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Posts Tagged With: Valentines Day

Strong Women, Grey Ties & Valentine’s Day

As a girl, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a school party, card boxes, ice skating and moms visiting our classrooms.

google.images.com

google.images.com

As a teenager, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a boyfriend if I had one and avoided if I didn’t.

google images

google images

As a young married woman, Valentine’s Day meant cards and flowers – for a while, anyways.  As our relationship evolved, romantic gestures were replaced by thoughtful ones.  Things you can’t buy in the store: taking out the trash; filling my car up with gas on a snowy day.  Running his vehicle through the car wash then detailing the inside myself. Folding the laundry left in the dryer; bringing in the groceries.   It’s the little things  ~ but they’re helpful and kind and nice.  And there’s a flow and a comfort to it that I love.

In my 50’s I don’t wait for someone else to make me happy ~ I make myself happy.

get-your-happy-on-quote-1You see I learned it from her:  My mother was a strong woman and my role model  – 100lbs of dynamite ~ she calved calves, trained horses, wrangled 5 kids, a husband, a 1/2 acre garden, 2 dogs and 14 cats.  She rode in trail rides, taught 4-H and Sunday School, balanced the books and Chaired the Board.  She always got out to vote, once taking the tractor to the highway to catch a ride to the polls. No muddy roads were going to stop her!  Not much ever did!

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 - mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 – mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Like she did, I go to bed when I’m tired,  take a nap if I need one and I stay up late when I choose to.  I make room for the things I love – books – and never apologize for the space they occupy.  I have learned how to say “no thanks” to stuff I don’t want (or want to do) and “YES please!” to the ones I do.

Years ago Mom bought my sister & I that novel about the guy with the grey ties  ~ She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it and quipped “you can handle it” with a snort.   The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The comments of horror from my nieces and the looks our boys shot my way were so worth it.  That was her point, to stir the pot and to remind us we always have a choice.

I chuckle remembering how Mom and I joked that if a good looking, rich man came near us with a grey tie, he’d find himself in some deep do-do.

God, I miss her.

So this Valentine’s Day I wish you this:

  • I wish you the courage to make the leap you’ve been pondering,
  • I wish you dreams in technicolor,
  • I wish you the conviction to change what’s not working, to stop worrying about what others think and to do the things that make your soul sing.
  • Time’s a-wasting and, per the wisest woman I’ve ever known, the only hero we have is ourselves.

 

strong-women

 

 

 

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Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Fun, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Love, Mom, Personal, Romance, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Otterly wonderful

otter day off

I have a pattern – 6 weeks after returning from the Christmas break, I need and take a day off.  First I cash in the massage gift certificate given by Hubbs at Christmas (ooh,  ahh), then I take a Friday off.  And the only ‘schedule’ about the day off is doing it.

I shut off my phone, turn off the alarm, and sleep.  Sleep ’till I wake up, whenever that may be.  Around 7:30 today I woke with a start, sure that I was late for something.  Smiling at the early light outside, I ‘tucked & rolled’ back under the covers. At 8:45 I couldn’t sleep any more so I knew that was just right for me.

Pouring coffee I looked at my phone:  74 new emails, some informational, and a couple marked urgent. Few are, geez people settle down.

I didn’t answer.

My out-of-0ffice is on and my staff is capable.  Plus, I know better; if I answer one – just one – the phone will start ringing.   Nope, not doing it.   The world will not end between now and Monday, of that I’m sure.

I used to spend my days off racing around the house getting things done, answering emails, being available to everyone except myself. Sometimes I still do, but not so much anymore.

Now, I give myself  permission to accomplish nothing. Zip. Nada.

Amen to that! google images.com

Amen to that! google images.com

To putz and hover and think.To read, to write, to laugh to dream. To sing, to play, to live.

Later I’ll sit in little chairs and happily accept warm hugs and sticky kisses at the grand kids’ Valentines day parties.    I know one thing for sure – they don’t care how many emails I have or who wants me to call.  They’ll care that I’m there.  That my phone is off. That they have my attention. 100%.

And the very best part about a day of purposeful nothingness will be the peace that fills my soul.   And it will be otterly wonderful!

life is a cup

Many of us harbor hidden low self-esteem. We deem everything and everyone more important that ourselves and think that meeting their needs is more important than meeting our own.  But remember this – if you run out of gas, everyone riding with you will be left stranded, too.- Bishop T.D. Jakes

How good are you at taking a day completely “off?”

 Related posts:
Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Friday the 13th, Random 5 and 50 Shades

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 random thoughts (not 13!)

1. Two road trips this week and I always notice things alongside the highway.  There’s the usual – a tire, a deer, maybe some garbage.  What gets my attention are the shoes.  There usually is only one and it’s often upright, like someone stepped out of it.  Weird.

2.  There’s a movie opening today based on a book involving grey ties.   Did I ever tell you that Mom bought me that book for my birthday years ago?  She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it but I think she did it to scandalize me and my sister … and it worked.    The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The comments of horror from my sister’s daughters and the looks our boys shot my way were well worth it.  Maybe that was Mom’s point, to stir things up a little, and to remind us that we always have a choice.  God, I love her.  The book series itself?   Definitely mature reading but in there lies a love story –and how the love of a good woman can repair and restore even the most damaged man. It’s a story as old as time and romance novels sell well for that reason.  Oh, and here in Grand Rapids, there’s a local man running a petition to stop theaters from showing the movie: the petition has 2,000 signatures.  Impressive except for the fact that 9,000+ advance tickets have been sold.   I’m probably not seeing the movie but that fact makes me snicker.

3. Here comes Valentines Day! Earlier this week Hubbs was over-scheduled and racing around like he tends to do.  I had some extra time that morning so I left for work, made a stop, and swung back by the house with breakfast in hand.  The look on his face?  Absolute delight.   Why wait for 2/14 to show love for the one you love?

You're the best!

Happy Valentines Day!

4.  I’m off to the Dentist for more crown restoration.  Yes – dental work on Friday the 13th – nothing could go wrong with that, right?

5. Driving yesterday I came across a tune from years back.  Do you remember 867-5309 or “Jenny” by  Tommy Tutone?

*867 was the phone exchange in the town where I attended High School. Never knew anyone named Jenny though.

 

How was your week?  What are your Valentines Day plans?  Going to see any new movies? Know anyone named Jenny?

related:  No gates, no locks, no chance

Categories: Confidence at any age, Determination, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Share, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

My first true love

Valentines Day was great when I was a kid.

It was a happy fun day to hurry through Math and wait for the parties to start.   Our mothers would come to school and cluck and fuss and spread heart-shaped treats and love through our classrooms.

mmm good; google.images.com

mmm good; google.images.com

We’d decorate shoe boxes in hopes of a Valentine overload… and sometimes those wishes came true.

You see I’d grown up loved.

I had siblings and cousins, Grandparents and Aunties, Uncles and friends and kitties and ponies, dogs and more.  I don’t remember anyone saying “I love you” as much as just knowing … that they did.

Later on, I had my share of boyfriends, some more serious than others, and yes I even grew up and got married – but to the wrong guy.  ( I did meet the right one later on — otherwise known as “Hubbs.”)

But it wasn’t until I became a Mom that I really understood what love – true love – was all about.

Real love. Deep love.  The kind of love that makes your heart-hurt-sometimes love.

It was a little green-eyed curly-haired moppet who claimed me.  Once I loved him, I didn’t know how my heart could hold any more.

He didn't like the grass on his toes. And I had short hair .. never again. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

He didn’t like the grass on his toes. And I had short hair .. never again. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

When I realized, pretty early on, that the “shine was off the penny” (the marriage was a mistake), I knew there was no way I was going anywhere without my boy.

That face!  My boy. My first true love.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

That face! My boy. My first true love. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

In the thick of the divorce, I remember my mother-in-law calling Mom to try and talk me into staying.   Mom’s response?  “My daughter would rather live in a tent and eat dirt before she stays and you’d be wise not to get in her way.”

My Mom.  All 119 lbs of her. God, I love her.

She’s the one who taught me.  It was her their example I followed.

Mom & Dad, An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Mom & Dad, An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Not always having enough, but making whatever we did … special and joyful.

Youngest boy now has that guitar; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

A simple Tuesday night made fun; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

And so, I remember with great joy, my little guy’s first Valentine’s party in pre-school. I got the afternoon off work, and arrived in time to cluck and fuss and spread heart-shaped treats and love throughout his classroom.

His 5th birthday; I met Mr. Hubbs a month later. Our fates were forever changed.  And Emjayandthem (C) photo

His 5th birthday; I met Mr. Hubbs a month later and our fates were forever changed. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

She’d done it for me and it was in doing for him that I realized we’d be OK.

Why?  Because when you’ve been loved … you can love.

My Boo and that Broad-shouldered Michigan man .. shortly before our wedding.  And Emjayandthem (C) photo

My Boo and that Broad-shouldered Michigan man .. shortly before our wedding. And Emjayandthem (C) photo

Last night, on a spur of the moment, I met that boy for supper.  Hubbs had a work engagement and youngest boy was working so it was just the four of us.

Him and I and the two little chirpy ones had a great visit, some yummy food, and moments of hilarity around the table.  When my grandson corrected my granddaughter, my boy looked at me and smiled as if to say “you know what this is all about don’t you.”  A single Dad with two wee ones in his care, one a “step,” although he doesn’t call him that. Others do.  He just says “this is my son.”

Adult life hasn’t been easy for him and I know the walk he’s walking and the trials he faces.  We do our best to help him know that the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t have to always be an oncoming train.

Someday, I hope he will see that he’s been loved, and because of that, he can love, too.  I hope he meets someone wonderful who will love him for him and accept them for them and who might just go out of her way to make a Tuesday night something special.

Boo & his boy, A.B.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Boo & his boy, A.B. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

smiling wee ones tonight, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

smiling wee ones last night, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

So, as Valentines Day nears, it’s not the flowers or the candy or the parties that I think of, although they’re sweet childhood memories.  Who comes to mind on Valentines is my first true love.

My Boo Bear. All 6’2″ of him.


Categories: Beauty, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Men, Mom, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

A Valentinian Twist

google images

google images

What’s that?  Don’t have a Valentine?

Valentines Day is for new love and little kids, you say?

Or maybe you’re part of a couple and you’re past all that.

I get it.

It’s winter. It’s cold. You’ve got things to do.

I know.

I say all the same things myself.

And then I read this.  And it made me think:

Wouldn’t that be a fun twist on Valentine’s Day?

No giant teddy bears. No footie pajamas.

I don’t care to match a bear!

No 1-800-whatever.

How about this instead:

Each of us. Take one moment. And do something nice. For someone else.

Clear the snow from a neighbor’s walkway.

Buy some sweet treats for your office mates.

Leave a hand-written note of encouragement for your spouse, child or friend.

Let someone ahead of you at the check-out line.

Smile.

Take a deep breath.

Be patient.

I will if you will.

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama.

P.S.   Please let me know what you did and, most importantly, how’d you feel when you did it?

** Happy Valentines Day, friends! **

You're the best!

You’re the best!

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

What I would tell her

What I would tell her, that curly haired teenager .. is that love, real love, doesn’t exist anywhere in the vicinity of hometown boys with pickup trucks.

What I would tell her, that determined college girl … is that love, real love,  is rarely found after 2:00 a.m.

What I would tell her, that young wife with a roustabout husband and a child to raise, is that real men will take any job they can to care for their own and that this one .. this one is not real and never was.

What I would tell her, that newly single parent .. is that those chubby three year old arms offer plenty enough affection and that being alone is far better than what came right before it.

What I would tell her, that 20 something woman with a career and a grip on life, is to trust her instincts when she meets someone wonderful.

What I would tell her, that gun-shy girl, is that when she meets someone who feels like home, she’ll know.  She’ll know when she realizes she can be exactly who she is when they’re together. Not changing a thing. And that he loves her just the way she is.

What I would tell her, is that when real love finds her, she’ll watch her five year old fall in love first.  Then she’ll know it’s safe for her to do the same.

That’s what I would tell her, if I could have a chat with my younger self; I would tell her that butterflies are worth waiting for and to never, ever settle.

For more, read  It Had to Be You.

 *  *  *

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” – Carrie Bradshaw,  Sex and the City.

image courtesy of welovebutterflies.com

Categories: Faith, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Relationships, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Heroes and Valentines

When I think about Valentine’s Day I can’t help but think about the year two heroes changed my perception of the holiday forever.

You see, I’d been home from school for almost a week, sick with Chicken Pox.  I was a miserable, feverish, red-faced mess. Bored and uncomfortable, I spent my days trying to stay quiet and letting Mom apply Calamine Lotion to my itchy spots.

I missed my cousin.
I missed my friends.
I missed riding the bus.
I *gasp* missed school.

My best friend and cousin, Debbie, did more than gather homework for me every day. She made me laugh as I slaved to complete the word search puzzles she’d crafted just for me. Words to search for included, “Bay City Rollers,” “Peter Frampton,” “butt,” “cute” and “groovy.”  She’d write messages to me upside down, backwards and sideways, ensuring I had to twist and turn the pages to get to her super-secret message at the end: the message that always translated to “I miss you, too.”

But the worst part of being sick was the knowing  – knowing I’d miss our much anticipated, highly celebrated Valentine’s Day party.

I’d miss lunchtime skating at the town rink followed by a hot dog lunch!

google.images.com

I’d miss cupcakes with whipped frosting and pink or red sprinkles on top!

mmm good; google.images.com

I’d miss Valentine-themed spelling contests, teachers who’d let us put a record on the turntable and the chance to see who might slip a secret message to another.

Heyyyyyy! I think I love you!!; google.images.com

And the coup de gras …. I’d miss the opportunity to place carefully selected Valentines into all those hand-decorated receptacles.

1970s punch-out Valentines; google.images.com

My misery must have been obvious because one day, a few days before the party, my Grandpa stopped by on his way home from town. It wasn’t unusual for him to pop in, but it was unusual for him to come and sit with me.  Imagine my surprise when his farm-worn hands carefully pulled out a box of paper Valentines from the local grocery store!

“Here, I brought these just for you,” he said, his Swedish accent putting a ‘y’ where the ‘j’ should have been.  And, with that, he helped me fold and tear along the dotted lines, all the Valentines in the box. He also helped me fold and glue together the envelopes, because, at that time, that’s how they came – in stacks to be sorted out.

“You just write them out and Debbie can take them to school for you,” he said, smiling.  And that’s when I knew that the two of them had this all planned out … just for me!  I watched in awe as this giant of a man, as strong as an oak and with hands as broad as baseball mitts, sat and carefully folded Valentines so a little girl he knew could still be part of something that meant so much to her.

A few days after the party, and when I was no longer contagious, Mom and Dad let me attend Open Skate night with Deb at the local rink. It was Grandpa’s hand that I took when my scabby-faced self strolled into that rink and it was my cousin’s hand that I grabbed when it came time to play “Crack the Whip.”   He left us to go visit with our Dads and other neighbors and we laughed and shrieked as grade-school girls do.  And later, when we pulled our skates off our numb toes and ran back to where they were visiting and eating pie,  our faces were flushed and happy.  And that’s when we saw what we’d always known to be true – that their smiles were as broad and generous as their hearts.  And that this is what it meant to be loved –  and that love as deep and as wide as theirs had very little to do with red hearts or candy.

My Grandpa, my Dad and me!

..:: Thank you Grandpa and Debbie. I loved you then and I love you still.  Always have and always will! ::..

Do you have a favorite Valentines memory that you’d like to share?

Categories: Family, Friendship, Holidays, Life, Men, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Birthday cakes & peanut butter

“Romance novels are birthday cake and life is often peanut butter and jelly. I think everyone should have lots of delicious romance novels lying around for those times when the peanut butter of life gets stuck to the roof of your mouth.”  ― Janet Evanovich

That quote speaks to me, not because I’m an avid reader of Romance novels, but because life really is peanut butter and jelly.

Think about it: we grow up, we find someone we’re compatible with, there’s romance and wooing and all that, but when we find our way into a life together, a good part of our life is peanut butter & jelly.  Working at a job. Raising a family. Coaching a team.  Instilling Values. Paying bills. Saving for Vacation. Handling what comes our way: aging parents, kids with challenges, relatives, friendships, repairs, job stresses; you name it.

Valentine’s Day is coming and here we are bombarded by TV Ads telling us that the only way to show love is to buy jewelry, flowers, footie pajamas (huh?) and teddy bears.  Really?

You wanna know something heartfelt and romantic Hubbs did for me?

The night before our oldest boy’s wedding, he helped me clean the house, again.  Then he spent a couple of hours practicing the “Best Man’s” Toast with our youngest.  He stocked the garage fridge and re-arranged the patio the way I wanted it (because, of course, everyone was getting ready at our house the next day).  But that’s not it – when I least expected it, he grabbed my hand, twirled me twice and slow-danced with me, out in the garage, in the wee hours of that last night.  And when he held me close, this Mama’s heart overflowed with love for him and angst for our boy; getting married that next day, such a big step!  And hubbs did exactly what I needed him to: He wiped my tears as his eyes spilled over with his own.

Birthday cake is good but I’ll take the peanut butter, please.

Tell me something romantic and heartfelt someone has done for you!

me & the hubbs dancing at our boy's wedding

And … in case you wondered, here’s what we danced to:

Categories: Family, Joy, Life, Love, Men, Relationships, Romance, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

A little something sweet …

photo from couponsaver.org

Today’s Valentine’s Day and unless you’ve been sequestered with your TV/radio off, it would be difficult not to know about it.  Commercials – point-of-purchase displays – even the gas station is set up to make sure we don’t forget our sweethearts!  Millions will be spent today on roses, candy, teddy bears and more yet later tonight, retail employees will mark down all the Valentine’s stuff to make way for … Easter!   Good-bye Necco sweethearts, hello Peeps!

Put aside the romantic connotations (and pressures) of today and know that it’s actually a perfect opportunity to do something sweet for yourself.  There’s an abundance of good things and warm feelings around anyways, why not roll in it? A few ideas:

  • Indulge in that special coffee-house drink you love so much. Monday morning commutes are so much better with a tasty treat.
  • Build yourself the ultimate healthy salad at lunch and, if possible, sit in the sunshine to eat it.
  • Double up on the amount of water you drink today; your circulation will thank you.
  • Treat yourself to a workout that leaves your skin glowing.
  • Leave the dishes in the sink and instead, sink into the book or movie you’ve been eyeing.
  • Buy one special piece of candy/chocolate/whatever and savor it slowly.
  • Bottom line: do one decadent thing today that leaves you feeling spoiled. Because when you feel that way, when you’re happy and satisfied and included, you’re more likely to share your best with others.    Including your sweetheart.

Love is all around us … how are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?    

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Family, Fashion, Friendship, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, Love, Men, music, Opinion, Random, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Christmas for Valentines?

image from jrsociety.com

Have you noticed an abundance of red and pink everywhere?  Red hearts, pink gorillas, candy, candy, candy – chocolate, toys, stuffed roses, plasticized roses, and more.

Yes, it’s hard to miss that Valentines Day is a-coming!

Valentines Day transports me back to being a grade school girl, of punch out Valentines and parties at school with sugar cookies, candy, cake and punch.  No veggies & dip for us. Nope, it was sugar-induced decadence all day long.  Decorating a shoe box and filling everyone’s with sweet notes. Remember how there was a big Valentine included in the assortment? I always assumed that was for the teacher but there were only a few over the years that I doled it out to. 

One year, I had to miss the class party because I’d had a violent bout of chicken pox and was far too itchy (and contagious) to go near the school. Grampa F., a big shouldered Swedish bear of a man, stopped by on his way back from town with a box of Valentines for me to assemble. He even stayed to help me punch out the cards and assemble the envelopes (remember having to do that?).  One of my sweetest memories of that gentle soul, but I digress.

So, now, when I see the Kay Jewelry commercials declaring “every kiss begins with Kay” or the Jane Seymour ads touting her upside down hearts that look like someone’s butt, I just have to smile.  Sorry, Jane, you’re lovely but .. those are some ugly necklaces.

Valentines Day takes me back to being a young girl and the feeling of a sweet innocence; wondering if a certain someone might write me a special note on his valentines card that year.  It reminds me of young love, of having a paper heart stuck on my locker, and the thrill of wondering who put it there.  It reminds me of being a young parent to our small boys and watching their excitement as they punched out the cards and wrote names on them, usually accompanied by complaints over how “stupid” it was that they had to do “all that writing.”   Now I’m grown and in a happy, well established marriage where we do thoughtful things for each other on a regular  basis, not just on a Hallmark holiday.  But sometimes, if I’m feeling sentimental, I turn to a little Christmas movie I adore called “Love Actually.”   (see trailer below). It’s sweet, lovely and romantic and that’s just right for me.

 Happy Valentines Day!

My favorite romantic movies (in no particular order):

  1. Love Actually
  2. When Harry Met Sally
  3. Notting Hill
  4. Titanic
  5. Crossing Delancey
  6. Something’s gotta Give
  7. You’ve got Mail
  8. The Wedding Singer
  9. Sleepless in Seattle
  10. Calendar Girls

For more on “Love Actually,” see the trailer below:

 

Categories: Attitude, Family, Friendship, Holidays, Humor, Life, Love, Men, Opinion, Personal, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery, Technology, Traditions, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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Connecting with People in My Path

Atypical 60

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A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

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Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

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