Tuesday, November 29, 2005

You're invited....

Myself, my golf buddy, Heather, and some of her friends are having a jewelry and art/crafts show on
Saturday, December 3rd, 10 - 5pm.

Please come, bring a friend and enjoy some holiday cheer.

I'm posting the paintings I will be selling and I will also have art cards for sale...the new improved version.

Hope to see you there!

Please email me at jasexton@shaw.ca for the address.

“Twisted Pines on the Mediterranean”
12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

“Lavender Fields”
14 x 20acrylic on canvas

“Olympic view with arbutus”
18 x 24 acrylic on canvas

“Vancouver Harbour”
22 x 28 acrylic on canvas

“Olive trees and poppy fields”
11 x 14 acrylic on paper
Painted in Carqueiranne, France
$135 double-matted with in 16 x 20 metal frame
$95 unframed

“Sailboats at Mourillon Beach”
11 x 14 acrylic on paper
Painted in Carqueiranne, France
$135 double-matted with in 16 x 20 metal frame
$95 unframed

“Umbrella pines, mimosas, palms”
11 x 14 acrylic on paper
Painted in Carqueiranne, France
$135 double-matted with in 16 x 20 metal frame
$95 unframed

“La Pétanque et le Pastis”
11 x 14 acrylic on paper
Painted in Carqueiranne, France
$135 double-matted with in 16 x 20 metal frame
$95 unframed

“Kitsilano Pool, Vancouver”
11 x 14 acrylic on paper
$135 double-matted with in 16 x 20 metal frame
$95 unframed

“Freighters in Vancouver”
11 x 14 acrylic on paper
$135 double-matted with in 16 x 20 metal frame
$95 unframed

“Lavender, poppies, sunflowers”
11 x 14 acrylic on paper
$135 double-matted with in 16 x 20 metal frame
$95 unframed

Finally finished!

I've finally finished all this sorting of photos and memorabilia. Now I can treat myself by going back to painting...much more enjoyable although it was fun to see a lot of this stuff again. I was pleased to come across this photo of a llama that my brother took when he was working as a geologist in Chile around the Santiago area. I believe this was taken up in the Andes. He was pleased to get so close for the photo but the llama spit at him just after he took it so he made a hasty retreat! Also seems to be a souvenir of Richard in his scribbling phase...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Charlie...the super model!

Having lots of fun today with Chris and Susan's dog, Charlie. He was just like a super model who knows how to stop and pose for the camera.


Charlie and Susan

Charlie and Monique

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Long before the paparazzi frenzy

Starting to do some sorting of Jim's family photos and came across this. My mother-in-law often saw the Royal Family at the Ballater train station when they came up to Scotland. These photos were taken in 1950 so must have been taken by her family as she was in Canada with Jim's father by then. She was a war bride.

Left: Princess Anne in Nanny's arms. Princess Elizabeth with Prince Charles and the Provost of Ballater.

Right: The Queen and Provost Adam.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Very, very special children's artwork!

I was thinking it was about time to post some children's art work, and as luck would have it I came across the drawings of the children of our friends in Poland. They did these drawings to welcome Richard into the world in 1977. We were very touched by them...they really are just delightful! I guess Simon had an old encyclopedia as a reference for the Canadian flag since it appears to be the Red Ensign rather than the Maple Leaf. I like the way he's done the Union Jack! (On another note...will I EVER come to the end of organizing all these photos and memorabilia...)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Times have changed....

Some more J.A. Jackman photos of feeding the bears in Jasper Park...very politically incorrect now.

The photographer isn't named in this one of Chuckanut Drive and a View of Puget Sound. Seems like a colourized b & w photo.
I love this scene and have driven it many times. It is always associated with excitement...either the excitement of beginning a road trip or the excitement of being almost home.

Look at the postage rates:
ONE CENT for United States and Island Possessions, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico. TWO CENTS for foreign.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Old Postcards

Still sorting...found photos from our 1995 & 1997 trips to Europe. Wondered what had happened to these. Still haven't found anything from the 1996 trip...surprises me I didn't take any pictures that year. They still may turn up.

I found some rather interesting old photo postcards (17 in all) by a F. A. Jackson from Jasper, Alberta.

Here are three of them:

top - #657 Fortress Lake
middle - #603 Maligne Lake
bottom - #604 Mt. Sanson, Maligne Lake

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Old sheet music

Still on my quest of sorting photos and other stuff. Came across a bunch of old sheet music of my mother's. I'm not quite sure why my mother had so much of this as she never really did learn to play the piano although she wanted to. I guess she bought it with the hope that she would play one day. I did learn to play most of it and my parents enjoyed listening to me play...a lot more than I enjoyed playing!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

no time for sex

The following is from a rather interesting article I picked up in the Telegraph. I can understand why women want to avoid the pain and physical effects of childbirth by having C-sections...but not wanting sex either...a strange world we live in!

From the Telegraph:

Women are increasingly seeking inappropriate IVF treatment because they do not have the time or inclination for a sex life and want to "diarise" their busy lives. Wealthy career women in their 30s and early 40s, some of whom have given up regular sex altogether, are turning to "medicalised conception" - despite being fertile and long before they have exhausted the possibility of a natural conception.

They are prepared to pay thousands of pounds for private IVF treatments - even though they have unpleasant and potentially harmful side effects - because they believe it offers them the best chance of "instant" pregnancy.

"People want everything now. If they can't have a baby now, they want IVF. They think it's no different from putting your name down for a handbag. Some people are horrified by the idea that they have to have sex two to three times a week. About 10 per cent of people I see don't have time to have sex. It's usually when you have two professionals who are based in the city and are very busy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The joys of technology

Here's my good friend, Patty the techno-peasant, actually managing to use her new cell phone!

And here's her daughter, Eavan the techno-savvy and typing slave to her mother, with my iPod...I think an iPod will have to go on the Christmas list.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A French Christmas

I've bought a couple of Christmas gifts for myself on a French theme.

I would have bought one of these Crème Brûlée sets before if I realized how easy it was to make this dessert! My first try was a no bake lemon cream and was delicious. The book also has lots of interesting savory brûlées one can use as appetizers.

Our new raclette machine. This is really a gift for Jim since he cleans up and it is sooo much easier with the teflon.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

No paper today...what else is new?

No TC arrived this morning and of course no National Post since it's Sunday. However, I have thwared the fates by keeping an old Sunday Telegraph from the Thankgiving holiday that I hadn't completely read. Reading a review about a book called "The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World" by Adam Jacot de Boinod (is on order at GVPL and you can put a hold on it).

Quoted from the review by Aileen Reid:

But mostly what the book offers is the chance to do what everyone around the world enjoys - laughing at funny foreigners, ad confirming stereotypes. Surely only the Dutch could have a word for "to go for a walk in windy weather for fun"(uitwaaien), the Russians a word for a dealer in stolen cats (koshatnik) and the Italians one for "maternal control that extends well into adulthood" (mammismo).

One of the book's greatest pleasures is learning words for things we recognise but for which there is no equivalent in English. Thus the Inuit have "iktsuarpok" meaning "to go outside often to see if someone is coming", and the Czechs "vybafnout" - "to jump out and say boo". And who has not worked with what the Indonesians call a "neko neko - "one who has a creative idea that only makes things worse"?

Perhaps even more diverting are those that we don't recognise. What is it about Hawaii that the natives need a word for "A day spent in nervous anticipation of a coughing spell"?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Billie's Calendar - November

This is the month of November from a delightful calendar Emily Carr wrote and illustrated from the point of view of her dog, Billie.

Postscript to Amsterdam


Just for fun I googled "Dorli Huvers" as I couldn't remember Eveline's last name except that it began with an "R". Lo and behold the first entry that came up was a notation about a book Dorli Huvers and Eveline Renes had translated together! It's called "Shanghai Baby" and was an erotic book written in China in 2000, subsequently banned and 40,000 copies publicly burned. All of which seems to have made it a cult hit in China and Europe. Too funny. Eveline appears to have translated quite a few books...mostly more mundane things like cookbooks. I think we'll try to track her down through her publisher. It could be fun to be in contact again.

P.P.S. I notice our Victoria library has two copies. I might take a look just to see what motivated all the fuss.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Amsterdam Sept 1976

It seems fitting that this last post of our 1976 trip is about Amsterdam and I'm posting it on November 11. Canadians liberated Holland in WW II and are very well liked by the Dutch. As usual for Nov 11 it is a rainy day on the west coast. It was also raining in Amsterdam when we arrived and it was so welcome after the drought in France that year. It also felt very cleansing as we were exhausted from the train trip and our clothes and especially our raincoats were filthy from the smog in Katowice. As I remember the train trip from Katowice was even longer than the 32 hours from Paris to Katowice and as usual we sat up to save money.

Dorli had invited us to stay with her; however, since she was back teaching we felt it would be better if we got our own accommodation. We were standing around the train station looking very dazed and dirty and thinking about how to find a cheap hotel when a middle-aged woman approached us and said she had a room for rent. She seemed quite respectable so we agreed. We wanted to take a taxi but she insisted on the bus and also insisted on Jim standing in line to get a book of tickets since it was cheaper (we never did see the rest of these tickets). She talked incessantly and pointed out the sights but we were too tired to really take anything in or have second thoughts about going along with her.

When we finally arrived her house and neighbourhood seemed very pleasant and the location did turn out to be centrally located. However, she had forgotten her key...but “luckily” she had a ladder, and “luckily” there was a second floor window open, and “luckily” Jim could climb up then let us in the front door. She seemed completely nonplussed by the whole thing and laughed heartily repeating, “Oh...what an adventure!”. We had had enough adventures for a while but were too worn out to do anything but agree. I suppose it could have been a scam and we were breaking into someone else’s house but all turned out well. Her house was spotless and beautifully furnished and we had a great room with a wonderfully comfortable bed that we collapsed into after having a breakfast she prepared for us. Very welcome as we hadn’t eaten for several hours.

We were pretty worn out so it was great to have our friends take us round to see everything in Amsterdam. They treated us to a wonderful “rijsttafel”...Indonesian Rice Table and took us to really neat “standing room only” pubs. Dorli had spent the early years of her life in a Japanese Prison Camp in Indonesia. She mainly remembers it not being that bad although it wasn’t that great. Where she was they all sang a lot to keep their spirits up and they seemed to have enough food.

We gave them some of the posters from Poland and they were thrilled with them. We hadn't quite got so far as to figure out how to get back to London so they booked us on an overnight voyage to London and drove us to the port. It was a relief to be taken care of at this point. We had our B & B booked in London so we had another good week there then home and onto our Oregon adventure.

Eveline and me.

Eveline took us round to the little villages in Holland in her Deux Chevaux...we just loved this car! It was a Sunday and interestingly enough the Protestant villages were very sombre and quiet and no shops were open whereas in the Catholic villages the atmosphere was lively and vibrant and ALL the shops were open selling all sorts of things. Eveline introduced us that day to smoked eel and raw herring...great stuff!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Poland 1976 (Part II)

Passport Control (Part II)

Before we finally left East Germany, officials came on the train and searched every nook and cranny for stowaways. It was a relief to be in Poland except that an abscess tooth began to bother me. It was night as we journeyed through Silesia, the heavy industrial part of Poland, on our way to Katowice. I had never experienced such an area...slag heap afer slag heap and raging furnaces intensified the pain of the tooth. I thought this must be what Hell is like.

So many images of that week in Poland come to mind. The instant acceptance of our friend’s family and their friends. The soot every morning on the windowsill in our bedroom. Our friend’s children were small for their age and suffered from respiratory problems due to the pollution. The government sent them to the mountains every summer for their health. The empty shelves in the food stores and the lineups whenever a truck appeared out of nowhere with some food for sale. The paradox that food actually seemed plentiful in people’s homes but little seemed to be distributed officially. The blackmarket. The system didn’t work. No one expected it to anymore. People adjusted.

We were invited to another home where the people had a backyard. They had built a campfire outside for us as a special treat and we roasted polish saucage. This was to make us feel at home since we came from Canada. Perhaps they thought we were cowboys. I was asked whether I had Indian blood since I had such dark hair. For a brief moment I was tempted to say yes and talk about my people, the Haida, who lived in the rainforest. It seemed so exotic to be part Indian so far from home! I resisted the temptation.

They took us to Krakow and the university they both had attended, the university where Copernicus studied. They showed us a memorial to commemorate the time Poland had been annexed completely by other countries and didn’t exist at all. That night they played nationalistic music and tried to explain the history of Poland. They mentioned they knew that North Americans liked to make Polish jokes. You could sense their hurt and confusion about why people did this. Our indifference to our own country puzzled them.

We became quite interested in the posters we saw and our friend took us to someone he knew who worked in poster design and she offered us copies. We ended up coming home with a couple of dozen of these posters, some of which we still have. One that Richard treasures and has is of the flag of the Polish Communist Party. Our friend was convinced we would never be able to take this poster into Canada even though we explained the Communist Party was legal in Canada.

One of the days we visited Auchswitz, the Nazi death camp where over 4 million Jews had been murdered. I didn’t want to go since I felt I had seen enough of this horror already but our friends felt it was important to see this and to pay our respects. Since it is a memorial it is very quiet but the exhibits are shouting at you all the time. The gigantic rooms full of shoes, of eye glasses, of children’s toys...the Nazi’s saved everything and didn’t have time to destroy it all before the Allied Forces arrived. The shouting was so overwhelming. How could one truly understand such atrocity?

At the end there was a chapel. People lay down fresh flowers and knelt. The hallway leading to this room had pictures of inmates from the prison within the camp. A prison within a prison. Friends and relatives had lain flowers on some of these pictures. The shouting stopped. We knelt as well and felt communion with the people who had lost their lives in this place. Jim and I talked about it later. It was something about the flowers on the portraits that lead to this experience of understanding with our entire bodies.

We felt so warmed by this family that we decided to finally take the plunge and have a child. We had been discussing the pros and cons for 10 years. In the end it was a completely emotional decision. We kept in correspondence and we were all thrilled when we could reunite in Paris in 1987. The met our son, the child they were partially responsible for. Last year the daughter wrote to tell us her father had died from a massive heart attack. We felt a profound loss.

Jim and I in Krakow. Our friend, Marian, took this picture and it is the best of the lot!

This very blurred picture is the only one I have of the family. I don't know why I didn't take more pictures.
Jim, Angele, Marian, the Grandmother, and the two children, Agathe and Simon

One of many lineups for food

Monument to when Poland didn't exist as a country

Sign for the Polish Communist Party

Streetcar pulled by horses. Most streetcars were powered but some were horsepowered.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Poland 1976 (Part I)

That seems to be the end of the letters I wrote home for the 1976 trip. There only seems to be a postcard sent from Katowice. When I was doing my Masters in 1991 I did some writing and one of the pieces I wrote was about the time we spent in Poland. The world had changed from 1976 in very significant ways and now has changed again in ways we couldn’t even imagine when I wrote this fourteen years ago. Our border crossing into Spain that was so casual in 1972 would be a fortress now because of the problems with the Basques.

Strange that I should posting this on Nov 9 as we just heard on the news that this is the anniversary (Nov 9, 1989) of the taking down of the wall in Berlin. So 11/9 seems to have a significance...and of course, 9/11. Some have speculated that Osama meant 9/11 to remind people of the 11/9 date of the Berlin wall, only there is always this confusion between Europe and North America on whether the day or month comes first. I still get confused about it. Anyway, here’s what I wrote in 1991.

Passport Control (Part 1)

An old passport of mine is stamped about 8 or 9 times from a country I have never set foot in. In 1976 we had only a transit visa to pass through East Germany by train to our destination in Poland. I do not have any stamp in this passport from Spain although we spent about 10 days in this country in 1972. We entered Spain from Biarritz in the south of France on the Atlantic coast. The Spanish border officials were enjoying lunch. The procedure was to slow down and wave your passports out the window. They nodded and raised their wine glasses to us. It was a warm invitation to enjoy their country and we encountered many such warm invitations during our stay.

On our way to Burgos we stopped to picnic in the countryside and were soon joined by four workmen doing some kind of road construction. Neither Jim nor I spoke any Spanish at that time but we did have a Spanish-English dictionary and a lot of words in French are similar so we communicated reasonably well for a couple of hours. I don’t remember what was said but we all laughed a lot. That could be from the wine they shared with us. They taught us how to drink properly from a wine skein. Our attempts provided quite a bit of laughter. After a while I felt I had begun to speak Spanish quite well; however, Jim informed me I was just slurring my words in English. A few hours later I became rather ill. I attributed it to the tuna from Senegal we had eaten at lunch. Jim attributed it to the vast quantity of wine I had consumed showing off my skills at drinking from a skein.

Some countries do not invite one so warmly. Taking the Orient Express route to Poland from Paris, one had to enter East Germany, then leave East Germany, then enter West Berlin, then leave West Berlin to enter East Berlin and East Germany again. A part of ancient history now. Intimidation seemed to be the name of the game as our passports were verified numerous times. We went through Berlin in the middle of the night and were rudely awakened by “passport control” shining flashlights in our eyes. Scrutinizing our real faces and the representations on the pasports many times.

We began to get nervous as we had false information on our visas. Glancing out the window to see guards with machine guns didn’t provide much encouragement. The false information seemed so harmless when we were in Nice at the apartment of the representative of the Polish government that arranged for the visas. We were heady from the wine, the sun, the people...the myriad of sensations that make up the south of France.

Our friend was a professeur of French at the University of Katowice and had invited us to spend a week with his family in Poland. We had met at a summer course in Cannes and had enjoyed each other’s company so much we cancelled our plans to go to Italy to take advantage of this opportunity.

Our friend had convinced us to claim we were “family” so that we only needed to exchange $2.00 a day at the official exchange rate, otherwise we would need to exchange $10.00 a day. This would allow us to exchange more money on the blackmarket, which meant three to four times the official exchange rate. He patiently explained the system in Poland. Basically, this meant that the system didn’t work so everything had to be done on the sly...on the blackmarket, the unofficial way. It was an accepted fact. For example, to buy a car you had to have the price in full then wait three to four years. Except if you could produce money from the West, then you got it immediately. This worked for most things.

We expressed concerns about ending up in the Polish equivalent of Siberia. He assured us Polish officials “s’enfichaient litteralement”...i.e. “no one gived a damn”. He forgot to mention about East German officials who really seemed to be caring who went through their country.

The next morning we were still in East Germany and the train stopped inexplicably for over two hours. Our compartment companions assured us this was quite normal. At least, that was the message we picked up. Our companions who had begun the 32 hour journey with us were Polish and were returning home. We didn’t speak Polish and they didn’t speak either French or English but we felt like long time friends when we parted. We spoke French and they spoke Polish. After a while we figured we might as well speak English since the actual words weren’t being understood anyway. It was surprising how much was understood.

(end of Part 1)

Jim rather pathetically drinking from a wine skein...our new found Spanish friend looking on rather disdainfully. Unfortunately no photo has survived of my excellent technique.

I did reflect in my last post on how I was rather amazed we were so content in these small apartments in 1976. I now remember our first trip in 1972 when we actually slept in the back of this Renault 5 with our feet hanging out resting on camp stools and a shower curtain draped over to keep the dew off. This was when we couldn't find a hotel for $3 a night or less.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Paris August 27 1976


August 27, 1976

Dear Mom and Dad,

Very glad to get the news that Margaret was better. We phoned home recently as Jim has received a fellowship and it was necessary to straighten out some details. Jim might have to take an early flight home as they would like him to assist with registration. However, he has written explaining the situation and hopefully they won’t insist on his coming home. It would mean a loss of an extra $500.00 which we can’t really afford.

We’ve really enjoyed our month in Paris and discovered new aspects of this very charming city. We went on a bus tour last night to see Paris and its sights illuminated. It was very enjoyable as we do most of our sightseeing in the day and it was interesting and very beautiful to see things from this point of view.

We went on a visit to the French Stock Exchange. The guided tour was much more elaborate than the one in London. It took about 1 1/2 hours and included a film, slide presentation, and short lecture and discussion period. It was in French of course and we picked up lots of good vocabulary. Also went on a tour of the sewers! It seems Paris has a system that is unique in the world.

We’re seeing lots of films, theatre, etc. and we’re at a point now where we can enjoy them without having to really concentrate on the French. Tomorrow we’re going to Reims for the day which is about a two hour train ride. This is the famous “Champagne” country and we’ll be visiting the caves and tasting the wine, of course! As well, there is a very famous cathedral there.

We’ll be sorry to leave France although we’re really looking forward to Poland and Amsterdam and getting back home. I’ll miss the wine and the baked goods. Everytime I bite into some of this fantastically fresh bread with a beautiful crust, I think of you, Dad!

We’ll have lots of things to do these last few days...see the last few sights, pack, move out of the apartment, etc. Glad to hear Grannie’s good and Craig is doing well. The next letter will be from “behind the iron curtain”! According to our friend, mail service isn’t that great so it might take a while to arrive.

All our love,

Jim and Janice

* Thinking back to our very small studio apartments in Cannes and Paris I wonder how we managed to be so content. Were we ever actually that young! The Cannes apartment had two equally uncomfortable sofabeds...one concave and one convex. We kept alternating trying to figure out if it was better to cling to the side all night or roll into the middle. In Paris there was a nice big (well, seemed big at the time) bed but that pretty much filled the room. They had squeezed in a small kitchen table and two wooden chairs and that was about it.

More photos from April/05

Les "artistes" in Monmartre. This area was always rather touristy and tacky but REALLY is now. Worth it to see Sacré-Coeur and the view of Paris from here although even that isn't the same with all the pollution now.


I managed to sneak this photo of the inside of Sacré-Coeur...a no-no

And probably the best ice cream in Europe....Berthillon on Ile St. Louis

I thought these toasters were so whimsical...and the French don't really even eat toast much! Of course, why would you when you have that fantastic bread.

The bouquinistes along the Seine are always fun to browse

This is the bottle of a very special Champagne we bought in Rheims at the Mumms Cave. There initially wasn't any available but when the tour guide found out we were Canadians he "found" a bottle for us. At the time Seagrams of Canada owned Mumms. Something we didn't know and is no longer the case. I forget how much it cost (selling for around $300 on the Internet now) but we definitely couldn't afford it. We figured we'd save it for our first born or something...ended up drinking it as soon as we got back to Paris that day. As our friends and family know, we are very much live for the moment types!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Paris Aug 12 1976


August 12, 1976

Dear Mom and Dad,

Excuse the writing paper but I had some time between classes. In the end we did get your mail which was nice because it would have been a long time without any news. I was very glad to hear that you invited Monique to Gabriola for the holiday week-end. She raved to me in her letter about the wonderful time she had and how much she appreciated your kindness

It’s difficult to be in another country away from your family and when your best friends leave too it makes it all the more difficult. I’m very happy you’re taking care of her while we’re absent. As I’m sure you must be aware after spending a few days with her, she is an extremely warm person and she gives pleasure and happiness to everyone. Her family misses her very much and are unhappy she has decided to live in Canada. However, they realize that she is perfectly suited to her job in Canada and she wouldn’t be able to do the same thing in France.

Monique’s fears for us in Paris were unfounded as we are enjoying Paris very much...our apartment is cool and tranquil and we’re very pleased with it. It isn’t exactly deluxe but it’s better than a cheap hotel room and we can cook which saves a lot of money. Also, we are very pleased with our courses and our teachers...it’s just perfect.

We’re looking forward very much to our trip to Poland and are anxious to see our friend again and meet his wife and children. Also, it should be fascinating to visit a communist country.

The courses are really keeping us busy along with all the exciting things to see and do here.

All our love,

Jim and Janice

Some more photos from our April/05 trip to Paris:

This is a market very close to our hotel in the Latin Quarter and was our first experience of a French market in 1972. Hasn't really changed much.

This is a ceiling in the Louvre. I hadn't been to the Louvre for years and never been inside the "pyramid" so that was quite neat. During that August in '76 I did go to the Louvre six times and still didn't see everything...

Look...no people! This photo was quite a feat because there are always hordes around the Venus de Milo and every Japanese tourist has to have their picture taken in front.

The Musée d'Orsay is great for all the wonderful impressionist paintings and for this view of the Seine, etc.

This fabulous Musée d'Orsay clock...the original railway clock from the station. They certainly went all out with their railways stations in those days.

It always lends a rather nice feel to have artists painting in the art museums.

The Van Gogh's remain my favourite at the Orsay.