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Anne Frandi-Coory’s maternal Italian great grandmother Raffaela Marisi Mansi Grego

 

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Wow! That ‘Raffaela’s Last Dream’ in Dragons, Deserts and Dreams,   is just so, so beautiful, and I love it. But then again I love everything you do, my darling Anne. You have put me by her bedside. You have me holding and squeezing her hand as I read and hear her, drifting through the pages of her life, with all the love and emotion of a woman who knows she will soon be flying through heaven, alongside the author of all things in the universe.
For beautiful Raffaela has already experienced hell on earth. And I, the reader was there when it was all happening, so cleverly condensed in, ‘the present tense’. You’re such a great writer Anne, you always have the ability to stir up my emotions.
After I finished reading, in the dark now, I closed my eyes and wept and sobbed out loud, as I often do, when I awake from such dreams. Dreams I have of my grandmother, the one person who never stopped loving me.
Dreams, nowadays in my secret place I call ‘La La land’. A place I find myself a lot lately as my body too, is almost worn out. A place where I’m not really asleep, but then again I’m not altogether awake. All I have to do is remain quiet, usually in the afternoon, close my eyes as I rest alone on my sofa, and I’m there, in my beautiful ‘La La Land’, where anything can happen.
Thank you so very much for introducing me to your wonderful, courageous and most lovely, ‘Raffaela’ Anne, I am so grateful to find her at last. She, like you will remain forever with me, as I know I will never forget you both.

-Arabella Marx, @thatmarxtart Australia 2017

‘Raffaela’s Last Dream’ by Anne Frandi-Coory

From Dragons, Deserts and Dreams

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Raffaela and Filippo  Greco [anglicised to Grego]

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More comments from Rita Roberts, Crete:

Rita Roberts: This is so beautiful Anne, Thank you for sharing.

Anne Frandi-Coory: Yes Rita, it’s a comment that really touches the heart strings…Arabella has since died as she was quite elderly when she wrote the comment. We followed each other on Twitter initially because we both liked reading similar books. And then she bought both my books: ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’ and ‘Dragons, Deserts and Dreams’. RIP lovely Arabella Marx.

Rita: So nice she was in touch with you before she passed though, Anne.

Anne: Yes Rita, and I treasure the fact that Arabella connected with me and my writing…I do feel so humbled. She had a very sharp mind, with an erudition I envied. xx

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The comments below were posted here on my Blog  by David Edward Anthony, USA  on page: Lebanese Family Tree and Photos.  

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David:

I LOVE your website. I’m of two worlds, too, in this case 1/2 Lebanese and 1/2 Irish. The Lebanese side arrived in the USA from Lebanon in 1892.

Amelia Coory, Joseph’s sister who died from TB at 17 yrs old.

The photo of Amelia Coory looks so very much like one of my cousins (who is 1/2 Lebanese and 1/2 Italian). Similarly to Amelia, my sitoo’s [grandmother] brother Peter died of “exposure” in the 1890s. He was perhaps 10 years old. In the USA at least, there was a terrible depression (the “Panic of 1892”) that led to widespread unemployment. In my great-grandparents’ case, they couldn’t get work have to live outside in a lean-to in the winter- it probably led to my grandmother’s brother’s death.

I see you have a Khalil Gibran – inspired drawing at the top of your page; interestingly enough, there are Gibrans in my family’s old parish.

Sketch by Khalil Gibran

Anne:

Hi David, good to hear your story. Khalil Gibran was born in my grandparents’ village in Bcharre and moved to USA when the Catholic Maronite minority were suffering persecution by muslims. We are related to his family through marriage [Khouri]. If your family came from Bcharre there is a good chance there will be a family connection because my grandfather’s sisters emigrated to the US. Lebanese/Irish combination would make for a volatile mix as does Lebanese/Italian, I would say?

David:

Hi! Thank you so much for the reply.

Yes! Irish-Lebanese is a volatile mix! My Irish mother could be very much the unstoppable force where my Lebanese dad was the immovable object. When she got excited, it was like a tornado was set loose in our living room- and that Tornado came up against the Mt. Everest that was my dad!

My family isn’t from Bcharre. It’s from a very similar town not that far away to the west- a town called Ehden.

I hesitated- strongly- on telling you about Ehden as Bcharre and Ehden are two very similar towns – Maronite Catholic and set in the mountains- photos of both towns make them even look similar- but they historically are two rival towns as well. I suspect you’ve heard in your life how Italian towns are rivals- very similar thing.

Both Ehden and Bcharre are *very* ancient towns. Both rightfully can boast an ancient heritage- with ancient buildings and such. Bcharre, if I remember right, boasts the oldest cedars in existence (and among many things, of course being the birthplace of Khalil Gibran)..while Ehden, for example, hosts Horsh Ehden, a very ancient nature preserve, and also the oldest Maronite church in the world.

Now, the reaction of many old Bcharre people on hearing from someone from Ehden is usually something like, “Ehden! Those people are NO GOOD.” Which goes back to the book, The Arab Mind* and the author’s conclusion that there’s really not much middle ground between liking and dislike in the Middle East.

I hope (!) that my telling you I’m from Ehden (really Zghorta, which is its mirror town – Zghorta in the winter and Ehden in the summer) doesn’t give you a bad vibe!

Anne:

I was a bit like your mum when I was younger-very fiery, not sure many people understood me. But I didn’t inherit the ethnocentricity that my grandparents brought with them from Lebanon because I spent my formative years in an orphanage. My mother became mentally ill (not surprisingly) and dad’s family didn’t want me because my mother was Italian. However, I love the Lebanese people and the Italian people and consider myself blessed, and I am proud, because of the wonderful positive traits I and my children have inherited. Writing Whatever Happened To Ishtar? helped me to see that. So, David, the fact you are Lebanese is fantastic!

*READ my review here:

‘The Arab Mind’ by Raphael Patai – A Book Review by Anne frandi-Coory

 

David:

I’ve read this book as well – about two years ago. It helped me, too, connect to my Middle Eastern roots. As I’m half of Irish descent, and the Irish side of the family being HUGE, I tended to spend far more time with the Irish side than the Lebanese side. Plus my father, a very kind man, tended to be a very reticent man. As the Lebanese side of the family was very small, I tended to not get hardly any exposure to the Lebanese side; even though, quite frankly, I looked *very* Lebanese. I kind of stuck out when visiting my Irish cousins! 🙂

I remember reading in the above book an account that the author witnessed of Middle Eastern people leaving a movie theater. People leaving the movie often showed no middle ground. They either LOVED the movie, or they HATED it. That lack of a “middle ground” is very close to my own personal experiences- and reading the above, it seems that you had similar experiences? Either they accept you wholeheartedly..or not at all. Growing up, it confused me. I saw people being what I called “favorited” or not favorited at all. It took me many, many years (and some hurt) to figure out what was going on.

That said, I didn’t know that the tidbits of language I had picked up from my jidoo [grandfather] weren’t really Arabic until I was an older teen. What happened was that a distant cousin north Lebanon visited our family. When he spoke to my jidoo, they couldn’t understand a word they were saying to one another. My jidoo was raised to speak what he was believed as Arabic from a young age- in fact, it was his first language. Why couldn’t my cousin from Beirut understand him?

In the end, we figured it out. My cousin spoke modern Arabic. My jidoo spoke a form of Aramaic that was spoken more than a century ago, which was passed onto him in the USA by his family. Not only was my jidoo speaking another, older language, he was speaking a form of it that was about a century old!

I really like your site. I don’t have much time to check it out from top to bottom; I hope it’s okay if I come back and read through it some time! Thank you for posting so much interesting stuff!

Anne:

Here in my review of another book you may be interested in:

The Maronites in History by Matti Moosa 

The comments below were posted here on my Blog  by Miriam Burke, NZ on page:  Lebanese Family Tree and Photos.  

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Subjects: My father, Joseph Jacob Habib Eleishah Coory, his brother Michael Patrick Coory, Patrick’s wife, Harriet and their daughter, Yvonne.

Joseph and Michael Coory 1

Brothers Joseph and Michael Coory

The book: Whatever happened To Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest to Find Answers For Generations of Defeated Mothers

Miriam Burke is Michael Patrick Coory’s granddaughter and daughter of Yvonne Coory.

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Dear Anne

I just wanted to post you something beautiful and I know you love it:  (Blue Danube Ballet) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSulONzgewQ

Dear Miriam

How did you know about the glass case? You’ve already read my book! The ballet brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much, Miriam xxxxx

Dear Anne

I wanted to send you something you could keep and play over and over again without it getting taken off you. Yes Anne, I rushed out and got your book and I am part way through. It has touched me so very much, I only wish you had confided in my nanna Harriet, I’m so sad to know how very bad you and your brothers were treated. I relate to the screaming and yelling; I always remember I would get scared when all of a sudden one would start arguing and the rest would jump in like a pack of hyenas attracting prey.

Did you know your dad was my most favourite great uncle? I remember Mum took me to Cherry Farm to visit him and I was so disgusted the family had put him in such an awful place. I told Mum I never want to go back. Uncle Joe was so pale and thin looking, I didn’t want to believe it was him. 😦 I remembered Tim!!!! [Joseph’s beloved dog] Oh how I loved him but when I think of Tim he was very old.

I came across your blog by accident the other day. My sister-in-law Charmaine Burke (nee Coory) Victor Coory’s adopted daughter’s brother John had passed and I was looking on the ‘net for details of his funeral. I was drawn here after names came up that I was familiar with. I’m so very pleased I found you. 🙂 xxx

Dear Miriam

OMG! you knew my dad. He and uncle Mick [Michael Coory] were very close and had similar lives until my dad [Joseph Coory] married my mother [Doreen Frandi], and The Family never forgave him. . I know that uncle Mick was staying with the Coory family at Carroll Street when your Nana Harriet was so ill and after she died. However, he was so horrified by the way the family treated uncle Henry’s children after he died, Mick moved out and stayed with your mum. I am so glad you found me. Xxxxx

Dear Anne

Who could forget Uncle Joe, I was a young girl, Anne when Uncle Joe died but he was someone in the house I felt I connected to and felt comfortable being around….he had sparkling eyes, a friendly smile and a gentle soul. See my brothers and I are out casts also on the Todd side for the stupid reason our Mother and Father got divorced. When we were small children, why did we get the feeling we had done something wrong? Even now I’ve been in touch with my Dad’s side of the family and don’t feel I fit in anywhere. They look at me as though I’m an alien…I know they see Mum when they look at me, Mum did tell me they treated her so bad even when she was married to Bryan. I’ve been blessed with her looks and she lives on in me…oh and the other wonderful thing I’ve been blessed with is my Nanna Harriet’s nature…LOL She was a bit of a rebel, could stand up for herself and a wonderful sense of humour. I remember she did tell lies though, only to keep the peace but she would laugh and giggle like a small child at every time she told one.

I remember.one day Great Aunt Georgina was yelling out to us and Nanna said to me “oh no here’s the fog-horn coming”…I started to giggle and Nanna said just say nothing and go along with me. We were staying up in Wanaka at the holiday home and Nanna and I were in the small scamper on the section. Georgina came over and asked if we had been to church? Nanna said yes of course we had, “we were sitting near the back [of the church]”. Of course we didn’t go to church that day. I wonder if they knew of Nanna’s tattoo?. A small butterfly she had on her thigh…hence my love of anything to do with butterflies. I have one hanging on my wall and when I look up at it I think of Nanna. She was too modern to be a nanna in those days…I thought she was just the coolest Nanna in the world! They both did so much for Mum and us children especially when Dad left. We were so lucky to have wonderful grandparents.

Aunt Alma who really wasn’t our Aunt was Mum’s favourite to talk to…Aunt Alma we had more to do with and visit than the house in Carroll Street in later years when Nanna was in a retirement home. Mum and I would always make sure we called into visit Alma when visiting Granddad while he was living at Carroll St. You know Anne, think of yourself as a caterpillar slowly crawling along in your youth, everything seems a struggle, you don’t feel good about  yourself, you feel like you are going  nowhere, then one day you just get so tired of your struggle you just want to curl up into a ball and sleep forever away from the world; then the moment you awake you feel different, you have grown into a colourful butterfly that can now fly above all those struggles you once had…you’re beautiful…just keep spreading those wings! xx Miriam 

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Read more here about Joseph in an excerpt from  Whatever Happened To Ishtar? >>>>>>>>>>>>>> My Father Joseph Jacob Habib Eleishah Coory 

 

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L to R: Joseph, Michael, Frederick and Philip Coory with their mother Eva Arida Coory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Poetry, photographs and painting Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory. All Rights Reserved 3 June 2019 

*Painting acrylic on canvas*

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You Yangs…

Yellow, blue, eucalypts

ancient river red gums,

centuries in the making; naked branches,

petrified arms, gnarled and grey

beckoning, pleading, monster-like

awaiting more fire to sprout new life

darkened cavities like gaping mouths,

homes for many a creature.

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Seems a graveyard for once-thriving

river red gums, companion granite rock

cracked and sentry-like, guarding;

fossilized years of earthly rumblings  

groaning low Wadawurrung mountains 

weathered skeletons hovering, creaking

trunks given up on survival?

Crashed to earth, limbs flailing

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so dry, roots no longer gripping

many moons of rainless clouds

tortured, pitiful, writhing gums; so

much crumbling charcoal clinging;

kindling amassing for a future

conflagration that one day must come

alas what wildlife lurks beneath?

Koala cling high amongst the thinning gums.

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Myriad birds thrive in this strange landscape

in harmony and yet, noisy squabbling,

from long shared and distant pasts;  

Magpies’ melodious carolling,

New Holland honey eaters chattering

colourful feathers fleetingly observed

camouflaged in the skyward flowering gums,

laughing Kookaburra and croaking Wattlebird.

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Silence unobserved atop granite peaks in the midst of a sweeping lava plain.

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THE BUTLER AND THE NANNY

 

Not far away, in a pretty town, ‘twas uncanny

Lived the Butler of some repute, and the Nanny

She who could cook up many a tasty feast

Her pastry, pies, and rice dishes not the least

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The Butler, as always he answered a knock

In his best bow tie, his head he would cock

“Coffee, tea or milk” he’d ask those who came to visit

“Come, take a seat, here at table” he’d politely insist

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Miss Amber and Master Jack often came by to play

Ready to paint or to sketch, they’d spend mostly a day

As well Master Jack liked to sing, drama was his want

While Miss Amber was a dancer, her love,  en pointe

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Clever Little Miss and astute Little Master,

Always knew the Butler could avert disaster

And when his index finger was raised above

They both knew it was time to listen, and behave

 

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The Butler and the Nanny loved birds in their garden

If Zak the cat stalked them, he’d not get a pardon

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Birds large and small searching for grubs to eat

Zak was only allowed to watch from the window seat

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That Little Miss she’d scold Zak if birds he chased

To kill such beautiful creatures would be such a waste

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While Little Master instructs Zak “give mice a chance”

They’ll freeze or shiver when Zak takes a glance

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Dressing up in costumes and acting out stories galore

Was drama Master Jack, Miss Amber, loved to explore

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Of course, she always wanted to be a royal queen

He preferred to fight monsters in nearly every scene

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Such a musical family, they love dancing and singing

With mummy on piano and daddy guitar-a-strumming

*****

Master Jack dreams one day he’ll join the family band

But for now he and Miss Amber join in, hand in hand

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At night when daddy, mummy finally arrive at the door

The Butler serves a snack, to their delight and more

So tired and weary after several hard-working weeks

Just to sit down, relax, and is all every grown up seeks

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*Dedicated to my grandchildren, Amber and Jack, who inspire me to join them in the most fantastical dramas* 

Poetry and Artwork Copyright To Anne Frandi-Coory.

All Rights Reserved 9 May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I received the wonderful Christmas gift of Michelle Obama’s autobiography, ‘BECOMING’.
and I did enjoy reading this beautifully written book. I  thoroughly recommend it.
What an inspirational and intelligent woman she is. Michelle Obama’s life journey begins with her childhood in a poor, black neighbourhood in Chicago, and takes us through her years at school, university, as a corporate lawyer, and on to the eight years in which she reluctantly gives up her much loved career to become the First Lady of the United States of America
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Michelle (a descendant of African slaves) wastes not one minute of her time as First Lady, establishing:   a huge vegetable garden in the White House grounds to which she invites disadvantaged families to share in, mentoring programmes in schools and universities for disadvantaged children, healthy food delivered to schools for millions of children across the US, a movement to encourage schools to implement at least 60 mins of exercise every day… and these are just a few of her accomplishments. There is so much more that this amazing woman achieved, and most of it with an aim to better the lives of disadvantaged children, especially girls and young women. For as Michelle explains in her book, so many boards and influential meetings she attended over many years, were mostly made up of white males, where so often she was the only woman present, or the only African American or mixed race person in a group of world leaders.
I think readers will agree with me when they reach the last pages of this book, that Michelle Obama, by her example of selflessness and high standards in attaining her achievements, has inspired many women of mixed race in the USA to garner their inner strengths and voices, to explore their choices in life, and to aim for higher ideals.  One of the last paragraphs in the book reads:
“There are portraits of me and Barack now hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, a fact that humbles us both. I doubt that anyone looking at our two childhoods, our circumstances, would ever have predicted we’d land in those halls. The paintings are lovely, but what matters most is that they’re there for young people to see – that our faces help dismantle the perception that in order to be enshrined in history, you have to look a certain way. If we belong, then so too, can many others.”
-Anne Frandi-Coory
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Vennie Kocsis

1. We want you in our life.

Trauma survivors want friends, loved ones, and partners. We want a social life which fits into our own comfort zone. We may not be able to adapt to your social preferences in the same way you are able to adapt to ours. This can be for many reasons. For instance, something you enjoy may cause us anxiety. This is where you will need to be willing to accompany us while at the same time accepting we cannot always accompany you.

We want the same things in our lives that most people do: happiness, peace, and security. We just sometimes require them under different circumstances, and we need you to both understand and accept this.

As a trauma survivor heals, we also gain a maturity and an understanding that not everyone is equipped to be in our lives. We respect you when you are honest about this. If you don’t feel a trauma survivor is the right fit to be in your life, that is okay. You do us a favor when you do not enter our lives if you are not invested emotionally.

If you do decide that you want to enter our life, be willing to take things very slow. We need your patience. The more we heal, the more we grow, release triggers and can bloom. Connecting with a healing trauma survivor can be a rewarding and celebratory experience. We really do appreciate when someone cares about us with the intent of supporting our way forward.

2. We need to know we can trust you.

Survivors of child abuse are conditioned from very young ages that we cannot trust people who claim to love us. This is because the people we were supposed to be able to trust were the same people who hurt us. Sometimes a child abuse survivor is still learning to define what the meaning of love is.  Many of us who have suffered sexual abuse were groomed lovingly into being coercively raped. This can cause confusion when an abuser is also loving toward a child, resulting in confusion when we reach adulthood.

It will take more time and open communication to gain our trust.

For trauma survivors, things can sometimes be very black and white. When trust is broken with us, it can either take us a long time to regain it, or we do not ever regain it with you again. I am one of those types of people. If someone shows me their true colors are rooted in manipulation, ill intent or disloyalty, I will most likely never interact with that individual again.

You may find that many of us have a deep need for loyalty and strong ethics in the people we relate to. When we are in a trusting space with someone, we feel safe. Because we rarely felt safe as children, feeling safe as adults can be a major factor in the balance of our mental health. Be trustworthy and loyal. It can be an honor to be in our lives since many of us rarely allow others in deeply.

3. Know our trauma.

Get to know what happened to your friend or significant other. Be genuinely interested. You may not understand our childhood experiences. It may feel horrible to you. It is natural to feel disgust at hearing about abuses happening to children. This makes you human. It means you care. We appreciate you for feeling WITH us. When we are healed, many of us survivors do not live a daily private life of continually speaking of our trauma. However, understanding the depth of what has happened to us and how it has affected us will help you understand who we are.

Some of the things you might hear may be difficult to wrap your head around. Imagine having experienced it. We survivors often feel the same way about our own experiences.

Be willing to listen with acceptance. Remember that you do not need to have the same experiences as someone else to understand and accept their experiences.

If we write about our trauma, be willing to read it. Once, I dated a man who asked me about my childhood. I suggested that he read my book, Cult Child, which would let him know everything that happened in my childhood. I spent seven years writing my biography. While I can give a summary of my experiences, if someone is going to be in my life on a romantic level, they should be willing to know the details of what I endured. His retort was that he shouldn’t have to read a “manifesto” of my life. He didn’t get any more of my time. Do not speak to us this way. It’s an honor to read our journals and experiences since it is not easy for us to write about it.

Healed trauma survivors can be very strong together as friends, business partners and in romantic relationships. Because both have experienced traumas, they will most likely have a higher level of mindfulness and understanding with one another. This can be a strong dynamic. If you are healing, strive to connect with other healing survivors. Healed survivors most often inspire one another.

4. Educate yourself about our impairments.

Many child abuse survivors carry impairments such as Complex PTSD, Anxiety, Agoraphobia, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Hypersensitivity, Startle Response, OCD, Depression or other bi-products of what mentally ill people did to us. Because an abuse survivor’s scars are not visible, many people forget their friend or significant other carries such impairments. This can be difficult for us. We want and need you to remember that we have impairments.

For example, I am deaf in my right ear. Because of this, I can have higher vocal volumes, especially in loud spaces, or I need others to speak up, so I can hear.  Once, when I was watching a movie with a friend, she remembered my hearing impairment and put on subtitles, without me even asking. It warmed my heart. These small moments of mindfulness mean the world to me.

If you are interested in personally connecting with a child abuse survivor, educate yourself on what our impairments are about.  Read credible information. Learn what the signals are for triggers and how you can be a support person if a trigger happens. The brain is an amazing organ. Learning how trauma affects the brain of a developing child is astronomic in understanding why child abuse survivors operate the way we do.

When you can speak our language, it is easier for us to communicate with you. This creates an ease for us. We do not have to struggle in communicating what we may be going through, because we are aware that you get it. For example, a couple signs of a trigger could be the pupils of the eyes becoming larger and a frozen body stance. Knowing these symptoms can help you recognize them if they arise. Sometimes a trauma survivor feels shame and stays quiet about what is happening in our head. When you recognize the signs of our triggers, and softly rein us in, it creates an open channel for us to move through it.

As we heal, you will notice that changes occur. Things which once triggered us may not trigger us anymore.  We may have highs and lows of anxiety or depressive periods depending on what happens in our lives. We don’t deal with situations or see the world the same way as non-trauma adults do. Knowing how our impairments work can give you the tools to support us through this journey.  Plus, nerding out on the way the human brain functions can be super fun.

5. Don’t take our abuse personally or try and fix it.

You may want to fix everything. You may become frustrated that you cannot fix some things.  You will meet child abuse victims who are still in their abuse base. You get to choose what your own comfort level is. Don’t make a victim your pet project. Victims must choose their healing as they learn the tools to do so. You will find yourself exhausted if you fall into the belief that you can fix a person who has not chosen to heal themselves. It is okay to softly move on before you become vested. It is better for all parties involved when you decide responsibly to do so.

It can be difficult to watch someone you love have days of crying or silence; a state of being that you may not understand, or even think might be your fault. Remember that not everything is about you. Sometimes we just need to be heard or hugged. Sometimes we need to cry. Let us. This is where holding space is a necessity. A healing survivor will possibly ask for your input for self-care.  We may be more open with what we are feeling and dealing with in our head when you hold space for us.

There is a saying; Let the past go. I disagree. If trauma survivors could wave a wand and make the past go away, oh, how we would. No. The past holds onto us, and we spend our lives prying its fingers away.

As we heal and face our trauma, we learn the art of taking dominion over our memories. We learn that we do not have to relive the flashbacks when they arrive. It takes time to accomplish this state of being.

Connecting with a trauma survivor requires a great amount of empathy and patience. If you don’t understand us, study and read up on what we live with each day. I personally respect when someone is honest with me about whether they are or are not a good fit in my life.

Be kind. Be gentle. Most of all, be real. 

– Vennie Kocsis

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Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and other publications. She is also a poet.

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