Monday, November 28, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Today was one of those days where I tried to hit the ground running and instead I tripped and fell out of the start gate and ended up getting my face stomped into the mud.  There's no one thing that happened today, but I just feel down.  Defeated.  Tired.  

I've hit the Doldrums.

And what's even more irritating is that I feel bad about feeling down because really, I'm feeling down over nothing.  I have a lot to be grateful for in my life.  I really, truly have been happier in the past year than I was for most of the last decade.  I've lived through bigger, badder things and come out on the other side, and the little things today really shouldn't defeat me.


So I've been trying to keep happier mantras in my head.  

"I am grateful for what I have and I have nothing to complain about."  
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

For pete's sake, a week ago I taught a pretty awesome yoga class on enlivening your personal power and self-concept... and how being yourself and knowing you you are allows you to be free.

I'm hoping this is kind of like the time that Snoopy stopped dancing--not because he wasn't happy, he was just tired.  (I really wish I could find particular clip or strip I'm thinking of.)  

Unfortunately, for today, it just feels like I'm putting on a happy face but not really feeling it in my heart.  So here I sit.  Consenting to allow other people to make me feel small.  Hanging on to the little things I need to let go of.  Reading more into things than I probably should. 

Sometimes living your yoga is really effing hard.

Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Thanksgiving Mala

On Wednesday evening, I took a meditation class at the yoga studio.  Meditation isn't normally part of my practice (although I really should do it more), but I figured I'd give it a shot--especially since I missed some of the meditation classes during teacher training last weekend.

Padma selected a mantra for the evening: "I am grateful for what I have and I have nothing to complain about."  Too often, our gratitude is tempered by complaints.  We celebrate Thanksgiving but complain about how much work it is or how certain family members can get on our nerves.  Sometimes we need to take a step back and be thankful for everything we have--warts and all.

During our teacher training retreat last weekend, we talked about malas--whether a physical mala asana practice (108 sun salutations) or mala beads (108 beads plus the "guru" bead) for counting mantras in a meditation practice.  I decided that I wanted to write out a mala for all of the things for which I am grateful--in no particular order.

1. My husband, who deals with my eccentricity on a daily basis
2. My family 
3. My girlfriends
4. My friends in general, who often serve as a surrogate family
5. Yoga, which has helped keep me physically strong and mentally/emotionally sane
6. My dogs, who are eternally devoted and affectionate
7. My home
8. My career.  I get to play for a living.  How fun is that?
9. My awesome colleagues
10. My past experiences--good and bad--which have formed me into the person I am today
11. The farmer's market--I'm loving the locally-sourced, seasonal fruits and veggies every week!
12. My rockin' fellow yoga teacher trainees.  They inspire and challenge and support me like whoa!  
13. Music of all kinds.
14. My education
15. JMU (Duuuuuuuuuuukes!)
16. My master's degree program.  I've met some seriously awesome people all over the country as a result!
17. Books--I've loved reading my entire life.
18. Kindle--I really love being able to download books in an instant.  Even better, I'll actually read magazines now that I have my Kindle Fire!
19. Facebook.  Lame, I know, but I love keeping in touch with people.
20. Twitter.  Sometimes I need to get my thoughts out into the universe.
21. Laughter.  I love being silly and goofy.
22. Knowledge
23. Independence
24. Being debt-free (except for a mortgage)
25. Creativity
26. Freedom of speech
27. Strength--physical and emotional
28. My health 
29. Sunshine
30. My life
31. My warm duvet.  It keeps me cozy when it's cold out.
32. All of the great teachers in my life.
33. Beauty
34. Common sense
35. Clean water
36. My community
37. Every lesson I've ever learned
38. Blogs and bloggers--I've met new people, read interesting things, and made LOTS of good food because of blogs!
39. Health insurance.
40. Granny's Pumpkin Pie
41. Coffee.  (Especially grateful for this on Monday mornings!)
42. Chick lit.  Sometimes a girl needs some brain candy.
43. Guilty pleasures
44. Snow
45. Confidence in myself.
46. Silly movies (which are frequently quoted in my house!)
47. Christmas
48. Financial stability
49. Courage
50. Naps
51. Birthday cake
52. Music Ed conferences--I get to learn, get excited about my profession, and see old friends!
53. Hardships--because they make me appreciate everything I have here and now.
54. My breath
55. All of the opportunities I've had in my life.
56. Persistence & dedication.  I wouldn't be where I am (or who I am) without them.
57. My intelligence.
58. My knack for remembering numbers.  (Thanks, Pop.)
59. Self-discipline
60. Compassion
61. Peace
62. Ugly cries
63. Joy
64. A clean house
65. Ice cream
66. The city where I live
67. 70-degree days in November
68. Healthy fear
69. The smell of rain in the summer
70. The smell of fireplaces in the winter
71. Sore muscles
72. Indoor plumbing
73. Hard work
74. Inner peace... or at least the journey towards it
75. Trust
76. Nature's beauty
77. Being able to make a difference in other peoples' lives.
78. Poetry
79. Riding bikes with friends
80. Patience
81. Intelligent conversation
82. Heating pads and ibuprofen
83. My glasses
84. Living in a place where I get to experience all four seasons every year.
85. Internet friends
86. Technology
87. Being able to cook healthy and delicious meals
88. Clothes that make me feel confident and beautiful
89. Bear hugs
90. Free will
91. People who do the right thing, just because.
92. Forgiveness
93. Having fun
94. Encouragement
95. Going out to dinner with friends
96. Dancing
97. Unconditional love
98. Good deeds
99. A healing heart
100. A good night's sleep
101. Quiet time to myself
102. Christmas carols
103. Random acts of kindness
104. Passion
105. Vacations
106. Happiness
107. Celebrating the little things in life
108. Having a holiday every year that is specifically dedicated to gratitude!

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving, filled with food, love, family, and friends!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1. I am writing this post from my Kindle Fire. /swoon

2. I always think of fun facts when I am away from my computer...usually while driving.

3. I have to practice teach I a 75 min yoga class this weekend. I have a great plan but haven't had a chance to physically test it out yet.

4. I saw someone I knew but didn't want to talk to at lunch today so I sat at the other side of the restaurant.

5. I think sandwiches taste better when they're cut on the bias.

6. I have been wearing my hair down a lot in the last few weeks because my hair has gotten so heavy that ponytails make my neck hurt.

7. I am wearing sassy red patent leather heels today. I love them, even though other people probably think I look like a Hooker.

8. The fire just capitalized the "H" in "Hooker." Also, I wonder how many referrals I'll get from crazy Russian websites now that I've written the word Hooker three times.

9. I really want to see The Muppet Movie... and Breaking Dawn Part 1. Let the judgment commence.

10. This is not a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but I think it's kind of cool: I was one of three teachers nominated by my colleagues as a candidate for my school's Teacher of the Year. I know it sounds cliche, but it really is an honor just to be nominated.

This one goes to 11: I really hope to see one of my best girls today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TSWIMMWER!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Tastes Like Home: Ba Mee Moo Dang

ba mee = Egg noodles
moo dang = Red pork

This is a simple dish that reminds me of my childhood.  We'd go to Thai restaurants in any number of places and order it--thin egg noodles with blanched greens, fried garlic, and thinly sliced roast pork; usually topped with chopped peanuts.  Sometimes with bean sprouts or (blech) sugar on top.  
Sometimes it's listed as a noodle soup, so I always specified that I wanted mine served hang, just in case.  (hang is Thai for dry--as in, without broth.)

I can't even tell you how offended I was when it was served to me as a variation on my beloved dish--with noodles that were too wide or with ground pork instead of roasted pork.

I also used to laugh at my mother--who hated fishballs.  (Yes, those are exactly what you think they are.)  Then she'd cuss at my dad and always over-pronounced the "ing" at the end of the words.  "G*D damn it, Boone... you didn't tell them no fishballs.  You know how much I hate the f#*%ING fishballs."

Hey, I never said I grew up in Mayberry.  And anyway, this is my blog and it's funny to me.  (Well, and to the people who knew my mom--but they probably don't read my blog anyway.)

I also can't tell you how sad I was for YEARS when the Thai restaurants in my area, for some inexplicable reason, stopped serving my favorite dish.  We used to be able to find it anywhere we went, then all of a sudden it was gone.

A few years ago, I finally found a recipe online and it was glorious--glorious!--to have my favorite dish back in my rotation.  

The recipe wasn't perfect--I still can't quite seem to get the moo dang quite right.  But everything else is just as I remember.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a binge and ate this  And it was amazing.

The funny thing is, now one of my local Thai restaurants has suddenly started carrying it again.  


Unfortunately, this version comes with the f*&%ING fishballs.  And tofu as well, which I've never seen before.  And I've already mentioned what I think of variations on this dish.  

Ah well.  Except for the roast pork, I think mine tastes better anyway.  And once the pork has roasted, the rest only takes about 10 minutes to cook and assemble.  

BA MEE MOO DANG (Egg noodles with roasted red pork)

For the roast pork (moo dang):

1-2 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice (or more, if you like it.  It's pretty strong though.)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Place all ingredients in a one-gallon plastic bag.  Mix well and seal the bag, squeezing as much of the air out of the bag as possible and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake the tenderloins until the center reaches approximately 155 degrees.  I use my handy dandy probe thermometer for this.  (This is the one I have, but as you can see it appears that it is no longer available.)

Remove the tenderloins from the oven, wrap in foil, and wait until the temperature of the meat has risen to 160 degrees.


Once the meat has risen to temperature AND has rested for at least 10 minutes, slice thinly.

PS: There's no food coloring in here.  The soy sauce turns the pork red.

For the rest of the dish:


Peanut oil (bad for you, but delicious--and has a high smoke point.)
Garlic (lots of it!  2-3 cloves, minced.)
Fish sauce (don't be scared.  If you've ever had Thai food, trust me--you've had Fish sauce.)
Bok Choy (or any kind of asian greens--chinese broccoli, mustard greens, etc.)
Thin wonton noodles
Chopped peanuts (not shown)

Put a saucepan of water on the stove to boil.

In the mean time, heat up some peanut oil in a small saute pan; fry the garlic until it is golden brown but not burned.  Be careful--it can happen quickly!

Once the water has boiled, add your greens and blanch (cook for 1 min), then fish it out with a spider (strainer, not insect) and divide it up among your serving dishes.  (Note--don't dump out the water, you'll need it in a minute.  Put it back on the stove and bring it back to a rolling boil.)

Prepare the rest of your ingredients--chop some peanuts, chop some cilantro, prepare your garlic/oil, and combine 1 tbsp sugar with 2-3 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp fish sauce.

Take out a ball of fresh egg noodles and loosen/separate the strands as you drop them into the boiling water.  Cook for 1 minute--and be careful not to over cook them!  (Mushy noodles = bad ju-ju)

Add the egg noodles into the bowl with the blanched greens.

Add the garlic/oil and toss with the noodles immediately to prevent them from sticking together.  Then add the fish sauce/sugar/vinegar mixture and top with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and sliced roast pork (moo dang.)

Enjoy a stroll down memory lane and laugh about the fact that your ba mee moo dang doesn't have any f&$%ING fishballs--just the way mom would have liked.

Recipe inspirations: Ba Mee Moo Dang

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Wanna Celebrate and Live My Life!

Sayin' aaaaaayo... pass the maaaaayo.

Wait, those aren't the words?  Whatever.  I still want to celebrate and live my life--which is exactly what I did this weekend!


and 0 Fantasy Football record.  Undefeated, baby!
...even if I'm sure I'll get pummelled in the post-season.

Types of delicious veggies purchased at the Farmer's Market.

 Pumpkin, Spinach, Onions (yellow and white), Spring Onions, Potato, Pink Lady Apples, Herbs (Cilantro and Parsley), Turnips, and Banana Pepper.  
Also purchased: Eggs, Sweet Italian Sausage, and Beef Short Ribs.

consecutive, glorious hours of sitting on my ass on the couch on Friday.

kisses for Duff Man after he recovered my 25 pages of Yoga Teacher Training notes when my Netbook suddenly died on Saturday night.

revisions to the application I submitted to speak at  TED 2012.
It'd be a dream come true--but I'd have to be in the top 10 speakers to go.

loads of laundry.  
Okay, maybe this isn't celebrating and living my life, but at least it was productive.

delicious new recipes tested. 
Cranberry Oat Scones, Cranberry Orange Bread, 
Acorn Squash stuffed with couscous, apple, sausage, and sage,
and Pumpkin-Ricotta Ravioli with Sage-Brown Butter (not shown)

yoga classes taken for my personal practice 
Breathing Workshop with Max Strom, Yin, and Mixed Level

yoga classes assisted 
including a video taped Sun Salutation Workshop that's going to become a teacher training promo.  I'll link it when the video is up!

 fabulous outing to catch some live music with a couple of my fellow teacher trainees 
(and some of our significant others.)

I hope you had a weekend as filled with love and happiness as mine was--and mine was nothing compared to my BFF Dr. L's weekend.  She delivered her second child, a healthy baby girl!  Welcome, Rose and congrats to Dr. L and her hubby, the other Dr. L!  I love you all and can't wait to see you soon!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1) It is nearly 5pm and I have done absolutely NOTHING today.  And it's all I hoped and dreamed it could be.

2) My triceps are probably my favorite part of my body.  It's just so cool to me that they're so defined.  Hooray for chaturanga!

3) I desperately need a hair cut.

4) The holidays make me a little sad because I feel like I don't have many people to buy gifts for anymore.  I love picking out that "perfect" gift and seeing the look on someone's face when they open it up.  

5) I had a bunch of delicious recipes planned for this week and didn't really end up making any of them.  

6) I assisted another yoga class yesterday and it felt a lot more natural than last week.  

7) I have about 20 tabs open in my web browser at any given time.

8) I applied to talk at TED 2012 today.  I don't think I have a snowball's chance in hell of making it, but I'm putting it out there anyway.

9) I had a really busy week this week (with activities every night--and sometimes two or three different things after work.)  Even so, my stress levels have been pretty low and I've been really happy.  It's been a good week.

10) I was going to write my opinion on the Penn State/Joe Paterno firing issue, but I decided I didn't want to juxtapose those thoughts along with my thoughts on Veteran's Day or my grandfather.

I hope that everyone takes some time today to honor our nation's veterans in some way.  My grandfather was a Marine who served in the Korean War, who taught me about honor, dedication, and love for my country.  Hoo-rah, Pop.   

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Unleash the Fury!

Just a quick run-by post tonight.

I spent many hours at the yoga studio today.  For some reason, Padma thought it would be a good idea to unleash us teacher trainees on the general public.  For the next few weeks, we can sign up to assist classes with actual, real, live people--and I assisted one today for the first time!

I signed up for what used to be my favorite Yoga I class.  I haven't been to it in several months thanks to a variety of scheduling conflicts.  I think the class went pretty well overall.  It only had 5 students, all of whom were definite "Yoga I" students.  It was pretty low energy, so I had trouble figuring out when to jump and when not too; I felt like any time I went to work with someone it distracted everyone else.  Interestingly enough, at the end of the class I felt like it would have been easier to assist a Mixed Level class than a Yoga I.

After I assisted class, I spent some quality time reading in the foyer of the studio.  I'm still trying to finish up my book for our teacher training book club--which is tomorrow!  

I enjoyed my personal practice tonight.  Because I had already assisted a class, I didn't feel the need to stop and observe the class through the "teacher" lens--so I set up my mat front and center (my favorite spot in the studio!)  It was great to truly focus on my own practice (which I haven't done much of lately.)  As an aside, my fellow teacher trainee Bend It Like Becker made her public debut at the evening class and did a great job!

The final super-fabulous thing about tonight was getting to see so many of my awesome yoga friends going to various classes--especially some of my favorite yoga buddies who I never see anymore because they go to pre-natal yoga now.  :)

I'd love to talk about the mumbo-jumbo of tonight's class (mandalas!), but I should probably cut this post short.  I've got a hot date with Osho and Patanjali before I can hit the hay tonight.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spaghetti (er, Fettuccine) alla Carbonara

This is part deux (or perhaps "part due" would be more appropriate) of my pasta adventures this past weekend.

In case you don't know much about Spaghetti Fettuccine alla Carbonara, the eggs are raw when they are added to the pasta; the heat of the pasta cooks the eggs so you end up with a creamy sauce.  It's absolutely divine!  (Although now that I think about it, I think there was an episode of MasterChef where there was a big argument about whether you use fresh or dry pasta to make carbonara... and the Italian chef said you always use dry pasta.  Ah well.)

Other than the fact that this tastes fabulous, the best thing about this recipe is that it's really quick to make!  Once the water has boiled, the whole thing comes together in about 15 minutes.

Gather your ingredients.  Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

While you're waiting for the water to boil, prepare your ingredients.  The steps in this recipe need to be coordinated pretty quickly, so it's probably a good idea to set up a true mise en place.  (Mince garlic, chop bacon, chop parsley, grate cheese, and crack/beat eggs.)

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to your pan.  Once it's hot, add the chopped bacon.  Cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy.  Once the water is boiling, add a heavy pinch of salt.

Once the bacon is nice and brown, push it to the side of the pan.  If your pan looks REALLY greasy, you may want to pour off some of the extra bacon grease, then add your chopped garlic to saute in the rendered bacon fat.  (Mmm... garlic in bacon fat...)

AT THE SAME TIME, add your pasta to the water.  The garlic AND the pasta only need to cook for about 2 minutes.

Once the pasta is cooked, fish it out with spaghetti tongs and toss it directly into the bacon/garlic mixture.  Toss the pasta around so that it's thoroughly coated in bacon fat so the noodles don't stick together.

Add the eggs to the cheese...

...and mix thoroughly.

Add the eggs/cheese to the pasta/bacon/garlic and toss.  If the sauce looks really thick, add a some of the starchy pasta water (about 1/2 c. at a time) until the sauce has thinned out.

Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Plate, then garnish with chopped parsley and extra cheese.  Devour, then die of happiness.

Easier to read instructions:

Spaghetti Fettuccine alla Carbonara

1/2 lb (??) fresh pasta (I used about 2/3 of the pasta I made in this recipe.)
Olive oil
1/2 lb bacon or pancetta
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 c. parmesan cheese (grated)

Gather your ingredients.  Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.  While you wait for the water to boil, prepare your ingredients--chop bacon, mince garlic, grate cheese, beat eggs, chop parsley.

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to your pan.  Once it's hot, add the chopped bacon.  Cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy.  

Once the water is boiling, add a heavy pinch of salt.

Once the bacon is nice and brown, push it to the side of the pan.  If your pan looks REALLY greasy, you may want to pour off some of the extra bacon grease, then add your chopped garlic to saute in the rendered bacon fat.  AT THE SAME TIME, add your pasta to the water.  The garlic AND the pasta only need to cook for about 2 minutes. 

Once the pasta is cooked, fish it out with spaghetti tongs and toss it directly into the bacon/garlic mixture.  (If you drain the pasta, keep about 1 c. of pasta water for later.)  Toss the pasta around so that it's thoroughly coated in bacon fat so the noodles don't stick together. 

Add the eggs to the cheese and mix thoroughly.

Add the eggs/cheese to the pasta/bacon/garlic and toss.  If the sauce looks really thick, add a some of the starchy pasta water (about 1/2 c. at a time) until the sauce has thinned out. 

Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Garnish with chopped parsley and extra cheese.  

Inspiration: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adventures In Fresh Pasta!

I decided to make fresh pasta this past weekend for two reasons.  First, I've wanted to try my hand at making fresh pasta for a while--especially after fantastic dinners at Dino's and Argia's.  On top of that, I purchased eggs from the farmer's market for the first time two weeks ago.  I wanted to make a recipe that featured them but without just having plain eggs.  I thought I'd "double dose" the recipe by making fresh pasta (which includes eggs) to use in Spaghetti alla Carbonara.  (That recipe will soon follow... I thought this one was long enough as it is!)

Moving on.

Making fresh pasta was a little labor intensive, especially since I don't have a pasta rolling machine), but the process itself was pretty simple.

The only ingredients you need are eggs, flour, and salt.  I also used a little olive oil and water.

Pour 2 c. of flour and about a 1 tsp of salt into a bowl.  Mix them together and make a well in the center of the flour.  Crack 2 eggs into a separate bowl and lightly beat them with 1 tsp. olive oil.  Pour the egg/olive oil mixture into the center of the well.

Use a fork to mix together the eggs, gradually incorporating more and more flour from the sides of the well.

Keep mixing until you have a sticky, shaggy mess of eggy flour.  If it seems really dry, add the water a little bit at a time.  (I ended up adding a little less than 1/4 cup.)

Press the dough together into a ball.

If you're ambitious, knead the dough for 4-6 minutes with the heel of your hand.  If you're lazy (like me), throw it into your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and turn it on medium speed for 4-6 minutes.

Once the dough has been kneaded and is pretty smooth, wrap it up in saran wrap and toss it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.  Mmm, gluten...

When it comes out, it will look something like this.

Lightly flour a pastry board, cutting board, or your counter.  I used a silpat.  Cut your dough into two or three pieces and lay one chunk out on your floured board.

I hand-rolled my pasta with a rolling pin.  Roll it as thin as you can, pick it up and flip it over, and do it again.  Try to keep the dough even--you may even want to hold it up to the light to see if there are any thick spots you need to even out.  

LOOSELY roll up the dough.

And, using a sharp knife, cut the rolls into thin strips.  I like thin pasta, so mine were probably about 1/4" wide--which, I believe, makes them fettuccine.  If you cut them wider--1" or so--you have tagliatelle.  Or, you could make them 2-3 inches wide and have lasagna noodles.

Unfold the strips and hang them up to dry.  Note: If your rolls were too tight, you're going to have a hard time with unfolding them.  Honestly, next time I do this I'd bring in a partner simply to help unroll and hang the pasta.  

I used clothes hangers to hang my pasta, but I hear that a clothes drying rack or a broom handle wrapped in saran wrap and draped over two chairs works as well.  Let the dough hang dry for 2-3 hours before cooking the pasta.  

To cook: bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.  Once the water is boiling, add a large pinch of salt.  Boil the pasta for 1-2 minutes until al dente.  Serve with your favorite sauce.

Extra pasta can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Fresh Pasta:

2 c. flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 c. water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.  Create a well in the center.

In a separate bowl, crack the eggs.  Lightly beat the eggs with the olive oil.  

Pour the egg/oil mixture into the well in the flour.  Using a fork (or your fingers), begin incorporating the flour into the eggs/oil.  Continue incorporating the flour until you have a shaggy mess of dough.  If the dough looks too dry, add some water.

Press the shaggy dough into a ball.  Knead (by hand or using the dough hook of your stand mixer) for 4-6 minutes.  Cover in saran wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 2-3 pieces.  Lightly flour a cutting board or clean counter space.  Add a piece of dough and roll out as thinly as possible with a rolling pin.  Periodically flip the dough over and continue rolling.  Hold the dough up to the light to ensure there are no thick spots.

When the dough is to your desired thickness, loosely roll it up.  Cut it cross-wise into thin bands (about 1/4" wide for fettuccine).  Unroll each band and hang dry for 3 hours or more.

To cook: bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.  Once the water is boiling, add a large pinch of salt.  Boil the pasta for 1-2 minutes until al dente.  Serve with your favorite sauce.

Extra pasta can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.