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Over Hill Over Dale

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Yes, I hit the dusty trail. I joined a SP challenge for the month of September to walk one mile each day. One mile down, twenty nine to go.

I walked my mile in 27 minutes, which is good, I think. I walked on our road in our neighborhood. There is a pretty steep hill at one end, and I kept swinging my arms and hiking right along the first time. It was more difficult to keep the pace the second time.

I felt really strong in the first lap. Swinging my arms, noticing the weather and the beauty. I kept to the outside of the big cul de sac at the top of the hill so I would get in more distance. It didn't seem like I was exercising.

On the way down the hill, I noticed one of my neighbor's property. I had been past their place a number of times, but never really noticed how well groomed it is. Even her scarecrow in her garden is well groomed!

Then I pass my lavender beds. It really needs attention. I resist the urge to stop and begin weeding, and continue the walk up to the other end of the road.

Winsten is right along with me, having a great time. It is obvious he likes this walking idea, and it is good to have his company. We come back from the mailbox, and he thinks we are going to turn in for home, and he leading the way.

I walk right past the house and continue down the dale toward the steep hill again, and he leaps with joy that we are off again.

By now I am noticing my heart rate is higher, and my breathing is deeper. Oh. Yeah. I forgot the I am supposed to be holding my tummy in. I check my posture, too, and see that I am leaning forward a bit too much.

Corrections made, I begin to climb the hill again. I think my booty got heavier while I was walking, because it is a bit more difficult to drag it up the hill. I can feel the muscles begin to get a bit sore, which is a good thing. That means they are getting a workout.

I have to keep pushing myself a bit to get up the hill, and it takes concentration to keep my pace going, tummy tucked, good posture and deep breathing, all at once.

I check the pedometer, and sure enough, it is moving very close to the one mile mark. HA! I'm actually doing this!!

Just one tiny little thing, though. In keeping track of our fitness, it doesn't have a 27 minute mile. I need to do three more minutes to keep tracking honest.

Get the three minutes in by walking around the lavender beds! I can do that! I have a hill to climb there, too, so up I go.

The lavender is in a mess. It is desperate for harvesting, so I plow my way down the hill, get the shears and a bucket, and back up the hill I charge. Three minutes have past.

I begin pruning the lavender as I think about Diane and Christopher. Christopher is in remission from his cancer now, and he and his mom Diane love lavender. I know some of this lavender I am harvesting will go to them.

I took the photo of the drying lavender to show you just a small portion of how much I have. I didn't prune all of my bushes because the bees are still buzzing around, collecting and transferring pollen.

The lavender will dry on the tarp, then I will beat it to gather up the pods. The pods will then go in jars for cooking and baking, some in soaps and some in sachets. I will put lavender in my closets to keep out any crawly or flying things, lavender in my bathrooms as a deodorant and I will make lavender lemonade. I will make eye masks to soothe tired eyes. They make wonderful Christmas gifts!

I will place a lavender sachet on my shoe rack and in the area where the kitty litter pan is. I will wrap a bit of lavender in cheesecloth and put it in a spray bottle for ironing. I will tuck lavender in between the sheets in the closet. I will add lavender buds to cleansing cream to make a facial scrub.

I don't have a press, so I won't be able to make lavender oil, which is just about one of the best oils one can use.

I will mix lavender in melted bees wax and use it to heal wounds, cuts, scrapes and chapped lips. It also works great as a foot and elbow scrub.

All this and more from one plant that doesn't care if it is neglected or never watered!

Lavender is in abundance where I live. Until I moved here, I had no idea as to all the ways to use this wonderful plant.

I am sure Diane and Christopher will have a good time learning all about lavender in ways they never heard of. I must remember to include some recipes for them! Like the recipe for lavender salmon and lavender chocolate bars.

Now it is time to get showered and on with the rest of my day. My girlfriend is bringing another quilter over to look at my quilts this afternoon. Imagine! Three quilters, all in the same house!

May your day be fresh as a lavender sachet!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOTFATCAT 9/1/2009 6:19PM

    Good job on your first walk. It gets alot easier every day.

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DARCEYOH 9/1/2009 6:06PM

    It's amazing what you can see in your neighborhood on walks, despite being there for years. Great job on day one!

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LOVESCAMPING 9/1/2009 4:27PM

    Good for you on your walk today. I love lavender. It really is very soothing and relaxing.

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The Scale has a Smug Reprieve

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yesterday I told you that if the scale didn't show less tonnage today, out it would go.

After weighing in, I have given the scale a reprieve. I am down nearly 2 pounds, emoticon, and am feeling smug about that.

Why SMUG? That is certainly a question, isn't it. Why not Proud, or Joyful, or Giddy?

Smug is not my favorite emotion. It seems cheap and arrogant, which for me, IS cheap and arrogant. It is also snotty.

To be Smug, one has to feel superior. Am I feeling superior to my SCALE? Taking a few minutes to reflect, I find that, YES, I am being smug to my scale.

So how MATURE do I feel with this revelation? Actually, it is a bit embarrassing.

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, "smug" is defined as being self-satisfied. MY definition is self-satisfied with ego attached. And there-in lies the danger.

I can do wonderous things with my smugness. I can be superior to others (Ms. Smarmy). I can "rightfully" punish people just to prove my superiority, and get the sick satisfaction that they are being punished by me.

Whenever I do this, I always wind up making things much worse. After a while, the smugness and ego begin to take a toll.

I begin to take the scales off my eyes and see the damage I am causing, just to prove a point. I see that I have hurt the other person (right back atcha!), and have hurt myself equally.

I don't think smugness is a two way street. I think it is a dark ally leading to a burning crash into a brick wall.

Upon reflection, I can clearly see where the smugness, many times, has led to unrepairable endings. Endings of relationships, jobs, friends, and lovers. Ending of marriages, ending of peace. Ending of communication due to smug words being said, words that can never be taken back by a simple apology. Smugness leads to ruination of its entire surroundings.

I have, too many times, "stuck to my guns" instead of dropping the ego and need for retribution. Sure, I may have felt retributed for a while, but when sanity returns, my retribution always turned into regret. Regret that most times, cannot be recalled or repaired. The shattered glass lies on the floor, never to be whole again.

I heard a friend say yesterday that "You can't play tennis by yourself". At first I thought that was very clever. Then I started to really concentrate on it. It is a very impactful meaning. Let me explain.

I have been in situations where there has been harsh words said, or some behavior that shouldn't have happened. The "offender" apologized, but I didn't forgive. Oh no. I was too engrossed in continuing the victim role and the need to punish. In other words, too smug. I exercised my snugness and ego, which is always the role of the victim, and punished long after the event or circumstance.

I have proudly held on to grievances, all due to ego, no matter the destruction I was causing.

I totally destroyed the relationship. I was the biggest loser. I was the one left alone, holding only my tattered Victim banner, rather than the hand of a friend or lover. Let me tell you, holding a banner does not even come close to holding the hand of another!

Smugness can bring on a soul-eating loneliness. I know. Been there, done that.

Right now, right here, this very minute, I am changing my emotion FROM smug (self satisfied) TO self appreciated. I will be kinder today than yesterday, I will speak softer today than yesterday, and I will smile more than yesterday.

I will be more gentle, more forgiving, and more supportive. I will be more encouraging, and I will find something to play with.

I will remember those who have given so much to improve my life, and I will be grateful.

I will keep in mind that I am not "ALL THAT".

Today I will keep in mind that I am where I am on this journey because of all the others who have stepped on and off my path, being there at exactly the right time.

I will remember those who have packed my parachute!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALNUT5612 8/30/2009 5:17PM


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BEA-N-ME 8/30/2009 2:08PM

    Wow, thanks. And thanks for being one of the people on my path with an outstretched hand. I do think Ms. Smarmy deserves a little smugness now and a gain, but I guess that just turns us into her. Yeah, better to just let it go,after all taking the "high road" is harder to climb, so it must burn more calories!

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DEBIPOGUE 8/29/2009 8:51PM

    Wow! That was a wonderful blog...Thank you!
I once read...Forgiveness is like sitting a prisoner free, only to realize that you were that prisoner. Again thank you for your honesty and sharing!
Debi emoticon

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MPENNE 8/29/2009 4:20PM

    Oh how right you are. I have held on to that smugness and it is very lonely. I have long since let go of the smugness, but where do I do from here. I wish I could go back and feel things differently. Find that person again and take it all back.

I too have learned to make this day a little better than the day before. Be kinder, speaker softer, smile more often, say hello to people I see and take the time to listen instead of talk.

What a great lesson for all of us.

Thank you
God bless

Mary Lou

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GCHUNG 8/29/2009 2:30PM

    Congratulations on your weight loss. Keep it.

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YAFENELRA 8/29/2009 2:23PM

    A very good lesson for all of us!!

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LOVESCAMPING 8/29/2009 1:20PM

    I really like this blog. I needed to read this. Thank you.

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LINDA0229 8/29/2009 1:13PM

    In the end, it's all about love and forgiveness, isn't it? Thanks sharing and reminding us of the pitfalls of ego.

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There's a Whole Group Doing This in My Room!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ok. I did my challenge of doing three workout videos with Nicole this week.

Today was Video No. 3. the so-called 12 Minute Pilates Abs Workout. I did two reps of this video, and it took me 30 minutes. I printed out the instructions so I wouldn't get lost like I usually do with her videos.

I begin by keeping up with her on the warm up. Then we do "The Hundred" Hold and Pump Arms 100 times. At the first go round, I have a hard time figuring out her directions about breathing and counting. So I stop, read the instructions and begin again.

I forgot to pause the video. Now I am on the floor, doing these 100 arm things, and don't want to break my stride, so the video continues to run. This gets to be a tiny bit confusing. She is talking and I am counting, but I will not give up my count! NO SIR!! Plus, since I have committed myself to doing these exercises twice, I continue on to counting to 200.

By the time I am finished, she is on to to two moves ahead of me. I read my pages, and go to the Single Leg Stretch, all the while she is talking about the Single Straight Leg Stretch. I still don't stop the video, just keep working out.

I am all messed up with my count and how to do this one while she is showing another one. I am already on the floor; getting down here is not as easy as it sounds, and getting up from here is another workout, so I stay where I am. Nicole keeps moving on, speeding past Double Leg Stretch and straight into Criss Cross. I am back on Single Straight Leg Stretch, I think. I don't know what I am doing. But my abs are beginning to hurt, which is always a good sign of them being worked.

Then I look at the screen and see what she is doing. For some reason, the Hip Lifts seem easier than what I am doing, so I abandon my current whatever-it-is-exercise and go on to the Hip Lift. I am on my side, leaning on my left elbow with right hand on hip, legs stacked uup and my body in a straight line. Now I am supposed to lift my hips up to the ceiling while balancing my weight on my elbow and the side of my left foot. Left FOOT??? Ignorant left foot??? I can't even get my left KNEE off the ground.

I lift what I can, then flop back down. Only to hear her say "Inhale to SLOWLY lower back down to complete one rep". Right. I mean Left. Or maybe I mean Right. Who knows at this point?

I try to lift the hip off the ground, not worrying about the ceiling, and it leaves the floor for a nano-second while I die, then back down it goes. No, not Slowly. Rather with a thud. I repeat this three times. Then I just give up and lift what I can, and do it for two full reps.

I glare at the screen where Ms. Torture is now doing Side Plank with Twist. This is an even harder version of Hip Lifts. She does her version; I do mine. Quite different exercises, but I am MOVING, which should count for something. There's supposed to be a way to thread my right hand underneath the left arm. I don't know how to do that.

And now I have to do the other side. There is no improvement, but I go through the motions....uh, my VERSION of the motions........and she is blissfully blathering away about some other move confirmed to cripple me for life.

Ms. Smarmy shows up. "You are not doing these right, you know". SHUT UP YOU STUPID PRIG BEFORE I BANISH YOU FOREVER. She gets the hint and goes across the room to lean on the wall and silently smirk at me.

Huff, puff, lift, strain, groan, count.........is this thing ever going to end? I grab the sheet and see the next one is the Modified Plank. I can do that one. It says to hold it for 10-30 seconds, so I do it twice to 20 seconds. Ms. Smarmy says "You are compromising, and in this case, compromise is not the most ideal thing to do". But so what! At least I am DOING It, for Pete's Sake! Leave me alone!

Enter Little GoodyTwoShoes. "Oh, I can do THOSE easily! Want to see me do them? Shall I teach you how to do them? You aren't doing them correctly." If I weren't on the floor, I would get up and throw her out the room WITH her smirking buddy, lock the door and throw away the key. I settle for giving her a dirty look and strain harder.

Mind you, I am doing all this without music. Another huge mistake. Nothing to distract me while I agonize. I am experiencing these head on. No mercy.

I go through the Plank, which is not the same as when WALKING THE PLANK in one of those pirate movies (those exercises are much easier than this one is), and end up doing my stretches.

Just to make sure I worked my entire body out, I get out the ball, and do the back stretches, ab roll out and then the wall deep knee bends.

That's enough for one day. Heck. Who am I kidding? That's more exercise in one day than I used to do in a year.

My body needs it's shower and lotion rub down. It has earned it. And tomorrow that damned scale better show less tonnage, or it is going!

There now. I feel better.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEA-N-ME 8/30/2009 1:47PM

    You are the BEST! I love it when you share your life with me. Makes my life that much easier to live. Thanks! Luv ya! Lynn

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MPENNE 8/28/2009 4:43PM

    Good for your for making it through. emoticon I always sit on the couch and watch the video several times before I actually start trying to do the videos. Even then however I seem to get behind or turn the wrong way or lose count. Thank you for sharing your great sense of humor. We all need a few laughs to get us through this extremely frustrating journey.

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ZATANNA 8/28/2009 2:26PM

    emoticonI really enjoyed your blog, glad to know I'm not the only one to get frustrated & behind on those videos! emoticon Thanks for a good laugh, I needed it today. emoticon

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Challenges, Nicole, and Volunteering

Sunday, August 23, 2009

You would think I knew better by now to not get in to any of Nicole's tricky videos. Nope.

I was having a great "day off" (which I have dedicated to Sundays) until I got an email challenging me to a new thing. The thing is to accept a new challenge each week and see how I do. So I said ok before reading this week's challenge.

Wouldn't you know it! It is to do three of Coach Nicole's 10 minute workouts this week! THREE videos of her in one week!!!

I need to get the shirt that reads "Help me stop Volunteering!" I jumped right in on this challenge before reading it........my usual amount of information which causes me to volunteer.......only to wish I had my right "volunteer" arm cut off.

Ah, well, being a person of my word, I might as well get it over and done with. Time to find her stupid killer videos. I choose the "10 Minute Crunchless ABs", one which I vaguely remember suffering through before.

I am a stronger, more fit person now than I was then, so shouldn't have nearly the difficulty I had before, right? I get out the mat and I AM READY!!

As usual, she begins benignly then works up to the harder stuff. I amaze myself that I am keeping up with her! We move on to the next one, which is definitely more intense, and again, I keep up with her! Oh, I am the Champion here!!

We move through the workouts, and I am doing very well indeed, and I can really feel the benefits of it all in my abs. I can even do the lean back thing without tipping over! When it comes to the part where I am on my knees, raising out and up right arm and lifting left leg, I stay balanced and steady! HO! This is a NEW THING for me! AND I keep up with her on this one, too!

Down into the stretches we go, and things are fine. I can already feel stronger abs.

Then I click on to get my points for the workout, and there it is. It is showing the SECOND set that I am supposed to do. Drats! I thought I was going to get away comparitively easy today. But no. I must be honest with myself and to my body and to my Spark Friends!

I do the second workout and am amazed that I can actually do it better than the first time! No tipping over, no grinding the teeth, no cussing out Nicole. I actually behave myself, which is not always the case.

I have many changes to report regarding my body getting in to better shape. All those days of sweating .............uh, GLISTENING............are paying off.

I think better, get more done, feel better, have more energy, am stronger and faster. I look better in my clothes. I do not have to buy bigger pants, and I do have to return the ones I bought the other day size Large, because they are too big for me.

Yes, Life is good. But now I need to find the video for not volunteering. Anybody have one I can borrow??

I am going back to my Day Off.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOWHEE 8/23/2009 9:26PM

    Hmmm, sounds like I need to dig out Nicole's Crunchless Abs video. If you can do it, so can I. emoticon

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DARCEYOH 8/23/2009 4:36PM

    I feel I may look at Jillian Michaels the same way you look at Nicole. hehe

It's a great feeling when you realize your endurance and strength has increased. Being able to keep up, or go faster/longer than the video, or feeling it's no longer doing the job it once was... I find it fantastic!

Doing emoticon job!

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BOOPSTER69 8/23/2009 2:36PM

    Are we all just insane - loved this - I hear you - how did I get myself into this and where is the exit door - oh, wait, you mean I am getting more fit and I feel better both physically and mentally - except for that "volunteer" arm - yep! thanks for the laughs. Have a great day. emoticon

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Judgementalism, Sanity and Humanity

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I read a blog by Bizeemomto3, and she talks about realizing she is judgemental. She is NOT!

How do I know this? Because not only is she a Bizeemomto3, but she is also my famous Bossy Daughter.

I have known her all her life, and while she has no problem bossing me around, she is not judgemental. Honestly, she is the kindest, most caring person I have ever known. She has always been that way.

When she was about 5, she got a doll whose hair "grew" from Santa. She really wanted that doll for a long time. Its' name was Beautiful Crissy. Anybody remember them? Well, anyway, Bossy Daughter loved that doll, and even cried when she saw Santa had given one to her.

All Christmas morning, there she was, combing Beautiful Crissy's hair and changing the doll's clothing. Just filled with happiness. It was a real heart warming thing to watch.

Then she went down the street to see what Corinna got from Santa. Corinna loved Beautiful Crissy, too, but Santa didn't leave one for her. She cried and threw a fit until BD gave in and traded her much loved dolly for a yo-yo, just to make Corinna stop crying and stop being mad at her.

Home she came, with a very sad look on her little face, and showed me the yo-yo. It didn't take me long to get on the phone and straighten things up with Corinna's mother, who told me I was being judgemental, and should let the kids decide which toys they wanted.

I didn't take kindly to that response, and let her know where she could put her idea of me being judgemental! We donned our coats and went down and brought Beautiful Crissy home.

Bossy Daughter's biggest problem has always been that she places the comfort, well being, safety and happiness of others ahead of her own. Her heart pours out to mankind. Much more than most people's, and certainly, much more than mine does.

I have had friends who had the nasty habit of telling me what I think and what I feel before asking me. I have been told that they "Just KNEW I wouldn't approve", so they didn't tell me things they were doing with their lives.

Now I readily admit, most of the time when I hear that, the speaker is right. If asked, I probably wouldn't approve of what they were planning on doing, if I thought it was unhealthy or unsafe for them. And I would have told them so, too. I don't like to see my friends or loved ones sabotage themselves.

So, if that is being judgemental, so be it. I don't apologize for that.

I admit to getting annoyed when they tell me what I think and feel, and I feel judged by them when they do so. I feel taken for granted and mistreated. I feel anger.

Yes, yes, I have been judgemental in other areas of my life where I should not have been so. I have had racial prejudices, sexual preference judgementalism, class distinction, education envy, and I have judged prettier girls than me as being "stuck up and conceited" without even knowing them. I have been critical of others lifestyles with no investigation. Yes, I admit to all of those, and do not find myself in a favorable light because of it.

Last night my DH and I watched the movie "Soloist". Or maybe the title was "The Solo". It is a fairly new movie with Jamie Farr playing one of the lead roles as a genius schizophrenic musician, a "street" person who is discovered by a journalist, based on a true story. I highly recommend it to all. While being a very moving story, it is an exercise in unspoken judgementalism.

It is so easy to see the homeless as being lazy, dirty and shiftless. It is more comfortable to avoid eye contact and just hurry on by, than to stop and ask what I can do to help them. How easily it comes to mind, and too often to MOUTH, that "if they would just get a job!!" It is more comfortable to avoid any contact or getting too close because they are not clean, and do not smell good.

During my more "saintly" times, I have bought and handed out certificates for food at McDonald's or the other fast food places. I have even given them paper money, instead of just pushing past and say "I don't have any money" (when I really DO have some; I am just too stingy and self righteous to give them any).

None of these things make me proud. When I dwell on them, I feel small and guilty. I feel shame. I am very uncomfortable in my own skin.

I need to be reminded I am only a human being, and I am only being human.

But what about those times when we do judge that the actions our friends or loved ones are making will most certainly bring them harm or damage or danger? Shall we then become sanctimonious and not say anything for fear of sounding judgemental? Isn't that being parsimonious with our loved ones, depriving them of a different point of view or the knowledge of our caring about them?

Shall we all begin to now hide behind the political correctness of judgementalism? Shall we begin to be silent observers to our fellow man in order to stave off judgement? Shall we become so shallow that we sit idly by while watching a loved one become destroyed in order that we do not get blamed? Shall we become so apathetic that the simple kindness of caring about one another becomes obsolete?

NO, I shout! While I may be wrong with my judgements at times, I will not squander it away so that I will be held blameless.

Judging takes observance, interest and caring. One can choose which way to exercise it, for good, or for evil.

As for those who "know" what I am thinking, I have news for you. You cannot possibly know what is going on in my head unless I tell you.

I have a whole committee in there, and usually about 45 different topics of interest going on all at the same time. Each topic has its own priority, space and voice. It depends on which is the loudest as to which gets my attention at any given moment.

If I told you all that goes on in my head in the space of one minute, you would JUDGE me to be insane. Just as I would with you, if the tables were turned.

So I will continue my journey of life, judging as I go, and hopefully will not cause harm to others.

Judge me as you will, but don't tell me what I am thinking? I just might tell you!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOVESCAMPING 8/23/2009 12:56PM

    Your daughter sounds like a beautiful person. I'm sure she gets a lot of that from her mom, too.

I think being judgmental is something that most of us deal with at times -- let me rephrase that. I think being judgmental is something that most of us DO. Many people may never do any soul searching or looking at oneself in the mirror as you have. I commend you for that and for your honesty.

When it comes to negatively judging, I sometimes think that people do so to not have to look at themselves in the mirror. When we're judging others, it keeps us too busy to look at ourselves in the mirror and do something about us. And sometimes we're afraid, afraid to identify with others and say, hey, but for the grace of God, there I go.

How scary it would be to be homeless. Yet, one bad car wreck, one very serious illness or trauma could put many people out on the streets. I was speaking to my son yesterday about the very thing, how careful I try to be when I'm driving because the injuries from a bad accident can put a person in the hospital for weeks, even months. Yep, there are things that can turn a person's life upside down.

I think judgment and discernment are similar but different things. And we do have to use discernment in dealing with people. I have compassion for alcoholics and drug addicts, but I know that I can't depend on them or trust them because of the nature of the disease. I don't think that's being judgmental. Just being realistic.

I think this was a great blog, leaving lots to think about.

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