Monday, June 18, 2018

Ella's Bookshelf - Educating Jenny




I always seek inspiration as I start to think about writing a book review.  What's going to be my "angle?"  This time, it came from a book I started weeks before PK Corey's latest title in the Cal's Law series hit the shelves at Blushing Books and Amazon.  Was browsing on my Kindle one night after typing "Spanking Romance" into the Search Box.  Up came a 1000 choices.  I scrolled and scanned the blurbs of at least two dozen books.


Finally saw one that caught my interest.  Clever title.  Nice cover.  Hero's name was Cade Somebody.  He was handsome, wealthy, and sensitive.  Just hadn't found his true love yet.  Girl's name was Rachel, I think.  A troubled but true-blue young woman trying to find her way after a bad marriage.  I clicked on the "Buy Now."  Amazon said "Thanks, Ella," and I started reading.


Loved this title!


I read that night and the next night and the night after that.  No spanking.  I would get to a good part where Rachel certainly deserved one.  "Hot dog," I would think.  "Here it comes, finally."  Nope.  Instead of putting her over his knee, this guy would wash her hair.  Soon she would run away, drive like a crazy woman, and spit challenges at Cade.  I waited with bated breath for him to take her in hand.  Nope.  This insipid "hero" did not pull his belt through the loops of his jeans.  Wait for it, spanking fans.  He cooked her a pasta dinner!


I finally came to the end of my patience.  The little percentage of the e-book read that appears in the bottom right hand corner of my Kindle said that I had read 64%.  Where the hell were the spankings?!  I went back to Amazon to check the blurb.  My bad.  It said nothing about discipline or a man with an itchy palm wanting to teach the little lady a lesson.  It was a plain old Nothing Romance!!  I know that I had searched for spanking books; Amazon screwed up.  Would they return my $3.99 if I explained the error?  Probably not.  I thought about writing a review of the book that basically said "This One Sucked!" but decided that wasn't fair to the author.  The only thing she was guilty of was peddling this drivel as romance.


     
        
       When Is The New Book Coming Out, PK!?

Luckily just a short time later, Educating Jenny was finally published.  Now this is a spanking romance!  And well worth your $3.99, too!

Title:  Educating Jenny



Author:  PK Corey

Themes:  Friendship, Self-Development, Awakening

Main Characters:  

Jenny:  an independent young woman married to the town sheriff, Cal Bennett.  She is not only madly in love with her husband, she loves being a homemaker and part of his large, loving family.


Cal: is the sheriff of the town where he grew up.  He met Jenny when he caught her breaking the law while she was a sorority member at the posh, private college in town.  He didn't hesitate to paddle her bottom.  As he helped her become more responsible about her education and personal safety, they fell in love.  Cal is a firm believer in a solid domestic discipline relationship as the key to a happy marriage.




Allie and Lane: Allie is also away at the university and invites Jenny to share an apartment there.  They and their husbands travel back and forth to spend time with each other.  Lane is Cal's little sister and becomes good friends with both Jenny and Allie.


Jake:  is deputy and best friend to Cal Bennett.  He and Lane's relationship moves from good friends into something more.  Both are concerned that Cal will not approve.


Cassie and Sue:  Although these two women are of an older generation, Jenny looks up to them and feels welcome as a friend and part of their "river family."


Setting:  This book takes place in 2 locations.  It starts and ends in the small town where Jenny and Cal met and were married.  Cal's family, friends, and home are all there.  It is also the community where the author's Cassie series is set.  A good portion of this latest story also happens in the university town where Jenny and Allie live and attend classes.




Educating Jenny is the third book in the Cal's Law series by PK Corey.  The beloved characters from her Cassie books make their standard cameo appearances in each of the Cal and Jenny stories.  This time Cassie and Sue manage to not only land themselves in hot water but drag Allie and Jenny along with them.  I laughed out loud when Cassie admits, "How did we get this old and manage to stay so stupid?"


Back in the early 80's, there was first a Broadway play and then a
major motion picture titled Educating Rita.  I saw both and loved the mix of comedy and drama. The lead character is a working class hairdresser who views education as a way to escape her dull life.




Jenny, on the other hand, argues when Cal insists she complete one more year of college.  He even wrangles a scholarship to the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.  She has already escaped the shallow world of her well-to-do and unloving parents and revels in the simple life of being Cal's wife.  He sincerely wants her to see all the possibilities that an education can open to her, and she finally agrees to one more year of college.


Even though Jenny knows what Cal expects from her and she
understands her husband's consequences for putting herself in danger, she gets mixed up in the trouble when Cassie and Sue drag them to a college party with both alcohol and pot.  Later as Cal scolds her and spanks her, he says, "You know Cassie and Sue can get themselves in trouble at a Bible study."  What Cal doesn't know at the time is that on the night of the party, Jenny inadvertently made an enemy of an arrogant campus cop named Devin Pipes.





Although Cal meant for the spanking to be disciplinary, Jenny is just plain HOT for her gorgeous husband.  This gives Cal the idea that educating his Jenny might be a lot more fun in the bedroom.  Throughout this book, they grow more deeply in love as they explore their sexual fantasies.  However, Cal lets her know that he is "the one and only spanker in this family."




When Jenny tires of being harassed by the campus cop, she retaliates.  Matters turn much more serious when another law officer targets Jenny.  Soon after, Lane comes to visit and together they hatch a plan to rival anything Cassie and Sue could dream up.


One of my favorite parts of the book is when Jenny is educated about how a loving family celebrates Christmas.  We also see her coming into her own when the gifts she creates and gives Cal's family are so warmly received.  I just loved seeing her proud of a talent she never knew she had.




Just as Rita is transformed by her education in the play, Jenny comes of age in this book.  Educating Jenny begins with a girl but finishes with a woman.  The difference with PK Corey's story is that we know Cal will always be there to guide and love Jenny, even if that means warming her bottom from time to time.

                      
                               Now that's my idea of romance.




Thursday, June 7, 2018

"But the Suitcases Are Still in the Car?"





Back in April, Meredith wrote a post about how traveling seems to be a really hard time to lean in.  In all fairness, she also had several travel posts where she let her Jack maintain his leadership, and there was peace in his valley.  Not perfect, but pretty damn good, Mere!



I guess the same could be said about me on our recent travels.  I stopped myself from interrupting many times but then mowed right over Sam at dinner one night.  I do like it when the nice Garmin lady gives my husband the driving directions instead of me.  I seem to stay out of trouble more often in the car.  You can't spank the Garmin lady, but Sam does tell her to "shut up" once in a while.  There was one big lapse in car judgement that I will explain later in this post.




Really tried to remember to wait for Sam to open the car door, give the waitress my drink order (house IPA most of the time) and not to speed up so I was walking 10 feet in front of him.


Things were going fairly well until the last day - our travel day back home.  Then it all went to hell in a handbasket.  I could tell I was metaphorically stepping on Sam's toes again and again but seemed powerless to to stop myself.  If there is a fallen angel of ttwd, I was under her control.




It was a long, long day, that's for sure.  As we pulled up in the driveway, I thought the only thing on both our minds was, "Home, sweet home."  I knew there would be loads of laundry the next morning, but for now, I was just looking forward to my own bed.


As we got out of the car, I grabbed as many small items as I could carry, knowing that Sam would take care of the heavy  baggage.  He opened the door for me, and I dropped the things in my arms on the dining room table and reached for the stack of mail.  I thought Sam was heading back out for the suitcases, but then I heard the front door close and the distinctive sound as the lock was thrown.




"Hmmm," I thought.  "That's odd.  Why wouldn't he be getting the luggage.  Besides, it was quite warm.  The screen door would be just fine tonight.

Without a word spoken, Sam reappeared and reached for my hand.

"But the suitcases are still in the car, Sam?"

"And that's where they will be until I am finished," he said as he towed me down the hall.


He never let go of me as he bent to retrieve the little wooden paddle from the bottom drawer of his dresser.  (In happier times, I refer to that drawer as the "toy box.")  He set the paddle on the foot of the bed and deftly unzipped my jeans.  Then silent still, he sat on the edge of the bed and pulled me over one knee.  Took his time arranging me and finally put his other leg over both of mine.  I already felt totally pinned, and he hadn't said one word.  I think I stopped breathing for a minute.


When the dam broke, Sam had much to say.  The paddle worked its deadly magic as my guy started to recall every single stupid thing I said or did beginning when I woke up about 5:00 am that morning.


"You have been second guessing me all day long, Ella.  The only rest I had was when you had to pee."


"This wasn't going to be good," I thought as Sam began listing my misdemeanors.  Perhaps some went a bit beyond misdemeanor more toward felony.  You be the judge.
  
  • "I think you should go get the big luggage cart, Sam."

  • "Wait!  The Garmin has to be wrong.  We need to go this way to the car rental return."  He ignored me and pulled onto the ramp to the garage.  I hate that the Garmin Bitch is always right!  I think I heard her say, "So there, Ella," as Sam turned off the engine.




  • I was sure I knew which side of the building we had to go to catch the shuttle to the terminal.  Sam just stood there until I realized he wasn't following me.

  • This next one was when I noticed Sam raised his voice.  Arriving in San Diego for a long layover, I began.  "Well, we have to get to Terminal 1 to find the restaurant we found online....What a stupid airport.... Why do we have to leave the secure area just to eat and then have to go through security again?....It makes no sense....No matter.......We have TSA Pre-Check."


 
But then the TSA officer said that Pre-Check was not being accepted at this time and to take off shoes and belts.  Pull out electronics and clear bags of toiletries.  I kid you not, I just stood there repeating, "But we have Pre-Check on our boarding passes.  But we have....." 

"Ella, you are holding up the line.  Take - Out - The - Laptop - Now," he growled.  I finally did.

  • Guess who asked for the check when we finished eating.  "Oh, sorry, Hon."

  • I really didn't remember any indiscretions on the final leg of our journey, but Sam did.  (By this time the paddle was quite busy on my bum, and I couldn't really think straight.)

  • Sam was just about to pull the Park & Fly card out of his wallet in order to tell the driver where we were parked, when I piped up helpfully, "It was Row C, I'm pretty sure.  Yep, I was right."  Sam was silent.




And so this post has come full circle.  We were finally home.  The suitcases were still in the car.  My ass was properly toasted, and I felt like I had just received the Nobel Prize in Literature for writing 

                           The TTWD Book of What Not To Do.



But then Sam pulled me up for kisses and gently pinched my nipple.  There was a grin on his face, too, and I knew for certain there would be a happy ending to this story.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Words From Sam

Sam and I have been coming to terms with some big changes happening in our lives together.  It would be easy to put aside ttwd right now.  To slip back into our old roles.  Instead, we are finding that every day we are making a conscious effort to enrich our relationship.  Sam surprised me with this post, and I was very touched that he wanted to share it with both me and my readers.  He was also speaking to the men out there who haven't yet embraced ttwd.  When he finally agreed to be the leader at our house, he never dreamed the happiness it would bring to both of us. 




You live your life and just go along.  You make compromises.  You love your wife the way you have been taught to love.  Then you bump into something like ttwd, and you both recognize that there is something so different and so much more special from what you have always been taught.  Feelings get deeper, love grows deeper, how close you both are seems so much better.  All because of a secret one of you had and never talked about.


We talk about everything now, we feel everything together.  It has changed my life so much, more than I ever would have expected.  It has made me a better person than I ever was; it has made me a better man than I ever was.  Now that we are at that place in our lives when we face the changes that age eventually brings and hits you upside the head, I just cannot say how much it means that Ella and I are so close, so together, so pulling in the same direction.


TTWD was very hard for me in the beginning.  I talked about that in my long ago and first post (I am nowhere near as prolific as my Ella.)  But this change has been so magnificent in its returns to her and me.  She is so lovely, liberated, such a happier person - much more so than she ever was before.  She has also come alive as my helpmate, my support, and my counsel.  We have a saying around this house now.  We don't try to explain.  We don't try to dissect.  We simply call it "Just Because."


Just because I love you.

Just because I need to do this.

Just because you need me to do this.

Just because it is so much better than it has ever been.

Just because I love turning your butt pink.


It is not hard to do.  You just have to give up a lot of things that were embedded in your head from the beginning.  Our parents, our siblings, the friends we had before ttwd, maybe even our own sons have never come close to the relationship we have now. The relationship we will always have no matter what happens down the road.


I definitely don't like to preach.  Everybody finds their own way in this life.  I would just say to any men out there whose wife has stepped up and was straight with you about wanting a ttwd relationship, you really ought to at least try.  It will make you more of a man, and she will be more of a woman to you. 


  



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Warm Bottom Welcome





Just a few weeks ago, I was off to spend some lovely time with my youngest sister out east.  Sam knows that, every so often, she and I need to be together for some SSS (Silly Sister Stuff.)  I do love that girl just like when she was 5 years old.


The weather was not cooperative most of the time, but there were bits where spring broke through even though winter fought hard to maintain its bleak grip.  It didn't matter a jot to us.  There was laughter and hugs - good food and happy memories.


But I was surely missing Sam.  I couldn't wait to be home with his arms around me.  To fall asleep next to him in bed.  There were other things I couldn't wait to do with my husband, too.  Our wedding anniversary fell on one of my last days away, and I knew how I wanted to celebrate 2 days late.  When I sent Sam a provocative email describing all the things I wanted him to do to me when I arrived home, this was his short response:

                     "Think a warm bottom welcome comes first."




That only added fuel to my fire.  The very idea of that sort of welcome home spanking made me quiver a bit in my nether regions.  I visualized us leaving the luggage by the front door and teasing each other down the hall and to the bedroom.  Strip frantically and get down to business.  No foreplay necessary.  That was the plan.


When we walked in the front door, I turned the corner into the dining room.  There, on the dark wood pub table, was a vase with a dozen red roses.
  

"Aww, Hon, they are just beautiful.  I love the.....," and I stopped abruptly when I saw that the vase was circled with a blue satin ribbon.




The ribbon was strung off the vase and continued up toward the ceiling of the room.  My eyes followed the ribbon up and then over and above the front closet door and on down the hall.  I smiled at Sam with a questioning look.


"What's this, Sam?" I asked softly.

"Don't know," and he returned the smile a bit smugly.


I could have run down the hallway just following the ribbon with my eyes, but there was something in Sam's face that made me take my time; he had obviously worked hard on this treasure hunt.  Thought we should savor the surprise together.


Following the ribbon with my fingertips, I felt Sam's hands on my shoulders and waist almost guiding me toward something.  I was sure we were heading to our bedroom.  I wondered.  Would it be red lingerie or some wicked new implement?  Nope.  I was so surprised when the ribbon changed direction and led me into the spare room.


There on the table was a big, bright shiny new color printer - something I had asked for more times than I could remember.  Wireless even!




"Cartridges are too damn expensive," he would growl.  "We are just fine with the black and white one."

I really was stunned and delighted.  I oohed and ahhed and said thank you over and over.  I hugged and kissed that wonderful Sam until it dawned on both of us how very horny we both were.  Clothes were being shed as we led each other back to our bedroom.  The man lived up to his promise, and the "warm bottom welcome" was something to remember.  Sam doesn't always let me see the weapons he chooses from the toy box, but I know there were 3 that afternoon.  When he got to the razor strap, I was already knocking on heaven's door.  The orgasm that followed was one for the record books.  It felt like the spasms would never end, and my body jerked like I had electricity running from head to toe.  Holy hell!




          Really, how could the homecoming have been any better?

                         "Well," says Ella, "the story continues."


We finally dragged ourselves from bed, and later we eventually ended up back at my new printer.  Sam urged me to print something, just to see how true the colors were.  Since I had been planning a redecoration of our guest room, I asked my nifty toy to print a picture of a blue India batik wall hanging.  Then, totally amazed at the lack of wires, I rushed down the hall once again to retrieve my first color copy.  Except it wasn't the first copy.  There was another page sitting warm on the humming machine.


Sam saw me look a little confused as I started to read from the page.  Then I realized the words on the sheet were his.  It was a letter.  It was a love letter.  Printed in a script font with an old clock in the bottom right corner.  Could practically hear it ticking.




I took Sam's hand and pulled him to me.

"Can I read this out loud?  Read it with you?" I asked.

"Of course you can, Ella."

Once I was seated on his knee, I began to read again, this time aloud.  And here is the letter I found.  The following are Sam's words.

                                       **************************

It was what seems a long time ago.  But then I think about it, and it seems to have passed too quickly.

I had finally arrived in "High School" and was on the track to I didn't know where.  Just knew that things were getting serious from now on.  There were weird politics, civil rights, there was a war, there was the draft coming up, and there was me.  What was I going to do with my life?  Didn't have the faintest idea about any of it.




I was walking down the hall one day, don't remember from where or to where or even what time of day it was.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a girl, somehow a girl like I had never seen before.  Obviously, I had thought about girls being a hormone-driven teenager but never like this before.  There was something really magic about this girl.  The way she smiled, the way she talked, the way she walked, how she carried herself and something else.  It was like the little pebble at the top of the mountain that rolls down the hill and starts an avalanche.  And that avalanche lasted the rest of my life.

My casual glance became a full-fledged look.  She took a quick glance at me and I thought, 'Not coming up to the mark, oh well,' with a great degree of disappointment.  And then, just like that, the glance returned as a total look with a gorgeous smile attached.  Across the hall, I heard another little pebble start a journey down the mountain.

After knowing you through all those years and all our married years, I am still ecstatic that you returned that look.  I am so happy that I found you.  And the avalanche continues.

                          Loved you then, love you now and always will.




                                      **************************

After I finally stopped blubbering, I told Sam it was the most wonderful present he'd ever given to me.  This combination of a homecoming and an anniversary gift was something I will never forget.  Sam was right, though, about the avalanche.  It's our love story, and there are still some chapters to write.
                                   



Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What Does Love Look Like?





Talk about a lucky woman.  In the month of April, I was able to visit two blog friends who live in opposite directions across the wide USA.  Yes, I have met them both in person on girls' trips in the last few years, but I had never visited them in their homes or met their spouses.  It was a new experience for me, and I was so excited to see each woman in her own domain.


Although one lives in a small town and the other lives in a large city, their homes were both warm and inviting.  Just different scenery out the windows.  Both friends were so generous with their time and the unique locations close by that we explored together.  I always love to share the sights special to my region of the country when people come to stay, and I sincerely hope both friends come to visit Sam and I one day soon.  Husbands, too, of course!




Most times our homes are a reflection of who we really are.  We put our stamp on it more than any other place in our world.  I loved seeing each friend's style personality in the rooms of their house.  The colors, the furniture, and especially the comfy places where they relax and write.  One of my favorite discoveries!  Now whenever I read a post they put up, I can picture them having their coffee or juice as they type and turn those spankings into stories.




And I think I examined every picture in each house, except for the ones in the master bedrooms.  Art usually has a story, and it was such a treat for me to hear those stories from my friends and their dear men, too.  

Visiting local restaurants or enjoying the cooking in friends' kitchens always seem to bring people together, even those meeting for the first time.  A favorite Italian restaurant, a market full of fresh food, goodies from a special bakery.  And it was something past wonderful to sample the local microbreweries.
  



So, I suppose the suspense has gone on long enough, readers.  With pleasure I will let you know that my visits took me first to PK and Nick's house.  When I returned home, there was barely time to get the laundry caught up before a second visit had Sam and I traveling to the home of Meredith and Jack.  New airports and introductions, lots of talk, settling in, and presents, too. 




Everything I have shared with you so far made these trips delightful and memorable.  I couldn't thank these couples enough.  But there was something else that made me smile to myself throughout both visits.  It was seeing the relationship between each friend and her husband.   Up until last month, I mostly knew about their relationships through the dozens and dozens of posts on these two friends' blogs.  PK and her Nick.  Meredith and her Jack.  Actually, I think it was PK who once wrote that ttwd wives appreciate their guys in a way you don't see often in this big world.  No trash talking our husbands.




So what does love look like in a ttwd home?  Remember that old song, "The Look of Love" by Burt Bacharach?  Here's a few of the lyrics to help you recall.  It was a very pretty song, and watching each couple together made me think of it again.


                               The look of love
                               Is in your eyes
                               The look your smile can't disguise
                               The look of love
                               Is saying so much more
                               Than just words could ever say....


So here's a peek at the love I saw in these two homes.




  • Heard a voice that was softer when her man was in the room.  
  • Watched her eyes glued on him when he was talking.
  • Her hand on his knee.  His hand on hers.
  • Saw her smile when she read his text.
  • His quick touch of her hair. 
  • Felt his protectiveness when he insisted she drive his car for a longer outing.
  • Standing close in the kitchen and working together.
  • Smiled to myself when she literally "leaned in" when he was telling a story. 
  • Her appreciating him opening doors for her.
  • A hand reaching for a hand as they walked ahead.
  • Noticing how each partner listened actively to the other.
  • A kiss before he left the house.
  • An arm around her shoulders as they sat together.
  • His hand on the small of her back.
  • Genuine laughter when he was funny.
  • A smile across the room.
  • Her showing concern for his parent.
  • Stopping herself when she began to interrupt.
  • Showing off something he built.
  • The sweet and sexual tension between a husband and a wife.




If I had sat with a notebook in my lap, there were probably many more words, gestures, and examples of positive body language between the couples.  Even so, one of the most wonderful things about these trips was to watch This Thing We Do in action.  There were no spankings that I know about, but I surely did get to witness the love about which I have so often read when I visit New Beginnings online or check out any "new twists" at Meredith and Jack's house.

  Thanks, my friends, for two lovely trips with two lovely couples.


  


 





 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ella's Lucky Gamble




So much has changed for me in the last several years, and this month is 3 years since I published my first post.   Three candles on my Blog Cake!  But it was the summer of 2014, almost a year before, when I told Sam who I really was on an August morning.  It was scary, but I had made the decision to "play the game."  To take a chance when the cards were dealt.  To hope for the best.


When we come to an anniversary, it seems natural to look back at how far we've come and then to look forward to what we hope will happen in the future.





An anniversary is really any date that we celebrate annually.  If it is the first day of a new year, we might want to make a resolution.  Something we want to accomplish or a bad habit we want to eliminate.  If it is a birthday, ours or that of a loved one, we blow out candles and eat cake and sing.  As we get older, we wonder where the hell the years have gone and thank our lucky stars for the gift of health.  We pick up the cards in front of us and make the choice of what to keep and what to throw away.




When I thought about Ella turning 3 years old, I felt humbled by all the wonderful life experiences that have come my way since I took that first big gamble.  That "First Hello."  I have to think there was some fate involved; otherwise, how could plain, old me have ever been so lucky.  I am not a person who hits the jackpot when I visit Vegas, but somehow ttwd dealt me a Royal Flush.  For those of you who don't know your poker hands, that's a ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, all of the same suit.  Make it hearts, I think, for all the love and happiness that has come my way.




The Ace of Hearts gave me the gift of spanking.  For those of us that have ached for that to be in our lives since we were old enough to have memories, it is a precious gift.  It took a basic love story between a man and a woman and set it on a higher plane.  Something so special between us that I would never have dreamed it could happen to me.


The King of Hearts is Sam, of course.  He is my king and the love of my life.  He listened and learned and he did it even though he couldn't understand why it was so important to me.  Sometimes just thinking of the affection and the selflessness that takes just leaves me in awe.  It brings me such joy to see how Sam has embraced his new role and how much personal satisfaction it brings him.  That was a wild card I never expected.




If Sam is my king, then I am his queen.  He treats me that way now, and he makes me feel cherished.  I will never know why I have this need to be spanked, but I can tell you that, for me, it has so much to do with feeling loved.  When he puts me over his knee or over the bed and makes it known that he is in charge, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that I am his, that I am safe, that I am fulfilled.  The rest of the world falls away.




"If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right."

                                     And Sam surely did. 





If you are playing straight Draw Poker, you really shouldn't have but 5 cards in your hand, but my blog has really stacked the deck when it comes to friends.  The Jack of Hearts is a generous and funny soul and has dealt me some of the loveliest friendships of my entire life.  Before that first post, I was just so happy to know there were other women out there like me.  Never dreamed I would hold all those cards so close to my heart.  All of you who read or comment here add up to the biggest center pot I have ever won.  You make me feel like a very rich woman.




   There's just one more card I need to mention.  The ten of Hearts.  

          "It's knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep." 

For me, the final card has to be the joy I have found in writing.  It had been so many years since I had written for pleasure, that I think I forgot how good it makes me feel.  Good for my head and my heart and my soul.  It's a way to communicate concretely with people.  It leaves a record of the love and the sorrow, the good days and bad.  Sometimes you're a winner; sometimes you're a loser.  

                       But it's how you play the game that counts. 


TO ME