Wednesday, May 28, 2014

FCS - What is that?

Acronyms, they're everywhere. Some people talk in them as if everyone could know what they mean, in-talk for in-groups with in-jokes. What could FSC stand for? It's nothing to do with Trees for Travel this time, but it is to do with timber, sometimes.

Maybe Fun, Silliness and Chortling while taking a break from building?

Ahhh, if only that were the case.

Perhaps, Fortitude, Strength and Capability? Yes, I think we need a critical mass of such qualities, lately.

That acronym, FSC, I've chosen to represent the most basic requirements of life - Food, Clothing, Shelter.

Why? Aha, this is quite a scary tale. My apologies, but we need to know about this, just in case, and it's vital.

Take away one of those, remove food, or clothing, or shelter, or make it so expensive many people cannot afford to have this necessity, then what happens? Rising unrest, more crime, social disintegration, beggars, bad health, more education failures, and other vital activities are affected adversely, poverty causes dire problems.

But the government of my country, Aotearoa New Zealand is selling what we the people own. This right wing privatising force have carried out massive amounts of this unfair and unwise dealing already. Selling what they have no right to offer in the first place. They're selling New Zealand's assets to anyone with enough money, (against the will of the people), often to those who they're friends or associated with, (and who may give them a job when they lose the next election). It's that blatant now. They're not just selling power companies either, it's not that obvious any more what's going, and we must surely stand against this disapearance, this thievery, this ruination.

Housing - an election issue, no mistaking it, our homes appear threatened. Everyone's house. They're starting with the poorest people's dwellings, but eventually you may be sure they'd like all NZ property owned by just one or two corporations. Yes, even that over-priced villa you just bought for a million dollars, or someone you know or heard of did, they want that eventually too. Being the government means they can manage things so they can get those places in time too. Gradually moving on over....

Make a stand now, stand for diversity and fairness. Please keep reading and see what you think.

A friend, Frith Trezevant, who lives in England pointed out this fact - "You're not just saving homes. You are trying to save a way of life and I hope you manage it. Auckland has become the City of Sales. It's destined to become one huge land bank.
Areas of Central London are now like this, with huge empty homes in a dilapidated state because the owners don't live there and don't need to do anything to the houses in order for them to maintain or increase in value. The market does that for them."

You may think that if you own a house it's no problem, but then real estate people harrass some home owners daily, (they want to sell to developers, or developers have them doing this badgering), and the council may get you out with a rates increase. City councils also work with central government on pet projects, you see. One rate increase arrives in your inbox or letterbox that finally really is too high. You have to sell the house and move somewhere smaller. But nowhere smaller, and accessible, is affordable in your area by then either. No social housing available in ten or so years time, all the Housing New Zealand places sold to developers. Or if they have some HNZ places, they are for families, or people younger or fitter than you are, sorry.

Or, here's the extreme end of this -  the government simply takes houses by force. It happened before, to indigenous people. They also take the houses of criminals, nowadays, if the place was used for crime. They could do this again, to everyone, if they wangle it and if you refuse to speak up, now. They make the laws. What say the government makes a law that makes you a criminal? Me one too, for writing this blog? This does happen, it has happened and is happening elsewhere, why not here? They have the police on their side. This government may make things how they want them to be, slowly but surely, and they could behave like you do not matter. That's where we're heading for everyone, if we do not make a stand now.

They did take away the laws against treachery, let us not forget. Then they behaved like traitors. That was no accident, (the law change).

Writing this blog scares me. That's the country I live in now. I am frightened of writing anything critical of the government. I'm brave, but I also could soon disappear, or lose any hope of working for various reasons created by this government for people like me, or just go insane with the pressure of knowing what trouble we are in and that not enough people are willing to stand against the ruination. Too many cowards, too many ignorant, too many cannot be bothered, and the rest unable to, tired, ill, scared, running away....

But yes, so, sorry but these so-called servants of the people, (in a democracy, politicians and government officials are in office to serve us), they may make you home-owners sell to their developer friends, their speculator friends, more often than not. Subtle machinations occur which are hard to see or follow. 

You do notice, however, that house prices go through the roof and into the outer stratosphere. No one can live in outer space without expensive technology, but there are the price tags way up there somewhere unreadable, and anyway unaffordable....

Those people, this minute, in Housing New Zealand properties, (which were never supposed to be sold, ever, which were always meant to be social housing), they're not as lucky, no luxury of seeing a rates bill slowly rise. Instead they have agreements, legal agreements, ignored, broken; instead they have foul treatment from officials and police. I learnt this at a meeting in Grey Lynn this evening. The stories I'd heard before were nothing compared to what was revealed there tonight.

This is a NZ-wide issue, too. This government are trying mass evictions and selling housing to developers, in a few places first, to see how they can get away with things. In Pomare, there are entire streets of empty houses, both sides of the road. The government is reducing their housing stock, rebuying only a few when new places are built, (not replacing the many demolished). But they have hundreds of people waiting for houses.

All of these people in Aotearoa New Zealand are waiting for a place to live -

In Glen Innes, Tamaki Makaurau Auckland they get fifteen of these 90 day notices to leave Housing New Zealand (HNZ) homes, a week. Any landlord may give 90 days notice without reason, but these tenants are some of the most vulnerable and they have often nowhere else to go. HNZ is supposed to provide social housing, and it is failing the people of our lovely country. The government is deliberately setting out to wreck lives with this action, and part of that is how officials and police treat the tenants involved.

Locals have been fighting those Glen Innes evictions for three years. Many of them involve older, frail people too. A man who spoke tonight is 'just a labourer' he told us, his mangled hands evidence of years of manual work. He built roads or buildings for people perhaps, valuable work that created assets for someone. Now he's retired he's treated like less than human, because he's in the way of a government plan to privatise assets we all are supposed to own and benefit from?

Officials may arrive without warning in the night with forms to sign, to get tenants to agree to move. These bullies shove papers at women alone, in houses where some have lived for decades. Some women ill, (one woman with breast cancer endured this treatment), also making demands of the widows of returned servicemen, (they always come for the women first). These government officials intimidate them into signing and leaving, sometimes. 

Old people lie awake worried at night. They thought they had life-time tenancies, legally given years ago, now they have no idea where they can go. They have no one to help them but their neighbours, and the community faces disintegration.

Shocking stories told tonight in Grey Lynn at the community centre. People from Westmere, Glen Innes, Avondale, Pt Chevalier, Grey Lynn, Mt Albert, Mt Eden, Ponsonby and the central city were there, plus a few others.

In Grey Lynn, evidence was illegally gathered by HNZ from a bank. They then tried to sue a tenant for fraud, which is not going to happen, because the figures were not understood properly. It appears it was perhaps simply an intimidation tactic. Or maybe they think they can do anything they like? Are government departments now above the law?

Contact people with more information through this facebook page and get involved. Read what's posted there and send in more information, please do. 

Mobilise when needed and get on the ground to stand with the good people of Glen Innes, too. 

Stand against the evictions. 

We can stop them.

Send emails and letters to the PM and MPs, including opposition members, cc them in. Tell them we require social housing, and we require fair treatment of all citizens of this country. We also want diverse neighbourhoods. The email addresses are here -

People in Glen Innes (GI) need people on the ground, to feel supported.

I say HNZ, by the way, but did you know that this agency has recently been demolished in fact, like many of our valuable houses? This is a huge asset for NZ, it was worth 15. 1 billion dollars. Yes, billions. What will happen to it now? HNZ was making money for our country and the people here. All the citizens.  Now?
On the 14th of April 2014 Housing New Zealand as a state agency for the provision of Social Housing is to be abolished, and the $15.1 billion dollar State House asset will be transferred to WINZ and private sector charities and Iwi groups.
The last great privatisation
The State Housing asset worth is worth $15.1 billion and is one of the government’s biggest remaining assets, housing approximately 200,000 people and returning to the government roughly $100million per annum which is regarded by accountants as a very poor return on investment, but though being a relatively small return on investment it is set to get worse.
- See more at:
On the 14th of April 2014 Housing New Zealand as a state agency for the provision of Social Housing is to be abolished, and the $15.1 billion dollar State House asset will be transferred to WINZ and private sector charities and Iwi groups.
The last great privatisation
The State Housing asset worth is worth $15.1 billion and is one of the government’s biggest remaining assets, housing approximately 200,000 people and returning to the government roughly $100million per annum which is regarded by accountants as a very poor return on investment, but though being a relatively small return on investment it is set to get worse.
- See more at:

They stopped a house being moved two weeks ago, in GI. But since then, agents who now act for what was HNZ,  are sending in people to demolish houses on the spot (if they've got someone out of there). 

There are many empty houses. This government allows houses to stand empty while people are homeless, while people are on lists waiting for houses for their children and themselves, in winter, why?

Wasteful behaviour too, smashing a house instead of relocating it. That's not only someone's home going either, it's your money being destroyed. That house was worth something to the people of NZ, as income. A relocated house is sold, a destroyed dwelling is mere firewood and landfill.

These are state-owned houses bought as a service to the people of New Zealand, bought with your forebears' taxes, (not a business at all). The houses were bought long ago in many cases and have in any case gathered rent money for all New Zealanders, they're now paid off and simply gather revenue. They also house lower income and vulnerable people so they have a place to live, do not beg on the streets, or drift homeless, sleeping rough. Government collected their rents to pay for our schools, hospitals and roads, our rail and other necessities. Such houses are revenue spinners for New Zealand. But this government is selling off assets that make money for us. They sell them to their friends, to developers, speculators, those who then artificially inflate prices. Rents go up, mortgages get heftier. This is ruinous for our long-term prosperity, that of the majority of people who live here.

Our government is managing the country badly. They then lie about the figures, in the media. 

We are horribly in debt now as a country, this government racked that up. 

We need assets to keep us prosperous, to make money for the country to run, we also need diverse communities for real time, broad social networking, for reasonable access to facilities for all, and a sense of equality wherever possible in most areas. This lowers crime, raises standards for everyone, and ensures a more stable place to live. 

We have to change those in charge.

We must vote this government out. Please, see sense. Everyone vote. Your voice matters. Your vote counts.

Please also, research this and get in to the struggle. They could be going for your house next, otherwise. Stop them now.

I have seven pages of valuable notes from this evening's fine meeting. Do go to the next one. Thanks for reading and comments are welcome.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Into the Void

Thanks to Martin Edmond who shared this on fb and wrote - "Matisse : Porte-Fenetre a Collioure (1914). Painted just before the outbreak of the Great War but not exhibited until 1965. Louis Aragon called it Matisse's most mysterious painting . . . 'the black future, the inhabited silence of the future.' "

The future is always, to an extent, an unknown place. When the future arrives, it turns into the present, like an inter-dimensional space ship landed and then opened infinitely out to become the world. We see, hear, taste, smell, touch, dream, imagine and allow our memories to affect us, here in the now, but not in the future. We could imagine, for instance, what our children may appear like grown up. We see them in various imaginary ways, older. But they may surprise us to an extent, or our responses do, or both, when any future time truly does arrive. What-happens-next presents this great unknown place of endless possibilities, but the present just occurs as we live it. At times it is frustrating not to know the future nevertheless, and I hope that Matisse painting above, chosen to illustrate this beginning - a work painted before an immense war - is not indicating trouble ahead. But who knows?

In just over a month I return to amrka, where I took myself alone about two years ago to meet, for the first time, talented, sympatico writers who I'd only ever known online, before. We were all delighted with this eventuality. It felt at the time like a miracle.

We live in a startling age where such wondrous acts are possible. I travelled by ship, (less carbon expended then), to Hawaii, where co-incidentally a New Zealand writer I already knew was working and they showed me around, then to San Francisco where a non-fiction writer of more recent acquaintance, (we played Scrabble online together and chatted about many things), lived. Luckily this gradual introduction to my poetic journey was possible. I'm not sure I could've taken in the mind-boggling remainder without Anne Kennedy's, and later, Adam Gillitt's kindness to me, in those initial, previously unknown places which were so beautiful.

Friendship arguably matters more than anything else in human activity, beyond the basics of gathering or making food, clothing, and shelter. A mysterious state in some ways, but amicable we seem to forgive friends many foibles and can never completely explain why we care so much about some unrelated person we know, or the other. Although of course we are possibly at our best when friendly within our families, too, surely? The obvious ease and joy we present to each other through friendship evokes life's everyday, and self-made, music and poetry - we may say - great images of dreams and plans, then we somehow develop together better ways to dance and move through our existence in natural and helpful configurations. Buddies, cohorts, friends and mates create many kinds of metaphysical art in cahoots and these assist us immeasurably.

Friends enable us to function properly in countless practical ways too, (they may give advice on where to live, or plans, also can build us up after a trauma or appear helpful during a disaster, offer kindness and humour in odd situations, are not afraid to tell us off or to sound blatantly crass when they think it necessary for some reason, are an outside viewpoint and much valued).... An outside opinion or observation always changes someone or any situation, it provides a contrast, an awareness of more than what's intrisically known, more than the expected, or what routine ever offers. This helpful state of finding an outside view means we can more easily avoid atrophy, stuffiness, illness, narrow-minded thinking and basic stupidity, quite often. It may be uncomfortable however, because when we learn something new we always feel uncomfortable until we learn it. Friends sometimes do not speak, or disagree....

People on our side help us to be ourselves too, though, and to discover much we would otherwise never know - perhaps often of great use - and they make us feel good. "Someone like me," we mutter delightedly. "They get what I mean, they like what I like. O wow, they have something new that I like too." We share so much with friends, often feeling uplifted to have found a stranger and grown to know them, then found much in common, meanwhile discovering new information, places, food, and much more due to our relationship, our listening, our interaction.

O and yes, those close to us may also encourage our gang of two into behaving badly, neither quite realising the danger until it appears terrifyingly in front of us as a dire consequence we may not avoid. This provides a test of friendship, any extreme is a trial, because however we behave then shows how strong our bond truly is, and what we are both capable of in an emergency, or difficulty. In such circumstances we learn more about each other, as well. One friend or the other needs to be ethical, clever and careful in order to stop the disaster developing, call stop, point out the nonsense or danger. Or at times both may do the safety dance together. But sometimes a few or two friends part company because the other wild friend or cohorts did not stop on their haphazard course, when their reluctant companion, or more than one, grew some sense and sensibility, instead of carousing, smashing, plunging blindly into an experiment and so on, ad nauseam. Uh o.

Watch this summer/ bloom kinds of revolution/ people drawn to spin/ better yarns - embroidered, (usually distressed or odd) retro linen, poetry by Raewyn Alexander - I allow the material to 'speak' to me, then straight away embroider what I think it 'says'. This is part of a large calico book of these, which I hope to exhibit with many more books I've made, large and small, in 2015 or so.

The whole of our human life presents a learning experience, we may do this consciously or unconsciously, or both together. I've chosen to go back to amrka once more, to visit new sites, see the same ones differently, and above all else to see those diverse, yet strangely also somewhat alike, writer friends I at last met - only once before - years ago.  One of them convinced me with only two words, in the end, but I already wanted to return in any case. Prompting surely qualifies as an excellent talent, anyway, I'm thinking now.

I missed my amrkn friends and their lovely country so much it made me ill for a while back in Aotearoa NZ. To have been that welcome there, so engaged with those I met and interacted with, and o so happy, infused with genuine love and kindness, life-changing. 

My trip also gave me the first real holiday I'd had for about twenty years, travelling for once to where I wanted to go. 

My return home a month and a half later to winter in raggedy Aotearoa New Zealand, gloomy and dark, with introverted people everywhere, many of them sad with the rain and greyness, (we do isolating wet weather here like no one else), after enjoying white tulips blooming along Park Avenue in New York City, in spring, after my ebullient, clever long-time friends, (12 years we'd corresponded), and I, we enjoyed our many excursions, and then the wowee, sublime rest of it, well....

Now, this new trip won't be the same adventure, naturally, but a magical sense of the loveliest impossible being possible, remains. This time, two years later, many other shades appear in the image of what's probable, deeper colours merge, rather than sparkle. The first trip full of light, silvery and golden, like Christmas, unreal, benevolent, and so rewarding, like being a child again and believing in fairies. This time it's more like another festival, perhaps Halloween, even though I'm visiting their summer from our winter. Supernatural nevertheless, and exciting, but perhaps also more sombre and somewhat alarming.

Now, we long-time global writer friends have known face-to-face conversations on their own turf, they've each shown me places they love in various home towns. We're no longer simply writing online to each other in an excellent writing group. I've also unbelievably corresponded at length with one of them for two years, hundreds of emails. Another has stayed well in touch and we're fantasising lately about us navigating a boat down the Mississippi. The supreme cook and I meanwhile plan to boil up my mother's plum sauce recipe - handed down the generations - I've already sent pictures from a 1930s childrens' book for labels.... 

Writers do, however, reveal a great deal in text, understand this. Our online correspondences are not the everyday notes some others could think 'everyone' sends out there. We're certainly not everyone - is anybody? Our work's also somewhat rev olution ary, so we're passionate and poli tically savvy, well read and educated, while also surely hoping we're able to behave well when delighted, or thinking about what to do next. But yes, so, we've experienced real time, actual encounters in our history now, much talk, many sights, shared experiences in the actual.... Inevitably this deepened and changed who we are to each other. Much appeared not as easily controlled as writing is to create too, 'Life is not a career' Jane Campion, famous director, said recently, I'd add that life is also not all our own individual, conscious creation and we may sometimes find ourselves in situations we couldn't have foreseen. Friendship then has to serve us well.

For a long time I said those writers met initially through writethis on msn groups, (now sadly defunct), an early version of social media, I said they saved my life. I still think thus, but now they're also more truly a part of my life too. 

A strange feeling to believe you were born in the wrong country, to feel like you do not belong there, to always look outwards for something else, something more suitable and enjoyable, more fulfilling, more of a good fit. A large, touristy, framed picture of the Swiss Alps appeared when I was about five. My Aunty Mary told me they were mountains in another country, over the sea. She had visited Europe, and told me tales of it. To discover there was more than just the suburb I lived in, more than the river plain town, (and other New Zealand places) gave me at last such joy and hope. I carried that picture around, hid it for when needed. 

Sometimes I sat by the front door at home and looked at those mountains; chanting to myself quietly, "There is more than this, there is." To endure a repressive, narrow life, where I felt I did not belong, broadening my horizons - even if a cliche, the truth of it set me free.

Years later I did see the Swiss Alps on our travels, a lovely boyfriend and I. We swarmed all over Europe and Britain, called into LA on the way home. (I've been to about 20 or so countries now).

To discover the carbon we belch into the air is endangering our existence on this planet, and the lives of many other animals, other flora too, distressed me so much I had to change. I love travelling, I love Earth, so I buy trees for travel these days  to cover the carbon I create through my actions. I also went vegetarian to reduce my carbon footprint. The trees bought are in Australia because they need them, and provide oxygen for everyone while absorbing harmful atmospheric carbon. 

Human beings have removed half the world's trees since we came into existence. We are symbiotic with trees, they make the air we breathe, they release oxygen. Replacing trees now is our survival. Take part, believe in changing the future for the better, why not?

Already I've paid for the trees to cover this trip, just 200 $ NZ, not much to spend. That's enough carbon-soaking trees to cover a return flight to Europe and back, which is about what going to Amrka is like, at a guess. I intend to buy more trees, double for this trip, to do more than my share, because so many people do nothing to clean up their own mess - you can't or won't? Why? It helps me to stay happy to think I'm being responsible, caring for our beautiful world and other people and animals, along with myself and my offspring and their children and.... A deep satisfaction results from this buying trees for travel, and it lasts.

Anyway, so mountains have obsessed me since childhood. To arrive in Seattle, (almost to Canada) and see the grand mountain there, Tahoma now Mt. Rainier (The Mountain that was God, the Indians called it) and the others ranging about the place, seemed a promising sign. The first of my old friends from writethis, Amy, all smiles, met me at the airport last time, (but this next time in July 2014, I catch the train, see more of the country and expend less carbon). The calibre of this writer's work is in my estimation up there with the greats, by the way. Please be aware this story of Amy's may contain triggers for those of you with grief issues, but it is also a beautiful story about love and care -

So, Seattle, such a scintillating time I stayed an extra day and night. Dean, when he appeared from across town, and Amy, showed me around. We covered quite some territory. A youtube of our Hendrix memorial visit was filmed - the house he grew up in is dismantled though and in a warehouse someplace -

The truth now in 2014, two years later, however, is that no trip can ever be the same again, so I'm not seeking anything like a repeat of the stunning surprise of some of our group meeting for the first time, this second visit. Instead, I see where I'm going as rather scary, unknown, any shimmer or sparkle yet to reveal itself. I have no control over these visions, manifestations of what's probable - and in any case I need to make sure I am careful.

Frightened and wary, but embarking anyway. I over-react to emotional situations, it's part of a condition I have and am learning to control. I've had it all my life, it's from being treated badly and being highly sensitive, (a rare but normal condition), but I refuse to allow my fears to make me stay home. Those who seek to stifle or mistreat us, they must never succeed. We must stay strong and good to the best of our abilities - yes, mistakes are possible, of course too everyone's life is flawed to some degree, and mishaps interrupt our idealism or bliss or routine or life-style, but mostly I believe people want to behave well and live a fine life. Those people are the decent company whom I need and aim to associate with, being like them.

Carefulness must underpin what we do so that life and love are real, I've been taught this. A fair task to set oneself after being reckless already, surely? It appears that foolhardy behaviour results in chaos, certainly proven in younger days, (we learn so much then). Now my new regime is carefulness and believe me, for someone used to 'not caring' or 'throwing myself into things', it's a novelty, and therefore also exciting. Who knew that calm and peace could feel so extreme and vital?

Mt Rainier (Tahoma) from the North-west from Wikipedia

Seattle this time for a week, I think, seeing wondrous Amy and making my mother's plum sauce there, o yes we are, (still cannot quite believe I'm going), seeing Dean too when he can free himself from fascinations and machinations. A sombre and rather elegant place, Seattle, with many tall dark trees, and much gloom in their skies, then I fly to Iowa. My fine friend Julie and her wonderful family, husband and two children, plus a grand-daughter and so on, live there - quite a lively group, o my. Lovely, clever, plain-speaking people, and good-looking too - hopefully not immune to flattery. I love them so much I want this bunch to live in New Zealand, or at least visit us, I guess we're working on it. 

But then also, I want to live in amrka. Is it possible? A ricketty old thing now, and cantankerous, me, but who knows what could happen? Maybe I could find work there as an education consultant as Julie Tersigni in NYC suggested recently? Or perhaps my latest novel, Glam Rock Boyfriends will sell millions on Amazon and I could live there and work as a writer? Stunning things occur, we don't know what dream works its way into existence until....

When I said I wanted to be a writer at 14 no one even heard me. The idea so preposterous to small town New Zealand it was as if I was speaking Martian. Now, I am a writer, however, and published in three countries, my latest book available world-wide. The internet revealed my beloved amrkn friends, from a culture open to more ideas and arts than ours. Cyber-technology has also brought my work to the attention of the world - around 13,500 hits on this blog now and always rising. 

Thanks so much for reading.

O but I wish I had the time, money and energy to see everyone I visited last time, to travel again to Chicago and lovely Laura, good friend Nigel and Ava, kind Stephen and his wife, to NYC and the irrepressible James, insightful Julie Tersigni. But this visit I go to New Orleans to finish the latest excursion. 

Louis Armstrong saved my life too, you see, when I was a baby and child. His recorded music and much jazz of that era an adopted uncle played endlessly on his hi-fi. Uncle Bob and Aunty Maisie had arrived from overseas with fresh technology and LP records. My mother co-incidentally made friends with Maisie on the bus when Mum was carrying me. For years this kind couple took me out to town and so on, gave me lots of attention, practising for when they did have their own family, just doting. Now, I need to see where that life-saving music came from, to also give back to a city badly treated by the administration after that terrible flood, and to celebrate the wonder and beauty of truly loving.

Louis Armstrong is one of my heroes. His autobiography is a joy.

The youtube on that link above has Louis Armstrong, my hero, singing about the Mississippi. He really did cross that river in style like he sings he will. 

Perhaps Julie and I will be boating down that dream weaver, heart-breaker river soon and fending off alligators, snakes and bears? I did read Huckleberry Finn before the last trip, I may this time reread Tom Sawyer. Somehow I need lightenin' up or somethin' apart from these foolishnesses.

Then I fly away home again like a bird in a rhyme. Hopefully this return I'll have a plan for something elevated in mind, warming in my heart. If nothing else I'd've seen my extraordinary, kind, astute writer friends once more, and also the place of my dreams in those southern streets of jazz, where possibly some mysterious hoodoo or voodou can evoke pathways for the better, providing well for each of us.

That's the plan. I hope you stay with me and read about it.

Thanks for your reading this, truly, and feel free to comment, do.

My Creative Writing class slides into view again - like the moon perhaps - meet some fine people and learn to be a better writer. Only one class every two weeks, easy and rewarding.