Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I have never really been one for adventure. No, that sounds wrong. Who doesn't love adventure? I think I meant to say that I have never been one to necessarily need adventure. I've always been a bit of a homebody,and I rarely, if ever, find myself bored. I am pretty content to just do the normal little things that a girl might do in her normal little non-adventurous world. I have had some adventure. The biggest would maybe be living for a semester in Jerusalem through BYU's study abroad program. And, I think our time on St. Simon's Island in GA was an adventure as well as being off on our own in WA for a few years. Still, none of those experiences necessarily made me overly hungry for more adventures.

Lately, however, I am feeling so adventure hungry. And it makes me feel so torn. Of course, "torn" suggests there are two options, and I don't know that there is a very realistic option for adventure right now, but my feelings are torn. There is something very appealing about the idea of being "settled" -- of establishing your little family somewhere permanent in the world where you can get to know neighbors and ward members and schools in a life long type of way; where your kids can feel secure that they will have the same friends a year from now -- or two or three or ten. I like the idea of getting a home paid off and not uprooting and starting over again. It was hard on Abe this last move, and I imagine it only gets harder as kids get older. And, the thing is, we are where we want to be. This IS where we want to end up and be established. But now that we are here I am feeling very much like, "Am I ready to 'end up'" yet? I don't know.

It is just each time I hear of a friend or family member contemplating heading off to take a job or go to school in some new place for awhile, I feel all wistful and like that is exactly what I want to do -- be all unsettled and unsure of where the road is leading. Unsettled? Weird. But there is seriously some excitement associated with the times in our marriage when we have wondered where we would be . . . and when and how. Do I want to suddenly leave and have Mike take this job to another state? No, that would be silly. We feel very lucky we were able to get back here and wouldn't want to risk losing that ever. Plus, I admit I may have added a little something of -- oh I don't know -- some poetry to the idea of being off in a new and unfamiliar place. We could go someplace new and find our circumstances miserable. But there is something so great about learning about a new place and having that place tucked securely in your mind as one of your places and as one of your life experiences.

I saw a blog the other day of a couple who are spending several months in Rwanda. Probably not the best place to cart our kids, but I just get this -- I don't know, almost a painful longing in my stomach to see and be a part of all of the different things and place that are out there. Even seeing the different trees and scenery gave me kind of this clawing feeling under my ribs like something trying to get out and get there.

I know, maybe we'll find time and money to travel when we get older. And I would love that. But that is not the longing I am talking about. Traveling doesn't allow you to BE a part of something the way living there does. That doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable, but it isn't the feeling I am antsy to have. In Israel I remember feeling horrified at the thought of having to just see the spots once and not getting to walk daily on the streets or see the small insignificant things about the place. That is how I feel. Like I want to know more of that still. I don't mean to sound discontent. Because that isn't it. I don't feel discontent with here . . . I just feel simultaneous longing for -- elsewhere. And as far as adventure goes, I realize life is fairly adventurous raising five very small children! And, as I mentioned, if an opportunity to move came along, I don't even feel that I'd want it. I would cry to leave. This is home. In fact when Mike mentions moving again just to a new house I nearly slug him (but that is more about packing and unpacking). And yet . . . sigh. What made me start wanting you, Adventure?

Some Thoughts and a Little Old Journal Thing

OK, I can't really explain this, but I think many of you probably know what I am talking about so you will understand what I mean anyway. One of the reasons I love reading books so much is that there is something about events of life being written down, and described the way they are, that gives them new meaning, or maybe I should say more meaning. It makes me see similar things in my own life through a new light. I think writing things down myself does the same type of thing. It somehow increases the significance of the events, thoughts, or feelings. Maybe it is like poetry -- you know, something is no longer just a flower or just a sunset, it has depth and beauty and purpose. It helps me to not only appreciate experiences and relationships more, but to be more aware of all the angles and sides of them. Does that make sense? I think we all have little moments in our lives, even just our normal run of the mill daily routines that -- when written down or thought about differently simply from reading something similar -- suddenly become more interesting, more unique -- more a story or movie all our own.

The other day I read some of my journal from when I began dating Mike for the second time (the time that lead to our engagement and marriage). It made me so happy to remember those moments and it seemed like it could be written out as a romance novel just like most everyone's story probably could. Here is a little example (I won't fill in all the background here, I just liked that this little minute in time with Mike was recorded).

June 1, 99 -- Tuesday

Last night . . . it was so quick I can't remember it really, but as I left I said, "Thanks for doing stuff with me again, Mike."

We were just parting and he gave a nonchalant, "Yah, no problem," but then I think he quickly realized there was more in my words than simply, "Thanks for hanging out tonight" because he paused and said more seriously, "Am I calling too much? I worry about that. . . . I know you probably . . ."

"No!" I said a bit too eagerly, but then said nothing further other than, "I like it when you call me." Then, and I'm not sure why, I added, "It's weird. Before, I knew right where everything stood. Now, I have no idea. It's like I just met you. . . . except it doesn't seem like it was four months with out talking to you."

He agreed and said, "It's because you make people comfortable."

I smiled. At least we were somehow holding hands for the moment. I don't think either of us had any intention of having a serious conversation though, and that seemed sufficient for the moment, so we said goodbye.

See, now I want to write that in a book -- throw in a little about it being night and a few details about looking down or biting my lip and -- wah lah -- my own little life a story moment.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Here he is . . .

At 7:15 am, I awoke to the sound of giggling and little excited feet running from one window to the next to peer outside. By 7:30 -- jammies still on, hair unbrushed -- this is what was going on:
Hello dog. I think they like you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I hope you are all happy now!

Fine, you all got your way, and I hope you are happy about it. In less than three hours I will no longer be living the leisurely and charmed life of the dog free. Actually I don't know that any of you wanted it that way. Perhaps you cared little enough to want it no way at all, but Mike wanted it that way, and while I always feel it my duty to throw out the occasional plea, faint protest, or word of common sense. I also know that these tactics do little more than delay the inevitable, and I did manage to delay reintroducing a dog into our lives for all of seven or eight months. That is as long as I had the strength to ward them off (or rather, the strength to kick against Mike's happiness) -- especially when I feel that my energy is best focused on doing all I can to prevent a milk cow from being in my future.

And, really, my husband is of the type who doesn't see a home as a home or a family as a family with out a dog in the equation. I know this about him and I love him so all I can do is sigh sadly and wring my hands a little and tell him to do what he must. And he was VERY convincing talking me into this particular dog. It is a Newfoundland/St. Bernard mix. I have always preferred big dogs to little (and this dog is nothing if not big), but he didn't use that to win me over. He didn't even talk about how they are the "baby sitter" dogs, or how they save drowning people, or how much my sister loves her Newfies. No, he chose a far more convincing angle when he told me: "The lady that is selling him bought him because they have cougars around there, and she thought he would scare them off. And just think, Nancy, not even one of her kids has been eaten by a cougar since she bought him." Really, what could I say to that?

Anyway, he has left me here all alone (well, if being here with five kids can be considered all alone) with nothing to do (I mean, of course, nothing except finish my book, catch up on email, and clean the whole house up) while he is off to get our new dog. He assured me I didn't need to be too sad about him getting home late -- he promised he'd wake me so I could help him move the dog house into the backyard.

Lest some of you are wondering what my problem with dogs is: I don't really have a problem with dogs. I love dogs. I mean, I don't love to actually pet them, but I like the idea of a loyal dog around. It is just that both Mike and I grew up with dream dogs (Lucky and Festus) and envisioned such a perfect companion when we bought our first ever dog not long after being married. Unfortunately, we have had miserable dog experiences -- from howls all night, to many running mishaps (Mike knows the look of "don't push your luck" that he now gets when he suggest a dog go running with me), to a neighbor practically being attacked, well, to a whole lot of all around nonsense. Sigh.

Here is to hoping new dog is a Festus (yah, I know, cool name -- he was the best).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What to Blog

Think. Think. Think. What to blog about? Hmmm. Oh, who am I trying to kid. More like: What NOT to blog about. I could blog about anything from my recent rekindling of an old love between myself and chocolate Twizzlers, to Abe's little army guy that I somehow vacuum up and manage to save practically every time I vacuum, to Daisy recently paying Abe to play with her, to Mike refusing to learn Pig Latin, to our dreamy new primary class, to my thoughts on certain words, to admitting that I am just like the rest of the world (when I know it is cooler to NOT be) in that I love LOST, to Goldie wanting a real fairy for her birthday. Heck, I could even write some spiritual insights I've had of late. In fact, I could even do a little bit of ranting about some issues that frustrate me a great deal. But I don't know that I want to rant here. Ranting is saved special like for one of my sisters to hear over the phone. You know, the conversations that end with, "Thanks for letting me rant and not thinking I'm crazy. I just needed to get that off my chest." Here a rant might just make some of you who don't know me better think I really am crazy and, well, heaven forbid.

Anyway, all I'm saying is, there is no shortage of things for me to post post post. I am generally not a very big fan of improv., but sometimes I feel like having improv. night here on my blog. You know, where you would just all throw out a subject and I would blog away. But now, oh dear, I've just mentioned all the things I could blog about and, without realizing what I was doing, left myself with exactly what I said wasn't the problem -- nothing to blog about. I just threw out my whole arsenal of topics that quick. Huh, well, if I haven't just blogged myself right into a corner, thrown out the baby with the bath water, and all of that. I've faithfully tramped myself about in nothing but a big circle I guess, because now I am back to this: Think. Think. Think. What to blog about?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Research Shmesearch

Yesterday I read this in the news:

Research from the University of Virginia says you might be getting old sooner than you think. Researchers say our mental abilities begin a downward slide from the age of 27, after reaching their peak just five years earlier.

And all I have to say is: Dear Smarty Pants Researchy People, Next time you find out something like this, keep it to your researchy little selves. What would your mothers think!?

It is like I have always said, some science no one wants to know (like peanuts being legumes, tomatoes not really being vegetables, Pluto not qualifying as a planet, and the fact that when they are looking for "life" on Mars, they are just looking for things like bacteria and not cool green aliens). But, I suppose one could argue that science must be published -- popular or not. I mean not that long ago people were none too happy to hear that the earth was round. And look at us now! Just thrilled as (oh I couldn't think of a good simile), but really thrilled to be able to boat ourselves around all of Earth with not even the tiniest bit of fear about plummeting over the edge.

Still, I think researchers would do best to spend their time studying things that everyone truly wants to know -- like how to cure diseases and how to find Big Foot -- and leave things like the fact that I might not be so smart anymore out of it!

Beautiful Beautiful Kids

It is that time of year again . . . the time of year when the kids start wanting the trampoline set up. I love this time of year because it means that my kids are outside more! It is light later, they aren't coming in with quite such muddy shoes and they are so happy outside playing!

Seriously, aren't kids' faces just pretty much beautiful? I love love to look closely at their perfect little features. And what I love most is that their features do seem perfect. I don't know what happens as we get older and why we start to have more narrow thoughts about what is beautiful because in children, crooked teeth, round cheeks, messy hair, pug little noses, whatever the features -- they are all charmingly perfect. Sooo . . . I had to take a few closeups of my kids out enjoying the trampoline.

Jesse is a no show in these pics because he was sleeping. Abe got a little cheated in the picture taking business because he went somewhere with Mike shortly after the trampolining started, but here is a picture of him the other day before getting his hair cut. I like it long; Mike likes it short; so we just go -- long, butched, long, butched back and forth. No matter how his hair is, there is no getting around the fact that he is a cute kid. He loves loves to read. He and Mike have this little tradition of buying used old books when ever they are off alone together (even though I always grumble because it just means more "stuff" around when we could check out all the books we want from the Library), but they like it and whenever they do, Abe will be reading non stop for the next week. I know most parent's really really want their kids to love reading, but you can tell things have gone a bit too far when you wake up at 2:30 am because you notice some lights are on, and your 2nd grade son has decided to wake up and do a little sneaky reading!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Final News (From Me) On Shan's Baby

No more bed rest for my sister. When her fluid dropped to less than 1 cm., the perinatologist said it was not OK, so she had her little man today (just over seven weeks early). He came in at a whopping 3 lbs. 8 oz. It will be rough on her leaving him in NICU for a few weeks, but everything has still worked out miraculously -- I'm sure thanks to all the prayers going up for him. THANK YOU. The biggest miracle of all perhaps is that he is breathing fine on his own. He still will need to be able to eat and get off of the IV, but it could have been so much worse had times been different . . . or even had she not been having such regular ultrasounds. I'm so glad he is safe. Very very tiny, but safe. I'm sure Shan will post pics and more details on her own blog when she is up for it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ecology with Mike and Nancy

I took Ecology one semester in college and found it to be quite interesting. Everything seems to be in a delicate balance here on earth, but the minute we get involved the natural world gets thrown all out of whack.

For example, some smarty pants decided long ago to bring to America a few of every type of bird ever mentioned in a Shakespeare play or poem. Somewhere old William must have mentioned Starlings because 20 of them were released in Central Park. They liked it so well here that they spread across the nation causing the extinction of many other birds whose niche and food they competed so well for. Then there was the time when the Yellowstone folks came up with the bright plan to kill most of the predators around . . . and weren't they surprised when the next year they had millions of starving deer and elk and what not on their hands. The list goes on and on.

Anyway, I love the conversations I get to have with my husband. I'm not being a smart alec, I do (and if anyone is ever being a smart alec, it is Mike and not me anyway).

We read something on the news today about attempts to save the Juno Sucker. It only lives in a few lakes around here, but the Carp that live in these same lakes have been eating up all of the Juno Sucker's hiding place vegetation so the poor Juno is getting gobbled all up by predators. The plan is to remove like 2.5 million pounds of carp with in the next six months in an attempt to help the Juno recover.

I commented, "Poor Ecologists trying to solve these problems. I can just picture them sadly shaking their heads and saying, 'Well, I guess we can just try and catch millions of carp.'"

Mike replied, "I'm sure it won't even work," then, with a look of inspiration, "What they need to do is breed the Juno with Tiger Muskie (a fierce carp eating fish). "

"Nuh-uh," I quickly countered, "you know just what that would end up like. It would be like when they bred Honey Bees with African Bees and produced Killer Bees!"

"Yah," Mike agreed, "but the good thing about the Juno hybrid is that they wouldn't be able to chase you once you got out of the water . . . for more than a hundred yards anyway."

Then Mike suddenly recalled one sad bit of trivia that spoiled his full proof (although dangerous) plan, "I don't actually think Tiger Muskie can mate. I think they're sterile."

He was right. Turns out they are some hybrid themselves. Naturally our conversation then turned to why on earth hybrid creatures like Mules can't pro-create . . . and I will spare you readers that conversation, but for fun, here is one more little conversation from the other night when we were discussing my desire to run another marathon:

Mike: I think it would be more fun to run and win all the little local 5K's around. (Incidentally Mike isn't actually into running). . . . But the trouble is, no one wants a non local to win.

Me (laughing): No one even knows or pays attention to whether you are a local or not.

Mike: Oh yah? Well, they'd pay attention to a row of trophies!

How dull life would be with out my Mike to entertain me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sick Kids

Yesterday was possibly my least glamorous day as a mother yet. Three of my kids were sick. Things were coming from nearly every end -- never making it where they might be somewhat easier to handle. From the bathroom floor, to the insides of the car, to the store parking lot (and pretty much everywhere in between) there was disaster! Mike is quite the man for coming home early (which sadly for us only means 6:00 pm), and sending me off on a run after hearing me cry over the phone, in detail, of the misfortunes I had faced. Had the situation been reversed, and I'd heard the shuddering details via phone, I might have stayed away even longer than usual.

But, can you imagine if you were a poor mother living in a log cabin trying to take care of sick little ones with out passing germs on to other un-sick little ones? To have had no quick access to clean water and fresh soap? And that isn't all. We have showers to throw kids in and washing machines to throw clothes and sheets in, AND we have Clorox wipes for crying out loud!! I was wiping up the entire house -- door handles, light switches, toilet seats, faucets, all to ensure no further spread of the germs than was absolutely unstoppable. I was so terrified of anything reaching Jesse and must have scrubbed my hands a hundred times (which was super great on my eczema and cracks), but oh, with all of my complaining, I can see how it could have been so much more awful. I want to cry to think of a mother stressing with five little ones in circumstances like I was in yesterday only with no modern conveniences and no way to even help her little ones if their sickness or fever should get too high.

Today we are seeming pretty well back to normal. The kids stayed home an extra day from school but have mostly just lounged and read books with little sign of ill health. I have been doing a lot of disinfecting due to the nature of their sickness, but am feeling so grateful that they all hit it on the same day (rather than making me deal with it for a week!) and that I can keep pulling out my little Clorox wipes.

We have an ancestor who had nine of her eleven children die to some illness or other. My mom once told me how when she was feeling frustrated or upset about something one of her kids had done, she would occasionally feel like she could hear this great grandmother saying, "But Sharon! They are alive! You can hug them! Who cares if they are hard! They're alive." My kids weren't misbehaving or driving me crazy, they were just sick -- messy sick, but it is almost like I feel some sweet ancestor looking down on me and gently chastising me for all the complaining I did yesterday as she thinks back on trying to rock, clean, and care for sick little ones with dirt floors and no clean water and the fear of them actually dying in her mind.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

And, in other less traumatic news . . .

Free Soil!
Or maybe not free. I don't know. I can't decide wether or not a soil should be judged by what it has previously grown. I am happy that it has made its way from our basement to this corner of our yard though. That's something. I took this picture when Mike was nowhere near done with bringing up loads. And, for those of you who don't know what on earth this is all about, well, you'll just have to keep wondering (but know this, we were not the original owners of this soil).

There are moments like this:

And this:

(Goldie made my bed and unloaded the entire dishwasher when I was having trouble getting anything done yesterday).

And then there are the moments that are somewhat less charming, like when Penny removed her diaper after having pooped in it yesterday. (I know some of you have had that happen far too many times, but it was my first). Lovely for me, I just saw her running toward me half naked and laughingly scooped her into my arms before I realized just what was going on. Shudder.

Incidentally, I bought her a little toilet the other day because awhile back she'd been seeming interested in the idea. Now, however, she is determined to yell no to any suggestion ever given, so we've had no luck getting her to use it. It wasn't a total waste though. It has proved to be a convenient little stepping stool allowing her to more easily access things like my makeup drawar.

Lastly, there are loads of moments like this:
The "little things left about" moments that simply make you pause and go, "Huh."

Update on Shan's Baby

Thanks for prayers for Shan and baby. Some of you have asked nervously for an update. They didn't make her stay at the hospital. They did a bunch of tests and sent her home. Then she was back for more ultrasounds, etc. today. Finn's little heart seemed to be doing much better, but the fluid is still insanely low and they are worried about some issues with his growth. For now Shan is supposed to be on bedrest. They will continue giving her tests, etc. to see what happens with the fluid and his growth over the next while. They would like her to get to at least 34 weeks, but if things improve, obviously, it will be much better to get closer to her due date. Hopefully, if Jason's small print setting on his laptop doesn't give Shan a headache, she can keep everyone updated now! Thanks again!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prayers Please

Hey, will any of you reading this please just pause right now for one second and send a little prayer up for my sister Shannon and her baby Finn. She is due in early May, but at her appointment today discovered she has almost no amniotic fluid (she's at a 4 -- that is sooo low), baby hasn't gained any weight in two weeks and his heart keeps dipping down low. They just sent her to the hospital with no certain plan other than letting her know she likely won't be going home anytime soon. Please pray for this little boy of hers!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

Oh yah? Well, what if you can see the forest? What if you see it just fine? What if you can't see the trees for the forest!?? Now, I am not speaking metaphorically (as this was certainly meant to be). I am speaking quite literally. Not necessarily about forests -- though probably that too -- but just about details in general. It turns out that I never pay one bit of attention to details when I view things.

Ask me someone's eye color -- I can't tell you the answer. Do I like the moderny light fixture in my bedroom at the new house? I didn't realize there was a light fixture. But seriously, it gets worse. I don't have the slightest idea of what type of vehicle anyone drives -- I usually just have a vague idea of the color and perhaps the size (you know, a van as opposed to a car). Mike recently mentioned something about the unused sink in my parent's garage and I had no idea what he was talking about. What? My parent's have a sink in their garage? I lived there nearly 23 years with out noticing that.
Awhile back we needed to borrow a hitch from my brother. It was on their jeep which was parked down in their ward parking lot where his wife was setting up stuff for some Super Saturday thing. Mike was worried that my sister-in-law would come out and be worried someone had stolen it. This seemed highly unlikely to me as I couldn't imagine ever in a million years walking out to my car and noticing a missing hitch. I probably wouldn't even remember whether or not we had a hitch on there to begin with.
Occasionally I will notice some detail -- like a small dent in our door or some such. I will bring it to Mike's attention only to be told it has been there for five or six years.
And that is the thing that has recently made me aware of how poorly I pay attention to details -- Mike. It is beginning to seem to me that no detail escapes his awareness. When I first thoroughly cleaned the bathroom at our new house I noticed that there was a small seem full of lint, etc. where they had not connected the wood floor all the way to the vanity. I was eager to tell Mike because well, I always feel special to have noticed ANY detail he has missed. He knew about it. He even knew about the crayon colored on the underside of the counter ledge (that I only just discovered today).
Anyway, I am going to be of no use to the police when I am called in for questioning after witnessing a crime. "Oh, it was definitely a male. Maybe 4 to 7 feet tall. I'm not sure what color hair or if he had glasses or what he was wearing, but I think he drove off in a reddish car. Yes, I'm sure of that. It was definitely red . . . or maybe blue. I can't be absolutely certain of the model or make, but I am positive it was a car. So, a male in a car. If you have any more questions, I'm happy to help."
Why am I so unaware of details? Maybe that will be my new goal: notice a few more details for crying out loud (and yes, the "for crying out loud" will remain in my official goal decree).
Or, it might be easier to just turn it back to speaking metaphorically and keep me detail deficient. If I'm so good at the forest (the big picture) and don't worry about the minor things along the way I'm doing pretty good right? . . . Of course, I am not so good at that once we speak in metaphor so it sounds like I have it wrong all around!

Awful News

Sometimes it isn't the big stuff so much as the little stuff that is world shattering. The other day I read a post about the most wonderful time of the year -- the time when this post-er's Girl Scout Cookies had arrived. Upon reading this I realized that her joy was pure devastation to me. What it meant for me was that Girl Scout season had come and gone with nary a glimpse of those beloved little cookie sellers at my door. I tried to buy some Keebler Grasshopper cookies to soften the blow of no Thin Mints today, but it didn't quite work because thin mints have that extra taste of "Spring tradition" and "not always available" about them. I'm just certain you are all munching away on Do-si-dos as you read this -- clutching them a little more tightly as you realize that not everyone can be so lucky.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Some Spring Reckoning

Spring is beginning to occasionally show its cheery little head. Nice as it is to have such pleasant weather, it is forcing me to acknowledge what lies beyond the many indoor projects we have going on . . . which is this:That is one of a number of curb lined, rocky, weed infested areas surrounding our yard.

Here is some of what I accomplished after a full day of spending every moment of Jesse's naps out in these "flower" beds:
Gold and Dais are standing in front of one of SEVEN similarly sized weed piles scattered about the yard, and I am only about half way done (half way done with the big stuff that I could just trim and pull out . . . I haven't even thought about digging out the little low weeds or removing all of the grass that has crept in, and, Spring or no Spring, I refuse to even yet consider wether or not our oddly spongy and straw like lawn will recover).

Now I will comment as I'm sure all of you would if you were here, "Oh Nancy! For goodness sakes! As if you don't have enough going on!"

"Yes, thank you. I am rather overwhelmed by things to be done. I certainly do appreciate your sympathy."
"Well, Nancy, you certainly deserve it, after all, there is a whole lot on your plate. You must be quite the woman."
"Oh posh, I wouldn't go that far . . ."

Alright, enough of that sillyness. I am busy, but I have to secretly admit to you all, and even to myself, that I really kind of like doing stuff like weeding and planting, so at least it isn't like my entire yard is brim full of laundry to be folded and put away; or teaming with showers to be scrubbed. Then I really would be quite miserable. I'll tell you what though, I was pulling out weeds taller than our fence,and uncovering nearly strangled bushes that I'd never have guessed were there -- bushes which had almost given up on ever seeing the light of day again. I think a few more months time and no one would even know our house was here!

Also, here is the nest Daisy and Goldie made while I weeded and trimmed. They put some bread in it and they are quite confident that they will find a bird in it first thing in the morning.
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