Posted by: iluvclouds | February 3, 2010

Wow! I haven’t blogged in over a year!

Don’t know why I stopped but was encouraged by my pastor to start again.  Going through some life transitions so I suppose it will be good to vent here where noone I know ventures.  I like to be able to vent without hurting any feelings.  Like I said lots of transitions, most are good, but getting to the end point for some will be a bit painful.  Will do seperate posts for each event.  Overall very excited for what is happening this year.  In a nutshell, quitting 1 job, probably doing more for other job, becoming a grandma (really excited for that one).  Won’t promise that I will blog everday, I can’t even promise that I will floss every day, but I am getting a lot better with the flossing so who knows?  So stay tuned for blogs for all the events happening this year.

Posted by: iluvclouds | October 12, 2008

Half Marathon race report

Hey, just finished my half marathon today.  Lately I have been having to really talk myself into doing it every time I go for a run.  I don’t think I was quite prepared, but everyone on the team was so encouraging.  I did it within my time frame.  I wanted to do it between 3 hrs and 3 1/2 hrs.  I did 3:09:36.  Yay!!  I did end up with some pain behind my left knee and also on top of my left foot.  From reading up on it (gotta love the internet), I think I have a stress fracture to my second metatarsal.  Will go to the doctor tomorrow if it is still tender.  Don’t know what the behind the knee pain is yet, will research that later.  I did go out nice and slow with a couple of ladies I knew would be really slow.  Have learned who to avoid when they say they will be going slow, their slow for me is still very fast.  Left my friends and started running by myself at around mile 7.  Am a bit sore now, but hopefully will feel better tomorrow.  Need to be up and walking by Tuesday as I have work.  Am looking forward to properly preparing for the next half.  Of course I may have to do this one next year to see how much I’ve progressed.  Weather turned out to be beautiful although it did start out a bit chilly so I wore my leggings under my shorts.  Got up about 1:45 this morning and could not get back to sleep.  Slept a little this afternoon, but woke up with a very dry mouth.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008

New Job for the Fall

As if I’m not doing enough already with working part-time at the church doing the bookkeeping and all, homeschooling my son (hey at least I am down to just 1 child now), I interviewed for a job with a university that has classes for homeschooling kids.  And I got the job.  Mind you it is only for 1 class, for 1 hour, 2 times a week and it is a class which I like; Algebra 1.  I know, I know, I hear all the groans, but there are some of us out there who actually like math.  I groan when I hear that someone really likes history or writing, yuck.  I read the paper (I don’t mind reading, it is just writing I don’t care for-at least writing that is graded and has to be a certain way, I don’t mind writing for this blog or writing letters-although I have gone more to calling than writing) as I eat breakfast and then I do the sudoku puzzle, which sometimes amazes me that I can do the harder ones later in the week and am sometimes stumped by the easy ones on Monday (but maybe it is just because it is Monday).  Anyhow, we had our orientation last week where we met our students and their parents and did a short presentation.  I was nervous and didn’t say everything I had planned on (was worried about running out of time), but all that they needed to know about the class was in the intro letter anyhow.  So I have a total of 8 students as of Friday and am really looking forward to it.  Kind of hard with my kids, especially the girls, they would give me attitudes when I tried to explain to them what they did wrong (they of course did not think they did anything wrong).  I know most people (even me sometimes) cringe at having to do word problems so that of course will be my greatest challenge, but so much of the algebra people actually do in real life are word problems, right?  So I plan to make sure they have the tools and knowledge so that in the future they don’t have to cringe when they here there will be word problems.  And I know most of the kids parents are probably not good at math or haven’t done Algebra in a a while so I will be a blessing to them.  So expect to hear more in the coming months about my new adventure.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008

Half-marathon training

OK, finally an update on my half-marathon training.  Until this weekend I was even doubting that I would actually go through with it.  I do not want to be embarrassed by not finishing or finishing badly.  I was worried because I have not been very good about my training during August (I’ve had a lot on my plate during the month if you have read my other posts you know what I’m talking about).  I signed up at the beginning of the season in May and the training sessions have been great.  I haven’t been doing all the things during the week, like the cross training, but I’ve made almost all the Saturday trainings, except during August.  I was even thinking about dropping out, especially when I looked at the training for Aug 16 was 2 hours (but I had to take care of my daughter anyhow), the following weekend the run was only 1 hour so I listened to the training messages which got me motivated, did a couple of runs around the block during the week (but was a little surprised that I was so out of breath so soon, but I was soon able to go longer) and did the Saturday run.  This Saturday was a little tougher, 2 1/2 hours, ugh.  But I did the track workout and other run during the week and prepped myself by having a good pasta dinner Friday night and having a bagel and banana for breakfast.  Did well on the run, ran about 10 miles.  I did turn around after about 1 hour 5 minutes after a bathroom break but kept running into others still running the other way so when someone I knew came along, I confessed that I turned around too early and went with her until it really was time to turn around.  Didn’t seem so bad turning around 10 minutes before I should until I added up that I was really cutting the run by 20 minutes.  Not good, and I did make it.  Had a lot of walk breaks, but this will be my first half-marathon, and we still have a few more weeks of training to go.  1 1/2 hours this week and then 3 hours the next.  After that I think we have a couple of shorter runs to taper off before the race.  But after making it the 2 1/2 hours without feeling too bad (had some ankle and hip flexor pain), I really believe I can make it, although I know I won’t be very pretty at the finish line (red faced and all sweaty).  Last week I did do a midweek trail run with a couple of the mentors and found out what I need to do on trails (and even street hills) to keep from getting shin splints like I did at camp (which will make next years camp all the better-will actaully plan on doing some trail runs there).  I really liked doing the hiking at camp and the trail run last week was really fun and challenging.  Makes me want to continue training during the winter season and sign up for the 1/2 marathon on Catalina Island (called the Buffalo run) which is mainly on trails in February.  Then instead of doing the Long Beach half-marathon next year I’d love to do the Big Bear half marathon (beginning of Sept), I can start getting acclimated to the altitude during camp and then stay with friends in Lake Arrowhead and do more training before the race.  The thing I like about half marathons is you get a medal for just finishing, even if you come in last (which I would not like to do, but I try to console myself that even if I were to finish last I am still leaps and bounds above those who never even have thought of entering).  I did a 5K soon after I started training and it was the innagural run of that race so I am looking forward to that becoming my annual spring race (I should do a lot better this year than I did last).  It would be fun to place in my age category and get a ribbon for that race.  I didn’t do too bad though, I was 6th in my age group, and did it in under 40 minutes (my goal was to do it in under 45 minutes).  I’d probably do more of the 5K’s but most races are done on Sunday’s and since I teach Sunday School at our church it is kind of hard to schedule those races in.  I think besides the training workbook and advice they give I really enjoy the yoga sessions after the Saturday runs, they really help work those muscles and make the run worth all the pain (in the yoga, the pain hurts so good).  I just found out that a friend I know runs too.  But she says she only runs about 3 miles and then her knees hurt so I think I will let her borrow my Chirunning book and maybe get her involved in the winter training and doing trail runs with me.  I think it has really helped me, I started out without the book and training and was having some knee pain.  I do have some hip flexor pain but I think that would be resolved if I would remember to stretch those muscles a couple of times each day instead of just on run days (that is when I remember to stretch).  Those muscles are shortened by all the sitting I do (like right now as I totally update my blog).  And plus I think I am using them more in my running like I am supposed to be doing.  My ankles are sore because I probably wasn’t quite so focused on Saturday at keeping my ankles loose.  I was trying to focus on my shoulders and arm swing (things the mentor told me to work on during the trail run).  I did get some body glide for my thighs as on the last long run I did at the end of July i chafed my thighs (unfortunately they still rub together-I was hoping by now they would not, but do to all the running-and therefore eating- I really haven’t been able to lose the weight I wanted to.) Oh well, I did get a good compliment the other day.  I went to give blood and my blood pressure was 104/68 which she asked if I normally run low.  I said I was training for a half marathon and she said that is why it is low and that is good because it shows I’m in good shape.  Anyway, hopefully I will blog  a few more times before I actually do my run and then also remember to do a blog after my run.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008

Daughter #1 engaged and married

Even though this started in July I thought I’d just write one blog as it all happened so suddenly.  OK.  Alyssa’s boyfriend joined the Navy in May and graduated from basic training July 11th.  Alyssa flew out to Chicago (her first flight alone, or at least without parents) with Chris’ brother for the graduation and Chris proposed to her during the weekend.

He then went to South Carolina for his training and while we knew they wanted her to come out there at some point during his training we were hoping to talk her into waiting for a while.  But they are young and in love and can’t stand to be apart so they had planned for her to go out there as soon as Chris was able to have weekends off base.  But soon after he got to South Carolina they decided they would get married out there instead of waiting till December and getting married so that they could get base housing and she would have medical coverage.  We still wanted them to wait (it was all happening so fast), while we did approve so that she would be taken care of we also wanted them to make sure this is what they wanted and not just the loneliness he was having talking.  Well, when we were on the camping trip she make her flight plans for the 16th.  Not a wise plan, especially since her sister was having surgery on the the 15th.  I guess she didn’t realize how much help her sister would need and that we wouldn’t be able to take her to the airport.  I didn’t want to make her feel bad, but it make me upset at how she didn’t take into concern what was happening to the family at that time.  We had planned a bridal shower for her on the 12th, but unfortunately her sister had to work that night and couldn’t be there.  All this is coming at a time when the girls were finally started to have a good relationship with each other.  So I would have liked for Alyssa to spend some time with her sister before running off and getting married.  So anyhow here are some pictures from the bridal shower.

The lovely Bride-to-be in her veil.

Here they are drawing pictures of her wedding dress on their heads.  Really cute game.

And here at the start of the pass-the-bouquet game (kind of like hot potato).

She only had a couple fo gifts to open as we had asked for cash or gift cards because of her not being able to ship stuff out there.  Her sister (who will be her bridesmaid in December) got her a cute nighty and I got her some books on Navy life (she’ll definitely need them).

Here is a picture of Alyssa and Chris before he left for boot camp.

And here is a picture of them when they got married at the chapel out there on August 22nd.

While we were not able to be there because of finances and Tahnee’s surgery, they will be coming out here at the end of December to have a ceremony and reception with family and friends.  While not the way we would have liked it to happen we are happy for them and wish them all the love and happiness in the world and will support them in any way we can.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008

Forest Home Vacation

We had a great time at Forest Home (a Christian camp in the San Bernardino mountains). Our kids had been a couple of times with friends, so even though it was a bit pricey we went. We actually had the choice to either do this or go to Yosemite for a week. OK so at Yosemite we would have to choose where to stay, where to eat, and what to do, and we basically would have to do these things together (not that I mind spending time with the kids, but I also get tired of spending all my time with them since I do homeschool). At Forest Home they chose where we stay (although we do get a choice and have great insight from friends on where to request our cabin), they have a chef from a 4 star restaurant who prepares all healthy meals (even two dinners that are adults only-kind of date nights for the parents), and they have all sorts of activities (which you could chose not to do if you wished) for both the adults and the kids and free time also. So this year we chose Forest Home. It was awesome to say the least (I wish we could go back now, although we did book out trip for next year already). To sum it up, it was like a cruise in the woods. Since I got to celebrate my birthday there we chose to do the zip-line (flying 300 feet a couple of stories in the air hanging by a harness on the little wire). It was great, I had so much fun and a great way to celebrate. Next year we will be there on my birthday again and if they don’t add any other fun activities we will Polar Bear to celebrate. Polar bearing is when you get totally submerged in the creek (from head to toe) for 5 seconds. Doesn’t sound too hard, until you step into the creek and realize it is ice cold and makes your feet tingle (in a not so good way). They had awesome speakers who really touched me and confirmed what God has been speaking to me about. Oh see, there goes one of those brain farts (I forgot to write about VBS and the homeless man which happened in July.) Ok, got that done now I can continue. It was just beautiful up there. I had a great time getting up early and walking some of the trails, although I did end up with shin splints. They do an awesome program there. You have breakfast and then the kids go to their age groups and do activites and the parents have a program and studies to do as well, then you have lunch together and free time. Dinner is together, except for two nights and then they have en evening program for the family and then the kids do more activites while the adults have another program to go to. Most days are like that. One day they have a BBQ with family challenge games at the lake. They have horseback riding you can sign up for, or a cooking class (I did this and made a great raspberry and cracked pepper salad dressing), massages and pedicures for the ladies, photos with a photographer, a pool, miniature golf, a craft room, a carousal and playground , a challenge course, archery, zip line, and if you have a die-hard golfer they can go down the mountain and do 18 holes at the local golf course. The girls 13-18 can sign up to be CCA’s (child care assistants) who have their own programs but help in teaching the kids during the morning and babysit for the parents after the evening program. They also have a nursery for the little ones so parents can have some free time. All in all it is a fantastic program that is very well run. I can’t wait to go back next year. My husband even liked it and he is a total couch potato. There is no TV, no radio, no computer, it was great. I did come home and have to go through 289 emails and we still watch a lot of TV, but I am hoping to get that cut back now that school is back in session and we have a lot to do.  Another thing that totally blew my mind was the amount of people who come from all over.  There was a mother and her daughters that come there every year from Maine.  While they do have family out here to visit, it just amazed me that they would come all the way out here for camp.  There were also families who have many generations together there.  Some of the workers do a melodrama skit each night and my friend (who has gone for the last 8 years) said something about wondering who thought of the skits each year.  Well that night at the adult dinner, guess what, the author and director was sitting at the table with us.  It was such a neat time that God answered her little question like that.  The speaker that they had there for the night sessions was really good and he confirmed to me what God had been talking to me about-that it is not about what my purpose is, but what God is doing that he wants me to join him. I think it would be awesome one year to go and spend the summer there helping out.  Who knows????  Oh, I almost forgot to add some pictures.

Crystal clear creek

This was the view on the way up the trail to the mountain view pancake breakfast they had one morning.

Had to throw in a good cloud picture.  I love my digital SLR camera, but it is a bit bulky to take on the trails so only did it one day, but on that day guess what I saw.

Some animal tracks on the trails.

And even though the lake was manmade it was great.  They did have a fishing pond that they keep stocked.

They had fun games for the adults.

The kids showed what they had learned.

You can have anything from rustic and sharing cabins to bed and breakfast type accommodations.

If you want more information just google Forest Home Ministries.  I’m sure there are other camps out there just as good, but this one is close to us and now I have first-hand knowledge of how great the camp is.  They even have programs for jyst the kids, but for us the family camp was great fun.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008

The homeless man and what God showed me

This is an incident that happened on the last day of VBS this year.  I was at the church early (by myself) to get set up for the big last night of VBS.  I had some things to get so I was unloading them into the kitchen when a homeless guy came around.  He asked to talk to a pastor, so since I was alone, I went inside locked the door and called both pastors.  Well neither of them were able to answer their phones, so I went to tell the man this and see if there was something I could do for him.  Mind you evangelism is not one of my gifts.  He seemed a bit distraught and said a couple of times that he was afraid.  I didn’t know if someone was after him or what.  But I had thought that he had been by before and he said that he had been here about 1 1/2 years ago and one of the pastors was really nice and had taken him to Starbucks and told him of a couple of recovery programs (one of the being the inhouse program of Dream House in downtown LA).  He also said something about being ready to go.  I remembered that one of the pastors was doing a Bible study at a local Starbucks that night.  So I gave the guy $10 and directions to the Starbucks even though the pastor would not be there for a couple of hours.  Well that brought the guy to tears and then he turned over the hat he had in his hand and gave me a pair of scissors saying he wouldn’t be needing those.  Well that kind of scared me and when he left I made sure all the doors were locked and prayed for someone to come by.  A little after that I went upstairs to look and make sure that the guy had left.  At that time I saw a big knife (about 9 inches) in the street.  I waited about 15 minutes and checked again, but this time the knife was gone, which scared me a little more although I did feel feel secure and safe locked in the church.  With all the chaos of VBS and the relief of it being over I didn’t have a chance to ask the pastor about the meeting until Sunday.  The guy did make it to the Bible study and the pstor stayed with him for a couple of hours after.  Turns out the guy was ready to commit suicide if he didn’t talk to a pastor that night.  He had tried to get ahold of his drug dealers earlier that day, but he couldn’t find them.  So the pastor had him call during the week if he was ready to go to the Dream Center.  When I came to church on Wednesday the pastor asked me what my schedule was like for the following day.  I had been ready to tell him I wasn’t planning on coming in since the other pastor was not going to be there and therefore I’d have no work to do, but something prompted me to just say “what do you want my schedule to be?”.  Turns out the guy had called and we would be taking him to the Dream Center the next day and the pastor asked me if I wanted to go along.  Well since I had been involved with his man’s journey I definitely wanted to be another part of it.  Unfortunately they did not have room, but put him on a waiting list.  We did find a bed for him at the Union Rescue Mission.  And we have not heard from him or from the Dream Center that I know of.  So we have lost track of him and I haven’t remembered to talk with the pastor and see if he actually made it into the program.  We had another homeless man that we took and he has been there for 4 years now and is doing great.  I’ll keep praying for him though.  But what God has taught me through this is that he wants me to be a part of what He is doing and not just doing stuff for him.  So now I am excited to be part of what God is doing there, even if I don’t know how it will turn out.  I know we touched that guys life and it was great to be a part of it, I just wish we could have done more.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008


VBS (vacation Bible school) is done for the year.  SInce our children’s director needed help in administration of VBS, I stepped in to help this year.  We started in January (or February, I’m not sure which) in having an introductory meeting to choose our theme.  We had 3 to choose from and the funny thing is the one that they voted on was neither of our favorites (we each had a different one that we liked), but in the end of course it turned out to be the perfect one for us.  They chose God’s Big Backyard, which was teaching the kids about serving; serving their family, friends, neighbors, community and Jesus.  We all learned a lot and next years should go much smoother.  Of course we had hoped that more of the volunteers would really get excited and help with some of the prep and behind the scenes sort of stuff.  But at least they were all there during the week and really did their part well.  I think the kids really liked doing the crafts which were kind of like service projects.  Monday they decorated plastic bags and mixed up some cereal in them to serve their families breakfast the next morning.  Tuesday they made prayer chains to take home to remind them to serve their friends by praying for them.  Wednesday they made goody bags with crayons, a coloring book and snacks to give to the kids who come to our Laundry Love nights (we go to a local laundry mat twice a month and put quarters in the machines to help the families do laundry).  On Thursday night they made hleping hand grocery bags to take home and fill with non-perishable foods to be given to another church who has food give-aways every other week.  I was so amazed at the response to that one, we got so many bags back and they were absolutely brimming with food.  It was also really fun this year as we got the full sized dog costume and had someone dress up and do the songs with the kids.  We also had teens who did the puppets so we had skits for them each night (that was really difficult getting everybody there for rehearsals.)  All in all it was a wonderful week.  I even found out a few things myself.  I know I am a planner and like to figure out the problems that might happen and then try to solve them before they happen.  I am not very good at handling problems when they occur and I haven’t forseen them.  For example, Tuesday my husband comes and tells me that the trash wasn’t taken out Monday night (my husband was doing sound and light for VBS).  I hadn’t thought to tell the custodian that we would need it to be taken out each night.  So I hollered out to him when I saw him taking out the trash to let him know we needed his services each night that week to help us out.  We also had a few glitches with the snacks and allergies-not on my part I made sure the ones who were in charge of those with allergies knew what those allergies were, but by Thursday when our snack prep person had to call in sick and I did the snack prep I forgot to make a special snack for the little girl allergic to milk (we had cheese in the snack).  But the person in charge of her should have realized that and could have taken the cheese out or given her something different.  Luckily she lived next door and only had hives.  Poor girl was also the one that ate a bite of cheese pizza at the party on Sunday (OK, mind you it was a bit chaotic with all the kids in one room at the same time all wanting pizza and she is only 3.)   I don’t know if we should include preschool next year.  This year was better than last year in regards to the preschoolers because this year we had them separated into their own part of the church instead of mixed in with the older kids.  And with so many families having both older kids and preschoolers, it just goes hand in hand that the preschoolers would come so the parents could have that break.  Anyway we will definitely have more helpers in the preschool next year.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008

Daughter #2’s stomach problems

OK, so last year around the end of June we ended up in the ER with severe stomach pains. Given the diagnosis of gastritis and things seemed to be OK. Fast forward to spring of this year and Tahnee has stomach pains off and on, nothing to land her in the ER until the end of June again. Well by this time I already had a Dr. appointment with a gastroentologist in July since I suspected it may be gallbladder related. So saw the specialist and he has us schedule an ultrasound to rule out gallstones (he doesn’t think this is the problem although it does run on my side of the family, my mom had hers out 3 yrs ago and my sister has had episodes). So we do the ultrasound and then even though the technician knows what it is we have to wait until we hear from her doctor what the diagnosis is. Well, turns out she has gallstones, at age 18, and definately not overweight. So we schedule an appointment with the surgeon and set the date for the surgery for August 15th. Thought this would be OK, since we had a camping trip scheduled for August 4-10. Well she has two more episodes before we leave, thought we may have to have it, but the surgeon wasn’t doing surgery that day due to covering for two other doctors. OK, we go to camp with a very restricted diet. We survive the week with only 1 episode thankfully. Come back and the Tuesday before surgery she has a really bad episode which seems to go on and on (they usually subside after about 30 minutes, but this time the pains kept coming back). So we go to the ER. I guess they didn’t think it was too serious because we knew what the problem was, but it was so hard to see her in such pain and they couldn’t give her anything until she had been seen by the doctor (about 3AM). Had another ultrasound at the ER and at least she did not have any stones blocking the ducts so we were sent home. The rest of the week was OK, as she really did not eat much in fear of having another attack. Friday couldn’t have come soon enough that week. Surgery went well and the doctor said she had small stone, so I am guessing that she actually passed a stone on Tuesday. Recovery was a little tough as the pain meds made her feel really weird, then she slept most of Sunday so Monday she was a bit dehydrated and therefore nauseous and so she was afraid to drink anything because she felt it would make her throw-up which she knew would really hurt. So after calling the doctor and rounding up the suppositories to ease the nausea (had to go to 3 pharmacies), I got her to drink some water a little at a time and she started to feel better. Boy is it hard to get anything done when you have to be there to make sure someone has a few sips every 10 minutes. Getting up was also a challenge and probably another reason she didn’t want to drink because she knew she would have to get up and go to the bathroom. By Tuesday night though she was doing a lot better and actually getting up and back to the couch by herself. By Friday she was OK to go to work (couldn’t ask for more time off). Had her post-op the following week and everything looks good. She is so happy to be able to eat her favorite foods again, pizza, peanut butter, ice cream. I am so glad she does not have anymore pain, although it did hurt to laugh for a few more weeks. I hope I don’t have any attacks, but I know if I do I’ll get an ultrasound immediately and get the surgery scheduled as soon as I can. At least I know someone who will be by my side and help me during my recovery. She has a little bit of twinges at the surgery sites (she had laproscopic so she just has 5 little scars), so I got her some Mederma to rub on and moisturize and fade the scars. The other good news for her is it seems like her hormones are settling down and her acne is getting better. It is a good thing that she decided not to go to school this semester. She is planning to go into the cosmotology program at a local community college for the spring.

Posted by: iluvclouds | September 7, 2008

Daughter #2 Graduates

OK, this happened June 12, 2008. Our second daughter graduated from high school. A few days before her graduation I actually had the epiphany that I was no longer going to be her teacher (I have homeschooled her for the last 8 years), but I can just be her mother now (although I’m sure I’ll still be somewhat of an academic advisor for a while yet). Anyhow this graduation was different than that of our first daughter becasue now we belong to a homeschool group and they do the planning (yay), we did of course get to go up on stage and say a few words, give her the diploma and change her tassle. And try as I might, I couldn’t hold the tears in, which of course made her a cry a bit, but it was all very sweet and touching. So here are some pictures from that great event in our lives.

This is the picture we used for her graduation announcement.

Here she is with her display.

Here is the whole family, didn’t like the way she set us up, but since I didn’t take a look at the photos until later, I couldn’t redo them. Oh, well.

This one is a little better.

The girls had a great time dancing at her party.  Her brother even joined in the line dancing (doing his own funky cute style), found out that he had been bribed to do it for $10-he’ll do just about anything for money.

He did play a couple of songs with his friend and teacher (he is farthest on the left), for free.

A group shot of some good friends who shared the day with us.  I really hate organizing parties, nobody RSVP’s and I didn’t want to sound like I was soliciting for gifts by calling and reminding people of the date, so while I was worried we wouldn’t have enough food, we ended up with too much.  Well, at least I don’t have to do this again for 6 more years.

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