Alaska’s Auke Bay – Yukon Wonderland

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Downtown Juneau

Downtown Juneau

While sailing aboard the Disney Wonder along the northwestern shoreline, we enjoyed a magical day in Juneau Alaska. Juneau is the capital city of Alaska since 1906 and the second largest city in the U.S. by area.  Located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, at the foot of Mount Juneau, more than 32,000 people make their year-round residence in this Yukon town.

Looking north up S Franklin St., Juneau, AK

Tourism is a major industry for Juneau. Several cruise ships dock there on the channel.  Many thrilling attractions are provided for tourists, including shopping for locally made trinkets.Mount Roberts Tramway

Mount Roberts Tramway departs from South Franklin Street close to downtown Juneau, from directly across the cruise ship piers. It transports excited passengers up the mountain for a picturesque view of Juneau and the cruise ship terminal.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

The Mendenhall Glacier is a popular attraction in Juneau.

Alaskan Cruise Whale Watching in Stephens Passage

Whale Watching in Stevens Passage

Whale watching is also a favorite attraction. For our shore tour we enjoyed a thrilling afternoon aboard a narrated flat-bottom boat as our captain sailed us along Stevens Passage and into Auke Bay.

Auke Bay Alaska -2

Auke Bay

The scenery was dream-like, the vastness—incredible.  As our captain narrated it was difficult to comprehend how the shoreline and mountains could be so… far away. Many miles.

Whales in Auke Bay

There were numerous whale watching boats afloat on Auke Bay. The captains kept in contact by radio. When a humpback fluke was spotted, the captain reported the location and many other captains followed quickly with their tourists.

Whale Fluke in Auke Bay

Our captain received many reports then speeded across the enormous bay to give us the most opportunities for humpback sightings. We thought he did as excellent job as we saw numerous whales fluking, swimming, and puffs. From a distance, they look like logs floating on the water until the waterspouts. When they dive deep, that’s when they fluke.

Eagles in Auke Bay

On this tour, our captain also gave us numerous opportunities to observe eagles both nesting and soaring freely in the vast skies overhead.

We also saw countless sea otters in their communities. They are very social animals and cuddly, not to mention adorable.

Alaskan Seal

Along the waters, we also saw harbor seals, but many more sunbathing on the shore.

Our captain went above and beyond to make sure we saw the wildlife promised on this tour. And did we see humpback whales? We saw a lot of whales.

On the long, picturesque boat ride back to Juneau, he mentioned that under the surface of Auke Bay was mountainous just like above the lake.  That never occurred to me.

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

We also sailed past the entrance of Glacier Bay both, going to Auke Bay and returning. Having spent a day inside Glacier Bay a few years previous, also on the Disney Wonder, we were fine with only a view of the entrance.

Our day visiting Auke Bay was one of the most memorial days in the Alaskan Yukon we’ve ever had. The scenery was so amazing it was dream-like. It was like being in another world, a place untamed, untouched by people.

Mendenhall Glacier-2

Mendenhall Glacier

 

Humpback Jumping close to boat

There were several times when the Humpback Whales rolled so close to the boat we could almost touch them.

Humpback Whales in Juneau

The next time we vacation in Alaska and visit Juneau, Auke Bay will be must see, again for more whale watching.

Auke-Bay-Alaska.10

Thanks for stopping by.

J.A. Ireland

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Transformers: Age of Extinction – Movie Review

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Optimus Prime Fans,

The Transformer series is one of my favorites. Here’s a Transformers movie review for you. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Transformers are attacking the earth during the dinosaur era. The great reptiles are being changed into metal machines.

The Arctic- Darcy and her excavating operation from KSI (Kinetic Solutions) of Chicago, Ill. U.S.A. unearthed several frozen metal dinosaurs. “I think history is about to change,” Darcy proclaims to her crew in the frozen ice world. Mr. Joyce, owner of KSI, sent her on this mission to investigate the reports of metal dinosaur discoveries and report back to him in his Chicago Headquarters.

Transformers Age of Extinction

Chicago – Cade Yeager, owner of Yeager Research and Development is standing next to his old truck. Lucas Flannery drives up speedily in his economy beater and jumps out; he was at South Padre Beach. “I came as soon as I could, Boss. The serf was flat anyway. Do you have a paying job for me this time, boss? An actual paying job?” Lucas asks with concern and skepticism.

Cade responds, “Do you have any cash?”

“Well, yes I do,” Lucas replies with question.

“There you go,” Cade finishes.

Mexico City – Since 1928 an old theatre has been in the family- Grandaddy ran it all his life. Lucas discovers an old tractor truck inside the rundown auditorium. There are several fired mortar shells hulls in the cab. Cade borrowed $150.00 from Lucas to purchase the old tractor truck in the theatre. They towed it back to Chicago.

Yeager Robotics in Chicago – repairs small home robots. Cade and Tessa Yeager, his seventeen year old daughter, build robotics in their large garage. Cade’s wife Emily is deceased.

The battle of Chicago is on Headline News. Congress ended all operations between the military and the Autobots, ending the alliance. Attinger, “As this committee knows, the invasion of Chicago was a defining day for our nation five years ago. The day millions of people realized that never again can we allow aliens to fight our battles for us. A handful of Autobots were given sanctuary after joint combat operations were abolished. Fewer than a dozen Decepticons are still on the run. Thanks to our CIA unit. “Cemetery Wind.” The age of the Transformer is over.”

A Transformer rises out of the swamp.

Medical Officer Ratchet

Medical Officer Ratchet being fired upon

The military finds Medical Officer Ratchet and open fires. He’s a transformer. He was hiding on an abandoned cruise ship. He says he’s a friend; an Autobot. “Optimus sent this distress message: Calling all Autobots. We are under targeted attack. Cease all contact with humans. We’re all hiding. All Autobots are being hunted. We’re all in danger.”

“Where is Optimus Prime?” the military officer asks.

Meanwhile at CIA Headquarters: The President would like specifics about how the CIA is hunting the enemy Decepticons and how many are left.

Mr. Attinger has been in the CIA for 25 years. “Black Ops. No Specifics.” The war will be over soon.”

Cade has discovered his old truck is an old Autobot. It transforms into Optimus Prime. Cade begins making repairs on the damaged Autobot.

CIA – Paris Texas, Cade Yeager was spotted towing the old tractor truck away from Mexico City. Attinger, “Scramble Cemetery Wind.” His team is on the move.

Optimus Prime Injured

Optimus Prime is Injured

Cade is making repairs to Optimus. His spark was almost damaged; his life force and memories was almost hit. “It’s like our soul,” Cade says.

“Dad!” Tessa yells as Attinger’s group drives onto their property; accompanied by a chopper. Tess fearfully watches from the front porch of their dilapidated old farm house. The group swarms the unsuspecting Yeager home. Optimus hides.

“Mr. Yeager, my name’s James Savoy. I’m a Federal Agent. My men and I are trying to track down an abandoned truck.”

When no one cooperates, Savoy threatens to kill Tess. Optimus Prime comes to their rescue. Tessa’s twenty year old boyfriend, Shane, drives up speedily in his fast car. They escape in his car. But the battle continues. Out of guilt, Lucas admits he turned Cade in for money. There’s a reward for turning in Autobots to the gov’t.

Lucas is killed in the battle. Cade, Tess, and Shane escape when Optimus transforms back into the old tractor truck and drives them back to the desert. Finally the Autobots know Optimus is alive. “There is Hope! Mr. Leader of the Free Galaxy is Back!” There are only five Autobots left.

“Autobots, Lockdown is hunting us,” Optimus reports. “And humans are helping. We need to know why.” They are on the move back to Chicago.

Mr. Joyce and Darcy

Mr. Joyce and Darcy at KSI

Chicago – KSI ( Kinetic Solutions ) Headquarters Top Secret Military Wing. Mr. Joyce is the owner. Darcy has returned from the Arctic Expedition and is reporting to her boss, Joyce. “The metal machines caused the dinosaurs to become extinct 65 million years ago. KSI has discovered the metal that the alien machines are made of.

Wembley is a scientist for KSI. “Transformium. That’s what we’re calling it. Programmable matter.” Mr. Joyce has mapped it’s genome. It can be instructed. We can change anything into anything.

KSI’s Military prototype is Galvatron, the fifth iteration, modeled after Optimus Prime. “He looks like Megatron. Algorithms! Math! Why can’t we make what we want to make?” Joyce screams.

Cade, Tessa, and Shane drive past the front gates and into KSI Headquarters; in Autobot cars.

Attinger retired from the CIA, received a seven-figure piece of Joyce’s (KSI) and they revolutionize national defense together. He must deliver the Seed; that’s the deal.

Cade Yeager is captured. Attinger asks him, “Where’s Optimus Prime?” Upon hearing this, the Autobots quickly invade KSI. Optimus orders, “Distroy the lab! Distroy it all!”

Galvatron Attacking Innocent person

Galvatron Attacking Innocent person

The order is given. “Transform Galvatron! Stinger on Line!” In minutes. Galvatron and Stinger are on the move. “Engage! Transform!” 200 meters.

Galvatron Kills innocent people as the battle rages; at Mr. Joyce’s dismay. “Pull Galvatron back!” Attinger orders.

Tessa and Optimus are captured in a net and pulled into a space ship hovering above. Onboard the alien machine ship, Tess escapes. She looks for Optimus.

Optimus is in the Knights’ Temenos as a captive of Lockdown. Lockdown’s deal with Attinger; “One Optimus Prime for one Seed. Handle it with care. I trust your species is ready!”

Lockdown, “Engage dark – matter drives. Full Power.”

They have 10 minutes to find Tess and get off Lockdown’s ship before it leaves Earth; spaceship powering up.

Cade and Shane find weapons and discover how to use them. Tessa is fighting off robots that are trying to capture her; one robot has a three foot long, slimy tongue. Soon all three escape the ship on cables high in the air to a building. Robot dogs peruse them on the cables. Bumble Bee rescues them.

Lockdown on his Spaceship

Lockdown on his Spaceship

Optimus Prime left Lockdown’s ship in an escape pod as it took off from Earth.

Mr. Joshua Joyce wants the Holy Grail, the Seed, delivered to his Guangzhou, China facility. He considers Galvatron a failure. The robot was out of control. Megatron’s mind is in Galvatron. Megatron reincarnated!

Now the Autobots, Cade, and team go after the Seed.

Beijing China – Mr. Joyce wants to detonate the Seed in the Mongolian desert, next month. The purpose is to create Transformium; enough for 100 years.

Lockdown discovers that Optimus Prime escaped. He rockets back to Earth.

Five million shares of KSI stock – Attinger receives for delivering the Seed to Mr. Joyce; Joyce suddenly has second thoughts. Galvatron becomes active all by himself. He begins making more transformer robots and takes control of KSI China facility. Galvatron, “Go find my Seed. Detonate the Seed in the largest city.”

Joyce tries to get away before the Seed explodes. The battle rages in Guangzhou China. Soon Lockdown arrives on the scene.

Optimus Prime and the Metal Dinosaur

Optimus Prime and the Metal Dinosaur

Prime realizes they need reinforcements. “Recognize one of your Knights. Optimus speeks a foreign language.” The Knight Rises! The Giant Metal Dinosaur awoke . Optimus battled with it for it’s obedience. “You defend my family or die.” Soon many great metal dinosaurs join in the great battle.

The battle is soon won by the Autobots, with the help of the metal dinosaurs. Optimus orders, “Take the Seed safely to the hills.”

Lockdown arrives at earth. He turns on a giant magnet and draws metal into his ship. He’s trying to suck Optimus in. Then dropping the metal.

Optimus Prime

“I Am Optimus Prime”

Beijing China – Optimus Prime and Lockdown meet and the battle begins. Mr. Joyce tries to get the Seed out of the city. Cade tries to help Optimus but Attinger gets in his way; tries to kill him. Prime sees the altercation and blows Attinger away.

After being sent away by Cade, Tessa and Shane return to help. Everyone fights Lockdown together. Tessa and Shane pull a sword out of Prime’s chest. Using the sword, Optimus cuts Lockdown in half; killing him. Lockdown pukes as he dies. “Honor to the end,” Optimus Prime.

“We shall meet again Prime for I am reborn,” a dark Decepticon said then flew into space.

“I am Optimus Prime and this message is to my creators; Leave planet Earth alone. ‘Cause I’m coming for you.” He flies into space.

The End

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Who doesn’t like Optimus Prime? No one I know. He’s a Rock Star!

Thanks for tuning in.

May good fortune guide your path,

J.A. Ireland

NASA’s Three-Billion-Mile Journey to Pluto Reaches Historic Encounter

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Hi everyone,

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto.

This is from nasa.gov.

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

“The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match.”

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Congratulations to Nasa and all who made contributions to this historic mission. Imagine what we are going to learn as the data rolls in; what nasa has already learned. We are changed for the better-forever, due to this epic accomplishment. Thank you Nasa.

I’ll keep you informed on this blog. I’m J.A. Ireland.

Low Fat Cheddar Cheese Pizza

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Today I’m cooking another type of pizza that my family loves. I’m using low fat ingredients so it’s a healthy choice when my family wants pizza.

Ingredients:

One roll white bread dough—bought frozen then thawed the night before

One pound extra lean ground hamburger—96-4%

4.5 oz. sliced turkey pepperoni

8 oz. mini portabella mushrooms

One large bell pepper

One can black olives

One large onion

One bag, two cups cheddar cheese—low fat, low sodium

One cup parmesan cheese—low sodium, low fat

Small 14 oz. Jar of low sodium pizza sauce

Prep work:

Cook the hamburger. Then drain the grease and place the meat in a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb the grease; let sit.

Next chop the mushrooms, olives, onion, and peppers. Put everything including hamburger into separate bowls. Discard grease soaked paper towel. Place all items in the fridge until later.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray your pizza pan with non- stick; I prefer either canola or extra-virgin olive oil non- stick for heart healthy cooking.

Dough Ready To Roll

Dough Ready To Roll

Making the pizza crust. I use my counter top. I sprinkle the counter lightly with flour and unwrap the dough. It should look like a large, white mushroom ball.

Put the dough on the flour then flip it over. Begin rolling. Roll enough to fit your pan—don’t excessively roll. Dough stretches easily in the pan. Do this quickly. Carefully remove the dough from the counter; it peels off. Lay in the prepared pan with the edges sticking over the rim of your oven pan. If the dough isn’t quite big enough, that’s ok. Gently rub from the middle to the outside edges. It stretches easily on the non-stick sprayed oven pan. Complete this process quickly as well; don’t play with it.

Tuck the excess dough inside the rims. If there’s a tear in the dough—don’t worry. Use some of the excess dough on the walls and fill in the tear(s); pinch it off and rub it in the holes.

Prick small holes in the crust with a fork so it doesn’t bubble while baking; make many prick holes. But, don’t destroy your work; just vent it well. Sprinkle on the spices, basil, garlic, Italian Seasoning, oregano, parsley, pepper. Whatever spices you like.

Pizza Crust Ready To Bake

Pizza Crust Seasoned And Ready To Bake

This is what my pizza crust looks like before baking.

Bake the crust for 6 minutes at 400 degrees on the top rack. Remove from the oven.

Make The Pizza:

I start with ½ bag, one cup, of cheddar cheese on the crust ( spread evenly)

¾ of the jar of pizza sauce (save the rest for dipping sauce)

hamburger

onions

bell peppers

black olives

portabella mushrooms

The remaining ½ bag, one cup, of cheddar cheese followed by the parmesan cheese

Lastly; turkey pepperoni on top.

It’s ready to bake. I bake my pizza for 8 minutes then remove from the oven.

My Cheddar Cheese Pizza Ready to Serve

My Cheddar Cheese Pizza Ready to Serve

I cut it, and bake for 20 more minutes. The total baking time is about 30 minutes—until the top edges are golden brown. Also my pizzas are typically ¾ of an inch thick when ready for cooking—and full of natural juices. Portabella mushrooms are a trade-off; they add tremendous flavor along with a lot of extra juice. If you don’t want the liquid—maybe skip portabellas.

Here’s a picture of my low fat cheddar cheese pizza. It’s full of flavor and my family gobbled it down. Also check out my Maxx Zeqster blog at: https://detectivemaxxzeqsterscreepycrawlyamazingadventures.wordpress.com/

Thanks for stopping by. J. A. Ireland.

Herb Baked Whole Chicken

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Here’s a chicken recipe you’re sure to like for a special meal.

Ingredients:

One fully thawed 6 to 8 lb. whole chicken

The herbs; garlic, paprika, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, crushed parsley, thyme.

Two tablespoons of canola oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Wash and dry; then spray a large, deep oven baking pan with extra-virgin olive oil non-stick spray. Remove chicken from the grocery store shrink wrap. Cut off any excess skin, fat, and remove the internal organs—plus neck. Rinse the chicken very well with cold tap water and pat dry. Place in the prepared baking pan. Apply two tablespoons of canola oil to the top of chicken and rub well. Next apply the seasonings and any others you prefer.

Herb Baked Whole Chicken

Herb Baked Whole Chicken

Bake on a higher rack for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cut the skin only, no deeper, at the leg quarters to vent from the torso; this allows for faster cooking and a juicier chicken.  Bake for 30 more minutes and check. The juices should run clear; no blood. Here’s a picture of what my Herb Baked Whole Chicken looks like on the cutting board—ready to carve.

My family loves this meal especially on Sundays; we have it often. A hint; when carving, leave a little meat on the bone for what I call Carcass soup. Two to three chicken carcass’ makes a delicious pot of chicken soup. Just keep the remains in your freezer until its soup day. Yummy!

Thanks for stopping by. J. A. Ireland.

Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs

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Here’s a delicious chicken recipe. It’s easy and fun. Hope you like it.

Ingredients:

3 pounds chicken thighs

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon cilantro

2 cloves garlic – chopped finely

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon thyme

1teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon basil

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon parsley

½ lemon juiced

fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons canola butter, melted

save for later – ½ cup honey for glaze

save for later – sesame seeds for garnish

save for later – fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together except honey, sesame seeds, and fresh parsley in a medium mixing bowl then put the marinate in fridge. Next remove the skin and fat from chicken thighs before rinsing well with cold tap water. Place the cleaned thighs in a large, deep oven baking pan; then spread evenly. Remove the marinate from the fridge and spoon over the chicken evenly covering each piece generously; using all the marinate. Place in fridge for 6 hours to allow the chicken to absorb the flavor.

Tic Tock Tic Tock

Six hours later. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Remove chicken from the fridge. The marinate should still be on top of the chicken; if not use a spoon and spread back onto top. Bake for 30 minutes on a higher rack.

Tic Tock Tic Tock

After thirty minutes. Remove the pan from oven. Using tongs, remove each piece of chicken and place on a plate for a moment. Carefully pour the marinate into a metal bowl; use oven mitts for safety. Place the chicken back in the oven baking pan with the other side up. Next poor or spoon on the marinate over the top of the chicken; cover all pieces generously using all the marinate. Place back in the oven and bake for 30 more minutes on the higher rack.

Tic Tock Tic Tock

After thirty minutes remove chicken from the oven. Using tongs, remove each piece and place in a large frying pan. Pour the ½ cup of honey over the chicken and cover. Cook on medium/low heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, uncover and turn chicken over; then cover again. Cook  on med/low heat for 10 minutes again.

After 10 minutes, remove from heat and leave in pan covered until ready to serve. The honey will continue to glaze as long as you turn the chicken over every few minutes and keep covered until ready to serve.

When serving, garnish with sesame seeds and fresh parsley. Here’s a picture of what my Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs looks like. There’s an exciting new flavor that you’ll just love; it’s something different.

This recipe can be used on chicken legs, thighs, and wings.

The leftovers can easily be frozen for later meals.

I hope you enjoy my Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs recipe.

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland.

Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs

Honey Glaze – Soy Chicken Thighs

My Heart Healthy Baked Alaskan Salmon with Crunchy Pecan Topping

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Heart Healthy Cooks,

Here’s a recipe for baked Alaskan Salmon that my family just loves. It’s teaming with Omega 3’s.

Ingredients:

Heart Healthy Baked Alaskan Salmon with Pecan Crunch

Heart Healthy Baked Alaskan Salmon with Pecan Crunch – Two pieces of my delicious fish

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons canola oil butter, melted

5 teaspoons honey

½ cup Italian bread crumbs

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans; leaving some a bit large

3 teaspoons fresh parsley chopped

7 ( 8 ounce ) fresh Salmon fillets

fresh ground pepper

lemon wedges

Prep work:

In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon mustard, melted butter, honey, parsley, and freshly ground pepper.

In another bowl, mix together the Italian bread crumbs and pecans.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with extra-virgin olive oil non-stick.

Remove the fresh Salmon from the seafood deli counter wrapping. Remove scales and rinse well with cold tap water. Check for any remaining scales. Rinse again.

Cut your Salmon into desired fillets and place each on the baking sheet skin down. Spoon on the sauce. Cover each piece generously. Use all the sauce. Next cover each fillet with the crumbs / pecan mixture by spooning as well. Use all the crumbs to cover generously.

For baking. Ten minutes per inch at the thickest part of the largest fillet is the usual baking time. The salmon should flake when tested with a fork. If not, bake two or three more minutes. My family likes our fish more crispy than most. A rule for us is always to bake five more minutes. I baked my Salmon for 15 minutes. My family went crazy over this dish. Salmon is a very heart healthy protein; it’s high in Omega 3’s. Also, the Dijon mustard compliments the Salmon so well you won’t believe it. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading. J. A. Ireland.