Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad...

Tomorrow is supposed to be my dad's 56th birthday...

That's the cruddy sort of thought that A. I can't do anything about; B. Makes everything hurt all over again; C. Reminds me that it always hurts - and it always will, at least to some extent; and, D. Really, really, really sucks.  A whole lot.

That being said, I will do my best to celebrate his life tomorrow.  We'll meet for happy hour at his favorite bar and go through the motions the way he'd want us to...the semblance of normality and recovery, I guess.

I don't really know what else to say...I just want my daddy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast, Bend Oregon

On our way to Crater Lake then Eugene, OR via Bend, OR...

We came across the Mill Inn on accident and it's AWESOME! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

My nearly finished Daybreak Shawl!

I mostly finished my Daybreak Shawl this week! I still have ends to weave in and it needs to be blocked, but I was very excited to see what it will look like so, since I sit across from an empty cube and there are T-pins all over, I decided to pin it up at work this afternoon. 

I got my co-workers to come over and admire it - they all did a very nice job of at least seeming impressed which I appreciated! 

Our fluorescent lighting isn't ideal for photography with a cell phone, but I took several pictures anyway.
I am quite pleased with it - I made some annoying mistakes, but they won't be too obvious when I'm wearing it.  Normally, I'd be much more of a perfectionist...but it's my first shawl and first big project with sock yarn...and it's pretty!

The Daybreak pattern is by Stephen West and is available on Ravelry for $6.  I was pretty intimidated by the pattern at first, but once I figured out the weird cast-on and started getting into it, it was actually not too difficult.

I used size US 4 32" circular needles, lots of stitch markers, a row counter, and tons of notes.

The black yarn is Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock and the variegated yarn is Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Caribeno - a very lovely navy, teal, purple, bluish blend.
(Have I mentioned that I looooooooooooove Malabrigo anything?)

Both were purchased from the Yarnery on Grand Ave in St Paul, Minnesota (I'm pretty sure that's my favorite yarn shop in the Twin Cities.

You can see more pictures and details on my Ravelry page!

Monday, June 6, 2011

RIP, Lucy: April 29, 1998 – June 3, 2011

My family’s pug dog Lucy died peacefully around 1:30 AM on Friday, June 3, 2011.  She had a good life and was loved very, very much.

My mom and I got Lucy from a home breeder in the summer of 1998.  Pugs weren’t especially trendy back then – and the Internet was still a novelty (no Craig’s List or Pet Finder) – so she was a wee hard to find.  We went through the classified ads in all the local papers for a few weeks with no luck, but finally found a litter of pugs for sale in St. Paul. We called the owner and she tried to tell us to come that evening because she was running a daycare or something, but I guess we were persistent because an hour later, there we were.  There were several puppies – male and female, black and fawn – and since we didn’t have any preferences, we kind of left it up to fate.  A fawn-colored girl with a double-curled tail gravitated to us and we knew she was ours.

Driving home, we brainstormed names for her.  Anything like “Pugsly” was definitely out of the question.  Mom suggested “Sugar” which was also not an option.  I said “How about ‘Lucy’?” and that settled it.  She was definitely a Lucy.

Lucy fit right in at our house.  She was a sweet, cuddly, good-natured little girl, always putting up with the cats’ bullying, my dad’s teasing, and my brother and I playing keep away with her from opposite ends of the stairs.  She liked to lie in the sun or in our laps, perfectly poised for belly scratches.  At night, she loved to cuddle under the covers with her head on a pillow.  Lucy had the typical pug snore, but even at her loudest, her snoring couldn’t compete with my dad’s so we hardly noticed it (I actually found it soothing). 

She was instantly a part of our family as well.  Lucy went trick or treating, had lots of presents and a full stocking on Christmas morning, and we always remembered to celebrate her birthday.  At my college graduation party, she wore maroon and gold bows (and discovered an appetite for cake and beer thanks to my grandpa…) It’s impossible to look at pictures from any holiday or event and not find Lucy in half of them.

Lucy went lots of places with us.  She liked cabins up north – as long as she didn’t have to swim.  We learned that early on when she ran down the dock…and kept running right off the end.  With her front-heavy pug build, she tipped right over with only her curly little tail staying above water.  The North Shore and Taylor’s Falls were a bit more her style.  She happily jumped around the rocks with us, sticking close by even when her stature forced her to find an alternative route.  Lucy also went to Arizona with my parents, but was definitely a Minnesotan at heart, preferring the air condition and cool tiles to the sand and cacti.

As Lucy got older, she got lazier.  I’m sure her laziness contributed to her…larger stature (some might say she got fat, but she was very dense and a perfectly fine size for a pug, as far as we were concerned.  She was a PUG, after all!), but none of us would try to deny the fact that we were largely to blame.  She still loved going for walks, but after a few blocks, she’d simply plant herself on the ground and wait to be picked up and carried like a baby…so we would, of course!  Lucy never had to beg for food – we never thought twice about slipping her a piece of bacon or a hot dog or a pancake.  My dad was probably the worst when it came to this – they’d lie in front of the TV together for hours – Dad on the couch, Lucy on his belly – and share a box of Cheez-Its.  My mom and I did try to put a stop to that at first, but my dad always responded with, “But she likes them!”

Last week, Lucy fell asleep in my mom’s arms and didn’t wake up.  I know she felt safe and loved and I hope she was dreaming of sunshine and tummy scratches as she drifted away… maybe she’s with my dad now, somewhere with sunny skies, comfy couches, and bottomless boxes of Cheez-Its.

We will always miss and love our snorting, bug-eyed, curly tailed, chubby little pug.  Rest in peace, Lucy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Too pretty for Monday...

(from - Too Pretty)

I have to agree with this today - I have a serious case of the Mondays.

The weekend was good.  We had dinner/drinks at the always classy Shortstop on Friday night.  It's definitely the place to people-watch on a Friday night in the Crapids (well, most nights, really) - no shortage of feathered hair, mullets, and the people who love them.

On Saturday, there were rabies clinics at a few of the fire stations in the Crapids, including the one about a black away from my house - so we walked up there and got Bailey's vaccinations up-to-date.

It's awesome that they have these clinics every spring - only $8 and no exam fees ("Is your dog healthy?  Ok, then just let me flash a light in his eyes and weigh him...that'll be $120 plus $12 for the nail-clipping you requested assuming it was included!")  Best of all: no guilt trips about all the OTHER shots and teeth cleanings and whatever that I'd be getting if I REALLY loved my dog.

The clinic was in the middle of the day so we didn't make it to the Shepherd's Harvest Festival till Sunday.  I get overwhelmed at those kinds of things so I didn't end up buying anything besides food.  Not the worst social dysfunction to have considering the amount of lovely yarn I COULD have bought.  We got to see sheep and adorable lambs (only 3 weeks old!), sheep shearing, a working dog demo (herding and shepherding - definitely see the Aussie Shepherd in my little mutt!), poofy angora rabbits, and llamas...Sadly...not one alpaca.  :(  Rumor has it there were some there Saturday, but alas...I'm sure I'll see plenty at Black Sheep in Oregon!

On the way home, I finally got a bike!
It's cute and olde fashiony looking - with a comfy seat and no wires or gears or whatever to worry about.  We got it at Wal Mart which ... blah ... but it was only $89.97!  Besides, maybe I won't even like riding a bike - it's been quite a while.  May as well start cheap.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is it the weekend YET??

I'm excited for this weekend...and it's making for a very long week... 
Saturday is Craftstravaganza at the State Fairgrounds in St Paul. Should be pretty rad - and I'm always up for a little crafty shopping.

Sunday is my little cousin Violyt's dance rehearsal for her Big Recital - I have no doubt that she will be absolutely adorable!

Then, next weekend is the Shepherd's Harvest Festival in Lake Elmo - looking forward to seeing alpacas and spending way more than I should on'll be good training for our upcoming trip to Oregon!

Lots to look forward to - pretty exciting for my relatively boring life!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fun with Stormtroopers!!!

"Don't try this at home kids."  by Kenny Louie

And my personal favorite...

"The Light Side of the Pullover" by Stéfan Le Dû

I blog; therefore, I am.

I just read some random blog post by a normal girl with a normal life.  She's having some kind of existential crisis thanks to blogging - questioning why she has a blog, if she should have a blog, where her place in the blogosphere is, etc.

I don't get it.

It's a blog.

I don't know if anybody reads this - and I don't especially care.  I guess if I felt like I had an audience who expected something from me I might feel some kind of pressure, but even then...

It's a blog.

I read blogs for the same reason I read anything - entertainment, the chance to feel connected, general nosiness...I rarely actually read entire blog posts, though.  I just scroll through them on Google Reader and stop if a title or image catches my eye.

I wonder if I'm a "good blogger's" worst nightmare...

Anyway, back to real life for me...Cheers!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kick Darth Vader more display of awesomeness and then I promise I'll try to provide actual content in my blog...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Little Trees

I love Legos and I love Bob Ross and I love happy little trees...

This is just awesome.

That pretty much sums it up... 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Friday, Friday, Gotta Fill In on Friday

From Friday Fill-Ins...

1. Pardon me, that thing you just said - it's really stupid (I've been holding that back alllllllll week).

2. I love a good deal.

3. I was surprised to find that I really like Pinterest!.

4. Watching Dr Who is one of my favorite forms of entertainment.

5. Hi, my name is Amy Jane and I'm AWESOME .

6. I vaguely remember summer afternoons.

7. And as for the weekend, Friday night I'm looking forward to the end of a long week, Saturday my plans include cleaning my house... and Sunday, I want to not celebrate Easter !

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I don't match.

My socks rarely match - my outfit or each other - in the traditional sense.  Pairing my socks identically is depressingly un-creative.  Instead, I match stripes with stripes, polk-a-dots with polk-a-dots, monkeys with monkeys, Christmas with Halloween, argyle with pirates, etc.

I don't understand the"second sock syndrome" that apparently plagues many knitters.  If just the thought of knitting a second sock like the one you just finished makes you bored and uninspired...why on Earth would you do it? 

I'm not a sock knitter, but I do knit arm and leg warmers for my little cousins.  I avoid any of this second syndrome business entirely in 2 ways:

1.  Interesting yarn - variegated, self-striping, hand painted, etc.  I especially love Crystal Palace's Mochi Plus.  It's fun and knits up fast - and it passes the "itchy" test! 

2.  Pairs of 3.  If I'm using solid colored yarn, I make random stripe patterns or just make each a different color.  Interesting yarn is far more interesting to knit with, though (see above) and is bound to make 3 coordinating arm/leg warmers.  With 2 balls of Mochi Plus, I can knit 3 arm/leg warmers which is perfect!

To avoid giving the impression I am incapable of matching, I tie a ribbon around the mismatched items and attach a button that proudly announces "I don't match!" 

I hope it reminds them that it's awesome to be different and creative and think outside the box - and that their cousin is rad.

Anyway, today, my boss's boss's boss told me that he's been meaning to tell me that he loves my socks.  Apparently, he notices "things that make people interesting."

That made me very happy!  I love my socks and I always kinda hope somebody will notice them!  I explained my "reasoning" and "pairs of 3" to him and he loved it.  Back at my cube, I saw one of my "I don't match!" buttons on my knitting bag.  I wrote a little note about how I hope the buttons remind my cousins to embrace their creativity and left it on his desk.  A little while later he showed up at my cube to let me know I made his day - he knows exactly where he'll display it in his cube, and plans to wear it to meetings.


Thursday, April 7, 2011


I set up a "virtual pinboard" today on Pinterest!  It's a new site (still in beta, I think) for collecting and sharing stuff you find online - pictures, ideas, things you want, whatever.

I haven't done much with it yet, but you can find me at

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday is the new Friday

A Friday Fill-In...on Saturday (close enough)

1. Ooooh, I got a yarn winder.

2. No more winter, I can't stand it!

3. How the heck did I end up with so many messes to clean.

4. Florida is one of my favorite places to visit.

5. I'm not a Red Bull addict, I'm not!

6. If it's Malabrigo, it has to be good.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to last night I hula hooped and danced around the living room with John, tomorrow today my plans include possibly eating delicious Italian foos and Sunday, I want to knit!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Remembering The Before Time

I've been thinking lately about how my life USED to be - what I did, what I liked, what inspired me, what I cared about, who I cared about...That kind of stuff.

It's getting harder to remember.

The Before Time ended around August, 2008.  My dad had his first surgery - the installation of the Robo-Bladder.  I didn't realize it then and I don't think it was a catalyst for most of the other disasters that followed so it's really only in retrospect that I think of it as a turning point in my life.  Maybe it was more like the beginning of a Dark Age, marked by traumatic events...

Hummmm...I kind of like that idea.  What comes next?  Restoration?  Enlightenment?  A Renaissance?  All of the above? 

I really need to brush up on my history.

My point is really nothing I haven't been saying here for probably far too long:  I don't know what Normal is. 

I suppose I get to define it and fill it with whatever I want...which is a nice idea, in some ways...but I think I depend on structure and direction more than I realize or like to admit. 

I recently watched the first 2 seasons of a BBC TV show called Survivors (it's a remake of a show from the 70's).  The premise is pretty much the same as 28 Days Later so I won't go into that.  Anyway, in an early episode, one of the survivors asks another what she used to do and she responds, "It doesn't matter anymore" (or something like that).

I've had that stuck in my head for a few days.  I keep asking - WHY wouldn't that matter?  It seems to me that every single skill and bit of knowledge you had would impact your future and thus matter a LOT...but it's a future the survivors are left to define and create for themselves.  In a scary, volatile world suddenly without order or leadership, how do you KNOW what matters?  How do you define and plan for a future that may never come? A future that definitely won't - and can't - even resemble what you'd always expected? 

The past still matters, but how do you reconcile it with an unfamiliar future?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday, Friday, Friday!!!!

Time for another Friday Fill-In!

1. Family is nice to have.

2. Life has its ups and downs.

3. Trust TV - if it's on TV, it must be true!

4. Hope for the best.

5. Parents - please keep your kids from running around public places like wild animals.

6. What you think was said, is not always actually what was said.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleep, tomorrow my plans include knitting and Netflix (always safe assumptions) and Sunday, I want to *see my plans for tomorrow!

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Day in my Life...2008

 3 years ago - January 31, 2008 - I decided to document a day in my life.  I'd just joined Flickr and read Ali Edwards' Life Artist and was feeling *quite* inspired...

I didn't do a great job of it, as far as documentation goes: I don't have much besides some random pictures and very vague and unimportant memories...but that has value, I guess.  At any rate, it's refreshing to know that I'm just as random as I've ever been!
I thought about documenting my day 3 years later (I really like arbitrary anniversaries), but my I just wasn't feeling it - and taking pictures while driving through a Minnesota winter is just a BAD idea.

My life 3 years ago was somewhat more entertaining, though...

Freaking coldOnce upon a time, in the magical world of suburbia, a weird and random, whimsical sort of girl lived in a little yellow house in the Land of the Crapids.

It was in the Before Time - a time when life made sense; a time when things were exciting, when nothing seemed impossible - and nothing was...
Looking Up

...a time with MUCH less snow...but it was still cold.

iTunesAnyway, our little heroine loved podcasts...

Daily luggage
...and her Timbuk2 bags...

...and her job...

Still kinda cute, though
The end of the day.even if it was a wee bit exhausting sometimes.

My new cell phone!
Her cell phone kinda sucked, but that secretly made her very happy because it meant she got a brand new one!
Bailey's ready for bed

OrangeShe wasn't all alone, though.  She had her faithful mutt, Bailey...

...a boy she thought she really liked...

Love is...

Right side of my fridge
...and a very good friend who reminded her that she really didn't.

YumHer fridge was decorated in her randomly whimsical...and weird way - and also stocked with the finest of girl-drinks!

What I doShe used iChat on her iMac and wrote the boring details of her day on a blog called {Amy_Jane}.

I Love my Clancy t-shirtLife was a wee bit crazy for our little girl in the little yellow house in the Crapids...but she wore a blue T-shirt with a little giraffe on it...and that somehow made everything ok.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Around my neck everyday...

Miss you, Dad.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday...more or less...

1. So many of us really will be ok.

2. Life goes on... even in hardship.

3. Those who are accepting of me and are awesome.

4. The future is waiting quietly.

5. Light is in both the sky and the paint section.

6. I'm really not the best example of all that is ordinary.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to eh...., tomorrow my plans include the usual - library, knitting, Netflix....and Sunday, I want to eat ice cream!!!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

30 days of thirtiness

I've been 30 for 30 days now - and it has been very uneventful. I haven't had any huge, life-shifting reflections or monumental memories. Being 30 feels a whole lot like being 29.

I have, however,....

Watched a whole lot of Netflix
Become addicted to Dr Who
Knit at least 2 scarves and 3 hats
Become a very proud owner of a *convection oven* and an *iPad*
Got to see Nic J
Been an icky ball of sickness
Celebrated Bailey's 4th birthday
Done a fair amount of yarn-shopping
Power-cleaned my house...more or less...
Got a new-old type set drawer to add to my collection
Hosted a "family dinner"
Decorated a little Xmas tree
Eaten several fried eggs on toast
Danced around the living room with John
Ordered Jimmy John's at work about 5 times
Wished I had much shorter hair
Enjoyed many Clementines
Missed my BFF and my dad
Seen my grandparents and my uncle & family
Slept about 4 hours a night, on average
Made a snow angel 30 is ok...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

When I grow up...

When I grow up, I want to be the kind of person who gets invited to TED.

The podcast will just have to do for now...


As always, you can find the Friday Fill-In here!

1. It's 2011; I don't especially care.

2. I do not eat pickles.

3. Thankfully I have my super awesome new iPad - it's done a very good job of entertaining me while I've been sick in bed and on the couch all week.

4. I miss a lot of the best things in life.

5. I am so sick of being sick!!!!!

6. I bowl VERY badly.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to not feeling sick and icky, tomorrow my plans include going to the library, knitting, and watching Dr. Who and Sunday, I want to [insert my plans for Saturday]!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I have a very depressing blog...

I've been thinking about my blog...and my thoughts...basically, life, the universe, and everything.

I think of my blog as a snapshot of my mind at any given moment. I think there is inherent value in that...but I often wonder why I make it public. I don't really know who, if anybody, reads it. I don't know what I offer that is of value or what, if anything, it'll ever mean to anybody.

That being said, I find myself filtering what i choose to post more and more.

Maybe that's good?

I know a lot of my posts are depressing. I know I often write - and talk - about depressing things. My dad especially...

I don't think i should apologize for that - and I'm not...but I do feel weird about it.

I am not crazy-depressed all the time. I am not obsessed with death. I am moving on in as normal of a way as can be expected - and while I don't know what "normal" is, I do believe that grief has a timeline all its own.

That being said, I write when I NEED to write.

When my thoughts explode, I write.

When I can't kick and scream and cry, I write.

When nobody understands, I write.

But why...? Why share it with anybody who happens to notice it? I don't know...

I really don't.

I talk about my dad when i think of him - which is often - and, believe it or not, it makes me happy to do so. Memories are what keeps me with him...

I don't know why I feel like I should apologize for that...

I like my life. I'm grateful for it and the people and things that fill it...feeling sad doesn't cancel that out. It really doesn't...


2007, 2008, 2009, and now...


1. Who was your first kiss of 2010?
  • John
2. Who do you think will be your last kiss of 2010?
  • It was John.
3. What was your best vacation/trip in 2010?
  • I didn't go anywhere in 2010...and that is a horribly depressing realization....
4. Who was your best friend through out the whole 2010?
  • Deonna
5. How many times did you move this year?
  • No moving for me
6. Did you make any new friends in the year 2010?
  • A few of my new co-workers have become friends - Scott, Kunal, Aravinda, etc  - and if I'm forgetting you, but you're reading this, I'm sorry!  You're a new friend :)  Also, Tami via Nic J!
7. How many different people did you kiss in the year 2010?
  • Just one!
8. Were you single or taken most of 2010?
  • I wouldn't say "taken" - that's a wee dated...but I have been in a relationship.
9. Did you lose any friends in the year 2010?
  • I lost my BFF to Florida.  :(
10. Favorite tv show of 2010?
  • Law and Order: SVU, Shaun the Sheep, Weeds, Dr. Who, Jon & Kate + 8, Pawn Stars, American Pickers, The Office...and a gazillion more...I am addicted to NetFlix
11. Any new additions to the family in 2010?
  • No
12. Any new tattoos in 2010?
  • Nope, but I still want to get one in honor of my dad
13. Do anything you regret in 2010?
  • Hindsight is 20/20
14. Favorite new item in 2010?
  • All my wonderful Malabrigo yarn, NetFlix via the Wii
15. How old did you turn in 2010?
  • The big 3-0
16. Did you go to prom in 2010?
  • This is a stupid question and I am ignoring it from now on.
17. Favorite memory of 2010?
  • hasn't been an especially memorable year...reading nursery rhymes and toasting with Violet always makes me smile, though!  :)
18. Did anyone close to you die in 2010?
  • No
19. Do you think 2011 will be better than 2010?
  • I hope so.
20. What did you do on new years eve?
  • Dealt with the New Year's Curse while knitting and watching Dr. Who.  I hate New Year's Eve.
21. What is the status of you and the last person you texted?
  • I <3 Other Amy
22. What is wrong with you right now?
  • I feel really out of it.  I think my brain is on another planet.
23. Do you miss your first love?
  • Nah, I see him all the time. Other Amy makes him very happy. :) (Same answer - always!)
24. When did you last cry?
  • Yesterday
25. Who do you hate?
  • I still hate my old boss.
26. What do you want in your life right now?
  • Peace. Security. Love.  Happiness.
27. Are you happy?
  • I've been happier, but I get by.
28. What do you smell like?
  • Nothing in particular...I hope.
29. Drinking?
  • Sure.
30. What’s your favorite thing to have on your bed?
  • Covers.  Can't sleep without covers.
31. What do you wear to bed?
  • Last night it was my favorite yellow sweat pants and a Woot! t-shirt...pretty typical.
32. Do you tend to make relationships complicated?
  • Probably - I think too much.
33. Whose house did you go to last night?
  • My very own.
34. What about the night before that?
  • See #33
35. Do you like anyone right now?
  • I like people who aren't stupid and who don't waste my time.
36. What is the last movie you watched?
  • Office Tigers was the last new movie I watched with mostly full attention - I watched National Lampoon's Xmas Vacation, Home Alone 2, A Xmas Story, and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on Christmas, but I've seen all those before lots of times and only half-paid attention.  Office Tigers was quite good, by the way.
37. What are you excited about?
  • Going to Florida and seeing my BFF!!!!
38. Who was last to touch your ass?
  • He knows who he is.
39. When you sleep, do you dream about heroin addicts?
  • No....but I wouldn't mind dreaming about Ewan McGregor....and he was a heroin addict in Trainsppotting.
40. Whats on your mind right now?
  • "blaaaaahhhhh..."
41. Who was the last person to make you cry?
  • Just me, I guess.
42. Name someone whose name starts with the letter "R."
  • Rodia
43. Do you care what others think about you?
  • Yes
44. Do you trust people easily?
  • Sometimes...but sometimes I should probably trust more easily...
45. Do you think you'll be married in 10 years?
  • Hope so.
46. Will you kiss the last person you kissed again?
  • Yep
47. Whats your first text in your inbox say?
  • I just cleaned out my inbox!  The most recent one that is still there is from Gino via Facebook - he'd be jealous of my new iPad if it wasn't an iPad.  :)
48. Who was the last person you called?
  • John
49. Who was the last missed call?
  • Also John.
50. What's your ring tone?
  • Depends on who is calling, but my current default is the theme song to Weeds (season 1 version)
51. Do you plan on moving out in the next year?
  • Nope.
52. What were you doing at 8pm last Friday night?
  • Last Friday was New Year's Eve...I was knitting and listening to an audio book with John - he was playing World of Warcraft.  I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that my boyfriend plays World of Warcraft...
53. What happened at 10:00 am today?
  • Waking up with my boys and podcasts.