March 17, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — liese4 @ 7:06 pm

This blog address is moving, things are getting packed up on here and headed over to this site: this colorado adventure. (

Thanks to homeschool journal for hosting my blog on their site for so long, since 2007!

March 16, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — liese4 @ 7:31 pm

NIA! Then some school and Bethany went to test. I found the coolest thing ever the ultimate US road trip, check it out here.


Looks cool, maybe one day.

March 15, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — liese4 @ 2:16 pm

We had to work in the 2′s room this morning and the lesson was on the Good Samaritan. We watched the lesson, played a game with the doctor bag and then went around the room putting bandaids on pictures of a wounded man. Each kid made a little baggie with a cotton ball, bandaid, candy and sticker in it. I think the candy was to remind you to be sweet to people.

After lunch I Skyped with my Mom, Aunt and Tony. I showed them around the house and the Internet bombed on me as soon as we were done with the basement. I don’t know why it was so wonky yesterday. We had some down time and then we went to a co-op on Middle Eastern culture. The girls tried some belly dancing and we saw Addie’s costume for dance.

We listened to music and tried lots of food from tabbouleh to these swiss chard, onion, spinach things wrapped in filo and fried in a skillet.

We found out that sumac is an ingredient that is used a lot (we have wild sumac with red berries growing here, the white berry sumac is poisonous), we tried our hand at Arabic writing, looked at recipes and had fun.

I brought home 2 more kids than I left with and then James and I went to TNO. We had a good dinner at Whole foods and some chat time, then it was back home to go to sleep. We missed our gym time, but that was okay.

The week – Bethany is testing, eye doc appointment, ortho appointment, SpongeBob movie, Into the Woods movie, youth group, hike? James may have to go to DC for work this weekend, so who knows what we’re doing.

March 14, 2015

DDD and Pi(e) day

Filed under: weekend — liese4 @ 1:58 pm

This morning rather than go to the gym, James and I walked up to Starbucks and had a cup of coffee, then walked home. I started making chicken soup for lunch while James and Bethany went to pick up Grandma. We had lunch at home, then took her with us to Duck, duck dupe. Two stories are true and one is nothing but a dupe – can you spot it? Oh, and Ruddy wasn’t there (Jack was doing a play in Arvada), so Wigeon filled in until some guests arrived to take over Ruddy’s spot.

Story one – Back in 1984 an Australian horse trainer had the laziest horse in the world. Fine cotton was so lazy that the odds of him winning were 20 to 1.

That’s when a friend of the trainer had an idea, switch horses and get a faster horse to impersonate Fine cotton. The faster horse would win and because of the odds, they’d be rich! So they found a horse that was similar, but they had to dye most of the horse to match Fine cotton.

It was a pretty good likeness, except for the legs, so they painted the bottom of the legs to match the other horse. The race started and off they went, the fake Fine cotton took the lead and – won!

But, when the race judges came to inspect the horse they found paint dripping down his legs – the pair of trainers were banned from racing and Fine cotton lived on as a lazy horse.

Story two – Meet Mr. Selak from Croatia.

He might be the luckiest (or unluckiest) man in the world. He survived a train crash that plunged him into icy water.

Then he survived a fall from a plane by landing on a haystack.

Then he survived a bus crash that again landed him in icy waters.

After every accident he would say, “I’m okay!”

You’d think he would have stopped using transportation at this point, but moved to his own car – which burst into flames and exploded, but he escaped with just a few burns. He got another car and ..yep, it also burst into flames and he again escaped serious injury. By now you’d think death would have stopped trying to claim him, but then on a winding mountain road with a truck barreling down on him, he plunged his car over the edge of a cliff and jumped out, grabbing hold of a tree, and lived. Then, in 2005, Mr. Selak won a million dollar lottery and decided not to do a Doritios commercial because it involved travel by plane, train and car.

Story three – Once a famous couple took their daughter on a trip to Africa to camp in the wild.

They were not too attached to her and were used to traveling without her and enjoying the flash of photographers.

So, they took her on this trip and while they were enjoying fame and fortune some clever kidnappers came upon their camp.

They decided to kidnap the poor girl and get rich. She happily went with them, assuming they were hiking and having a good time.

When they arrived at the kidnappers cabin, two cheetahs jumped out of the bush and surrounded the girl. They growled at the kidnappers and protected the girl, eventually leading her back to her parent’s camp and staying with her until she was safe.

So, which is the dupe?

Story 1?



The dupe is…

Story 3!

How’d you do? We got duped, I was so focused on how a guy couldn’t possibly survive 7 disasters and then win a million dollars that I didn’t even think about how wild cheetahs probably wouldn’t protect a kidnapped girl and lead her to safety. It is true that in 1984 some horse trainers tried to dupe the racing judges by entering a fake Fine cotton that they had dyed and painted to look like the real horse. And it is true that Mr. Selak cheated death 7 times and then won a lottery. But, two cheetahs in Africa never helped a kidnapped girl to safety. Hannah was picked for the lightning round and won a handmade duck.

Grandma thought that was fun.

We dropped off Grandma, went to the gym and the tax guy and then went to Pieology for pizza on Pi day. Look at those pies, so good.

You know what you get when you write 3.14 and look at it in a mirror?


We made it home just in time to get in 20 minutes at the gym, I hate that they close early on the weekend. I’m up to level 12 on the eliptical now, which burns 525 calories a session, up from level one which burned about 220 in 30 minutes. It feels good to get back to a workout schedule.


March 13, 2015

3.14.15, 9:26:53

Filed under: math — liese4 @ 9:53 pm

So, tomorrow is the great Pi day of the century. At 9:26:53 you will have the first ten digits of Pi with the day/month/year – 3.141592653.

Do you celebrate Pi day? If you don’t, you can use the following info for other days as just math lessons, but if you do there are a lot of cute ideas. One that we did was giving each number 0-9 a color and making a Pi chain. We also did Buffon’s needle (virtual and in real life) and got pretty close to 3.14.

Pi stuff, jewelry, belts, a few crafts, here.

Books – Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, Why Pi?, A History of Pi, Joy of Pi.

Games for Pi – Dunk Tank, Pizza Pi, Pimon and other games. (There are some ads and commercials on this site once you click on the games.)

Lots of Pi related ideas, crafts and games here.

Vi Hart shares her anti-Pi day message (she is pro-Tau) here.

And don’t forget to eat some pie (whether that it pizza or just pie) tomorrow!

Wed, Thur, Fri

Filed under: Uncategorized — liese4 @ 7:16 pm

It was so nice to go to NIA class on Wed. morning. I missed that. If there is one thing I would tell NCL to add to their ship gyms it would be to get rid of the yoga and add in NIA classes.

It was such a pretty day that we put a park day up and met a friend there to play. When we got home Hannah checked the mail for her science kit. I had an e-mail that said it was delivered, but it wasn’t on the porch, so she went to the mail box to check for it. When she opened it she had the saddest face ever, all that was inside was math pages. I assumed that the package was the kit and forgot that they were also mailing some math pages that we don’t have, oops.

Thursday was an at home day, NIA, school, gym and a massage from the Whole foods lady for me and Grace. Then, gym again after dinner. Friday was homeschool skate and the girls worked up a sweat skating for almost 2 hours. There were a lot of people there from our group, so we handed out souvenirs and had a good time chatting. Back at home we scanned in Bethany’s National Honor Society application and sent it in, we got the news while on vacation that she was invited to apply. Then I went to the gym, again, and then back home to cook dinner. After dinner, gym again.

This weekend – Duck, duck, dupe, taxes, Middle east co-op, TNO, church = busy!


Filed under: Uncategorized — liese4 @ 7:06 pm

We woke up early, drove to the airport, returned the car and checked in. Our flight got into a sunny Denver at 1 pm. Back at home all the fish were alive (yay!) and so was Zoey (boo!) We went to pick up Maisy, who had been getting the princess treatment at Heather’s house (sleeping in a people bed…tsk, tsk.) She recognized us at once and went crazy jumping up and down and licking us. We unpacked, put away our treasures and threw some laundry on. James and I went to the gym, that felt good, and we had a good night of sleep. It’s good to be home.

Last day in Galveston

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 7:03 pm

More rain, we called my Mom and she met us at the Strand for shopping and lunch. There were some photo opportunities, so we took them.

I tried this picture with Grace last time we were in Galveston, I did it better back then.

James had to go back to the hotel to take a work call, so we stayed and shopped.

The only problem was wondering how we were going to get everything back home. The soda shop was a hit.

We met back at the hotel and tried to get into Bishop’s palace, but they had just sold the last tour tickets.

Everything was closing, so we missed the Elissa and the Oil rig museum too, now we have to save those for next time. We toured around some of the streets to see the oak trees that were carved into different things (they were killed by the saltwater from Ike.) The carvings are beautiful.

We ended up going to the Rainforest cafe’ for dinner, another first for my Mom and most of the kids.

Then it was time to go back to the hotel and pack and get to sleep. We had to be up at 5 am the next day.

Rain, rain, go away

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 6:48 pm

Well, shoot. It started raining this morning and kept up a good pace for the rest of the day. We met my Mom and Tony at the Galvez for Sunday brunch, something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

They had a huge buffet line of fruit, cheese, salad, shrimp, crab, prime rib, ham, sides, a pasta and omelette station and dessert bar. It was really nice, we toured around in their history museum and the girls saw a picture of Jimmy Stewart and ran over to it yelling, ‘Look it’s the guy from Harvey!’ Apparently Galveston was the Las Vegas of TX before Las Vegas became popular.

There were a handful of stars who had stayed at the Galvez and some presidents, but when I saw the information about the Maceo crime family and Galveston I figured that’s why people came there – they couldn’t refuse his invitation. There is still a building in town that says Maceo imports and exports. After eating we went to Murdoch’s to shop.

Murdoch’s has been around since 1910, in one form or another. Every time a hurricane beats it down, they rebuild it.

Why wood? The people of Galveston voted to keep the structure wooden to keep it like it was in the old days.

We went over to the Pleasure pier to let the kids ride some rides.

They got in about 4 before it started raining again.

The pirate ride was closed, but we still got a picture.

We said bye to my Mom and went back to the hotel.

The girls stayed in while James and I went by the Strand. The gas lamps were lit, which was nice on a cold, rainy day.

We looked in a few shops, then went to get the girls. We went to Mario’s for dinner, they obviously got some funds after Hurricane Ike because they redid the whole place. It’s been about 18 years since we’ve been there, but their seafood stuffed mushrooms were still the best.

Back on land {Galveston}

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 11:28 am

We had one last ‘to do’ item before getting off the ship. Mr. Messiah was a favorite of the girls due to his Poirot moustache. But, if we saw him I didn’t have my camera or the girls would see him without me or I would see him without them. So, we had him come to the desk before we left so we could get a picture with him.

He really does look like a young Poirot. We had no trouble getting off the ship and going through customs, we found our car and drove to my Mom’s house to visit. The first thing we did was laundry, I guess that is a universal thing, go to Mom’s – do laundry. We chatted and took pics, my brother showed up as well as Tony, my Mom’s friend.

We showed off the pictures and talked about the trip, had pizza and cake and got all the laundry done. Then we headed to our hotel in Galveston.

We had time to walk on the beach and then go get dinner at Tortuga kitchen.


The food was good, but the sopapillas were amazing, melt in your mouth delish. It was like a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a Baklava got married and had a baby. It was light and airy, topped with honey and powdered sugar – so good. Back at the hotel the girls watched TV and we went to bed.

Day eight {at sea}

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 11:14 am

The weather got colder today as we got closer to Houston, no swimming today. But, that’s okay. After breakfast James and I walked the deck levels inside and out (when you could get out.) We did 4, 5, 6, and 7. I dropped Hannah at her kids area to practice on her devil stick skills and the rest of us went to a cupcake making time in La Cucina.

That was fun, but the frosting was whip cream, not real frosting. We all met for lunch, then Hannah went back again to her area. On the way to the circus show we stopped at the Captain’s Q&A. We asked about the pool that we see on the front deck from the forward cam, turns out it is used by the crew and staff, we just never noticed anyone in it. The Captain was asked about the going back to the dock in Roatan for the late people, he said that he did steer the ship back over there to get them and if we weren’t going to be at sea for two says he would have left them there. They were 45 min late, every 15 min costs $2,000 in fuel and port costs – which is why he would have normally left them. There were lots of good questions like – what do you do with all the leftover food? (Grind it up and feed it to the fish) Has anyone ever fallen overboard? (Yes, a drunk passenger decided to jump on a life boat while the ship was docked, he miscalculated and went overboard a few stories into the water, it took 5 min to get him.) Is there a brig? (Yes, but it’s not called that, there is ship security on-board.) How much clearance does the ship have in the Panama canal (3 inches on each side!) We didn’t have time to stay for the whole thing, but it was very informative.

At 3:15 Splash academy took over the theater for their circus show. All week the kids had been practicing their moves with things like juggling, plate spinning, devil sticks, Chinese yo-yos and clowning. It was really cute, even the little kids got in on the show, they were the tigers and had to jump through a hoop and growl into the microphone. One little girl jumped through the hoop and let out a big ‘Meow!’, that was funny. Hannah’s group did their own tricks and then did a car wash line trick.

After the show we went up to the bridge viewing area. This ship has a glass area where you could see the bridge and it had all kinds of things in the room like the champagne bottle that was used for its first time out and keepsakes from different areas they were in.

The Jewel had Nickelodeon characters on-board and they would do things like craft time, story time, dance parties and games. They had a bunch of them in Spinnaker lounge dancing with the kids.

It was seafood night in the buffet, but also prime rib night at the other dining area, what to do, what to do….do both!

We had lobster and shrimp pasta in the buffet area and then Bethany went with us to O’Sheehan’s for the prime rib. This restaurant is above the Crystal atrium so you get to look down on people and hear the music from that area.

The show tonight had only one time, so we got there early. It was a hodgepodge of singers from each of the shows, even J.P. the magician could sing! We got all packed up and went to sleep late, trying to get in one more great night on the ship.

Day seven {at sea}

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 11:01 am

We had plans for our a sea days – shuffleboard, bingo, cards, swim, workout, see a magic workshop, enjoy a show, Q&A with the Captain, etc.

We found out on the first day that you can not do everything on your list. We had a leisurely morning taking pictures of Bunny and Mr. Otter in various places.

We went to the towel animal folding seminar and learned how to make a few animals.

James was eager to practice back in the room and look, his bunny rivals Clockson’s.

J.P the magician was having a magic show and tell, he was showing us a few card tricks. It’s funny how simple it was and how easy it is to trick people. We tried the card trick on Hannah, my Mom and others and they don’t have a clue as to how we did it. Grace got a picture with J.P when we were done.

Want to waste some money and time? Play bingo!

Grace was with us as we tried to get a bingo, I was pretty close once. A lady in front of us won twice! Darn her.

We played shuffleboard and realized that we suck at it. It was fun, but I like to win, so….We bought a pack of cards and went to the room to play cards and games. Bethany played checkers with Grace, then Bunny and Mr. Otter took a turn.

Bethany went to the spa and got her hair done.

We practiced our card tricks and then went to dinner. The show tonight was Le Cirque Bijou, a kind of singing/acrobatic show. We had split up for dinner and the girls went to the theater early, but by the time we got there the seats were full up. So, we had to wait for the later show. We killed time in the casino and lost more than we won. When it was time for the show, Grace came with us to see it again. She said it was good enough to see twice. Sure enough, she was right, it was a great show with acrobatics over our heads, a bungee act, hoops, scarves and singing. The sunset was spectacular.

We have a few more items on the list for tomorrow – Hannah’s circus show among them.

March 12, 2015

Day six {Roatan}

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 5:29 pm

We pulled up to the island of Roatan nice and early. They only have one dock, so the other cruise ship had to tender their passengers (this becomes important later.) James and I got off the ship without the girls and looked around the port market and straw market. We saw an artist painting some scenes of Roatan life, we should have bought it then, later we had no time.

Once you left the port market the hustle to get a driver began. We had 3 guys each offering to tote us around the island for this amount or that amount. We told them we had to get the kids and would come back later (note to self, that was a good out, but also the truth.)

The straw market had more handmade items for sell, I bartered for some earrings and we bought the girls necklaces made from stones in the area.

There was a nice view from there.

On the way back to the ship we went through a cemetery, it was unkempt and full of trash. Some of the markers were just handwritten concrete, some were carved.

What caught our eye were the names on some of the markers, Ebanks and Bodden, both prominent names in the Caymans.

I haven’t checked yet, but it isn’t that much of a leap to assume that the families spread out to this area.

We woke up the girls, had breakfast and got off the ship again. Some locals were dancing and singing next to the port entrance.

Once we got our obligatory port photo we went to the taxi stalls and negotiated a fare to West beach.

The van driver packed in another group that was going to the same place, but they were on a different ship. We asked what time they had to be back, they said 4:30, our all aboard time was 3:30, so we agreed to be back by 2:30. Something was off with them, they kept saying that it was an hour later, but our ship time was an hour earlier. They didn’t seem to mind coming back early, so off we went. It was nice to see the island from the van, we went up into some lush forest, then came down the other side. Our driver said that iguana was the top food item around, it must have been because we didn’t see even one iguana.

At the beach we plopped into our shaded chairs and then went into the water.

At first I was upset because I didn’t think we’d see much in the water, but we saw a starfish, flounder, crabs, cuttlefish and a sea snake.

We had lunch at the grill, Hannah got her hair braided and we went back into the water.

At 2:30 we were ready to leave, our van mates had 3:30 by their watch and our driver was late. We were supposed to stop by a lighthouse, but our van mates were tapping their watch – so we sped by it. The closer it got to 3:30 (4:30 by their watches) the more nervous they became. We weren’t far from the port when we hit a traffic jam – everybody was trying to get back at the same time. When we stopped they dashed out and caught their last tender boat back to their ship.

We strolled onto the boat and sat on the back deck to watch the boat leave.

Tonight was the magic/comedy show, J.P. was spectacular. He did card tricks and we were left trying to figure out how he had done them. Even his entrance was a mystery, I’m pretty sure I know how he did it, but best not to over think it. Hannah went to the kids area and after we picked her up James and I went to a lounge to hear the show band play some jazz. They were spot on with the Mancini songs and the trumpet player did a great job, everyone else did too, but he was the star of the show.

Next two days are at sea, so we hope to have some down time and enjoy things on the ship.

March 11, 2015

Day five {Belize}

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 7:21 pm

Once again, wake up, work out. James did a workout before me, then he came and got me for workout two. We also had 3 breakfasts, but two of those were just blueberries with yogurt, then the one with the kids involved eggs, bacon, fruit and cheese. We could see Belize from the balcony.

We had to meet our excursion group at the theater at 8 am for the tour. It took over an hour to get off the boat, wait in the right line and get on our bus.

We had to take the tender boat to the island as Belize has a barrier reef that extends out into the ocean for 5 miles. You wouldn’t want to get your ship next to that, so the boats park further out and tender boats ferry us to and from the ship. I hadn’t realized that the Altun Ha (Maya for ‘Rockstone pond’) site was so far from the port.

It seemed like an hour before we reached the site and that was with some pretty fast driving on a mostly one lane bumpy road. Hannah took the opportunity to take a nap.

Our driver pointed out sights along the way like this cashew tree.

Did you know that cashews come from a fruit? At any rate, they use the fruit to make cashew wine. Our driver also told us that Belize got it’s independence without bloodshed (it was part of the British empire), it is the only country in Central America where English is the official language, there are many Creole people in the country, so Creole and Spanish are also spoken and it’s where chewing gum was made (from chicle.)

Our guide at the site told us about how the site was found, how it was excavated and where the artifacts are from the site (some are still here as the site is not fully excavated.) There is another level down, but they decided not to excavate the main plaza. The temples start out flat, then as a new ruler came in, they added another layer to the temple, they would also raise the main floor site.

We were allowed to wander around, so we started in a small area that housed the priest and then walked up the Sun god temple.

Side of the Sun god temple.

Front of the temple.

Halfway up.

At the top.

Why I love my kids, I say, ‘Get on that sacrificial stone and pretend to be dead’ and…..

Even James did it, he wanted the tag line ‘Sacrifice like a Norwegian’ on it, (like their sayings for NCL, Cruise like a Norwegian…)

The temples go from barely excavated in the A section to mostly excavated in the B and C section.

The structures range in age from B.C. 900 to A.D. 1000.

Most of the information on Altun Ha comes from the Classic Period from about A.D. 400 to A.D. 900, when the city was at its largest. Skeletons were found as well as numerous jade pieces throughout the site.

Pottery, shells, jewelry and the carved jade head of the sun god were found in the Sun god temple. In 1963 locals were using stones from the site to build their own houses and outbuildings when a piece of jade was found.

This led to an archaeological expedition begin carried out on the property. The Royal Ontario museum was the lead on the site, and they took their fair share of the finds back to Canada. The jade head carving remains in Belize. It is in the bank, but sometimes comes out on display at the museum.

When our tour was done we shopped for a bit at the market on site and Hannah got a handmade doll.

Then we got back on the bus and survived the drive back to town. The bus dropped us at the Smokey Mermaid where we tried some cashew wine (gross, it tastes like prune juice) and had a good lunch. From there we walked around the shops and then headed to the tender boat. Our boat driver must have been given an incentive for how fast he could get us back to the Jewel – ocean spray was soaking everyone as we bounced along.

We got back to the boat and unloaded our stuff, had a nap and then regrouped for dinner at the other main dining area Azura (no dress code at this one.) Again, Hannah went to the kids area (they had a theme night every night, Spy, Circus, Carnival, PJ party, Wacky Tacky, etc.) and we went to the show. Tonight was a Russian acrobatic duo and I really wish you could take pics in the theater. I was going to anyway, but my camera is large and pretty visible. The husband and wife team were flying over our heads, doing tricks in hoops and with scarves, they were amazing. I’m surprised that we found seats, that’s how good the show was. Tonight’s towel animal was a monkey.

Bye, bye Belize!

Day four {Cozumel}

Filed under: vacation — liese4 @ 5:35 pm

Look, I woke up early enough to see the sun rise over Cozumel! Cozumel is an island off of Mexico’s Yucat√°n Peninsula coast.

James and I worked out, had breakfast and woke up the girls. We were going straight from the ship to Chankanaab – an all inclusive beach, museum, garden, zipline, eating place.

We made our way through the port shops – here’s a tip, in Cozumel don’t talk to any of those people about taxi prices, go straight to the street and there is a big sign with places and $ amounts, tell them where you want to go and they will look at the sign and say the amount on there. We had one driver offer us a trip to Chankanaab for $30 a person, the real price was well below that. You could also find out the price and then talk someone down, but it was just easier to get the price on the board.

We got to Chankanabb and had to stop looking around and get to the beach to swim.

There was a gift shop, waterfalls, a lizard, flowers, original and replica carvings from the Olmec, Aztec and Maya and then…the beach. Maya arch.

Maya carving.


Olmec head carving.

There were stairs going down into the water at various points and the water was amazing, clear, blue and there were tons of fish.

We swam over corals and anemones and the fish were coming right up to our faces. We found an underwater statue and some cannons. I will have to get a waterproof watch next time, you lose track of time when you are swimming around in the ocean. My waterproof camera broke the day before, so we bought a crappy one on the ship, once I get the pics off of it we’ll see how they turned out. We’re coming back to Cozumel in November, so I have until then to get another camera. We found sea urchins in the shallow water, but we didn’t touch them. Back in the ocean we watched the sea fans wave and just marveled at the colors of the fish that were swimming by.

We saw a puffer fish a few times, he was cute. We got out for a bit to eat lunch and met Picky Pete the pelican.

We called him that because all he did was sit and pick at his feathers.

We swam for a bit more and then went through the gardens to see the crocodiles.

We saw colorful birds and flowers in the gardens.

The zipline went right over the crocodile area, the girls said they didn’t want to do it after they saw that. We wanted to stay longer, but we hadn’t matched our ship time to our phone and we thought it was an hour later (note to self, on the waterproof watch have it set to ship time.) I guess that means the tequila museum must wait till next time.

A few more pictures….

So we headed back into town and had some time to shop in the stores.

For the rest of the trip we had no cover charge restaurants booked, so we ate at the main dining area tonight – Tsar’s palace. It was very posh and had good food. The show for the night was a family comedy show, Hannah went to the kid’s area and the rest of us enjoyed the show. Here is the farewell to Cozumel, see you in November!

Towel mouse and elephant!

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