Back to the Future III


Dear Future Stella,

Your daddy turned 42 this past week- on Oct. 21, 2015- probably the coolest date of birth EVER. This movie came out in 1985 called Back to the Future II. In the movie the characters use a time machine to travel 30 years into the future and the movie takes place on your dad’s birthday this year. I wanted to re-watch this movie so that I could see how close the writers came to real life in 2015. I am constantly trying to guess what life will be like in 20 years so if Hollywood could do it then I have a shot. Here is the frame from the movie when it shows that they travelled to your Dad’s birthday

FullSizeRender copy

The movie predicted that it would be raining on your Dad’s 42nd birthday. Not only was it dry as a bone on Oct. 21, but most of 2015. However, the character knew exactly when it would stop raining by using a feature on a wristwatch and that is pretty accurate thanks to the Apple watch that came out this year. In the movie everyone had flying cars. Way wrong. The main character wore Nike high-tops with electronic laces. I will give them points for knowing that Nike high-tops would be in-style again, but we still have to tie our own shoes. They thought the fashion would be to wear your jeans inside out. In 2015, only kids learning how to dress themselves, aka Current Stella, do that. All of this takes place in the first 10 minutes of the movie so I will spare you the rest of the comparisons. I really think you should hunt this movie down and watch with your dad on his birthday this year and see if it finally resembles modern day.

In real life, your dads birthday was warm and pleasant, neither of us wore Nike high-tops, and we traveled by foot to reach our destinations. We met for some drinks at this cute little wine bar in our neighborhood before going to our dinner spot. I made dinner reservations weeks in advance for this new place with a well-known chef and I had succeeded in keeping it a secret from your Dad. I love when I can pull off a good surprise for him because it’s not easy. One of the first things he said to me at the wine bar was, “Want me to guess where we are going for dinner tonight?” Keep in mind we had never even talked about this restaurant with each other so I was pretty confident he wouldn’t guess right, out of all of the restaurants in all of San Francisco.

Well, he guessed right on the first try. He is just the worst. At least he didn’t go on to tell me all of the horrible things he had heard about the restaurant, because he has been known to bust out Debbie-downer type comments moments after I excitedly tell him my pick. He will say things like, “Huh. Interesting. Hopefully they have improved the cockroach situation. Who knows, though, maybe its good, I just have only heard bad things so far. No, but we should totally try it- I am sure the 2 stars on Yelp is just internet trolls trying to ruin their life….” Did I mention he’s the worst? However, tonight I didn’t hear any negative commentary.

Worse than telling him what restaurant we are going to is giving him his birthday present. For about 10 years now he has asked for the same thing for his birthday, Christmas, our anniversary, and even for Easter. Its a watch that costs thousands of dollars. I have no business spending more money than most people spend on a car for a luxury that his cell phone already performs quite flawlessly (time). He still asks though, year after year. He likes to make comments all day regarding the anticipation of getting his watch. He will say things like, “I purposely didn’t wear a watch tonight so that when you give me my present I won’t have to wear two.” Or when I pull out his present he rubs his hands together and says something like, “Honey, using a big box for a small watch- oldest trick in the book.” Except its not a watch and even though I know he’s joking, I still feel sort of shitty because I would love to buy him that watch. I also feel shitty because IF it was the watch, his comments would take all of the fun out of it. My gifts used to be well thought out, and always generous, but it never felt like a win because it wasn’t the watch. That is why a few birthdays ago I decided to go with a different strategy and get him something I know he won’t like so at least I won’t feel letdown. For his 40th birthday I got him 40 pairs of plain black socks.

This year I got him a book. Your dad doesn’t read books, much to my dismay. The last book I saw him read was on our honeymoon eight years ago. We were in the beautiful Bora Bora. Each morning I would gather my book and head to the beach to park it for the better part of the day. I wouldn’t even get two pages in before your Dad would be staring at me and he would ask, “So, what do you want to do now?” All I wanted to do was nothing, and read. He wanted to swim with sharks and jump off rocks. I needed him to just relax though, so I convinced him to read the book I had finished on the plane- a book called Water For Elephants. He did read it, and every time I would peer out over my pages and see another one of his pages turn, I would smile to myself and think how easy it is to train a man to be exactly who you want them to be and I would daydream about us sitting side by side in our bed reading the same book and discussing it at the end- a Couples Book Club. Well, that never happened and he has not read a book since. He reads though- magazines and online news, just not books. So I got him a book. It was a miss for sure, but no more than any other year and I had already anticipated the disappointment so I was fine with it. One of these years I am going to bust out that watch, and even though I already know something will be wrong with it (wrong size, color, microscopic scrape on the inside band) that he will point out immediately, I still can’t wait for it.

His birthday dinner was really, really fun. There were no cockroaches and the food was excellent. Your dad is such a smiley person when he’s in a good mood. Look how adorable he looked eating the first course, which was a pomegranate popsicle.


I like how present he is in this next picture, just soaking in our night and really enjoying my company. After all, I am the best gift and he really made that obvious to me here.


The rest of the week was business as usual, with a few exciting moments. For one, Gail the Puppy got a new collar. Her old collar was diamond encrusted but most of the diamonds had fallen out of their prongs, turning it into a very dangerous weapon. It was sort of like a collar made out of barbed wire and that just didn’t really mesh well with kids. Current Stella would come crying to me with blood on her chin, complaining about Gail’s collar. I would tell her to be more careful and to anticipate when the puppy would want to leap towards her face to give her a kiss and to quit being such a crybaby. After no more than 4 accidents, I finally broke down and purchased a new collar.



This past weekend your Dad went fishing with my dad for a couple of nights. I have no idea what is so exciting about catching a fish when you don’t even eat fish but whatever. We have way too many pictures of your dad holding up a fish, all proud and jolly. It disturbs me every time. I know that eventually they put the fish back in the water and it swims away completely fine but it would be like if some dude gave me a heart attack, took a picture with my lifeless body and then resuscitated me and sent me on my way. Why? I don’t get it. I noticed he didn’t pack his new book with him on this trip so I have been spending my nights reading it and I have to say, I picked a good one. I have also been slowly making my way through your Dad’s wine collection. Its been truly glorious.

One of the nights he was gone, I took Current Stella to dinner just the two of us. While we were waiting for our food, I became aware of my right foot under the table just tapping away in mid-air. It is something I often do without knowing it. It just bounces away at rapid speed for no reason and it always trips me out when I finally tune into it- Like, how long have I been doing that and why? This time, I looked over at Current Stella’s legs and she was doing the exact same thing with her right foot! I smiled so big because there is something so cool about seeing your kid do something that you also do. She didn’t get my hair, or my eyes, or my left-handedness, but she got my involuntary right leg bouncing leg motion thing and thats pretty cool. During this dinner I also interviewed Current Stella and I cannot wait to share her answers on another post.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, thankfully you have moved on from beginning every sentence with Maw-ma, BUT you have replaced it with something far worse. I honestly didnt think it was possible. You now begin EVERY SENTENCE with, “Maw-ma, I have something to tell you.” No shit kid, its called a conversation. Here’s a tip, save that phrase for when you are about to say something heavy so the person you are saying it to has time to prepare for what you are about to say. You do not need to say it before telling me that you are hungry (you just ate), that you can’t find your Elsa socks (I hid them in the trash), or that you want to play Barbie with me (the answer is always no). Also, in no situation that I can think of should you ever have to use that phrase multiple times within the same conversation- just FYI. It also shouldn’t be used before asking questions because you are asking something and not telling something. The other day you said, “Maw-ma, I have something to tell you. Is there anything inside the sky?” Next time you have something to tell me, hopefully it’s the answer to that question because I have absolutely no clue.



Old People Say Strange Things

Dear Future Stella,

Current Stella has two great-grandfathers that are alive and they both recently had birthdays. Despite both of their blindness due to macular degeneration they are still kicking and it is my understanding that someone reads them my blog each week. I just want that on video.

I already told you about Gopa’s 80th birthday party in this post. Your other one, Popi, recently turned 91!! Ironically, the two great-grandfathers that Current Stella has left are the two that are not genetically related to her, which isn’t looking good for our overall genetic longevity probability. Here are some of my favorite pics of Popi, just doing what he does best- dancing and sleeping.

pic 055

pic 038




I love talking to old people, wait- no, I actually hate it. They make absolutely no sense and they tend to smell odd. I only like talking to old people who are part of my family. Those kind of old people are awesome and so in honor of your Popi’s 91st birthday, I decided to ask both of them some questions for you to read in 20 years, you know, just in case they are not around to tell you themselves.

1) Do you still enjoy your birthday and how do you feel about getting older?
Popi- I enjoyed my birthday celebrating with Uncle Rick and Gigi. I am thrilled to be alive.
Gopa- I enjoyed my birthday a lot. Getting older is better than dying as long as I’m healthy.

2) What about your life are you the most proud of?
Popi- My children and their families
Gopa- Knowing Jesus and Goma

3) What hopes do you have for Future Stella (and all of your future great grandkids)?
Popi- I want them to have good health, be successful and live a long life
Gopa- Good health and a good education

4) What is your first memory?
Popi-My mother buying me a doctor set when I was about 6 and I wanted to play doctor with all the girls
Gopa- Catching fire flies in a mason jar in the backyard

5) Is there a special/favorite story about Current Stella that you would like to share with Future Stella?
Popi- The best quality time that I spent with Stella was at her Tia’s house at the pumpkin patch and the goodbye kiss and hug that she gave me after our last dinner together before you left.
Gopa- I loved the tea party that Stella and I had at Christmas at Gma and Grandpa’s house.

6) What is your most favorite meal?
Popi- calf’s liver and onions
Gopa- The one I am eating and the one I am thinking about next

7) Is there anything majorly different you would have done in your 20’s?
Popi- I should have gone to Canada instead of serving in WW2
Gopa- I could have been a better parent — spent all my time working and in college

8) Who in your family is most like you and why?
Popi- My son Rick because he lets stuff roll off his back and saying it is what it is
Gopa- My son Monty because he has the same sense of humor

9) What is the most spectacular thing you have seen in your life thus far? Is there any place that you would say is special or sacred to you?
Popi- The most spectacular thing that I have seen in my life is when I made a hole in one at the golf course on 6 different holes. Special to me was going back to Italy for our 50th anniversary and taking my pictures from WW2 when I fought in Italy and comparing them. It was 50 years since WW2 and the entire tour was watching while we visited some of the sights and compared them.
Gopa- Hydrogen bombs going off when I was in the Navy at Bikini Atoll. Yosemite National Park – both special and sacred

10) Finally, make one prediction about what you think life will be like in 2035?
Popi- I am concerned for my great grandchildren. In 20 years from now there may be another war to end all wars and most likely there will be another 9/11 since our security is so lax.
Gopa- Climate situations could be pretty extreme. Also, there could be extreme religious confrontations.

Having the answers to these questions will ensure that their stories will get passed down and their lives remembered. Family urban legends happen all the time when stories get twisted and exaggerated from generation to generation, so to further clarify I have added some additional information about their answers- the cliff Notes, if you will.

My takeaway from this is that your Popi is a pimp ladies man who eats completely repulsive food and favors his son Rick. He hates America and he regrets defending it. He’s most likely a Canadian terrorist spy who is helping plan the next 9/11. I find it suspicious how many hole-in-ones he said he got. I wonder if he knows that just because he couldn’t find the ball (you know because he’s blind) that it doesn’t mean it went in the hole. He said that his favorite time with Current Stella was at the pumpkin patch a few years ago, but based on this picture- the only person getting quality time with him was his bride of 66+ years.


Popi is a delightful man.



I also learned a lot about Gopa from this interview. Your Gopa apparently had a hispanic lover named Jesus that your Goma knew about and was cool with. He also mentioned being incredibly worried about climate change. This really hit home for me, because I too am worried that global warming is just a sick joke and I won’t actually get to wear shorts year round like they are predicting/promising. Gopa is bummed that he won’t get to experience permanent summers before the end of his life and that is really sad. If for some reason he meant the religious Jesus and not a Mexican boyfriend, then the only “religious confrontation” he should be worried about in your future is going to be the moment this blog goes live and Popi (who is Jewish) gets all cray with the Torah and battles Gopa on the very existence of this Jesus person. Its going to be epic and I can’t wait for it. Two super old blind dudes dropping bible verse bombs from across the country to once and for all settle the big question for Future Stella- What would Jesus do if he was partying with two ancient, vision-impaired great-grandpas?

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, in a complete lapse of judgment the other night I somehow agreed that I would sleep with you in your bunk bed for a night if you ate all of your dinner. You sleep on the top bunk and I never, ever go up there. What I found was terrifying. You had 30 dolls, 12 pillows, 3 blankets, 6 books, 2 water bottles, a protein bar, a hairbrush, a cell phone and 2 flashlights. What in fucks name are you planning for up there? I am no longer concerned about you in the case of an earthquake. You will be just fine up there for roughly 3 weeks. How do you sleep amidst all that rubbish? Also, it is absolutely frightening to sleep with your face 1/2 inch from the ceiling. How do you do it? At around 3 am I eventually had to leave because I kept rolling over on your talking Olaf. He says some strange shit, like old people strange. At one point he said, “What am I looking at right now? Why are you hanging off the earth like a bat?” What does that even mean and why does he say it? Do you have any idea how freaky it is to hear that sentence in the middle of the night? I shot up and slammed my head into the ceiling. Thanks for not having a first aid kit up there.




Here are some photos of your other great-grandpas who were not alive to answer my questions.

Delmar Cowell
11/30/2021 – 5/22/2014

Maurice Weisbrod

Jon Funkhouser
8/10/1939 – 1/16/2005

Mike Larinan
2/26/1933 – 4/11/2000

Notes For Your Therapist


Dear Future Stella,

They say that for a memory to make it to the VIP section of your longterm storage it must be peppered with intense emotion of some kind. This could be trauma or elation, terror or excitement. The event could be profound, awe-inspiring and possibly even life changing. It could also be deeply troubling. You not only just remember the significant parts of the day, but you often can recount little minuet details like what you were wearing or what the air smelled like.
 My first memory ever was when my parents were married. I was 4. I remember my floral print dress and having a little trouble getting out of the car. I can still hear the rushing of the river behind us as we stood to take pictures. I remember the shape of the cups people were drinking from. I can still picture the gesture of my father kneeling down to put a locket around my neck, although I can’t quite recall what he said to me. Based on my experience with Current Stella at age 4, there is no way I was mature enough to grasp the significant of that day and yet my brain knew to hold on to it. I couldn’t have realized in that moment that my dad was choosing a life with a single mom with two small children and not just accepting a role as a Step-father but actually becoming our Dad. I couldn’t have grasped how insane it was for a young, broke, Jewish dude to start a life with my even younger, more broke, Christian mother. I probably did sense the fairytale-ness of it all, the true happiness and joy that eminates off two people that are soul mates. Perhaps I was even able to feel a sense of safety and security for the first time in a while and that overwhelming sense of relief and love is what catipulted that memory into that sacred place in the brain that never lets you forget. It could have also been the dress I was forced to wear. It was a disaster and a huge fashion no-no. Yeah, it was probably the dress. 
I often wonder which of Current Stella’s memories are going to go the distance. She’s old enough now where there might even be one or two of those stashed away. Perhaps the day we brought Gail the Puppy home and she immediately chewed up Current Stella’s favorite flip flops. It was so adorable that I would have to think she held on to it. I know I did. Or the time she had to be hospitalized for 2 nights in Mexico. That was sure traumatizing for everyone, especially for the nice nurse that I questioned if hospitalization was really necessary given that we had a cabana waiting poolside at our upscale resort. She then explained (in Spanglish) what it means exactly when a child’s bronchial tubes are collapsing and I kissed that wonderful, sunny, margarita-laced afternoon goodbye.

 Or perhaps she will remember yesterday in perfect clarity. Yesterday had so many different emotions both negative and positive that it just might qualify for one of those days that you bring up to your therapist. Here is what happened yesterday, although I am guessing that you remember it like it was yesterday. 

We were scheduled to get out of town right after school and drive 3.5 hours down to San Luis Obispo to watch your Papa receive the tremendous honor of being inducted into the Cal Poly Athletic Hall of Fame. It was a big freaking deal and we all had to get dressed up and I took 1.5 days off of work and we were even staying at a sweet hotel on the beach. We left even earlier than we had originally planned, giving us a full extra hour of time for incidentals. 

Your dad picked Current Stella up from school and then they both picked me up from work with the car packed ready to go. I got in the car and Current Stella had a blanket over her head. Kids do weird shit all the time so I thought nothing of it and proceeded to prepare my seat and surrounding area for longterm use (I basically prepare like an upright nap-friendly zone). Your dad seemed a bit stressed, borderline angry-ish. Angry-ish is the most angry he ever gets but it’s never like severe or that obvious. I can tell, and you probably know, Future Stella, what angry-ish looks like on him. Anyway, he said, “Why don’t you tell mommy why you have that blanket on your head?” Silence. So I asked her why she has a blanket on her head. More silence and a tiny bit of whiny noises. These days Current Stella is incapable of going 10 seconds without making some sort of whining noise. I look to your dad to just tell me because my nap was waiting and I was running out of patience. He spills the beans and tells me that you cut your hair while at school. The teacher found a pile of hair on the table where she was sitting. Current Stella vehemently denied these accusations both to her teacher and to her dad. Your dad hates being lied to and since he could obviously see her new bangs he was angry-ish. To a hair stylist, cutting your own bangs is one of the worst, most tragic lapse of judgments a person could have. At this point the blanket was still on her head and so I had no idea the severity of the situation we were dealing with. It could be a no-biggie-let’s-just-switch-her-part-or-clip-it-up-for-the-next-couple-of-weeks kind of deal or a holy-fuck-pull-over-immediately-so-we-can-use-roadside-assistance-to-bring-us-clip-in-extensions-right-now kind of deal. Current Stella was not removing her blanket and little kids can be stronger than they appear because I could not pull it off myself. I asked your dad how much she cut and if it looked even and if it was blending with her layers and he was still focusing on the lying about it part and right about then is when we came to a dead stop on the freeway. Traffic. Ok, no big deal, I was not worried in the slightest. It will clear up once we get to San Jose, it always does. We have plenty of time. 
The estimated time on our GPS just kept increasing and your dad was accelerating up to 15 miles an hour to move forward 3 inches then he would slam on the breaks. It made it impossible for me to enter into Napland but it also made it quite impossible for Current Stella to keep that stupid blanket on her head. Eventually I got to see the bangs, and I have to say, given those pathetic excuse for scissors that they make kids use these days and the fact that she didn’t have a mirror, comb, or styling products, they didn’t look bad at all. Your dad, however, was still angry-ish and made no less than 10 more comments about lying and threatened that if Current Stella cuts her hair again then he would give her his haircut.

Here is a shot of Current Stella and her new asymmetrical side swept bangs.

The traffic wasn’t stopping and neither was Current Stella’s whining voice. She was performing the longest monologue ever and she still has not dropped the habit of beginning every sentence with “Maw-ma” so for the first time in a long time your Dad was possibly going to drop the ish from his angry. This is where this memory could enter into the traumatizing category. You see, although Current Stella was being on another level of annoying, it wasn’t the reason he was dropping the ish. Your dad was stressing out hardcore that all this traffic was going to cause him to miss your Papa’s big night and he was unnecessarily taking it out on you. We both were. Please explain this to your therapist. We basically told Current Stella  to quit talking. We might have also told her that she’s annoying. It was a bit harsh.
At some point your dad was able to regather the ish to his angry and we played a really fun educational car game. Current Stella would say a letter and then we would have to come up with words that start with that letter. For instance, Current Stella would say L. I would say love, she would say lizard and your dad would say lick, then lips, then labia. Current Stella changed it to D. I said dog, she said door, your dad said diarrhea. Current Stella said T. Your dad just kept saying traffic over and over again. It was really fun. 
Perhaps this day made it to your longterm memory because it was the longest time anyone has ever spend in traffic. It took us more than two extra hours to get to a destination your dad and I have traveled hundreds of times. This destination of course is both of our hometowns- San Luis Obispo, specifically the college your dad was lucky enough to attend and the place your Papa called home for many, many years. We came barreling  into a gas station parking lot where we changed into our fancy dresses in a bathroom that was in dire need of some attention. 
We missed the cocktail reception (huge mistake), and most of the dinner and found our seats right before all the inductees took the stage. There were seven athletes getting recognition this year, and your Papa was one of them. Each story was so inspiring and incredible- there was even a two-time Olympian! I can’t believe we almost missed this ceremony because I got way more out of it than I was expecting. First, your Papa is one amazing man. He’s kind of a big deal.  Second, I realized I have not accomplished anything worthy of any hall of fame. I want to change that! I hope by the time you read this I have contributed something to this life worth getting dressed up and talking about (and I’m not talking about a funeral). Third, all seven athletes thanked their parents, specifically for attending every single game or match, even ones that included travel across the country. I have already missed Current Stella’s first two athletic games. Based on their formula for success, she will never achieve athletic dominance and for that I am very sorry. Please, tell your therapist that I take full responsibly for your lack of sports medals, scholarships, and a professional athletic career. Also, remind her that it’s just soccer and that you are female. Oh, and also go over your genetic makeup when it comes to height on your dads side and overall lack of coordination on my side. That should clear it up really quick. 


Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, sorry for being a jerk to you in the car yesterday. You are just a kid and we basically subjected you to 5 hours of no food and no entertainment while strapped into a car seat. That being said, a popular song kept coming on the radio by The Weekend.  In the chorus he sings, “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you.” I think it’s about cocaine but the words really resonated with me. 


Little Pink Houses For You and Me and Whoever Else Wants One

Dear Future Stella,

Does it bum you out that I didn’t save a lot of stuff from your childhood? In the beginning, I would get rid of an item the day Current Stella stopped playing with it, or the moment a piece of clothing no longer fit her because I really didn’t want to be tempted to have another kid. I figured the more stuff I got rid of, the more overwhelming it would be to start from scratch again. Plus, our apartment is so small that I have learned to live like a minimalist. I am sure there are going to be things I regret giving away (your birth certificate maybe) but mostly it feels so good to purge this stuff. Current Stella is a hoarder so I have to do this when she is not around. She would save just about everything and she often retrieves things from the trash and is deeply offended that I would want to get rid of it, especially when it comes to her art. Current Stella is an art-producing machine. Every day she makes like 50 new drawings. She wants to save them all, but frankly, they all look the same and they are not even that good. Here are some examples of pictures Current Stella draws on the daily.

FullSizeRender copy 3

I can’t save thousands of drawings of a girl with a triangle body standing in front of a pink house. I just cant. Hope you understand. I actually hope that Current Stella’s body image improves. She doesn’t look like a triangle.

This past week your Dad left us home alone again and besides accidentally keeping the oven on all night, nothing really terrible happened. Did you know that last weekend when your Dad went to that bachelor party it was the first time I have ever been alone with Current Stella overnight since she was born? Crazy, right? This weekend he went to a golf tournament that your Grandma and Papa put together each year. This is the first time in Current Stella’s life that she didn’t go. One night we both went to bed at 7pm and it was glorious.

Despite a few fun moments, most of the week Current Stella was a whiny little brat. She would cry over the dumbest possible things and apparently forgot how to listen. G-ta and Guncle came to town for a couple of nights and that was a needed distraction from how irritating Current Stella was acting. G-ta and Guncle are like Stella groupies. They drove all the way down here from Oregon to watch her in a soccer game because apparently they enjoy making me feel inadequate. Just kidding. They came down here for Oktoberfest (in September) and your game was just conveniently located next to where they were staying so they went (still super nice and completely unnecessary given the current athletic ability of Current Stella). You owe them big time for the amount of time they have put into being around you. To some people their obsession with such a cute little girl would be a red flag. Thankfully, I can say with 99% accuracy that neither of them are pedophiles, at least not with girls. What a bummer for Current Stella if I was wrong on that- actually, more of a bummer for you, Future Stella. Hope I did my math right on that percentage calculation and you are not a recovering victim. This is getting weird, even for me. Trust me- they are good people.

One of the fun things that happened this week was Current Stella had a playdate with a new friend from Kindergarten. I really like this little girl. Future Stella, if for some reason you messed this up along the way and you guys are enemies or whatever, I will be so pissed. Mainly because I like her mom a lot and that never happens. Current Stella’s new friend is named Harper.





Tonight your Dad checked on Current Stella when he got home from work. She was in bed for an hour by the time he got home. Here is what he found.


For the record, she can’t read yet.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you start every single sentence these days with “Mama,…..” when talking to me. It might be the most annoying thing that has ever existed. An example would be, “Mama, can I have my vitamin now? Mama, I want a red one. Mama, can I pick which red one? Mama, does everyone eat a vitamin? Mama, I like vitamins.” The way you say it is like maw-ma. It’s the worst. Please stop.