I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sam's Town Casino

Sunset Stampede, Mystic Falls Park
Sam's Town Casino, Las Vegas
May 16, 2008

Sam's Town Casino is one of my favourites. The Mystic Falls Park lies within the central atrium. This is a pleasant spot to wander in or sit a spell. There is a bar if you want to sit a bit longer. The animated animals make you believe they are real and nothing is more specatular than when the Sunset Stampede errupts. It is most impressive at night but is still well worth seeing anytime. The water shoots eight stories into the air as the animals comes to life. For a few short moments it is easy to belief all this is real. I took several video so I hope the short one above gives you a bit of an idea of this wonderful and free show.

Garden Gnome

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk
South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada
May 16, 2008

The South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa is located in the southwestern portion of the Las Vegas valley, a few minutes from the Las Vegas strip. There is a 16 screen movie complex and a bowling alley in this casino which brings me to make a few comments on Las Vegas itself. Quite often when we talk of our Las Vegas trips the comment "I'm not much of a gambler so wouldn't go there." is made. The beauty of Las Vegas is you could enjoy a lovely vacation there without ever gambling a penny! Each casino has some type of attraction usually free of charge and many have additional paid attractions ranging from a token charge to about the $20 range. Simply wandering through the casinos with impressive decors could keep you busy. The larger casinos on the strip have indoor malls that are a must see with store facades and ceilings so realistic you will think you are strolling along a busy street. Scattered through the malls you will see mimes, live entertainment (wandering chorus groups, mimes and much more), amazing waterfalls and fountains and more eye candy than you can imagine. There are beautiful atriums to wander through some with wildlife or simulated wildlife (post coming soon). Then there is no end to the Las Vegas shows starting for as low as free entry with the purchase of a drink (about $7) to quite expensive with a variety of topics and themes. Some casinos like the Hard Rock have a multitude of memorabilia like outfits worn by music stars while others have museums dedicated to specific stars and even the history of Las Vegas. You can wander down to see the absolutely amazing light shows at the Fremont Street Experience (post coming soon) with four different ones nightly shown on the hour starting at 9 pm. While waiting for the next light show you can stop and watch artists as they work, listen to street musicians, listen to live bands at one of three locations and if you are lucky there will be special attractions like the dirt bikes I posted about previously. All this wonderful entertainment is free! A drive down the Las Vegas strip is a must especially at night. It is very impress so be sure to take your time and take lots of pictures. If you want a bit of time away from all the glitz and noise, a trip to the Hover Dam or Valley of Fire or Mount Charleston is highly recommended from personal experience.

I would be remiss to not include a few tips to enhance your Las Vegas vacation. Do as much prep work online as possible including checking your bags at the airport, car rental (seriously a must!), hotel reservations and research what attractions you would like to see. Make sure you buy a current copy of the American Casino Guide (no affiliation with). This book will cost you $16.95 but it is chock full of two-for-one meal coupons, coupons for freebies, show discounts and a lot more. This book will pay for itself if you only use one coupon but when you see what there is it will save you a lot more! A rough estimate of our savings using this book for our recent trip is about $300 and we didn't push it. Make sure you get a player's card for each casino you gamble at. Many offer sign-up freebies.

So, back to the Incredible Hulk. This massive statue greets visitors to the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. My husband is above average height aka quite tall yet looked short compared to this statue. The picture of the two together was priceless!

Garden Gnome

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Indoor Fish Tank
Silverton Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
May 15, 2008

Each casino in Las Vegas has some type of attraction. When you walk in the doors of the Silverton you are greeted with a huge floor to ceiling aquarium stocked with an amazing variety of fish. The day we visited one of the care takers in full scuba gear was in the tank. It was an impressive sight! This video is rather short at about 20 seconds but will give you an idea of the fish tank. Enjoy!

Garden Gnome

Saturday, May 24, 2008

only in Las Vegas

Dirt Bike Stunt
Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas
May 15, 2008

We like staying in the old downtown section of Las Vegas, usually at the Four Queens Hotel & Casino. They always treat us nice. Their service is always friendly, the rooms clean and the casino a lot of fun to be in. The nice thing about staying downtown is I feel comfortable walking to other downtown casinos under the cooling canopy of the Fremont Street Experience and watchful eye of security. You can't walk along the FSE without seeing one or more security personnel either walking or on bicycles and while you still need to use common sense, it's a nice feeling that they are there to help with any problems. Transients (street people) are common but are left to go about their business providing they don't bother others. Each morning of this trip I sat on the patio of the Krispykreme Doughnuts at Fitz Casino & Hotel (formerly called the Fitzgeralds). They offer free Wi-Fi for their customers so I was able to keep up a few of my online activities while enjoying a cup of coffee. It was a pleasant way to greet the day as well as do a little people watching and let me tell you, Las Vegas is a perfect place to people watch!

Friends arrived later the same day as our arrival. A couple of the girls and I decided to mosey on down to the Las Vegas Club near the end of the FSE. It's the only casino we saw this trip that still had the Beverly Hillbilly slot machines, one of my favourites from a few years back. There are three versions of these machines but the Las Vegas Club only has the Bubblin' Crude and The Clampett's Cash. Almost directly in from of the Las Vegas Club door was this huge metal mesh ball. I had seen it earlier and wondered what it was for. This time there was a crowd gathering and I could hear the noise of dirt bikes so I put two and two together. We got there just in time to see the warm up then watch as one bike entered the ball to do stunts. By the time this free show was over there were three riders inside the ball! The video of the three riders is a little over a minute long but well worth watching. Only in Las Vegas can you stumble upon such interesting and free entertainment!

Garden Gnome

Friday, May 23, 2008

our destination

McCarran International Airport
Las Vegas, Nevada
May 13, 2008

We arrived at our vacation destination of Las Vegas, Nevada on May 13, 2008. Las Vegas is one of our favourite vacation destinations. We've made the trip almost yearly for the past fifteen years and it always amazes me how much it changes within a year. One of our first stops after picking up the rental car is at the Klondike Hotel & Casino. This little locals casino was shown on Vegas Vacation with Chevy Chase (a must watch movie before each trip) although the actual name was never mentioned. There was 10 cent roulette, 10 cent black jack and they actually played war! Smoke hung in a thick cloud and the chairs did not beckon sitting on. Still it was like a good luck charm. Unfortunately the familiar red western style building with yellow lettering was no more. And so it was...

Why Las Vegas? I could answer with a why not but I won't. Seriously we love the place even though I detest the environmental impact the city has. It's a city smack in the middle of a desert! Deserts are not wastelands as they have both flora and fauna indigenous to the region. This means that suburbs with their nice little chemically dependent green carpets do not belong in the desert. The city finally woke up to that fact and is now encouraging the residents to use natural landscaping or artificial turf. The city is growing at a rate of about 5,000 people per month! It doesn't matter that the valley can't support all that growth especially with supplying water, it continues to grow. Transients make their way to Las Vegas because at least there they don't have to worry about blustery cold weather only blistery hot heat. Tourists flock there daily by the thousands.

The thing about Las Vegas is the city is really anything you want it to be.
More than any other city in the world it embraces and welcomes change. Nothing stays the same. There is no history other than what is written because as soon as any building out lives its usefulness, down it goes to make way for the latest and greatest. There is glitter, noise and lights everywhere sure to over stimulate even the calmest of people. Tables groan under the weight of over filled plates combined with a lot of beverages all to the not so quiet lull of ringing, jingling slot machines. Your brain is so busy trying to process the copious amount of stimuli it simply can't focus on any personal thoughts or problems. There is no end to the visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli either. It is a constant 24/7/365 thing. The only time that I can remember in our travels there where things stopped was a 1 minute of darkness on the strip in honour of Frank Sinatra's death. Even in that the eerie darkness became another stimulus.

It is the ultimate in escape vacations!

Garden Gnome

Thursday, May 22, 2008

back homeside

View from Plane
May 13, 2008

As you know we've been away on our spring vacation. Unlike previous vacation plans I did not disclose our departure date, destination or our return date and that was for personal reasons. Ok, I really want to expand on this one for my valued and loyal readers but I can't because of at least one problem reader. We are home now after a much needed and very wonderful vacation of which I will be posting about in the next few posts so will give the destination and some details.

I was excited to test out the new iPod Touch for this vacation because it meant when I wanted a bit of down time I could go online. I couldn't get it to work at the first airport but once at our destination then at the airport when leaving I had no problems. The only downside is I am now seriously addicted to Krispykreme rich brew coffee. That is your first clue that our destination was within North America. I'm not much of a doughnut eater but that coffee was most excellent! I liked that the iPod Touch allowed me to stay in touch thanks to their free Wi-Fi service and I was able to find other Wi-Fi hot spots where we were. I went online before leaving then printed off a set of free Wi-Fi locations for our destination. What I really liked with the iPod Touch was the size! It isn't much bigger than a deck of cards but only a quarter thick so was very easy to keep on me all the time. I was able to keep up with a few entrecards and replying but composing a post was horrid at best so I'm going to have to work on this one.

It was a rather different vacation. Friends of ours met up with us the day of our arrival but their hearts were not into the trip. Then I got sick and that kind of dragged on. Sis in law joined us so that was a real blast. The weather soared to over 100ºF for at least three days which meant I ended up with heat effects as well. So it was a funky trip but we still had a wonderful time. And we always do. Honestly any time I can spend with my husband is a good time. Laughter and good company, that's what it's all about :)

Garden Gnome

Sunday, May 18, 2008

the wall

Wall Composition
May 9, 2008

I'm not going to disclose the meaning of this composition. All I'm going to say is I really love Photoshop! Those who know me well will likely be able to decipher it. My husband could tell you the meaning right off the bat as could likely my kids. Quiet reflection may reveal the meaning behind...not likely but maybe.

Garden Gnome

Friday, May 16, 2008

Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories

My Beloved Childhood Books
Volumes 1-6 (1950 - 1962)

When I was growing up reading and lady-like activities like needlework was encouraged. Playing with dolls was not. In fact I had very little in the way of toys but I had lots and lots of books! I can't ever remember a time where I did not have books. Books have always fascinated me. I could travel the world and learn about things I like would never see in my lifetime. Books were my friends. I preferred them to television and even as a young child my reading preferences tended to be geared towards non-fiction. My childhood love of books continued into childhood. I have a extensive and always expanding library. The nice thing is this love was passed onto our children who are now passing it on to their children.

Pictured is my beloved set of Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories. The inside cover of each book has my name written in my Mom's handwriting. When I say Mom I am referring to the wonder woman who raised me (more on Mother's Day 2008 entry). She was well into her 50's when I came to be but she was a good Mom and I miss her dearly. You might remember these stories from a large, blue table top book in your doctor's office. I think some doctor's offices still have copies. I have volumes 1 through 6, written by Arthur S. Maxwell (1896 - 1970) and published between 1950 and 1962 although the original stories were first published in 1924. While I didn't know it at the time, the stories within were to teach good Christian values. The stories not only teach morals they sooth your soul much the same as chicken noodle soup soothes the body when not feeling well. As you can see from their covers, these books have been well used. I read them cover to cover many times while I was growing up then when I had children I shared those same stories with them. Now his stories will be passed on to our grandchildren as they cuddle on our laps. These much beloved books are a way of melding my past with future generations. I hope they will love the stories as much as I did and still do.

Garden Gnome

The Garden Gnome :)

A couple of months ago I clicked on a link to Entrecard on another blog. Unlike other traffic generating websites, Entrecard uses a system of credit currency where you earn credits by dropping your entrecard (an online form of a business card) on other members blogs. They in return can choose to visit your blog or not. Credits earned may be used to advertise on other blogs or they can be used to run special events like contests or giveaways on your blog. They can also be transferred to other members as a reward or just to say thank-you. The biggest difference is that unlike other traffic generating websites, credits earned through Entrecard can be bought or sold, so they do have a cash value.

Each blog must have a unique email address associated with that blog. To date, I have two blogs active on Entrecard. Each blog is allowed a 300 maximum daily drop. I created icons to be used as my entrecards for each of my blogs and one for my Epinions link. I tried to keep them similar so if you see any of these icons while are surfing you will immediately recognize them as mine. Clicking the icon will bring you to the associated site. So if you stumple upon one of my icons, please click and leave a message to say hi.

For those of you who don't know, my nick name Garden Gnome came from one of my kids after affectionately patting me on the head and telling me I looked like a garden gnome! The nick name stuck. The avatar on my profile is a picture of Gnameless, one of my gnomes, At present, I have fourteen gnomes, all with names. Some are outdoor gnomes while others are indoor gnomes. I also have a few fairies, smurfs and pixies but only one troll who only appears at Christmas along with a few elves.

All of my blogs have the common themes of family and friends, love of nature and good food yet each are unique in their own way. They were created as a way of sharing what is important to me. In many ways when combined they have become somewhat of a personal diary. Family is my priority so while I may blog my opinions and occasionally a minor rant you won't see inappropriate material. All are family oriented so even little ones can enjoy them. I'm a very visual person so you will see a lot of photos, video clips and that type of thing. Most of the photos and images are either taken or created by me. So a bit about my bogs:

Garden Gnome Wanderings was my first large scale blog, created on April 25, 2006. At that time I had five raised beds and small greenhouse, planted using the square foot gardening method. I also had traditional flower beds and grew in containers. Blogging about my gardening experiences became a way of sharing the ups and downs of gardening. It also became a learning experience for me. This blog has evolved to include environmental issues and more detailed write-ups about various plants and garden visitors. We moved last year so I'm in the process of re-organizing gardens, while re-establishing vegetable and herb beds as well as learning about what is here.
Mom's Cafe Home Cooking was created April 28, 2006 as a natural extension to my gardening blog. With gardening comes excess produce so I do a lot of home food preserving, mainly canning and freezing but also drying and curing. I like to cook and I like putting good, healthy food on the family table. This blog really features my cooking style and how I do things in the kitchen. The food is very much a down home, country style of cooking and while I like to experiment with new ingredients, you won't find a lot of gourmet here. What you will find is good food mingled with my thoughts and something I feel important is the economics of food preparation especially when it comes to canning. Entries include but are not limited to recipes, opinions, methods, tips, appliances and so much more but the main focus is on cooking.

My Journey (this blog) was created September 19, 2006 as a way of sharing things that didn't fit into either cooking or gardening. Just about any topic I find interesting that day is fair game. Most Sundays are a Blog Your Blessings (BYBS) post, the brainchild of BluePanther, so please stop by and say hi. Thanks to him I've met some very nice bloggers. For quite some time Mondays were reserved for funnies and Wednesdays were wordless but 2008 saw that changing a bit although both still appear from time to time. The change was not deliberate but more of my sometimers kicking in. I have a lot of fun with this blog simply because I talk about anything and everything!
Garden Gnome at Home went online December 10, 2006 at the request of an online friend. This blog highlights some of the things I do as a homemaker. It also highlights crafts and hobbies as well as problems we encounter being home owners. Posts tend to follow what I'm doing then and if I feel others will be interested. Photos, tips and methods are included. This is more of a how to blog but not always. Some of the topics featured include: gardening, cooking, scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, crocheting, decorating and much more. There is a strong environmental component as well with energy efficiency playing a large part in some posts.

I joined Epinions on October 18,2006. Why? I have a lot of opinions on the products that I use. I try to be very fair and very detailed with any of my ratings as any product will have both pros and cons. What you will find are products I've use and rated according to performance. Disclosure: I am compensated for my opinions but that doesn't affect my ratings for products and/or services. I basically tell you what it is based on my experience.

Now you have met all my icons so be sure to stop by and say hello!

Garden Gnome

Thursday, May 15, 2008


May 11, 2006

Lilacs have to be one of my fondest childhood memories. We had three lilac trees. One was the same colour as that pictured, another a pale bluish purple and the last was white. The pinky purple was my absolute favourite especially when in bloom. That was my tree! I couldn't wait for spring to see it in bloom. Then to the dismay of my Mom as climbing trees wasn't very ladylike, I would climb up to find my favourite sitting spot while breathing in their sweet fragrance. Years of trimming had formed a perfect sitting cradle complete with a couple of stumps just perfect for small feet to boost their way up to that special spot. Most times I brought a book with me and later the much cherished Kodak instamatic camera. Embraced by the leafy bows and hidden from view, I spent many a summer afternoon shielded from the heat while enjoying a good book.

My lilacs are just starting to blossom here reminding me of days gone by...

Garden Gnome

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

when I grow up

"A slideshow of the lovely Mrs. Shirley Jane Temple Black, with pictures from 1929 to 2006, set to her song "When I Grow Up."

Look closely at 1:14, it's Shirley strolling across the MGM lot with Clark Gable, Mickey Rooney, and Judy Garland. And she's hugging Dakota Fanning at 1:12."
by lastsafeplace from YouTube

Garden Gnome

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shirley Temple Black (1928 - )

When I was young one of the things I looked forward to was watching Shirley Temple movies Sunday afternoons. My other favourite was The Wonderful of Disney but was terrified of The Wizard of Oz. Back then we didn't watch a lot of television not because we only had four channels through the arial but because there were so many other kid things to do outside. My Mom looked forward to watching Bonanza and The Big Valley. Every Sunday night the television was tuned to The Lawrence Welk Show.

Bill Bojangles Robinson and Shirley Temple
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms

I have remained a Shirley Temple Black fan over the years collecting memorabilia include all of her movies in various formats. As DVDs of her movies came out, I collected those as well even though I have them in VHS. Many of the old movies have been colourized but I have to admit I prefer the black and white versions. Our television was a black and white so that's the way I remember them. Original paper doll cut-out books, colbalt blue bowls and cups, news clippings, collector dolls and other collector items along with her award winning autobiography Child Star joined my collection years ago. I'm always on the look-out to add more to my collection. Thanks to YouTube I have discovered some lovely video clips so will be enjoying them as well.

Garden Gnome

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sparkling Waters
May 4, 2008

Dear Readers, when we go on vacation you are used to seeing the "'puter on vacation" image. This time I decided to do two things differently. Thanks to Blogger's new scheduling option, I've worked quite hard to give you several scheduled posts for reading during my absence. That means I created several posts before leaving but have each scheduled to go online on different dates. By the time you read this post, we will be on our way. The main theme for this vacation series is childhood memories but there are a couple that do not fit into that category. Through these posts you will learn a few tidbits about me. Some you may find interesting and others not so. I hope you enjoy them. The second difference is as a new owner of an iPod Touch I will be able to stay in touch with blog comments, emails and may even make a blog post while away. Although I won't be online much, this will be a nice change for when I want a little personal down time. The iPod Touch will be a lot easier to travel with than the laptop as well.

I'll disclose more about our vacation through later posts. Take care and enjoy,

Garden Gnome

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Garden Gnome

Thursday, May 08, 2008

life is like that

Folks send me some rather interesting emails, some of them containing jokes or laughter that fit into the "life is like that" category where somehow my funny bone just takes over. Here is one I recently received that gave me a chuckle while vivid images floated through my mind. Honestly I could easily see this happening! As a little person lover (gnomes, dwarfs, fairies, smurfs, etc) please be assured the following is in fun.

Officer, this is how the fight started...

I rear-ended the car in front of me. I admit that. It was my fault.

So, we both pull over to the side of the road, and slowly the driver of the
car I hit gets out of his car. . and you know how you just-get-sooo-stressed... and life...
sometimes life seems like... well suddenly funny?

Well, the driver of the car I hit is a DWARF! He gets out of his car and
I get out of my car.

He is frowning and scowling and he storms over to me in that cute little wobble walk and he gets right up close at me he looks up in my face and says, "I AM NOT HAPPY!"

And I swear I don't know what possessed me, officer, but I look down at him and I
said, "Well, if you're not Happy..............................which one are you?"

. . . . and that's when the fight started...

Garden Gnome

Monday, May 05, 2008

paradyme shift

The Messenger
April 28, 2008

Last week was trouble with a capital T with a stress level high enough to make the most patient person turn the air blue. It all started quite innocently with me taking a walk about the gardens. As always my camera was safely tucked in my hand because you never know when a photo opportunity will arise. Spotting the beautiful blooms on this bush, I just had to take a picture. The bush sits in front of one of the lower level windows, the only one with a window well. The reason for the well is that is were they put a sewer clean-out. There is the window well sat a good portion of the red jello I had flushed down the toilet! Silly me put the cap back on the clean-out and ran a load of laundry resulting in a bit of a water blow-up in the upper level washroom and a window well full of soapy . Well it was all down hill from there. A flurry of phone calls got the plumber and backhoe operator out. More frantic phones were made to get line locates before digging. With the prospect of being with indoor toilets, laundry or bath facilities we had to make quick temporary arrangements. Adding to the stress was the prep work of two larger get togethers we were hosting Saturday. The first one was to great our newest grandbaby into our expanding family (54 expected), followed by a family dinner and finally my husband's poker games (30 - 35 expected). On top of that I was forced into a rather difficult decision that left me both hurt and saddened but in my heart I know it was the right decision. Just when I thought I was at my breaking point, something amazing happened. My sense of humour as warped as it can be kicked in. A sense of humour can be a huge blessing and so it was for me last week.

Every time I looked in the mirror I gave myself a quick smile. I made sure to get my daily 30 minutes of walking in even though I didn't feel like it. I went out of my way to find something, anything to make me smile or laugh. Instead of my normal HGTV or FoodNetwork watching I purposely turned to the comedy shows. I even decided to research a bit on an Apple product (iPod Touch) on of my kids recommended instead of a new PDA, not that I was seriously considering updating. Every time something negative happens I forced myself to take 10 deep breaths while chanting this too shall pass. By the time the kids with grandbabies in tow arrived I was in a right chipper mood.

My family brings me great deal joy. They are my most cherished blessing! Oldest grandbaby (16 months) is a true treasure much like one of her parents aka both (one biological, one through marriage) our pride and joys. Now oldest grandbaby discovered youngest grandbaby (1 month) who I think looks like the parent who married into the family but who is very much considered one of out kids but others think the baby looks like our kid. Little Miss Sunshine (oldest) is used to being the one and only so it was interesting when grandpa held the youngest and the oldest insisted on being up on his lap as well. She snuggled up to grandpa then every once in awhile would plant a soft kiss on the baby, something she has just learned. Talk about adorable! Grandma's camera was in high gear. Then when grandma held the baby all of a sudden grandma's lap was the place to be for the oldest. We ended up with a lot of precious, precious pictures! I couldn't help but being a bit saddened at the thought that this too shall pass and yet marvel at watching these two little ones, each their own personalities and blossoming surrounded by an abundance of love.

PS, the iPod Touch is now en route so I will be able to blog a bit while on vacation. I post about both shortly. Oh and the boat is down with this year's maiden journey enjoyed yesterday.

Garden Gnome

Friday, May 02, 2008


The Head
May 1, 2008

When we moved here last year, I had little idea that we would encounter hidden bizarreness. On first sight the massive fireplace and and beautiful tongue and groove panels ceilings sporting large beams combined with matching wainscoting in most of the lower level meant love at first sight. Set on a beautiful park-like setting with overflowing gardens and backing onto the water sealed the deal. Hidden throughout the house and lurking in the gardens was what I can best describe as being bizarre and that's coming from someone who prides herself in having a gnome empire!

We seriously hauled out two truck loads of very weird almost scary garden decorations last summer. The gnomes in their wisdom declared the findings bad karma. Not one of them were in one piece. There was the dinosaur missing a good portion of his top half, small statues missing arms or legs or heads and similar type items including the tombstone I posted about shortly after moving in. Seriously the former owner either had a very warped sense of humour and/or had issues! My poor gnomes were all in a tither at the scary findings.

Yesterday we were clearing out a garden bed as in eliminating it. Just when we thought we had found all the strange ones out pops The Head pictured above along with more of his garden mates. He actually is intact with all apparent parts. The toothy grin sent me into fits of laughter! Considering by that time we were into day four of sewer problems meaning no indoor toilets or showers, that grin just smacked of a gotcha. Then it hit my funny bone and I started laughing. After all the week's upsets, a belly rolling laugh was just the perfect stress buster. Laughter is good for the soul regardless of how it comes about :)

Garden Gnome