Friday, January 29, 2010

dear winter mornings,

i like the way you've escalated my love for my bed,
i think that the way you frost my window is magical,
you teach me that freshly fallen snow does have a smell and that it's delightful,
you justify my new teapot and you always are better with michael frantimorning music.
you make me want to snuggle.
winter mornings, in spite all my predictions, i find you charming...

photocredit: {macrorain}

Thursday, January 28, 2010

bombshell birthing

my friend amelia is going to give birth in march. her belly is growing more round and magical everyday. we set a small pot of flowers on her and were delighted to find out that it did not fall off. she is her own mantelpiece!

amelia has decided that there is no reason to go into the birthing room afraid or somber. she will be wearing a red feather boa. i love this. she'll be huffin' and puffin' with sass...

here's to bombshell birthing!

photocredit: {aidanlove}

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

time travel birthday

it is my wonderful younger cousin alexandra's birthday. today she turns 23, which is amazing since i remember her third birthday. it involved swimming with mermaids. this is an experience burned into my brain for life.

i wish that it was possible to give the gift of time travel. as a present i would take alexandra back to the moment when this picture was taken of our yiayia. we would have a birthday picnic and spend the afternoon talking about life and laughing. we miss our yiayia's voice.

so happy birthday dear one; here's to a miniholiday in jamaica plains boston year 1949!

Gee's Bend Quilters Collective

Mary Lee Bendolph and Ruth P. Mosely

good morning duckies,

i hope everyone has an aromatic cup of coffee or tea preparing you for the battle against the midweek slump. i am sipping rooibos and thinking about the fact that one of my childhood friends will be getting married this spring. i have been contemplating making them a quilt as a wedding present. there is a collection of quilts that have particularly intrigued and inspired me.

for this week's wonderful world work i'd like to acknowledge the Gee's Bend Quilters. Gee's Bend is a small and rural community nestled in the depths of Alabama. it was founded during antebellum times and has traditionally been a very impoverished and low-resourced community. for many years the people of Gee's Bend lived without much recognition. very few people had access to the rich and creative Gee's Bend quilting culture. although the quilters did not have an endless supply of fabric, they were able to create some of the most renowned North American pieces of textile art.

Louisiana Bendolph

right around the year 2000 the quilts gained international acclaim when multiple museums in the US introduced them into their temporary galleries. the new york times called the quilts, "some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced." the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective is dedicated to producing unique and artful quilts, using the proceeds of their sales to give their community more resources and access to opportunities, and to sharing the history of Gee's Bend quilting.

Mary Lee Bendolph and Ruth P. Mosely

these quilts stand on their own artistic merit. they carry the stories of a people often overlooked and disenfranchised due to their socio-economic and racial background. they speak to resilience and collective nature of a community. they speak to the marriage of functionality and aesthetics. these quilts and the quilters that made and continue to make them are examples of how even when resources are scarce it is more than possible to create something of true beauty.

photocredit: {treat}

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eshahid:Tuareg Tea Service

the Taureg are a nomadic people that live in the Tenéré desert of northeast Niger. tea is often painted as a drink for cold weather countries. although the Tuareg live in the desert, they have a rich culture of tea.

tea is taken systematically and ritually throughout the day. it marks the beginning and end of each meal. it is taken with family and new friends. it is a prerequisite when courting and the Tuareg people drink a round of tea before sleeping.

eshahid, the tuareg tea service, involves green tea, mint, and sugar. it is a three stage process; three pots of tea are consumed from each bunch of tea leaves. the first round is said to be bitter like life. the second round is sweet like love due to the added sugar. the third and final round is light, like "the breath of death".

making tea is an art form among the Tuareg people. those who make tea well are the matriarchs and patriarchs of the community. they become the foreign diplomats to any visitors, ushering them into the unique cultural practices of the Tuareg people.

the Tuareg call eshahid the friend of conversation. tea is a crucial part of their cultural heritage and practice.

i hope to one day be able to partake in Tuareg tea...

photocredit: {swiatoslawwojtkowiak}

tea bag wisdom

i am drinking a glass of yogi tea. it is promising to work many miracles for me like clarifying my skin, detoxing my liver, stimulating my brain waves, making me an excellent dancer, and other important life things...

mostly i am just enjoying the lemony aroma and bittersweet flavor. its tea bag just caught my eye. it says:

"be proud of who you are."

yes please. i'll have my tea with a helping of that.

photo credit: {Smoochiemomatpioneerwoman}

Monday, January 25, 2010


it is near impossible to top the experience of walking into a kitchen to the aroma of baking bread, browning garlic, and freshly washed basil. when cooking i experience an unadulterated joy. when cooking with friends i am at peace. any stress can be whipped into submission with the flick of a whisk. some of my favorite gifts have been recipes given to me by loved ones.

i am greek american and we use the word "kefi" to describe the spirit and joy of life. it essentially means the za za zoom in each of us. the practice of growing and making food, as much as love making, is full of kefi. in honor of my admiration for all things culinary and my dedication to living a life full of kefi i wanted to post my favorite tzatziki recipe. this spread is delicious on bread or vegetables and can be eaten solo as well.
enjoy duckies!

YiaYia's Tzatziki
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 long cucumber, peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (or finely grated)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more according to taste
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Pinch of fresh oregano
2 to 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix it all together and opa!

photocredit: {latartinegourmande}

love note #4: mittens and plantains

today began normally. i got coffee, my "healthy" donut, and began seeing clients. about an hour ago a woman whose family came to the US as refugees from the Middle East walked in the building with two very timid looking children. one had his arm in a cast and his older sister flocked over him using shockingly maternal body language for such a small and clearly young girl.

the adult with them came to the desk and told us that she had just taken these Haitian orphans into her home and would be adopting them within the year. our whole front desk made this collective sigh in response. it was the noise you make when you recognize both pain and beauty tightly woven together. it was the sound you make when you don't really know what to say, but wish to communicate that you are listening and that you understand behind this simple trip to a center for winter basics there is a story not easily told.

the children were given mittens, coats, boots and all the things that children living in and near the Rockies need. i could not help but watch the way each child interacted with the lobby. the older sister kept a close watch on her little brother and did not remove the scarf tied to her head that draped down almost covering her left eye. the little boy's eyes practically leapt from his face when the loudspeaker would blast out a client name and number. he touched his uninjured hand to his mouth as he tried to click out English sounds over enunciating each syllable. English to their Haitian creole ears must must sound harsh and percussive. Haitian creole flows; it is a language full of water.

as they were leaving one of the counselors went into the food bank and gifted the family an order of plantains. the girl looked up from her brother and grinned. she held the plantains a bit like a baby. she pointed at the fruit and whispered something to her brother. they giggled and leaned down to smell her bundle. in a world devastated a familiar food comes to mean a lot.

they left the center and people kept saying how amazing it is that they were adopted and out of the mess that is their home country. i had a bittersweet taste in my mouth. on one hand this adoption is a beautiful thing. they will have so many opportunities here and the orphanages in Haiti are overcrowded.however i cannot shake the reality that 13 days ago these children woke up in their home in port-au-prince. 13 days ago they had parents. 13 days ago they lived within the smells, cultural practices, and daily rituals of Haiti. 13 days ago they had concrete identities. now they are in small town Colorado. it must be like dreaming awake.

i can only hope that some of Colorado's natural beauty and the kind Coloradan people will make this transition easier for them. i can only hope that they will hold their culture and memories close to their hearts and that they will tell each other stories about the family they lost. sometimes when people have so many pieces of their identity ripped away they get to grow the aspects of their person that they still have control over. i hope for them that their bond as brother and sister grows and that each of them with their serious yet inquisitive eyes grow as learners and explorers. they are brave. in spite of all the pain inherent in their situation it made me glad to see them sharing secrets and thoughts about plantains and laughing together in this strange new life. theirs is a true love.

photocredit: {JHarp242}

sweetie pie mornings

confession, i love old fashioned doughnuts. there is a bakery on my way to work. i stop there to "get coffee" or on my better days to "get tea", but generally i come away with something donning a glaze.

i generally pretend i don't like doughnuts. then when i see old fashioned doughnuts i think, "these are unique and retro. these doughnuts are old fashioned. that must mean healthy, right?"
oh dear, i am easily manipulated by food marketing rhetoric.

what are your sweet indulgences?

Friday, January 22, 2010

deep in the bones

sometimes on friday mornings i like to linger in dream land. this morning i woke up early, drew the curtains so i could see the sunrise,put on some william primrose, and got back into bed. william primrose plays the viola with the simple artistry of a pastry chef. each small movement is significant and every time the bow brushes the strings i forget why language is crucial and understand why in the face of all things logical i love a well crafted poem.

i grew up playing viola and although i'm quite amateur delight in the resonating tones of this unique instrument. i love words, but the viola's songstress powers silence me. the notes of the viola live deep in my bones.

photocredit: {mourner'sphotos}

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a sweet night

jane austen wrote, "there's nothing like staying home for real comfort."

tonight i channeled austen and made myself decadent hot chocolate.

jane austen is, as i've always expected her to be, an endless font of wise tidbits...

photocredit: {pioneerwoman}

glory of the sky

confession: change is one of the hardest things for me to theoretically grasp. once a major transition happens i find myself quickly going with the flow and planting new roots and embracing new experiences. it is the anticipation of change that can overwhelm.

i was reflecting on sunrises and sunsets, inspired by a post at the lovely pioneerwomanblog. i cannot think of a more poignent symbol of change than dawn or dusk. there is a breathtaking beauty inherent in the passing of time.

photocredit: {becca ann, 2Kool4U, munroe photography, AS photography}

wonderful world wednesdays: Maria Gunnoe

good morning all,

today i'd like to take a moment to honor Maria Gunnoe. she is a real live coal miner's daughter born and raised in the Appalachian region of west virginia. her community has been disproportionately impacted by mountain top removal mining. not only has this practice degraded the physical landscape, but impacts the environmental health of the community as dangerous debris from the mining pollutes the watershed.

she was part of taking one of the mining corporations to court and the forced construction of a valley for the purposes of mining. over 60 residents initially were part of the case, but after many threats from the mining companies Gunnoe was the sole resident to testify. the courts ruled against the mining company.

Gunnoe continues her community activism in the face of threats on her life. she received one of the prestigious goldman environmental prizes for 2009. she is a true advocate for the beautiful and mystical Appalachian landscape and for her people.

doesn't she have the warmest smile?

photocredit: {goldmanprizesite}

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

good like bread

this phrase is significant in my family and my best friend's family. it essentially means to be someone who is warm, nurturing, and down to earth.

my wonderful friend gifted me one of the most beautiful gifts i have ever received. she hand etched a glass for me (yes she is highly gifted!). it was engraved with, "good like bread"...

this photo does not do it justice as the glass also has incredible dandelions. is there anything better than a heartfelt gift from someone who means so much?

very little is better.

tea story project

good morning lovelies,

i have an inordinate love of tea. thus i have decided to dedicate a little nook of surreptitiously cinnamon to exploring the stories and rituals that surround tea worldwide.

i will be sending out a new story about tea each week. if you have tea stories please send them in and i'll profile them.

my hope is that within the coming two years i will take a pilgrimage to all the countries and regions that have deeply embedded tea cultures...

photocredit: {leenda k}

Sunday, January 17, 2010

love note #3: mark and molly

i have known mark my whole life. this week he and his love decided that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. they are both musicians and from the looks of it are madly in love. how beautiful.


one of my dearest friends has graced the rocky mountains with her presence. we spent the day exploring quaint mountain towns, noting the bizarre lack of signage in colorado, and enjoying one of my favorite denver eateries, the crushery.

we are now partaking in a lovely pot of blooming tea and some highly indulgent television...

yes for rest and relaxation...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

luscious lips

i have discovered the most lovely and luscious lip treatment by Fresh. this is a soft, sweet, and totally nourishing balm with a slight lemon sugar essence...yum.

so on that sweet and silly night good night day, good night moon, hello pillow...

photocredit: {Fresh}

Friday, January 15, 2010


i cannot emphasize the importance of sunshine. winter doldrums are almost always healed up by the lovely mountain sun.

what do you all do when the winter months start getting oppressive?

photo: my lovely kim

concept of joostiness

so last year my housemates, the extraordinary bryan and annie, and i started receiving mail for the previous tenants of our oakland apartment. they were sisters and their last name was joost.

the received many things and we began to construct an elaborate story about their life and particular social demographic. we were postal anthropologists. we also clearly are people who had a touch too much time on our hands.

so as we kept receiving mail the term joosty was born.

photocredit: shamlessly stolen from anthropologie.

the rough definition (because having a concrete definition for this would not be joosty at all):

Joosty (j-u-s-t-e): to be a person who revels in all things yippie and urban. to appreciate urban warehouses and community gardens, but have a shocking love of expensive cuisine and anthropologie clothing. to live in quickly gentrifying neighborhoods and to care about disenfranchised people. to look like you have hand make everything in your life including your spices. to love death cab for cutie and farmers' markets.

joosty is the new juicy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


i am eagerly awaiting the arrival of one of my dearest friends who is coming to visit me this weekend. thus i've been spending a lot of time thinking about relationships, distance, and reunification recently.

this photo brought me joy in the midst of all the horrific news stories about deaths in Haiti. it is wonderful to reflect on this moment where 2 year old Redjeson Hausteen Claude was reunited with his mother after days of his family fearing the worst. in the heart of despair there are pieces of joy.

there is nothing like coming into the arms of a parent.

photocredit: {globalgrind}

it is a day for holding someone and being held. i think that maybe if we can hold just one person everyday and can be held by just one person everyday life would be different and warmer.

i think i'll try it.


confession, i am a crier in joy and in sadness. i have a great appreciation of tears. last night was a big crying night. the images of Haiti are devastating. i was nauseous. on one hand there is nothing that we can do as small people in this big world. on the other hand we can pray, we can collectively grieve, we can give what we have to the organizations that are most effectively helping on a grassroots level.

i've been told that partners in health as well as wycelf jean's org use money most effectively on the ground in Haiti.

there are no solutions, but there is empathy and there are many people working as hard as they possibly can to bring some peace and light to this devastation...

photocredit: {nellie vin}

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

healthy smoldering eyes

ancient egyptian eye makeup actually warded off eye infection as well as promoting a smoking smoldering aesthetic. pretty amazing.

my mama's birthday

is today. she is my wonderful world work woman of the week. my mom came up out of adversity attending one of the strongest schools in the nation. she is an amazing teacher, founder of a school that serves immigrant children in LA, dedicated community organizer, and a beautiful mother.

mostly though she knows me better than anyone in the world. she has taught me what love is everyday that i have been alive.

i only hope that one day i will love my children with the fervor and depth that she displays daily.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

babies in the morning

good morning duckies,

is anyone else very excited about this movie?


Monday, January 11, 2010

make haste

what a fun idea from brookish! next time i am at home and feeling crafty i will take basic clothing pins and paste quotes from my favorites novels onto them. i have a mini clothing line that hangs in my bedroom decoratively that will be the perfect display canvas for a just such a set of clothing pins...

brookish we delight in your creative tributes to jane austen!

photocredit: {brookish}

love note #2: virginia and patrick

happy monday lovelies! it is time for lovenote installment #2...

this story is taken from one of the dear volunteers at my work, virginia. she is retired and her husband passed away last year after many decades of marriage. she is a dedicated volunteer and makes me excited for all the stages of my life. last week we were able to sit down for a cup of coffee during a slow day and she shared with me a bit of her own love story.

virginia is saucy. she is sweet, but firm. she wears a shocking amount of blush and has the most seasonally appropriate sweaters that you've ever seen. she is totally and completely herself. last week in response to a client saying, "that sure is a bright red dress!" virginia threw her head back laughing and said, "this is my one life to live. i've lived it fully everyday. i wear what i love. who knows if crimson is going to be a color in heaven! i have to take full advantage of it now." i think this woman is fabulous.

she was also one of the members of the All American Women's Baseball League. virginia played for the Racine Belles in her youth. she met her husband while traveling with the team. he was a young reporter assigned to cover the women's league as a sort of joke by the older men working on his paper. he had deep auburn irish hair and freckles and virginia said that he was "cheeky". patrick's first story was about viriginia's incredible home run at teh beginning of the season. after interviewing her he asked if he could take her for a hamburger. virgina turned him down. she continued to turn him down the entire season.

right before the last game patrick showed up in the dressing room with a bouquet made of little baseball bats. he declared his love saying, "virginia this is the last advance i will make. the season is almost over. you are more beautiful everyday. i want to make a little baseball team with you someday. what do you think?" virginia walked over to patrick and kissed him. as virginia said, "when you find a man who substitutes baseball equipment for flowers, well ladies, you just have to keep him."

they spent their life together. virginia misses patrick very much and still has the mini baseball bat bouquet.

what a couple.

photocredit: allamericanleague

what if...

any major historical decision had gone differently? when i'm sitting at work and mentally unplugging from my daily tasks i often think about various peices of our history. what if a certain group of political and religious refugees had not traveled to a certain land? what if a piece of really influential legislation had never been written?

there are no answers to these questions, but they get my imagination churning and often provide the space to more fully understand thet way in which our lives are interwoven with all that has come before us.

i just finished an alternative history, 1,000 White Women. it explores a particularly fascinating piece of US history when various Native American nations were attempting to integrate into the white world and propsed that the US government send 1,000 white women to intermarry. this did not happen, but in this book the writer explores what might have happened if the exchange had gone through.

it is a heart breaking, thought provoking novel. it's a good book to read on a cold winter's day...

photo: my lovely great grandmother freida

dancing in the ice

oh so nice.

a good way to wake up. happy monday lovelies.

photocredit: {lovelyliane}

Sunday, January 10, 2010

a needle and a thread, a bushel and a peck

i love watching people who are skilled in the arts of sewing and embroidery. they have dexterous and magical hands. recently i have been learning how to do detail work on wedding dresses. i'm quite new to this craft and my fingers are slowly learning how to speak to the fabric. i can't wait until i can stitch while carrying on a conversation. for now though it is my hands' solitary and meditative practice.

i have been working on some detailing for a woman. she wishes to replicate the style that one of her dear friends used on her wedding dress. just a little something fun for you before bedtime...

good night weekend, good night moon, hello pillow,
becca ann


hi lovelies,

i hope everyone had exciting and restful weekends. my saturday flew by.i took another trip up to the ice skating rink and i'm getting a bit better at balancing on ice, but i'm not quite sure when i'll be up for attempting the "inner circle". the most skillful skaters all seem to twirl and twist about the center of the rink as us novice skaters fumble and bumble awkwardly around them. the birds looking down must think that ice skating is some bizarre collective worship dance or mating ritual.

i have to confess that today i am struggling with the blues. i've got the sniffles and i am attempting to make sense of pieces of my life that i have little control over. do you sometimes feel this need to have everything be in order?

so today and tomorrow i will try to:

release, appreciate my wonderful friends, rest, and create...

and drink tea, tons of tea.

photocredit: celestephotography

Friday, January 8, 2010

unseasonly sweet

my coworkers are telling me that ice cream is not in season. i beg to disagree as i find that ice cream transcends seasons. tonight i will make: baklava ice cream!

as a child i had instilled in me a love of honey, cinnamon, walnuts, and pistachios. when my family first immigrated to the US they founded an ice cream shop in boston called Y Brothers' Ice Cream (Y for Yiannacopoulos). they creamed and mixed all sorts of common American flavors, but also brought in their own cultural twist to ice cream. i shall make a simplified version of their baklava ice cream tonight and i suggest you do the same when a sweet tooth next comes knocking! for a wintery twist add a scoop of this to the cardamom coffee i wrote about earlier this's a great way to spoil yourself after a long week!

with the sweetest of teeth,

becca ann

take basic vanilla ice cream (as much as you'd like)
add honey to taste
sprinkle it with chopped walnuts and pistachios
finish it off with a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of cloves...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

flagrant color

this week i bundled up and visited the denver museum of art to see its most recent and temporary exhibit "embrace" . the museum asked 17 artists to make instillations throughout the museum in response to the building's shape and feel. it is a fascinating exhibit and i enjoyed moseying around the museum happening upon the various installations.

one of the pieces was done directly on one of the large slanting walls using spray paint. i turned the corner to find myself enveloped in a sea of greens, blues, and purples punctuated by splashes of reds and yellows. it was truly a flagrant and massive display of color.

perhaps it is because i was raised in the inner-city where graffiti was the most common form of art, but i have to confess that i love the idea of using walls or found objects as canvases. when graffiti is done well it is as if the wall it is painted on is crying out the song of the community in which it resides. admittedly graffiti can be done very poorly and be used as an act of intimidation, but often it is a true and striking expression of a person, a group, a place, a time...

this piece in embrace is not per se graffiti, but it evoked the same emotions. the colors and the way they dance together in the style that only spray paint can create took me to a place of wonder.

do you ever feel this way about a piece of art?

crimson on snow

our blizzard broke this morning and the bright colorado sun came beaming out. the roads were slick and the temperatures low. i visited my favorite coffee spot in town, stellas, and sat in front of their incredible mini fire pits sipping chai. it was bliss.

my mind flitted around to all sorts of daily frivolities like, "i wonder if i need more anti-freeze? should i paint my nails red today? maybe after work i'll make a pie, or maybe i'll have a movie snuggle night..." my most favorite musing though was about a scarf that i am trying to make. my fingers are slowly learn how to speak fluently with my needles and yarn. i am hoping to create something like the loveliness pictured above. i'm very taken with red scarves against the bright snow.

do you all have favorite winter colors?

photocredit: smittenkitten at etsy

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

wonderful world wednesdays: Wangari Maathai

good morning world! wednesday is creeping up on us and it's time for wonderful world wednesdays installment #1. on this january 6th i wish to acknowledge the beautiful Wangari Maathai.

Maathai is a kenyan woman who founded the Greenbelt Movement . She also is a woman's rights activist, an accomplished scientist, a member of parliamentary, and a nobel peace prize winner.

her major environmental works acknowledge not only the inherent value in preserving natural habitat, but moreover explore how people and animals are impacted by environmental degradation. she trained local women in communities to plant trees to battle the massive top soil loss that was happening in kenya during the past few decades. her work has been highly effective. she understands the interconnectedness of all things living and inspires me to think about how small ideas can take root and really make this vibrant place we live healthier for all.

power and blessings to you Maathai!

have any of you ever planted a tree? i am currently trying to keep a garden alive in the winter, but have never actually planted a tree. i plan to when the soil thaws. any thoughts on what type of tree i should plant? i am a complete tree planting amateur...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

birthday district

a week ago i wrote about the LA flower district. well this week i'm finding myself in my own little birthday district. three of my best friends are all born within a week of each other. i've been spending many moments in my days reflecting on each of them. the fact that they were born and that i got to meet them means the world to me.

much birthday love v, a, and m!

isn't it funny how people seem to be clustered around certain regions of the year? do you have any times of the year that are birthday blessing heavy?

swing low

there is a storm brewing over the mountains. although it is dark outside, i can almost feel the sky turning purple. on my way home from work tonight i passed a group of homeless people huddled together warming their hands over a small fire. i know some of this group from their frequent visits to my center and so i stopped to say hello. i reminded them about the various shelters and wished them goodnight. it is a daily struggle to not want to have some easy remedy to this issue of homelessness in the winter. i can feel the snow coming on and i know they are out in it. i walked away with that internal "why is this" battle raging. as i opened my car door they began to sing. it was just a little humming and then someone sang out in a smoker's raspy voice the lyrics to swing low sweet chariot.

it stopped me dead in my tracks. this song is so simple and yet means so much. this spiritual references the bible, but moreover the afro-diasporic slave community's struggle for freedom. the chariot signifying the underground railroad. although it is a wildly different time and place and set of circumstances, the music left me thinking about what the people who are living on the streets need empowerment within. what is their chariot? how do they gain access to making their communities healthy? how in the dead of winter do they find their freedom?

there are no easy answers. all i can say is that somewhere between our initial hello and the end of the song i found some piece of strength in each of them. the simple act of expressing and making music with others in the midst of such mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical discomfort speaks to resiliency. it provided a moment for quiet mind space. it gives me hope.

good night day, good night moon, hello pillow...

photocredit: lonelyplanet

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