Mom’s in the hospital

She will be ok but my attention is not here at the moment.

So in the mean time I’ll post this seasonal video from a simpler less stressful time.

Enjoy.

She has a name!

Let us officially introduce …

Hazel

Hazel has been adjusting quite well. She had her first veterinary visit today and has a clean bill of health. She is a happy girl!

In Memory

In memory of our beloved boy Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019

Virgil on his 17th Birthday Celebration 2019

Our little old man has passed on. He has now joined his sister Mitzi in a spiritual realm.

Virgil joined us in October of 2002 as a first birthday present of sorts for his older half sister Mitzi. He was from a second litter her mother had from a different father 8 months after her birth. He was an awkward looking puppy that actually seemed as if he  might have a slight birth defect. Possibly from an unhealthy mother did who had her litters to close together. The owner of the mother had him left as no one would take him and was about to take him to the humane society. I gave the guy money to have the mother fixed and I brought Virgil home to foster until I could find him a home.

Needless to say he was a hit with Mitzi from moment one.

Virgil and Mitzi circa October 2002

Our Dalmatian, Mattie, was having issues with a rambunctious 5 month old playing with a wild one year old and got snappy with him. I had a favorite line from Greater Tuna that popped out of my mouth when scolding Mattie for scolding the puppies. I sternly warned her and said “Mattie! Quit it now! …. Mattie, I’m gonna knock you into next week!” That line was used by the character Vera Carp in the funeral home scene toward her son Virgil so the original line was “Virgil! quit it now! …”

I don’t know how to cut it out of here but if you just want to see that line, start at 26:00 and run through 28:10. (This is actually the HBO production of the entire play, if you have time it’s fantastic.)

At that moment not only did Virgil now have a name, but he also had a home. That scared little dog that I took from the back seat of the marina dockworker’s car to foster had a forever home where he continued to live a long, happy and very healthy life for the next 16 years and 11 months. His home was right here with us.

Over his years here our family has lost, and our family has grown.

From left to right in front the back are: Betty, Mitzi (deceased June 2019), Abner, Virgil, Phoebe, Patsy and then Gilda (way in the back).

Others that Virgil shared our home with that passed on before him were our beloved Liver spotted Dalmatian Mattie, our sweet Chocolate Lab Diva and the rescue of our senior Border Collie Nina that was featured here on Fearsome Beard in 2014. Right now instead of here in our bed, he is there with his familiar housemates and sister that he hasn’t been with in a while.

Virgil and Mitzi in their golden years.

Virgil was a happy and healthy boy until the very end. Yesterday he was out on our patio sunning with Betty. He was mobile and out their on his own accord. It wasn’t until last night just before bedtime that he showed signs something may be amiss. He lost his balance and couldn’t stand. He was just off balance, we’ve seen that in other older dogs before and seen it pass quickly so we did not worry. We carried him to bed and he actually had a good night. However this morning he worsened and his deterioration was fast and he did not suffer. He died very unexpectedly in my arms.

He had a great life here with us as we had with him.

Virgil after a grooming cuddling with his youngest housemates Betty & Phoebe

Virgil we will forever love you. We will forever be grateful that you were part of our lives. You will live on in us as we share the love you placed into our hearts with all the others we touch.

Virgil, this is not goodbye as we will see you on the other side. Until then continue to share your love with your canine family that has been awaiting your arrival. Your kisses enrich us. Your snuggles comfort us. Your love fills us.

Virgil, I love you, we all love you.

Until then, Godspeed.

Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019

Friends, Cities and Family

The last week of April the better half and I celebrated 29 years together by treating ourselves to a east coast trip to both New York and Philadelphia. The kind lady that the check in desk of New York’s Marriott Marquis Time Square surprised us with a room upgrade. We found ourselves blessed with an unbelievable 35th floor view of Time Square eye to eye with the famous clock.

Time Square View April 2019

New York was wonderful. We made it to the Guggenheim, the Frick, MOMA, the Vessel, Bergdorf’s, the Fashion Institute, Mood, a Metz game, Rockefeller Center, Macy’s and of corse Tiffany. We saw To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Cher Show and Dear Evan Hansen. A whirlwind it was, a good one in fact.

Fearsome met a rather inspiring politician at Penn station awaiting his train to Philly.

Elijah E. Cummings

In Philly we were greeted by three wonderful friends and bloggers. Bloggers known as Mistress Maddie,  Arteejee  and none other than the famous Anne Marie in Philly. We had a great dinner with the three of them. Fun conversation and lots of laughter. Blogging really does have its benefits. The bloggers I’ve met in person over the years have all become treasured friends. I’ll be back to see these three!

Todd, Fearsome, Maddie and Anne Marie

The next day was spent with family as a Fearsome’s niece lives just outside of Philadelphia . We attended a Phillies game with the whole crew.

The better half is obviously celebrating the day, Cinco De Mayo.  …back row… Fearsome, Mom, Sister in law, brother, nephew in law, …next row… The Better Half, niece in law, great niece, great niece, great nephew and niece all taking in a Phillies game on May 5, 2019.

The highlight of our trip? Well there were many and you know what? The whole trip was a highlight. I’m blessed with a husband I love, friends I love and family I love.

First year

Just over a year ago we fostered then adopted Phoebe.

Shortly after Phoebe joined our pack, Betty came home with us as a foster. As either you know or guessed she was also permanently adopted.

The Better Half, Phoebe, Betty and Fearsome

Both Betty & Phoebe were rescued by the San Diego Humane Society from a horrid hoarding situation. Today more than a year later they are happy healthy little girls.

Abner(looking away), Phoebe, Betty & Patsy

Originally 92 Yorkies were found confined in a dark filthy room within a home here in a San Diego Suburb. They became known as The 92 Yorkies. Several weeks later another 30 or so were discovered hidden in a back room of a restaurant that the residents of the house owned. Then again several weeks after that one of the guilty owners was arrested in a motor home in Nevada escaping with yet another 40 or so Yorkies.

Betty and Phoebe were in that last rescue out of that escaping motor home.

We take a moment to honor the San Diego Humane Society for their heroic efforts and to also congratulate Betty & Phoebe for their first anniversary as part of our loving pack.

When all was said and done and the pregnant females all gave birth the total of rescued Yorkies came close to 200. We are honored and blessed that two of those came to our home and my father in law adapted a third one named Apple.

Apple

Apple and Fearsome’s Dad-in-Law

Over commitment

I have stretched myself thin.

We moved my mother across country into our house with us three weeks ago. I then traveled to Florida to work on rental properties there. We moved my in-laws from Fresno into a condo we own just minutes from us yesterday. We just renovated that condo and also a town house we own for my Sister-in-law to move into. My work is very busy. We are submitting for permits to build onto our house. Mom has doctor appointments, the dogs have vet appointments, I have doctor appointments, I have a rash, both our godsons are graduating…

Are you getting the picture?

To top it all off I gave up what I I enjoy (blogging and reading blogs regularly) for a news obsession since the 2016 presidential election.

Me-thinks I need to pause, re-evaluate and reset my path for maximum enjoyment of the blessings that life has given me.

I will start by writing this post and by sharing this video by two of my favorite inspirational bearded kilt wearing coaches.

This Kilted Coaches Video reminds me to ask, act and focus toward things I wish to have and not toward those I do not.

I also wish to express my gratitude to you, my readers and fellow bloggers, for sticking with me even though I’ve drifted. I also want to thank you for helping shepard me back to blogging. Don’t hesitate to give me a nudge if I stray. 😉

Where have we been?

Absent.

Elsewhere.

Distracted.

Missing.

The time has come. Mom is ready to move out of my childhood home. She’s lived there since 1957 and raised 3 boys there. Dad passed more than 2 years ago. She finally retired in December. Her last dog passed at the new year. The house is too much work for a little 86 year old lady.

It’s her decision. She is ready. She has decided that she wants to live with us in San Diego rather than with my brother in our hometown. She hates winter and loves dogs.

I’ve spent the last two weeks back east helping her sort, clean, decide, pack, throw out and donate. Her ticket has been purchased. I fly back Mother’s day weekend. We spend the week finalizing. She flys back with me, first class, to her new home in San Diego on May 18, 2018. Her new home is the first floor bedroom of our house.

Fearsome has been a big part of it all. From getting stuck on packing tape to literally getting himself caught in the recycle bin when the lid fell shut. He’s there all the way.

So now you know. We’ve been beyond work distraction to major life changes. We need to reflect on this more. We will post more about aging, emotions, family, changes, life, blessings and gratitude.

Gratitude for the opportunity and ability to support the one who once supported me into her final phase.

I’ll call it what it is.

A blessing.

Blessings

The Christmas tree is down and already in the alley for pick up.

Our tree this morning

All the decorations are boxed and in the attic. Most everything is back in its place. It’s been a great holiday season. The 7 dogs are snuggled in their places on the couch and in dog beds.

Mitzi (our oldest at 16) and Gilda (13)

We just had a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner out at one of our favorite Italian spots in Hillcrest. Times Square plays on the tv as we enjoy the wonderful place we call home.

Blessed.

We have two wonderful god sons who have grown into young men.

Joshua (21), Fearsome, Markus (17) and The Better Half

We were there for each of their births and have been their god parents since each of those wonerdful days. Joshua is a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Markus is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program of San Diego High. Both speak three languages fluently. Their dad and The Better Half have been friends since high school, he and his wife are two of the best friends anyone could ever begin to wish for.

Blessed.

The two youngest dogs, our rescued Yorkies, have recovered extremely well from their double knee surgeries and are no longer confined to a nursery area but are living out with us and the rest of the pack.

Phoebe and Betty napping together in my lap, both are just 3 pounds each full grown.

Our home is full of love. We enjoy our community. Our careers are both fulfilling and lucrative.

Blessed.

With overwhelming gratitude, Fearsome and I wish each and every one of of you a very Happy New Year!

🎉🎈🍾🎊🎩

Christmas Eve baking beard

Tomorrow we host our chosen family Christmas here at our home. It’s a 25 year tradition. Twenty two of our closest friends who we call The Family will be here at our home. It’s a pot luck dinner. It’s always delicious.

My contribution this year? Fresh roasted turkey breast and two cakes. I baked the cakes today.

Kentucky Butter Cake & Coconut Cake

I’ve posted both of these recipes previously. Both are scrumptious.

You can find the Kentucky Butter Cake recipe at this LINK, it’s the best freakin’ pound cake that will ever cross your lips. Fearsome’s soon to be famous Coconut Cake recipe is HERE.

Feel free to steal, use, bake and enjoy our recipes.

Merry Christmas Eve y’all!

Family

We are blessed. We have two families. The one we were born into and the one we choose.

Our natal families folded into one larger family after we settled into our life together. I into The Better Half’s, he into mine and ours into each other. This made for one big family that blessed us even more.

Living away from our family for many years allowed us to choose a chosen family of good friends who care and love each other as if we had always been and will continue to be. This family is large and blesses our home with more than 30 holiday celebrants each and every Christmas Day. Our blessing overflows.

Our friends extend beyond or natal family and our chosen family into our work, interests, neighbors, bloggers, vacation acquaintances and just plain old good friends who live both near and far. Our bounty of blessings humble us.

Love, respect and sincerity are the basis of this blessing we call family.

This most recent trip filled our cup. I met with two blog buddies for a wonderful dinner. Unfortunately the third wasn’t able to join due to an illness but we sent our love to him in hopes that better days lie ahead. We, the better half & I, then set off via Amtrack to New York with part of my natal family for one of those experiences that money could never buy (but definitely helps with😉).

You see after the loss of my father I asked my mother, who had been caring for him, where had she always wanted to go. She said New York to see The Rockettes. That was her dream. Not Paris, not London, not even Hawaii. I promised her then that we would take her to New York. It took two years and she lost her oldest son before it happened, but it happened. We made a family trip out of it with Mom, me, The Better Half, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, her husband, two great grandchildren and a nephew.

Family

Nothing, no nothing will ever mean as much to me as my mother grabbing my hand after the curtain fell at the end of The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular as tears streamed down her face as she said “I have never seen anything so beautiful!” They exceeded her expectations and believe me she had high expectations.

For her to have her family with her on a trip she had only dreamed of all of her life, a dream she probably thought would never come to be, was truly a dream come true. I cannot express my gratitude for the blessing that that moment, my family and life truly is.

The moral of this post, at least for me, is that this is our one life, so live it, love it, share it, and give it. Give it to your natal family, or your chosen family, or both. Give it to someone you meet, you work with, you run into or even to someone you don’t know at all. Give a smile, share a laugh, respect, understand, forgive, serve and most of all love. Just love.

Entering Macy’s Herald Square entrance during the debut moment of holiday decorations.

The employees lined the side of the aisle and cheered us as we entered the store, Stunning

Lady Liberty

911 Memorial, -emotional-

Fearsome Photobombing in Time Square

Sightseeing under Lady Liberty

3rd row Center Stage at Radio City

Santa

The Rockettes

Up front and close enough to see their smiles!

From 5 to 85, New York is fabulous, family makes it even better!

Live from New York

Fearsome and his family take on The Big Apple!

Fearsome and the Family

Wind blown with Mom on Top of The Rock

At St. Patrick’s

In Time Square with The Better Half

Enjoying Renoir

Eating real Chinese (except with a fork)

Experiencing Egyptian ruins

Another one???

Our Foster Dog Paula

Paula, name given by San Diego Humane Society employees, is a 3.5 pound 1.5 year old Yorkie. Paula was part of a San Diego Humane Society rescue from a hoarding situation where 123 Yorkshire Terriers were rescued from filthy unsanitary cramped conditions.  Ninety two were adopted out the rest were kept as they were either pregnant or had health issues that still needed to be resolved. After all pregnancies came to term, the total was over 160 yorkies.

Paula, who’s name will be changed, was one that had a hernia and otitis media (bad ear infection) both of which requiring surgery. She has been in the shelter the entire time. We are her new foster parents. She came home with us to meet our crew of six this afternoon. She’ll stay here as a foster for two weeks at which time she will go back for one final ear procedure. After her final ear treatment she will hopefully get cleared for adoption.

Yes we are thinking of adopting her. Thinking? Who am I fooling. She will 99.9% most likely be returning here to her new home. We are thinking of naming this tiny tiny girl Phoebe but are totally open to your suggestions. Naming our dogs is usually a 2-3 day ordeal.

What would you name this 3.5 pound 1.5 year cutie?

She seems to fit right in!

An opening day win and one amazing remake

Wow! What a game. Back and forth scores, multiple home runs and even an opposing team (SF Giants) grand slam and our Beloved Padres eeked out a 7-6 win over San Fransisco’s Giants. It was a down to the wire fun to watch nail biter! In other words a well matched good game. Baseball, at its best!

Opening day National Anthem

Fearsome and his opening day posse at Petco Park

After our return home we settle into bed to find out that Pentanonix just posted one fucking incredible remake of one of Rock Music’s best classics.

Wow, just wow! …oh yeah if you even slightly enjoyed Queen, this will be so worth your time.

Abner turns 7

Abner

Abner came to live with us 5 years ago today. Since he was dropped at an emergency vet with multiple injuries and no information we do not know his actual birthday nor age. He was estimated to be about 2 years old at the time. We adopted him from the pound where he had received veterinary care for his eviserated eye, multiple lacerations and broken foot.

We decided that his adoption day would be his birthday and since he started his life with us at about 2 he would be 7 years old today.

Abner is a happy boy. Abner is an inspiration. Abner is pure joy. Abner is a blessing.

Happy Birthday Abner!

Mrs. Evans

A couple days ago I started organizing my paperwork for my tax accountant. I’m one of those who has a big file drawer who throws the entire year into it unorganized but in the drawer. Each February I empty the drawer in order to separate all receipts, bills, documents and the like into a proper order for accumulating the data necessary to file taxes for a self employed person. It’s quite the monumentous task.

I have rituals to make it a tolerable task.

First I go in knowing have planted some cards or notes that I have received in the past in that drawer the year before to stumble upon to break up the monotony. I started this years ago. I move the cards back into the drawer each year from the year before so I can find them Year after year as hidden treasures. Each year a new card or note makes its way into this collection, something that is special and evokes personal emotion. The cards get mixed up in there so I never know when I will happen upon one.

Then upon emptying the drawer I find the place on the internet where the Maya Angelou Master Class, which I posted a couple days back, is now located. It’s always bootleggely posted somewhere until the powers that own it find it and then it will show up in some other obscure place. I then proceed to play this 42 minute Master Class on a continueous loop as background listening. It motivates me while it reinforces my personal values as well as those I strive to obtain.

Once my drawer is dumped out on the sorting table (a desk in the guest room) and Maya is playing in the background, I commence opening each crumpled receipt, paper and card. I read each one and start making piles on the guest room bed. Piles of organization for filing, tabulating and organizing.

This year I was stopped in my tracks by this:

Halloween card from Betty L. Drummond ...AKA Mrs. Evans

Halloween card from Betty L. Drummond …AKA Mrs. Evans

The last card I ever received from her.

The last card I ever received from her.

Betty Evans was the lady across the street when I was growing up. My mother worked for the parks and recreation department of our city, Betty was a stay at home mom who’s kids were a little older. Mrs. Evans was my baby sitter and second mom. She wasn’t the most refined of ladies. She was not blessed with money or an easy life. She was just a woman full of love and a woman who loved life. She loved me as if I was one of hers and I loved her as if she were my mom.

Mrs. Evans became quite ill later in her life and this card from 1998 was the last one I ever received from her. By the time she wrote this card she had sold her home across the street from my parents and moved in with her son. I had apparently tucked the card away in the back of our antique china cabinet. Last January we sold that Art Deco dining room set and I had found the card cleaning it out. In my receipt drawer it went.

Finding that card brought back a rush of childhood into the mundane yearly task of receipt sorting. It helped to bring me to a place of gratitude for the life I have been blessed with so far, the life I’m gifted with at this very moment and the bright future that lies ahead.

Betty (Evans) Drummond taught me that no matter what happens, no matter when life deals you a bad card, to always get up with a smile on your face and share love with those around you. She taught me that love always makes everything better.

May Mrs. Evans beautiful smile full of love touch your heart today.

Mom updates

Mom is doing much better. Big relief. Physical therapy has worked well for her. She is much more herself.

Her birthday party was a success and she absolutely loves her new Apple Watch. She is calling everyone from her wrist. Seriously!

Fearsome Mom

Fearsome Mom

Yes, I made the cake. Kentucky Butter Cake! (You can find the recipe HERE)

After a wonderful time with mom, Fearsome and I boarded our flight to start our journey home. Due to the tumultuous weekend of policy changes by decree we figured we may see a bit of discourse along the way. San Diego International did not disappoint.

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Outside baggage claim thousands of peaceful protestors as far as the eye could see, even on the upper level drop off area. We added our cheers of support as we made our way through the crowd having to walk to the smaller domestic flight only terminal for pick up. It was an uplifting walk after a weekend of disconcerting news.

Yesterday we took another step in our support of compassionate human values. If you are so inclined you can add your support as well simply by clicking HERE.

We are glad to be home safely with our family. We pray for everyone that are separated from families/loved ones and for all those that are displaced from their home/homelands that are simply seeking safe refuge in order to live.

 

Mom

Mom turns 85 this week. Mom is recovering well from the mild stroke she had back in early December. I’m flying out Tuesday to visit mom to celebrate her birthday this week. I got her a gift from my local Apple Store.

Apple Watch Sport and a Milanese loop magnetic band.

Apple Watch Sport and a Milanese loop magnetic band.

Mom lives alone. Mom occasionally falls. Mom wants to remain in the house she and dad purchased in 1957. Mom cherishes her independence. Mom needs some type of device to call for help just in case.

I’ve researched the Life Alert buttons, the call center monitors and the like. All of them scream you are old and you have to now wear this horrible looking button around your neck. Plus you must now have an ugly two way monitoring station connected to some call center in your home with a monthly fee. And, oh by the way, don’t venture out of range of this station unless someone is with you. Stay Put! Wear This House Arrest Button …FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY DAMMIT!

Enter Apple products. Mom already has an iPhone, an iPad and has WiFi in her house. If her phone is with her she is covered …such as when she leaves the house. However she doesn’t carry the iPhone with her in the house. Last summer Apple added an SOS feature to the Apple Watch OS. By giving her this new watch I will put a life alert system right on her wrist. One that she can even wear in the shower.

The Apple Watch features a new SOS alert that you can activate from the screen that will call 911 first and then start calling the contacts you have in your iPhone’s emergency contact list automatically. What if she falls and can’t activate the screen you ask? Apple’s SIRI has that covered as well. The Apple Watch responds to the “Hey Siri” command and will call 911, my brother, myself or whoever she chooses simply with her verbal command right from her wrist. Her phone doesn’t have to be with her as it will use the WiFi in her house. If she is out her phone is in her purse and she can still use the  Apple Watch as it will then call through the phone.

Was it inexpensive? No.

Was it reasonable for what it will do? Hell yes.

Was it a bargain in order to have mom wearing a stylish hip happening piece of technology on her wrist that doesn’t scream “I am old and my son makes me wear this help I’ve fallen and can’t get up button”? Big hell fucking yes!

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Knowing this information, what do I want for Christmas next year? An Apple Watch. You don’t have to be 85 to fall and not be able to get up.

Talent

The youngest of Fearsome’s two godsons just posted this video to YouTube. He choreographed it and he is the he of the five performing.

Talented he is.

Markus Hallmark

Look for more from this talented young man. A lot more of him you will see.

Reflections

Yesterday I had a meltdown.

Emotions got the best of me. My assistant at my office who is a company employee was let go this week. I freaked out going into the holiday weekend. I’ve got lots of business Monday and will be trying to get out of town. Fear hit.

Was this meltdown really due to her termination? I mean I had just sat down and made plans with her about how we would handle the workload with my upcoming absence.

No the meltdown wasn’t about her. My company would never leave me out on a limb without back up. My boss was most understanding and helped me to see that I am human. I had a world of weight on my shoulders and I wasn’t seeing it. My boss is a ray of light. I am blessed to have her.

This post isn’t dwell on the negatives of the year. I write this to acknowledge the stressors that I might see the hidden success, strength and blessings within those clouds that facilitated the meltdown.

-2016 was the year I was to have the largest real estate deal thus far in my career. For reasons beyond my control the deal was lost to a competitor. I thought all the energy and effort I had put into securing it for a couple years prior was lost. In hindsight I learned. I learned I am capable of presenting a complete marketing package to a corporation and that I actually am capable of marketing a new development for an investment group.

-2016 was the year my shoulder pain would be cured as I was to have surgery for its repair. Well I’m still in pain and my range of motion is very limited. I can’t even pick up more than 5 pounds with my left arm and the surgery was 7 months ago. In hindsight the worst is behind me. It wasn’t one but three different surgeries performed that day. My body is re-cooperating at its own pace. I gain more range of motion weekly and I am down to just two Motrin a day, which is the least amount of anti-inflammatory medication I’ve taken daily in three years. I will regain range strength and fully recover in time.

-2016 marks the year of my brother’s death. He died one year and 1 week after my father died. Our immediate family went from all five of us down to just 3 at the anniversary of my father’s passing. Watching my mother loose her oldest son was heartbreaking. In hindsight my brother was ill for many years. His struggle with alcoholism, pancreatic disease, liver failure and diabetes had left his 62 year old body destroyed and mangled. He was suffering as were his loved ones caring for him. His demise was early yet it was his time. He touched our lives as we touched his. He lives on through us. His soul is at peace and his body no longer suffers.

-2016 marks my mother’s stroke. She is 84 and still works. My mother is young at heart, full of love and hope. She gives freely and loves unconditionally. Suddenly she can’t work, she’s stuck at home, she is weak and unsteady on her feet. She can hardly use her right hand. In hindsight it was mild. It was a warning that her blood pressure needed to be monitored daily. She was having spikes in her blood pressure and had thrown a few clots leading to several small strokes that will only temporarily limit her. She is in physical therapy. She should fully recover in time and be able to drive again and possibly work again which is her goal.

-2016 marks the worst year of my business and income since about the year 2000. My business faltered even though the real estate market is booming around me. Where- o -where had I gone wrong? Where were my referrals and clients? In hindsight I look at what I wrote above. My energies had other priorities to be directed toward. Life freakin’ happens and I met the terms life gave me. I lived. I grew. I laughed, cried, loved, traveled, gave, comforted, recovered, shared, healed. I stressed. I accomplished. I slept. I did all of it sober. I freakin’ stayed sober.

Life, it has struggles. Life, it has blessings. Life, it is a miracle. Life, it is meant to live.

Happy New Year, may the next year bring all of us challenges, growth, love, and life…yes lots of life!