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On 5/7/2018 at 6:18 AM, kayc said:

I can't wait until you have time to start painting again, it seems to bring an inner release to you, a beauty of it's own.

Yeah...me too. I had gotten so flattened my synesthesia disappeared - where I sense these three-dimensional line when I listen to or think about music. But just the other day I found my hands dancing around to music, and this morning I had a stray random thought about painting. I was too busy to think about it much, much less do anything about it, but it was nice to get some sense that the artist I am is still there. I am getting a lot of work lined up for next year, though. In fact, I think I have found more than I can realistically do, and I have to figure out what is reasonable so that I don't make myself crazy with too much work and too much stress.

That's great that you are enjoying some beauty with Arlie - he sounds like a splendid dog...

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9 hours ago, Clematis said:

But just the other day I found my hands dancing around to music, and this morning I had a stray random thought about painting.

The important thing is it's coming to you again, and I really think seeing an end in sight to this job has brought that on!  When things slow down this summer you'll be able to put some music and painting into action.

Yes, Arlie is a wonderful wonderful dog, I am so glad I have him in my life!  Normally I'm up at 4 am but I was awake from midnight to 3:30 am last night.  When I woke up it was 6:30 am!  I never sleep that late!  Arlie had undoubtedly been awake for a long time, it was past his breakfast time, but he let me sleep in, waiting for my breathing pattern to change and knew I was awake before he presented himself so I could let him outside to do his business.  He's so thoughtful, he really is!  Is it any wonder I adore this "roommate" of mine?!  :)

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Yeah...the fuzzy roommates are the best! 

Eight more days of work - Mon Tues Thurs Fri for two weeks. Nest week will be jam-packed with meetings and work, and the last week I will be tying up loose ends and packing up loose ends. 

I am trying to figure out what to do about next year. I would really like to do as much as work as I can with the online company and that means being as available as possible. That would mean saying no to MG, my colleague of six years to his offer of two days per week in Winslow. I have one day a week set up in Prescott with a new person, and am very excited about that, because going to Prescott means I can go to Trader Joes and a real art store, as well as grab a fish taco while there. If I had the one day in Prescott and two days in Winslow, both with a long drive, I would be at about full time with those three 12+ hour days. Not much time to develop a caseload with the online company. They say you start with something and then build on. If I don't accept the two days in Winslow, it could be rather sketchy for awhile but I would probably end up with something that worked better for me. Driving to Winslow means about an hour each way of driving on a freeway in heavy traffic with big trucks and I HATE that! Also, if I took the day in Prescott and the two days in Winslow I would be still trying to make a go at working with the online company, and would probably have more work than I could do well at. And I wouldn't have any time to have a life of my own. That doesn't seem good. But if I don't take the two days in Winslow, I could end up a little short on work, but would probably be able to fill it in with bits and pieces of things that are closer to home...

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You have some hard decisions to make but you are weighing the pros and cons and I believe you will arrive at the decision that is best for you.  Sometimes it's hard knowing what to do going in. Eight more days to work, sounds like countdown has begun!

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Follow what gives you Peace.  Building your own clientele usually takes longer than we plan.  You know your finances and also allow for MARGIN in your life.  Busyness and lots of activity does not equal productivity.  You know all of this.  I find that when I focus more on PEACE then I can find the direct path through the work and life challenges.  I definitely relate. I have been operating my own businesses for over twenty-five years and still there are changes that are challenging and can get my eyes off the goal.  I'm going through that now.  So I review my plans, see what has changed in the marketplace and adapt my plans to optimize my business.  If I let my fears overtake me, I will freeze, slow down, or just stop.  It is okay to stop temporarily.  Just don't let that be a permanent condition.

The secret to life when we get knocked down is to get up, dust ourselves off, evaluate what happened, what can we learn from this, and then move forward.  Follow PEACE and you will find your PATH. - Shalom

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On 5/13/2018 at 5:09 PM, iPraiseHim said:

If I let my fears overtake me, I will freeze, slow down, or just stop. 

Yeah, I know what you mean. I am afraid that I may not have enough work if I don't accept the two days a week of work in Winslow. I really really do not want to drive to Winslow; it's about two hours each way that I would not be compensated for, and half of it is on a freeway with big trucks. I hate that kind of driving. In addition to the safety risks, and wear and tear on my old cars, it means time sitting, less time to exercise, and other health risks. I think part of my reluctance to refuse those two days is that it would be working for a guy I worked with before and that really saved me when I thought I was in free fall in between jobs seven years ago. I hate to say no to him.

I am working on getting cross-licensed in Michigan and Georgia as a counselor and in California as a school psychologist, in addition to my licensure in AZ in both of these areas. It seems like it would be better to work hard at that, since it will likely lead to what I really want - securing more work with the online company. I have generally not operated out of fear in my life and it seems rather unlike me to just give up and accept what I know I don't want out of fear. If it really does turn out badly and I don't get enough work, I can always get work at an agency as a psychotherapist. There is an agency in Cottonwood and one in Flagstaff. The latter is a little longer drive, but I know the executive director and every time I see him he asks me if I'll come work for him...

I just watched the movie "The Eagle Huntress" and I felt a lot of grief for the death of my dad, but also a lot of gratitude for what he gave me in the way of mentoring, guidance, support, friendship, and ultimately partnership, as I developed my skills and my career over the years. A decade ago, he watched me go through an ordeal in another school district that was similar to what I have endured this past year. He said that he was lucky and never had to face that kind of arbitrary abuse at work or even the threat of losing his job because of something crazy like a supervisor's insecurity. He was smart, he worked hard, he did a good job in his professional work, and he was rewarded for it by reasonable financial compensation and security in his career. I have been attacked for my strengths, and vilified for having the intelligence and skills that make me excel at my work. It's hard to remember that is not my fault.

I miss my dad...but I hear him talking me through this.

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16 hours ago, Clematis said:

I think part of my reluctance to refuse those two days is that it would be working for a guy I worked with before and that really saved me when I thought I was in free fall in between jobs seven years ago. I hate to say no to him.

Laura, you need to do what is best for YOU.  Don't worry about him, he will find someone to do the job.  You listed several reasons why you don't want to drive so far to this job, all of them valid reasons.  I have a car with 193,000 miles on it and I think I quit commuting just in the nick of time, otherwise I would have been looking at having to buy a new car.  That would have cut way into what I was earning and on top of it I'd have been paying taxes on $ I wouldn't get to keep, but would be expending in order to earn $!  A very real consideration.  Most of the miles on my car were from my commuting to work 110 miles/day.  Your driving four hours a day, two days a week, would pile on the miles.  When you do the math, only you can decide if you and your car can afford this.

Is there another part time job you could do locally, even if something different (music gig?) to bring in the bit extra $ you need to make ends meet?

 

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14 hours ago, kayc said:

Is there another part time job you could do locally, even if something different (music gig?) to bring in the bit extra $ you need to make ends meet?

Yes, I could work as a psychotherapist for the guidance center in Cottonwood or Flagstaff. The executive director of the Flagstaff Guidance Center really wants me to work for him...

And...check this out. I spent a huge chunk of time over the weekend researching all of the states in the country and what one needs to do to be cross-licensed. The online company had sent me several suggestions for states to get cross-licensed in, but they seemed to all have something I don't have and can't really get, like a degree from a school that was NASP-approved while attending (my school got this later). I made up a spreadsheet with information I got from NASP online. I then checked this state by state by looking at each state's website, and sorted it all out into columns. They really appreciated getting all this data and gave me two suggestions from my short list. One of them is Oregon! Oregon is actually one of the easier states to get a reciprocity license, and I jumped right on it, especially since the woman from the company told me that "Oregon is one of our high needs states". So, I'll be a licensed school psychologist in Oregon - what do you think about that? Cool, huh?

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Two days before Thanksgiving I felt strongly compelled to tag along with my friend Gloria, a barber, to visit Hermon, the barber who opened, owned and operated the local barber shop for decades, and also gave Gloria her start as a barber. Hermon's daughter and caretaker had just died and the family was in free fall, since his other children live hours away and Hermon has dementia from Alzheimer's. My sudden appearance mystified his family but delighted Hermon. Since then I have coordinated services for Hermon and been "eyes and ears" for his son in our joint effort to help Hermon to stay in his home as long as possible. I call Hermon at least six times a day, visit him frequently, keep a tight loop of communication between everyone, and take Hermon out in the community, which is the delight of his life. He frequently sees people who knew him for many years, and he is a delight even to people who are new to him. Now strangers, because the man never knew a stranger and people seem to sense that about him.

When I first approached Hermon in his home that day, I asked him how he was doing and he said, "Not so good", and fell into my arms crying. After a minute he pulled back, and as an introduction I showed him a photo of my dad and he hugged me again, crying even harder and telling me that he remembered my dad well and really missed him. In the past few days Hermon has had some remarkably lucid times, and has related some things to me about my father that really put things into perspective. He told me that when I was in his home that first day and he realized that I was the daughter of his beloved former customer Charlie, he was thrilled I was there because he knew how much my dad had treasured me. Last night Hermon was relating to me what he recalled about my dad's talking to him over the years about me. Hermon was telling me not so much any details, but more the gist, the essence, and the long term constancy of what my father had said to him. Hermon concluded this by telling me, "you really were his entire world".

Hermon will be 90 in August, and he barbered until about three years ago, working in his own shop here for the last 35 or so years. When he retired, he was the oldest, longest continually working barber in the state of AZ, having barbered for 67 years. He cut my dad's hair for ten years, and although Hermon always says to me and others that he and my dad were real good friends, I have heard no details anywhere that they ever got together outside of the barber shop. Hermon's son has told me that his dad "was not the type of person" to get together with people anywhere outside of work. I have wondered what this means - how Hermon was so connected to my dad and what that might have meant to my dad. Hermon inadvertently explained this himself, telling me, "barbering is a very personal relationship and a strong bond develops over the years because of the communication that takes place". My dad said very little about Hermon, but the truth is that my father was not a talker and said very little in general at home. I always assumed he didn't talk much to others either, but that may not be true. He has been more communicative with me since his death than he ever was before, and I am getting to know him more and more after his death. How and why that is - well that is a mystery!

Anyway, it seems very clear to me now that my dad sent me over to Hermon's house with Gloria that day, and seemed to believe that once I got there I would see what I needed to do and do it. I have done so in spite of the challenges of many kinds. Caring for Hermon is sometimes it is an honor, sometimes an aggravation, and usually a pleasure, but it has never felt like a choice. He is not my father but he is somehow family - family that my father arranged after his death.

I miss my dad every day and I feel lost here surrounded by his possessions and faced with his physical absence. I struggle every day to find meaning in all of this, mostly how it is that I didn't really understand so much of the essence of him or his history until he was no longer living. I wish he could have explained so many things to me while he was alive, rather than my having to extrapolate if after his death. But like him, I am a relentless seeker of truth and understanding, and he was not much of a talker. I suppose it is what it is...

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Laura,

I relate well what you share. My father is a mystery in many respects.  His personality has changed, softened, and become more revealing after my wife died.  Maybe it is because I have spent more time with him and just learned to accept him as he is.  His health and short term memory is deteriorating. 

The sibling rivalry with my sister is driving a wedge between us.  Like your family story, there is so much family history, passive aggressive actions with my Mom that has had repercussions throughout my family.  Apparently, I have been cut out of the will yet expected to pretend everything is fine and we have one happy loving family.  My sister has the power of attorney and medical power of attorney so I really have no input.  Yet I'm expected to drop business anytime my sister calls to ask for help.  We have had many discussions.  She only sees her point of view.

My sister has called another "FAMILY gathering" (Just her, me, her husband, and DAD for a family picnic).  I really don't want to go but have decided to attend for the sake of my father. His health is declining.  He just came home from a month in the hospital and nursing convalescent care.

Laura, I don't know why life turns out the way it does.  Yet I know there is some meaning and purpose to it all.  I still miss my beloved wife, Rose Anne, everyday.  Continue to listen and search out the TRUTH, and you will find it.  I do know I am supposed to live life to the fullest each day, as best as I can.  Always pursuing the greatest Truth and Love. - Shalom   

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Laura,

It's good to hear from you again.  How fortunate that Hermon has you in his time of need!  One of the biggest problems we face in America is how isolated our elderly people are.  Children are scattered across the country and parents are left alone to deal with things when they no longer can.

Wondering how your job search has been going, what you have decided about this coming school year.  Have you found any time for painting?  How is Lena?

My own Kitty is aging quickly.  She's hard of hearing so I either have to turn on a light when I walk across a room or make more noise than just footsteps so she knows I'm coming and moves out of the way.  She's lost weight and not eating much, and developed a lot of cysts this year.  But that she's in as good health as she is at 23 thoroughly amazes me.  I know she isn't long for this world.  She's always been a rather demanding cranky cat, but lately she's enjoyed laying on the couch with me in the evening while I rub her belly and under her chin, and sometimes she even purrs.  It's making me nervous that soon I will lose her and once again being hurtled into this world of grief.  Ahh the price of loving.

George,

I can relate.  My mom left everything to my brother, nothing to us girls.  It's as if we didn't count, and that hurt.  Not that there was a whole lot left after her care in a dementia care center, but it's the principle.  I don't understand how she could do that.  We were always there for her.  Paying her heat bill (oil...$450/month).  We tried to get her to move into something smaller, she refused.  She never listened to any of us.  We had to get a court order for a medical evaluation, and it took a year to do so.  She was in stage 4 dementia and they ordered her into 24/7 lock down.  They required two people be present to get her into her wheelchair, bed, etc.  even though she was only about 70 lbs by that time.  Some things we'll never understand, and our parent's decisions is one of them.  She made her will years ago so I can't blame dementia.  Her own parents and my dad's left everything evenly split between their children.  It's not even about $ or the stuff, it's the idea behind it that we didn't matter.  That hurt.

I guess all we can do is take our hurt to the Lord.  Life isn't fair, we've already learned that.  We learned that when our spouses died and others lived.  Some things we won't understand until we get to heaven and I guess then it'll all be a moot point.  The past will be past, we'll be relishing in what IS, and not lamenting what happened before.  We'll let go of the wrongs,we'll be caught up in this wonderful place called heaven that I can't even conceive of.  I'm glad I have my faith, I don't know how I'd live without it.

Sometimes I wish you lived away from the drama, further from your sister, but then again, you'd be further from your dad too, and every day with him still in it is a blessing.  I know.  I miss my mom, even as difficult as she was, I still miss her.  When she was further into her dementia, she was actually easier, nicer, sweet.  God's grace for that was how she went out, the way we could remember her, it was a little softer than the rest of her life.  I realize not all dementia patients go that way, we were fortunate.  I miss visiting her, I miss taking her out.

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Time keeps moving along and sometimes it seems like things are ok, but I still keep running up against things that make my breath stop as I collide with the loss again. It is as if my life is a carefully designed path that carries me in between the areas that are too painful to face. This summer I worked on a lot of projects, and I guess I got a lot done, but still everything really feels the same. I moved into the big bedroom with the Terpur-pedic queen bed that was my dad's and the enormous east-facing window I used to love. I had been sleeping in a daybed in the other bedroom, which is always semi-dark but seemed cozy. It was good after the car accident, but I thought I should try to move on. I sleep fine in the big bed in the room I slept in for a decade, but feel a little lost and confused when I wake up. I just get up anyway.

I refinished this bench this summer. The HOA gave me a list of things I had to do and one was the "dilapidated" furniture in my entryway. I moved the shelves to the back and replaced the wood on this bench. It was a challenge, as I am not a woodworker, but I love the way it came out. It has Danish Oil over Red Oak, and I rubbed beeswax into it and ironed it in. It really beads up the water when it rains. I like it.

The HOA also told me I had to get rid of the tree in my back yard/patio, because it is higher than the privacy wall between the back yards, and the idea was that it was a problem because rodents could climb the tree and get into the roof/attic. Problem with that is rodents can just climb the stucco; they don't need a tree. Also, there is a law against removing/killing trees for no good reason. So the tree got to stay. And like the bench, I am more enamored with it now that it was threatened and saved than before. I love my bench. I love my tree. My only tree. And I am not a tree killer. This is good.

I have returned to the synagogue and am learning Hebrew, with the goal of going through a Bat Mitzvah and being able to read from the Torah. I have also just learned how to hula hoop, and this is rather satisfying because I never could do it when I was a kid or younger adult.

This all seems good, but I keep having the same old experiences. My little condo feels full of emotional landmines tied to memories. Or, I go into my Photos on my computer, and as I go back into the ten years that he lived out here in AZ with me, I get that feeling that my chest is so constricted I cannot breathe. Of course I am breathing and going about my life, but I feel like I am paralyzed in my life, even though I know that it isn't really true. Maybe it is the meaninglessness that really is the problem. It's just not the same. It's not like it was before he came to AZ and I was by myself, either. I don't know what it is. I suppose it is my life, but I'm not sure what that is really.

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The bench is beautiful and I'm glad you were able to save the tree!  I hear you about memories...I do okay with them now but I find when I encounter hard places in life (pretty regularly) George's absence hits me, a LOT!  Right now I'm going through it with car problems, this would be an easy solve to him but to me it feels insurmountable.  And I just plain miss his emotional support, I don't get that anywhere.  And I miss my mom, at least she understood.

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3 hours ago, kayc said:

I hear you about memories...I do okay with them now but I find when I encounter hard places in life (pretty regularly) George's absence hits me, a LOT!  Right now I'm going through it with car problems, this would be an easy solve to him but to me it feels insurmountable. 

Thanks, Kay! I am very proud of my bench. I continue to spend time with Hermon, which can be difficult but is really rewarding. I have to really keep an eye on him, and conversations can be stressful. Sometimes he is right there with me and really follows and other times he just can't process a flow of conversation because he can't remember the earlier part. I keep reminding him, and the blessing in it all is that even when he gets really upset he can't remember it shortly afterwards. If I lose my patience for a minute, it all ends up ok. He may hang up the phone because something bothered him, but I can call him back ten minutes later and we just start over. No memory = no grudges. Over time, he remembers the good parts. It has been ten months now since we adopted each other as family, and he views me with unconditional positive regard. He is not my dad, but he has been kind of a placeholder for me. No matter what the other says, we start over with affection and tolerance. For him, it is a part of a kind man having dementia. For me it is a lesson in patience and forgiveness. Meanwhile, it is nice to hang out with someone who remembers and loves my dad and has much in common with him. Many similar memories of music, culture and history...and many of the same quips.

But, like you, I miss him every day. I miss his unwavering support in every direction. He was a font of knowledge of the world and how things worked, and he always had my back, including financially. The absence of financial stress was really a boon for ten years, and not feeling worried about the world collapsing at every turn allowed me to know what it is like to feel some peace and contentment that I didn't have before. This came upon me gradually; when he first moved to AZ and I lost my job within the first years, I wasn't sure I could trust him and thought the rug could be pulled out from under me at any moment. Eventually I came to believe him when he told me that he would not allow that to happen. I still hear him encouraging me to not panic and that I was close enough to retirement and had enough that he had left me that I would be ok if I was careful with my money. I suppose the truth is that I feel more optimistic about the future than I did before the ten years he was here and such a part of my daily life, but having had such a positive force behind me I really miss it. He also was a real partner in everything we did together; we each had our part and things were good.

I remember thinking and commenting on how people seemed to have an idealized view of our relationship, and this seemed somewhat amusing and unrealistic because there were certainly some problems and irritations. But there was a lot of love and mutual dedication. I was totally committed to doing anything he needed, and I eventually learned that was reciprocal. He told me one day when I was in high school, "No one will ever love you as much as your parents do". He was really talking about himself, and I think he was right. No now has or will. That is really hard, now that he is no longer with me. Sometimes I am afraid that I may have a long life, but I am trying to take good care of myself in case I do. I lost 17 pounds this summer, and am almost back to where I was before he died.

I hear you on the car problems...and other mechanical and "shop" problems. So many of these things would be so much easier for my dad to deal with, although at the end he was just throwing money at these problems and not doing it himself. With Parkinson's he couldn't do it anymore, but had the money to throw. I don't really have the money to throw, and these projects - like the bench - are really hard for me. Hermon helped me, but I had to be the planner because his memory is just not there. I kept telling him that it would be more fun if my dad was there helping as well, and he agrees. But the truth is that if my dad was here, Hermon would not. I find myself thinking what I might do differently if I could start those ten years over that we had together, and I really can't think of anything. Maybe I would enjoy it more. Probably not.

Here is another project. I am working two days a week in Winslow and this is going well. The work with the online company has not yet started and this is a little worrisome. I am trying to not panic. Meanwhile I created a little virtual office so that I can work in my bedroom and no one can see in the mirrored closet doors behind me that I am in my bedroom. I put in this screen and refinished that old chair, which had a really tattered seat. It has good light from the big window. 

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What a lovely bench and charming virtual office!  💖

22 minutes ago, Clematis said:

I miss his unwavering support in every direction. He was a font of knowledge of the world and how things worked, and he always had my back, including financially.

Totally get that sentiment.  It's such an unbalanced feeling, after 18 years, to not have that person who has your back at all times.

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25 minutes ago, Kieron said:

What a lovely bench and charming virtual office!  💖

Totally get that sentiment.  It's such an unbalanced feeling, after 18 years, to not have that person who has your back at all times.

Thank you Kieron! It is unbalanced. I hear him talking to me and that has been a blessing but not the same. It's been 2-1/2 years, but I still feel very much like I don't know how to put one foot in front of the other. He was the father of my childhood and youth, the consultant in my middle years in getting my professional life going, and my partner and best friend for the last ten years of his life. There is so much to reflect back on and still learn from and take comfort in, but how is it possible that it is all over?

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I have read through all your posting tonight.   I want to say that you are one of the most intelligent persons that I have ever read. You make everything so plain and easy to understand. I have never had a " career" as you do, I have worked for doctor's offices and also for the state of Ala and Louisanna but the same things you experienced goes on in every kind of job there is. Everywhere I have worked I have always had what I call " a thorn in my side."  I know how it feels to be treated unfairly and be disliked in a job just because you are doing it well. The last sentence in your latest post said exactly what I feel. How is it possible that it is all over? I was married for 57 years the day my husband was put on hospice and he died 15 days later, no food or water for those 15 days. No movement and no words spoken, eyes closed and his mouth wide open. My husband had Parkinson's. He had been diagnosed 4 years before. He was doing okay, he didn't have the shaking , just the weakness and freezing while he was walking. He would see people who weren't real sometimes mostly two little girls. I would hear him talking to them. He was hospitalized several times with extremely high blood pressure and UTI's but always managed to get better and come home. But the last time he got sick very suddenly and left home in an ambulance on Nov 1st, my son's birthday.  He had sepsis and never recovered from it. It was so horrible, the way he died, so slow and silent. He was on morphine and Ativan and never knew what was happening to him. I know your dad had Parkinson's also and I wondered if he may have had sepsis from some kind of bacteria? I think my husband's was from his kidneys. My husband was my support and my world just as your dad was yours. I am so sorry for your grief and pain. I hope that you will find work that you will enjoy and there will be no more thorns, just nice people who will appreciate you and your sweet personality, your honesty and good work.  My comfort is my cat also. She is a flame siamese, I got her from a no kill shelter and I have never had a cat who loved me like she does. I would love to have you for a friend, but Alabama is a long way from Arizona. God bless you.

 

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