Monday, December 14, 2009

D-O-N-E, DONE!!!

Above: Me writing papers at the NYU library the other night, The little speck behind me that I am staring at is the Empire State Building, lit up blue and white. Too bad I don't have time to go out and actually enjoy NYC!

I just finished printing off my LAST final paper for my first semester of grad school. Yes, I feel pretty dang proud AND relieved at this moment. I was strugglin' quite a bit at the beginning of the semester...and the middle and end. Let me be real, here. I was miserable. BUT, because of the wise teachings of my parents and the gospel of Jesus Christ, I knew that with challenges come strengths and lessons learned. Most important lesson learned this time: I CAN get through it and even do well at it! Even when miserable! Haha..ha.

So, tomorrow I attend my last two classes, turn in my last two papers, and then get on a plane bound for HOME! :) I have never been more excited to return home after being away, except for maybe when I was coming home from my mission. And it's Christmas time! I love Christmas time, but I never really feel like it is until I am with my family. Therefore, starting December 16th, I will officially become aware of the holiday season.

Upon my return to New York, I will be moving into Manhattan! Things have worked out so well. I had hopes to move into this very apartment, because it contains some very dear friends of mine. Unfortunately, one of them is leaving and that's how I am able to move there. BUT! She won't be far. Life in the city, so I'm told, is a must-have experience (duh) and quite different than the Brooklyn experience. I'm grateful I get to experience both.

The photo below is the amazing, humble little branch I am leaving behind. I will once again be in a singles ward (heaven help me). But I guess I better take advantage (?), because before I know it, I'll be getting the "you're too old" boot!
I'm also leaving behind this little guy. He's kept me company through what felt like the toughest four months of my life! We totally bonded. Who woulda thought, I even get attached to animals?! Oh wait...I did. I knew that would happen. :(

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December, I Love You

I know I am not the only one stunned by today's date. I must say, my first semester of grad school went SUPER fast. Time ain't slowin' down none, and I'm so happy about it! Two weeks from today I will be turning in my last two final papers of the semester and jetting home to Las Vegas for holiday happiness. I'm pretty sure this is why I'm all of a sudden in much better spirits. I think I've made it clear that this transition to NYC and into NYU and Social Work has been challenging. I think what made it especially hard is my expectation of myself. But anyway, I am learning to not be so hard on myself, more patient, etc., and I am proud I have made it to where I am.

The end.

Here's a short video clip and photos of the parade!!
So glad I got Spongebob in my self photo shot!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Anticipating Thanksgiving Day in NYC

I am going to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade IN PERSON!!!!!! Needless to say, I am extremely excited for this event. I have watched this parade on television probably every year that I can recall being alive (and I know that is totally possible, because the parade has been running for 82 years! This is the 83rd). This is going to be awesome!!!! Soon, I will have pictures of my own to share, but until then, these will suffice.Eeeeeek! If I must not be with my family, this is definitely the other way I would want to spend Thanksgiving. Well, at least in the morning. I look forward to enjoying good food and good company, too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pleasure Amid Pain

It's that time of year again, where once Halloween comes, times flies and the holiday season begins. And right now for me that means school is nearing the end...of the semester, that is. Let me not get ahead of myself. But I really cannot believe that I only have 3-4 weeks of school left. All I have left to do is write four final papers that are at least each 10 pages long. Sounds simple, right? Ha. I'm not sure how I am going to accomplish it, exactly, but somehow, some miracle will occur, and a month from now I will be home in Las Vegas with my family, enjoying Christmas time. Sigh. I am very much looking forward to that.

I failed to mention earlier this month that I went to the opera for my first time. It was pretty fantastic. It was an American-themed performance titled "American Voices" at the David H.
Koch theater at Lincoln Center. Various American performers, including one of my favorite singers, Rufus Wainwright, each performed one song.
The NYC Ballet also did a number, which was so beautiful. Before it had started, I was outside waiting for Abby to meet me and people-watched. Opera-goers are no joke. Most men were in black tie attire, women were wearing long, shimmering gowns with fur shawls. I was AT THE OPERA. Once inside, I was pretty happy with the seating for the 12-dollar ticket holders (i.e me and Abby). For the cheapest seats, they were not too shabby at all! The theater was beautiful.
We were on the fifth level, on the side (right of stage), and we could see down into the orchestra pit. It was really fascinating to watch the musicians play in addition to watching and listening to the singers. It was a really nice experience.

This post is to prove that despite my stressful state, I do still take time out to enjoy things. And tonight, I'm going here:

And then to see this:
At least my priorities are in order, right? Ha.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In All Honesty

I haven't been posting lately, because I feel like if I do it's going to be negative sounding and/or depressing. I'm not in the highest spirits these days, but it's manageable. And finally, I have some positive things to mention.

The midterm point in the semester has come and gone, hallelujah. I still have one more paper to turn in, a week late, but it's not my fault. Half of my paper is to involve work with a client, but my internship has not been the most productive and it is affecting me in every way. Hopefully things will change soon, or I may lose my mind. It's such an integral part of the Social Work program at NYU, and I am not getting what I need from it AT ALL. Again, here's hoping that changes real soon, as in this week. Blah.

BUT! On a positive note, I have received two midterm grades thus far: "A" and "A-". Why give the minus, really? I've never understood the plus and minus mentality. Either it's an "A" paper or it's not. I guess I should be grateful for the existence of the plus/minus grading system, because I may have slipped down to a "B" if it didn't exist. So yeah, I should be happy about those grades, and I am. I just sometimes feel like I'm fooling the teacher. I don't quite have the confidence in myself that I should. My roommate called me on that this weekend and told me I'm too hard on myself. That may be true, but I am the only one who knows what goes on behind the scenes of my school life, and honestly, it's not that impressive.

I know it's all this stress that is causing the negativity in my life, so I did some research and found this:

Perhaps it will help some. But what helps more are the little quotes I read each night from the spiritual quote book "Stand a Little Taller". The other night I opened it up to this:

"Don't Quit"

"And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God". Moroni 9:6

"You have not failed until you quit trying." - President Gordon B. Hinckley

This could not have hit more directly on the head of what I have been feeling lately. But just when I think it couldn't get more applicable, tonight's, dated for November the 8th, it reads:

"Believe in Yourself"

"Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward". Hebrews 10:35

"Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself as a child of God. Believe in your capacity to do good in the world, to spread light and truth and understanding; to reach out to those in distress and need to help and bless them" -President Gordon B. Hinckley

This one is going on the wall, in big, bold letters where I can see it every single day. So perfect.

p.s. I have the most AMAZING and WONDERFUL parents that ever existed. They help me, too. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Bold Experiment

Fall has arrived! I love my windows in my bedroom, because I look out of them and see trees and leaves! Oh, and also an old skool fire escape, which reminds me I live in NYC. Not that I need that reminder...but sometimes I do. And I'm sure other places besides NYC have fire escapes, but this is a first for me.I am almost half way through midterm paper madness!! I turn in #2 (but kind like #3, since there are two parts to one particular midterm), tomorrow, then two more next week. Gaaaah. I'm not getting too excited, though, because right when the last midterm paper is handed in, I'm sure I'll be starting on final papers. Waaaah! But! On a lighter note...
At least I have things like the above to cheer me up! When I went to a church activity last week someone's daughter was there selling them for school! It was crazy, seeing the "World's Finest Chocolate" bars in their box, staring me in the face. I made sure to tell the girl that I used to sell those same exact candy bars when I was in elementary school!! And I went further to prove it, by stating that I bet they had a coupon on the backside of the wrapper. Sure enough, I was right! It was even a Pizza Hut coupon, which I'm pretty certain was the same coupon on the back of the ones I sold. I had no idea these candy bars were still in circulation, even at an elementary school on the opposite side of the country! I was quickly saddened by the fact that I didn't have any money with me to buy one. To my surprise, someone else overheard my elation upon seeing that nostalgic chocolate and bought me one! I made sure to make it last, enjoying every bite.=)

On a healthier note, I finally went grocery shopping last week and actually bought food with a meal plan in mind...kind of. I just knew I didn't want frozen meals for dinner. I didn't want to eat out either, because that is pricey. So, the other night I cooked some whole wheat pasta noodles with Alfredo sauce, sauteed some mushrooms and peas.
Wah-la! The result! It didn't have much flavor to it, but that's pretty typical for Alfredo sauce dishes, right? I'm no cook, but I was pretty proud of myself for stepping up from where I have been (aka: frozen pizzas or frozen veggie burgers).
And this one above is a new one for me, introduced by my roommate. Beans and hard boiled eggs, with a little hot sauce to give it kick. When I first saw her eating it I thought, that's a weird combination. And then I tried it, and it's delicious! It takes more patience than I am used to (a whole 20 minutes or so just to boil two eggs!), but I'm learning. Ha. One of these days, I'll actually try and get past cooking the things that just require heating up in water, straight from a can or bag, and they're ready to eat. But baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Artistic Weekend-Part 2

Today I got to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was nearly free. Admission is by donation, FYI. There are fees that are "recommended", but really, you pay what you can afford.I went with my girls, Abby and Jess (we each paid one dollar. yep). I love it when the three of us hang out. It's familiar and easy. I guess it makes me feel a little closer to home. =) (image above taken Christmas 2006, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, UT)

And here are some art pieces we saw:
Johannes Vermeer's masterpiece, The Milkmaid, 1657-58

Pablo Picasso's Dying Bull, 1934

The Angel of Death and the Sculptor from the Milmore Memorial, 1889–93; this carving, 1926
Daniel Chester French (American, 1850–1931)

And so, so much more. This museum is HUGE. We barely scratched the surface.

Artistic Weekend-Part 1

Ok, so it's been awhile since my last post. Basically, that translates to school is kicking my trash. I'm reaching midterm point, and THAT translates to lots of writing (which I should be doing now, in fact, instead of posting on this blog). But I guess I'm not that worried. I have till next Thursday to complete one that I'm already half way done with. So yeah, I should be ok. Here's hoping.

This weekend was the first in several weekends that I actually went out and did fun stuff with my friends, and it was full of wonderful art, which is why I am going to break this post into two parts. Last night I did two amazing things. I met up with my friend Jess to visit MOMA (Museum of Modern Art),which is free on Friday nights. The first and only time I had been to that place was my first time to NYC, back in 2001. It was well overdue. The place was hoppin', with tons of people everywhere, thanks to the "free"-ness of it all. People LOVE free stuff. And not just Americans or Mormons. Ha. The visit was a little hard to enjoy fully because of all the people, but it was good to see some great art. And I was sure glad Jess was there to point out the technical details and stuff to the photography (her specialty) and other art.

After MOMA, we went to see this movie:And I LOVED it. I want to go see it again, that's how much I loved it. I could see it tonight, THAT'S how much I loved it. I'm just sayin'. L-O-V-E. I was enthralled in the story, in the world of "wild things", the entire time. The acting was phenomenal (where did this little boy come from?!), the scenery/imagery was beautiful, the storyline (that is only like 10 sentences in the children's book) was deep and meaningful (I even choked up a bit). I'm no film critic (I'm fairly easy to entertain), but man, that was good. Oh, and the soundtrack? Forget about it. So stinkin' good. Everyone MUST go see this movie. I really have loved the name Max (short for Maxwell) for some time now. It may just be my first born's given name, girl or boy. I'm claiming it now, just so you know.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Bulgarian Comes to Town

My dear friend Petra stopped by for a visit on her way back to her homeland. It was very nice to see a familiar face, someone from my life before NYC. We went on a search for the perfect pair of boots, tried on many, bought none. It was fun, though. We also went on a Staten Island Ferry ride to visit Lady Liberty and see the city in all its sparkling glory. Unfortunately, my camera does not feature the greatest zoom lens or night shooting options.And sadly, I only got one picture of us together. Oh well. I got proof, and that's what counts!I also have proof that my roommate's cat (that I pretend is my cat) is more than adorable, especially when sleeping.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm A Wanderer of Sorts

I met with my supervisor at my student internship on Wednesday, and he is awesome. I am relieved beyond belief. There have been some horror stories going around about terrible supervisors and crappy agencies. Well, mine are not! Also, the agency and what I will be doing sounds pretty incredible. I'll be working with mentally ill kids, doing respite work, group work, individual work, etc. It's got variety, what I love best. I think it's going to be a very good fit. And the bonus is that it is only a 10-minute walk from my house! Now, THAT is unheard of. So I really got lucky. Or was it luck???

Anyway, in order to intern there, they need a background check on me, 'cause, ya know, I could be a criminal. Have you seen my face?!? But seriously, I totally understand why they do this...duh. I just didn't think I would be asked to give them EVERY SINGLE ADDRESS of EVERYWHERE I HAVE EVER LIVED! For real. Insane. Oh, and don't forget the month and year time frame in which I lived at those residences. Holy cow. I nearly busted my brains out to dig that deep. Fortunately for me, I have an AMAZING mother who keeps very good records, and also friends who have better memories than I do.

The total??

20 moves in 29 years.

I have moved 20 times in 29 years!!!!!

That means only 9 years of my entire life has been consistent!! Not even half!!! I knew I moved a lot, but wow. Wow.

God only knows, and I mean that quite literally, (well, and maybe others have figured it out by now, too) that the only thing that will keep me put is a man + marriage + kids. So until then, whaddayasay I shoot for 30 moves by my 39th birthday?? I'm not afraid!This has come with me, off and on, in the last handful of moves. It's my parents' original engagement photo and frame. I took the liberty of inheriting it (sorry, brother and sisters). I seriously don't feel at home without it. My room is officially complete! Thanks, mom!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Cannot Tell a Lie

I'm drained. Last week was tough. My classes are all about self-awareness and identities and judgments and racism and social injustice, etc, etc. I know, I better get used to it, right? I know I didn't choose an easy/simple field of study. Social work is hard. Working with humans and their troubles is hard. I knew this. I am just finally here now, and it's a lot to take in. But, I'll be okay. (how I felt at the end of last week)

I should be starting my internship tomorrow, but my school was last minute in telling me where my placement is, so I haven't been able to meet with my supervisor yet. At least I do know where I will be working, though. It's with an agency that has been around since the late 1890s, literally. It's called SCO Family of Services (, and I will be helping with "blended child case management", which means I will be working on child cases. But since I haven't met with my supervisor yet, I don't know exactly what type of cases they will be. It can be anything from abuse/neglect to poverty, to foster care, etc. Whatever it is, it will be challenging and probably heart-wrenching at times, but rewarding and life-changing. Sure, I'm nervous. That's a given. But, then this comes to mind......and I feel better, because I know it's true. Last week was a lot of me digesting the fact that I very much stand alone or apart from the rest of my classmates and associates at this school and elsewhere, due to my religious beliefs. Once again, this is something I was not naive about in moving to New York and attending NYU. I guess it had just been a long while since it has set me apart so blatantly. Then add race into the mix. One of my text books is called Racism in the United States, and the readings I had to do last week talked a lot about the white race being "privileged" and having to "unlearn racism". Both of these phrases didn't sit very well with me. I have never thought of myself as privileged and definitely not the kind of person needing to unlearn racism. I got to write my feelings about it in what my professor calls a "reflection paper," which is a great learning tool. She doesn't grade them, but just wants us to digest what we're learning by writing our thoughts and feelings about what we read out on paper. I can already tell that this class will be the one I get the most from.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Official, I'm Official

Obtaining a New York State Driver's license really shouldn't be so easy. All I had to do was fill out a form, wait in line for two hours at the DMV (duh), hand over my current driver's license, and pay 45 dollars. No test!...oh, except a quick, very simplified sight test. And bam! I'm official. I know people who hold on to their same license, no matter where they move to. I've never liked doing that. Maybe it is a matter of feeling more a part of my new state, I don't know. I was quick to get a Utah driver's license when I first moved there, and now New York. Too bad they don't let you keep the old ones, because I could've started a collection! Behold! My new form of identification: Pretty snazzy.
On a totally unrelated note, I've been experiencing several celebrity sightings this past week. Juliette Binoche was doing some sort of signing at a Barnes and Noble, and I managed to sneak a photo. It's not that great, but it was taken through glass and from a distance. No, I would not make a good paparazzi photographer.Also, the main actress on Law & Order was in Central Park on Sunday with her husband and son. I would have never noticed this, but someone I was with had an eagle eye (or is a fan of the show), and she whipped out her trusty iPhone Internet skills to confirm the sighting. I knew for sure, when I heard her voice. I don't watch the show, but I've seen tidbits. It was her, indeed. No pics, though. I didn't want to intrude on family time. They were actually the most adorable family, playing in the park together. I would've been staring anyway, but I didn't stare, really.

One more unrelated note, last week my aunt and uncle were in town. I met up with them in Times Square for lunch. I didn't manage to catch their photo, but I sure got mine! I'm so vain.

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Week Down, Thirteen To Go!

Wow, when I say it like that, one semester doesn't seem long at all. The first week of graduate school is over! I like all of my professors, and I think I will enjoy each of their classes very much. They each have a bit of laidback-ness about them, which is nice. There's tons of reading to do throughout the semester, and they know it, but they aren't crazy/mean about it. I mean, we're grad students, so I think they just expect that we'll be responsible. No need to be a bully, right? Right.

The Social Work building is adorable and inviting. It's a fairly small building, and it's old, so it's got a lot of character. There is a fireplace in the lobby and in the parlor (yes, it's a parlor). The classroom has one too. I don't know if any of them are usable (we shall see, come winter). All my classes are in the same room, so that's kinda nice. I'll be nice and comfortable there, since it will be my second home for the next four months. The NYU library is directly across the street, or park, rather.
The red building you see behind the arch is the Social Work building. It's super nice to have a park in the center of campus. It makes the walks between my building and the library quite enjoyable.

The NYU library is becoming my third home. I ran into two classmates there, at different times, today! It's nice to see familiar people in my same program. I've collected a handful of phone numbers from classmates in order to contact them when I'm panicking, or when I can't find a certain article at the library that we have to read, etc. We can also cry on each other's shoulders about our internship experiences, and how unqualified we feel. Speaking of my internship, I still don't know where or what I will be doing, and we start in one week! Eeek! Talk about the suspense killing me! I'm remaining calm, though.

Tonight I went to a tri-state church event titled, "Remembering 9/11". We met at the church/temple building and listened to a few different accounts/experiences had by people who lived here at that time. Also, the former stake president spoke about his experience then. I'm glad I went to listen and remember what that day was like for me, and what it did to the country. I lived on the opposite side of here, but I still, as I'm sure everyone could attest to, saw the affects it had on people, felt the fear, the unsurety, the shock. I remember the country being unified like I had never seen before. It was an instant common bond we all shared. We were all affected.

I saw the Twin Towers in person once. It was in that same year, in February 2001. It was my first time ever to New York City. I remember being in downtown Manhattan, checking out Wall Street, etc. I wasn't even seeking them out, but really, how could you miss them! I remember looking up at them and they were huge! I have an awesome photo of me and my friend Chrissy with the NYC skyline behind us. If I had my scanner, it'd be up on this post. But instead, I found this: I wanted to go down to that area today to visit, but didn't get a chance. Perhaps I'll wander over there tomorrow. I love living in New York.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Almost Went to School in My Underwear...or Like Unto It

Today was my first day of graduate school. Back in school again, and it feels good, oddly enough. Familiar. I was a student for a good chunk of time, off and on, during my undergrad work. Three years off and back at it again! Not too shabby.

My worst nightmare came true this morning, but actually it was ten times worse! First, I got up at 6:30 am instead of 6! Thank goodness my trusty new alarm clock persisted a half an hour past set-off time. Zero points for me. 100 points to the snooze button. I made it to the first train right on time, it was beautiful. And I was proud! Then, it came time to transfer to the next train that lets me off really close to school. I went up some stairs, and then down some stairs, following the signs to the "right" train. I couldn't believe my luck! The train was pulling up for pick up right at the moment I was arriving at the platform! I got cocky and thought, well, I'll be getting to school 15 minutes early at this rate!

Yes, I WOULD have, had I not stepped into the train of the same color scheme, but wrong letter!!!!! Not only was it going in the complete OPPOSITE direction that I needed to go (aka: Brooklyn, where I just came from), but it was an "express" train, which meant it wasn't going to stop til it CROSSED THE WATER at the next express stop. This may not make much sense to those who have never experienced the subway system. Well, just know that when you take it to/from Brooklyn, you cross over water on the bridge, and that takes a just a WEE BIT longer than the time it takes between each stop, plus this was an "express", meaning it had even less stops in between, prolonging the time you're stuck on the train. ANYWAY, I barely made it to class on time. I had to hop off, once we finally stopped back in Brooklyn, and find the next train going back.When I got off at my stop near NYU, I jogged/ran three or four blocks to my building, as to not be any later than I had to be. Sure enough, when I looked up at the clock, once I took my seat, it said 8:02. With no food in my system, nor liquid, and breaking a sweat, I thought I may vomit at one point. But I held it together till we had a break and planned on going across the street to grab a bagel. To my pleasant surprise, the school was providing FREE bagels with delicious cream cheeses in the lobby. So despite my terrible start to my new school year, I wasn't that late, and I didn't have to pay for breakfast.Clyde says hello! He's kinda camouflaged with my pants, but that's him perched on my butt. Ha.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Already Slacking

Yep. Last week picked up a bit. I had grad student orientation, among other functions relating to school, so my frequent blogging slowed down. And school actually begins THIS week, so I imagine my posts will remain sparse. But! I'll try to keep it up, at least weekly.

Orientation was really good. It relieved quite a bit of stress, especially after talking to 2nd-year students, and also when the faculty told us not to panic if we still haven't heard where our field practice is going to be (that includes me). As spontaneous as I can sometimes be in my life and what I do in it, I like to know what's coming. And right now, as far as my internship goes, or in other words, where I will be spending 21 hours a week each week, gaining hands-on experience in working with the human population in some form of social need, I don't have a clue. Now THAT is nerve-racking...just a little bit.

To relieve my nerves somewhat, I and two friends took the subway down south to Coney Island. It was a perfect day to lay on the warm sand and bask in the sun. That was my first visit to the infamous permanent carnival/beach combo, and it was exactly what I expected; plenty of sand, a view of my friend the ocean, crowds of people, a big boardwalk, disgusting bathrooms, and carnival rides and games. Oh, and the famous Nathan's hot dogs, which I almost ate, but decided maybe next time (and there will be a next time. I totally forgot my camera).I definitely needed some R&R. My body is feeling the transition to this daily grind of the lots of walking routine I now experience. Carrying my backpack, laptop and all, is going to really do a number on my neck, shoulders and back. Massages weekly??? If only.
In closing, I slept on my hair wet last night. I never know what to expect in the morning when I do this. Today was a complete success. I just added a little bit of hair product and bam! Hair was done. Can that happen every time I sleep on wet hair, please? Perhaps I will try it again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Killers and My Rockstar Experience

Thanks to a very generous cousin of mine, Abby and I got to go see The Killers play in concert for free last night at Jones Beach Theater.Little did I know what those free tickets included. I knew they included seeing Ronnie do what he does best:A pleasant surprise was the VIP backstage passes.But the amazing bonus was an invitation from my cousin-in-law to ride back into the city (about an hour drive) with the band on their tour bus and hang out with them a bit. Of course, I don't have photos of that part of the night. All I can say is, it was a surreal experience. Abby and I actually witnessed the business side of being a world-wide rock band, as the band manager and others proceeded to do their job (marketing, advertising, etc. opportunities). We just sat there, like a "fly on a wall", as Abby actually put it. Everyone was really, really nice and didn't seem bothered by the fact that two random girls were sitting in on their meeting. In fact, Brandon and Ronnie turned to us a few times, making little comments. It was funny. For the first time ever, I actually met each band member, not to mention the band manager. I talked with him a little bit at this bar everyone went to, once back in the city, and found out that he did law school at NYU. He told me I'm going to love it here. I concurred. And Dave, the guitarist, and I chatted about how crappy it is to work in retail (he worked at Banana Republic for a year and a half).

Ronnie helped me get a cab home, and that was that. An amazing night, with some local Vegas guys who were just that, after you take away the stardom.