Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Loving Meryl Streep

I'm dying to see "It's Complicated" - on the heels of watching "Julie and Julia" on pay-per-view when my family was out of town.

I adore, revere, and bow down to Meryl Streep. On the cover of this month's Vanity Fair she is so joyful. Now THERE is someone who is engaged with and enjoys her work and her life.

She is NOT one of those actors who impart the sense that being an artist is such a tortured burden. That they are giving so much of themselves emotionally . . . and what about being chased by paparazzi all the time. Woe is me I make more in one day than many Americans make all year.

I'm inspired by how much fun Meryl seems to find in her life, how fearless she is in her work, and how amazing she is at her craft. I mean, here's a lady that can make ABBA sound soulful.

And she does it all while being a spouse and parenting four children.

Watching Meryl makes me excited about entering my forties, fifties, and sixties. She makes it look wickedly fun.

I hope she beats herself and wins a Golden Globe.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sparkly Sausage

So my family has already departed for North Carolina in Park-Davis Holiday Travel Wave I, and I've been:
  • Nursing my torn cornea, the result of constantly forgetting to go buy contact lense solution and not being able to order it from Amazon fresh because of new minimum purchase requirements. It's been a great medical excuse to go to bed early every night - so I'm excited to arrive in North Carolina with energy for celebrating with my family. Wikipedia says it will heal in 24-48 hours, I believe I am making great progress.
  • Going to hot yoga, afterwhich everything seems more cool, dude. Can't believe it's totally legal. And way to go Natalie - your inversions are awesome.
  • Holiday shopping - with Sandy downtown yesterday, and at Top Ten Toys in Ballard, which is my favorite toy store in the whole world.
  • Delivering holiday treats to my team in Gig Harbor and Downtown yesterday, to University District and Bellevue today. I love the Julep team! I love our guests! I love our company!
  • Procrastinating writing holiday cards.
  • Eating buttery things.
  • Eating McDonalds-y things.
  • Writing and rewriting all the lists of everythign I need to get done before boarding a plane at 8:30am tomorrow.
  • Looking for a Secret Santa gift for my bookgroup get together tonight.
  • Shipping stuff to my parents that they left behind (glasses, phone, etc.).

All of these things will get done much more stylishly now that I've donned my sequined dress (over black cords and under a cardigan, to mitigate some of the sparkliness for daytime). But the McDonalds-ing and butter-fest-ing (see above) have taken their tole - the dress does not go on as smoothly as it has in previous seasons.

So I feel like a sparkly saugsage, but those are two of my favorite things so I guess I am pretty lucky.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Being Present

I've been working on being present and focused in both my work and home lives - trying not to answer my cell phone in meetings and trying not to be on my laptop when my kids are around.

This morning I realized that it's just as important in emailing. Even (especially) in sending out a form email asking for signatures on a legal document. I needed to find some quiet space and wakeful time to focus on each person and figure out what I wanted to communicate.

In the end, the emails were mostly the same, but I did stop to think about each person individually, and hopefully some small part of my effort to be present came across.

It's actually easier NOT to make the effort when there is someone right in front of you because of the illusion of presence physical proximity can create.

I had to consciously focus on my emails, and it made me realize that I should apply myself more devotedly to the people who are right in front of me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Best of Times

Last Friday, a new investor said to me, "Remember to have fun! These are the best of times."

The only other time anyone has said that to me was when I had my first baby. These are the best of times?!! Not sleeping more than 3 hours at a stretch, wearing the same clothes for weeks on end and going through my reserve of antepartum percoset while riding the ups and downs of a high speed emotional roller coaster??!!

At least this time I don't smell like throw-up (to the best of my challenged olfactory senses) . . . but then again I'm out of percoset.

But I do have to admit that I often wish I hadn't been as crazy my first year as a mom. I wish I had been able to accept the changes in my life -and I wish I hadn't felt like I had to take my "time off" to organize a decade's worth of photos and suddenly begin cooking every meal from scratch (a habit that died as suddenly as it appeared). Why didn't I just pause to breathe and enjoy?

I'm trying to think about what the Julep equivalent is of the kissable chubby cheeks I miss - what should I be stopping to savor?

My first thought is that I cherish my connections with guests and employees who have been part of starting Julep. I need to be sure to enjoy these special relationships that are grounded in this unique moment in time that will never happen again.

And keep stopping by Trader Joe's for pre-made dinners.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Is it worth it vs. Is it painless

Leading Julep is by far the most engaging job I've ever had. It is also the most joyful, painful, fun, stressful, exciting, and draining. Like every significant relationship in my life, the central question to me is, "Is it worth it?" Answering "YES" to this question is very powerful.

Because the avoidance of pain is NOT why one would decide to start-up a high-end retail start-up in the worst economic times in a half-century. There are mainly more painless options in the world.

What makes Julep worth it for me is:

  • Awesome guests who come in with their moms, daughters, sisters, and colleagues - just the way we dreamed
  • Amazing colleagues I learn from everyday
  • Stretching and learning everyday

There is nowhere else I'd rather be.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My sister is in town

My sister Alice is visiting us in Seattle with her husband Jeremy on a post-Thanksgiving weekend trip. There is nothing in the world like a sister. I have such a feeling of relief and being HOME.

I've been busier, and more tired than even usual - and so last night I just snuggled up next to her and snoozed while everyone watched the Christian Bale/ Maggie Gyllenthal version of Batman.

She and Jeremy played with the kids, read to them, and put them to bed.

I felt reenrgized this morning - waking up to run the Seattle Family Marathon (only one mile!) with my kids. So exciting to run into the stadium and across the finish line. Yumi had an enormous smile on her face. Who knew it would be such a thrill. Especially thrilling to only have to run a mile to get to cross the threshold and be handed a space blanket.

I've never felt more athletic in my life than walking up Queen Anne Ave with my space blanket.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I love Thanksgiving, and not just because of my husband's bourbon gravy and mini pumpkin pies decorated like turkeys.

Being grateful is so powerful and energizing. I'm fully addicted to the feeling.

Perhaps in part because I have so much to be grateful for. In no particular order:

- I'm grateful to work in such a great industry - to be able to support and pamper women
- I'm grateful for our guests, and especially our members, who make our work worthwhile
- I'm grateful to work with such a caring, dedicated and passionate team
- I'm grateful for all the help from our extended team of PR, computer support, investors, and advisors who make such a huge difference everyday
- I'm grateful to have the oppportunity to lead Julep
- I'm grateful to be hopeful about the economy improving
- I'm grateful that more bottles of our sparkly red Marilyn are on their way to us
- Most importantly, I'm grateful for my fabulous friends and famiy

As we were counting our blessings around the Thanksgiving table, my five-year old said that she was thankful for "a family that loves me so much and that is going to give me so much American Girl doll stuff for Christmas."

But I hope she grows up to know that the real gift is the ability and opportunity to love others, and share American Girl stuff with them. But I guess pre-emptive gratitutde for desired Christmas presents is as good a place to start as any . . . ??

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Julep Girlfirends' Night Out for the Cure

Wednesdays in October have been "Girlfriends' Night Out for the Cure" at Julep. An explosion of pink - and an explosion of support for all of our girlfriends who have battled or are in the process of battling breast cancer. We've been sold out at our first 3 events ($5 of each ticket sold goes to support Susan G. Komen Puget Sound for the Cure), but of course we're soft-hearted when our guests call wanting to come with a friend who is a survivor or on her way to becoming a survivor.
It was fun to see the parlor so full of girlfriends and life! A big thank you to all of our partners who participated in our event and to our amazing goodie bags: The Finerie and Betsy Johnson (for the fasion show downtown), Courtney Seard who provided fabulous massages, Clutch, Trophy Cupcakes, Gourmando Catering, O Wines, Victoria's Secret, Dry Soda, and finally to Carilyn Platt and Kari Moe Straley, our awesome and passionate PR partners.
Our guests enjoyed two mini-treatments of their choice (polish change, paraffin wrap, neck and shoulder massage or brow wax) while hanging out with girlfriends and enjoying treats. As always, we learned with each event - for example Amy realized that a lot of our guests were interested in the massage services (thank you Shirley for helping out at our Bellevue event!). The last event is at our University District parlor on October 28 - it's already sold out (sorry!) but its fun to be learning every day and with every event. That's where I get my energy!
But if you're in or around Gig Harbor please join us this Wednesday the 21st - this is a such a unique and memorable event.
I was also grateful to our downtown guests for being flexible about the PBS filming crew who joined us to capture the party atmosphere. As some of you know, Julep is being featured in an episode of a new PBS series on entrepreneurs and start-ups hosted by Damon Vickers. It was fun getting to know the producers and crew - Susan McNally and Fran Dunaway are perceptive and have wonderful instincts.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Figuring out what to do about this blog

So I'll try to keep the post-modern navel gazing to a minimum, but I am trying to figure out what to do about this blog. It's been so long since I've posted anything here (despite Kate's gentle encouragement) that I couldn't even remember my password to log in. Thank you if you are one of the 2 people besides my mother-in-law who is still checking back here.

We now have a Facebook site, we Tweet, and in the meantime we try to grow a new business, so it's been hard to know how the blog fits in. 140 characters is more manageable to share news flashes (like Anne Hathaway visiting us at Julep last week!).

And yet. I DO want to share the inner workings of building a great enduring company with you. In a more grown-up way than the chick-flick-style "OOPS she dropped the flan on the floor again!" manner in which I started out. When I had my first child, I thought his every bowel movement was fascinating, and when we first opened our first parlor, I thought our washing machine disasters were just mad cap zany fun! (Hilarity ensued!).

Now Eli is 8, and our laundry is just laundry. Which are both very good things.

But this new phase has it's own new joys and challenges, which I'm just learning to appreciate. As I've been out in the world talking about our ambitious plans for bringing Julep to women across the country, I've been asked a lot of questions about my motivations, my abilities, and my mortality (you always get the "what happens to Julep if you get hit by a bus" question). This causes one to THINK. Which then causes one to log into a long-neglected blog.

The thing I've been thinking lately is that starting a company is like falling in love - giddy, inspiring, eye-opening, and tingly. Secretly mind-blowingly exciting, but it all looks kinda mundane from the outside (I married an anti-trust lawyer! And started a nail parlor!). But buliding a company, like building a family or a marriage, takes more. Courage, tenacity, creativity, intelligence, and faith. Weaving these together to be who I want to be for myself, and who I need to be for those around me is my life's work.

If I were to write a business book, it would be called a catchier version of something like, "Everything I learned about growing a multi-million dollar business I learned from dating and marriage." (Come to think of it, maybe the subject itself is inherently un-catchy. . . and yet I persevere).

Here's one concrete example: "Know what you need and don't apologize for needing it." Applies equally to personal and professional relationships. I remember the profound a-ha moment I had with my first college boyfriend when I agonized and then finally worked up the courage to express an important need (for phone calls and some very basic form of verbal communication) - and lo and behold the earth did not shatter. It wasn't that he didn't care, he really didn't know that I wanted him to use his words and call once in a while. Because he did care, he rose to the occasion, and life was very sweet and lovely for the rest of the semester (which equates to decades in non-college time).

Although it's decades later, I still think of this moment often in asking for what we need from colleagues, trainees, vendors - everyone we work with. How can anyone know what Julep needs if I don't ask for it? What if they do care but they don't know we need them to call? It's the only way to give the other party a chance to help us achieve our goals.

This lesson works hand in hand with one that I'm currently working on, which is practicing more expansive generosity each day in making assumptions about the intent of others. Assuming positive intent is part of our "Rules of Engagement" at Julep - and it's one that I am passionate about. Asking for help is also easier and more fun when you assume the best in people.

So I'm going to reflect on both of these lessons as I present tomorrow to a local angel investor forum. I know what we need and why, I am passionate to the core about our future, and I will assume until told otherwise that everyone in the room is smart and dying to be part of Julep if I would only show them how.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Membership Has Its Privileges . . .

So we're contemplating a new membership program to focus the love on on our most loyal guests. We'd love feedback - please let us know what you think by taking a few minutes to take our online survey.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Launching Another Parlor is like Having Another Child

Day four of our new parlor, and as I drive across the 520 bridge, I ponder all the ways in which being a mom has prepared me for being a better business leader. (Now that I'm driving across 520 a lot, you may see more postings as I have MUCH more time to contemplate the state of the economy, Julep, and the license plate in front of me).

So here are the top ten ways in which launching another new parlor is like having another new baby:

10. You take WAY less pictures of the last parlor/child because, afterall, you ARE BUSIER this time around.

9. Just when it's too late to turn back, you begin to question your sanity and your ability to take on ONE MORE THING without losing your already tenuous grip on reality.

8. Each parlor / child comes with its own unique, unanticipated challenges that you have to learn, figure out, and create an action plan around.

7. But you love each parlor/child equally for its unique qualities.

6. You're not as nervous that you will be a complete failure because, after all, you and your partner(s) have done this before.

5. "But OMG what if the other time(s) were a fluke and this is different?" you wake up wondering, heart racing.

4. It takes a bigger village with each additional parlor/child. No one can do it alone.

3. You sweat less about the details (no retail display, diaper rash) and are able to focus more on the bigger picture (is everybody alive and breathing?).

2. You start living at Top Pot Doughnuts and gain weight much earlier in the process.

1. You drink more with each additional parlor launch / pregnancy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Sneak Preview" Day at Bellevue!

Sneak Preview day - here we are before the crowds arrive . . .

And then there was a line out the door!
We had an amazingly fun day introducing ourselves to our new guests and introducing our loyal guests from other parlors to our new Bellevue parlor.
THANK YOU to everyone who helped us celebrate our Sneak Preview! And thank you to the amazing Bellevue team, and others who joined us all day long to help us out (especially Erica, Susie and Jfed!). And Amy and Lisa, who have been with me through all four parlor openings.
I couldn't have imagined a more perfect opening day for our new parlor.

And at the end of a long day, here are Katie and Jennifer closing down the registers before they head home.
I myself went to bed right after reading to my kids - at 8:30! That might even be earlier than our early to bed, early to rise District Manager Amy Fritz!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Free Manicures at New Bellevue Parlor 3/12

So now the sign is up! Join us at our new Bellevue parlor for free manicures, express facials, eyebrow shaping and neck massage next Thursday March 12!

I'm not sure where January and February went - I can't believe it's already March and we're opening next week!

One Week Before Opening Day!

We met at 10am on Friday at our Support Center offices in Queen Anne to take all the "shopping" we've done to date over to our new Bellevue Parlor!

Here's our buff District Manager Amy and our new Bellevue Parlor Manager Katie loading up the van!

And Susie, and Lisa, and Amy, and Erica, and Tyson too. (THANK YOU!).

With everyone pitching in, it took no time at all. Now our Bellevue parlor has hot towel warmers, guest chairs, one vernisseur stool and one esthetician stool, verniseur baskets, moisturizers, hot water dispenser, hole punch, coffee table, flat screen TV, POS terminals at the front, and a partridge in a pear tree. On Sunday Kate, Ripley and I will be delivering the final pieces of furniture to Bellevue. Our final building inspection is on Monday, and, our phones arrive on Tuesday, and our final Board of Health inspection is on Wednesday. Then we're excited to swing our doors open to our first guests on Thursday!

8 Days Before Bellevue Opening

Of course, it's pouring rain the day we decide to put up our temporary banner - but there it is! Now we're opening on March 13th (and no, you're not the first one to notice that it's a Friday the 13th - but thanks for worrying on our behalf). Thank you Mitch and Darryl for climbing up on the roof. And as part of the more glamorous part of her role, Kate had to run out this morning to buy bricks to weigh down the bottom of the sign.
Thanks the Tait (who I somtimes call Darren, because of my early onset Alzeimers) of Seattle Computing and his brilliant colleagues, our 54 inch flat screen can play Wonder Woman (as promised for our March Chick Flick Thursdays), and we have an internal and external network connection stuff going on (to use the technical terms). We'll be able to check in our guests and they'll be able to connect to our WiFi network and email from their pedicures - if they choose to that instead of dozing off after a glass of wine (licnese still pending!) and a neck massage.

Jennifer and Chris - we LOVE the gi-normous walnut ledge behind the front desk. And Chris - you are a genius because Darryl was worried about how it would mount - but of course you had thought of that already.

Katie and I put up the FREE MANICURES sign this morning - and our love affair with our Studio SC gang deepens with each project - even 2 hour turnaround ones where we don't give you basic information like dimensions. Thank you Alli and JJ!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To extend or not to extend Staycation?

Of course, the answer is to extend! Through May 28, to be exact.

Because our guests have DEMANDED it (some gently, some not so gently).

And, to be honest, it's one of the few promotions we've offered that is beloved by guests, verniessuers, managers, and parlor hostesses. Usually there's at least SOMETHING a little askew . . .

I think it helped that we sent out a Survey Monkey to our team to ask for input in advance - troubleshooting potential issues before they happened.

And it also helps that it's a fun idea - I LOVE seeing women with lovely hands and toes sip their umbrella drinks.

The benefit of being a small start-up is that we can make these responsive decisions on the fly - we are not locked into a a two year marketing calendar (after we build one, then we'll figure out how locked into it we need to be!).

So for now, we're Staycationing away.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The walls are up and painted in Bellevue

For all of you who are, along with all of us at Julep, eagerly awaiting the opening of the Bellevue parlor in March - the walls are up and there is color on them! (Thank you AGAIN Wilcox, Hutchison & Maul, Thuma Works and especially Kate MacDonald).

THANK YOU for the overwhelming response - we've sold hundreds of gift certificates and have over 50 appointments on our books already! And we're not even open yet!

This is the wall where our 54 inch plasma screen is going to go. We're playing Wonder Woman in our parlors for our Chick Flicks for March, and Bridget Jone's Diary for April. I just emailed out a survey by surveymonkey for our Mother's Day May movie. If you're interested, please fill it out too! But as Susanne just observed, all the mother's day movies are quite depressing:

“Stepmom” (1998) Susan Sarandon & Julia Roberts

“Freaky Friday” (2003) Lindsay Lohan

“Heartbreakers” (2001) Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt

“The Princess Diaries” (2001) — Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway

"Terms of Endearment" (1983) - Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger

If you have any other ideas, please let us know!

But we're all set for Father of the Bride in June. Why do dads always get to have all the fun?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Board Games

I just finished playing Tsuro with my family tonight - a board game that calls itself "The game of the Path." Each player puts tiles on the board that connect into a path, and the object is to stay on the board and not let an inadvertant move or another player's move change your path such that you go off the deep end. You have to keep moving forward, no matter where the path may lead. You can shape and connect the path, but ultimately much of the path has been laid and connected by others.

Lessons for my life at Julep abound. To wit: always try to keep all the paths and potential paths in view so you can make the best choices. (Of course, I got knocked off the board twice by my spouse tonight - but managed to survive my seven-year old). Strategy is all about seeing ahead, and not being blinded by satisfaction of the immediate next move. Keep moving forward, making the best moves you can through the criss-crossing maze of options. And try not to be beaten by a seven-year old.

I've also enjoyed playing Blokus with my son. The object of the game here is to take over as much of the board as possible with your color pieces, and leave as little space as possible for your opponent. While I don't think of the world is as being as zero-sum as the Blokus board, this game still MAKES YOU THINK. The first few moves feel just like building a start-up in the first days. As you stretch out and take up as much of the board as possible, each move is exhilerating - anything is possible, each step builds momentum and feels like a bridge to victory. The last few moves feel like navigating through a tough economy - thinking hard about where to put your limited resources, what will make the largest impact, how to conserve your space while still going for the ultimate goal.

Of course, the ultimate lesson is that it's fun and energizing to engage with the people I love - over a gameboard or anything else. And maybe that I should stop drawing work-related lessons from a game board. . .

But if you have kids around age 7, or are in any kind of leadership role in your life, or both, I highly recommend Tsuro and Blokus.

Girlfriend's Glycolic Manicure

I'm on my third week of doing the Girlfriend's Glycolic Manicure - and what a difference.
Lisa has always said that I'd see more results by doing a series - since skin takes 2-3 weeks to turnover, doing the glycolic treatment weekly really helps to improve the look and feel of your hands.
I'm now an even truer believer. The lines at my knuckles have disappeared - spots are gone and my hands feel baby soft. Even lotion goes on differently - it soaks in immediately.
Since my hands are always dry and scratchy in the wintertime (from cold, and perhaps exacerbated by the fact that I drive around with my car heat on high, blowing right at my hands), it's such a relief.
I've loved getting periodic Girlfriend's Glycolic treatments, but three in a row has made a huge, noticeable difference.
I want to bathe in this stuff - maybe I've got to get Lisa to develop a glycolic wash for guests to take home . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Our Staycation special has been amazing! I love seeing women at the front of our parlor, enjoying chips, salsa, and Mike-aritas. I've been thinking about adding a sunlamp next year to this special. I love my sunlamp, but the requirements are so specific (sit 8-12 inches, have it shine in your eyes, better earlier in the day, for 10ish minutes) that I'm not sure how to offer that to our guests.
For now, you're just going to have to enjoy a fabulous deal in a fabulous environment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Julep All Company Meeting January 20

We had a great day celebrating our accomplishments and coming up with ideas to delight our guests in 2009 (I love poster-sized Post-its - and we covered our walls with them!). I left with renewed energy and purpose. Thank you Amy for organizing such a fun and productive day for us. Thank you everyone for being honest in sharing your hopes, fears, and most of all, your ideas for how we can do better each day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy New Year

I just logged into this blog for the first time in a while, and looked at the header again with fresh eyes, and am amazed by the fact that I might need to rename this blog. It's not about the trials and travials of STARTING Julep Nail Parlor because it's now been over a year and a half since we first opened our doors to our first parlor. We're long past "starting"!

I'm also reflecting all that we've accomplished because we're getting ready for our first all company meeting on Tuesday (apologies to our guests - we will be closed this Tuesday, January 20th while we gather, connect and refelect). We're getting together to celebrate everything we've accomplished together in 2008 and share our ideas for 2009. Here's a slice of what we've done together in just the past twelve months:
· Launched a new menu in March with innovative new treatments like the Girlfriend’s Glycolic Manicure
· Delighted guests with our new “Parlor” level treatments by offering them complimentary nail repair and Julep vernis
· Developed a new manicure table and pedicure ottoman solution that is uniquely Julep’s (and currently being patented)
· Sat in over 100 chairs to find the Steelcase Leap Chair – the new Julep guest chair going forward
· Opened a beautiful new downtown parlor in May
· Opened a beautiful new Gig Harbor parlor in July
· Started offering eyelash extensions
· Raffled off a pair of Manolo Blahniks
· Learned how to spell Manolo Blahnik
· Recruited and welcomed over 20 amazing new team members to Julep
· Hosted our first ticketed Girls Night Out event
· Hosted an amazing Sex in the City Movie screening event
· Developed and offered out guests not one, but TWO Julep branded Salt Scrubs
· Launched a seasonal color palette for the first time this fall
· Hosted hundreds of bridal showers and birthday gatherings
· Welcomed thousands of sisters, girlfriends, mothers and daughters
· Launched our Frequent Filer program
· Improved upon our seasonal Pumpkin and Cranberry treatments – and offered them to our guests again!
· Celebrated our first Service Quality month in June
· Got our license to serve alcoholic beverages to help our guests celebrate special occasions and everyday triumphs at Julep
· Signed a lease to open our fourth parlor in Bellevue
· Launched a new in-parlor signage system –and put up holiday signage for the first time
· Started using our flatscreens to tell the Julep story to our guests
· Added a hot oil and salt scrub experience to our parlor treatments
· Were featured on King 5 news and Komo news – in the same month!
· Helped each other grow and stretch beyond our usual comfort zones each and every day
· And, most importantly, served our guests passionately, making them feel happy and beautiful through over 10,000 appointments

For 2009, I'm thinking hard about how to break down our extraordinary goals into ordinary days. For example, I'm committed to sleeping an average of 8 hours a day, and asking everyone who works at Julep to just keep doing what they are doing so well - each and every day in each and every appointment and task.

We've invented our wheel! We've got to keep learning, improving and growing, but the way we will achieve our dreams is by keeping going what we've got. Just doing our best each day.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of our community and our success. We look forward to continuing to wow you through the extraordinary sum of our ordinary actions.