Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hebrew Home School Update: September

No fancy verbiage in this post, just some quick notes on what we've done for my own reference and for those following along at home:

Week 1: covered in some detail here.

Week 2:

Recipe: Simplified variation on an apple crumble, with apple slices, granola, honey dribbled over it, all baked for 20 minutes or so.

Hebrew/Story: Aleph-Bet, by Michelle Edwards. Picture book following the daily life of one Israeli family, from Aleph to Tav. Really simple, but perfect for our purposes: one Hebrew letter per page, along with a Hebrew word starting with that letter (in Hebrew characters and English transliteration) illustrated by some activity in the family. MG wasn't crazy about it, but she sat through it okay, looked at the letters when I pointed, and guessed at the meaning of some of the words based on the illustration. And she liked the "Tav" page, which illustrated the word "Teenook" (Baby) with a picture of said baby getting his diaper changed while his grossed-out older sister tossed the dirty dipe in a bin.

That's all we did. It was a busy day and we were tired.

Week 3:

Recipe: A cheddar cheese kugel, in preparation for dinner guests the next day. We were going to make a traditional sweet kugel like this one, but remembered that one family member doesn't eat sugar, so we went for a savory version. I'd never made a kugel before and hadn't quite realized how labor-intensive it is. MG helped sprinkle the cheese and the breadcrumbs. She was going to grate the cheese, too, but got distracted by a phone call early in the process and I finished it for her. I did the rest; so much for involving MG in the cooking process. But that's okay, because she was highly involved this week in the

Hebrew: The books came from the publisher! Along with a $22 C.O.D. owing. On account of Customs, I think. I ordered two different "pre-primers" which introduce the letters of the Aleph-Bet, and let MG choose which one would be her main workbook. She chose the easier, jokier one, Bet-Man's Book of Hebrew Letters. I would've picked the newer one, Journeys through the Aleph-Bet, which has photos of Israeli text on walls and posters and street signs and such, and also has more writing exercises. She ended up using both of them, though, so fired up was she to learn Hebrew letters. I was blown away; this is a kid who usually kicks and stalls and rebels against homework, but she ripped through the first 3 letters in the book this afternoon: Shin, Tav, and Resh, picking up the sound of Bet along the way too. She did the exercises in both books, learned the "A" vowel symbols, practiced reading some consonant-vowel combinations, and even read her first Hebrew word: "Shabbat".

She wanted to do more exercises but I made her stop so she could get ready for bed, and also so she wouldn't burn out. I'm not taking any bets on whether she'll stay this enthusiastic, especially as she deals with the task of remembering more letters each week. But I think the phonetic predictability of Hebrew appeals to her, as well as the exoticism of learning another language.

Story: We didn't read a story, overwhelmed as we were by the demands of the recipe and the novelty of the Hebrew workbooks.

Our guests loved the kugel. MG ate a bite of it and then declared herself full.

Week 4: This Monday. I have no idea what we'll cook or what we'll read. MG is lobbying for hamentaschen, but I'm resisting on the grounds that Purim isn't for another six months. Also, I appear to have some kind of cold/flu/crud combo coming on. Maybe I'll just leave Bet-Man and a pencil on the kitchen table for her and take a nap.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can I Sit with You?

How many of us were consistently popular, secure, and socially happy at school? Not so many, I'd guess. Probably most people have a story to tell about the challenges dealing with other kids in elementary and middle school: whether you were picked on, hassled, went along with the crowd, or somehow figured out how to make it all work for you.

Shan and Jen are looking for those stories to post on their new blog, Can I Sit With You? They'll also be publishing a selection of the stories in a book by the same name. Proceeds will go towards their local special-needs PTA, which sorely needs the money.

If you'd like to submit a story, check out their submission guidelines and watch their blog for stories, which they'll be posting starting October 1.

I just think this is such a cool project. I can't think of anything more clever to say than that. I can't wait to start reading the stories.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Drama Girl

There's nothing like being up at 2 in the morning. On Yom Kippur. I resisted the siren call of the computer for a few hours and lay in bed and tried to sleep, and then I gave up. Ah! Sinning and repenting at the same time! It's enough to make a person dizzy.

So while I'm up, here are a couple of Mermaid Girl anecdotes from last month when I was too frantic to blog them. (N.B. now that I've written them out, it occurs to me that both these anecdotes make me out to be particularly heartless in the face of my child's distress. To which I can only say...well, yes. Sometimes.)

1) In the middle of August, MG and the Renaissance Woman spent a week in Vancouver while I packed up a lot of the house. When they came back, the child viewed the carnage of piled boxes and missing items and proceeded to stomp through the house, spitting invective and weeping and wailing. "This house is terrible! It's the worst place in the world!" she fumed. "It's like we're living in a garbage dump! You're making me live in a garbage dump!" She repeated that a few times for good measure, then wailed, "I want to live in a house like everyone else!"

I couldn't help it; I laughed. "I promise you," I said, "This house looks exactly like everyone else's house who is moving."

2) That week she went to her third and final day camp of the summer, which was a sort of only-in-Seattle combo of zoo camp and drama camp. In the mornings they did theater activities on the theme of Trickster Tales, and in the afternoons they went and looked at real animals with trickster characteristics. We drove her to the zoo at 9, we picked her up at 4, and in between we packed like mad.

On the afternoon of the third day, I got a phone call from her counselor.

"MG's okay," he reassured me right away, "but she's had a little accident." Apparently another kid had careened into her and somehow banged up her foot, not too badly but seriously enough to warrant a trip to the zoo's First Aid office.

"They bandaged up her foot, and that was fine, but then--well, I didn't think it was necessary, but they mentioned the possibility of a wheelchair, and MG insisted that she needed one."

"She's in a wheelchair?" I gaped.

"Well, yes, it's okay, I'm wheeling her around a bit. But she's fine, really."

"Oh, I am SURE she's fine. It's very nice of you to wheel her around, but you really don't have to. If it gets to be a pain, please just tell her that BOTH HER MOTHERS say she absolutely does not need to be in a wheelchair." I felt empowered to speak for RW on this point, somehow.

He reassured me once again that everything was fine.

"Well, thanks very much for calling," I said. "And thanks for putting up with her. A wheelchair! There's a reason she's in drama camp."

"You know," he said, "That's not the first time I've heard that from a parent."

Sunday, September 16, 2007


After some e-mail exchanges with Immigration Canada in Buffalo, I learned what I had to do to get a new Important Document, and I did it. (Basically, I had to send them my precious passport, a money order for $30, and a request for a new Important Document.)

Fortunately, though Buffalo is lacking in warm-and-fuzzy communication skills--to such an extent that they give an excellent impression of a consulate staffed by uncommonly terse robots--they are speedy about returning passports, and mine was only out of my possession for five days. MG and RW picked it up by return FedEx on Friday, and last night, following another midnight run down to the border, I officially became a Permanent Resident of Canada.

I was hoping the border officer would give me a little Canadian flag, as happened with the person ahead of me in line two weeks ago when I went for my work permit, but no such luck. However, as MG has three or four of them in her possession, I guess I don't really need one of my own.

We went home, rolled MG into bed, and celebrated by watching an episode of some most excellent Canadian television on DVD.




Thursday, September 13, 2007

Apples and Honey and Aleph and Bet

Back when the Mermaid Girl had her infant conversion-- I think I've written about this before--I promised to give her a Jewish education. It's not that the Bet Din [rabbinic court] from back in Seattle is going to come after me if I slack off for a year or two, but that promise is, among other things, a good excuse for making sure I at least think about MG's Jewish education and make some kind of provision for it every year, at least until she's 12 or 13.

The New Groovy Shul we're joining in Vancouver is tiny, and has little children's programming of any kind, much less a formal weekly religious school. MG is used to a pretty laid-back religious-school setting anyway, which is what she had back in the Old Groovy Shul. So, rather than dump her into yet another brand-new environment by signing her up for Hebrew school at one of the huge-o mainstream synagogues in town, I made the executive decision that MG would be homeschooling for Hebrew school this year.

I noodled around on the Web, looking at supplementary-school curricula at various synagogues around the continent, and determined that:

1) Despite the aforementioned laid-back religious school background, MG is well on-track for the expectations of most supplementary schools (i.e. meeting after school or on Sunday mornings, as opposed to full-time Jewish day schools) for kids entering 2nd grade: she's familiar with major Jewish holidays, many Bible stories (thanks in large part to The Kids' Cartoon Bible), and some basic prayers. She has a solid sense of her Jewish identity, has her own ideas about God (which are quite different from mine and also from the Renaissance Woman's), and even knows a fair bit about what we call "Jewish rules that we don't follow," like keeping kosher and following various restrictions on Shabbat.

2) Hebrew school curriculum is all over the map in 2nd grade: some schools do a lot about Israel, some focus on prayers, others do more Bible stuff or more Jewish holidays. But the main thing that just about everyone seems to focus on in 2nd grade is beginning Hebrew reading: learning the Hebrew letters and their sounds, and starting to sound out basic words.

Now, my Hebrew is no great shakes, but I've more or less got the alphabet (or rather, aleph-bet, for the first 2 letters in the Hebrew alphabet) down. I figured I could order a couple of workbooks and teach MG the letters in a half-hour or so each week. And the New Groovy Shul does have monthly family-education gatherings, so we could go to those.

Then, I thought we'd do...something else. I whiled away a long evening this summer, when I should've been packing, compiling a list of topics we could work on together: reading more Bible stories, or learning about Mitzvot (doing good deeds and/or fulfilling commandments), or on Tikkun Olam ("repairing the world" or social action) or even some kind of Jewish environmental project, since MG (influenced by the movie version of "Hoot", which she's viewed repeatedly) has shown a lot of interest lately in saving the manatees.

I got pretty excited about the list, but I didn't show it to MG when I put this home-Hebrew-school proposal to her. Instead, I asked her if there was anything she'd like to focus on: anything at all, as long as it was Jewish in some way.

Her answer was immediate, definite, and so much better than anything I'd thought of that I was dumbstruck. "Making treats," she said.

So we hammered out our plan: every Monday (my day off), after school, we'll cook something out of the Jewish tradition. Not necessarily a treat, but sometimes. While it's cooking, or baking, or chilling, or whatever it needs to do, MG will learn a Hebrew letter and practice reading and writing it for a bit. And if we have more time, I'll read her a Jewish-themed book aloud. We called it JCSH: Jewish Cooking, Stories, and Hebrew. (MG also calls it Home Hebrew School.)

We had our first JCSH session this Monday. To celebrate, we made cookies and cut them out with the Aleph-Bet cookie cutters that Savta sent for MG's birthday. (We photographed the cookies and I'd show them here, but I don't know where the camera cable is packed). MG recognized some of the letters, including the four on the dreidel and the three that make up her Hebrew name, and I learned that my knowledge of Hebrew alphabetical order (especially those tricky final letters) isn't as good as I thought. I'll be glad when those workbooks arrive. (We also weathered the not-entirely-unexpected tantrum when something (I forget what) wasn't going MG's way, and she pulled it together under threat of scrapping the project and being sent to regular Hebrew school. )

My favorite moment: MG, considering which of her two aprons to wear over the leotard in which she likes to swan around the house, asking me: "Which one do you think is more traditional?"

While the cookies were baking, we read The Always Prayer Shawl, by Sheldon Oberman: not because it was particularly topical, but because it was unpacked and I could find it. It turned out to be more germane than I'd thought, with its theme of knowledge and traditions--names, prayer shawls--handed down from generation to generation.

Tonight, for the first time ever in our new home, we had company over for dinner: my cousin and her husband and teenage son, who by happy coincidence are here from the Midwest for a sabbatical year, and have rented an apartment only a couple of miles from us. While my cousin is nominally Jewish, they're completely nonobservant, and it was their first time having apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah. MG, RW and I ended up explaining a little bit about the significance of the holiday, and then we ate some of the leftover cookies.

I'd packed the Aleph and Bet cookies for MG in her lunch box today, but she saved them and ate them tonight. It was a good night for it: near the end of a week of firsts, at the start of the Jewish New Year.

L'shanah Tovah to all who are celebrating. I hope it will be a new year like tonight's dessert: sweet, and companionable, and full of beginnings.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Long Green Slide of Mortality

This weekend, we fled our box-filled apartment and hit the road in Twinkie. We took a 2-hour-long ferry trip to Vancouver Island and camped at our favorite Canadian campground. The first day we spent the afternoon at the nearby playground, the likes of which we have never seen in seven years of playground use all over North America. We've been visiting this place every year or two since the Mermaid Girl was not-quite-3. Back then, we were blown away by the variety of stuff for little kids to play on: a baby-swing roundabout, a metal helicopter, a water park, tons of spinning and bouncing toys. The big-kid structures didn't even register with us back then.

This trip, MG barely grazed the little-kid end of the park, preferring to mix it up on the big climbers and the big-kid hanging-tire-swing roundabout. We sat on the grass and read, glancing up every few minutes to make sure we could see her, free at last from the tyranny of endless pushing of the swing and constant vigilance at the climbers.

This evening, after a long afternoon at the beach, we took a detour on our way back to the ferry to swim at our favorite pool ever, discovered on a rainy camping trip three years ago.

This pool has three--three!--water slides: a nice, gentle blue one; a slightly faster and more twisty red one; and the legendary Green Slide.

The Green Slide is in a class of its own. To reach it, you wait for the lifeguard's okay from the regular slide platform, and then climb an extra flight of stairs, one person at a time only. At the top, there's a small room: no lifeguards, no other swimmers waiting in line, just you and the tiny green slide tube opening, and a panoramic view of the parking lot and the city so you can appreciate just how high up you are.

The Green Slide tube is so small that you have to lie down to enter it: arms crossed over the chest, legs crossed at the ankles. No one under 7 years old or under 48 inches. No jewelry, no glasses, no horsing around. The Green Slide is not for wimps.

The first year we discovered this pool, I got as far as the Green Slide platform, turned around and walked back down the stairs. Couldn't do it. As for the Mermaid Girl, she was still frantically clinging to a grownup whenever she got into water over her waist. Water slides of any kind weren't even an option for her.

The second time we came to this pool, two years ago, I went up and down the stairs a couple of times, then steeled myself with the thought: I'm 39 years old; when exactly am I going to be braver than I am now? And I took off my glasses and took a deep breath and went down the green slide.

It was scary. It was exhilarating. It was great, adrenaline-rush fun. I did it two or three times, just for the thrill of it, overwhelmingly proud of myself: I went down the green slide! And, like Jill Sobule kissing a girl, I'd do it again!

This year was different. MG has recently transmorgified from a cautious, timid non-swimmer to a brash physical risk-taker in all formats. She went on the roller-coaster at the PNE four times on her birthday, and sulked because she was too short to go on the scary free-fall rides. At our new local pool, she goes down the water slide at every opportunity.

Today at the pool, she was up and down the red and blue slides immediately and repeatedly. She wasn't so sure about the green slide, though; she was technically old enough and tall enough, but she held off for an hour or so. Then, after warming up by trying the red slide lying down, she did it. RW and I were at the bottom cheering her the first time, and she popped right up and headed up the stairs to do it again. And again. And again.

She wanted me to go down the green slide, too. And I wanted to want to. I remembered fondly my breakthrough of two years ago. But somehow, even though I'd done it already, it hadn't gotten less scary; I remembered just enough to make it daunting, but not enough to make it familiar.

Finally, after repeated reassurances from MG that there were no sudden drops, I tried it. And about halfway down the juggernaut of slidy twists and turns, was struck by claustrophobia: I couldn't breathe! There was water in my mouth! There was no way out of this thing! When I (literally) saw the light at the end of the tunnel, I almost cried with relief.

I had to sit down for a while to recover, during which MG went down the green slide two or three more times. I took the opportunity to observe that according to the electronic clock above the slide, her turns lasted about 15 or 16 seconds. I couldn't leave the pool scared of the Green Slide; reminding myself that I probably wouldn't drown in that time, and buoyed by MG's promise to go down ahead of me and wait for me at the bottom, I tried once more.

This second time, I kept my eyes closed for the ride, which made it less scary but meant that I got dumped out without warning and got water up my nose. MG kindly patted me and praised me and reminded me that she had kept her promise! She waited for me at the bottom! Then I staggered to my chair, and she skittered off to take the slide again.

Okay, I thought, as my kid splashed to the bottom, waved merrily at me, adjusted her goggles, and dashed back up the stairs: I got over my fear. I did it twice. But I wouldn't exactly call it fun: where's the adrenaline rush? Where's the thrill I remember? Why do I only feel shaken and vaguely nauseated?

I felt no need to try the Green Slide a third time. Or ever again, for that matter. Earlier in the evening, before I'd gone down the slide, I'd discussed it with MG and the Renaissance Woman: wasn't it weird, that I felt less brave now than two years ago? "Maybe some of your bravery went to me," MG suggested.

And maybe it did. Or something did. Maybe I don't need to try the Green Slide, or things like it, if there's someone else in the family to do it.

Or maybe it's just that I'm getting older, and so is my kid.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day of School, Quick Notes Before I Crash Out

The Mermaid Girl had her first day of school today and it was ONE HOUR LONG. Poor kid ;-) There's a strict union-imposed limit on class sizes, but they also have to take everyone who registers from within the catchment area even up through the first week of school, so basically it takes them all week to assign and balance the class lists.

Today all the returning kids went to their old classes for the day, and the 17 or 18 new kids of all ages were all in a classroom together with the Head Teacher, who totally has it going on: she had everybody's number within about five minutes, including and especially the one compulsively bouncy and interruptive kid (there's always one). She handed out Flubber for them to play with while she talked about the rules and basic orientation stuff, then collected the flubber and led us all, kids and parents, on a tour of the school, finishing up in the gym where they played with a parachute until dismissal at 10:00.

Kindergarten had their own orientation today but actually they don't even *start* until next week. (In Seattle they plunge everybody into a full day of school first thing. Full-day kindergarten and everything. The works. This seems so gentle and low-key by comparison.)

Tomorrow is a full school day, but the new kids will still be in their temporary one-room schoolhouse classroom while the staff continues to work things out. It's bizarre, but not bad, I guess. MG likes the head teacher, and there's another new girl going into Grade 2. Within the one hour today I saw my girl go from shy and clingy to eager and somewhat confident: raising her hand to answer questions, getting permission to run back to the classroom and get her sneakers when they went to the gym. And when I ventured to mention this afternoon that parents probably wouldn't be allowed to stay the whole time tomorrow, as we did today, she gave me a scornful look and said, "No, because you're too OLD."

A few more notes:

1. It was pouring rain this morning but we put on our rain jackets and all walked the five blocks down the hill to school together anyway. RW and I are happy, happy, happy about the short walk to school; it's like something out of an old-fashioned picture book, complete with blackberry bushes along the path. Though the uphill walk home is indeed very steep and seems about five times as long as going there.

1a. I lagged behind putting my keys away as we headed down the driveway, and looked up to see RW and MG walking through the rain picturesquely ahead of me, MG holding her pink umbrella and hefting her pink Hello Kitty backpack and wearing her pink rainboots and the blue poncho that RW crocheted for her that's been her first-day-of-school outerwear of choice every year since kindergarten. It would've made a great photo, but the camera was somewhere inaccessible in the depths of my backpack, so it will just have to live in memory.

2. About halfway to the school, a boy on a bike swooped out out of his driveway and down the hill ahead of us. I thought he looked a little old to be going to elementary school, but I'd forgotten the schools here go through Grade 7. And indeed he showed up in the new kids' classroom; he's in Grade 7 but it's his first year ever of school; he was homeschooled before this. He seemed like a nice kid, and I liked his mom, too.

I mentioned to her that we were looking for an older kid to walk MG to and/or from school sometimes if we can't, and she introduced me to her son during a transition time in the hall and mentioned that I might need someone to walk my daughter to school.

He looked dubious. "Well," he said, "I'd really like to ride my bike..."

"Of course, we'd pay," I said, and he brightened considerably and agreed that in that case it'd be worth it.

Score! Now we just have to figure out how much to pay him. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Now It Can Be Told

The Good News: I have a job. It starts in a week. It will be 4 days a week, at a suburban library system, working with kids and teens. It's a temporary gig so it only lasts until March, but that's just fine for now.

The Other Good News: I can finally breathe and enjoy this good news without worrying that I might have to turn the job down after all, because:

As of 1:30 AM today, after a midnight trip down to the border with several hastily-assembled documents, I have a work permit that will enable me to stay in Canada and work at that job, until the Very Important Piece of Paper that will Enable Me to Land as a Permanent Resident (Which Despite My Obsessively Detail-Oriented Preparations For This Immigration And Move I Did Not Realize Was Very Important, And Thus Lost or Misplaced) is found by me, or replaced by the inscrutable veiled presences at Immigration in Buffalo.

This whole process has been much more nervewracking than I have perhaps let on. Immigration almost didn't even let me--or the 26-foot truck full of all our worldly goods--through the border last Monday because I was missing that important document. (They finally let me in on a visitor's visa, and RW imported all our goods as a returning Canadian citizen.) And tonight, at the border again, the Immigration Officer was very concerned that it was lost, though she ended up giving me the work permit after all.

I have called the main Immigration phone number, and been told regretfully that they can't help because the document was processed in Buffalo, not in Canada. I have called Buffalo, and listened to the recorded message stating that they do not respond to telephone inquiries. I have repeatedly faxed and emailed Buffalo, and received in reply only a single cryptic line stating that they will look into my case.

What made all this particularly harrowing was that, until the immigration officer waved aside my eagerly-proferred visa and demanded to see this piece of paper last Monday, I had absolutely no knowledge that it was essential in order for me to land. I have not been slapdash about this procedure: RW and I read all the guides and instructions carefully; we took months to assemble documentation and fill out the numerous forms; we had a lawyer check everything over. And once my passport was returned to me with the all-important Permanent Resident sticker attached, I kept track of its whereabouts at all times.

I vaguely remember receiving this other document, but if I'd had any idea of how important it was I would have filed it with my passport and never let it go misplaced for a moment. Instead, it got lost. It might be somewhere in our 180+ boxes...or it might have been inadvertently recycled in the mass purge of papers that preceded our move. We don't know, and we might never know.

We did a hundred things right, and we got this one thing wrong. And this one thing turns out to be the most important thing.

Somewhere in all those guidebooks and instructions there must have been the information that YOU MUST HAVE THIS IMPORTANT DOCUMENT IN ORDER TO LAND, YOU DOPE. But somehow I missed it. And this oversight is unusual enough that there's no simple procedure for doing something about it. There is a form to send in to Buffalo requesting a replacement copy of the document, but the form assumes that the applicant has landed already; apparently losing the document before you even immigrate is completely unheard-of.

In other words, I have the distinction of being, despite my 11-page list of Goods to Import and my meticulously labeled and indexed accordion file full of documentation, officially too flaky to become a Permanent Resident of Canada.

Well. At least I'm distinctive.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Still here. Still unpacking.

Still?! We've barely started.

A few weeks ago, back when I was in the maelstrom of packing and getting ready to move, I thought wistfully of the peaceful time I would have unpacking and unwrapping and setting everything in its rightful place. Iimagined it as a lovely holiday where everything we owned already becomes a present we get to open. No stress! No time pressure! No agonizing decisions to make!

No common sense, either. Apparently I'd forgotten about how RW and I almost came to blows, back when I first moved in with her, over the burning issue of Where Do Plates Rightfully Go in the Kitchen?

Unpacking, I recall now, is full of agonizing decisions. Because of course the space we've moved into is not at all like the space we moved out of (fewer bedrooms, more hallways, for one thing;) so the categories we had things in before don't necessarily work now. And the stuff...the stuff...well, there's just SO MUCH of it. And the things I packed carefully in special places so I'd be able to find them? Are the things that are hardest to find.

I was all smug about how we were numbering and labeling and inventorying our boxes. I had this idea that this would make things a snap to find at the other end. Because, you know, all the boxes were NUMBERED. And I made a Word document listing all the things in all the boxes. So, you know, if I needed something, I could just "search all" in the Word document, find the box, open it, and--pronto--find the thing!

Which would be fine if all the boxes were neatly lined up in order. Also, if they were all in one layer so we could see their numbers and labels at all times. But of course this is not so; they are piled in layers and behind furniture and some of them are only labeled on one side and that's the side against the wall. Of course it would have made sense to unload the boxes right into the rooms where they're going, but except for a few obvious cases (like MG's stuff, which all (or almost all) ended up in her room) we didn't necessarily know what room they were going in. So the kitchen stuff and my books and RW's papers are all nicely jumbled together, adding to the fun.

Next time we move (oh dear God, there is going to be a next time, so I'd better remember this): no thinking. No deciding. Just pack things that are near each other in the same boxes, because that's how I'll remember where they are.