Talent…in the eye of the beholder

Good evening all you happy people! Guess what! You are on the southern descent into your weekend. I know you all are giddy with excitement! I know I am. I get to spend the weekend in my happiest of places, Chincoteague, Virginia, thanks to my daughter. Lord knows we both need this!!

The furry support staff is outside on patrol and is noisily declaring their ownership of all they see. Not sure what or who has them in such a tizzy, but I am quite sure whoever it is, has been properly told off!! More than likely being cooped during the hottest part of the day, has them all on edge and just a bit testy.

So, I have been taking part in several webinars to help me get this blog off the ground and working for me. Last night one of the exercises was to ask 5 people to describe you with three words.  I asked five friends, most of the answers I kind of expected. Artistic, came from three of the five. I got a couple of funnies, a couple of lovings, but the one that showed up most prominently was sarcastic.  I thought that was kind of funny, because I never realized it was that noticeable.  Heck, my bestie didn’t stop at five. She just kept rolling them off. LOL!!! It was a fun and eye opening exercise. I challenge you all to try it just to see what you come up with. You might be surprised!

This morning a friend of mine mentioned that she doesn’t have any talent, to which I answered yes you do. If I am feeling a bit down she always cheer me up!  Now that takes talent! The conversation got me to thinking, everybody has talent. It may not be something obvious, it may not be artistic, crafty, or musical, but everyone has a talent, something that is one’s niche, something at which one excels, something that one enjoys doing that doesn’t feel like a job. How boring would it be if everyone had the same talent?? There would be no stand outs, there would be nothing special, everyone would be living the same mundane, boring life and it would be sheer torture. Talent often shows itself in various ways. My son has a talent for numbers that is absolutely unreal and I call him the dog whisperer because you can take the grumpiest dog around and Justin seems to be able to calm it down. My daughter has a gift of gab that oftentimes blows my mind. she can talk to anyone about anything. My mom is talented at so many things that it almost seems unfair. I have one friend who can cook a meal that would knock your socks off, but can’t bake worth a lick. I guess the point is that everyone has a talent for something. It might be the ability to lighten a mood, as is the case with the aforementioned friend. It might be for party planning, or cooking, or cheering on a crowd. Just because you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, or can’t draw a stick figure doesn’t mean you don’t have some thing that you aren’t good at. Just because your talent doesn’t produce something tangible doesn’t make it any less impressive than the person who produces fine art.  Personally, I am an artist and I can sing (I have perfect pitch), but I am not good with young children. Yea they are cute and everything, but I don’t do well with them. I don’t have the talent or patience for teaching, nursing, and a whole range of other things that some of my friends do. I don’t envy them at all for that…that is their niche, definitely not mine. So don’t sell yourself short! Don’t say you don’t have talent. You do, it may not look like someone else’s, but that is what makes us each a unique being. If your talent looked like mine and mine looked like yours, we would soon run out of things to talk about and it would just plain torturous. You just be good at being you, don’t judge your worth by what you can and can’t do that someone else can. That’s just silly!!

Well folks I’m off. Still lots to do before I leave tomorrow. I’m gonna leave you with photos of the shells I painted this week. Taking them to Blue Crab Treasures tomorrow afternoon. I hope you all have a marvelous weekend. I love you all most ardently, kind of like a fat kid loves cake, and I love cake!!!

Make sure the furry loves have plenty of water if they have to be outside. Also, if you take them for a walk please remember to keep them off concrete and asphalt. it burns their pads just like it burns your feet. Provide extra scritches when possible!

Keep cool and watch the road rage this weekend….

Play nice ya’ll…

 

 

Advertisements

Faith of a Mustard Seed…

Good morning all you worker bees! Hump day is here!🐪

I hope you all are up and well rested, ready to face the day at the top of hill, before you start that slide into your weekend. It’s gonna be a good day!

The furry support staff has been fed. Jeb and Sassy are enjoying an after breakfast siesta. Minxy and the Beagle are playing….funny though , every time I go to check on them Minxy immediately quits playing and acts as if she is hiding something. I guess I’m not supposed to know she was acting like a dog. Who knows? Bailey is in Justin’s room waiting patiently for him to come home. The devotion that dog has to that boy is unwaivering.

Have you seen the videos on Facebook of the folks hiding behind the blanket and then “disappearing?” Well, we tried that last night with every dog here. The only one who even reacted at all was Sassy and that was the slightest cock of her head. Jeb literally rolled his eyes, while Minxy pretty much shrugged her shoulders. Bailey immediately went to where Justin was, no guessing, no searching, a straight bee line to his daddy. The puppy, who has the attention span of a gnat, wandered off looking for his next victim to torture, harass, and annoy. So the experiment yielded nothing other than a blanket that needs washing. Maybe the dogs just didnt want to play, maybe they thought it silly. Or maybe they have faith that we aren’t going anywhere. Maybe they know that we wouldn’t leave them here without seeing to their care first.

The faith our pets put in us is the kind of faith we should have in our God. Unswerving, unshakable, and unquestionable is how it should be. Most folks who know me know that I am not a “religious” person. No, I don’t go to church, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. That doesn’t mean I don’t pray every day or believe as strongly as anyone else who attends every week and goes to every church function. How I choose to worship my God is a private matter, as is yours. I would never presume to say to anyone, you are doing it wrong. God’s presence and role in my life may be and probably is entirely different than yours.

The past month has been a true test of my faith, but I have never blamed God. I’ve never gotten angry, I just have let it roll off my back and kept chugging along. My youngest sister contacted me a month ago. I haven’t seen her in several years. We kept contact via Facebook, but other than that, no contact. When I heard her voice I immediately knew something was wrong. She had been living on the streets of Wilmington, Delaware for almost a year and was too embarrassed to tell anyone. I didn’t hesitate, I made arrangements to get her here as soon as possible. I didn’t worry about how we would manage, I didn’t worry that we live paycheck to paycheck, I didn’t think about anything other than the fact that this is my sister LIVING ON THE STREETS! And I had faith that things would work out. And they have, maybe not as one should think, but I am in no position to tell anyone how to do things or how to walk in his or her shoes.

A few days after my sister came, I was taking my son to work. My car started making a funny sound and then just died. So I’m stuck on the side of the road in basically BFE (Bum F**k Egypt for those who don’t know this Anagram), fortunately I have roadside assistance, so I didn’t freak out. I had someone look at the car the following week and I was charged an arm and a leg, and I think half a kidney, only to be told I was gonna need more money or a new car. For a brief minute, I felt the urge to burst into flames, but I quelled that thought. No sense in allowing the nervous breakdown, I so deserve, to happen, because it won’t change anything except maybe my address, temporarily.

The next test came this past Saturday. I was cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry early Saturday morning. The puppy was at my feet with every move, hoping that at some point he could slip out the door passed me. I can’t put him out while Jeb is out because Jeb would hurt him, and I don’t need that. I had opened the window in the back door to check on the dogs who were out. I went back to the task at hand and a few minutes later realized I didn’t shut the window all the way. Instead of opening the puppy gate all the way I opened it just enough to get through. At that moment the.puppy came barging through. My right foot got caught on the gate and down I went, landing on my left wrist, left hip, and left shoulder. I bumped my head on the door jamb and then again on the floor. When I realized I wasn’t dead, I began to assess the damage. I found my phone in my back pocket and tried to call someone, but my phone was roaming so that wasn’t happening. At that moment I began to bawl like a baby, I mean one of those good old fashioned sobbing sessions. Now here is where some folks might think I’m crazy, but I got a message, not something you can hear, more like a feeling. That message was “I got this…” I ceased the pity party to make sure I got the message. It wasn’t “You’ve got this.” It was “I got this..” Within a matter of minutes my sister showed up. She sprang into action when she realized I was on the floor. When I was up it was decided I needed to see someone. Two broken toes, a sprained hip, a sprained wrist, two good sized knots on my head, and bruised ribs later I was back home. How I didn’t break anything else is a wonder to me. Not that I am questioning it, I’m just surprised. I’m on the mend now, things are beginning to feel a little better and I can sit in a chair for more than a few minutes without pain. But even after everything that has occurred all I can think about is that brief feeling of “I got this..” And it wasn’t a me ” I got this..” it didn’t come from me. I believe it was God saying, “calm down, its gonna be ok, I got you..” Since then, I have experienced a serenity that I have never felt before. Instead of focusing on the disasters and negative in my life, I am thinking about the positives! I sold a painting yesterday! My art work won an award! My blog is up and running! My Love Chairs design is being made in to t-shirts and prints!! I get to go to my happy place this weekend, on someone else’s dime! And while some might view my attitude towards this past month as apathetic, I’m thinking SO WHAT? I think oftentimes what is judged as apathy is a self protective mode, that keeps someone from losing their mind.

Evidently God has a plan for me that he hasn’t yet revealed to me. So, I’m just gonna do what I do and let him do what he does. Why fight it?

Well…that’s all I have today. My art table is full and I need to get to steppin’!

You all enjoy your day! Don’t forget the scritches for the the furry loves. I love you all most ardently! A huge shout out and thank you to my dear friend, Tammy Ham for today’s blog title.

I’m leaving you with the painting that was sold yesterday before the paint dried. Also, check out my Recipes You Should Try Page, I will be posting my recipe for Sheikh el Meiche. It is a Lebanese recipe for stuffed eggplant taught to me by my late mother in law. It is amazing!

Play nice y’all…

Ace’s Black Tie Affair

Ermahgerd!! Kerrerts!!!

Good morning my peeps! Welcome to your Tuesday! I kind of think of Tuesday as Wednesday’s ugly little sister. Not quite as obnoxious as Monday, but still ugly. Bahahaha! And welcome to the insanity in my head!

It’s raining on my little acre this morning, much to the dismay of the furry support staff. This has left most of them quite grumpy, as they all grumble their frustrations to each other throughout the house. One can only imagine what exactly they are saying, but I’m quite sure if there is any cursing going on it’s Jeb and Sassy. Their level of anxiety seems just a bit extra. So, yesterday evening I was puttering around the kitchen, fixing dinner, and putting dishes away. When I opened the refrigerator I realized that I had forgotten to chop up my carrots when I brought the groceries home. I took them out so I could complete the task.. First, let me tell you, my normally civil dogs will knock someone down for a carrot. They are a good treat for them, they are far less expensive than anything you can get in the grocery store, and they are healthy (FYI…my dogs will not touch baby carrots. I’ve tried several brands. After some research i discovered that baby carrots are soaked in a bleach solution and then in another solution for color). I took out my knife and cutting board and began chopping. At the sound of the first chop, Bailey came running out of my son’s room like a little kid on Christmas morning. The look on his face was sheer excitement! All I could think of is this cute gif with the little rabbit that says “Ermahgerd!! Kerrerts!!!” He sat at my feet anxiously as I cut them up, so I had to give him some. I believe he would have eaten until he burst. It’s funny how small things can be a source of absolute joy. Maybe I should maybe I should get those “kerrits!” out now to quiet some of the grumbling.

Often in life, it is the simple things that mean the most. Things that don’t cost a penny, can have a larger impact than any expensive gift. A seemingly minute phrase can somehow make someone’s day better. An occasional “way to go,” or “you look nice today,” can lift someone’s spirits and for all you know may have come just at the right moment for that person. I did an experiment one morning on my way to work. I smiled and spoke to every single person with whom I came into contact. The results were amazing! I only had one person look at me like I was the village idiot, but the majority of the responses were positive and genuine. Oftentimes, simply smiling at a stranger can make his or her day. And guess what, it didn’t cost a thing, except maybe a second of your time. What it all boils down to is, people may not remember or even know your name, they may not remember exactly what you said, heck they may not even recognize you the next time your paths cross. But they will remember how you made them feel! Try it sometime, I promise you will discover that it makes you feel good as well.

Ok folks that is all I have for today. Got lots to do before I head to my happy place this weekend. I will be posting a recipe for gingerbread dog biscuits on the Recipes You Want To Try site  page here shortly. Your furry ones will love them!! Throw them a couple when your done baking them. I mean, ya know, wait until they cool first! Extra scritches are in order as well!

Enjoy your day! I love you all most ardently. Let me know you are out there please by commenting or liking my blog. I’m leaving you with a look at my newest painting called “Two Hearts Healed.” Let me know what you think. It is still in progress, but I am loving it!

Play nice y’all…

Mystery…

Good Sunday morning all my peeps! It’s gonna be a gorgeous day, I hope you all are able to take advantage. In a perfect world I would be sitting on a beach, preferably Assateague Island Beach, but as you all know this world is not perfect. I woke up this morning feeling quite like I had been hit by a bus. Every joint and muscle on my left side is either sore or swollen or sore and swollen. But as I heard my dad tell someone, “I woke up on the green side of the grass!” That my friends is enough for me!

This morning the furry support staff is quite groggy, except the old one. Jeb loves to be outside and he is the only one I have to bribe, coerce, or trick to get inside at night. Minxy and Bailey have gone into to hiding to avoid being tortured by the puppy. And Sassy’s anti-social self is laying by her food bowl daring anyone to come near it. I changed their food to the Rachel Ray Nutrish with Turkey and Venison yesterday. I can already see a difference in how they like it. The only one that didn’t clean their bowl is Sassy, and I guess that’s so she will have something to protect.

My goal for today is to finish painting 15 scallop shells with ponies on them. I’m hoping I didn’t aim too high, but I will do my best.

Right now foaling season is winding down on Assateague Island in Virginia. So far 50+ foals have been born. The majority of the foals will be auctioned off at the Pony Penning auction at the end of July. There will be a few kept as buybacks, which are foals chosen to remain on the island.for the rest of their lives. As the new foals are born and chronicled mostly by DSC photographers Darcy and Steve Cole, those of us who can’t be there get to see them and choose our favorites. This year however, a mystery has occurred. Let me tell you the story as best I can. A bay mare named Bay Girl had a foal in the southern corrals on the refuge. It had been a tough winter and poor Bay Girl was thin and pitiful looking but she managed to give birth in her weakened condition. The foal was small and weak so mother and son were moved to a place where they could be monitored closely. A few days later the foal passed. Bay Girl was kept at the carnival grounds so that she could receive nourishment. About the same time it was reported that the mare Misty Mills had refused her foal and wouldn’t allow it to nurse, so it was picked up and brought to the same location as Bay Girl. The colt, a pretty little bay pinto thing,  was introduced to Bay Girl and she accepted it as her own. Two hearts healed!

Now here is where the mystery lies.It began with the coloring of the foal. Misty Mills, who has always been in the liver chestnut pinto stallion, Puzzle’s band could not produce a bay foal, if Puzzle indeed was the sire. There was always the possibility that another stallion sneaked in and left a depost, but not likely. Then, two weeks ago , my bestie, her sister, my daughter and I visited the island and went on one of Captain Dan’s Island Tours. We saw lots of ponies, but as we pulled up to one location out front and center was Misty Mills with a fresh, only a few hours old filly at her side. Captain Dan and I were both perplexed! So here we have a mare who had been wrongly accused of rejecting her foal a few weeks earlier with a brand new filly. Someone owes that girl an apology!

So, where did the colt with Bay Girl come from? No one will probably ever know. There will be speculations, I’m sure, but no one will ever be 100% sure. It really doesn’t matter anyway, he showed up just at the right time for Bay Girl. I think his name should be Riddle Me This? Isn’t it funny how Mother Nature works? Had the timing off these events been off by a few days, the outcome might have been very different and tragic. The Lord works in mysterious ways… This story sounds like a Lois Szymanski book in the making. The beautiful Bay Girl and Riddler photos were taken by Steffie Rau. The Misty Mills and filly photo is mine.

Well I’m outta here. Gotta get on those shells!

Y’all enjoy what’s left of your weekend, and don’t worry about Monday arriving in less than 24 hours. Bahahaha!

Make sure you spend time with the furry ones! Lots of scritches and an extra biscuit, just because it’s Sunday!

Play nice y’all…

Bay Girl and Riddler

Riddler

The completely exonerated Misty Mills and her newly born filly

Yep I’m a Party Animal!

Good Saturday evening my homies! It has basically been a beautiful day with the exception of a couple of pop up storms. I wasn’t able to take advantage of the gorgeous weather outside today. I will explain why in a few.

I’m hanging with the furry support staff this evening. Yep I’m a party animal! Minxy and Sassy are sticking close to me because of the last storm. Jeb is sound asleep, as I think is Bailey and puppy has been exiled to Justin’s room for a while.

So, this happened this morning. It was relatively early. I let the dogs out in two separate groups because Jeb can’t be let out with the puppy. I was in the process of getting ready to go to the grocery store when I realized I had left the window open in the back door. As I turned to go close it, I tripped over the puppy who was trying to get to the door in the hopes of slipping past me. I went down hard across the top of the puppy gate and landed on my wrist, shoulder, and left hip, while bumping my head on the door jamb to my room. I laid there bawling like a two year-old. After about ten minutes I heard a “hello” at the front door, thankfully it was my sister. She came running to me and yelled for her friend to come help. I eventually got up but was dizzy probably from the bump on my head. How I didn’t break anything totally escapes me. I will certainly be feeling it for the next few days. Old age doesn’t allow for quick recovery times. And the funny thing about the whole incident is that while I was laying there I kept hearing the song Miss Grace by the Tams all the while having a picture in my head of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” woman from the commercials.

So here I sit with Sassy and Minxy, left leg propped up on pillows, binge watching chick flicks, and remembering all the times my son, Justin has joked about getting me a LifeAlert and thinking maybe its not such a bad idea. Had I been seriously hurt I would not have been able to call 911 because my phone roams in this house. I guess I could use Alexa if that is possible. Now in have something to research.

Posted below is a photo of my family at Christmas!

Well I’m gonna sign off now. Hope you all are giving extra time, scritches, and lubbins to the furry support staff.

Enjoy what’s left of your weekends. Take care of yourselves. Listen to me preaching laid up here like I am.

I love you all most ardently. Remember, when that weekend traffic road rage starts to hit…

Play nice y’all…

Heatwave

Good morning all you lightly roasted folks!! Welcome to your Friday! Hope you all are managing to stay hydrated and cool. This current heatwave is no joke!! Even the wasps and flies have settled down a bit here during the day. Last night we had one heck of a storm. I guess it was around 1 am. I had fallen asleep in the living room while working on a project. Suddenly, I had a 50 pound Aussie and a 45 pound Aussie in my lap, while the Beagle puppy, who has no concept of fear was trying to figure out where to fit himself in the pile. No, he wasn’t scared, he thought it was a new game, I’m sure. Thankfully, the other two were in my room or I would be having to replace a chair today.

The majority of the furry support staff is moving kind of slow this morning, but grateful the thunder monster didn’t get them. The exception is the puppy, of course, who is running around like a lunatic, completely oblivious to anything.

Love Chairs,

The picture above is my new design featuring the Love Chairs at Robert Reed park on Chincoteague Island with a Chincoteague pony in each chair.  The ponies are Surfer Dude; his daughter, CLG Surfer’s Blue Moon; his son, Surfer Dude’s Riptide; and his daughter, Surfer Princess. Right now it is available in prints and t shirts and hopefully soon, there will be coffee mugs. Should the design go well, the plan is to have a contest to name the ponies that will be occupying the chairs next year. Shirts will be available at Blue Crab Treasures on Chincoteague Island. Or you can order them from the Blue Crab Treasure Chest on Facebook.

DSC02016

This gem is one of my personal best and favorites, featuring Chinoteague pony stallion Ajax.  Love his white tail!!! It’s an 11×14 acrylic on framed canvas and is available for purchase at the CorgiNuts Sketches Facebook page.

Ok now that business is out of the way, let’s chat….

Today’s subject is “the hypocrisy of the elite.” I know, I picked a doozy today. Sure to start an argument somewhere, but I’m a rebel like that. LOL! generally I stay away from politics because I feel that how you vote is your business and all politicians have an agenda, I don’t care how sincere or humble they appear. One may start out with an objective geared towards helping his or her own community, city , or state, but they all end up going with the crowd. The ones that stick in my craw are the Hollywood and celebrity elite trying to tell us “commoners how to feel, think, or vote.” Nothing ticks me off more than to hear the like of Whoppi Goldberg, Michael Moore, or Robert DeNiro mouthing off about the President or the actions of Congress, or any other thing in the country that offends them.  First of all, the treason that has been allowed to occur since the President took office is absolutely unacceptable.  When you have images on t-shirts of the President’s brains being blown out, or someone makes threats towards his young son and wife, there is something seriously wrong. The latest threat against his son is absolutely vile, and all by someone who used celebrity to get the point across. If someone, not in the spotlight had done any of this, the FBI would be so far up his or her rear end and enema wouldn’t be able to fix it. Secondly, the grandstanding at awards shows and such has become ridiculous. Honestly, if you make great music, or are a great actor, I will listen or watch. But I don’t give a rat’s ass about your politics.  Here’s the thing, if it wasn’t for the public interest, these folks would be in the same boat the majority of American’s are in, living paycheck to paycheck, and making ends meet the best way they know how. But by some stroke of luck, whether born into it, or struggled up to it, these are the folks we have chosen as our “idols,” in many cases, kind of a sad lot.

So I leave you with this, if you don’t like our President that’s just fine and dandy. you are not expected to do so. But at the end of the day, he is still your President, no matter how many times you say he’s not, if you are citizen of these United States, yes indeed he is! You don’t have to agree with his policies, you don’t have to like his past shenanigans, you don’t have to like his son, his wife, or his dog even ( if he has one). But I do expect that you should respect the office and not commit treason without some kind of consequence.

Ok folks. rant over!! Whew! Had to rein myself in on that one. So, I hope you all enjoy your Friday and are able to slide into your weekends smoothly and without obstruction. Be aware of the heat and keep yourself cool as best you can.

How about extra scritches and maybe a long walk or ride for the furry ones. They have waited all week for you to be off!

Hey check out the other pages on this blog, including an introduction to the furry support staff, recipes, and my artwork page! Oh and I left ya’ll the recipe for my Not Your Mom’s Shepherds Pie. Check it out on my Recipes you want to try page.

I love you all most ardently! And I know it’s hard, especially when it’s hot and muggy, and someone is straight ticking you off, but please keep in mind….

Play nice ya’ll…

DSC00884

My daughter Kayla on Assateague Island the morning after Christmas 2017

 

 

 

Regroup, Refresh, Rethink…..

Good almost afternoon my peeps!!!! Hope this finds you somewhere cool which would not be outside.  ERMERGERD!!!! I stepped out onto the back deck……barefooted! It felt as if I had stepped on asphalt! Yikes!!! Please make sure if you have to be outside that you are being properly hydrated and take breaks as needed. No job is worth your life! If it is already this hot in June, ughhhhh we still have July and August….and well September too….double ughh!!!

The furry support staff has chosen to stay inside for the day, an unusual choice for two of them. Most days I have to beg Jeb and Minxy to come in especially since Justin and Kimmy got the Beagle puppy, Jethro for whom neither cares for much,  but today they made a beeline for the door as soon as the sun came over the trees in the back yard. Please, if your furbabies are outside today please make sure they have plenty of water and shade.

So this morning I woke up with a plan. In a matter of hours that plan was completely annihilated, destroyed, worthless…..yep. I’m not really sure what manic depression looks like but I think I definitely experienced something similar to it this morning all before 10 am. I was to the point of tears but I kept yelling at myself to not have the mental melt down I felt coming. I eventually began to pump myself back up by saying you can handle this, you’ve got this, it can be figured out. At that moment my son, who is out of town for work called. He heard the strain in my voice as I explained to him what was going on. He said “please don’t cry over it Ma….we will figure it out when I get home.” Shortly after the call I spoke to a friend via private message and I ran a few ideas by her.  Talking it out with her finally had me saying to myself “Suck it up, buttercup!” And voila!!! I have taken my blog to the next level. You will be hearing more from My Contradictory Life, regularly. I will plan a recipe page. I will be adding links to friend’s businesses and sites. So, please share our page with your friends and relatives.

Shout out and safe travels to my bestie, Susan and her sister Jen. They are travelling north to see their Dad.  Hey ya’ll, tell Geeza I said “Wassup!”

Please if you can support my friend Deb Ober and her Chincoteague Pony Rescue. There is a link to her Facebook page here. This woman is amazing and does so much for those ponies.

Alright well, I gotta get movin’. I’m setting up my online store for my artwork today on Shopify! Lots to do!!!

I’m leaving you with one of my best sketches yet, “The Queen’s Last Roundup,” featuring the late Chincoteague mare Surf Queen from a photo of her at the 2018 spring roundup. The Queen.pub

Everyone please as I mentioned earlier take care of yourselves on this steaming hot day.  And please make sure the furry support staff is seen to as well.  Scritches and an extra biscuit to those furry loves for having to put up with you.

I love you all most ardently.

be kind, be ever mindful of the other person, and when you feel you can’t keep it under wraps…

Play nice ya’ll….