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Confidence at any age

Random 5 for October – 665, pies and Free Fallin’

It’s Tuesday! It’s Random! It’s time for 5 Randoms in my world.  Ready?  Set?  Go ->

1 )  665 – that’s 665 days without 1 sick day.  I was last sick (bronchial infection/the flu) in December of 2015; I started the 10 day Grain Detox on Jan 4 2016 and lost weight, the fluff & puff, and regained my health.   Cutting out grains cut the inflammation that feeds illness ~ no more seasonal allergies, colds, flu, sinusitis or bronchitis.   It’s not that hard to do and while I was super strict the first 8 months my life shifted with even more travel and I relaxed and leaned into it.  I still (largely) follow the guidelines and – to my amazement – am never sick.  Amazing!   10 days became a lifestyle.

2 )  Death ~ we had a death in the family last week, Hubbs’ Dad.  He had been estranged from the family for many years, and lived far away from all of us, by choice.   Still, it’s never easy to lose a parent, regardless the circumstances.   Someone asked me what he was like and my answer was, “He was a hard man to know.”   And there it is.   But – to clarify – when I write here about time spent with my FIL, I’m writing about Hubbs’ Step-Dad, who lives nearby.   Fathers come in many forms.

3 ) Seasons ~ it’s October and feels like June, with higher than normal temps, skies like September and heat like summer.   Birds and squirrels are as confused as we are!

2 doors down & Taken on my cell phone. An Emjayandthem(C) Photo.

4 ) Travel ~ I have gobs of travel this month – day trips, overnights, and out-of-towns.  Current events make for nervous travelers, watching the crowd, staying alert.    You know what keeps me going?   Too much vacation has to be used again so I’ve booked a week off at Thanksgiving ~  I’ll be reading, pie-making, relaxing and shutting out the world.      It’s good to have goals 🙂

My sister-in-law’s homemade Saskatoon berry pie.

5 )  Tom Petty.  RIP.   So many great songs, all sing-along-able.  This was and is a favorite.   “She’s a good girl, loves her Mama, loves Jesus, and America, too.”   ~ Sigh

And how was your week?

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Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Food, Grief, Growth, Life Lessons, Men, music, News, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts, Travel, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

80’s Ladies, Harrison Ford and Hurricanes

Last night, I caught the second half of an old favorite, a 1988 movie featuring newcomer Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl.”  I forgot how cute Harrison Ford was!  And I laughed while watching, remembering and relating to her, busy working hard, dressing the part, putting up with double-crossing, double-talking bosses.  “Ya wanna be taken seriously? You gotta wear serious clothes…..!”  Like this:

80’s ladies — remember those manly suits?

There’s a scene in the movie where Melanie’s character, Tess, meets Harrison Ford’s character, Jack, ~ she’s wearing a beautiful, feminine cocktail dress .. his reaction is perfection:

Jack Trainer: You’re the first woman I’ve seen at one of these things that dresses like a woman, not like a woman thinks a man would dress if he was a woman.

Tess McGill: Thank you, I guess.

I remember those suits, the padded shoulders, and the stupid bows that tied at the neck.   I remember how hot those ties were and how we thought big shoulders made our waists look smaller (like they were ever large in the first place, sheesh!)  Now, looking back, I see how we were nearly overtaken by those shoulder pads!

that’s me -(MJ) – at my bridal shower, 1992 — every one of us sporting shoulder pads!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Today, clothes are more forgiving.  Mix & match, not much that’s matchy-matchy.   Slacks and a sweater, wrap dresses, clothes that fit and flatter.   Less is more.   Thank goodness.

That picture above was taken in Houston, where we lived for 10 years before moving to Hubbs’ home state of Michigan.   We haven’t been back but we keep in touch with friends ~ some were spared, others had heavy damage to their homes.   Having lived there, driven there, and witnessed “normal” flash floods that happen, the damage and impact of this is beyond imagination.

And there’s a reason why sometimes we have to turn off the coverage, bury ourselves in an old movie and swoon over Harrison Ford … who’s still as handsome as ever.

Hello!

        Sincere prayers of safekeeping to all affected by Hurricane Harvey!            

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Friendship, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Life, Love, Men, Opinion, Personal, Romance, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Random Five Friday – Rats, Math and Boom-Shakalaka

It’s a random August Friday – humid but with a cooler Fall breeze wafting in.   Summer lingers but Autumn is coming, we can feel it.

Here are 5 randoms from my crazy world ~

1 ) Recently hit a milestone – I celebrated 2 years Rat-Free.   2 years!  In that time I’ve had 4 different bosses to report to — but, thankfully, none have been rats.  Some have been more challenging than others but none have belittled me, stolen my work/ideas or endeavored to make me feel less than.  To the contrary.  It’s lovely living in a rat-free lane.  And once you’ve lived/worked/endured rat behavior – 2 years can pass and your tail still twitches at the thought of the experience.

2 )  Back to school for the littlest ones soon – I am so happy to be past the helping-with-homework stage! Essays, speeches, science, geography and social studies – sure, no problem. Math- ugh, no and where’s Dad??

3)  Vacation a few weeks ago was just wonderful.  I had the first 3 days largely to myself ~ yes I had big plans to head to the big lake then I remembered a certain festival going on so I skipped the crowd.  Instead I went to the backyard ’70s style — a big sheet spread out with my beach chair centered on it, a jug of Iced tea, books, snacks and sunshine.  I read and read and relaxed and read some more.  Hours in the sunshine, taking breaks to refill my water/tea and then later, after a shower, back out to the patio to read some more.  3 books, 22 magazines, and peace to my soul.   When friends ask my take on a given movie, in my head this is what I see:

meh

4 )  Sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by anger and division, chaos and hate.   I find myself, more and more, turning off the news and flipping back to simpler times:

5 ) And on a totally random note – this made me laugh out loud!   TGIF, peeps!

Care to share your randoms with me?

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, News, Opinion, Personal, Seasons, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The idea

“Use it or lose it” they said.  I rolled over vacation time last year to this one and it’s timing out so .. with that .. I’m on vacation this week — and following the “no plan-plan.”

Purposeful nothingness.

Reading.

Sunshine.

Iced Tea.

Flip flops.

Farmer’s Market.

Pedicure.

Reading.

Phone chats with siblings and cousins.

Music.

Firing up the grill.

Shutting down the laptop.

Reading.

Naps.

A stretch of days with nothing to do and all day to do it.

You can get old pretty young if you don’t take care of yourself.

I’m feeling younger by the minute!  🙂

When’s the last time you checked out? Have you ever had a week of “purposeful nothingness?”

 

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 – Conference calls, folding chairs and Hey Macarena !

I regularly think of random things.  That’s how this brain works – – in the car, at night, during conference calls …   Too much swirling around to stop randomly weird things from popping in & making themselves at home.

1 )  Weekends .. when I have no deadlines and no reasons not to sleep in .. I don’t.  Nope.  I’m awake early, rolling around, flipping/flopping till finally I just fling the blankets off and stomp to the coffee pot ~  I see the early clock and sigh because this is the stuff weekday dreams are made of … but no, not me.  I’m up.  Up!

2 ) I read this quote recently and claimed it:

I hope to arrive at my death, late, in love, and a little drunk.  ~Atticus

well if that doesn’t say it all!

3 ) Three weeks ago I went shopping for a reclining beach chair – the kind you can use in your backyard or at the beach (the one I never go to unless company is in town).  So I set it up in on the patio, stack my books and an Arnie Palmer then haul out 75+ sun block, a fly swatter & a water spray bottle.  I lay down a towel and carefully climb on in ~ instantly the thing folds and I am trapped in it like a finger in a clam shell.  What the?  I carefully get out, adjust the settings and give it another go.  Klang – I’m folded up in the stupid thing like yesterday’s burrito.   Hubbs, leaving for golf, steps out to find me tangled up and sputtering.  He gently asks if all is well?  I smile, say nothing, and stomp past him with the folded chair over my shoulder and proceed to hoist it into the trash, stomp back, drag two patio chairs together and affix myself between them.  He smiles and waves good-bye (smart man).    Yesterday I went looking look for a replacement — well now that SCHOOL SUPPLIES are out …….. the 2-3 beach chairs left have been relegated to the back corner with the 50%-off garden supplies.  It’s mid July.  What happened?

the crappy one was like this but not as nice

4 )  They tend to come in cycles but lately there’s been an influx of annoying recorded spam phone calls to our house phone — “Hi! This is Tiffany from blah-blah-blah services” (insert the words travel, credit card, rewards, cruise ship where I had the words blah-blah-blah).   I like to answer and, while the recording is going start talking gibberish.  Calls end abruptly and my stress wanes. Highly recommend it.  🙂

5 )  We’re about to start a months-long project and with it comes weekly check-in calls ~ time to break out the  Bingo card:

How about you?  What have you shopped for lately that was suddenly “out of season?”  Notice an influx of spam phone calls?  Ever play conference call Bingo?

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Fun, Growth, Home, Humor, Quotes, Seasons, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Random 5 – Sisters, Books and Summer’s arrival

It’s Sunday! Back to work tomorrow ~Cooking, Laundry and random 5 today. Here goes!

1 )  My sister and I vacationed together last week ~ she lives in Canada, where we grew up, I live in the USA so – instead of traveling to each other’s homes – we met in the middle – something new for both of us.  No cooking. No cleaning. No bed-making.  No organizing. No wrangling. No Scheduling.  We loosely followed the “no plan-plan.”   Meeting in Minneapolis then flying to Kansas City together we laughed and we cried and we laughed again.  Navigating the rental car through the city and down to the interstate to Branson, MO, we sang along and talked and talked.  We had purchased a few show tickets ahead of time but left the week open to the possibilities.  Lying by the pool. Shopping in cute little boutiques, artisan markets and outlet malls.  Dining out, being waited on and, in some cases, sung to (the Singing Diner was so fun!)  Our trip was glorious!  Sister time – talking in the morning, talking at night, talking by the pool, talking in the dark.   On our last night together, out of the dark a small voice whispered,”I’m sure going to miss you, you know.”  “I know,” I said, “as will I miss you.”    A knowing look – finishing each others sentences – laughing at our stupid jokes.  For as much as we talked – sisters don’t need words.  

Sisters! An Emjayandthem(C) photo

2 ) Heat – arriving back home I was surprised to find the weather much hotter here (northern) than where we’d been (southern).  How did that happen?  80s up to 90s with little rain. It’s hot and dry.  Birds flitter happily through the sprinkler.

3 )  Taking a (leave-your-house) vacation is an excellent reminder that all of the stuff stressing me out is just that … stuff.    I work hard and do my best to stay on top of everything but every once in a while I need to step away from it and breathe.  Live.  Laugh.  And re-connect.

and there it is

4)  Books — Read one and bought another — one of my favorite things to do on a plane is to dive into a new story.  This one was well worth the dive:

… great read .. right to the last page!

And I bought this on the recommendation of a fellow passenger – next up on my summer reading list.

5 ) Summer’s here and another favorite just arrived — the Farm Market is open again!  I have to pace myself and remember that, for the most part, I’m the only one eating all these yummies.   Ooh … deliciousness abounds!!

What’s on your summer reading list?  Have you had any adventures lately?   What are you grateful for?  Are you a fan of toasted ‘mater sammiches, too?  *(GF for me!)

Toasted Tomato Sandwich ~ ahh, Summer!

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Food, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Random 5 (Lion) Friday

It’s Friday! It’s time for some Random thoughts ~ here we go!

1 )  March roared in like a Lion and …well she’s still roaring.  Yesterday brought freezing rain and lightning, all the same day. Today .. rain and winds.  The grass is greening and the Robins are fat… hmm.  Maybe April will come in like a lamb?

google.images

2 ) Old favorites ~ I put a tee shirt on the other day and laughed because I remember when it was new. 10 summers ago.  I still like it and still wear it but now just around the house ’cause it’s a little worse for the wear.   It’s like an old friend, comfy, soft and forgiving.  It’s from the summer we took Mom on this trip, and that’s the shirt in the picture below. Sissy and I are going again in June and Mom will be with us in spirit, clapping her hands, grinning widely and taking it all in.

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO.  Summer 2007.

Of course we saw an “Elvis” show! Tony Roi as Elvis was AMAZING!

3 ) I wrapped up 7 consecutive weeks of heavy work travel and meetings.  Yesterday we were asked to set goals for the year – one of the goals surrounds meetings & outreach.  I smiled realizing I’m halfway to the goal.  Yes!!

4 )  It’s Friday.  I can hear the birds singing and my calendar, for the most part, is wide open today.  I have a few projects to tidy up then I’ll hand the reins to another and my team – and be off on v.a.c.a.t.i.o.n.   It’s 34F here and 75F where we’re headed …and there’s not a schedule in sight. Ahhh.

photo courtesy of the Farmers Almanac.

5 )    Amazing. Yes, that’s it.   Ha!

That or glasses!

How about you? What’s the oldest piece of clothing you still wear?  What are you looking forward to?  Have you set any new goals for the year?  Have you amazed yourself lately? 🙂

Happy Spring, peeps!

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Joy, Life, Mom, music, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Glad Surrender

Lately my work life is all consuming  ~  looking back and ahead I am struck by these four things:

1 ) Traveling every week for work & so that means restaurant after restaurant – and eating healthfully can be a challenge.  Typically I have a big breakfast sometime during the day and supplement with foods I bring with me.  But, I’ve discovered the wedge salad and that has become my new favorite.  I’m sure it’s 10,000 calories but I don’t care.   Here’s is one I enjoyed a few nights ago with shrimp and a Skinny Girl Margarita.  Yes I was that gal photographing her food … ha!

dinner on the road recently

2)  I’m tired.  Tired of work, tired of calls, tired of projects, tired.  I’m tired of increasing pressure, endless demands and unrealistic expectations.  In just a few weeks we will shut everything off and head to a warm vacation.  In response to bosses who’ve asked anxiously if I’ll be online while away I’ve answered no, I’ll be IN line for a beach towel and a lemonade by the pool.   Looking forward to no schedule, no calls and no clocks.  I know what will happen – we’ll sleep deeply, be up early, and smile our way through sun, tunes, good foods and warm waters.  And when we get back it will all be there waiting for us.

3)  The one thing saving my life right now is weekends.  And sleep. And wedge salads. And that pool image above 😉

4)  Many flagship stores around us are closing – K-Mart was first, Sears was next, and now, certain J.C. Penney stores, too.  Out of solidarity I stopped at JCP one night last week, hit a sale, and walked out with >$300 in merchandise for $95.    If I could get a deal like that more often I’d go to the mall more.  Hmm.

** How about you? What new-to-you food are you loving? Have you came upon any deals lately? What are you excited about?  When’s the last time you took a break? Can you embrace the Surrender?**

“Work is a blessing. God has so arranged the world that work is necessary, and He gives us hands and strength to do it. The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure. It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest, just as it is the experiences of hunger and thirst that make food and drink such pleasures.”  ― Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender

 

Categories: Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Fashion, Food, Fun, Life, Opinion, Personal, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lions, Lambs and funeral luncheons

Mother Nature has been mercurial again – here March roared in like a lion, with freezing temps, bitter cold, blowing snow and lashing sleet.   All this after a mid-February warm up to nearly 70F.  The latest round felt like a mid-winter spanking. Are we safe to assume March will leave like a lamb?  I’m not so sure.

A friend passed away last Sunday ~ shockingly young, leaving a wife and two children plus a business and employees to take care of.  We struggled to absorb the news and rally around our friend.  As expected, a call went out for food and folks didn’t disappoint.  At the wake Friday night, were crocks full of hot foods like meatballs, macaroni and cheese, Sloppy Joe’s, Fettuccine Alfredo and Lasagna plus trays of cakes, cookies and squares, salads, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, boiled shrimp, crackers and cheese, a  baked ham and the fixings for sandwiches.

There’s something so comforting about being able to help at a time of sadness. 

Many commented on the abundance of foods and I thought of Mom and my Auntie and all the times they’d done the same. It’s nice to be part of a community that comes together and provides sustenance when needed.

Later that evening, reflecting on the day, Hubbs and I chuckled at how we’d both observed the same thing: older gentlemen – every one of them had a big slab of cake (sometimes two), cookies or brownies on their plate ~ we laughed about how we could see my Dad or his Grandpa doing the same – how they knew enough to”go for the good stuff first.

Co-mingled in the sadness is a lingering feeling of fellowship, the memory of a room growing loud with laughter and toasts to a good man.

And as the wind howls outside here today, no lambs are in sight.

**   How does your family or community navigate loss?  Are you experiencing Lambs or Lions where you live? **

 

Categories: Confidence at any age, Faith, Food, Grief, Home, Life, Love, Opinion, Personal, Share, Thoughts, Traditions, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Positive obsessions

for more, click on A test in self-worth

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Faith, fear, Forgiveness, Friendship, Growth, Joy, Life, Mom, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Random 5 Friday

It’s Friday! It’s Random! Here we go:

1 )  Spring?  Summer?  Fall?  Certainly not winter.  We hit 70F this week and yep, you guessed it, snow’s coming back tomorrow.  I think Mother Nature is going through ‘the change.’  Nothing is as usual – grass is green, bugs are out, things are growing – Bam! They’re going to be surprised when the next wallop of snow lands!

2 ) Lots of travel lately – I don’t mind because I am open to and enjoy the random interactions that occur. Example: between meetings in the capital city this week, I grabbed lunch at a little cafe.  I noticed an older gentleman wearing what had to be his finest suit.  He was decked out from coordinated socks to a beautiful tie to his exquisite hat – you don’t see hats much anymore.  As I got up to pay my bill, I complimented him on his handsome hat – a wide grin broke out and we enjoyed a short chat – he was in town in meetings on behalf of a seniors care organization (similar to Meals on Wheels).  He was polished, articulate and commanding;  I can’t imagine anyone saying no to him.  Well the company I work for has a program that seniors can benefit from – he has my card and I have a friend in Mr. William (Bill) Jones.  You just never know where your path will take you;  I’m glad mine took me to him.

3 )  Saw this the other day and it reminded me of my cousin and I – who does this remind you of?  I need to send it to my sister, too – she’ll get it!

laugh-till-you-snort4 ) An Auntie has been dealing with a tough situation over the past few months – my offers to help have been politely declined.  One day last week she contacted me and said “I need your help – I am at my wit’s end.”  The back story is she’d been forced to place her (dementia-afflicted) husband in nursing home care – a decision that was very tough for her to do.  The problem was the home he ended up being placed in was a) too far away, b) not not working for them and c) all efforts to move him closer were regularly thwarted by the (for-profit) center.  As I told her, I don’t know anyone in this world, but I have many contacts and I’ll try. I spent the day on the phone, and by 4pm had his case over to the state regulatory bureau who investigates and licenses nursing homes. (Go big or Go home, my Mom would say!!)    Uncle was moved the next morning, after months of attempts.  The best part was that every (Government)office I called – and every person I spoke to – once they heard their story-  they reacted as I had – with disbelief, anger and a sense of urgency.  It buoyed us all to know that, when given the opportunity, strangers very happily did the right thing … and quickly.   He’s closer, she’s happier, and being able to help her blessed me.   🙂

5 )  And with that, I’m off on my next road trip – but – I’ve timed it so I can meet a friend for lunch on the way back into town today.    Life’s rolling by too quickly and it’s time to carve out some friends time, too.

“Yes, you see, there’s no such thing as coincidence. There are no accidents in life. Everything that happens is the result of a calculated move that leads us to where we are.”
― J.M. Darhower, Sempre: Redemption

What’s random in your world these days?  Met anyone interesting?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Quotes, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Strong Women, Grey Ties & Valentine’s Day

As a girl, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a school party, card boxes, ice skating and moms visiting our classrooms.

google.images.com

google.images.com

As a teenager, Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a boyfriend if I had one and avoided if I didn’t.

google images

google images

As a young married woman, Valentine’s Day meant cards and flowers – for a while, anyways.  As our relationship evolved, romantic gestures were replaced by thoughtful ones.  Things you can’t buy in the store: taking out the trash; filling my car up with gas on a snowy day.  Running his vehicle through the car wash then detailing the inside myself. Folding the laundry left in the dryer; bringing in the groceries.   It’s the little things  ~ but they’re helpful and kind and nice.  And there’s a flow and a comfort to it that I love.

In my 50’s I don’t wait for someone else to make me happy ~ I make myself happy.

get-your-happy-on-quote-1You see I learned it from her:  My mother was a strong woman and my role model  – 100lbs of dynamite ~ she calved calves, trained horses, wrangled 5 kids, a husband, a 1/2 acre garden, 2 dogs and 14 cats.  She rode in trail rides, taught 4-H and Sunday School, balanced the books and Chaired the Board.  She always got out to vote, once taking the tractor to the highway to catch a ride to the polls. No muddy roads were going to stop her!  Not much ever did!

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 - mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom wrangling a Thanksgiving turkey in 1963 – mother of 5, do-er of anything she set her mind to. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Like she did, I go to bed when I’m tired,  take a nap if I need one and I stay up late when I choose to.  I make room for the things I love – books – and never apologize for the space they occupy.  I have learned how to say “no thanks” to stuff I don’t want (or want to do) and “YES please!” to the ones I do.

Years ago Mom bought my sister & I that novel about the guy with the grey ties  ~ She made it clear she had no intentions of reading it and quipped “you can handle it” with a snort.   The two of us traumatized our grown kids by leaving it out on end tables.  The comments of horror from my nieces and the looks our boys shot my way were so worth it.  That was her point, to stir the pot and to remind us we always have a choice.

I chuckle remembering how Mom and I joked that if a good looking, rich man came near us with a grey tie, he’d find himself in some deep do-do.

God, I miss her.

So this Valentine’s Day I wish you this:

  • I wish you the courage to make the leap you’ve been pondering,
  • I wish you dreams in technicolor,
  • I wish you the conviction to change what’s not working, to stop worrying about what others think and to do the things that make your soul sing.
  • Time’s a-wasting and, per the wisest woman I’ve ever known, the only hero we have is ourselves.

 

strong-women

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, fear, Fun, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Holidays, Humor, Joy, Love, Mom, Personal, Romance, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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