Monday, January 15, 2018

January Musings

Pixlr (11)And another Monday upon us. Ugh. The weekends always fly by way too fast. And it's cold again. Brrrr. Ugh. Last week felt like a long week at work. I guess it was the first full 5 day week after all the holiday days off plus I was covering someone for a few days so it just felt like a long week. I was very excited when Friday rolled around but somehow the weekend flew by super fast. We didn't even really do anything much. Saturday we went to the movies and finally saw "Star Wars". We are not big fans of seeing these types of movies in a super crowded movie theater so we always wait a few weeks. Even then, on a Saturday at a 11am showing there were still a decent amount of people in the theater. I guess it's the type of movie that people go and see multiple times, which is why it plays for so long. Anyway, I enjoyed it. I am not a crazy Star Wars person but I did enjoy the movie. Afterwards we went for lunch and in the evening I just hung out at home. 

My Saturday evening was super lazy really. I re-watched the "Print Shop" episode of Outlander while drinking tea. My niece went to a Latin American deli/restaurant and picked up some food because her and her boyfriend were staying over so I had some food. Trying to be better with my eating in the new year because I do want to lose some weight but it's just hard. Ugh. lol. Anyway after I was done with my Outlander episode I just vegged out on the couch curled up under my blanket, surfing the web. 

Sunday we slept in and I also managed to de-clutter a little bit. Brought some of the seasonal stuff up into the attic. The tree is still up. I know it needs to be taken down, just haven't had the energy. My ankle is still bothering me at times, especially when I walk up and down stairs so trekking up into the attic especially when it's this cold out is not that fun. Although I am happy to report when I brought up some of the other seasonal stuff on Sunday my ankle was bothering me far less on the stairs than it had some weeks ago so I suppose that's good news. Also vacuumed the bedroom (it really needed it) and felt semi productive after all that. 

Later on we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and then later caught up on our recorded shows. We are actually caught up on them which is pretty good. Well we still haven't watched 'Stranger Things" (season 2 I mean) but we are caught up on all the other normal network stuff. So hey, that's something. Anyway now it's Monday. I have a dentist appointment at 4pm today. (originally it was scheduled for a week and a half ago when we had the snow storm but I re-scheduled) It's just a cleaning but it will be my first cleaning with the braces on. Well I guess we will see how it goes. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Kimber/Canada and Tiffany/OK. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 08, 2018

Happy 2018

Pixlr (10)Happy 2018. And we are already 8 days into the new year. Time seems to continue to fly. Last week at work was somewhat a mixed bag. There were some days that were relatively calm and some that were absolutely nuts. We will see what this week brings. I have been glancing at my email and have seen a few things blow up, a few things I mended to at least keep until today and a few that need asap attention when I get into the office. Well, I guess I won't be bored today. 

The weather has been absolutely super cold this past week. Brrrr. We have had no highs above freezing and with the windchill the temps were just crazy low. I think we are finally in an up swing again. We also had snow last week on Thursday which wasn't fun. Got maybe 10 inches or snow, maybe a bit more. But because of the winds it was just blowing everywhere and we had super high snow drifts in some areas. I was able to work from home at least on Thursday so that was good. Just over the cold, the snow and winter in general. But it's only January 8th so we still have some ways to go before spring. Ugh. I am over it. 

Let's see what else. Our North Fork weekend was really nice over New Year's. On the 1st we slept in, had breakfast at a diner and then headed back to CT where we had dinner at a Mexican place. Nice, relaxed New Year's Day. 

No vacations, trips or days off on the horizon. Trying to see if we can figure out a long weekend for February maybe. Well, we will see. All depends on what both Mike and I can do with vacation days etc. We will see. It's something to potentially hold on to and look forward to at least I guess. Really dreary outside this morning and I would really prefer to just crawl back into bed and curl up under the covers. I guess that's not an option so I'll try and muster up some energy to face the Monday ahead. Full steam ahead. :) 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Kimber/Canada and Tiffany/OK. A letter is going out to Nina/WA today. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year's

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Happy New Year's everyone. :) We are on the North Fork of Long Island enjoying ourselves. We have been out here quite a few times but never quite this late in the season so it's a bit different of an experience.

Yesterday it snowed when we drove out here on the 30th and that was quite annoying. The weather forecast was all over the place and it really wasn't supposed to snow,  at least not in the morning.  Well sure enough things turned out differently so we had to drive out to Long Island in the snow.  And then also make our way to lunch at Greenport Brewery in the snow.  Managed to stop at two wineries (Pinard & Lenz) on the way back and then had dinner at the bistro at the Indigo Hotel before turning in for the night.  

Today we had breakfast at the Airbnb. They gave us honey and fig jelly from their honey bees and fig trees.  And bagels.  Yum. After breakfast we made our way back East for more wine tasting. We stopped at a couple vineyards and then we had lunch at Sparkling Pointe. What a neat place.  They only have sparkling wine but they also had a lot of neat food options. So we had camembert, cheddar, caviar and hot soppressata. Very delicious.  

Stopped at a few more vineyards on the way back and hung out for a while before heading back to the AirBNB. Stopped there for a second before heading back out to dinner at Pure North Fork Craft Kitchen. Apparently this place is at a golf course but it has good reviews and seems pretty neat. Food was yummy too. 

When we are done here we will head back to the Airbnb and catch some of the Times Square coverage on TV. I am not sure if I will actually make it to midnight. But we shall see. :) Anyway Happy New Years everyone!!!

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Nina/WA and Tiffany/OK. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Post

Pixlr (9)Merry Christmas everyone. :) Well I hope everyone had a nice holiday. I know in Europe today is also a holiday which I always found kind of nice, recuperating from all the holiday stuff, getting an extra day to just sleep and veg out. Oh well. It's back to work for me today but I am definitely dragging. Hopefully I'll perk up a little once I get there. A lot of people are off this week so the office should be quiet in some ways but also quite hectic in others as people are covering for the people who are off. Well, we shall see what happens. Either way it was nice to have my four day weekend even though it went by too quick. 

Friday I was home since Mike still had to work. I took care of some more wrapping and last minute prep, put on the winter bedset, wrote a letter, mostly a relaxing day. Then Saturday we slept in and went to the movies to see "Pitch Perfect 3". Good ending and nicely wrapped up storyline and everything actually came together pretty well. I wasn't too sure from the trailers but was happily surprised. Had lunch after the movies and in the evening I just vegged out on the couch with a big mug of tea and watched a Christmas movie (well not technically a Christmas movie but a movie themed around Christmas - "The Family Stone")

Sunday, Christmas Eve, we slept in and went to the movies again (pretty much the theme for the holiday weekend for us) Saw "The Shape of Water" and that was really amazing. Weirdly beautiful and just a neat, unique movie. Hung out at Rizzuto's for a bit before heading home and having food at home. Had some veggies & dip, shrimp cocktail, cheese & crackers. And caught up on some recorded shows. 

And yesterday, Christmas Day, was sort of a repeat of all that. In the morning we opened our gifts with Mike's sister, niece and nephew. We didn't go crazy with the gifts this year but everything I got was very nice and we had a nice relaxing morning. Then headed to the movies again, this time to see "Downsizing". It was a bit slow but definitely unique and different. Afterwards we stopped at Bambu before heading home and having more of our food at home. Some more recorded shows (we are actually pretty caught up now - the only thing we still haven't gotten to is "Stranger Things") before eventually heading to bed. 

And now here we are Tuesday morning and back to work. Oh, it also snowed unexpectedly Christmas Eve into Christmas Day so we woke up to a snowy Christmas morning. I am really not big into the snow as it causes way too many headaches and I am also paranoid/terrified of our driveway when there is snow and ice but I do have to say that it looked pretty at least for a little bit. It's going to be bitter cold for the next few days, definitely not looking forward to that. I am already looking forward to spring. :)  

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Nina/WA and Tiffany/OK. Letters have gone out or are going out today to: Celia/MA and Lotte/Denmark. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Almost Christmas

IMG_20171215_162111_257How is it already December 20th? Christmas is 5 days away, Christmas Eve 4 days. The holidays truly snuck up on me this year. I think everything threw me a bit off balance with going away for a full week over Thanksgiving. Then as soon as we got back things started getting wonky with Bailey so I wasn't doing much holiday prep. And well now it's a few days away. Crazy. 

Well I am slowly getting there. We do have a decorated tree, cookies were baked, I even received a traditional Vienna Sacher Torte delivered straight from Vienna. Thanks Mom & Dad. It is the traditional Sacher Torte (a chocolate cake layered with apricot jam) from Hotel Sacher in Vienna. And to add to the bounty of sweets it looks like I am also getting an Imperial Torte delivered today. It's a competing delicious cake from the Hotel Imperial in Vienna. The company I used to work for in Vienna used to ship those all around the world and my old manager from there still sends me cake every so often. Can't argue with that. :) Well the diet in January is definitely going to be necessary but for now let's enjoy all the delicious sweets. 

Last week on Friday I had the day off to get my braces. All in all it wasn't such a bad appointment but it is definitely getting some used to having the braces on. And right now I only have the top half done too. Going to get the bottom half eventually. Well oh well. I guess it is what it is. Just need to get used to it and the 2 years will go by somehow. 

Work's been surprisingly busy. Not crazy busy but also not dead slow. I guess because people still want to get things done before the holidays. Not sure what next week will bring as a lot of people are off and out of the office. But hopefully it will also be a quieter. We are closed on Friday this week (22nd) as Christmas Eve is falling on a Sunday. Also closed Monday (25th) Christmas Day. Then open Tues, Wed and Thur and half a day on Friday (29th). We normally close for 1/2 a day on New Year's Eve but since that also falls on a Sunday we get 1/2 the day on the 29th. 

Mike and I also eventually decided that we are going away over New Year's. We are not going as far as Nantucket but we booked an AirBnB on the North Fork of Long Island. Always a neat area, wine tasting, farm shops etc. It will be a quieter period out there with plenty of places closed for the winter season but I think the ones that are open will see a decent business over New Year's weekend. Either way we'll have fun and enjoy a quiet weekend away. 

No real plans for Christmas. We'll open our gifts with Mike's sister, niece and nephew (I am still not done shopping --- yikes) and probably go to the movies a couple of times. Guess we have a few days to figure it all out. We will probably want to have some food at home on the 25th too so we probably should stop at a store to get some veggies & dip, some shrimp cocktail maybe. Cheese, crackers. Well that's my plan for right now anyway. We'll see how it goes. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Celia/MA, Lotte/Denmark and Nina/WA. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's the season ...

IMG_20171210_183321_586We have a tree, up and decorated. Cookies have been baked. So it looks like we're starting to be in decent shape for Christmas. :) I still very IMG_20171209_203802_201disorganized and behind this season. I am normally very ahead of the game and organized but with everything this year it just hasn't quite worked out that way. Most of the US cards and packages were mailed yesterday. The international stuff went out a little while ago. I still have some gifts to buy and actually haven't bought anything for anyone local just yet. I guess I figured I can leave that to last. No idea what I am going to get Mike. We sort of already decided that we won't do a big gift exchange this year. I think neither of us is really into it that much this year. I know Mike already got me something small though so I will be on the lookout for something small for him at least as well.

Not sure what we are going to be doing for Christmas and New Year's yet. Christmas we don't usually do all that much anyway. Usually we just do a gift exchange Christmas morning. Mike, me, Mike's sister, niece and nephew (whoever is around) But if we are not doing a lot of gifts this year that may be a very quick affair. I dunno. We will see I guess. Other than that we may just go to the movies a few times because there are a lot of movies out and coming out that we want to see. Either way I will have a 4 day weekend for Christmas (Friday 22nd through Monday 25th) so that will be nice regardless.

New Year's I am really not sure about. Originally we had talked about going away, doing a weekend on Nantucket. But then the whole thing with Bailey came about these past few weeks and we had put the idea on hold. Just to see how things would develop. And then we decided not to go because she was needing medicine on a daily basis and that is not something that I want to delegate to somebody who is watching our cats, doesn't seem right. But well, then things took another turn and now she's not with us at all anymore. So I am really not sure. I don't know if we still want to go away now or if we are staying put. I guess it's not something that needs to be decided right this minute. Nantucket won't book out for New Year's. Not a super sought after destination this time of the year. I had only thought of it because we went to Martha's Vineyard in October the week after my birthday. We really enjoyed it so we thought we could do Nantucket for New Year's. Quiet island winter time that time of the year there but would still be fun. We'll see.

This past weekend on Saturday I put the tree up so that's done. Mike's sister helped me with it. Didn't go crazy with other deco but at least the tree is up. And on Sunday I went over to my friend Jana's apartment and we baked Christmas cookies. One of her other friends came as well and we had fun baking, decorating and chatting. Jana really is the best because she prepped all the dough the day before so we were able to get going right away. Made a bunch of cookies so some of them will definitely be given away as gifts. Just need to get some cookie tins of gift boxes first. Well, one step at a time. 

Ok, better be getting ready for work. We will see what the rest of this week brings. On Friday I have the day off for my braces appointment. Not super looking forward to it but at least I will have the day off so that's something I suppose.  Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Celia/MA and Nina/WA. .

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Celia/MA and Nina/WA. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 08, 2017

Rollercoaster Ride of Life - Bailey & more

IMG_20171206_204341_783Ok I am behind, so very behind. It's been a rollercoaster ride of life for the past few weeks it feels like and I am trying to catch up but just not quite getting there. Sorry if this post is going to jumbled and maybe not all that coherent. Well let's back up for a bit. The last post I made was just a day or two before we were leaving the Azores I believe. And that was the week of Thanksgiving, just a couple days after Thanksgiving, at the end of November. 

The rest of our Azores trip went well. Managed to have fun even with my ankle issue. Was able to get to the airport, on the plane and home from Boston without too much of an issue. At home I had an ankle brace (I am sort of an expert on ankle injuries .. being clumsy and all) and I put that on. It still hurts but it is getting better. Injuries like that just take time. My foot and ankle is bruised all around so I imagine I potentially partially tore something somewhere. But things are healing up and feeling better. Just takes time to get back to completely normal, that's all. 

So yeah, that was the ankle stuff. Kind of annoying but not the end of the world either. But soon after we got home Bailey started to get worse. It was a slow-ish decline at first but she started coughing again. We had gone to the vet about 2 weeks prior and they had given her some shots and those seemed to work as her cough went away. And she was acting fine otherwise. She was fine the whole time we were gone and even when we got back. But soon after her cough started up again. And then she started being picky with her eating and started to be a bit more lethargic than usual. I say it was a slow progress but really within a week things took quite the turn. So slow is actually probably not the correct word at all. It just all kind of snuck up on us. We had a follow up appointment scheduled for last Saturday so we took her to the vet and they gave her another steroid shot. When we had last taken her they weren't sure if the cough was maybe just caused by asthma or an infection or if her cancer was coming back and spreading. Well her symptoms unfortunately matched up with the cancer diagnosis but we thought we could buy ourselves some more time by giving her another steroid shot. We also got an appetite stimulant and some hemp oil (medical marijuana for cats) for her. We were hopeful that with all those things we could buy ourselves a bit more time. Made another follow-up appointment for 2 weeks time and were on our way.

Well when we got home from the vet Saturday she actually seemed a bit perked up. She ate two bowls of food, used her litter box and seemed a bit more cheerful. But then by Sunday she was back to being lethargic and not eating all that much. I stayed with her most of the weekend and worked from home on Monday as well. Monday she was still the same, mostly lethargic and not moving much. She didn't seem in pain and did respond whenever we would pet her so we thought well maybe she's dehydrated so I called the vet and they told me to come in first thing Tuesday morning to get her some fluids. So we did that and they pretty much told me that if she didn't respond to this we really shouldn't drag this out much past Thursday or Friday. Her breathing was also getting a bit more labored at that point so they told me to keep an eye on that. 

Well that was Tuesday morning, by Tuesday afternoon her breathing was getting more wonky. She started wheezing for short periods at a time, then it would ebb out again and she would sleep for a bit and then start up again. So at that point we made the decision not to prolong this and I made an appointment to bring her back on Wednesday morning. Well by about 8.30pm Tuesday night her breathing was getting worse and worse and we were really worried that she would go into some sort of shock in the middle of the night so I called the emergency vet in one of the next towns over and we ended up bringing her there. Got there about 9pm. They were really nice and well end of the story is that they wrapped her in a towel, put her in my arms and that's where she died.

It was definitely one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Making that kind of decision. I was there with our cat Oliver when we had to put him to sleep but with him it truly had been a slow decline. He had kidney disease for years and was on meds and eventually developed arthritis and was getting skinnier and skinnier and having more and more problems. But he was old and when the time finally came, it wasn't easy at all but in some ways it was a relief as well. But with Bailey, I am just in such a shock. Two weeks ago all was pretty much fine and here I am, no more Bailey. We of course do have our other two cats, Mindy and Sadie, but Bailey wormed herself into our hearts for this past year, she just left a huge gaping hole.

We adopted her from a shelter a little over a year ago. She was around 5 yrs old and pretty much right after we got her we took her to our vet and they discovered a mammary tumor. They removed it along with bladder stones. She was on a special food diet after that and the prognosis was 6 months to 5 years for her cancer. The hope was that it wouldn't come back but they did tell us that it was a very aggressive cancer. But for a year she was pretty much fine. She was a sweet and happy and funny cat. So full of spirit and for such a small cat she had the personality of a cat five times her size. I will truly miss her for a long time.

Having said all that I am behind on all my Christmas stuff. Cards have slowly been written and some gifts bought but I don't have decorations or a tree up and I am really just not sure if I am feeling it this year. Ugh. Well that's all. Bye for now. 

Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter/owe a reply to: Celia/MA and Nina/WA. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:33 AM in Cats | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

More scenery, ankle/phone issues and almost time go home

23735218_935434416605675_6143994083212787712_nHello again. Can't believe it's already time to fly back home tomorrow. Where has this week gone? Time really does fly by.  IMG_20170914_181225_444

So let's see, what has happened since my last post? Thanksgiving Day we headed back into Ponta Delgada to check out the old fort which now houses a military museum. Wandered around there for a while. The weather was a bit iffy but not too terrible. When we were done there we headed to the seaside town of Caloura for lunch. Someone had recommended a restaurant there and we were very happy with our lunch spot right by the sea. Had a delicious seafood lunch overlooking the waves. At one point a thunderstorm rolled through so we had to move back under the awning but it was just a good excuse to stay a little longer, have a cappuccino, dessert and some more wine. When we were done we checked out the next town over Villa Franco do Campo before heading back to the hotel. Definitely a great Thanksgiving Day, albeit non-traditional. :)

Yesterday, Friday, we headed to Lagoa do Fogo which is another scenic lake, high up in the mountains. Which meant another windy mountain road but the views were worth it. Despite some clouds we were relatively lucky with the weather and were able to snap some good pictures. Afterwards we drove to the tea plantation/factory Gorreana. Was neat to see the planted tea and also how it is processed. You also get to taste the tea and of course there was a neat little gift shop as well. Lots of cute cats hanging around the parking lot so all in all a great spot. 

After that we headed to Ribeira Grande, another city right on the ocean. Found another great restaurant with ocean views and great food. Had a great lunch and afterwards decided to check out the old town section a bit to get some pictures. That's where things went a bit sideways as my clumsiness set in and I slipped/missed a step and smashed myself and my phone into the cobblestoned sidewalk/street. My phone is pretty smashed up. So far it's still working but no telling if it will last. And my ankle is pretty banged up but I am hopeful that it's just a sprain and nothing worse. I made sure to put ice on it and keep it elevated. 

Today we took it easy due to my ankle but still managed to have a nice lunch. Mike dropped me off in front of the restaurant so that worked out ok. And the hotel gave us a recommendation for dinner for a nice restaurant with a parking lot. Originally we had talked about going to a tapas bar but that was in the old town in Ponta Delgada and involved quite a bit more walking. Trying to take it easy with the walking as I will need to of course walk tomorrow at the airport etc. 

Well oh well. I guess I am used to it, having been a clumsy person pretty much all my life. Could have been worse and at least it happened toward the tail end of our trip and not right at the start. 

Letter/Mail Update: All caught up with my mail at the moment. 

Posted by Hanna at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from the Azores

IMG_20171120_203948_765Hello from the Azores. :) Been meaning to write a quick post since we got here and now it's IMG_20171121_221856_664 already Wednesday evening. How did we get here? :) 

Well anyway, we left Boston Sunday night and got here early Monday morning. Our flight landed at 6am. We ended up having to wait till about 7.45 to pick up our rental car so we grabbed a tea/coffee. The ride to the hotel from the airport was relatively short (approx. 15 min) As it was raining and dark and we got lucky and got a room when we got to the hotel we decided to take a nap. We got up again a bit after 11am and by that time the weather had cleared up a bit which was nice. Headed into Porta Delgada and explored the city a bit. Walked around and ended up having lunch. Then walked around some more before heading back to the hotel. It started pouring again just as we left the parking garage so all in all we lucked out with the weather. 

Yesterday was a nice day weather-wise and we made the most of it. We headed to Sete Cidades, one of the main attractions. Super pretty and stunning views. Lots of windy, slightly scary mountain roads but the views were great. Checked out various view points around the area to get different views of the lakes. After that we headed to Ponta da Ferraria where they have hot springs right next to the ocean. Pretty neat. And then went to Mosteiros to have lunch. Found a yummy restaurant where I decided to be brave and tried octopus in a red wine sauce. It looked like I was eating an alien but was pretty tasty. 

Today the weather was supposed to be pretty decent in the morning so we headed to the east side of the island all the way to the end to Nordeste. Pretty views of the coast, a neat lighthouse, cute town, beautiful gardens and some super cute stray cats. Just as we were done there the weather started to deteriorate and it began pouring. Made our way over to Furnas where we had lunch at Tony's. The area is known for the hot springs so it was pretty neat to walk around and see all the boiling water/springs and sulphur smell. The weather was still misty after lunch so we decided to skip the overlook of the lakes/springs/town and headed back. Using the time to update my blog and will write my cards. 

Looks like weather is clearing up some now with some sun peeking out but not sure what it will bring for tomorrow. We will decide what to do tomorrow later I suppose. Weird to think it's Thanksgiving tomorrow. They are doing a Thanksgiving dinner here at the hotel although honestly it's not even that traditional. Don't think we will attend but who knows.

 Letter/Mail Update: All caught up with my mail at the moment. 

Posted by Hanna at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Off to the Azores

IMG_20171119_193811_648Hello from Boston Logan Airport Terminal E. Currently hanging out at Vino Volo (my favorite wine bar airport chain) before boarding our flight to the Azores in about an hour. 

Our drive up to Boston was relatively uneventful. It's a little under 3 hours for us to get here. We parked, took a shuttle to the terminal and then had to wait for about an hour and a half for the check in counter to open as we were pretty early. So we had a couple of drinks, checked in, made our way through security and then headed for Vino Volo.

Going to board in a bit, the flight is only 4 1/2 hrs long and we get there at 6am. So really not much sleeping going to happen tonight.  We are renting a car so we will head to the hotel and at least drop our bags off. Our room most likely won't be ready yet. Will go and explore some after that.  It's supposed to rain so we will see how that goes. 

Either way I am looking forward to being away for a week. Will be nice to be somewhere else for a week. No work, surrounded by the Atlantic ocean on an island. No complaints from me. 

I will try and update some more while we are there but just in case I don't get to it going to wish all my American friends a happy Thanksgiving!! 

Letter/Mail Update: All caught up with my mail at the moment. 

Posted by Hanna at 07:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)