7/3/05-Sun.-Just a quick entry this time, as it's late. We have had a good weekend visit with Jim and Mary, though my back was at times still giving me fits, our dog was too excitable and often mischievous, and Fran was kept too busy with the combination of socializing and music performances or rehearsals.
Time was nonetheless found for the Friday night Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin production, the (not so hot) movie "War of the Worlds," late night fine dining at Kerbey Lane South, excellent Persian cuisine buffet meals at Alborz, another super lunch at The Brick Oven, brunch at one of the south Austin Trudy's locations (at the Brodie Oaks shopping center), numerous games of chess between me and Jim, much chatting on matters variously deep or frivolous, videos of "Monty Python's Flying Circus," playing "Scruples," a video of "Best in Show," and touring the UT Austin Texas Memorial Museum.
Our relatives left about 2 PM today, and then Puff and I began to catch up on rest and normal routines. Frances took an early afternoon nap, just after we'd returned from brunch, then performed in the last show of "The Mikado" and later rehearsed with the Austin Symphony for tomorrow's fireworks and 4th of July celebratory concert, on Town Lake.
Quite late (in the AM), I plan to be monitoring, as best I can from Nasa's web site, the progress (and hopefully successful mission) in a Deep Impact attempt to hit a comet and photograph the event as part of the many skyward celebrations of our country's Independence Day anniversary. (I assume there are also scientific reasons, not merely social or political ones, for this interesting project.)
Our weekend activities were generally limited to indoor activities, as the temperatures and heat indexes were quite high (up to around 101°F and 110, respectively), and the area's swimming holes would be typically overcrowded.
7/6/05-Wed.-Tonight I attended my preferred meeting among the local AAII group options. I find the investment approaches suggested here of interest, but tend not to follow their main goal: timing the buys and sells to take advantage of growth when the market is up, while limiting downside risk.
Long-term, it is questionable if the average or even above average investor can be a successful timer, which I define as having a long-term compound annual total return, net of all expenses, equal or superior to that of major indexes, such as the DJIA and the S&P 500, yet with lower risk of actual loss of capital.
The attraction of timing systems is natural and obvious, but for most these are false hopes, and folks will be disappointed.
Our assets are well diversified and, on their own - without timing, in other words - tend to go up well when markets advance but not to fall too badly when they are down. The last couple trading days are illustrative. Yesterday, the DJIA was up about .7%, and today it was down a little over 1%, for a net loss over a couple trading sessions of about .3%. Our total nest egg was up a more modest, approximately .5% yesterday but down just .1% today, for a net gain of about .4%. In addition, I keep enough funds in reserve to buy good bargains when there are significant losses on the equity side.
I had my second physical therapy appointment today. It went well. Over the several weeks since my most recent back injury, some periods are better than others, and I'm never symptom free, but I am making progress and feel better overall.
Puff's fireworks trauma began on 7/3 this year and has so far continued through this evening. In the evenings, she becomes frantic if she hears so much as a muffled, distant pop, but usually there is much more to unnerve her than that. She races for home, if we're on a walk, and becomes more frightened as she is necessarily restrained from such a headlong dash by her slower, handicapped companion (me).
At the house, her first choice of refuge is inside a car, preferably one about to vacate the area. Her second shelter selection would be behind either of our toilets, if she's allowed access to them. Or she'll settle in, as she's doing now, at her kennel/travel carrier.
The temperature in Austin at 6 PM this evening was 102°F. We've had the driest June on record, with no rain in almost five baking weeks. Many of our plants, and the lawn, are suffering badly.
Fran has been involved, since the end of "The Mikado" and the 4th of July concert, with preparing for and performing chamber music, which is where she is tonight. In fact, this evening's event, at the Driskill Hotel, was well attended and met with rave applause and absolutely gushing comments or enthusiasm from many of the 300-400 people in the audience.
7/8/05-Fri.-Normally a kind of stodgy, straight-laced, and conservative guy, I'm uncharacteristically casual in long t-shirt and what Frances refers to as my swim (actually gym) shorts, and am hanging out at my personal favorite TexMex restaurant, the Trudy's Texas Star. This place is rocking, raucous, and rowdy with the lunch crowd and folks who are beginning their weekend a little early.
I got here later than I'd anticipated and with full bladder. My physical therapy session this morning had run half an hour beyond the scheduled 45 minutes, and then, on Mopac, I had hit one of Austin's many traffic jams.
The PT appointment was productive. I got a good workout as well as a mini-massage of the most tender muscles. I'm to return twice more next week and possibly once or twice the following week.
The improvements already, in terms of both pain reduction and increased function, have been dramatic. How did I suffer through all those previous back injuries without this kind of assistance? The PT staff are all cheerful, efficient, and highly competent. They deserve whatever pay they receive, in fact probably a lot more.
Later. Yesterday our temperature reached 104°F, which we figured was about warm enough. Then two sets of thunderstorms blew, boomed, and showered through our area, bringing a half-inch of badly needed precipitation. Puff and I enjoyed the more pleasant conditions on the edge of one of the cloudbursts for our evening walk.
Once back, I called Pete, and we talked for about an hour about the London terrorism, as well as various bits of trivia from our fortunately relatively prosaic existences.
This afternoon, Ron and I got together at Barton Creek Mall and chatted for about an hour too.
In view of recent high mercury levels, it is good that Fran gave Puff a trim today. She looks quite thin now, with a pink complexion much of the time, and covered nearly head to toe with large and small spots, easily visible though what remains of her coat, or perhaps the spots are in fact in her undercoat.
Our nearest neighbors to one side are moving out. Those directly across the street from us moved out a few weeks ago, and now new folks are moving in there. The corner place, next to us on another side, has been vacant for many months. Hopefully, we'll soon have all pleasant new residents in the three places. It could easily go another direction. Many of the houses on nearby blocks are seriously deteriorating. People have come in who appear to have little pride in the places where they live. This was an upscale suburb when we moved here. Go figure!
7/13/05-Wed.-Had another PT session this morning. Am making good progress. Although I still have back soreness and left leg tightness, the main difficulty now with activities of daily living is that I am restless at night, noticing residual pain more then, so it is harder than usual to either fall or stay asleep. I keep waking up or have insomnia, unless I've taken a muscle relaxant. But that kind of medication knocks me out and leaves me feeling groggy till almost lunchtime! This too shall pass. I am so much better than a month ago that I do not quibble over such relatively minor hassles.
7/15/05-Fri.-It is early afternoon. Am in a lousy mood, irritable, feisty, ready to pick a fight, and also recently awakened from a too short nap. I'm feeling in that half-alert, half-sleeping state that too often in my younger years I associated with long bus trips or days and nights on end of overheated rooms and insufficient rest.
Am at the clinic again for my next-to-last PT session. It's due to begin in another quarter-hour. On the way over here, an SUV driver didn't bother looking, or just figured he had right of way by virtue of a vehicle of intimidating size, and pulled out of the driveway and into my car's path. Only my veering into the wrong lane while braking and honking averted, by inches, an accident.
The lower back is about the same as a couple days ago, another lingering nuisance added to the tally, causing mild pain and limitation, yet it is still much improved.
Our drought was broken yesterday with a great series of thunderstorms. We've had about 3" of rain in the last ten days or so, and the lawn and gardens have new leases on life!
Later. In the past couple days I've applied for Social Security benefits, to begin in November of this year, and sent in some supporting documentation. In the process, however, I've been reminded that things which could be simple are often complicated by bureaucratic or political meddling. Somewhere along the line, rules were added that one must submit documentation showing adequate resolution of one's military service, perhaps an extra step intended to make things more difficult for men folk who were influenced more by conscience than conventional attitudes during the Vietnam era. This notwithstanding that many of our nation's leaders have, in the interim, admitted that the war which came to absorb Southeast Asia and so much of our own thinking and feeling in the 1960s and 1970s (and even last year was still influencing our presidential election) had been at best a mistake, at worst an extremely costly and immoral involvement.
As it happens, my life was not unaffected, though I never wound up "in country." Having already joined the Texas National Guard before a knowingly false LBJ interpretation of the Tonkin Gulf incident was used to justify a full scale, yet undeclared, war and a buildup to a half-million or more US military personnel, in what to students of the area was by then seen to be primarily a nationalistic insurgency movement against corrupt governments supported by first the French and then the US (much as later we would support a corrupt leader called Sadam Hussein, in the 1980s, yet conveniently forget about that truth of history when we are declaring him to be evil, so we can invade another country for trumped up reasons, though ignoring less strategic countries, in Africa for instance, where hundreds of thousands are or were dying at the hands of dictators or tribes at least equally "evil").
In any case, activist that I was becoming in those heady days of the early to mid-sixties, first against further spread of our nuclear arsenals and testing, then in support of the civil rights movement, I found my allegiances more with the anti-war people than those who simply did their duty.
Yet I had extremely mixed feelings about the whole disaster. My father was a career military officer and terribly gung-ho in support of the "our country right or wrong" concept of "patriotism." He felt, as did and do many others, that to question our policies once any US troops were committed was treason.
Presumably, he would have been among those who obediently marched off to do the bidding of any number of fascists and other tyrants were he to have been brought up in Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, Hussein's Iraq, Napoleon's France, Mussolini's Italy, etc.
So, my inclinations and expressed views were threatening to split our family. In addition, as a member of the National Guard Reserves and having had my active duty training, I could be court martialled for certain actions I felt were right. The issues were not merely ones of political ethics but were all complicated for me too, in my own late adolescent and then early twenties struggle for independence from a man who had been so much into control that he had twice threatened to have me arrested if I did not do his bidding to the letter, even after I was over 18 and living on my own. (I had sought legal advice then and learned I could assert my own rights against an abusive father, and then he could no longer use police power in a failed attempt to prove he was a parent worthy of respect, but, again, only if I were willing to destroy the family, and I was then so intimately involved in the lives of my young brothers and sister that this did not seem an option.)
Like so many millions of other youth in that difficult period, I had been brought up to be quite idealistic. If I had it to do over again, and knowing what I do now, as we say, I probably would just have carried out my orders, dealing with the reservations internally as best I could. The next several years of my life would then probably have been different and less filled with hassle and a sense of threat, serious self-doubt, or restriction. But perhaps too we need the romantic foolishness of the young to help us periodically see through to the heart of certain matters and eventually at least be more likely to do the right thing.
While in CA, in 1966-1967, I joined with a number of others, admittedly most not already having worn our country's uniform as I had, in methods that highlighted the sense of outrage by at least a significant minority of our country with the way we were then involved. The hope was to use civil disobedience to effect positive change, even if it meant prison, as we had seen was already working in efforts toward better rights for minorities.
Were all those teachings we got in school about Thoreau, Gandhi, our founding fathers, and others who were prepared to put part or all of their lives on the line for what they believed, and for this great experiment in liberty called the USA, to be in vain? Did our teachers and parents not really mean those things? Did our pastors and other religious leaders not mean it when they talked of morality and taking the tough stand in support of what was right? And did Hollywood not mean it when in "The Wizard of Oz" we were told to practice courage and we would become what we practiced? Were we told wrong that, as in the Nuremberg Trials, it was incumbent on soldiers to disobey wrongful commands and so to do our bit to save millions of innocent Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Russians, or whomever, or later Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Iraqis, etc.?
In fact, I broke no laws except in my refusal to take my National Guard unit's orders seriously so long as I was not taken seriously as a conscientious objector. My unit commanders prepared then to convene a court martial, for people who'd worn the uniform were then not to be considered legitimate if they tried to claim C.O. status. No surprise in this. In World War I, some trying to make this claim were shot, others imprisoned. It was better, but not by much, in World War II.
I was given a lengthy form to fill out, which could be used in the trial by an assigned officer for the defense as well of course, putting a different spin on it, by the prosecution. They gave me several days, then even weeks, to complete and return it. It haunted me, obsessing my thoughts day and night. I wrote and wrote and wrote, attaching many extra sheets in what really became an autobiography. Yet I could not see how anything I had to say, to justify my position to folks for whom it was not self-evident, could be effective. Besides, it was clear that the deck had been stacked, the conclusion, verdict, and sentence all foregone.
Later I would learn, after two hospitalizations and hundreds of hours of outpatient treatment, that the days of compulsively working on that complex, endless form, in effect trying to justify my existence for some ultimate court, akin to the moment many a true Christian believed he or she would face after death, and while eating little and sleeping less, taking lots of uppers that a doctor, himself rather disturbed at the time, had provided, and focusing so exclusively on putting my whole life into words with which some military court could empathize, I had catalyzed a crisis or breakdown and began experiencing hallucinations and delusions. One insistent set of them angrily encouraged that I do away with myself. "WHY NOT!?" they queried. I tried in fact to do so, but before I had completed the task, there was a split, a kind of multiple personality shift. I believed that I, or at least the left arm part of me, was suddenly empowered with the capacity for great art and began drawing, feverishly, all the beautiful things in life I could imagine, mountains, carnal love, babies, flowers, lovely faces, infinite vistas in space, ever so cute pets, sunsets, on and on. It hardly mattered that later I discovered the pages of my military form were filled with scribbles and swirls and that not a single artistic representation was done that night by my "disembodied" left arm automatically drawing. The main thing was that in my mind I suddenly saw and deeply FELT all the wonderful things I had for which to live, and called in help before it was too late.
Various unpleasant things happened while I was in those hospitals, some real and some merely part of the inner landscape, but then just as true for me as if they had occurred.
But after I was out, it seemed the whole conundrum of what to do about civil disobedience vs. my military duty had little further significance, as if it had been relegated to some small, far off room to one side of a long hall in a big mansion.
Indeed, in a sense, everything worked out then in the simplest manner. Learning of my treatments, my commanding officer discharged me from the Guard and referred my disposition to the local draft board. And those worthies, on getting my medical records from during that emergency, speedily reclassified me as "not fit for military service except in time of national emergency." They indicated they would review the matter further later, but never did.
Decades afterward, I am still haunted by those days and wondering how they will go down with the workers at the Social Security Administration who also insist they must have original paperwork showing my discharge status. I do not, any more than when facing court martial, have the first idea how to explain it to them. And somehow or other, in those still so mentally foggy days and months, I misplaced any papers I may have been given. I hope it does not mean all the years of contributing to SSA will have been for naught.
Fran and I these nights, in spite of my sore back and a few other ills, take our romantic moments as and when we can. But last night at 4 AM, while certainly not unpleasant, turned out less than the best time for either of us, and the loss of rest may be one reason today I am not feeling tip-top. Perhaps it will be a good weekend though. And there is the excitement of watching the approach of Hurricane Emily, currently a Category Four tempest looming toward the coastal junction of upper Mexico and lower Texas.
7/17/05-Sun.-Have stopped at Luby's (with a coupon) for supper before doing some essential grocery shopping for our little household. We've enjoyed rain and reasonably cool temperatures through much of the day. Fran is off, unless the concert is canceled due to rain, for an outdoor event this evening. She is to perform using the biggest instrument I've seen her with, quite a transition from the usual flute or violin playing I notice around the house.
Hurricane Emily, which is now, I believe, a monstrous, Category 5 storm, is on target for the Yucatan Peninsula. It may be influencing our weather by mid-week.
I had another close encounter with a gargantuan SUV today, its driver apparently too self-absorbed or distracted to bother watching for other traffic.
Once more I feel like the protagonist in Brave New World or "Rhinoceros" as I read of White House smear tactics to absolve some of its staff from responsibility, in connection with the unethical "outing" of Ambassador Wilson's wife as a CIA agent, and as I hear too that NPR and PBS programming, which I've appreciated for their neutral presentation of shows and issues, is more and more being forced to comply with ultra-conservative ideologies or values. Next, documentaries like "Nature" will be taken off the air since, by even presenting the truth about natural history in a strictly apolitical way, they could be seen by folks in "W's" core base to be indirectly espousing forbidden ideas like evolution or concern for the environment. Indeed, PBS's local programming has already become pabulum-like compared with the great documentaries it offered several years ago.
Of course, to be really fair, which dilutes the joy of my outrage but perhaps has its virtues anyway, there are, even in my small slice of the total experience, a number of excellent exceptions to the "ain't it awful" theme I've been developing. For all that's wrong, I would not want to live in any other age, to date. And some of the people I have met have been superb! Most recently, for instance, my entire physical therapy staff.
Besides, I can yet find interesting shows that are not warped by a creeping cultural red shift toward the religious right. The News Hour with Jim Lehrer comes to mind. Nor is the idea of media's degeneration to its lowest common denominator borne out when we consider a nice innovation of the last decade, blogs!
All in all, though its challenges are unique, and in many ways potentially momentous, perhaps our time is not actually worse than many others. Indeed, in numerous key moments our line's survival has been just by the skin of our teeth. Why should the present period by abnormal?
7/26/05-Tues.-A child day care facility is situated across a small field from me as I sip hot coffee in my car and, from my bank's parking lot, contemplate whatever jumps into this thing we call a mind. Fran was right. I would not have been happy as a worker at such a place. In less than five minutes, even from this distance, I notice an irritation with their caterwauling. But I'm tired, not at my best.
Yesterday our house was vibrating for many hours from the noise of a seemingly always angry neighbor, three houses down, whose huge sound system must have been turned up to the super max. Only the bass, like an enraged beating heart, or a repetitively screaming low octave banshee, came through, but I could feel it's invasion in my chest. The roar emanated from an overcrowded, apparently poor, minority residence. Ours is a neighborhood "in transition."
Why is it that change is so often negative? Wouldn't it be great if a transitional area were one in which almost all one's neighbors were getting better jobs, putting down roots, using portions of their plentiful equity to upgrade their comfortable homes and to attractively landscape their yards, greeting one another in friendly ways, joining in community projects to improve the circumstances for everyone and to make sure not only that no child were being left behind but that no individuals at all, old, middle-aged, young, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, agnostic, rich, penniless, or in-between, hale or disabled, atheist, or "red and yellow, black and white," were being forgotten in some suburban backwater of this "best of all possible worlds?"
Our section of town started as upper middle class and went downhill from there. First the property values dropped, in Austin's late '80s real estate crash. Then a number of owners, rather than take their losses, rented to multiple-household tenants. Ultimately, the prices did not go back up for years. Meanwhile, the home conditions deteriorated. More and more owners eventually threw in the towel and took what they could get. Now the lower priced residences could be afforded by folks with marginal finances. And so it went...
Now Austin's demographics, like those in the country as a whole, are changing, and we're on one of the frontiers of that alteration. The neighborhood right around our place is about 40% Hispanic, 10% Black, 5% Asian American (including folks born in India or whose parents were from there), and 45% Anglo like us. (I take little comfort from our membership in this dwindling plurality. Our culture or "race" has not distinguished itself particularly in the grand scheme. And "poor white trash" is often more likely to run a location down than upwardly mobile minorities.)
Some of the young people here, who seemingly must rebel (like the younger set around the globe), show their alienation with extremely loud, obnoxious "music" blared out so intensely one wonders how they have any hearing left. We've no rapport, no relationship at all, that would allow for a reasonable request that the volume be reduced so as not to shake the fillings out of our teeth.
But, if I had my druthers, I'd much rather have their rage roared (as it is) in rhythms that are really hate-filled rap lyrics than that they substitute their "not OK" feelings for the questionable satisfactions of anarchic destruction, injuries, and death.
Why have our disaffected youth generally chosen to express themselves "aesthetically" rather than acting out the pain with suicide bombings and other terrorism? In any case, I'm surely glad that, so far, they have.
Ranting or whatever aside, life goes on.
Frances and I completed and put out another monthly issue of our family newsletter.
I went to what I thought would be my last physical therapy session (at least for awhile) last week, but the PT director changed her mind and said, since my ranges of motion were not yet good enough, I should continue with the appointments. She asked me to touch my toes without bending my knees. I was only able to flex the spine forward enough to touch the shins about halfway down between the knees and ankles. I don't think I've been able to touch my toes that way for twenty years! She also has me doing a whole series of exercises, but they that take up 2-3 hours a day.
Fran and I are in the market for a new computer terminal and probably will be finishing up shopping for and then buying one in the next few days.
Am continuing to enjoy playing several chess games. Frances added to my online chess homepage (accessible to other players) a cute picture she'd taken of me with Puff.
Also, am still going to my literary groups. A mystery I'm reading at the moment is The Shadow Knows by Diane Johnson.
With the extra appointments and exercises, not to mention a few minutes at a time playing chess, I'm getting behind in any number of big and little things that are pending. I need to set better priorities and to more efficiently use what time I have.
I'd gained at least 2-3 pounds during the less active several weeks right after my back injury. Am now trying a version of "The Three Hour Diet" to get my pants to fit more comfortably once more.
Ernie, my religious brother who owns a construction business, led a group of his fellow church members on a Christian mission earlier this month to help disabled children and flood victims in one of the Central American countries. He couches such activities in quite superstitious, spiritual terms. It is clearly very worthwhile, regardless of their motivation, and he returns with lots positive to say about how meaningful such efforts are, truly a win-win interaction for all concerned. The evangelical god-talk grates on me, but I think it's terrific that he's been assisting folks who obviously need the help as much as many victims of the 12/04 southeast Asia earthquake and tsunamis.
Puff was sick on the carpet last night and once again had liberally peed on it a few evenings before that. Sigh. On the other hand, everyday she also does things that make us smile or laugh a bunch.
7/28/05-Thurs.-The eyes are going, but slowly enough I can adjust. At Fran's urging, I do simple eye exercises before bed most nights. But they don't prevent the growth of cataracts. Need a new exam soon.
Got to sleep about 4 AM, then was up around 7. Frances had already left for her volunteer work and photography at a city park. Took the beast for a walk. On the way, we met Paul, another early exerciser in our neighborhood. He and I have been passing and greeting one another in the morning for about three years, since he had retired too. Paul said, though, we might not be seeing each other further. He's moving into a retirement community up in Georgetown. He talked about its advantages: lots of friendly, active retired folks around as friends, little maintenance concern, plenty of security, swimming, tennis, golfing facilities, etc. He says he also has gotten part-time work and now drives a bus for the Texas School for the Blind.
We chatted a bit and I told him of Fran's and my earlier plans to go to a cooler place, with picturesque geography and abundant opportunities for fun travel, hiking, kayaking, etc., in the vicinity, but that, meanwhile, Fran was now feeling more favorable toward Austin and just remaining here, whereas I'd not yet made that transition and retained dreams of a more comfortable clime and location for my final years. If we are staying here, though, I too shall need to find better ways than I have now of being active and socially connected.
Insomnia, once again, night before last. I was up, then, when a songbird, a mockingbird I think, began loudly singing its morning challenges just after 5:00, outside the open bathroom window. Its choral efforts were cut short, and indeed all other nearby bird sounds fell instantly silent, when a screech owl started up with an even more beautiful and long song of its own.
On a walk several evenings ago, Puff and I came upon a serpent, at least 30" long, resting on the sidewalk. I think it was a diamondback water snake, but if so it was far from any natural, greenbelt source of liquid or its normal food. We'd been then in drought for several weeks. Its "home" may have dried up, so that it had sought respite in the sprinklered lawns (like the one where I found it) of the more expensive places a few blocks from our house.
Last Thursday, 7/21, our newest nephew, Seymour, was born to Nina and Allen (the total count of our nieces and nephews thus rising to 17!). He is their second child. All (and his sister) are doing fine. My mom went up (against my advice) to help for several days and wore herself to exhaustion. Back at her house by Tuesday evening, she said she was too tired even to talk or send an e-mail, but hoped she'd bounce back in awhile. I'd wanted Allen and Nina to arrange on their own for any assistance they needed, rather than calling on the old lady at such a time. I'm sure, though, despite my cautious reservations and Mom's fatigue, that it gave her, Allen, and Nina much satisfaction and pleasure that she was there then.
Who knows how they chose to call him Seymour? Wonder what nickname his fellow classmates will have for him when he's in school in a few years.
In a development not so positive as a new birth, my sister, Alice, has been having symptoms that led to her recently getting an MRI of the brain, as a result of which it was discovered she has a growth on her pituitary gland. She does not yet know what to expect from this, whether treatment is required, if it is cancerous, whether she'll need brain surgery, and so on. It has her understandably rather anxious. Our brother Ralph died of a brain tumor.
My sister-in-law, Mary, Ralph's wife, in her mid-fifties now, is having early Alzheimer's symptoms, particularly scary as she has seen her mother, formerly quite intelligent like Mary, going terribly downhill with the same disease for nearly twenty years. At this point, Mary's mom requires constant care and cannot recall who her children are. When Mary and her son, my nephew Jim, were visiting us lately, she mentioned having no memory for some things I'd started discussing, rather major common occurrences among us. And she kept leaving water faucets open when she'd get up to go to the bathroom at night.
We do not need to read books or go to movies for them: life itself sometimes visits us with quite sufficient horrors.