Mark Your Calendars

My next book is coming out, in exactly one week. One. Week. That’s seven days.

And since I’m posting this so late in the evening, many of you won’t read it until tomorrow, making that LESS than a week.

Exciting stuff, I know.

So at the mark of the one week countdown, I am thrilled to share with you guys my cover and trailer.

*scream*

So here’s the cover, and please be kind with regards the appearance of my almost-37-year-old face… I am tired and old, and having a toddler has worn me down.

And of course you can watch the trailer too, which is a sentiment to just how jaded I have become on the topic of trailers, in general:

And don’t forget you can get entered to win one of two swag bags with a copy of the book by playing along with my caption game over on Facebook or Instagram!

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I’m Offended. Here’s Why You Should Care.

My birthday is coming up and the craziest thing has been happening: I’ve been telling people I’m turning a year older than I am actually turning. Either it’s the old age, or the fact that my husband just turned that age (he’s a year older than me). But I’ve been doing it.

The fact is: I was born in 1982, which makes me – what I like to call – a late stage millennial. I’m like an older millennial who can see some of the ridiculous shit us millennials are doing, all while doing it. And loving it.

Like avocado toast and blaming the financial problems we millennials face on the crippling behaviors of Baby Boomers. Or using mason jars for drink ware. Spending my time reading labels, and breastfeeding my kids well past two (and in public!).

There are also, though, a lot of millennial things I can’t get on board with.

Millennial men’s haircuts, I can’t stand. Right now my husband is sporting a hairstyle that makes him look less like a Nick-the-film-editor; and more like David, the wanna-be goth who wears black lipstick and works at my local Starbucks as a barista. (It’s awful, and sorry David – I hope you can forgive me.)

I also cannot do the whole MLM candles, essential oils, and workout programs thing. The thought of taking forty-five selfies of myself a day, and posting story after story on Instagram in which I just sit there and talk – all in an effort to sell something – is …undesirable to me. That isn’t to say there’s anything against people who do it (and in fact I find myself envious of the people that can take so many photos and videos of themselves while I have to take 537 shots before finding an angle that suits me).

It’s just not my jam.

The conflict I really have with myself as an older millennial is the being offended thing. It is so typical of me as a millennial to get offended by things to such the degree that I do. (And isn’t that just the mark of our era: to always find a reason to feel offense at something someone else said/did/posted?)

And yet… I completely get it (the being offended).

Yesterday someone’s post on Facebook so severely offended me that I told literally every person I talked to about it for the rest of the day.

Today I was at Target and found myself feeling offended no less than four times.

Then tonight I made the error of going online, and …well…

Basically, it happens a lot.

The thing is: if you spend any time scanning the comments sections of online, you’ll see that it is hot topic now to not only get offended by things, but also – on the flip side – call out anyone that takes anything personally. Honestly, it makes me a little sick (or maybe offended, how meta would that be?) to see how crass people can be about it.

I get it: some people have taken it way too far. Like over the edge of the cliff and halfway down the river in the ravine far.

But also, in other instances, I think a lot of people have missed the point.

Take today, for example. It’s April Fools day, and while there have been a myriad of dad jokes and corporate brands having a good time posting dumb shit on the Internet for us all to enjoy, there have also been some steadfast reminders going around about what is too far.

One of those things that goes beyond clever and turns into just, plain crass is the ever-predictable fake pregnancy announcement. What better way to fool your family and friends then by posting a faux memo for the entire world to see that you have a bun preparing itself to fly out your lady hole. Then on April 2nd you let the truth be known that your womb is, in fact, still childless, and everyone had a good laugh. Right?

No. Just no.

I guess if I’m in my 50s and everyone’s going through menopause, it has the potential to be silly. But I’m 36, almost 38 (scratch that, 37) and a fair number of people in my group of peers has lost a child, miscarried a pregnancy, or had a tremendously difficult time getting pregnant. And while those people may all have a sense of humor, I often wonder if for everyone that thinks it’s silly, there isn’t someone quietly hurting as a result of the insensitivity of the whole prank.

I’ve been saying this for years: fake a marriage, fake a gigantic Amazon delivery. One year we put candy melts on brussel sprouts and fooled my husband into thinking they were cake pops. Awesome!

But don’t fake a pregnancy.

The best equivalent I can think is going up to a friend whose Grandma died on March 31st, and saying “my grandma died – APRIL FOOLS SHE IS ALIVE!”

I’m not one to take life so seriously, but I know when the time for jokes is over and the time for compassion begins. It seems that others are starting to figure it out as well, because this time, I saw an article going around about this very topic: how not funny the April Fools pregnancy announcements can be to some people.

And as usual, the comments proved how awful humanity has become.

The comment that I read on one of the postings that stuck out the most for me summed up perfectly what is wrong with the our culture (or at least one of the things):

“When are people going to understand that it’s not my responsibility to worry about what everyone is offended by?”

Who the fuck said anything about being offended?

From there I got sucked down the comment hole, in which I read heinous reply after heinous reply, all from the likes of women named Candy and Monica, with big haired profile pictures and those stupid cause filters laid over the photographs, quite obviously meant to cover up their total and utter lack of humanity. Yeah you are really passionate about lupus, but don’t give a fuck about people’s feelings, Tiphani with a ‘ph.’

That’s when it hit me: it’s super cool to make fun of millennials for always being overly sensitive to people’s sensitivities; and yet a lot of the time, what we are talking about are actual matters of human compassion.

The same woman who says it’s not her responsibility to worry about what others feel (because that’s what that comment is saying) is the same person that will drive by a homeless veteran and call him a drunk. It’s a weak viewpoint, weakened mostly by narcissism.

This is where things get dicey. Because you don’t want to be one of those people who’s just up in arms about everything. But also, you need to be compassionate towards others: even if it doesn’t affect you. And it’s dicey only because there’s a fine line between the two, one that is incumbent on all of us to walk along carefully.

So I’m pretty offended, obviously, about this whole issue. April Fools. Fake pregnancy announcements. Being offended. People saying people are offended too easily. Millennials.

And you should care for the same reason I do: the world of Candys, Monicas, and Tiphanis lacks the thing that makes us who we are. Our humanity.

The Intolerable Sports Parent

Today, like many Saturdays, was consumed by my kids and their sports.

I am among the millions of American parents whose children chose sports activity over something far cooler. Like a Saturday book club or a weekend Thespian Society. My kids are not in band. They are similarly not into something like D&D or other gaming types of clubs.

They are into fitness.

When I was their age, I spent my weekends reading Teen magazine, organizing my Caboodle, trying to tape my favorite songs off the radio without getting all the commercials, and crying into my pillow because my dad wouldn’t buy me a new pair of Rollerblades.

Not my kids, though. They can’t do cool stuff like lounge around all weekend eating Cheetos and watching reruns of Saved By the Bell.

Nope.

It’s only after you are knee deep in strings, racquets, and the mounting costs that come with it all, that you realize just how much single sports specialization becomes a way of life. The question every morning when we are getting ready for the day is: are we playing tennis today? Today, in 2019, the kids that pick one sport essentially devote all their free time to doing that sport. And if your kids get really into it, entire weekends, holidays, and vacations are reserved for – you guessed it – tournaments.

All complaining aside: I do love that my kids have found something that they have a passion for. There are a lot of kids (and I mean a lot) that sort of flounder around from thing to thing, until they eventually succumb to complacent boredom. Nothing good can come of a kid (especially an older one) that is bored. Tennis, for my kids, has not only curbed boredom; it’s kept them healthy, taught them about caring for their bodies, helped reduced school-related stress, and brought them into a social setting with other kids that have similar interests.

But by God if the parents don’t suck the fucking life out of it sometimes.

Honestly. These parents that put their kids in sports are the most intolerable of the bunch. And I recognize the irony in the sense that I – too – am a parent that has put my kids into sports.

But I definitely see myself apart from the pack.

1. I don’t coach my kid.

You can always tell you are dealing with the intolerable sports parent when you roll up to the tennis court and see that they are coaching their own kid. Even parents that played in college probably shouldn’t be coaching their kid (unless, of course, we are talking about a sport like baseball where the dad volunteers to be the coach for the team – an entirely different circumstance altogether).

I know parents that know absolutely nothing about tennis whatsoever and insist that they are their kid’s coach.

I know parents that bust out Youtube videos to show their kids a new stance for serving or hitting a backhand.

I know parents that will stand there and argue with their kid about what is right and wrong in the game. That will do this not only on the public court on a Saturday afternoon, but in front of a large group of other people at a tournament. The kid just lost, usually badly, and the dad is standing there lecturing about the racket head being closed instead of open.

We get it: a lot of professional tennis players have parents for coaches. But your kid isn’t Serena Williams, nor are you Serena and Venus’s dad.

2. I also don’t push my kid into positions they are ill-prepared ready for.

My kids play team tennis. Team tennis parents are the worst.

Granted, we have made friends with a lot of team tennis families over the years; but there are always those few that seem to have made it their mission in life to ruin the team experience for everyone.

Usually they are mothers, and typically they think they are auditioning for Dance Moms, at least when it comes to the high key drama and the nonstop shit talking.

Typically their names are something like Tammy, Tiffany, Brenda, Debra, Linda, Tobi, or Jenipher – spelled, emphatically, with a “ph.”

Speak to the manager haircuts are not required, but almost always a part of the get up.

This intolerable sports parent makes the situation unbearable for everyone else by trying to push her kid into a place the kid isn’t really ready for.

Why isn’t my kid playing #1 singles?

Why isn’t my kid playing singles AND doubles?

Why did we even come if my kid isn’t going to play the top position?

I’ll admit, there have been times that I have gotten annoyed when my kids are put at the bottom place week after week after week after week. But my annoyance usually isn’t because I expect them to play at the top, rather I am just tired that they are shit on by way of these overbearing, intolerable sports parents stepping on them to make their under qualified kid the star.

3. I don’t act crazy or loud at the matches.

It really doesn’t matter what sport your kid plays: there is no reason in the fucking universe why you should be acting crazy or loud in the stands.

One time, my oldest daughter was on a tennis team and there was a mother that would bang her fist on the table and scream at plays she didn’t like (either from her daughter or her daughter’s opponent – she was not discretionary at whom she screamed).

That same lady, one time, went totally ballistic because her kid was placed in doubles, and literally fell on the floor crying. Fell. On. The. Floor.

It was fodder for a bad reality TV show, at best; and to this day, I have not since seen anything so extreme.

We used to live in a townhome complex across from a soccer field, and every Saturday would wake up to the sounds of parents getting into outright brawls over something that had happened during the game. A yellow card or red card was pulled and parents would start screaming at each other, then two mildly obese men in Raiders t-shirts and Levi jeans would be rolling around, fists flying.

Once, at a tennis match, my younger daughter’s coach walked in late (having come from another match) and stepped right into a huge circle of parents and coaches that were screaming at each other about who was actually allowed to call balls out. At one point I heard someone yell “is this a racial thing,” to which another person said “no I’m Mexican but apparently my skin isn’t brown enough” and several people walked (no, ran) away.

Even the parents that cheer too loudly seem to be intolerable at a point. It’s one thing to clap or be happy for your kid; it’s another to stand up and scream like it’s the Super Bowl.

On one hand, I get it: sports, like everything else, costs a lot of money. Like more than a lot. For my two, oldest kids, our cost runs about $280 a week, and that does not include the strings, rackets, clothing, bags, grips, shoes, etc. that are replaced at least every other month, some every week.

So when you are putting out this fuckton of money, I can see how some parents could want some sort of a return for the money.

In truth, I think it’s really about the fact that some parents are living out their wildest fantasies through their children.

Because let’s face it: a lot of us didn’t grow up in a time where kids and their activities are so at the center of a parent’s universe. We were sent outside with our bikes and a stick; and, sure, some of us played a sport, but it wasn’t a daily thing like it is now. What we did daily was homework and Nintendo and hanging out with our friends.

And, if I’m being honest, our parents didn’t expect so much from us.

Or maybe I have a skewed memory of it all and my parents were intolerable sports parents when I was in t-ball or, later, tennis as well. I’m sure they existed in some way or another. Maybe there was a fight or two in the stands I was just completely oblivious to.

Or maybe me being so against living through my children and berating them after a bad match; or choosing to give my kid some space while they play, and keep quiet when I do watch, is the actual enemy. My lax approach to this whole thing really unsupportive; my insistence that my kids just enjoy themselves and have fun being just another example in a series of times I’ve missed the point. Maybe I’ve misunderstood the right and the wrong of this whole thing, and the only intolerable sports parent is me.


Apply to Review My Newest Book!

Hey everyone!

If you – like me – love free shit, then I’ve got just the thing for you:

You can receive a signed copy of my new book, a Starbucks gift card, and a free swag bag of book-themed items. The value of this package is $100!

The return is that you agree to review my book no later than July 1st, 2019 on Amazon.com with a copy of your review sent to me (I promise, I won’t be offended by blatant honesty).

Apply to review it by clicking on the link below, to answer just a few questions and be entered in the selection process. I will be choosing 10 people to review my book, and of those that didn’t make the cut will be holding a raffle of the same value.

Thanks so much for joining me on my next adventure!

Here’s the linkie: https://goo.gl/forms/YhQkFBgzWfs4CyEq1

An Open Letter To Single Mothers, Everywhere

Suck it up.

Yep, I said it. Suck it up.

I mean this with the utmost understanding of the struggles you are experiencing.

Suck. It. Up.

That’s what I read over and over and over again in the comments section of an article this morning on Scary Mommy, although it was the single mothers, everywhere, that were screeching it in what I can only imagine the shrillest of tones.

Nobody has it as bad as you, right?

UGH.

Suck it up.

So I woke up this morning, and as I always do, checked all the notifications on my phone. Then, after clearing them, scrolled through my Facebook feed and ran across this:

Single mothers everywhere, came to this post in particular, just to tell a woman (women, because others had empathized in the comments and were being directly addressed as well) to suck it up.

To the writer of this article: I identify. Big time.

My husband doesn’t travel for work, but he is never around either. He works the nightshift, extra hours, and takes extra jobs on weekends as side projects to further his career. When he is home, he is sleeping or sitting on his phone or answering emails from work.

He is not and he has never been an extra set of hands.

I am the lone ranger of our home. I do all the cooking. All the cleaning. All the driving. The baths, the bedtimes, the runny noses and endless doctor’s appointments – you guys get it, I do it all. There is no me time, no self care. No “I do the cooking, you do the dishes.” I do all of it, and then I make my husband a plate of food to eat the next day and many times he just throws it in the trash because “work catered this morning.”

Most days it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. And all for the income of barely above a livable wage, because not only does my husband sacrifice his time for his career, he sacrifices good wages. I cut my own hair, I cook every meal at home, and I go without basic necessities time after time after time to give my kids opportunity and my husband the chance to achieve his dreams.

This isn’t about my struggles, though; or my husband’s clear lack of participation in our family dynamic. Let me be clear: IT IS NOT. I’m just attempting to clarify why I am qualifying my own right to say to single moms, everywhere:

You. Need. To. Stop.

If I or someone else, like the writer of “This Is What Parenting Feels Like When Your Spouse Travels For Work,” ever dares to open our mouths and lament a particularly difficult aspect of our own situation – which certainly a lot of people can identify with, and benefit from hearing about – the army of single mothers, everywhere, come in on their high horses, spewing hate and venom about how no situation can ever be as bad as theirs.

Give me a break.

The defining comment on that article this morning was one of the first I read. It had over 600 reactions, and over 100 replies in unison:

“So, like single parenting but with an extra income? Asking for 13.7 million people.”

You can feel the ire radiating from the screen.

Comment after comment from there agreed and told the writer to suck it up. To “man up” and deal with her situation.

“At least you have that extra income.”

“Suck it up, at least you have an extra pair of hands when he’s in town.”

The ballsiest:

“No one’s situation will ever be as hard as mine.”

OH. MY. GOD.

We get it. Your life sucks too. The operative word there is “too.” Shockingly, misery in adulthood is not mutually exclusive. A lot of people experience it, in a lot of different ways.

You had a failed marriage. You told a man you were pregnant and he fled town. You don’t get child support. You do get child support, but it’s insufficient. You never get a break. You get a break, but you have to fight incessantly as coparents. Your kids will never know what it’s like to have two parents in one home. Your kids will and remember, but they will always have the trauma of a home, broken. You have to work two jobs to survive. You have to work one job, but long hours.

None of that is sufficient to invalidate the experiences of others.

There are a lot of people in the world that have it much worse than all of us. There are refugees. People on the street. People in abusive situations that feel they can’t get out. People with terminal illness. I could go on.

The point is that a lot of people in this world, dare I say most people, are struggling in one way or another. Other people are allowed to have a hard time with their situation while you have a hard time with yours. Moreover, it doesn’t make your experience any less valid to validate that of others.

I’m sorry, it doesn’t.

It sucks to have your struggles shit on. To the single moms, everywhere: just stop.

The point is: we get it. I get it. I hear you. Now it’s your turn to hear me.

Suck it up.

Not suck it up to your situation; rather, suck it up to the fact that you are not alone and you do not have it particularly worse than any given person.

Something magical happens when we stop shitting on each other and start working together: things get easier. I am much more inclined to carpool with a single mother that recognizes my own struggles, than to carpool with one who responds to everything I say with “at least you don’t…” In exchange, I am a listener, and will listen to you as long as you need me to.

It isn’t a pissing contest. We can both be miserable, and in acknowledging that, we can also both get some happiness, together.

[Just A Long Post About Laundry]

UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH.

We need to talk about laundry.

I don’t know about you guys, but laundry is probably going to be the thing that does me in.

Honestly.

It’s not the cooking, which I loathe and yet find myself spending about three hours a day doing.

It’s not the cleaning, which – again – I’m not really a fan of; though being a health and sanitization freak, I see the necessity of. (Still, it would be nice if the second I wipe down a counter, my family could not immediately spill food and walk away…)

The errands. The kids’ sports. The homeschooling. The breastfeeding, largely unsupported.

It’s none of that shit.

It’s the laundry.

I never understood – before having three kids, plus my dad, husband, and myself – just how much laundry a family could produce. Like I kind of understood. When I was little, we had a big basement and the laundry would just pile up higher and higher until my dad or I finally got around to doing it.

But holy shit. Laundry.

LAUNDRY. WOAH.

Every week, the piles get bigger and bigger, and I’m just not sure how to go about doing it. I have a teen, a tween, and a toddler, so naturally all three of the worst laundry-with-kids phases. My kids also play sports too; and my husband and dad… well, men.

I tried one load a day, but that was insufficient for a family of six.

I tried two loads a day; somehow also insufficient.

I tried just continuing the laundry all day, every day. The problem with that was then the folding never got done and we just had piles of clothes waiting to be put away laying around everywhere.

I’ve tried one or two, specific, laundry days a week. But busy lives and a lot of people means that for the days afterwards, there’s still the laundry piled up everywhere waiting to be folded or put away, like with my daily laundry routine. And also, with a family of six, the longer it takes to finish “laundry day,” the more laundry gets added to laundry day.

And you guys get it; it just never gets done.

I’m at the point, now, of thinking: ‘let’s just burn all of our clothes once they start to smell.’ We can start fresh with the latest Target wardrobe du jour. Right? (Honestly, it would probably cost less than the endless amounts of detergent, combined with the water and gas bill from the washer and dryer – essentially – running constantly.)

It’s not just the doing of the laundry, it’s the folding and putting away. We are a family of six, and we live in a small house (duh, California cost of living). So we have to squeeze things in as best we can.

Which basically means we don’t.

There’s also that whole Gain thing.

Do you guys remember a while ago Gain laundry detergent had that Gooder campaign, and I basically lost my mind about it?

I wrote blogs, Tweeted, Facebooked, and even wrote a letter to the president of the company. I just could not handle a marketing campaign that used improper grammar. (Because, at the time, I really was that much of a pretentious grammarian. I know, I know…I hate me too.)

To my surprise, those motherfuckers over at Gain had the BALLS to respond to me, and their response was even more appalling than the campaign: they said THAT THEIR GOODER CAMPAIGN WAS GOODEST ENOUGH FOR THEM. (Or something along those lines.)

Like they not only defended it, they went so far as to bate me further. I. Was. Livid.

So I stopped using Gain for quite some time, which I’m sure was a real crisis to them. I mean I do a lot of laundry, so much so that I was once asked for identification because my local CVS security team identified through camera and cash register surveillance footage that I was purchasing Tide pods at an “alarming frequency and quantity” (their words); still, I’m fairly certain my lone boycott of Gain and their bullshit GOODER campaign had absolutely no impact on the company whatsoever.

But it was the point, you know?

So flash forward to last summer when we went on a little mini vacation and had to buy one of those one time use packs of laundry detergent – because, duh, I have a huge family and even vacations include Mom doing laundry. The only option was Gain, so I begrudgingly bought it…

…WELL… have you guys smelled that shit lately? They were right: IT. IS. GOODER. It was like someone had sewn roses into my clothes when I washed them with Gain. Like all of the good smells in the universe have been infused into a tiny pod, that they don’t even call a pod – they call it a fling. Some romantic shit you had the summer between your junior and senior years of college is now working overtime to get the scent and stain of your daily filth out of your Cotton On underpants. Like heaven is real, and it’s the smell and feel of my freshly laundered linens.

So now I feel like a hypocrite because I took Gain to task during that whole Gooder campaign thing, now I literally stand at the washing machine with my nose in the Gain Fling container like I’m sniffing a fine wine for the first time.

I’ve clearly lost it in the thick of all these socks that need to be folded, and bras that need to be hand washed. I don’t really know where to go from here.

Well I’ve Had A Week. What About You Guys?

Well I’ve had a week. And by that, I mean a pretty awful one.

It isn’t one particular thing, it’s just thing after thing after thing that’ve gone wrong. Extra appointments. A lot of driving. And a frustrating series of phone calls with AT&T to resolve something that they did wrong.

There was also a terrible scene in the doctor with my dad, who was forced to undergo a strep test. He mentioned that his throat was a little sore (turns out he has bad allergies), but they took one look at my 2 year old and jumped to conclusions, assuming my dad must have strep (didn’t you guys know toddlers are disease bags?). A ton of gagging and awful sounds later, and we learned that my dad has a terrible gag reflex, and he in fact does not have strep throat (his throat wasn’t even sore anymore at that point).

To be honest with you guys, I can’t even believe it’s still January. Like there’s still another day this month. For people in the Midwest, where it’s snowy and cold and miserable, this never ending January thing is pretty status quo. But I live in California, and there is literally no reason for it to be dragging on like this, save for all these pain in the ass problems rearing their heads, what seems like every single day since January 1st.

Here’s what I think is the hardest thing about having a bad day or week or month, or even year, though: people always say shit that makes me feel like I am not supposed to feel bad about a rough time.

They say things like “oh just be happy you aren’t dealing with …..” or “just be grateful you aren’t…”

Or they turn it into all of their problems and why there’s are invariably a million times worse than mine. And you are right, Janet, I just will never understand how hard you have it.

It’s always so shocking to me that people (in general) don’t seem to be able to accept that you can be capable of both 1. lamenting a shitty situation, and 2. also be totally grateful for your situation on the whole at the same time.

It may come as a surprise to some people. But I can be super grateful that I have a roof over my head and food on my plate, and also still be pissed that AT&T keeps screwing up our plan and sending me a bill for double what it should be.

Here’s another one: I can have gratitude for my opportunity to stay at home with my kids, and also feel like I’m isolated from the world and doing the work of twenty people for – essentially – basic room and board and absolutely no breaks.

I can be stressed out and burned out about my toddler’s daily meltdowns, and also enjoy my kids on the good days.

[Screams in absolute shock and awe.]

I think that the worst I have ever felt is when I’m trying to pretend like everything is perfect. To be honest, it’s even harder to acknowledge what is great when I can’t even allow myself to accept what is bad.

And the people I despise the most are those that have to shove their nonstop positivism down my throat. I don’t mean that they are nice and positive and whatever; I mean that the de facto response to me having a bad day or a pejorative tone to my voice is to lecture me for twenty five minutes about how wonderful life could be if I would just remove the rain cloud from over my head.

Why does this upset me? Because it makes me feel like my totally human and totally normal emotions, some of which are not perfect and positive and oozing with gratitude, are abnormal. And moreover, that I’m some heinous, ungrateful monster for having a shitty day, week, or month.

Being human is such a weird thing because we have all these complex emotions and there is so much in popular culture telling us to stop having so many of them.

Well I’ve had a bad week. And last week was pretty terrible too. To be honest, 2018 and 2017 were both kind of a disaster; and 2016 wasn’t too much of a peach either (more of a rotten orange, if you know what I mean). What’s great, though, is that in that time I’ve learned to accept and acknowledge the bad with the good; to be OK with not being OK, and also to enjoy the moments in between when everything really is nice.

So are you guys having a bad week too? Or month? 2019 getting off to a rough start?

I’m right there with ya.