Archive | August, 2013


23 Aug

Currently my street is full of cars and my yard and barn and five acres is crawling with talented kids…well they’re kids to me…There are painters painting. Hoopers hooping with their lighted hula hoops, musicians, including drummers with kettles and bongos. There are dancers, singers, yoga masters…it’s an amazing array of hippie kids. We’ve come full circle.

My son has manifested this event with a tremendous amount of organization from his friend Cat. We’ve warned the neighbors. Some were tolerant. Some offered their drives for turning around and parking in front of their houses. Some were buttheads.

We’ve talked to the deputies who came out to check and make sure we had responsible adults here and no underage drinking. I hesitated to mention the babies and children. I haven’t been watching them too closely so I don’t know what their cups are spiked with. I’m afraid a few parents have gone full fat on the baby milk. Scary, right?

The music is great. The only regret I have at the moment is that I’m a bit too tired to give it the full attention it deserves. The lighted hoops are so colorful. Dance all ye who are here and keep the peace and enthusiasm and love you have.

I’m hoping we do this again…in spite of the one grumpy old guy down the road. He needs to lighten up. We did invite him to enjoy the hoops. Somehow I get the impression that his god might not like that. I feel really sorry for him. He’s missing something vital and alive in the here and now.



TV, Hares, Bikes, Swings, and Bunny Sitting

21 Aug

I woke this morning thinking it was Thursday.
Bob was in bed. His lone patient didn’t show up last night and so he came home.
If Bob is in bed, it has to be Thursday.
The rude reality ‘only Wednesday’ did nothing for my mental acuity.
So I went to work, read the paper, drank some coffee and attempted to recall my reason for being there.
It didn’t go well.

I did begin counting calories this morning. When all else fails, that will take a few pounds off. MyNetDiary is the go-to app for this. Wish me luck. I’ve actually gained weight since becoming gainfully employed and I can’t stand it. Back to square one in my hopscotch game. I’ve been back to square one so many times you’d think I would just accept my diabetic fate and move on. Hate this. Hate that it is such a struggle.

But then very little is really easy.
Thank goodness for friends!
Next on the list is getting my bike out and my swing moved from behind the barn. I’m making a spot for it near the arbor at the back of the house. Wooohoo. Close.
In my recent exhausted state of being,  I’ve discovered a few new, entertaining, made for television dramas. Two new ones from Netflix are Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Add to that HBO’s Newsroom. Newsroom is particularly smart. It is well-timed, amusing, and superbly written. I’m hooked.
Of course Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones are still in my can’t-wait-for-the-new-season list. This list is becoming way too long..especially for someone who hasn’t, in the past,  been inclined to watch much TV.
I’m finding that being engaged by entertainment has it’s benefits. It seems some of the mental detritus I accumulate through out the day becomes more manageable. It would appear that I’m accumulating more than I want or need at this point. And there is an added benefit, there is no requirement to engage another human in the activity.
I’m becoming anti-social. Lack of energy? It takes a lot of energy to be social. And some people can suck the atmospheric energy out of a room quicker than a hare can hop on a carrot.
Speaking of hares… the bunnies have yet to achieve killer rabbit status, nor have they become rabbit stew. They are becoming the proud owners of a bunny condo. Apparently Falon found instructions for it on Pinterest and is now in the process of constructing said condo. I can’t wait to be invited to the new digs for dinner.
mmmmm….no doubt it will be salad.
I’m bunny sitting for the remainder of the week. They’re headed to New Orleans for a birthday excursion. Sunday is Falon’s birthday. Wow. Time really does fly.

A Short Story

19 Aug

Warmth and Wonder

Her sketches littered the floor, some having drifted to their resting places peacefully, some having been crumpled and thrown to express her intense frustration.

She started at a knock on her door. Her studio had been a small guest house built just steps outside the kitchen door of her cabin. She had thought it perfect for a short stay ten years ago. Ah. She opened the door to Harry.

Hi, Harry. What brings you by?

I was in town and Miz Effie had fresh bread and blueberry muffins. I brung ya some.

Thanks Harry. Come on inside.

Harry and his net bag of paper-wrapped bakery stepped aside and followed her three steps to the door. They entered the small, well-equipped kitchen. She had seen to the kitchen renovation just a year after moving in. By then she was prepared to stay. She wanted to buy the place, but Harry wouldn’t sell. The peace she found here, in the woods, by the lake, was indispensable to her work as an illustrator. She could lose herself here with few distractions. Even so days of frustration dogged her occasionally. Harry was a nice reprieve from paper crumpling. The old guy had no family and spent most days reading his beloved mysteries and visiting Miz Effie at the town diner.

The smell of Harry’s bread offering made Liza’s mouth water. Butter. She needed butter.

Harry laid his bag on the old oaken table she used for dining, pulled out a chair, and sat while Liza brought butter, knives, and plates to the table.

Tea? Harry? She asked.

That’d be right nice Miz Liza. Harry’s wrinkled face was kind. His manner polite and deferential.

Liza found glasses and ice and poured tea from the pitcher in the fridge. Sweet tea. She’d learned to love it since coming south and found that most people who visited and tried it,  took home a preference for it. She set the glasses on the table and headed to the door again. Just outside, she bent to twist a couple of mint sprigs from the porch patch and returned to drop them into the tea.

Lagniappe, she said, just a little something extra.

Harry smiled. He always smiled when she used a new word. It was their game. Harry’s vocabulary exercises.

Harry, I’ve never asked, but how old are you? Liza sat, slicing two large pieces of bread and slathering them with butter while Harry contemplated his age.

Well, I reckon I’m about 87 now.

About? she asked. When were you born?

They both bit into the warm bread and sighed contentedly. They had learned to enjoy each other’s company. Harry often stopped by with something from Miz Effie’s or seasonal fruit from Johansen’s orchard or vegetables from the farmer’s market. They had shared more than one glass of tea or cup of coffee over the years.

Harry’s brow had wrinkled at her question. Odd, she had never asked.

Well, Miz Liza, I don’t rightly know.

Liza looked up from her bread, surprised.

See, I was found and raised up till I wuz about 15 by Ma and Pap. They made no bones bout my circumstances, told me they didn’t know my birthday, but figured I uz about six or seven when they run across me. I left ‘em about eight years later and went south to El Dorado and worked on the oil wells. There’s a few tales to tell. You heard some of ‘em.

Liza felt her heart thump. I knew about the wells, Harry. Didn’t know you had been found..

Yup. That’s the way of it.

I’m so sorry Harry.

No need to be, Miz Liza. I’ve had a good life. Married to my missus for 49 years. I loved that woman.

And you never had children?

Nope. We figgered one of us had faulty plumbin’. But she made me the happiest man alive for all of them years. Harry paused to have another bite of bread, take a sip of tea.

Liza waited. She loved the old man. He’d made her welcome. He’d paid for the kitchen remodel and laughed and joked with her, taken her to town for dinner on many occasions, even escorted her to the annual Zarka Barn Dance for the past 8 years, introducing her around town, encouraging her to make friends. He had tried a bit of matchmaking, much to her dismay. That hadn’t worked out well, at least not yet. As of the previous Friday, he still seemed intent on continuing the effort.

I want to be buried next to my Annie, he said. I want to hold her again.

Liza felt tears forming and turned her head.

More tea? She asked. He nodded and she rose to bring the pitcher to the table.

Miz Liza, I have me a favor to ask.

Anything, Harry. Just ask.

I want you to take care of this place for me, live here, and take care of it. It’s yours now.

Harry, what are you talking about? She asked.

I’m giving it to you Liza. I ain’t gonna need it. It’s only the cabin and guest house and 40 acres here. Annie’s house is going to the town, to use as they see fit.

Harry, that’s too much and besides you’ll outlive me.

No. Doctor says it ain’t gonna be much longer now. But the real favor is this here key.

He pulled a safety deposit box key from his pocket. I need you to hang onto this key till I’m gone. There’s instructions in that box and a few sentimental items that I want you to have. Young John Martin at the bank knows to help you. He has his instructions.

Liza knew that half the town would grieve for Harry. His generosity was legend. She didn’t think he had much other than the two properties, but he always had something to share.

Harry finished his tea and rose to leave. Liza smiled at him and thanked him and asked him again why he would do such a thing.

You bin here a good while now Liza. I’ve grown right fond of you and I don’t want you worryin’ about where you’ll go, don’t think you need to worry about packing and moving. I’m still hoping to find you a feller.

Liza laughed. You never give up do you Harry?

Not iffen I can help it. He grinned, took her hand, executed a gentlemanly bow, and kissed it.

Harry, I really don’t know what to say. I’m speechless. It’s too much. Liza said and she hugged him.

No, he said. It’s just enough.

Days and weeks passed and Harry fell into a routine. He would drop in on Liza on Monday mornings for coffee and Miz Effie’s pastries or breads and he would collect her on Friday evenings for dinner and some local event or a movie. Occasionally he surprised her at other times with a visit and a friend for her to meet. He finally succeeded in making an introduction that intrigued her and a new friendship began to blossom.

But by Christmas time, Harry’s health began to wane. Liza began to go to Annie’s house, take meals to him, read to him. She drove him to appointments and eventually at his request, she accompanied him on his last trip around the town.

It was the morning of January 14th that Harry didn’t answer the door for her. The cups of coffee and bag of pastries felt far too heavy in her arms as she returned to her car, pulled her phone out, and made the call to the sheriff’s office.

She grieved. She attended the funeral and stood, awestruck, as people flooded the chapel and told her their Harry stories. She cried. She was grateful and convinced that Harry had found his Annie.

It was difficult to work. Her mind wandered and tears started at the slightest reminder. She missed him so. Even with her new-found friendship, thanks to Harry, there was a hole in her heart.

Eventually she accepted the responsibility of the key. Heart heavy, Liza found her way to the bank to meet with young John Martin.

She greeted him, gave her name. Young John had been expecting her.

She was taken to the vault of the small town bank.

I’m to stay with you, John said.

She smiled. That would be lovely, she said. Perhaps you can explain his generosity.

He felt very deeply for you Liza. It sounds rather cliché but he really did think of you as a daughter.

They opened the deposit box and John began removing items, one by one.

This is Miss Annie’s cameo. He bought it for her when they were first married. It wasn’t very expensive, but she loved it and wore it every day from that day till the day she died. He had one made for her, just like this one for their 25th wedding anniversary. It was beautiful, expensive, a real treasure. She actually preferred the old one, tarnish and all. He pinned the new one on her burial dress and said now she would wear this one and take it with her and know that he would long for the day when he would join her.

Liza took the cameo and pinned it to her sweater.

John reached in and pulled out a sheaf of papers.

This is the deed to the cabin and the acreage it sits on Liza. It’s all in order. It’s all yours.

She nodded and placed them in her bag.

John pulled a second set of papers from the box and paused.

This may come as a surprise, Liza. Harry left about half his estate to the town for fixin’ things up and taking care of the soup kitchen and such as that. He was responsible for building the shelter in the first place. We’ve had many folks over the years that ended up down on their luck and in need of a hot meal and a warm place to sleep for themselves and their kids. Harry couldn’t stand to see a young ‘un hungry or cold. But the other half, he left to you. He wanted you to build something for the soul, something for your art and our history perhaps. He said he never knew how to do it, but you would.

John handed her the papers he held. She looked at him rather quizzically.

That would take millions of dollars, she said.

Yes, it would. And you are holding millions of dollars in your hand.

She sank into a waiting chair. I can’t do this by myself.

And I am here to help in any way I can, John said. Harry told me to be your right hand guy and left a small trust to compensate for the time. And you are to keep enough back so that your children will never worry. It’s all arranged.

I don’t have children John. What was Harry thinking?

John winked. He said you didn’t yet but he was holding out hope that Tim would be the one.

Liza laughed and laughed until tears streamed down her face.

Leave it to Harry.

Liza rose from her seat. They locked up and left the vault, saying goodbye in the lobby and promising to meet again the following week to begin planning.

Still laughing, she retrieved her phone from her pocket and dialed Tim’s number.

He answered with a brisk, Tim here.

Hey, she said, I hear you’re going to be a father.

She laughed that much harder when she hear his phone hit the floor.

Awww. Harry. You were such a gem of a fella. I’ll miss you always.



Please forgive the errors. There isn’t always enough time for proofing and editing…

Week’s end. App Mania, and Aunt Bee’s 100th

17 Aug

It’s a nightmare.

Hundreds of Apps waiting for download.

All of them lurking in cyberspace awaiting my feeble attempts at minimizing the tasks with which I am faced.

I gave it a google.

There they were.

One simple task…a grocery list

Two hours later I had attempted to use five different solution apps.

Paper and pencil would have netted a time expenditure of 3 minutes.

Perhaps I should stay with the old ways.

However, I must admit I love My Shopi. I can set my lists by store and by department. Way cool.

It has been unseasonably cool here in the Little Rock. This appears to be a repeat of last year. The swimming season may be short again. The kids who ventured into the pool last night looked a bit goose-bumped upon their return to the house. You go guys. Me? Not so much.

We’ve trimmed edges, cut grass and briars, lopped off branches, and burned a pile of all of it today. There is a lot to do on five acres and too little time to do it. So it all accumulates and you get to it when you can. We would probably do better if we had a few more tools. A tractor would be nice. If you see one looking for a home, please send it my way.

There’s something infinitely satisfying about doing this sort of work. It’s a respite for the soul. You can shut off the brain and just do the task. Leave all your worries behind. Sing it now!

And soon, I will venture into the madness that is Saturday afternoon in the shopping district. Oh woe. Perhaps the must-do will get done and the need-to can wait until the morrow.

Sarah and I saw The Millers Wednesday evening. I have to admit it was a chuckle.

But my favorite part of the week occurred on Friday. While working, I received a phone call from a sweetheart of a little old lady who was apparently a teacher in her working life. Her aunt had recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Needless to say Ms. Morris was excited. Aunt Bee is a gem. And so Ms Morris proceeded to tell me about the events preceding and following the 100th birthday celebration including but not limited to details about the state of Aunt Bee’s bowels and the house dress she wore for the picture. I was also clued in to the move to a rehab center, the state of her finances (they are really good), and Aunt Bee’s declarations of her age, followed by the number of days past 100, which she makes to anyone willing to listen.

It was a joy to talk to this woman.  She kept me on the phone for quite some time and made my day.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Untangling a Tuesday

13 Aug

I stumbled upon a bit of profundity at A quote from Stephen Hawking on advice to his children:

“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

I certainly agree with him on points one and three. Point two leaves me a little, well, uh…it just leaves me. I assume he was referring to a passion. Pursuing a passion would be so much more than work! But few of us do that.

We settle.
I wonder if that is a bad thing.
I must admit that two out of three isn’t a bad thing. Looking at the stars and finding love could go a long way toward making work palatable in just about any form.
So, tonight go star-gazing with the one you love.
And tomorrow get your ass outta bed and go to work.

Manic Monday and a Hint and a Half Fiction

12 Aug

Today lived up to the “Manic Monday’ moniker. It was crazy, confusing, and on occasion as frustrating as all get-out.

And there was an episode of get-out today. I have a feeling work is going to be somewhat more complicated for a while.

C’est la vie.

A little bit of fiction on a Manic Monday.

Clarice folded the last towel and sighed. She clutched the stack of towels to her chest and made a slow circle checking the kitchen, the gathering room, the first bath, and the entry. John returned from the master suite they had made their own for the past few days. He smiled. She met him halfway and pushed the towels into his chest.

Make yourself useful, she said and winked.

He took the towels and turned toward the master bath, chuckling. Clarice ducked into the bedroom behind him.

They had listened to the surf, held hands, enjoyed quiet dinners, made love by candlelight, read, napped, soaked in the spa, biked in the park, and lived freely for the past week.

John returned to the bedroom to find Clarice packing the last of their clothing. He slipped his arms around her and leaned his chin on her shoulder.

I love you, he said.

I love you John.

We needed this, he said.

Yes. Clarice breathed deeply.

Will we make it? she asked. We have to face the chaos soon. And her thoughts skimmed over work, parenting, parental care-giving and obligations numerous and intimidating.

Life is turbulent, confusing. We have to schedule a breather every now and then. He spoke with conviction. We have to be diligent in tending to ourselves.

No divorce John?

No Clarice. Not now, not ever.





Escarpment Tales and Custom Woes

7 Aug

Yesterday I briefly mentioned the Escarpment. I was referring to the Niagara Escarpment, which is basically a cliff, running East/West through the U.S. and Canada. It is the base of Niagara Falls among other things.

The Escarpment has several towns along its length including Milton, Ontario. Hubby, Bob, was living in Milton when we met.

Bob moved here in July 1999. A few years later we were called to Toronto on a family matter and on short notice we packed a bag and left on an 18 hour drive into the city, passing through Milton just shortly before arriving at our destination.

Bob pointed out the Escarpment several times after we crossed into Canada at Detroit. It really is beautiful. And at some point, he devised a plan. Okaaaaay.

Rattlesnake Point, near Milton

Rattlesnake Point, near Milton

Bob had been building gardens at home for quite some time. It was a passion in the beginning. He suddenly had five acres to play with after having lived in apartments all his adult life.  We invested heavily in cross ties and landscape timbers, soil, plants, bricks, and who knows what else. It was a game of hit or miss on the plants and trees, but we persevered.

He also discovered rocks and stones at a small lake near us. He became quite fond of using rock as sculpture in the garden.

Needless to say, there are great rocks on the Escarpment.

So, one day, while we were there, we took a trip into Milton and up onto the Escarpment so that Bob could go rock hunting.

Big rock hunting. Big rock, as in load-all-the-luggage-into-the-back-seat-so-we-can-get-a-few-hundred-pounds-of-stone-in-the-trunk-of-a-baby-Honda, big rock.

And we did.

Yes, that is correct. Bob was planning on leaving the country and crossing into the states, through customs, with a ton of rock in the trunk

We found some pretty interesting rock.

This one in particular.

A bit of Escarpment

A bit of Escarpment










And Bob was really confident as crossing through Canadian customs had been a breeze. Going into Canada was always easy.

Being rather laid back about most things (Hah!), I went along.

Everything was peachy on the way from Toronto to the border. The baby Honda didn’t seem to mind the load although the gas consumption appeared to be slightly higher. Yes, that 200 plus miles just flew right by us.

And we entered U.S. customs.

We presented our documents to the customs officer. At the time I just needed my driver’s license and birth certificated and he needed his passport and ‘green’ card.

The officer asked a couple of questions, examined our documents and looked at us closely.

Then he stepped out and asked us to pop the trunk.

Oh shit.

He told us where to pull over.

And when we stopped we were surrounded by 6 armed officers and told to exit the car.

My first reaction was ‘Really?’

Not a one of them cracked a smile.

The trunk was popped again.

The bags in the back seat were examined.

We were escorted inside and told to sit.

I was never going to see my kids again.

But then the wait started to get long.

And I started to get angry and frustrated.

We didn’t know why we had been detained. Was it really the rocks? I mean, yeah, we were guilty of stealing some terra forma I guess, but it wasn’t a plant or an endangered species or a mad cow or anything like that. I didn’t think rock could harbor deadly diseases or locusts. We did clean the damn things.

Finally an officer called us.

What have we done?  I asked.

No answer

More questions.

And then some more questions.

A couple more after that my hostility started showing. We still hadn’t been told specifically we were stopped for rock theft. We still hadn’t been cuffed and taken to jail or fined and released or told to go back across the border and return the rocks to the place from whence they came.

Bob quietly rebuked me and insisted I calm down. My smart mouth was just going to exacerbate the problem apparently.

Go figure. I’m never going to see my home or my kids or my dog and he wants me to calm down.

By golly, this asshole needs to tell me why I’m being detained!

Well, I pulled in a bit. Took the questioning and the stupid time-wasting like a trooper (oh yeah, right..) and tried not to behave in such a manner that guns would be drawn.







‘Green’ card had expired.

We dutifully promised to take care of it as soon as we got home.

And left with Bob’s rocks.

Tuesday Tangles and Travel

6 Aug
Tangling up a Tuesday is a chore, if you ask me. Of course you didn’t. Ask me, that is. But I love to share.Yup a chore.

We’re over Monday.  <big sigh> And Tuesday is really close to meeting its demise.

But Friday is still sooooooo far away.


Our oldest son returned to his Canadian homeland several years ago. Sunday evening we were treated to a phone call and several pics from around Port Credit. I wanted to share.


Pretty and Blue and Ontario

Pretty and Blue and Ontario…Port Credit is in/near the city of Mississauga, Ontario, which is close to Toronto. It is located at the mouth of the Credit River on the north shore of Lake Ontario.














Out and About and on the Water

Out and About and on the Water











Snug Harbor, Mississauga, Ontario. No. Really

Snug Harbor, Mississauga, Ontario. No. Really








Barry and his blue bike! Just kidding.

Barry and his blue bike! Just kidding.








Ain’t it pretty?






Barry has recently become a proud, independently living young man. He’s moved into a new apartment, away from his mother’s home. Go Barre!

My first visit to Toronto Barry was my companion for a full day of sight-seeing. I was driving Bob’s Blazer around the city, me, from a small city in the south, navigating the streets of a major city with a map and a teenager. We failed to call for help, get lost, or drive into the lake.
I loved Toronto. The city is vibrant and culturally eclectic. Shopping is outstanding. Its history is an old one. Absurdly enough the downtown cemetery offers a window into the age of the city with graves marked and dating back to the 1600’s.

I imagine the unmarked graves are ancient.

I imagine the footsteps of Native Americans echoing on the Escarpment. I imagine the many who found their way to the sacred grounds around Eureka Springs, here in Arkansas. I imagine that we are all connected by energy and time to those who have gone before us.

I imagine.

Quebec is on my bucket list. Bob has visited. I haven’t. He was forced to complete a portion of his immigration interview in Montreal. I have the coolest frog from that trip.

Meet Jacques le Frog.

Jacques too

Jacques too











There are many spots in Canada I would like to visit. Perhaps one day we will have the opportunity to travel coast to coast through Canada, from Nova Scotia to BC and coast to coast through the states as well. Bob refuses to visit the northern-most territories, something about it being cold.

Duh! Summer? Oh. Cold all year.

I reckon we need to set aside a chunk of change and a bit of time to accomplish that travel experience, particularly since we have to tour Britain and Romania as well. And maybe a cruise of the Mediterranean and a trip to Costa Rica and a few weeks traveling by train across Europe and Amsterdam is a must. I figure when I’m old and gray and it doesn’t matter anymore, I can try out a few varieties of pot and find my fave in Amsterdam.

Wonder how many folks are gonna wonder if I’m serious about that.

Pre-history and Celebrating Monday

5 Aug

Mondays have their own appeal… or lack thereof. I mean, well, the Monday dreads go away. It’s here. Deal with it.

There is also absolute joy knowing that at the end of the day I’m one step closer to retirement. Even if retirement only comes when I join Bob for planet hopping. Blech.

Who knows, maybe I’ll win the lottery or an unknown relative will leave me gazillions.

I’m holding my breath.

We can hope that this week we’ll get to do something new and exciting. Or we might find we haven’t screwed anything up badly enough to cause war and famine across the globe.

We can leave that to politicians.

So here it is Monday, the man-made hell of Monday.  It’s a day that screams for the simplicity of pre-history when time wasn’t quite such an issue. Granted, survival was an issue. At least you could do survival in your own time. You wouldn’t wake up and think, ‘wow, it’s 8:01 and I’m late for the tiger slaying meeting’. Or, ‘gee, it’s past noon, I gotta get to the buffalo wash before it closes’. ‘Oops, must get to the river for pelt washing before 10!’ ‘Need to go to Joe’s Cave for beer before he closes. Maybe hang with the guys.’
There is the downside though. Women were dragged by the hair to a corner of the cave for animal sex, or ravaged in broad daylight in front of their peers.

Hmmmm. I might have to rethink the definition of downside?

Do caves even have corners? Perhaps I should have said a niche in the cave. I wonder how to grunt ‘niche’. You’d have to be a really trendy cave dude to get away with that one.

It was a time when men were men and women were still working for a living and bearing their children in pain. I really don’t know what possessed God to give Adam such a ride. He didn’t have to take that bite. Of course the men writing the story had their own agenda so it doesn’t surprise me that women got the short end of the stick.

You know caves generally maintain a year round constant temperature. That’s a given savings on utility bills. A fireplace would do the trick! Of course caves are rather dark. There are lots of reasons to like the dark. Of course there is the risk of falling into a crevice and disappearing downstream into neighboring, unfriendly-tribe territory and being marinated for the dinner pot.

Compared to the freeway, that risk seems rather mundane.

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