = one fine movie

and I'll eat out of your hand.

Historical drama, corset classic... all merely gateway drugs, my friends. It was only a matter of time ...

Sometime in the past year, I desperately tried to justify a binge of frothy romantic comedies. That's when it occurred to me: chick flicks can be redeemed! All it takes is a special kind of main character: strong, silent, occasionally wooden ... (but not like this). Houses! I mean houses, folks. When an architectural gem figures prominently enough to stand up to the lead actors, you can count me in.

My introduction to this phenomenon was the stinker Practical Magic. Even the usually stellar Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest as spinster witch aunts couldn't salvage it. And yet it was good enough to watch more than once, (on mute) only because of this gorgeous Victorian:

I've spun many a daydream around this house. Ballroom, library; there's square footage enough for a smorgasboard of theme rooms! Do I even need to mention that the whole thing overlooks the ocean? *Sigh*.

The next fantasy cinema home I fell for was in Under the Tuscan Sun:

in which Diane Lane lives out the universal fantasy of making over a stately but stubborn  Italian. Mark my words, next time I get divorced, I'm moving straight to the Italian countryside to plonk down my alimony payments on a crumbling gem-in-the-rough. (NB to Mr. Sybarite: I'm only kidding, honey. Ti amo!)

With Nights in Rodanthe Diane Lane (hello, again!) more or less copyrighted herself as the official Chick-Flick-House Lady. When I say the above structure was the most interesting part of the movie, please believe me and spare yourself the agony of watching it. No, really. I mean it. There's only room for one inanimate romance per film.

Having now fully embraced the romantic comedy genre, I had no problem seeing It's Complicated. It stars Meryl Streep, so in this case, at least you get credible acting. Though it was a thoroughly enjoyable cinematic diversion, I most loved my moments inside her character's sprawling 1920's Spanish-by-way-of-California ranch house. (But the part where her character excitedly begins renovations to give her a "real" kitchen made me slightly apoplectic. All single moms should have kitchens as beautiful as hers!) Those interested can find an excellent, if maniacally exhaustive, write up about it here.

Apparently, the decor of the Diane Keaton film Something's Gotta Give was so beguiling it has inspired its own eponymous style. (Now I understand why I also liked The Holiday: both were production designed by Jon Hutman.) Clearly I'm not the only person taking as much pleasure in the backgrounds of these films as in the foreground.

And though it may be common to focus on the backdrops of rom coms, is it, well... odd? Are we freaks? Do men do this too? Judging by the general male desperation to avoid romcoms, I'd say not so much. Just what is this about, anyway?

I can only speak for myself. I only went deep into the genre after my daughter was born. Initially I thought sleep deprivation had lowered my entertainment bar. But I've connected the dots and recognize that my chick-flick-house obsessed mode kicked in during my 2nd trimester. Nesting is a scientifically documented phenomenon amongst pregnant mammals. So maybe this fascination for the beautiful homes in film arises out of that urge, itself -- I would argue -- part of our ancient gathering instinct. At least, that's what I like I tell myself when I feel overwhelmed by the need to make my house perfect. (It's not me -- it's millenia of evolution driving me to comb through the Craigslist furniture section for hours on end!) Does that not echo the eons that women have been sifting through fields looking for edibles to bring home? Can we help it if even in the dark of the movie theater, we're still unconsciously feathering our nests, providing the best living environment possible?

Being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) has only exacerbated my house fixation; mostly because I've never spent so much time actually in my house. Much of that time I'm stuck on the floor with my daughter, leaving my mind to roam... to improved furniture placement.

Like a toddler arranging every toy car in his collection by size and color, maybe I've become a bit obsessive about whipping my house into ideal shape. Having everything in its place is soothing. Toddlers obsessively order their little worlds in reaction to the big scary, unordered world to which they are just waking up.  Hmmm... big, scary, unordered world... sounds a bit like brand new motherhood.

Nuts. Does that mean I have to admit Hollywood is on to something, and knows me better than I know myself? Fine, just don't expect me to interrupt anyone's wedding to make a public declaration about it. Blatantly plagiarising the work of production designers, on the other hand -- I do.

15 January 2010

Photo finish Friday: Antarctic Explorers

It all began with this arresting image:

And before my retinas had even finished processing what I'd seen, I'd added Ernest Shackleton's expedition of Antarctica on the Endurance to my ever-lengthening list of obsessions.

If you haven't seen any of the documentaries about this, put one on your Netflix queue already. One of the most extraordinary elements of the story is how well-documented it was, as it occured.

After his awe-inspiring exploits, Endurance second officer Tom Crean returned to his hometown, put away his medals, opened a pub, and never spoke of his Antarctic adventures again. He died at the age of sixty-one, of an infection from a ruptured appendix. Lack of immediate medical care finished off what starvation and brutal cold could not.

Modest Mr. Crean, I salute you.

Tom Crean's South Pole Inn, Annascaul, Co. Kerry, Ireland

11 January 2010

Happy New-ish Year

Happy 2010 everyone. Wow, a new decade already?

Please pardon the dirt under my fingernails. That would be the after-effect of clawing my way back up the cliff I appear to have plummeted from approximately 3 weeks ago. While the holidays were much needed time off, I didn't intend to vacate the blogosphere for quite so long. Unfortunately a nasty virus got the better of me and I spent two weeks exhausted. Every free moment (read: every moment Bunni was asleep) I collapsed into bed -- woozy, weak and very down on myself for my lack of productivity. I couldn't even get it together to post Photo Finish Fridays! But here I am, back and maybe even better than ever. Well, that remains to be seen, but wouldn't it be nice?

Now that I have energy again, here is what my creative itches are propelling me to do of late:

1)Re-arrange the living room

Because it is an easy, recession-proof way to feel better about where you live. Because it is always a great idea to begin fresh, as it were, at the start of the year.

Though spacious, my living room is a particularly unwieldy shape: the front door opens smack into the middle of a double-wide space, prohibiting many desirable furniture arrangements.
But after 10 years of living here and countless attempts to solve the conundrum, I sat down with a piece of paper and drew out a solution:

It is genius, if I say so myself. The only downside is this solution requires six pieces of furniture we don't actually own. Though I know how to find a bargain, the cost of six new pieces of furniture will prohibit an overnight makeover. The new arrangement will just have to trickle into our lives slowly.

2) Uphoulster pouf-shaped ottomans in Baja blankets

One of the pieces I'll be looking for is the ottoman, also known as the hardest-working piece of furniture in the house. It earns its keep by multi-tasking, standing in for a coffee table (just plop a tray on top), extra seating, a footrest, even a toddler toy. I'm combing Craigslist for just the right shape pieces (if I was super- handy, I'd build my own) I can take to the upholsterer to re-cover. My fabric of choice will come from my collection of striped Mexican blankets, of the variety frequently sold at the border, because of its durability, stain-proof quality (hello, unnatural fibers!), and cheerful color scheme. Viva la revolucion!

3. Get back to work on my book

My writing group re-commences tonight after a long hiatus. I was on the fence about whether to re-up, as I didn't know what to submit for workshopping. I was feeling crappy about the master's thesis-turned-memoir-turned-novel I'd been editing last year. But having barely survived the funeral pyre after receiving an uncomfortable comparison to a romance novel, the pages beckon again. Wading through an exhaustingly cerebral novel helped; its utter lack of emotion inspired me to decide to tackle my book again, this time with a commitment to making it a memoir and telling (yikes!) the terrifying truth.

SO. Enough about me. Let's hear about you. What creative impusles drive you at the moment?