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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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aaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii It's spring break, bitches. Although pretty light on the "break" part for me, personally. We're heading up to Killington, VT for a few days for our semi-annual "let's cram eight humans into a two-bedroom condo" visit with Jason's brother and family, where there is still SNOW and ICE and BULLSHIT. The seven other humans will probably ski and snowboard while this chicken human will stay inside and likely end up working most of the time. Work has kind of exploded all over the place for me, in the usual freelancing feast/famine cycle where I go from frantically emailing every work contact I know to remind them that I exist to suddenly juggling 25 deadlines at once. And of course the timing lined up perfectly with us deciding to go nuclear on the boys' bedrooms, so for the past week I've been either 1) working on Very Exciting & Important Technical Documents, 2) up to my eyeballs in IKEA furniture and Lego storage, or 3) just sort of lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling for a sec. I'm happy to report that the bedroom makeovers are about 99% complete, and everyone is very, very happy with the... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at amalah . com
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(Thank you everyone for all your kind words and thoughts. Last week suckkkkkked but I am okay.) Once upon a time, when we ripped up all the carpet in Yellow House and had wood floors put in, we decided to cut a couple corners and save ourselves a couple dollars. The corners we cut were the boys' bedrooms, which all had somewhat newish-looking carpet. We figured we'd leave those rooms as-is and wait for the carpets to get destroyed over time and replace them only when we absolutely needed to. (Much like our approach to the kitchen appliances, and if you're keeping track I am STILL cooking and baking with an oven I hate with the fire of a million faulty oven coils, because the fucker fucking sucks but just won't DIE ALREADY.) (On the other hand, this happened, so it's like I got a brand-new dishwasher all over again.) ANYWAY. FLOORS. CARPETS. TRY TO STAY ON TOPIC FOR ONE BLEEDING SECOND. We regretted our decision almost immediately, because the boys' rooms became Animal Accident Central. Why pee outside in the snow or rain or your litter box when you can pee on some soft, inviting carpet? Especially if that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2019 at amalah . com
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Today marks eight years since my dad died. Every since, this time of year is difficult. Something akin to Seasonal Affective Disorder but not. Is Death Anniversary Affective Disorder a thing? Maybe PDDSD/post-dad-dying stress disorder? I don't know. I just know that I don't sleep very well, develop a very blahsy case of the blahs, and really, REALLY don't feel like talking about it, at all, with anybody, thank you very much. But this year I DID sack up and talk about it to my therapist, and not just in a dismissive, hand-wavy "oh, I'll seriously feel fine by April 1, nothing to worry about" way, but in a solution-focused "I need March to not suck so hard every year forever" kind of way. She advised me to find a way to untangle the Bad and the Sad and the Everything Else from today, and instead mark the day with something linked to the good and happy memories. She asked me to name one. Books. I remember his books. Hundreds and hundred of books, lining the hallways, his study, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the living room. My own bookcase, packed to overflowing, because he would never, ever say no to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2019 at amalah . com
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This week we had to say farewell to Ezra's Magic Glasses. They lasted just over a year, which is a pretty good run for plastic glasses he insisted on wearing every single day, all day, from the moment he wakes up until he turns off the light to sleep. (This insistence was fueled by both a genuine need to avoid the dreaded migraines and the fact that he got constant compliments on his "super cool glasses" everywhere he went and so he adopted them as his Signature Lewk.) We tried in vain to glue them so he wouldn't have to face the computer lab without them while we waited for a replacement pair, but the frame kept breaking and the lens falling out. I gently suggested that maybe -- MAYBE -- he could give it some time and see how he did without the glasses, because well...you know. My children sometimes occasionally perhaps fall on the high side of the OVERLY DRAMATIC scale, and I do sometimes suspect his self-professed sensitivity to every single light bulb in existence is not 100% rooted in reality. Maybe 50/50 real need vs. middle child desire to stand out, plus the aforementioned compliments/attention. (They're... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2019 at amalah . com
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Ridiculous Unicorn Horn Headband: $9.95 Even More Ridiculous Fake Fair Extensions: $9.49 Needlessly Politically Themed St. Patrick's Day Shirt Because I Am Insufferable: $24.95 Needlessly Cat-Themed St. Patrick's Day Leggings Because My Husband Is Hilarious: $23.95 Doc Martens Because I was Seeing The Pixies (also Weezer but was mostly there for The Pixies): $140 but the blisters are freeeeeeeee Actually enjoying a concert for the first time in God knows how long vs. of spending the entire time on the edge of a panic attack because there could be a fire or roof collapse or crowd crush so maybe I should obsessively check the exits again and map out an escape route OMG we're all probably going to die and I cannot believe people do this for fun: PRICELESS (Also priceless: Me, in general, for using a commercial format MasterCard hasn't even used in at least a decade, thus dating myself even more than the Docs and Pixies tickets EVER COULD.) Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2019 at amalah . com
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Apologies in advance for this random assortment of stories with no real point or connection; I am simply too beyond obsessed with the Entitled Rich People With Kids Who Don't SAT Good College Cheating Scandal story that I cannot go a 10 full minutes without refreshing my news feed. It's like the universe knew I was fresh out of Fyre Festival and Theranos documentaries/podcasts/memes and gave me a little gift of righteous schadenfreude, with an extra topping of fraud and Influencers and A GODDAMN DESPERATE HOUSEWIFE. *** For the first time (....in forever) (gaaaahhhhh nooo what have I done) (I'm sorry, I could delete that and spare you but I refuse to suffer alone), I was NOT awoken by Noah's godforsaken foghorn of an alarm clock. Instead, I woke up to the blindingly bright flashlight on Jason's phone shining directly in my eyes at 6 a.m. while he frantically whispered: Blood. There's so much blood. He was running around pointing the light at the floor, at tiny drops of red near his side of the bed, out into the hallway and then to an alarmingly large puddle on the stairs. "I don't know whose blood this is!" he said. "But... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2019 at amalah . com
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(Here is Part One. We figured out how to turn off the second mystery alarm AND change the time for Daylight Savings, but it is still waking up everyone else in the house except for the person it is intended to wake up.) Laundry hampers. We have a lot of them! And yet. They Do Not Work. This is the hamper I share with my husband in our master bathroom. I bought it at Target a million years ago and it definitely used To Work. It's made up of three separate laundry bags so you can sort everything into separate loads of whites/darks/delicates/whathaveyou. Each bag has handles so you can carry them individually to the washer when full. It is right next to our shower and perhaps 10 steps from our closet, where most of our dressing and undressing happen. THEREFORE, it should work. But every since we moved to this house, my husband developed a weird quirk where he consistently tossed his clothes in a random floor pile JUST OUTSIDE the bathroom door. Sometimes I would watch him come OUTSIDE the bathroom to do this, despite the hamper being THERE! IT'S RIGHT THERE! WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING? After... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2019 at amalah . com
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Hello and welcome to the first installment of a series I just made up about things that Do Not Work in my home/life/general existence. You know what Does Not Work? This alarm clock Does Not Work. This is the Sonic Bomb Extra-Loud Dual Alarm Clock with Red Flashing Alert Lights and a Powerful Bed Shaker, which we bought for a certain 13 year old who needs to get his ass out of bed in the morning but who lo, does not get his ass out of bed in the morning. We tried several different alarms before this one -- an alarm directly next to his head paired with another one placed on the floor on the other side of his room. A different and slightly louder alarm tucked away on the top shelf of his closet. Even our own screeching voices yelling at him through the Echo Dot he keeps tucked under his pillow. He slept through all of them, or worse, would make the journey down from his bunk bed while still asleep, turn the alarm(s) off, and then climb right back in bed with absolutely zero memory of doing so when I showed up at his door 20... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2019 at amalah . com
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Jason's been on a business trip all week so I've been trying my best to hold things together on my own. Nobody tell him I've been soaking the dinner pots since Monday. Poppy jumped over the fence to chase a squirrel, Beau escaped out an open garage door, and Jake found and consumed an entire package of English muffins. Packaging included, save for a single twist tie. Oh, and Rey got her head stuck in a package of seaweed snack while Finn followed after her trying to clean her butt. . It's like, when getting all these dogs, I looked back on the semi-impossible toddler days of yore and was like, yes. Let's absolutely do that all over again. On the other hand, the human children are no longer toddlers or semi-impossible. Noah was so excited to see sandwiches for dinner he didn't even care that they were technically full of vegetables. Then last night Ike ate two full servings of chicken and was the first one to finish, so he ordered me to text J and report on this truly STUNNING development. He gave me a huge hug this morning and said, "Remember how great I was at dinner... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2019 at amalah . com
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Last March, a wind storm snapped a large branch off one the willow trees in our backyard. (Well, actually many, many branches, as seen here.) But one particular branch got...stuck...on its way down. Like so: Being the responsible and capable homeowners that you know we sometimes seriously think about attempting to be, we saw two possible solutions: 1) Hire a tree company to come deal with it. 2) #BRANCHWATCH So the branch has been stuck there for since last March. When we're outside on the deck we might stare at it, discuss the physics and trajectory that got it wedged where it is, and what it might take for it to finally fall down. It'd make good firewood, we'll say for the hundredth time, if we could just get it down from there. Sometimes we just complain about it, as it's especially noticeable and ugly and dead in the spring and summer because the willows are too spindly and sparse to camouflage it. The kids throw rocks and soccer balls at it from time to time. We all poke our heads outside after every subsequent snow or rain or wind storm to see if it's finally been rattled loose. But... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2019 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by thredUP. Keep reading to get an extra 30% off your first order. I've mentioned/whined about weight gain a few times here already, but just so you know I'm not exaggerating: I gained 40 pounds in roughly six months thanks to my medication. It's not that I simply couldn't lose weight, I literally couldn't stop gaining weight. No matter what I ate or how much I exercised, the scale kept creeping up and up. It's finally stopped and I'm working to lose it, but I'm left with a body I do not recognize in the meantime. And you know, fine. I'd rather deal with some extra weight than the alternative (and hellooooo, I have some SPECTACULAR cleavage right now), but it's still frustrating. It's difficult enough to get dressed in the first place when you're battling depression, now add in the fact that you've outgrown everything in your closet in what feels like overnight. Yeah, you're gonna be REAL GENTLE on yourself about that, aren't ya? (A sidenote here: I absolutely 100% do not intend to discourage anyone from going on any medication for fear of this particular side effect. It doesn't happen to everybody and/or... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2019 at amalah . com
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The last couple weeks have been a blur of snow days, snow delays, half days and holidays, and it feels like my children have not spent more than three consecutive hours at school in ages. Was this what preschool was like? It was, wasn't it. Except there was also a nap, if I recall correctly. Today there are no naps, but probably the same amount of shrieking. And eating. Dear God, the eating. They are a three-mouthed snack tornado, laying waste to this season's carbohydrate supply. (An aside: Do your children ever actually throw out empty boxes/packages of cereal/crackers/poptarts/etc. when they take the last one? If so, HOW DID YOU TEACH THEM TO DO THAT? I routinely check our pantry and the shelves are always nicely full, but it's an illusion, like fake food in an IKEA display kitchen. There is actually nothing! Everything is empty! No BÖNITTJOĞÜM for you!) Everything is actually fine right at this moment; Noah is quietly building Titanic v.3.0, this time with proper modeling glue instead of an Elmer's purple glue stick because he's always been too impatient and then the thing sheds pieces until it's no longer sufficiently Titanic-y. Ezra and Ike are...somewhere, I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2019 at amalah . com
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Here's a thing I didn't know about depression recovery: Your to-do list is INSANE. (I suppose I should avoid using words like INSANE as a hyperbolic adjective as we all attempt to de-stigmatize mental health disorders, but that would mean I'd also have to avoid words like CRAZYPANTS or BONKERSVILLE or ZIPPITY HUMMINGBIRD BRAIN and I just don't think I can do that. I am just a girl, with GAD and a CAPS LOCK key, doing what she can.) Anyway. I've been busy. There's a lot of catching up to do and holes to fill and bridges to un-burn. You have to figure out how to prove yourself as an un-shit employee and friend, make a lot of appointments and phone calls that should've happened six months ago...or maybe just look at a piece of fuzz on the floor and think to yourself, "I am going to pick up that piece of fuzz on the floor today." And then you pick it up. And allow yourself a brief moment of pride over this perfectly mundane and tiny task, because congratulations! You're officially human-ing at a baseline level again. Tremble before me, o fearsome floor fuzz! Begone, both u and the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2019 at amalah . com
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Remember the orthopedic bed Jake needed? The bed y'all so nicely bought for him? He completely destroyed it, the ungrateful jerkwad. He also destroyed two doorframes and ripped the carpet off the basement stairs. (Someone please adopt this wonderful charming amazing creature I beg of you.) His heartworm treatment dictates that he MUST stay calm and not exert himself in any way (because otherwise the dead worms will break into pieces and you know what you can just Google why if you want), so we have to keep him isolated from all the other wild and crazy animals a lot of the time since they whip each other into a crazy pack frenzy.* But Jake haaaaaates being crated, so for a little while we let him just lounge around in the basement, and everything was fine. But at some point he lost interest in the plethora of toys and chews and Kongs we leave for him, and started going full destructor mode on stuff like, books! Pillows! Paper! Anything he can pull out of the trash can! THE VERY WALLS AND FLOORS AROUND HIM. So fine, back into the crate he went, along with designated toys and blankets he's welcome... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2019 at amalah . com
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When we first moved to Yellow House, everybody got their own room, and we made the room assignments by age and room size. Noah got the biggest room and Ike got the smallest, with Ezra taking the medium-ish one. But we REALLY assigned Ike to the smallest room because we wanted him to have as little space for rock-star-trashing-a-hotel-room shenanigans as possible. That room is big enough for a twin bed, a nightstand and one small toy box. Everything else is kept in the basement or on the hallway bookshelves. This would naturally limit the about of shit that he could dump all over the floor every night. (Right. "Naturally." My ass.) Sure enough, every morning I'd find the entire contents of his toy box on the floor, along with 20+ picture books he'd managed to drop riiiiiight into the small space between his bed and the wall. What I wouldn't find in that room, however, was Ike. Once his room was satisfactorily wrecked, he'd sneak into Ezra's room and crawl into bed with him. "Ezra keeps the bad dreams away," he told us adorably at the time, so we allowed it. We also, eventually, allowed Ike to just start... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2019 at amalah . com
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So this video came up in the On This Day feature of my cloud drive, and at first I was like, awwww, look at baby Noah from like, what, five years ago? Six? When we were all still so passionate and hopeful that this madness had to end? No. Two. Two years to the day. View this post on Instagram "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." A post shared by Amalah (@amalah) on Jan 29, 2017 at 4:26pm PST It's only been two years of this chaotic bumbling bullshit, but also: It only takes two years to fully turn a sweet little boy into a giant-ass man. Noah is almost as tall as I am. His shoes are gigantic. I ordered him a bunch of shirts in the largest size of the Old Navy kids' department and by the time they arrive his arms were already too long for them. He eats...so much. So very, very much. But apparently all of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at amalah . com
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Now that we're up to five humans, three dogs and two cats (plus two hibernating patio toads and hopefully some patio babies), it seemed like a good time to add yet another new member to the household. This is bObi, which Ezra and Ike decided is a girl because "we need more girls for it to be fair around here." They enjoy chasing after her and feeding her various bits of trash. Noah simply calls it the Chore Robot (as in, "Chore Robot! Over here! I dropped the pencil sharpener again"), so between that and all the demands/verbal abuse our poor Alexa suffers, I am growing vaguely concerned about the patriarchal/anti-feminist future of our robot overlords. Maybe I should lend them my pussy hat. ANYWAY, you can probably imagine the pet hair situation around here, plus my children all constantly shed, but instead of hair it's just straight-up dirt. They bathe and shower nightly, we take our shoes off inside, and yet the path leading away from Backpack Mountain and Discarded Coat Canyon (aka our foyer) always looks like a goddamn dust bowl just blew through. And for the first time in a long time, it's something I 1) notice,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2019 at amalah . com
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Several New Things I Learned About Dogs This Month: 1) If you don't neuter a male dog, some very bad and unpleasant things can happen to him later in life! And to your house! 2) You know those monthly heartworm pills your vet is always up in your grill about? They are very super important! 3) Dogs can get their very own special form of the Zombie Pinkeye. Poor Foster Dog, man. After getting the break of a lifetime last month, he has not really caught another one since. So, to recap: Jake is about 10 years old and was never neutered. He still isn't, because he is currently heartworm positive and cannot go under anesthesia until he tests negative. He also cannot be listed as available for adoption until he's both negative AND neutered. We knew all of these things when we accepted the foster placement, and we specifically requested a senior dog with treatable medical needs who otherwise didn't have a shot in hell at adoption from a shelter. So this isn't a post complaining about us having to deal with any of this shit -- but I just need to point out that FAT HOT HAM THIS... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2019 at amalah . com
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Yesterday was a snow day, and now today is a sick day. Technically yesterday was a sick day too, and the day before that, but that didn't stop him from sneaking on his boots and snowpants and running outside to play when I wasn't paying attention.* He came back in not long after for some Motrin, hot chocolate, and regret. *Me? Actually pay attention to a sick feverish child? What kind of helicopter-y bullshit is that? To be fair, my children are all now top-level experts and getting away with stuff. Today I discovered an elaborate room-to-room communication system made of Snap Circuits that allows them to pass messages back and forth using MORSE CODE. I don't know what they're planning but frankly, this just looks like none of my business. Carry on, you weird little humans. Carry on until you rule the world. Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2019 at amalah . com
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AND NOW WE DRINK. I must say, Ike's final IEP was worth the wait. The thrills! The chills! The supports and services! Almost 50 pages of red-hot reading/writing/spelling goals! We've got small group and one-to-one pull-outs! We've got handwriting and speech therapy hours! We've got testing accommodations and human scribes (?) and preferential seating! We even got summer school and the promise of placement in a hand-picked immersion classroom next year with full-time special education support. And another meeting in 60 days just to make sure we don't need to add another 10 pages or so. And another meeting 90 days after that because...I forget why, exactly. Maybe they just think I'm fun. (I did leave the house and then realize I was wearing a t-shirt with a marijuana joke on it, so that's actually kind of possible.) Basically, if the district offers it, Ike's getting it, effective immediately. I'm so relieved I could go lie down for seven hours, and not even from the bourbon. A Portrait of the Reader as a Young Man Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2019 at amalah . com
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In an attempt to understand the Kids Today, what with their YooToobs and SnapToks and all that jazz, I did a podcast! Do you "do" a podcast, though? I didn't record a podcast, because I just talked and other people recorded it, and it wasn't my podcast, it was my dear dear friend Amy S. Bridges' podcast, We Are Still Hungry. Amy is better known here on ye olde blob as the person responsible for That Time I Shared Fried Calamari With The Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, back when my life was probably a lot more interesting and blob-worthy. Oh, and it was also Amy's friend Paula's podcast, who is now my friend because I spilled wine all over her kitchen table in an Essential Tremor-y fit and she didn't care at all, or at least was gracious enough to pretend she didn't. She also owns enviable kitchen towels and an adorable wee doggo. Anyway, we got very real about mental illness and suicidal ideations, and what it's like to live your life after attempting to end it. Also: feminism and boy children, because you know I can't go a full hour without being a radical liberal commie... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2019 at amalah . com
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Happy 2019! Do we have a new president yet? Well, all that garbage aside, lots of things have actually happened! I got a foster dog! I turned 41! I cut my hair off! I took my kids on a boat! I went to a New Year's Eve party and talked to people! Then I lost my phone and found it the next day out on my street! I slammed my ankle (yes, that ankle, it's always the same damn ankle) in a car door! The biggest development (besides my swollen-ass ankle) is definitely Jake the Foster Dog, better known (by me and only me) as Goobs. He was found as a stray in Georgia and then spent an excruciating SEVENTEEN MONTHS being overlooked in a shelter. This was him a week and a half ago, getting loaded up for transport. And this is him now! He's a sweetheart. He gets along very, very well with kids, dogs, cats and couches. We think he's about 10, but he's really perked up as he's settled in and can get downright playful and butt-wiggly. Vet said he's in excellent health. He's starting treatment for heartworms (which were caught early) in a couple weeks... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2019 at amalah . com
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Step One: You tell your kid's school that Hey, Something Ain't Right. Step Two: 30 days later, you attend an initial meeting to officially voice your concerns that Hey, Something Ain't Right.* A variety of tests and assessments by a variety of people are planned to confirm that Something Ain't Right. *Bonus points if you come prepared to this meeting with a pricey independent assessment that already confirms the Something, and by "bonus points" I mean hahahahahaha absolutely nothing you just played yourself, son. Step Three: 90 days after that, you attend ANOTHER meeting to go over the results of the tests and assessments, and SURPRISE: Something Ain't Right. Step Four: You wait ANOTHER 30 days for ANOTHER meeting, at which point a plan actually gets put in place to address the Something, and services and accommodations can officially begin for the Something. Step Five: Drink! So we had an IEP meeting yesterday for Ike, a meeting of the Step Three variety. The earliest he'll get help from the school is now mid-to-late January. I'm more frustrated than usual with this particular rodeo round because I've been sounding the Step One alarm since PRESCHOOL. Then all through Kindergarten. By first... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2018 at amalah . com
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The boys brought the first cold of the season home approximately five minutes after returning to school in September. I've been stuck with a nagging, persistent cough ever since, which this week decided to dig in even deeper and turn into bronchitis. (Although that was a relief to hear, as I'd totally WebMD'd myself into thinking I had pneumonia.) So I've spent a large part of this week in bed, and an even larger part of this week coughing my fool head off. (Although the largest part of this week was spent refreshing Google News because WHAT the SHIT is HaPpEnInG.) I am so tired of coughing. So is my cat, who still insists on sleeping on my chest and then bites my face a little bit every time I cough to let me know I've disturbed her. I'M SORRY YOUR DUMB MAJESTY. I did get out of bed last night for dinner, but I wasn't all that hungry sooooo. SPEAKING OF DOGS AND ALSO INSANITY, we have applied (and been approved) to be a foster home for Poppy's rescue!! We're going to foster a senior pittie, because seeing sad little old men and ladies in the kill shelter listings... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2018 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by the KODAK Digitizing Box. A few weeks ago, our friends texted in a panic: Did we have a ShopVac? They thought they remembered seeing a ShopVac. Please say you have a ShopVac. We do indeed own a ShopVac, as any parent of any toddler who WILL eventually stop up a drain and flood your house should. Our friends didn't have a toddler, but they did have a leak in their basement. And a whollllllllle lot of water. Despite house + leaks + water being one of his all-time greatest fears, Jason heroically rushed to their house, ShopVac in hand, to help bail out and rescue what they could. He came home and promptly surveyed our basement, which was fine, but the whole experience made him realize we had our storage room arranged 100% upside down. Top shelf items? Old suitcases, a beer homebrew kit, replacement air filters and some plastic bins with contents unknown. (Legos, probably.) On the very bottom, in prime Water Damage Position? Oh, just ALL OUR OLD PHOTOS AND HOME MOVIES. Our wedding album, Noah's baby book, ultrasound print-outs, and envelope after envelope of crappy pre-digital photos from when we dating and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2018 at amalah . com
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