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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sorry  no pictures again,
     A busy day, work, animals and more animals, dr appts, and clients picking up animals... LIFE...
I did not get the last three bails out of the truck like I needed this morning, issues at work started early and I needed to get back as soon as possible.

Rain,Sleet and Snow expected for the next 72 hours, now that we expect it ... we will see if anything happens.  Just incase I have filled all the water buckets with heaters I plan to strip stalls tomorrow and put down fresh dry bedding so they will have one dry place to stand.  I have a little hay but still not the 50 bails I need to feel good about my supplies.  I also need shavings, and pellets to make me feel better for the weather ahead.

After the rain and "stuff" we are expecting really cold weather... high in the low 30's and lows with out wind in the teens...   I am so glad I didn't shave my horses for rides and work out this year!  But this is the perfect time to be working on the gear so it is perfect next spring.

So my plan for the next bit is getting all my cutting tools out, making sure blades, oil and service has been taken care of, clean the boxes and make sure I have coolent supplies and all my pretty little things I like in thier hair.  Get it settled, packed and ready for perfect weather.

Which leads me to my next goal... getting the shed cleaned out and all those garden tools ready for spring as well.   WOW!!!! there is a lot to do in the winter... I just hope I can find a dry place to get it all done.

What are your goals for the next week?
For the next few days?  
For the next few hours...   CLEANING is mine...  ha ha ha... as if that will ever happen.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's the WIND today...

I can deal with the cold, but the wind is cutting today and makes the body hurt, eyes water, and it finds holes in your layers you didn't know you had. 

I drove out to get more hay today.  With the wind as bad as it is the horses are going through one bail or MORE a day, even though I have their rain coats on them to help protect them from some of this wind while out in the pasture.  They need more oil in their feed in order NOT to overload them with grain, and they need more hay in order to keep up thier tempatures at night when it falls well below 20 with the wind chill.  They are staying in their shed more, which is an ok sign, but I worry they are ok and am doing all I can.

The electricity keeps going out, so their water gets slushey.... but the farm pipe is wrapped and has yet to freeze so hard I can't get water.  I am expecting to start carrying water to the barn any day!  

The roads are clear! driveways are still an issue IF North Facing!  The trees are getting cleared from the roads as I type, but the snow still dwells in my front yard, while the grass is trying to peak through in the back!

The wind is so harsh the snow, ice and ground water (that is exposed) is evaporating from a solid to the air, very little melting is occuring but the wind is chipping away at it as the days go on.

Updates to come, pictures later... I have hay to get to the barn, which is still a solid sheet of ice, littered with tree branches as the only source of traction.... wish me luck!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

Sorry no pictures today!

The snow is still not dirty from cars but is instead peppered with tree needles, sticks, and limbs; as my drive got closer and closer to the barn, more and more was in the road, till finally I had to drive over a small tree in order to pass... and the passable area was on the wrong side of the road. I soon realized this maneuver was in vain. Tree after tree down in or across the road. I backed over the small tree and found a safe place for my poor truck.

I started my walk up the mountain one more time, some higher power wants me in shape for some reason! Tree after tree I was having to climb over it or carefully slither under it. Until finally there was an evergreen I could not make my way thorough and another tree that was leaning very unsure of its security I did something my family NEVER allowed... I tress passed onto someone else's property to safely get around. I was not only worried about being on someone property, but it is Christmas, I was worried about disturbing their morning all together. No reaction, no dog, all was well as I hurried on my way. As my walk ascended higher and higher the wind and rain got worse, the sound of the trees cracking was eerie...

Joe had fed the horses, he did not believe I could make it there this morning. Being grateful I offered to walk with him to check on a vacant house, and sure enough a tree lies on the roof, having taken a rock wall with it. He rushed back to his house and called the owner. Limbs took down a rail of fencing in the paddock, something I will need to tend too as soon as weather allows. My horses are not reacting to the top rail being down and are happy to have shelter to stand under with their rain coats as well. There is also another fence beyond theirs so all is well at the moment. I shall make the hike again later in the day after the temperatures rise ... although only slightly is expected anything would help.

While alone walking once again, the glistening of the ice takes on the imagination and as I walked down the mountain, the cracking surpassed and the rush of the water in the creek took over. The roads are soggy with rain, melting snow, but laced with ice; a dangerous place but again the beauty of quiet, the glistening of frozen trees, lines, and even gravel it is a beautiful place to be on Christmas Morning.

The Evening hike was UNEVENTFUL! as I drove to the end of the drive and only walked up to the barn thanks to a ban of people whom gathered and took out most of the trees in the road.  What an act of kindness on a day that is ment for family. 

Only a tree top half way blocks the drive, but I did not want to mess up the yard driving around it! 

Ice has fallen to the ground and is almost gone, as is most of the snow from the last week.  Things here in the mountains change from moment to moment, and like today that moment is a short short time.

Much love to you all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve....

This is a wreath a took a snap shot of on the walks UP the mountain to care for the horses in the days past.  It is adorned with all their local goodies, corn that was for the corn maze, broom corn that several people around use to make brooms, apples from their orchard.  When I took this shot the Store (Hickory Nut Gap Farm Store) was closed, but it was so beautiful!

The snow is starting to get dirty, the main roads are clear with scattered Black Ice in the early am, the back roads are getting better, but are still patchy with sheets of ice and black ice early.  

With the roads starting to get better the hum of cars, the rumble of big tires on large trucks are starting to fill the air again, even airplanes are starting to be heard more often.

While even the pasture is marred with hoof prints it is not yet dirty, except where I have dropped the hay. Today, the horses wanted to play more than eat, the first time all week! Life’s speed is getting back to its norm just as we all wish it would slow down, relax, and be nothing but pleasant for the family gatherings. When it is quite outside, when inside we all some how tend to relax a little better.

May the sweetness of your family, neighbors and friends be the center of your holiday gatherings...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beautiful, Amazing, AND an Accomplishment

Wednesday the 16th I rushed to get my work done, so I could leave town, and surprise my daddy at his retirement party… How many times in your life do you get to retire? (Unless you’re a rock star or Garth Brooks???? )

I spent the night with a girlfriend, Tabitha; loved being around animals I don’t have any more. She has 4 cats and a dog, I enjoyed two of the five sleeping with me!. Got up a decent time and took care of issues with my truck, went to a pastry/coffee shop and worked by remote off the notebook computer so work was settled, got Bloodworth settled and headed to the party. It was wonderful how much food, and how many people were there to harass/or bid farewell to my dad! He is such a kidder many are not sure how to take him. At any rate the party was good, Dad seemed happy and that was all that mattered to me.

I got some other things settled … getting Henry his LATE birthday gift and I literally headed back for home straight from the Party. And Giving Olivia hers early!

I RUSHED home as fast as I could because there was a winter storm headed our way and you never know how bad they can be due to our elevation. As my luck runs… I somehow hit the face to my radio and it ended up in a bag I gave my sister Betsy for the kids… So I had nothing to keep me awake on the road and I … am NOT a person that can stay awake after dark. After driving as long as I could, I had to get a hotel room, I had barely made it to the other side of Knoxville when I realized my driving was not up to par! Too many people were passing me.

Well I got up! Waited for a decent hour to call Mother and let her know I was fine, as I was on the phone with her the first of the rain drops fell. Not 5 minutes after getting off the phone with Mother, it was sleet, and not 10 minutes after it was snow! Now while normally this doesn’t bother me at all, but I didn’t have any weight in the back of my long bed and to top it off! I didn’t have my winter package in the truck either!

What is a winter package! For all my years of driving, I have had a tin can, a candle, matches, wool socks, and a blanket in my car or truck. Here I was having been dressed like a girl for the last 24 hours in High heals, hose, and no gloves! I did have a pare of house shoes but … they are the flip flop kind! So here I was driving up, down, and around mountains with no boots, no socks, a throw for a coat. I was passing rock facings left and right but couldn’t get out of the truck to throw boulders into the bed of the truck BECAUSE I didn’t have any shoes of socks!!!!!!! Stilettos don’t get it in MY world!!!!

I did finally make it home, but had to RUSH out to the barn with NO babysitter, only my dear friend Joe to take care of them, and I can’t abuse him! I wouldn’t appreciate that, so…. I try to be fair. The snow was getting a little worse, traffic in Asheville was at a crawl of 25 mph… the roads to the barn were already the average Joelton snow, covered in about 3 inches of snow, BUT I MADE IT TO THE BARN, I quickly put the horses out, stripped the stalls and put it ALL in the bed of my truck! Had to rush to the house, get work done due to the holiday! And rush back to the barn… the whole / THE ONLY reason I came home was because I was running out of hay! I did not have enough to make it through the weekend. So I planned to get to the barn, but more manure in the bed of the truck and go for hay first thing Saturday morning as the feed stores close by noon.

Longer story… I got stuck! VERY stuck! Up beyond the wheels of my truck stuck! So what! I walked to the barn took care of the kids and walked to the end of the road, asked Jerry to come get me and made it home safe!

In my walk to and from I have to tell you! It was BEAUTIFUL! It was the quiet style of life I enjoy. I passed several people, of whom I am not sure would want to be named online… I was met first by the dog, but soon came its beautiful family walking at least two miles down the road… as they often do. But the father carried a newborn on his chest, a toddler on his back, Uncle carried yet another toddler on his back, and mother was pleasantly behind them. Another family mother, daughter and son in law and another dog, all walked to their cabin, like me taking pictures along the way. It was just so beautiful you couldn’t help but to be happy! So what if my truck was in the ditch… walking talking and enjoying other people is something most of us are in too much of a rush to do. I met so many people on my walks, LOVELY people, I also was welcomed with a HOT cup of coffee once a day from my dear Joe! Thank you Joe!

I figured I would call AAA first thing Saturday and ask for assistance! I did… we scheduled a 12:30 apt, by 1:30 I called, not upset due to the weather, got another appointment time, it came and passed, a third was set it too came and passed so I walked out again. During all this time alone in the cold I was thinking about how my family was probably all together in a warm house. But I somehow wished my family were out with me to see how beautiful, hear how quiet, such lovely people, it was perfect somehow and I just wanted to share it with them… but… By 9pm AAA finally called and canceled on me! Ending the beauty of the snow, ice and necessities on hold mind set “Our trucks are too expensive to take up a road like that” that upset me! The fact I could have hired some bubba to get my truck out, and I got strung along all day, NO HAY, no truck, and nothing accomplished for the day what the heck it was a delight to have such a day, so I’ll figure out the details for tomorrow.

Today; Sunday… I resorted to myself once again… I borrowed a sled! I asked for hay , I pulled the hay as far as I could up the MOUNTAIN, I quit! ONLY because I had already set my mind on using this very situation to get Navarre to pull his weight for the fist time in his life! Sure enough, I walked up the mountain, got the little boy, walked him down the mountain, stopped at my truck, got a rope and some bungee cords and set out to take care of my animals.

Now having that mind set I have to tell you; I met so many people on the road the last few days it was just as enjoyable as it was work, Greg … was dropped off to walk up the mountain, and he helped me instead of going his own way. Truth be told, he pulled the bail of hay up the hard part that was clear pavement, making the weight heavier instead of a simple glide. He insisted on helping me out, this was truly one of the nicest things anyone has done for me in LONG time, Thank you so much! . With his help Navarre got used to the noise the sled made behind him, we then hitched the sled to Navarre and had the horse pull it the rest of the way. When we got the really steep part of the walk I asked Greg if he would like to have a ride? I was glad to ease his walk a little after all his hard work. We stopped at the Fletcher barn to get more hay! David was nice and offered to take two bails up to the barn. After barely making it to bottom of the drive way.. Which is only steeper than the road itself, I loaded the other two bails onto the sled and Navarre carried them the rest of the way. I did it; I didn’t have to beg for help, I jerry rigged the horse equipment, but the point is I got it done, Greg and David helped me so much but also allowed me a sense of accomplishment for my self. LIFE IS GOOD!

There are some things that just feel so good. Knowing I can do what ever I want in 10-12 inches of snow, it takes me longer, but I can do it! It Feels good! Grant you, I have a hard time getting out of a chair my body hurts so bad from walking in snow so deep, try walking 3 miles in snow up to your knees!!!! See what your cheeks feel like! I didn’t know those muscles were still there! I lost that young tight thing when I was 32! Now it’s a normal rear end of a 40 something year old… and hurts like one tonight….

Other vehicles got stuck around my truck, and some kids pulled them all out, even sending someone to get my keys and deliver my truck home. So the end of the saga… after a hot shower, my truck is home, my horses have hay, and I decided to sit and write about it.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hotel Quinta de las Flores, my choice in Antigua

Our hotel was beautiful, relaxing, and most importantly QUIET! With a perfect view of a local Volcano.  As with most of Central America there were all types of Celibrations going on, but with this hotel we didn't get bothered as we have in the past.

I enjoy many of the items they use in their gardens, these pots are beautiful simple and a dream, I only wish I could get some, within a reasonable price, back home!  Not going to happen! 

All of these photos exist BEHIND walls that are boring and seem to be nothing.

This was our room, with a private terrace, small cafe table, two chairs, and a sofa/bench to relax. 

There are water features all over the place to keep down the noise, give the feeling of privacy and to help you relax.    I enjoyed the smooth sound of our little fountain, just outside our door, and the birds loved taking a bath in this at all hours!

Small or large fountains, who wouldn't be relaxed with all this beauty around you!
They make the most simple of things MORE beautiful and simply pleasing to look at! 

I want a life this beautiful!

Monday, December 14, 2009

There are no words to describe a culture we know little of...
But Copan, un like ANY of the other Mayan sites I have been to, is full of relief works, faces that were not destroyed by the Spanish when they arrived...
In the other sites, the best of works are only preserved in the Museums, I can ONLY imagine what would have gone from this place!  it is incredible and if you are interested in the Mayans this is a must see!

I have hundreds of pictures, large enough for poster size... if someone wants to see more just let me know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Copan Ruins... The City, not artifacts.

Copan the city, is a small town. While I could have walked the entire town in a morning’s hour, Jerry was not up and our agreement was I wasn’t to stray very far, to stay with in our radio distance. So with in a block of town central was my only morning playground. Thankfully market was within that area! I enjoy getting up and walking towns before the rest of the world gets up! Locals don’t expect someone on vacation to be out so early, so it works for me. I sat, listened and watched the locals greet each other, all of Central America seems to be such a friendly lot of people, you show respect, they give it back. 
I have no skills when it comes to the Spanish Language, but was lucky enough- generally I am-- to find someone who spoke English. And he just happen to be the town supplier of my favorite fruit! Laecha? I can not find this word in any dictionary to spell it correctly, but is sounds very close to leche which is milk. Walking the market here was not of my best interest, as it was small, dark and had too many hidden areas for trouble so I sat outside and waited for a large hotel to open so I could get a cappuccino. I sat with my coffee, ate my power bar, watched people clean the streets, picking up trash, sweeping, then wetting with what ever water they had. It is usually a dirty water with no other purpose left except to cut down on the daily dust from the streets.

My favorite foods of the entire trip were consumed in Copan! One more thing I didn’t expect but enjoyed. It took us an hour from the time we ordered to the time we got our food, but it was cooked in front of us on an open pit. It was not only enjoyable and relaxing to watch all the actions of the place it was frankly impressive! As our cook stoked the fire, our server served others while carrying things on her head from table to table, even up the stairs.
The restaurant was not a full block from the Hotel, it was… Nia Lolas, where no one speaks English, but they do have menu’s in both languages, so you point to one and they point to the Spanish version. We ask if their water was pura/ purified and they said yes for ice etc… we still drank out of bottles except the alcohol we ordered; this was one of our few drink splurges.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Everyone dreams of a different type of vacation, while some think only of the beach, others the mountains, I dream of a vacation, or better yet a lifestyle, where time is not the issue, where people do what they need to; so they can do what they want the rest of the day. Does such a place really exist? Only on vacation where others do the things you have to, so you can do what ever you want.

Jerry and I normally go to a place once and mark it off our list, not to return, only to look back at our memories, pictures and notes, this time we used one of our favorite places as a home base to do several other things on our list… go to Copan, Honduras and climb an active volcano; with no restrictions of getting as close as your own body will allow to the molten lava.

On our first trip to Guatemala we stayed in Antigua, Panza Verde Hotel and Restaurant …and to this day it is top of the list, but the need for such a romantic place with the most expensive food was not what we needed. We needed peace and quiet, time to relax, and a place to settle into. This time we choose a hotel middle of the road cost wise, Quinta de la Flores… but a favorite in my mind in that it was spacious and quiet! While each room was full, Friday night we rarely crossed paths with other guest, only to eat, or catch a cab.

While Antigua was our home base as I called it, Honduras, Copan Ruins were our main goal for the trip. We had our bags locked up in Antigua and took only what we needed for the trip, in our little back packs… got up long before the sun, and took a van into Honduras. In the van we got lucky we were the ONLY TWO people in the van, this allowed Jerry to lay in the front bench and sleep, how, I have no idea. I was having a hard time just sitting up straight. Laws are different where ever you go, but there are no laws that say a vehicle in Guatemala or Honduras have to have lights/ functional lights I should say! So on several occasions our van would be IN the ON coming traffic lane get over into the correct travel lane and suddenly a metal wall was in front of us. 18 wheelers with NO LIGHTS what so ever. Not to mention the people on bicycles, or walking, and animals of all sizes in the road, all around 3 am in the morning? What are people thinking?

We got to the boarder, and frankly I was worried, but our driver was so well known… we filled out NO paperwork, paid our fees, got our stamp!!! HE stamped our passports while the woman ate her breakfast, and he dropped us at our hotel! Don’t expect the same! There are 6 windows for paperwork… This guy has driven from Antigua to this Honduras Boarder for 2 years EVERY DAY! Everyone greeted him, arms waved, words exchanged (that I didn’t understand) and horns honked every few feet.

Living quarters appeared to be somewhat worse than most of Guatemala BUT Copan is not a major city and few tourist make it there. “We’re not in Kansas anymore” … was Jerry’s quote. To my surprise… our Hotel, Yat Belam, was FAR beyond what I expected. Air Conditioning, a fridge, cable, movies, drying rack for clothes, private balcony, enough room to sleep 4 or 6, sound proofed windows with UV protection, public outdoor living room with books, sofas etc. Nice place! And GREAT Cappuccino; best of the entire trip!

The ruins are something that will take me weeks to express! Of the Mayan ruins this one is on the top of my list. We practically had the place to our selves, we ran into less than 10 other tourist.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Back!

While I am home, and have spell check as well as a normal key board, I am not able to take the time to make a post this moment. I did however just want people to know, we are back, we are safe, we are just getting caught up on work, animals, and getting life back in order. NOT to forget it is going to take my bones a while to adjust back to this cold wet instead of the wonderful dry heat.

Monday, December 7, 2009

volcano hike

ok, first things are this was not an easy hike, i was the tail end of my group, trying to breathe and move at the same time. the humidity kept me from breathing easy, as did the dust from the volcano.

while it was a hard hike the last 45 mintues are the worst, it is nothing but lava shards or sand. there was no footing, and diging in my toes got a little hard to do with sand lava and people rolling back down on top of you.

if you decide to do this hike, do it but do not do it in a group. so you can pick your own pace and go off the trail, which is what i eventually did. going off the trail on the volcano allowed a better footing and i wasnt worried about other people falling on top of me.

i did make it to the top but did not roast marshmellows as standing that close was so hot i didnt care about sugar. i can only say i suppose i was a little more causious than the others in my group of which were all in their 20s except the father of one kid in his early 20s so he was barely older than me but in much better shape.

the best advise i can give is to take your own stick, adjustable if possible, a good flash light, i had two and needed headlamp and hand held, the one thing i didnt have was gloves. even if they are just cotton garden gloves with rubber in the palm this would be good! dont be stupid, im not talking about welders gloves just protection of your hands if you fall on the sharp cooled lava. one guy did hurt himself, gloves would have helped.

i would do it again!

there were professional hikers that said it was a brutal hike, so weigh your options carefully. but it was an incredible experience.

ill write better and more vivid after i get to the office.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

burn the devil...

there are always celibrations here, and today is no exception. it is much like our spring cleaning but for relegious thoughts etc... you burn all your unwanted issues-trash along with the devil so to prepare your self for the celebrated coming of jesus. so today they burn the devil to get him out of their lives so jesus has a clean welcoming place in their hearts. please understand this is not a perfect description as this is all i could understand of my translation of the language... probally much better or more eliquent from someone who can speak the language.

Then tomorrow Jesus and Mary start their journey through the village knocking on each door for you to welcome them, and bless them on their journey.

it is all very visual, i will try to take pictures but it will be dark for both.

much love to you all.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday... market day

Back from Honduras, Coban Ruinas area. The trip in a kidney brusing van was well worth the ride, but i do not suggest this trip in the rainy- hot - or high season as it could be a little more than the average air conditioning, lots of room loving, typical US member could take. for me it was just about perfect! ill write more after i get home, got great pictures while we were there didnt run into more than 10 other touriest, and most were from the four neighboring countries not europe or north america.

lots to tell lots to show.

i also just got back from the saturday market, one of the few things one can not describe, the smells, the textures, and the crowds are nothing like you see at home. i remember the old nashville farmers market, and even from a childs view with everything being larger and more than it is as an adult. my memories do nothing compared to the sites here. smells are good, bad and strange, textures are beyond grand expecially if you include the colors here. Crowds are so tight i was put up against a fire pit today. i told the person it was hot and he did move out of my way, but no one regards the other unless your an elder.

Besides with my sun bonnet, sun glasses, and smell of deet i scream touriest... so they let me get by with more!

on to take a shower! we have dinner plans with some of Jerrys old teachers tonight.

much to tell when i get home.

my love to you all

oh yea climbing the volcano tomorrow, taking marshmellows to roast! ill take pictures IF i can make it up there! ha ha ha... i hear its a hard climb and rocky but how often do you get to walk up to running lava. i figured id take the chance while i could.

hey we only live this life once, and im going to have fun with it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wonderful day.

the day started with only the sun, wind and sound of birds. our accomidations are wonderful. i got up and got started on an issue with work i have yet to resolve, but hoping to soon, the customer is fine but i dont like unfinished business. i worked on it for 45 minutes and then walked for a cup of coffee which i relaxed and took 30 minutes to sip on and enjoy everything around me. breathing is about as much as i wanted to do. people watching as the locals walk to work, school and get ready for the touriest to invade their beautiful city.

at home jerry and i pass each other, never eating at the same time, so we rarely share a table. while on vacation we get to talk about the day before, hours before, hold hands and enjoy the company of the one we love. it is not just work work work.

we ate, and walked the town together, looking for the accents we want so much in our own home in years to come.

i am in because i am saving my energy for the next few days of hiking coban - copan

i can only hope everyone at home is good. much love to you all.

if you have never ventured into central america, you really must at some point, the people are warm, welcoming, and eager to learn or teach, in my case it is teach!

again, no caps, no spell check due to the computer keys being in different places as my fingers do what they are used to. please do not think it is this bad every day

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


no spell check, no capitals as i cant figure out the keyboard, other countries have keys in different places due to the usage of letters, symbols etc so this will be crude and hard to read.  i can hopefully fix it once i get back.

serious last 24 hours, checking my list 3 or 4 times, being ocd about the alarm, not getting much sleep but, it was all worth it to get here

in bed by 9pm last night, up with snoring husband by 11pm, off and on sleep for the next few hours till a horrible thud wakes me from  a semi sleep.  but it not only woke me up jerry sat straight up in the bed.  it happened again and all i could think was ok so its not just my tired mind, then the third time jerry went down armed and ready for a fight.  all i could do is call 911 and i did.

no one was in the house although we were both sure of it, and i have never been so scared in my life!  police came and circled the house three times, came in to check, and said they would keep an eye out. 

i was at this point too wired to go back to sleep, started his truck at 445 moved my truck at 450 and we left at 503.  it took that long to get the ice off the windows. 

got to the airport and after boarding they decide to deice the plane... making us very late in schedule, so much so they asked for us whom had time to allow others off the plane who did not.  a first for me!

Got something to eat, loaded on to the second plane and somehow we were in first class.  and so the bad energy melted away.....

we are on the other side of town than we have stayed before, but beautiful and closer to the market and antique districk. 

life is good i can only hope you all are doing ok as well.  ill write tomorrow if i feel like sitting for a while instead of out on the ruins or in the shops.

much love to you all.