Thursday, April 27, 2017

This And That. The Short List.



 ..." God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."  ... 1 John 1:5


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1.)  Tom had a birthday yesterday. The big 6-0! After teasing him that it feels weird to be married to an old man, we both talked about how, most days, we still feel 21 and 19, the ages when we married. 

The extra weight, aches and pains may not be pleasant, but the added common sense, patience and wisdom certainly are!

2.) For two months I've watched The Chew and wow, how refreshing. No arguments, no politics, just recipes, food and fun. Fits well within my recent Avoid The Strife Spreaders parameters and is a joy to watch while ironing.

In fact, when Joel Osteen posted this this morning--


It’s not the big things that hold most people back, it’s the small things. It’s being faithful day in and day out and doing the right thing when the wrong thing is happening. That’s when you’ll see moments of favor where God suddenly thrusts you years ahead.


-- I wondered if God handed me a treat like The Chew after I stepped away from the Spotlighters Of What's Wrong for my own peace and sanity. Who knows? Faithfulness can bring lots of good you'd never dreamed of.

3.) As you know, I check out local real estate daily, and this house reminded me of cozy homes from books I've read --





Turns out, the grandfather built the house 70 years ago and his family's owned it ever since. You know? That photo, to me, says just that. (Click on the photo for a better view.)

Looks, to me, like a happy place, one meant for children and books and summertime games.

4.) If you've read here long, you know I dislike am not a fan of Hallmark movies, but uh-oh! The world must be ending because I watched (and enjoyed) one alone, then watched it over again with Tom. It's called The Memory Book. I found it On Demand and even my fellow Hallmark Non-Fans may want to check it out. 

5.) A friend 'liked' a 'everything about Facebook is bad' list her friend shared. My eyes bulged and I took a 'hold back the darkness' stance by adding that my own Facebook experiences and friends are delightful.

This simple act felt powerful, really, because--often lately--it's like people admonish us, "If you aren't scribbling your Life's Book with black-black crayons, then you're in error!" But spreading light nowadays is better. Vital--


"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you."  ... Isaiah 60: 1,2


Each of us is here, now, for very specific reasons. Spread your light, ok?


6.) I am wearing shorts today for the first time in probably 7 years(!) I'd grown out of my cute farm jean shorts and just hadn't found any others (these things take time). Last month I ordered two black pairs of stretchy shorts online and they actually fit. Now, if only I still had those cute legs that I had when Tom and I first met.

Oh well, as I said, the common sense, patience and wisdom are nice, too.  😉




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We can spread what's going wrong, darkness, or we can --



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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Car That Hates Me Or, Passive-Aggressive Much?




 "A sense of humor helps us to get through the dull times, cope with the difficult times, enjoy the good times and manage the scary times.”     .... Steve Goodier


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Passive-aggressive -- displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive passive way (as through procrastination and stubbornness).



So I forgot to tell you that Tom arrived home safely (and sanely this time plane-wise) from San Francisco. So there's that.

Now, while he was away I meant to (really I did) drive our new car for the first time. Yes, we've owned that blue beast out in the garage since October, but no, I'd still not driven it.

I know, I know. 

And I also know that kind ol' sweet Debra's has, most likely, some passive-aggressive issues going on with what she's affectionately named That Stupid Car. The one who laughs at me (seriously, I've heard it) when I do the tap-tap-on-the-handle-to-lock-it thing. If you recall, I didn't want Tom to buy the car, especially without saving up money for it, first. But he went ahead anyway.

And as I said, I'd not driven it in the whole 6 months since. 

Well, because I'm kinda well-read and not stupid, I did realize weeks ago that, probably, my reasonable, calm excuses for not driving That Stupid Car blatantly illustrate I'm being passive-aggressive. And I got the clear signal when I became bored last week, yet there sat the car, able to take me to any fun place I wished. But I only looked away.

Well, finally on Friday, I reminded myself how often I've told you to face your fears/hang-ups/procrastinations with boldness. And well,not wishing to be a hypocrite, I said, "Ok. I'll drive to the supermarket." 

So I made my list, got dressed, made-up, cleaned out my purse then grabbed my keys and walked out to the garage, determined to be brave. And get this over with.

But good grief. Would That Stupid Car even start for me? Noooo. I pushed the starter button like I'd seen Tom do, but the engine didn't even cough. No, but dashboard lights flashed pictures and all sorts of messages, one about depressing the brake if I wanted to go anywhere. 

Then the car laughed at me. Again.

"'Depress the brake before starting'? What does that even mean?" I muttered. "Oh, maybe Tom left the emergency brake on." So I pulled what I thought was the brake, but the hood came open. Well, unlatched, creating a new little dashboard picture.

Oh, for Pete's sake.

Well, I got out, closed the hood, stepped back in. Tapped the foot brake, pushed the starter button and got the same, "Depress the brake before starting,(you moron)," message. Then I sat there and fumed that anyone would ever design or buy such a complicated vehicle. 

Then I gave up. Locked the car, closed the garage door and walked to 7-11 for some much-needed ice cream, instead.

But you know? While walking along, I actually felt good that hey, I'd tried. I'd stepped past my passive-aggression and fear of the unknown and had obeyed God's nudging and tried something new. It hadn't worked out, but I'd been brave.

And, with a joy of obedience, I could happily live with that. Especially with ice cream.





Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”     .... Psalm 126:2


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Oh, and the next day I told Tom about this ridiculous adventure. He laughed, then said, "You're supposed to keep your foot on the brake until the car starts. It's a safety feature."

Really? He forgot to tell me--rather than place your foot on the gas pedal as I (and millions of others) had done for decades--I should press the brake? Hmmm. Maybe ol' Tom has passive aggressive issues of his own, as in, perhaps he rather enjoys being the only driver of our car.

Interesting. Vedy, vedy interesting.



(Oh, and P.S. I will drive That Stupid Car someday. I'll just take Tom with me the first time.)   😌



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Oh wow! This, below, nailed me. Explained why I can't stand to watch people disagree in conversations on tv. Oy!


passive-aggressive manager eschews open hostilities, in part because he feels distinctly uncomfortable with them. 
— Walter Kiechel III

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Where You'll Find Me




When you live in snow country, oh my, your heart spills over with gladness when Springtime arrives. There's no 'oh-hum it's Spring again'. Rather, it's like a weeks' long celebratory party that you survived another Winter gone.

And wow, the anticipation of many snow-free weeks ahead!

What a delight to putter amongst the forget-me-nots, clean out flower beds and spread blood meal to keep the squirrels from ruining these efforts. Yet because I'm so out-of-shape, there's tons of sit-down-gardening going on and a nearly-constant repeating of the mantras which nudge me when the soft red couch tempts me, instead--


"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" ...and...

"Inch by inch, anything's a cinch."


These become my Springtime song and slowly, my yard--rather than looking like a brown dead-leaf graveyard--begins to resemble something invitingly sweet. How glorious to aid this little suburb plot in returning to life another Spring. 

And may I not resent the hassle of Winter past, but rather, forgive and let it go. And now allow a greater appreciation to seep through my Springtime-ready veins and heart. 





(Really, the older I become, the more I realize how heavy the Past can get when I carry it upon my shoulders. And I go nowhere of value with the extra load.)



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And in honor of Springtime, here's something fun. (I always intend to do a ton of these types of ideas each year, but usually consider myself blessed if I do two) --

15 Vegetables You Didn't Know You Could Eat and Grow Again



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But while waiting for these incredible yard days, I watched a few shows you may like.

For those who enjoy my quirky Netflix documentary recommendations--

Harry and Snowman. Oh my goodness. I watched it twice on Saturday, once alone and then with Tom, and both times with a great big sentimental lump in my throat. Loved, loved this.  (Be sure to click on 'trailer' after clicking on that link.)

Another one? The Great Alone. Fascinating stuff, especially if you, like me, never tire of watching shows regarding Alaska and/or the Iditarod. Tom and I super-enjoyed this one, also.

Don't have Netflix? You can watch a ton of free Cesar 911 episodes here. What a joy for even this kinda-not-a-dog-person to watch someone doing exactly what God created him to do! I never tire of watching any of Cesar's shows. Oh, all that wisdom and common sense.







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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Transition Times. Oh Dear.


Transition--a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another: change.


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So in the last scene of a House Hunter's episode, the new Palm Springs homeowners sat beside a gorgeous condo pool which gleamed with sunshine, clinking their drinks together and laughing.

I looked over at Tom and said, "Now that's the life for me! Let's move to Palm Springs, ok? It seems so retro, too, and oh my goodness, I'm so tired of these Winters."

Tom said, "Sure! Let's start packing."

Every single March I dream about moving to warm places where Winter is only a quick, mild inconvenience. 

This Palm Springs dream, though, was flawed since it's in California (no offense to my dear readers who live there). But been there, done that. So I Googled, "places similar to Palm Springs" and yes! Scottsdale, AZ popped up. I saw awesome photos (oh, those palm trees and vintage main street) and checked out their reasonable condo prices. 

Sign. Me. Up.

Especially when, later, I stepped outside to another 50 (or so) twigs downed from our last snow-like-wet-concrete storm--


 Our April Friday.



*&^%$#@ twigs. This year I've picked up hundreds and ugh, my poor ol' back.

Oh, these last few transition weeks of Winter to Spring! If I'd have obeyed my end-of-Winter feelings years ago, we'd certainly not be still living here. Uh, no.

But God knows my heart wants to obey Him rather than my feelings. So here I still am, 24 years later, in Buffalo, choosing contentment and having a marvelous, peaceful time in all but March and ok, usually February, also.

Like yesterday. I got reacquainted with sitting on the front porch and reading in the morning sun. "So this is what it feels like to sit outside!" I told myself, snuggling down further in our wicker chair. And smiling like a Cheshire cat.

Oh, the luxury of a simple warm, sunny day.

The waiting, the transition times are seldom comfortable, right? And actually, since last month I've been dealing with a different transition, one of those mysterious kinds where you know God wants something different for you, but you've not a clue as to what.

So as with my warmer place dreams, I've been slowing down, trying to listen to God rather than my feelings, even though, Honey, my feelings speak much louder. And I've been reminding myself not to run, but to stand.

This is where ones self-discipline and listening must remain stronger than her feelings to throw up her hands and just start grabbing at any ol' opportunity so to ease the discomfort of waiting. 

I'd hate to take a wrong turn. You know, end up where God didn't want me, even if it did appear to be heavenly and warm. No place, no opportunity is right if it wasn't first birthed from God's own heart.

Not even Arizona.  😏





“Change is difficult, but it can be managed when you stay aware of the power of your choices, even if it’s simply your attitude.” 
― Michael Thomas Sunnarborg






“Transition isn't pretty, but stagnation is hideous.” 
― Nikki Rowe




"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."   ... Philippians 4:11



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Monday, April 10, 2017

Where's Ol' Debra Been?




"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."   ... Isaiah 26:3


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Anyway. I so needed a Daily Thoughts Make-Over. Really, all the political negativity and bad behavior of regular folks, especially, began to form daily grey clouds inside my head.

I didn't like that.

So I did as Joyce Meyer says, "If you don't want to think about something, choose to think about something else." Imagine!

And well, here are a few of my "something else's":


Listening more often to good teaching, meditating on the right stuff, spending more quiet time with God.
Watching old tv shows like Perry Mason and Leave It To Beaver.
Reading vintage kids' mystery novels (and other books having nothing to do with people behaving badly).
More faithfully taking walks.
Studying ways to make a clothes and body make-over for this she-ain't-what-she-used-to-be body of mine.
Leaving 'The News' alone, just skimming headlines (then praying), instead. Then moving on.
Contributing to discussions not related to politics.


It was a process and required time and focus, but wow. Talk about a sunnier, more cheerful head space! Now I can view political shenanigans more dispassionately, without personally latching onto the divisiveness of it all. And now I'm, once again, in charge of where my brain will go and where it will not.

We don't have to follow those bunny trails, you know.

It's like getting ones power back. No longer do I feel dragged along to where I do not want to go. Whew. Freedom.

I hope that makes sense and also, may it remind us all not to let anything steal the joy which Jesus died to give us. Nothing is greater, more powerful, than His sacrifice for us.







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So Tom's in San Francisco! 

He's there for a business trip till Friday and for awhile, we wondered if he'd make it at all, for Delta's flights where incredibly backed-up due to recent storms. It was so bad, that, while Tom waited at the airport on Friday, they brought out the comfort dog to soothe the murmuring, restless natives. Seriously.

Hmmm....

But hours and hours later, Tom took the taxi back home from our airport, saying he'd try again on Sunday.

A test! But at least this enabled us to spend another wonderful Saturday together. We do love our Saturdays.



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Oh! Whenever my kitchen radio plays this song, suddenly it's the 1960's and I'm ten again, listening to my parents' tv and radio console in our living room with the green shag carpet.  :)

Funny how this song kinda goes along with today's post, especially with lines like these---



How was I caught in this game?
Gotta get off this merry-go-round,
Need to get on to where I'm bound.


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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Visiting Myself Back In 2007



One of the best things about a blog?

You can time-travel back ten years to where you lived and, like a (friendly) silent intruder, watch yourself. What you were feeling, doing and thinking--and decide whether you've changed or not.

According to this post from March 28th, 2007, I've barely changed, though technically, I'm living in a different house and town and have new cats. But I work the same way, no, even more leisurely. Believe it or not.  😃


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"The time of the singing of birds is ..... here!"   ... Song of Solomon 2:12


For four days we've had gorgeous, Spring-like noons and Lennon The Cat and I have lounged on our front porch and watched our neighbors burst from their doors to celebrate these 50 and 60 degree temperatures. 

Remember how I told you someone in our supermarket whistled the themes from old tv series one morning? Well, two days ago, our neighbor began whistling the song from Gilligan's Island. Honest. 

Must be something in our water.

Most early Springtimes from our wicker chair, I spy on our neighbors while they clear the winter debris while sweating in their yards, like, 4 to 8 hours in a single day. I go inside, occasionally peek out the windows and, hour after hour, yep! They're still out there. Raking, bagging leaves, digging. 

Working hard.

Me? Nah. I'm an "inch-by-inch-anything's-a-cinch" worker. In my yard, I work a little, rest a little, read a little, drink a little lemonade. Work a little, rest a little, read a little, drink a little lemonade...

Take Sunday evening. I wiped down our front porch and vacuumed the rug. Took less than a half hour. Then yesterday, with my tiny hand-rake, I sat and began clearing our yard's brown autumn leaves and twigs from the flower beds--in two 20-minute shifts. And even though our front yard is the size of an average pick-up truck--still--it will probably take me a week to finish the clearing away. 

Next I'll move on to the side yards, then the back. Ol' Debra's favorite saying is, "Slow and steady wins the race." Emphasis on slow. And steady.

And you know? While I peer across the street and think my neighbors do their yard work the difficult way, they're most likely peeking over here and thinking I do everything the lazy way.

And yet, both ways, it all gets done. Year after year and Springtime after Springtime.

And isn't that what matters most? That, and not forming critical opinions when people do things differently?

I believe so, anyway.






Seldom do I miss a specific thing from my Past, but occasionally I miss this pretty yard. It's the first one I designed myself--and the place where I fell in love with forget-me-nots.







“In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”


     ― Margaret AtwoodBluebeard's Egg



“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.” 


       ― A.A. MilneWhen We Were Very Young






                                                    “Don't criticize what you can't understand.” 
                                           

                                                                  (Wise words from Bob Dylan)

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Don't you love it when your new book arrives and has an old-fashioned end paper like this one?  --




The book is this one --




-- and it's perfect. Just perfect!


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You might enjoy the 'whistling post' I mentioned above --- Magic Everywhere.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

The Case of the Delinquent Blogger

"And (Grace) is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."   ... Ephesians 2:9


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By today's title, can anyone tell I spent yesterday watching my old Perry Mason dvd's?  😆 

It's wild that I used to write here almost daily. Back then I could, finally, spill all that I'd bottled-up for decades lest folks haul me to The Home for Religious Weirdos. Oh, the wonder of instantly sharing lessons God taught me!

And how marvelous that blogging led me to 'my tribe'--those of you who don't find me too delusional, but rather, just crazy enough to hold your interest for five, ten or even the entire twelve years. 

What a joy to discover my voice and (you) people who'll listen.

Anyway, 3,300 blog posts later, I'm not quitting. No, it just seems like God and Grace aren't nudging me to write as often lately, even though, as usual, I keep my ear tilted their way. 

Am I worried? Nah. I know that seasons work like ocean tides--in now, out later, bringing in something new, carrying out something old. If there's one thing you don't want, it's standing water. (Can you say, 'stagnation'?)

And personally, I believe God designed this constantly-changing Life so that, always, we'd rely on Him rather than an oldy-moldy, way-we've-always-done-it-ness. You know, where, heck, we'll still accomplish things even if God doesn't show up at all.

Heaven forbid.

Seriously, I'd rather do just one important thing with God before I die than hundreds of supposed-great-things without Him. I mean that.

So, really, please don't panic if--for you--things just don't feel the same. If what used to work, isn't working now. If you used to love some activities, but now can't stand them. If you've lost people you relied upon, if you're restless and searching when, years ago, you were Mrs. SureAbout Everything.

God likes to keep it interesting. He loves to shake things up. Why? So that, always, we'll keep a firm grip on His arm, an ear close to His mouth so that we'll spend our entire journey relying upon Him and doing things His way, not ours.

Life is way more exciting, full and rut-free His way, after all. 







                                              

       Saw my first robin of the season yesterday!  Always, such a promise of Springtime to my winter-weary heart.


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Please don't worry about me, ok? I promise to tell you if something's really wrong around here.

And oh, I'm considering at least posting some 're-run' posts' so that the stretches between my current posts won't be so long.


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So daily I still check-out local real estate online (humor me), but rarely do I see rooms decorated to my liking. But this was an exception, below, though yes! There's an awful lot of wood in there--



                                              (Click to enlarge.)






That house is much like ours--






-- except that the floor plan is opposite, they have an enclosed porch and many extra features which I'm trying not to drool over.

Speaking of which, I am still working my way through acceptance of dear ol' Hobbit Cottage. That we're still here. That we may still be here when we're more old and more decrepit than we currently are. Er hem. These things take time.


😏 



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Want to watch some old Perry Mason episodes free online?  Go here. Not all there are free, but some are. I especially like seasons 1 and 2 because of the lovely vintage clothes, cars and houses.


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Monday, March 20, 2017

Meanwhile, Back At The Dentist's ...


"And surely I am with you always (even at the dentist's office), to the very end of the age."   ... Matthew 28:20 (tweaked a little)


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Part Two of my special tooth-cleaning was today, so in and out amongst the little snowbanks I walked to the dentist's office in my old faithful long black wool coat this grey morning. 

Toward the end of the cleaning, the young 'dental woman' (as I call her to keep things simple) said, "Don't you have a couple fillings scheduled today, too?"

I told her, "Not that I remember--and it seems like I would recall that."

Turns out, they had planned to fill those teeth as well. 

Oh, the temptation to go all six-years-old and start whining, "I don't wanna have my teeth filled today! Not gonna, not gonna." I mean, a person must brace herself weeks ahead for fillings, right? Too, the waiting room time had been long, the cleaning was painful at points (unlike last time) and I just wanted to go home where all good introverts should be.

But then she had me at, "If you get the fillings done today, you won't have to come back for six months."

Well, ok then.

Fortunately, I love my dentist and his staff. As I told you before, it's a little like going to the circus. A little. And I do carry around my Happy Place with me inside my head and Jesus inside my heart, thank-goodness. 

And oh, the possibility of no dental work for six whole months! Practically the only places I got out to this winter were a variety of dentist's offices for tooth-pullings. Yes, that's about it.

Buddy, I've paid my dues.

And now, oh my. Springtime's officially here and I'll get to go other places, instead.  Wow, the possibilities!   

It's Springtime! Doesn't even matter that there's still snow on the ground. What matters is that Winter is weaker and soon we'll be warm and able to putter and be creative in our yards. And we'll have a whole, lovely string of beautiful months and weeks and picnics and estate sales and --- to anticipate. And imagine and dream about. 

Now, there's something else to celebrate!







"Neither will they say, 'Here it is' or 'There it is' for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."   ... Luke 17:21

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Now, I loved I Love Lucy (who didn't?). In fact, I own two dvd seasons so to satisfy my occasional I Love Lucy cravings.

But The Lucy Show? Hmm. Didn't like that one so much. Seemed a bit hit and miss to me.

Yet Here's Lucy, oh, I find that one hilarious, the episodes with Lucie and Desi Jr., that is. (I just do, ok? It's a mom thing, maybe.) Check it out if you need cheering-up or a better sense of humor if you have teenagers.

Anyway, did you know that you can watch Here's Lucy online for free? Just go here

In fact, the episode that will pop up first is probably my favorite. Oh my, with all my heart I wished I could go to Jack Benny's house for a Palm Spring's vacation. I wished that life really was like that here. 

Maybe in Heaven someday? Yes. Something even better than that, of course--and how cool will that be?


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Thanks so much for your birthday wishes! Both here and at Facebook--each wish meant so much to me. I had a marvelous day soaking in all the sunshine pouring through our windows the day after our 16-inch-snowstorm. 

I felt especially blessed and loved all day long. It was awesome. And Tom brought home dinner for us, too. Yay!


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