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Retirement

Hello, my name is Allison Poindexter, and Bill Hamilton was my dad.  I’m writing this to share that on Wednesday, September 3, my dad Bill Hamilton lost his battle with COPD.  

On Monday, after celebrating Labor Day weekend with my family and Mom, Dad started feeling poorly.  They contacted Hospice, who came to the house within hours and provided medications.  When he didn’t feel better by Tuesday, it was determined that the best course of action would be to take him to the hospice center.  I spoke with him Tuesday evening–I was confused and scared because the hospice hadn’t started an IV antibiotic treatment–and ended the conversation with the customary “I love you, Dad.”  On Wednesday morning, my mom and Dad’s friend Art had the chance to visit him at the hospice center, but by the afternoon, Dad was declining.  The nurses provided him with medicine to make him comfortable and allowed him to fall asleep.

At about 1:45, he died peacefully in his sleep with my mom by his side.  

My mom and I are so grateful for the care my Dad received through hospice.  After speaking with my dad on Tuesday, I told my husband that my greatest fear was that Dad would suffer, gasping for his last breaths.  But in the end, despite all of the warning we had that his end was near, Dad’s retirement was sudden and painless.  

I’ve been so grateful for this blog and this community for providing my dad with an outlet as he prepared for this inevitability.  In the past two years, he composed 302 posts, received nearly 17,000 views, and earned over 4,000 comments.  My dad would never profess to being a writer, but this blog is longer than most novels.  I’m so proud of him and this work, not because it is perfectly and eloquently composed, but because he helped people with his positivity and his humor.  On a personal level, I’m glad that he took this time to tell his stories, stories of growing up in Louisville, stories of parenting me, stories of the illness that took his life.  I’m so thankful that my daughter will have the chance to know her grandpa like I know him.  

I have taken over administrator responsibilities for this blog, so feel free to comment away.  Thank you for reading.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Madison Rising – The Star Spangled Banner

This is being provided courtesy of Huntie, it’s a version just as strong and as powerful as Jimi’s Hendrix, with stirring images as well. Enjoy, Thank you, Bill.

Chasing Rabbit Holes

I am a traditionalist and yet fell madly in love with this raucous rendition – crank up the volume!

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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

There Are No Guarantees

This was shared with me by Kanzen, and it is so worthwhile, I am reblogging to you. It is brief but to the point. Take care, Bill

Brother Murf's Corner

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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Eight Things

My Daughter, wrote this lovely posts about the 8 things she loves/likes about herself. Then she challenged me to find 8 things about me I love. My response is in the comments to her post. Take care, Bill

Burning Candles

Earlier this week, I messaged my friend Chayil for some inspiration about what to write this week.  She challenged me to write 8 things I love about myself and why.  If you know me outside of blogging, this is a real struggle for me, but I’m not afraid of a challenge.  So here goes…

  1. I love my eyebrows.  I’ll never be able to say that my eyebrows are low maintenance exactly, but I’ve always gotten compliments on this random feature of my face.  But they frame my otherwise boring brown eyes, and they are super expressive.  Plus, I don’t have to fill them in, and I’ve never plucked them to the point of needing damage control.
  2. I love that I love to create.  When I have down time from the business of teaching, I’m crafting unit plans, which totally counts as creating, or writing for this blog, or playing with Photoshop…

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Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Songs on Script

Here is a very interesting post from a fellow sufferer of COPD, give it a look, the singing is an interesting twist. Take care, Bill

The Departure Lounge

The original 'long cool woman in a black dress', Audrey Hepburn. The original ‘long cool woman in a black dress’, Audrey Hepburn.

In 1972, the year Big Tobacco said it was “a nonsense that smoking causes emphysema”, I was listening to the Hollies ‘Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress’, and smoking Kents that were killing me softly. By 1976 I had my foot firmly on that Stairway to Heaven.

Surprising as it may sound, it has long been suspected that singing can help people with breathing difficulties.

Singing helps your lung capacity, buoys your spirits, refreshes your memory and probably strengthens your immune system. It is free, it’s legal and it’s fun. As we used to say of sex.

The World Health Organization’s shocking outlook is that COPD will be the third leading cause of death by 2030. Around the world today, an estimated 65 million of us are struggling to breathe on a daily basis.

So if there was…

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Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

It’s a matter of Sense …. A Grandpa Tale

Most of us have or should have the 5 basic senses, some of may not be so fortunate.  They are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.  For the most part these senses are all self-explanatory and don’t really need to go into them.  But to further the explanation I am calling on Wikipedia (in part) for a slightly fuller definition.   

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_senses 

A broadly acceptable definition of a sense would be “A system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that responds to a specific physical phenomenon, and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted.” There is no firm agreement as to the number of senses because of differing definitions of what constitutes a sense. Sidebar;  the music today is being brought to you via my IPOD being featured today include, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilot, Gemini Syndrome, Van Halen, and Puddle of Mudd, I almost forgot yes, Nickelback is pounding away too!!!!

Smiling, I am done with definitions (at least for this post), I want to talk about that 6th sense, or the 7th sense, or and 23rd sense. It’s the one each of us have, that is not recognized as one of the common senses (nor is it common sense).  Some of us know when to hit on 17 at the blackjack table and are successful more times than not (especially if they are playing 5 decks), others wouldn’t know if they had a guide-book. Some will hear a phone ring and answer it knowing who is calling.  Some of can sense when a friend is sick or needs us from thousands and thousands of miles away.  Others of us know when not to get on an airplane.  Some of know when it is really the right time to give that beggar something more than a dirty look.  Moms are extremely good at knowing when their child needs a tiny bit more attention, and even more importantly when their child truly needs to be left alone.  Some of us dads can figure it out with our daughters, but have more issues trying to figure it out with a son.  These extra senses don’t stay with us a lifetime, sometimes they are only one time events, but that event stays with you the rest of your life,  you remember your little miracle, you remember that special time and it gives you a good feeling, it does warm your soul. Sometimes these extra senses, come with maturity, and are honed as we age.  Yet other times they happen for no definable reason, at no particular age. Case in point: the young man who found the 20 dollar bill in the Cracker Barrel parking lot and felt it was the right thing to do by passing it on with that now world-famous note to the soldier, who has in turn passed it forward. 

I think that another word we need to consider is premonition. It is exactly like a sense only different. But just like that oddball sense you from time to time I am sure you have had a premonition.  You know that feeling you get just before a storm hits, or a view just outside of your vision that something bad is going to happen. Notice the 2 examples I gave for premonitions were negative, but being honest I don’t remember having a good premonition.  If I thought I was going to fail that math test, it was a pretty foregone conclusion I was going to fail that test. But what about your premonitions, have the outcome always been bad?  

 I suspect you’ll are awaiting my announcement as to what my special skill or talent may be, or if I have some superpower I haven’t shared with you.  Oh and I do have one, but I am not going to share it with you (at least not yet). 

Yet be it a premonition or an extra sense.  I do believe we all have one or more.  Some stay with us for a lifetime, others only for an incident.  I also think a person can talk themselves into having an extra sense, and by the same token talk ourselves out of a special ability.  In my opening sentence I stated that most of us have or should have the basic 5 senses, and that others might not be as fortunate.  Let me be very clear, I truly believe that the folks that do not have those 5 basic senses, utilize the senses they have to a much finer degree than we do, they hear better or see better or smell better or have extremely good taste.  But these folks also have special senses and utilize them much more so than us burdened with the basic five. They are not handicapped, they are empowered. 

This post while playful is also somewhat serious.  Please take a moment to think about yourself, and if you’re willing please share with us your special ability. 

As always if you have any questions or concerns or if you have a comment please feel free to ask or post it.  Take care, Bill.

 
27 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings, Uncategorized

 

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A beginning

Yea Yea Yea — I have beeb warning you my Daughter was publishing her Blog beginning today April Fool’s Day. As a reminder I am reblogging her 1st post. Be nice LOL LOL . Take care, Bill

Burning Candles

April Fool’s Day isn’t exactly sentimental for most people, but I always kinda look forward to it.  It isn’t like Christmas or the Fourth of July, obviously, but it is a special day for me because an AFD prank is the reason why I’m married to my husband.  We both count AFD as the beginning of our relationship.

Stu and I had become friends a bit inadvertently through a mutual friend, Chip, whose life was way more complicated than ours…  he had high maintenance girlfriends and troublesome roommates, and always managed to make plans with us to only back out.  So Stu and I found ourselves thrown together more and more.  Turns out, we had great times together and laughed a lot.  He was my best friend.  That semester I audited a pottery class at the community college where Stu was taking classes part-time, so we would park next to…

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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Courage Is

Colleen, has a way with words I so envy. If I were skilled enough I would copy her style, but I could never copy her grace. This is a very worthy read, it speaks volumes and volumes. Thank you Colleen. Take care, folks — Bill

The Chatter Blog

I know these people.

And every day takes some courage from some people.  Maybe moments.  Maybe hours.  Maybe forever.

I wouldn’t for a minute underestimate the courage it takes to get through life.

These people, I admire.

Courage is the young father and husband who is terrified he can’t provide for his little family.   Who gets up and goes to work each day.  And fears the powers above him that could take away the small security of having this job.  This job that is not all he can do.  But all he can get right now.  He knows he can do more.  And plans on it.

There’s courage in the dark of night for the aging widow who never spent a night alone in eighty years of life.  And now she sits every night without the comfort and security of the familiar face.  The familiar face that shared joys…

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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

If Mark Twain Wrote Today

I found this to be an wonderful and thought provoking blog, I did read it and comment at 630am, so my hair wasn’t even neat, Kinda like Mr. Twain’s. But Colleen and I have a question, so if you read this and comment, please add who else would we want to write a blog? Thanks, Bill

The Chatter Blog

If Mark Twain wrote today I wonder if he would blog?  Or use Twitter?  Or Instagram?  I wonder if he would have a private Facebook page and a public one.

I wonder if his friends and family would look forward to his posts?  Or would they roll their eyes and sigh that the posts keep popping up in the daily feeds.

My Mark Twain

Would he have blown up Twitter?

Would his family raise their eye brows?  And wonder what and how  to comment on his posts?  What if their interpretation of what he was saying was way  off?  Let someone else comment first and see what they think.

When he sent out “Go to heaven for the climate, Hell for the company” on Twitter would he have been appreciated as witty? Would someone have made it a country song?

When he wrote a blog post called “The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County”…

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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

C4C – Spending Christmas with Your Blogging Family

Merry Christmas, Good morning folks, I will be taking part in C4C today between 10am – 11am, let’s talk, take care and again Merry Christmas. Bill

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

C4C – Spending Christmas with Your Blogging Family

Folks I will be taking part in this C4C Spending Christmas with Your Blog Family today between 10 am and 11am, Join me, smiling, let’s talk. Take care and Merry Christmas. Bill

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Santa – Ya Gotta Believe!

Tis the season for magic and special things to happen Please take a moment or 5 minutes and enjoy this Video. Thank YOU!!! Bill

Chasing Rabbit Holes

Diana Noble-Gulliford, our former City Council Member, posted this on her Facebook, saying “You need to watch this. Giving is a gift.” and I stole it:

And that is just one of the reasons I voted for Diana! Grin.

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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

On gay hate and freedom of speech

I don’t know the Roger’s, I don’t know any of the story beyond this post. But there is enough here to share. There is enough here, to make folks aware of the continued hatefullness, and ugliness that goes on around us daily. Maybe a post like this will open one set of eyes that were closed in the past. Maybe a tiny touch of awareness will come of it, but for me the bottom line is to continue to make folks aware, and pray there comes a time when we as a people are accepting of the differences of others. Take care — Bill

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2013 in Observations, Uncategorized

 

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My Blog Won’t be available on Facebook

Folks,

Once again I have proved to myself that I am a computer moron.  I have tried several times to figure out how to transmit (I have followed the instructions at wordpress to the anal letter) my Blog to a personal blog page on Facebook ) without it also appearing on my normal Facebook page.  You have seen these failures LOL as my test posts continue to appear on both.

I doubt if this will be of any significant disruption to anyone,  And I will work to resolve the issue.

Take care, Bill

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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

How I Feel Today 11.28.13

Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love.  I would hope that each of you have much to be thankful. It could be big things or little things.  It could be a single thing. Reach for it and be thankful!

I am going to give myself a 3 for the week.  I only had a single appointment this week and that was to have the stitches removed. For the upcoming week I have only 1 appointment at Doc Lungs office to have my INR checked. Otherwise the week nothing is going on.  I will also give myself a three because I feel okay.  That is to say I have adjusted to my new normal and I will make it work for me.  Yes I notice some subtle and other not so subtle differences but that is part of the process.  But, just because I notice the differences does not mean I will let them rule me no I am still in charge.  A time will come when I don’t notice the differences at all, that I have adapted as best and as completely as I can.

I haven’t had my vitals taken for several days, so the only thing to report is that my O2 is currently running 95-96 resting, with a resting heart rate of 88.  Folks my heart hasn’t been that low and slow in years, but for some reason I like the slower heart rate.  Yes yes yes, I can report on my weight, but is that really fair, yesterday we had “Thanksgiving” with the kids, and yes I ate everything except the kitchen sink but, and it’s an okay butt, my weight is still at 274 and I am extremely pleased with myself.  Granted I did starve myself leading up to the meal, but you knew I was going too.   Oh, because I don’t do black Friday at all (even online), I do not think there will be any spikes in my bp or my heart rate.

Next week I am going to have to make a couple calls to ensure that the out-patient surgery is still on schedule for early December.  But otherwise I don’t have any medical related issues for the next couple weeks.  Gosh that’s nice to say.

 “That’s all Folks!” this wraps up the 4th November report.  Take care, and again thank you for taking the time to explore my post.  If you have any questions, please ask away.  As always your comments are greatly appreciated.  Take care Bill

using as test to FB link

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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I Simply

This could sum up my 63 yrs of existence in less than a hundred words, so beautifully written. Colleen of The Chatter Box fame, is a wonderfully gifted writer. It will always warm your heart, make you smile, and will bring a tear to your eye,. Give her a follow, you will be better for it. Bill

The Chatter Blog

I simply am.

Imperfect.

Conflicted.

Struggling.

Competent.

There is nothing wrong with me.  Just because I am not perfect.

I’m not a failure because I have failed.

And all of my successes?  They do not make me fully successful.

I complain, but I’m very grateful.

I’m not difficult to understand.  Though I often struggle to express, fully, my thoughts and emotions.

I am an open book.  But every thing about me will never be written.

I have huge expectations.  But I will let you down.

I am these things.

And many more.

Yet, not enough.

I simply, am, what I am.

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Posted by on October 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Giving is the best communication

A f o llow blogger shared this with me, and it made me cry. So I am sharing it with you so you can cry as well. Take care, Bill

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Grief Intelligence: A Primer

I think so many of understand so little on this subject, maybe this will help us all…. Bill

Vic's Final Journey

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For the past 25 years, I have worked with thousands of grievers. I have sat with widows and widowers, the young and the old. I have offered tissues to bereaved parents in their inconsolable grief. I have normalized, educated, listened to and championed those grievers who, through tremendous pain, still engaged with life.

In the decades since my book Transcending Loss was published, the grieving process has not changed. As I interact with grievers from around the world, I am reminded of the universality of grief. And though each person has their own journey, still they share many common experiences.

Yet, still, I see and hear so much misinformation and confusion around grief. Principally, this comes from the widely-held myths that grief should be easy, that grief should be short, that grief has closure, that people should get on with their lives unchanged and that ongoing connection with the deceased…

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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

How I Feel Today 08/9/13

Good morning folks, it is still early enough in the day for me to call it morning, so that gives me all afternoon and evening to complete this post. Medically speaking I feel at the 3.0 to a touch higher and have since the cruise.  After all that build up, and months and months of waiting and fretting the cruise has come and gone.  Being honest if I had my way I would be checking in on another cruise today.  Or maybe I would find a round-the-world cruise to embark, but that will take a lottery win. LOL LOL most unlikely.

I will say one last thing about the cruise, and after this post it will be pretty much a dead issue.  Watching the Kids and our granddaughter have such a wonderful time, on the cruise, was one of the healthiest things I have done since coming to the understanding of where my disease is taking me.  My heart soared with joy with each of their smiles, I giggled inside all the time watching them, and I shared an evening with great delight.  And I got beat playing “go fish.”  What more could a truly healthy man want.

Above I rated myself to be a 3 for the week ending today.  I have been a 3 for the past two weeks, as well as, the week of the cruise.  That’s not a bad run for me. Other than seeing Doc Head, and Doc Infectious these last 2 weeks, I have been pretty much doc free.  Doc Infectious checked me out and told me he would see me in three (count them) months.  He did immediately follow that up with “of course, if you’re not feeling well, you immediately come in.”  I did do the course of antibiotics upon my return, and that when smoothly.  The only ongoing glitch is my INR.  I just can’t get it therapeutic, I have had my INR checked 4 times in the last 13 days, with readings as low as 1.7 and as high as 3.8.  With each test result a modification to the dosage of cumidin is made.

Doc Head and I are getting along great.  I do trust her, and she is getting me to open up, I realize the importance, and appreciate having someone I can be completely honest with, without the fear of hurting feelings or getting into a pissing contest.    It also allows me to examine myself, which isn’t a bad thing either. These conversations also help in long term planning.  During my life I have only known a small handful of folks who admitted to seeing a Doctor Head.  And of those folks, I never asked what they talked about.  Yes I often wondered, and I also wondered how they could share their secrets.  Now I know, and it’s good.

This coming week I will see Doc Head and Doc Lung.  I will share anything of significance in my next report, which considering my recent run of pretty fair health could be a short report.

Since the cruise I have written a lot about the experience and how wonderful it was for the family.  I spoke of the joy it gave me, and the experience.  But I will say this as well, for as good as these cruise ships are, as wonderful as their staffs are, and for as much fun as you can stuff into a week, I did notice one issue.  Not enough attention is really given to the needs of the handicapped.  Yes they make wonderful accommodations for the handicapped, they go out of their way to insure you have a good experience, but a few simple changes in the future would make the entire experience much better for those that suffer handicaps.  The staterooms don’t have enough electrical service to support a person with needs.  Yes you can put 2 or 3 extension cords around the room, and you can tape them down and out-of-the-way, but a couple more outlets would sure make it easier on the handicapped.  Heck non-handicapped probably have the same issue.  The interior passageways onboard the ship are not wide enough to accommodate both a wheelchair and a stateroom steward’s service cart, which makes it extremely difficult for the person wheelchair bound.  And my only other complaint would be the lack of a storage facility for guess’s that have those motorized scooters, and for the wheelchairs.  Guess’ are supposed to store their motorized scooter or wheelchair in their stateroom, folks there just isn’t enough room in the stateroom, and I know that for a fact. LOL LOL.  I say this so that my friends who wish to take a cruise are forewarned.  You will figure out a way to make it work, trust me I did.  Don’t let this deter you in any way.  Just be aware.

Well folks it looks like I will once again beat the midnight deadline for this post with only minutes to spare.  I had the best of intentions when I started this at 1030am today.  But you know what they as about intentions.  The road to hell is paved with them.

Well folks I hope you have a pleasant weekend. Thank you for your continued good thoughts and kind words. As always your comments are encouraged and welcomed. – Bill

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Cruise Report …. Final Part

When I last left you, we had completed our visit to the Grand Cayman Islands, where the kids and Steph had visited the turtle farm.  It was a great visit to the Cayman’s and the Cruise was off to a wonderful start.  The Fantasy departed the Cayman’s at 5pm Monday night, with our next port of call being Costa Maya, Mexico arriving there at noon Tuesday.

 

Steph and I didn’t have dinner with the group Monday night because we had reservations to eat at Palo’s onboard the ship.  Palo’s is the upscale Italian Restaurant on Fantasy, which requires an addition fee and reservations.  I made our dinner reservations a month before the cruise and we were lucky to get them.  But it was worth it, the meal was one of the best experiences I have had.  I have already bragged about how good the meals and service was in the dining rooms where we normally took our meals.  If those meals and the associated service was rated a 10, then on that same scale the meal and service at Palo’s was a 14.  It was that much better.  Our table was at a floor to ceiling window overlooking the ocean, and while it was cloudy evening those clouds made for a spectacular sunset. We enjoyed a quiet evening meal, where we could speak in a normal tone and be heard.  The wait staff was extremely attentive and as I said the food great.

 

To digress for a moment, in parts one and two I had described in painstaking detail how Cari and Stu chased after autographs and picture opportunities.  I need to make a clarification here.  Cari had her picture taken multiple times with each character because the characters changed outfits, and each outfit called for another picture opportunity.  During the course of the week Cari had her picture taken with Minnie Mouse 5 different times, once in her Officer Uniform, 2 times in Princess outfits, once as a clown and once in her Party outfit.  She had her picture taken with Goofy in 2 different changes of cloths and Pluto twice, and then with Mickey himself in two different outfits.  So you can see there was a great deal of scurrying about to get to all of these photo ops.  And Stu was the Master at it.

 

The second stop on the cruise was in Costa Maya, Mexico.  We arrived at 630am Tuesday morning and departed at 530pm. Costa Maya is on the Yucatan Peninsula, the area was a major center for the Mayan population between 200 BC to 900 AD. Stu, Cari and I stayed on board. Stu and I took care of doing laundry and other domestic God like chores, while Steph and Allison were off to the Chaccohoben Mayan Ruins. It was a scenic bus ride to the ruins, with hundreds of photo opportunities.  The girls took advantage of many of these opportunities bringing back pictures of themselves on the steps of the ruins, and majestic views of the ruins. Steph and Allison were very excited by this adventure, with tons of laugh filled stories to share with Stu, Cari and I, and they were quite stinky upon their return.  Apparently the bus wasn’t as air-conditioned as they would have liked.  After Steph had an opportunity to relax and cleanup we were late for dinner in the main dining room, so we went to one of the less formal more relaxed areas for dinner, again having ocean view seating and a great meal.

 

Our next was in Cozumel Mexico, we arrived 730am Wednesday morning and departed at 530pm.  Allison and Stu excursion that day was a Jeep ride thru the dunes, beach and landscape.  They left Cari in our care, so I had the opportunity to seek out characters with her before she visited the Mickey Mouse Club for activities.  Also while Stu and Allison were Jeep riding we got to take Cari to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, getting her pirate costume and makeup for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” Pirate Party and fireworks, to take place on the 11th deck amidships at 930pm that evening.  So Cari was dress and ready to go at 1pm, for a 930pm party.  Bless her heart she managed to stay in costume, and presentable all day long.   In addition, we played “Go Fish” and she beat me soundly.  Though there was a mirror directly behind me, she may have peeked at my cards LOL LOL, but I doubt it.  She just beat me.  The kids got back from the jeep ride adventure with plenty of time to spare before dinner.  So we had dinner as a family, it was very nice, and Stu and Allison regaled us with stories of their adventure throughout the meal.

 

After the meal those of us not in costume doffed our costumes and prepared for the on deck Pirate party.  Dancing and singing, and Jack Sparrow had to walk the plank.  Once Jack managed to avoid the plank, the fireworks began.  The fireworks were noisy and cool at the same time.  Though not a long show it was still a very good fireworks display.  By 1130pm the decks were cleared and most of the party goers had moved on.  Steph and I to avoid the rush to the elevators chose to go up to the 12th level Martini Bar where we conversed quietly for about an hour.

 

Alcohol wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, or as expensive as I remember from other cruises on other cruise lines.  Disney ran a daily drink special, that was good at any bar or restaurant on board ship, during the entire course of the day.  I forgot what the day  one special was, but day two was the Bahama Mama, day three was the Yellow Bird, day four Key Lime Margarita (damn good), day five Sunken Treasure, day six was the High Tide, and day seven the Stingray.  During the week I consumed my share of Wine (both white and red), Wild Turkey 101, and a variety of Margarita’s.  My daughter had her share of most of the daily specials, and some beer drink that mixed a darker beer with I believe a fruit juice, I just really don’t remember.  Stu seemed to favor beer most the week, and Steph’s drink of choice was coffee, and then wine (red or white depending), and Cari’s most sought after drink was hot cocoa.

 

Thursday was spent at sea, and the kids had the run of the ship.  There were a ton of onboard activities to keep everyone occupied and smiling.  The restaurants, dining places and snack bars were all running at maximum capacity.  But part of the under lining current was we were headed towards home.   You could almost feel it in the ship that everyone knew there was only one more stop before going back to the Cape.  Big events for the day included Family Superstar Karaoke (which we didn’t take part), Mega Jackpot Bingo, and a variety of tasting including wine and Tequila. On the pool decks folks were soaking up that last bit of pool side fun and burn.  The water activities were at full throttle. And the water tube was getting a major work out.  I would have loved to have done the water tube, but good sense and my portable oxygen unit prevailed.  For those that might not know, the water tube is about 200 feet of water slide in a (for the most part) clear tube.  From the 12 deck of the ship you had to climb another 20 feet to get to the beginning of the slide.  There you got on a raft, and were flushed thru the tube.  The tube itself was at the least always 20 above the 11th deck, it was kinda like a roller coaster but not as severe. The ride lasted maybe 25 seconds 35 at the most, and it was used 16 hours a day.  During that last day at sea, it was like any other normal Disney ride, there was always a line LOL LOL.  It did look cool and if I could I would have been just like the kids, riding it over and over.  No one got bored on board and if you did it was your own damn fault LOL.

 

I believe it was this evening that Allison, Stu and I met at the Tube Bar and played 80’s musical trivia.  It was really “name that tune.”  The DJ played a minimal amount of the song, (and I mean minimal) and you had to properly name the song and artist, for each correct response you got a single point.  80’s music is not my strong suit, nor Allison’s either for that matter, but of the 25 songs played, between the 3 of use we managed 28 points.  I was impressed with our effort.  But the fun started when extra points were awarded for doing extra stupid things. From playing air guitar (which I am Champ) to dancing, and just all manner of silly but fun things.  We were really too far from the dance floor to get any extra points but we laughed our asses off watching others do all that stuff for a Disney Key Chain.  It was a great evening.

 

We arrived at Disney’s Castaway Cay (Disney’s private Island) at 730am Friday morning, and we departed at 530pm that evening.  The kids spent the entire day on the beach at the island, doing all manner of beach things, including the character beach dance party, swimming, eating, snorkeling and the like.  I watched them come back onboard with the hoards of others all savoring the last moments of the cruise.  Everyone knew (even the little ones) that the cruise was over.  We had a wonderful dinner with our group, and said our good byes.  We had a group photo of the three families with our wait staff, and said our goodbyes.  Everyone had a ton of packing to do, and our bags had to be in the hall way by 1030pm. Steph and I managed to get our bags packed and out into the hall way before the 1030pm deadline.  We ended up carrying one additional bag off the ship than we brought onboard so we had a place for all those things you must have.

 

The Fantasy arrived back at Cape Canaveral at approximately 600am on Saturday the 27th of July.  Our last meal was a feast at breakfast that morning.   Our group was called to depart the ship at 8am.  We were met by a baggage handler who grabbed up our bags (all 10 of them) on a single cart, escorted use thru customs and all the way to the curb, where we were met by our shuttle back to Marriott where our car was parked.  The shuttle driver unloaded our bags at our vehicles and the cruise was over.  Allison, Stu, Cari, Steph and I all shared hugs and kisses, and all exclaimed how great the cruise was, and how we didn’t want it to end.  And we all dredged thinking about going back to our “normal” lives.  With one final kiss and hug, we jumped in our cars and headed home.  The cruise of a lifetime over, and an item on the bucket list checked off.

 

As always your questions and comments are greatly appreciated.  Please take care, Bill.

 

 

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The Cruise Report …. Part 2

The FANTASY got underway at approximately 4:45pm on 7/20/13.  In mass we began the cruise with an on deck celebration, for those old schoolers it was kinda like watching the departure of the “Love Boat.” That celebration carried to the bowels of the ship.  There were already 500 kids in the swimming pools, the soda fountains were working overtime, and some of the mothers were already looking close to being wigged out. Character where-abouts were being announced and the kids were off to the races.  It was clearly organized chaos.  And Stu and his trusty Personal Navigator were in the middle of it all.  The FANTASY wasn’t to port again for 36 hours at Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.  Until then the 4000 passengers on board needed to be entertained. Movies were playing in 3 different places; they had mega bingo, family crafts, dance parties, and walking tours of the ship just to name a few of those 1st day activities.  The kids had their motors jump started at breakfast, and continued at full speed all day. It was a wonderful sight to behold.  And giving the children credit 95 pct. were extremely well-behaved and the other 5 percent, well they needed a timeout.  Laughing my butt off and you could always tell when a child missed nap time.  But still to their credit the kids hung in there and were great for the most part.  Disney has clearly studied and restudied, and then studied some more, they knew kids, they knew how much stuff to cram in a day, they knew to constantly be changing locations, they knew how long to have each character be at each “sighting” location it was amazing to watch.  That first evening it was kinda fun to see all the kids with their faces in their soup at dinner, they were completely tuckered out.

Our 1st stop was as I said was the Cayman Islands, Steph, Allison, Stu and Cari all when on a shore excursion to visit a turtle farm.  It was an interactive farm, where the visitors got to touch and hold the turtles; in addition there was an education aspect that promoted the preservation of the Turtles and their breeding grounds.  They took a ton of pictures, and at dinner it was the focal point of the conversation.  After dinner we all raced to the Disney Theater to see “Aladdin.”  This is where I 1st encountered how customer focused Disney is.  As you may well know I use oxygen 24/7, when travelling I use a portable concentrator, it is battery-powered, but uses a lot of battery when you suffer SOB to the degree I do.  This unit is chargeable when operating.  Just plug it into an AC or DC source and it charges and operates at the same time.  I explained to the usher that it would be greatly helpful to me to be able to sit close to an electrical outlet for the purposes as described.  The young lady (Kelly) located 2 wonderful seats right at an outlet.  She asked us if we intended to see the Disney show each night, and when we affirmed we were, she immediately got two reserved seat signs and put them on the seats.  Telling my wife and I that these seats would be reserved for us each night for the 830pm show.  And they were.  One night we got to the show just before Showtime and someone was sitting in “our” seats, a different usher recognized me, and politely told the folks who took our seats that they were reserved and to please move, the usher was extremely polite and quite effective.

Heck I should become a Disney spoke person LOL LOL LOL LOL.

When the ship was underway there were activities galore.  Movies were available in the theaters by 10:30 each morning.  There were Bingo games, and trivia games ongoing, scavenger hunts, XBOX challenge (which I should’ve taken part but didn’t), rum tasting, tequila and margarita tasting, as well as, wine and beer tasting.  Who said you needed water to float a Fantasy LOL.  The activities were geared to all ages, from 2 to 102; every day you could find an activity that suited you.  Each night there was dancing and dance parties, on the pool deck you could watch a movie as you played in the pool, at noon or midnight.  Every night karaoke was available, and there was a separate karaoke for adults (who were consuming refreshments) in a different place than where the kids were hanging out.  But for every loud event taking place there were quite places one could go to relax and enjoy a book and a cup of coffee.  Sweets (cookies, little cakes, treats, and other goodies) were available at many locations.  Just walk up and help yourself. No purchase required.

During our week onboard the FANTASY, Cari got autographs and had her picture taken with the following Disney Characters; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Buzz Lightyear, Chip and Dale, Max, Goofy, Peter Pan, Phineas & Ferb, and Stitch. She also met the following and got their autograph (and photo op as well); Captain Marco (the Captain of Fantasy), the Cruise Director, Ariel, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Belle, Snow White and Princess Tiana.  I am sure I have missed more than one character or Princess that Cari met, and collected an autograph.  But I am also sure she missed a couple, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort.  She and Stu were jumping from place to place, line to line, to get as many as they could and they did a wonderful job. Many a time when Cari and family were in line getting a picture of a character or an autograph, I was on an upper level watching.  The joy in Cari’s eyes was incredible; she was in a constant state of bliss, meeting these characters.  It was so neat to watch Cinderella or Snow White whisper in her ear, and hug and kiss Cari, the smiles always were genuine.

I also learned that if you got Cinderella’s autograph onboard the Fantasy or any other Disney ship, as well as, Disney World and Disney Land, her autograph would be identical each time, no matter where you got the autograph. Part of their training for these roles is to master the signature of the character they portray.  If you come back 3 or 5 years down the road her autograph will still be the same. So be it, Mickey or Minnie, Pluto or Goofy, if you get their autograph more than once it will always be the same.  I think that level of attention to detail is amazing.

The level of service was excellent beyond imagination.  Disney is the purest form of customer focus, and the level of care for the customer is beyond anything I have ever encountered.  Our stateroom steward Christopher managed to always have our stateroom spotless.  There was no request they did not accommodate immediately.  And each task was always dealt with the most sincere smiles. Our servers Pete and Amelia catered to our every wish and whim each night at dinner.  Again always making it easy for Cari, treating her with a level of respect that I am sure she isn’t accustomed to.  And I am not saying Cari’s folks don’t treat her with respect, it’s different because these were adults she never met.  Shopping on Disney was unique as well.  You could pick up an item at one shop and carry it to a completely different shop to pay for.  No body followed you around, or kept a watchful eye, you were trusted to do the right thing (at least it appeared this way).  Very impressive!  Also, the staff keeping the ship clean and presentable at all times was remarkable. The FANTASY was by far the cleanest cruise ship I have ever been on.  The crew responsible for that aspect took great pride in doing their job right.

I will try to wrap this up in part 3. There was so much going on, so much excitement, and such a great time, it is extremely difficult to pair it down.

As always your questions and comments are greatly appreciated.  Please take care, Bill.

 
18 Comments

Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Cruise Report …. Part 1

For the better part of 14 months many of my friends, blogger mates, and others have watched and waited for me to have this cruise with batted breath.  I have talked about the cruise until I was blue in the fingertips, I have spoken of every trail and tribulation, and I have addressed every pitfall, and in reality offered way more information than my friends would ever really want to know or be subjected to. I have addressed my health issues and even joked that the only way I wouldn’t go on the cruise was if I were in an urn. And when it was all said and done I still continued to share and offer additional information about the cruise until my friends and fellow bloggers were sick in their stomachs regarding this cruise.  The cruise has come and gone, you will no longer be bombarded with unnecessary or undesired information about the cruise. LOL LOL ! ! This will most likely be the last time I write about the cruise, but what a wonderful cruise it was.

I just shared the experience of a lifetime. My wife and I got to watch our granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law, have the times of their lives on a 7 night 8 day Disney cruise.  This was not some spur of the moment trip (as you’ll well know), no no no; it had been in planning for close to 16 months.  Schedules had been checked and rechecked. Passports applied for.  Money had to be saved and set-a-side. Plans were made and changed countless times, and I would go thru it all again to see the joy in their faces.

Well folks the cruise is over, I survived and now I am going to write about the pure joy I experienced.  In normal Bill Hamilton fashion it will be quite wordy.   

The Family gathered at the hotel in Cocoa Beach, FL on the Friday night prior to the cruise.  The hotel had offered a package deal were you get a room for the night, free parking for a week, and a free shuttle back and forth to the cruise terminal.  The kids and drove over earlier in the day to enjoy the beach, and beach town atmosphere.  I had made arrangements for them to have access to their hotel room before Steph and I got there.  So when we arrived they were clean and ready to go to dinner.  Steph and I settled quickly and gathered the kids for dinner, and trust me they were all like kids filled with anticipation for the coming days.  By the way, if you are travelling thru Cocoa Beach FL, and looking for a very good and relatively inexpensive meal for the family, the LOBSTER SHANTTY is the place to go.  Steph and I have been going there for over 30 years and the food is always great, and not a budget buster.  BTW this is where Cari tasted gator for the 1st time (she thought it was chicken)

During dinner we, as a family, spoke at length (for the umpteenth time) about the cruise.  We had all noticed on our drive by the Cape Carnival Cruise terminal (earlier in the day) that there were no ships in port. We made final arrangements to meet in the lobby at 1030am for our 1100am shuttle to the Ship.  The kids took off to go to Ron Jon’s and Steph and I returned to the hotel for a drink, read, relax and bed.

Oh, GOD!!! The shuttle was 15 minutes late getting to the hotel, the energy was amping up, would we miss our boarding time frame? Would we have to go to the back of the line, you could cut the tension with a knife.  Finally the bus arrives, and to our dismay it’s already two-thirds full, and it’s a big bus, and there are 20 of us waiting and waiting. We are ushered onto the bus prior to seeing our baggage go into the hole. The kids stare out the window as our baggage is loaded, counting each bag, and with a great sigh of relief, knew our bags were safely onboard.

The trip from the hotel to the port was only 12 minutes and as we made the turn on SR 528 (the Beachline); we saw 3 ships now in port.  The Disney Fantasy was by far the biggest, prettiest, and bestest ship in port. Our first close-up look at “The Fantasy” was seeing it from the tail, were DUMBO proudly maintains a position on the fantail of the ship. Then the driver announced that the 1st stop was the Disney Fantasy, we were all filled with JOY.  Our bags were quickly unloaded, and gathered by a Disney bag handler, and we were told the next time we would see them would be in our stateroom in about 3 hours. We were told to proceed to check-in and prepare to board the ship.  From the time we left the hotel, proceeded to the cruise terminal, and completed part 1 of checking in took only 40 minutes. During the next 15 minutes the entire family had checked in, we got our shipboard ID’s/credit card, and entered the grand lobby, where the “Hamilton’s” and “Poindexter’s” were officially welcome by the officers of the ship.  It was very cool.

Because we were not allowed to enter our staterooms for an hour we proceeded to the Cabanas for lunch where we feasted on platters of the best shrimp I have had in a long time (other than when I prepare them). The fruit was ripe and quite fresh, the Cabanas were the buffet line restaurant onboard the Fantasy, and was by far the best buffet I had eaten on, either onboard a ship, or on land.  It was open for all meals and you came as you were.  It was the least formal of anyplace except the pool deck pizzeria.  As we sat at the table, a plan of action was developed by Stu to see as many of the characters as possible, and to enjoy as much of the ship board activities as possible.

I have great organizational skills and practices, and it took years to develop.  But Stu clearly showed that in the years to come he will surpass me in this department.  Disney provided us a copy of the “Personal Navigator” upon arrival, and this document was updated daily and became Stu’s road map.  He always knew when and where the photo ops were going to be, and where the characters were to get autographs.  He knew what movie was playing when and where (I saw Iron Man 3 and Monsters University – both great!); he always knew the time to gather to see specific things, and where the parties were and when they started.  Without Stu and his roadmap to success, I don’t think the cruise would have been quite as successful.

Disney cruises have what they call rotational dining.  Each night you eat at one of three main dining rooms for the evening meal.  You had the same table number no matter which dining room you ate in and you had the same servers, they followed you around all week.  It was great; our rotation was Royal Court, Animator’s Palate and Enchanted Garden.  Of the 3 my favorite was the Animator’s Palate, it was fun and cool.  We ended being scheduled to eat there 3 evenings, on our final meal in the Animator’s Palate, each person at the table had to create a figure using a template provided, these figures where then added to a cartoon that played throughout the desert.  And because you signed the creation your signature displayed over your cartoon character.  This was a hoot!!!! There was a ton of laughing and giggling as we saw each other’s characters. The best thing about it was you couldn’t tell if the character was created by and adult or child.  Royal Court was by far the most formal of the 3 dining rooms.  And Enchanted Garden was just as the name implied. In all three the children were the focal point.  In all my years I have never seen so much attention paid to individuals so young by someone so much older.  The waiters and servers had the patience of saints.  They listened very carefully to what each child wanted, and managed to have it prepared even if it wasn’t on the menu.  If the child didn’t care for what they choose, there were no issues at all, the waiter offered a different selection and immediately had it brought to the child. God the deserts were so rich, the 1st night I was disappointed by the size of my desert, but after eating it, I was stuffed, the desert was so rich, so tasty, and looking back I realized it was right sized.  The adults got the same level of service from the wait staff, and we were allowed to be as picky as some of the kids, but each night I found something that was extremely good.  Some of the deserts looked and in their description seems so exotic I ordered my desert from the kids menu.  But the end of the week I wasn’t the only adult to be dipping into the children’s desert menu.

This is as far as I want to take this portion of the Cruise Report.  I will be sending out a continuation shortly.  I will talk more about chasing Disney characters, meeting Mickey and Minnie, the stateroom steward, the shipboard going on, and other aspects that come to mind as I put it all down.  I probably won’t say a lot about pool watching while I had the ship to myself, or while the ship was underway. I will say it again the Disney Cruise was unbelievable wonderful.  I am so glad I did it, but it’s not a cruise I would need to do a second time.

Thank you for allowing me to bend your ear, please take care, and as always if you have questions or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention.  I will answer each one.  Take care, Bill.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

George Carlin: Something to Ponder

I recently started paying attention to Chris King’s blog, she was kinda introduced to me via a reblog from a good friend. I was a great fan of George Carlin, and I am thankful that Chris decided to spread the word thus allowing me the opportunity to share with you these words. Take care, Bill

bridgesburning

Why? You must be asking yourself does this woman have so much to say today?  Two Posts on WP?

These are not my words.  They were posted on my FaceBook and I have always thought George Carlin was more philosopher than comedian so am bringing this to you on his behalf!

SOMETHING TO PONDER: George Carlin

George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less…

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Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

How I Feel Today 07/05/13

Good afternoon folks, once again it is Saturday, my weekly status reports have become a weekend post apparently. I don’t mind that shift from Friday to Saturday, actually it works out better for me, I am not pressed to have my “How I Feel Today, out by midnight Friday’s. (not that I ever tried that hard)

Well damn, I just realized today is Friday, not Saturday as I thought only words ago. So most likely I will bust my butt and get this out by COB today. I hope your 4th was great, mine was. I made and oink oink out of myself, and lost playing card. Folks if you’re walking thru your local grocery store and you have a real need/desire/want/ to have some hotdogs, (or the kids or grandkids are pestering you for some) look for Hoffman’s German hotdogs. I swear they are the single best hotdog I have ever had, beating the at the ballpark or stadium dogs by a mile. Great taste, and they grill up perfectly. We celebrated the forth with the neighbors, we had dogs and burgers, macaroni salad, cold slaw, corn on the cob, and for dessert we had a cinnamon and spice cake that was to die for. Hell I must have gained 5 pounds in that one meal. After dinner we played a game called 31, with 7 people playing it is/was a ton of fun, yes I lost, but I got to make a bunch of wise ass remarks throughout the game. Yes we play for money, and it is quite cut-throat, but for a game lasting 2 hours at a cost of $2.50 that is money well spent. Everyone at the table had fun, and you’re still allowed to make remarks once you’re put out. Like that would matter to me! LOL LOL. Okay on to the weekly status report.

On Tuesday of this week I again had my INR checked and I came in at 3.5, the roller coaster ride continues. A slight change to the medication, and my INR was again checked today, and it dipped to 1.7. I have been advised of another slight tweak of the medications and I will have it rechecked next Friday. After my Tuesday INR check Doc Lungs and I had our bi-weekly meeting. He listens to my lungs, tells me I am sounding okay, pats me on the head and says I will see you again in 5 or 6 weeks, which is a lot better than the normal 2 – 4 week interval. (I am teasing about the pats me on the head). I didn’t see Dr Infectious at all this week, and I am not scheduled to see him until after the cruise. Okay, so you ask, how am I doing? Actually pretty good, I am giving the week a 3.0 rating. Not quite as good as the last couple weeks, but not bad enough to drop below 3. If I feel anything at all it is a bit of paranoia. The slightest cough, a sudden chill, a gasp, sudden bouts of SOB, are all making me very jumpy. I seem to be coughing a touch more than normal, I think I see some color (other than white) in the junk I cough up, but there isn’t any chills or sweats, temp is normal, BP is fine, heart rate is normal for me, it’s just paranoia.

As you all know this family cruise it very important to me, I have spoken about until I am sure you are sick of it, and most likely you want it over as much as I do (but for different reasons) LOL LOL. But when your ill, and have a recent history of being sick, and with each bout of illness coming closer to the heels of the one before, you sometimes can talk yourself into it. Well damn it!!! I won’t let that happen here. LMAO I swear the only way I won’t be going on this cruise is if I am trapped in an urn. Even then I might still go on the cruise. Of course I am going to be extra careful the next 3 weeks, wash my hands more often and do the other little things I can to ensure I stay as healthy as I can, and I won’t let my paranoia win. This paragraph dedicated to me lecturing me.

Well folks I hope you have had a pleasant 4th, and that your weekend is equally nice. Thank you for your continued good thoughts and kind words. As always your comments are encouraged and welcomed. – Bill

PS — got it out before midnight LOL LOL

 

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A Girl’s Message to all Christians

A very important message, one that will only take 4 1/2 minutes of your time. Thanks, Bill

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
 
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