Rocky Adventure – Just Dreams

soap-bubble-824574_640There was no way the ball was floating away too. Perhaps things were confused here, not like other places where it’s normal and the ball just rolls along the ground like it’s supposed to do. But that’s just relative to when and where you are. Right now, I have no idea when I am or where this is, but I am here right now, so might as well make the most of it.

If you’ve ever seen a balloon floating away, it’s an odd thing to observe. To study such a thing, I came to the conclusion that both the ball before and the present balloon were both indeed joining up for some sort of sky event. There’s a chance they were late for the appointment, but no time to worry about that right now. In fact, I didn’t really know what was so interesting about it in the first place, but I had to watch until they both disappeared. Wherever they went, they didn’t come back, so I moved on from here.

There were far too many interesting things to see around here. Really neat stuff, cool things and odd scenes. One such was a man and his dog chasing bubbles through the air. Yes, they chased the bubbles up into the air and the man was winning since he’d eaten way more than the pup who was running through the air upside down. It would have seemed strange had I been awake, but I was sleep. So these things do happen occasionally, and you get used to it.

Along the bridge there just happened to be Mr. Good Cat wagging his tail and rubbing against the wooden posts. He smiled at me and meowed a very nice greeting before snatching a fish out of one of the bubbles that was floating along. It was apparently very tasty and with a hop and a skip, my cat friend bounded off the bridge and into the stream of milk that flowed beneath.

I didn’t feel like swimming or pausing to lap up some warm milk, so I floated to the other side of the bridge and entered the forest. All alone, I checked each tree and bush to see what I could find. One bush dropped juicy bones while another had little squeaky toys that chirped, demanding that I play with them. This is where all the fun stuff grows, but it wasn’t ripe yet, so I’ll let it go another snooze or two before I start picking the best ones.

The old man peeked over one bush, grinning his happy grin while wearing his funny hat with the ball on it. Only, it wasn’t a ball, but a shiny bell that jingled and danced as he sang one of his songs he knows I like.

I danced along the path, bobbing to my friend’s cheery tune, enjoying all the things that came and went. Leaves of all manner of smell blew with the breeze, there were squirrels dangling from the air as birds carried them from branch to branch, and the busy sound of bugs lapping at the sweet flowers tickled my ears.

Then some really fuzzy bumbly rumble bugs buzzed around my head, trying to tickle my whiskers and snatch the fuzz out of my ears. A few shakes and I spun around through the air and did a really neat flip, but still they rumbled after me. So I snapped at a few of them, trying to make sure I made it out of the forest with all my fur intact. Silly bugs, they must know the best honey is made with the sweetest puppy fur.

My dance took me left along the path so I didn’t chase the bugs any more and they gave up trying to tickle me. They weren’t going to be that tasty anyway, I could already tell by the buzz they made as they flew into the grass and disappeared.

The grass was tasty though. Sort of had that bacon flavor that my good old pal likes to make early in the mornings to wake me up. Yeah, that’s the flavor. I can taste it all now, the best smell to wake up to first thing in the morning.

In fact I think I’ll do just that!


Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories. Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky, Nixi and Dante give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own adventures.

Dog Journal – Entry 172: Catch Me If You Can

dog-2690588_640I saw something the other day, it’s not clear what exactly was supposed to happen, because I do not think the scene went the way the players had originally intended. So I have to explain it to you, well, maybe that would take too long so I will sum up.

This all started the other day while I was at the park with my friend. I was catching the ball that my friend had thrown when we spotted the other dog. He was cool, interested in everything but not calm enough to take a moment to pay attention to any one thing at a time. Sort of spazzy, but still nice enough to say “hello.”

We shall call this dog’s name Carl. And he seemed like a good pup, chasing the leaves and sniffing around the ducks. He seemed like a nice enough pup, but no pal to keep him company. But he was out interviewing some people to see if they wanted to take him home and be his new family.

That’s when the first guy showed up. The chase started off with the man just following Carl around with a stick that had a string at the end. He seemed determined at first, but after a lap around the park, Carl had him beat.

When the man’s strategy did not appear to work, the man called for backup. The chase continued to drag on until the others showed up for the fun. And it appeared to be fun indeed. I wanted to join in, but my friend just wanted to watch from the sidelines.

Others showed up on the scene, rushing onto the field to help their friend catch Carl. This only gave the pup more energy. It was a challenge indeed, and he was happy to accept.

The chase moved over to a fenced field where the spectators could watch from benches outside the arena. The people continued their pursuit while Carl was bouncing all around like the hyper rascal he is. Carl seemed to be an expert at this game while the group seemed little more than novices, dropping their catching poles and stumbling about the field.

Some of us encouraged Carl from the sidelines. It was four against one, and somehow, the fuzziest one was giving the other team a run for their treats. You could hear the keys jingling super hard as the group struggled together trying to keep up.

Carl ran back and forth across the field while the others chased. The circle ran tighter and tighter, the group struggling to keep up with Carl. One man took a break on the sideline, panting hard and struggling to keep up with the others. He looked over at us and shook his head like he’d already been defeated.

You know, if you’d just called him over to you instead of chasing him down, this all would have been a lot easier. But it did turn out to be a funny story for me to tell. So have you spotted any silly stories in the park lately? Please to entertain me with some!

Dante Adventure – Hide!

keys-2251770_640The door swung open and the keys jingled extra loud. Then it got super quiet, I mean super quiet, which made the sound of the keys dropping onto the soaked carpet that much louder. Directly after that, our names were called out with that demanding tone that just makes you want to hide even better.

We were in the trouble, but our spot was keeping us safe… for now. It was dry here, possibly the last dry spot anywhere. Skipper panted heavily in my ear, snuggled up close due to the tight space we occupied.

Gracie called a few more times before we heard the squishy footsteps that made a direct path to the kitchen. This was followed by splashing and frantic banging noises resulting in the dishwasher going quiet too. Then it was all silent.

“What should we do?” Skipper whispered in my ear.

“Shhhh!,” I tried hushing Skipper before Gracie could pinpoint our position.

But the splashing became squishy footsteps directly toward our position. I wanted to run, really I did, but then we’d be found for sure. It was better to rely on our tactical hiding place that was so cleverly chosen. I wouldn’t have even known about it had Skipper not hopped in here. I won’t tell you where we are though, you might tell.

The footsteps passed by and squished into the next room. We could hear Gracie searching for us, tossing some things around before finding out we were not there to be found. She called for us a few more times, but we weren’t moving. Skipper wouldn’t stop panting so loud, louder than my little heart beating for fear we would be found.

Gracie passed by us again, speedily splashing across the soaked carpet toward the bathroom. There was more searching and calling for us to come out. But we stayed right where we were. No reason to come out. Not right now at least.

The splashing moved into the sofa room and we heard the cushions being scuttled about. There were further demands that we come out, and it was beginning to sound a little more fearful than frustrated.

“Maybe we should get out now,” Skipper whispered.

“No, that’s just what she’ll be expecting,” I hushed back.

We could hear Gracie calling for backup in the next room. She was talking to someone else, probably a really good seeker to find us out. But it could be the pizza lady as well. That would be nice, especially after everything else has gone so poorly today. Poor carpet.

I peeked out just to see where Gracie was, and luckily her back was turned to me so she didn’t spot me. The carpet was definitely still wet and Gracie was talking to someone about it. Don’t know who it was, but she was quite possibly telling on us. But who was it?

After Gracie rummaged through more places for us, we heard the knock at the door. I had to pin Skipper to keep him from barking and rushing out. And still, no one was wise to our hiding place. Indeed, this was a grand spot.

But only moments after the door had opened and whoever it was had splashed through the hall and into the sofa room, we were discovered. It was like the guy knew exactly where we were hiding. Must have the nose of a fox or something. Whatever, our secret place was spoiled.

“It wasn’t us!” we barked in unison. “Not guilty!”

We were snagged out from under the little table in the front hall where Gracie puts her keys. Oh yes, it was perfect, covered with a nice little blanket and everything. Even a vase with flowers on top to make it right nice. We were found out though, and we were dragged out so the man could get in there. Yeah, apparently it was such a great spot that even the guy wanted to be in there. Something to do with the nice fluffy towels Gracie kept under there, which he quickly threw on the floor to make room for himself or something. All ruined, and now the only dry spot was on the bed.

“I call dibs!” Skipper barked and splashed away toward the bedroom.


Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories. Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky, Nixi and Dante give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own adventures.

Dog Journal – Entry 171: Shorty

dog-2686244_640When I run and race around, I like my path smooth and clear so I can really get my little legs moving. I know other pups out there have long legs that can leap five sofas in a single bound, but we short pups are like little dragsters and a well organized racetrack is the desired setup.

But I’ve considered some of the more difficult terrains that I’ve encountered and realized that some of it has proven really tough stuff.

First of all, I do not like the stairs. This was a terrible idea from the start, and if it were up to me, everything would be down at my level. When I was a puppy, my pal used to carry me up and down them. But now if I want to go outside to play, I gotta wobble down them. Luckily, since my friend is the one demanding that we go back inside, he carries me up the stairs, so I got him on that one.

There’s also the obstacles at the playground. These aren’t so bad, but sometimes the others at the park want to use it to make the chase harder on me. The tunnel isn’t so bad, but Jess my rather tall friend likes to jump on top of the tunnel and then I can’t get to her.

Instead, what I really like are smooth rolling hills covered in soft grass. Yeah, that sounds like a mighty fun raceway for a grand game of chase. Hills are so much fun, but not the rocky ones with steps and climbing things. Or jumping through hoops… unless there’s treats involved. I jump through hoops for treats.

And then there’s up in the trees. Nope, the cat can have them. I can’t climb, and I don’t like high places. The only place I’m climbing up on is my friend’s lap so I can get my belly rubbed and paws tickled. Yup, that actually sounds really good right now.

Speaking of climbing things, it’s like my pal knows to hide the neat stuff up high so there’s no way for me to get to it. He knows I’ve got little legs and that all those things up there are just teasing me.

Getting a handle on rough terrain isn’t exactly my favorite bowl of water, but sometimes you have to do what a dog has got to do. So I get the four-paw traction and make it happen. Though it would be nice if everything were just a little closer to the ground, but what do you think?

Dante Adventure – Soaked

dog-2027523_640We knew right from the start that things were not going the way it was planned. Gracie had put our bowls and stuff in the dishwasher instead of letting us clean them properly (it is our job security). And none of this was my idea, let me tell you that right now. I don’t even like the dishwasher, but Gracie turned it on and then left us alone with it. And this is sort of how it went.

Now that we were alone with the dishwasher, it was time to consider what to do next. The food bowls were busy getting washed, and we were not really planning anything for the rest of the day. Well, we did want to go to the park, but that was not on the schedule for today.

I was just hanging out on the cool floor, but Skipper was up and annoyed with the rumble of the dishwasher. I could tell because of the way he was looking at it with his ears all laid back and his nose wrinkled up. Everything seemed normal at first, but Skipper would shortly change things up for us.

“Don’t do it,” I warned, eyeing Skipper carefully.

But he did it anyway. Skipper bounced up with a bark and a woof and pushed the door to the dishwasher, shaking everything. It shook so hard that the door opened up and out spilled all the soapy suds and such. Then the water started flying, sort of like when you’re in the park and the sprinklers start spraying everywhere.

“Run!” Skipper barked, his paws clicking as his paws skidded across the floor.

We both sat at the doorway, looking back into the kitchen from a safe zone. It was only getting worse though, the water started spreading the suds all over the place and it was creeping toward us. We were not worried in the least. Not at all. Well, it was getting worse though, so maybe just a little panic is due.

It wasn’t long after that the water chased us into the sofa room, making the carpet squishy and cold.  It actually felt pretty good in the soggiest spots and the smell was sort of funky and curious. But when the suds started piling through the door, we knew things were getting serious.

“What should we do?” Skipper asked me, pawing the squishy rug.

I bounced up and down, enjoying the cool feeling of water between my toes. “I think we should hide.”

“Good idea.”

Hiding was not as easy as it sounds though. With everything slowly soaking in water, finding a spot that was high and dry with proper cover was not as easy as we originally thought. The only dry spot was on the sofa or under the bed, and under the bed was presently getting squishy while the sofa offered absolutely no cover at all.

“Maybe we should try stopping the washer,” Skipper whined.

“But how? We don’t have the proper paws for the job,” I whined back.

“We gotta try something!”

So we did. We tried. It was a very frantic and panic stricken attempt, but we did try. I splashed around through the soapy suds while Skipper spun circles on the floor in an attempt to gain traction. Pushing the door up into it’s place wasn’t that hard, but it did not want to stay there. We finally gave up after a few tries and retreated to the sofa to dry our paws off.

That’s when we heard the keys at the door. Oh, it was time to face the music, and it wasn’t playing our favorite tune.

“I think we’re in trouble,” Skipper gulped. “Let’s blame it on the goldfish.”



Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories. Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky, Nixi and Dante give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own adventures.

Dog Journal – Entry 170: Main Event

soap-bubbles-672642_640I don’t know about you, but I just have to chase something that is moving. Don’t know why, it’s just a natural reaction to it. So I sat down for a sec just to see if I could figure things out. I thought really hard about it, but it’s not exactly as simple as you’d think.

That’s because there is something about the chase that every dog I know really enjoys. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s great exercise. These are all awesome things, but my favorite has to be the chase in of itself.

I chased a squirrel one time as it raced back and forth down the top of the fence. Never did catch that rascal, but it was fun. In fact, I really don’t even know how it started in the first place. Don’t really know if we were being pals and racing or if I even wanted to catch him and make him squeak like a toy.

Is it about the racing? Well, maybe. Let’s see, I do like to win, so that would be something important to remember when racing. There’s also the challenge of the whole thing, just to see if I can out run anything and everything under the sun.

Sometimes I just want to catch something though, like the ball or the stick or the cat. I really want to catch that cat though, just to see that look on her face when I finally do. Someday maybe. But I’ll be happy enough if you’d just throw the stick already, alright?

So what about the actual chase itself. Am I really having fun, because it is hard work to catch some of these things, so is work fun? Well, for me it is. It’s actually refreshing to do what comes naturally. I’m happy, excited, and it only gets better when I’ve got friends around to share the fun with.

All that running around gets you super tired, and even though you still want to keep going, it’s important to take a break and cool down, get some water, and sit in the shade for a few.

As for me, there’s a vent that blows cool air right onto the bed and that’s where I am if anyone asks for me. I know I’m not supposed to be on the bed, but that’s only when I get caught, so don’t tell on me and ruin my cool afternoon snooze.

Nixi Adventure – Total Chaos

chaos-485502_640There was a big commotion in the other room. Nixi and Shuffles had been snoozing soundly up until then, but they were awake now. Their ears darted to and fro, trying to figure out what in the world was going on over there. It sounded like someone was throwing the whole sofa around the room or something.

Nixi bounded into the room to see what Brandon was doing. Shuffles stayed behind since it was not yet lunchtime and he was dreaming of sunny days in the park at the moment, which things were far more important than wondering what strange commotion went on beyond the backs of his eyelids.

Brandon was indeed throwing around the sofa. Well, it was more like he was upsetting the furniture in a rude way. His expression was that of determination and the broom he handled was smacking the floor and the ceiling between swings.

It did not take long for the fan to start shaking, dancing around on the ceiling seemed to be the idea at the moment. Nixi circled her head, trying to keep an eye on the fan if it tried to make any sudden moves other than the one it was currently making.

“Stop that,” Nixi barked at all the things.

But the wild scene continued onward, and Brandon was determined to upset more furniture than was actually available. The sofa was scooted away from the table and the table was pulled from it’s place and all the stuff on top of it dropped to the ground.

Brandon was swinging the broom around at all the things. Everything was getting hit. Nothing was enjoying this, including Nixi. It was too wild, too out of place. This was not like Brandon at all. Normally, he enjoyed all the things so nice and tidy, organized and in their place.

Another innocent cushion was whopped across the room and that’s when Nixi saw the mouse in the house. This tiny rascal had slipped in unawares and was the cause of all this commotion. Something had to be done if she was going to save the day. Or at least preserve the kitchen from such a demolition.

“Shuffles!” Nixi barked, “We gotta fetch it!”

Without hesitation, the wiggly pup raced into the room, ready to fetch something, anything that needed a good fetching. And then he’d want to fetch it again of course because that’s how things worked.

Though the pups were on the case, there was no calming Brandon down. He was relentless. The mouse was scheduled to depart and the flight would not be missed. He swung again as the pups raced around the room trying to pounce on the wily little critter. It was a miss for the mouse, but a solid for the basket which went flying through the air.

After a bounce off the wall, the basket rolled on the ground and landed, open end down right on top of the squirrely little sneaker that had made it through so much only to be caught by sheer luck. Of course, the team took full credit for the effort, and don’t even try arguing with any of them. Everyone played a part and the plan rolled out flawlessly.

The cost however, was the sofa room. But it was a sacrifice Brandon was willing to make to sleep so soundly tonight. He sighed relief and patted his team on their fuzzy little heads in congratulations.

Then Shuffles nudged over the basket. “That was fun, let’s do it again!”


Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories. Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky, Nixi and Dante give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own adventures.

Dog Journal – Entry 169: Fresh Scent

dog-2225537_640I never liked getting my fur cut. It’s just too weird losing all that nice fluff.  You see, I’ve got really fluffy fur, not like my pal who’s got a short scruffy coat. So he never gets trimmed up, and that leaves me with double the share of time spent clipping and snipping.

My pal usually corners me and does this terrible thing. It’s not like I have any choice in the matter. All I can do is run and hide, and hopefully she’ll forget or at least get too tired to carry out her sinister plans.

It’s a fight in the beginning. It has to be a fight or my friend would be doing this way more often. Same as the bath, only this one includes the bath. It’s like they plan everything terrible to do to you and pile it up on the same day.

So it’s terrible, the tugging and the sound that the scissors make is just scary. Clip, clip, snip, snip and then my fur falls off. I’ve seen it, and you don’t know if that’s your tail or maybe an ear or worse. It just leaves you wondering

After double checking the mirror to make sure my ears are still perky and my tail still wags right, I get to enjoy the feeling of being lighter and so free. It’s sort of refreshing, but I don’t like dealing with all the soap and scrubbing that comes right after this.

Oh yes, one can never forget the bath. Like I told you before, my pal piles up all the things that annoy me. This is really hard to run from though. No getting away. You will get a bath and you will not like it. Just a warning if you’re up for a trim soon.

The only part I really really don’t like is the clipping of the claws. I need that for digging and the such like,  but she doesn’t listen. It’s hard to dig holes in the yard for a while, but it grows back soon enough. This is when I rely on my friend to dig for me, and it doesn’t take much more than telling him there’s a bone somewhere buried there.

Now all this comes upon me because I’m super fluffy and I like to roll around in the yard all the time. I’ve barked with other dogs and not everyone has to endure such things. But if you’re fluffy like me and you have to go through the gauntlet, do you have any hints on how not to get the soap in your eyes?

Rocky Adventure – Sneaking Pups

dogs-984015_640It was a nice and sunny day and I was just a sunbathing on the back porch, enjoying the cool air and the warm sun tickling my ears. In the distance, birds chirped and cheeped about how delicious the seeds were this time of the year, while Mister Good Cat watched carefully from the fence post. It was in total, a very calm and peaceful day.

That’s when they popped into the scene. Well, it was more like they pushed and shoved their way into it. The fence, that old beat up fence, lost the bottom parts of a few boards as two rascally pups weaseled their way into the yard. This was done in a quick hurry and without any explanation as to why this was being done.

“Hello,” one yipped at me after the grass was shaken from the tangled fur.

“Quick, help us hide,” the other whispered, glancing around to check if they’d been followed.

I gave them a quizzical look, “Hide from who?”

“They’re trying to give us a bath,” the first pup whined.

“Wow, that is terrible,” I thought back to the most recent incident with the soap in the eye.

So I decided to give the pups a chance to avoid such a catastrophe, and looked for a place for them to hide. First up under the picnic table that sat in the corner next to the bushes and out of the sun. It wasn’t really a good spot to hide though, not enough cover.

I checked out the garden area, but the soil was still muddy from this morning’s watering. The old man had really drenched things, and the leaves weren’t yet thick enough to cover even these small pups.

We tried behind the rake, but you could still see their tails wagging happily. This just wasn’t working. They were happy, but they weren’t doing a good job of hiding it.

“What are we gonna do?” they whined in unison.

“Why don’t you try inside, surely a swell place to hide,” Mister Good Cat meowed from the fence top.

“I don’t think I can bring friends over today,” I considered aloud.

The cat meowed again, glancing around, “There’s not much time, they come quickly to find.” And with that, the cat hopped out of sight and I was left wondering what to do with these rascals.

I heard a voice calling in the distance, so we had to hurry. Without further consideration, we tried going inside, which was harder than it sounds. The pups were not squishing through the doggy door as easily as I had originally thought. That’s what I had to do though, squish them through. It’s easy to stroll on through, but they were just being difficult.

“Just go through,” I huffed and tried to get the one that was wiggling the most through the door. But they were resisting. Futile. And finally after much effort, they both popped through the door and onto the carpet. I rushed in after to make sure they didn’t squeeze back out, and ended up in the dog pile.

And lo, the old man stood there in wonder. I’m sure he was thinking something along the lines of “one, two, three… that’s too many!” and indeed I was right. The old man scooped up the puppies, one in each hand, and cuddled them close to his chest to make sure all that squirming didn’t free them up.

Then the doorbell rang, so it was imperative that we answer it. We did, and behold, there was a man with great big eyes, very surprised indeed to see that the old man holding up his two pups. Looks like the game was over. It was bathtime for them for sure.

I looked at the old man as the door closed and we were left all alone. “Now don’t you be getting any ideas now,” I warned. “Hiding is way easier when I don’t have two tattle tales to give away my spot!”


Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories. Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky, Nixi and Dante give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own adventures.

Dog Journal – Entry 168: The Moocher

adorable-3344414_640Mooching off your pal when they’re snacking is a favorite pastime of mine. Really, what else is there to do but see what goodies you can glean, especially when you’ve got a messy friend. I like them when they’re messy though, it makes things easier.

So what do I normally do, I start by just slinking around and eyeballing. A few sniffs and a curious look later, and I know what’s cooking. Of course, my friend starts getting all suspicious and such, trying to hide what they’re munching on at the moment. But the bag as already cried out to me, calling and drawing, ready to be emptied out.

After I’ve been discovered and my friend is alert to my plans. I like panting really hard right up in their space. If there’s anything that makes someone spill their chips, it’s when you let them know you’re not going anywhere. It’s even more effective when it’s a hot day too. Usually, my pal pushes me down and the chips get spilled in the process. Oops, but it’s okay, I’m here to help clean up.

And if my pals are really getting good at ignoring me, I paw them to remind them of how much I’m starving. It’s hard to ignore my big paws smacking their leg followed by the most adorable face I can manage. I have met a few peoples that can sit still through this, but they are the exception that proves the rule.

Then if that doesn’t work, I roll up on their feet so they can see the belly. Bear witness of how empty it is! I’m practically fading away here. And i’ts good because they’re gonna trip if they try to get up and get away.

It’s only a matter of time before they do the angry stare. This is inevitable, and it’s often their last ditch effort to withhold the goods from you. And here’s where I like to really get them moving around (the more they move, the more gets spilled), I don’t stare back. Nope, when I see the stare begin, I look away casually and observe all the many other interesting things around the room. Usually, my friend goes back to munching, and then I stare again. This can go on for a while before it starts to pay off, so be patient.

So what sort of special moves do you use when you’re mooching snacks? Mine is more of a patient method, but some pups just like to pounce and grab. I like to get a little here and there, but some want it all right now. Which pup are you?