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White Narcissus and Pink Amaryllis

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My second pot of narcissus has been much more successful: the first bloom opened Christmas day, and now I have clusters of them. Love the scent, love the shape, love the whiteness against sparkling white snow outside the kitchen window.

And: my pink amaryllis was also in bloom when I got home from work today. It's got four flowers on the main stem (two open, two to come) and another large bud on a secondary stem about to surge up too. The second amaryllis (an orange one) is just beginning to grow . . .

We are running out of food much more quickly with both children at home. When I went to the grocery store after work yesterday, the boxes containing narcissus bulbs/earth/pot had been just marked down to just $1 a box!

So you can bet I snaffled up two more kits right away!! I'll get them planted up this coming weekend.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRYINGHARD1948 12/29/2011 2:51PM

    Oh Ellen, the scent is amazing. So lovely to remember that in the depth of Winter new life comes springing forth, sweet harbingers of Spring.

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NANCY- 12/29/2011 2:01PM

    Excellent find on the bulbs.

Must be heavenly to have the fresh perfume in the air. Enjoy!

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_LINDA 12/29/2011 12:19AM

    Wow! That would be so awesome to have all those pretty colorful flowers around! Wouldn't it be nice to visit you!
My Mom's Christmas cactuses didn't put out the profuse blooms they usually do this year, but its probably because she moved everything around and they are not in their normal spot. The place they are in now gets very little light.
Enjoy your new flowers and yay with the price score for more!!

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PHEBESS 12/28/2011 9:26PM

    Love the smell of narcissus!!!!! Do you do hyacinths too?

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/28/2011 9:00PM

    That's amazing. I wish I had a place to grow winter plants - that my cats wouldn't eat.

Yay you!!

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TRAVELGRRL 12/28/2011 8:32PM

    I am so delighted in your delight! Blooming plants in winter are such a joy! My husband brought in a tiny rose for me today out of our garden; how it managed to survive the cold weather I don't know. I have a tiny little bud vase that hangs on my refrigerator from a magnet, and that's where the little gem is!


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DDOORN 12/28/2011 7:56PM

    Beautiful flowers...nice score!

What a wonderful talent & interest you have in growing such beauties!


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How Much Too Much?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Don't really know: but yeah, much too much!!

Cinnamon bun and fresh fruit salad for breakfast. Quite a few appetizers. Mostly shrimp, raw veggies with humus/salsa . . . but also a couple of cheesie pastries. And two Virgin Caesars.

And then: a small serving of each of everything I'd put on the table. Turkey, stuffing, smashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, corn, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, a small croissant with butter and . . . I simply clocked in somebody's 2011 Thanksgiving Dinner on the nutrition tracker as a kind of proxy -- such a wild number that it's gotta be more than I actually ate -- - and that person had very kindly included fat and protein and calories and carbs. Thank you!!

It was a great day -- family, friends, music, laughter, some lovely gifts: and too much food. My brother-in-law brought home made-lemon blueberry cheesecake and I even had a sliver of that! -- with a tiny sliver of cherry pie!!.

And now I'm taking all of it to the gym.

I very very rarely eat those kind of foods. Today I'm reminded of why I don't: my digestive system is simply not geared up to accommodate them! Not just the calories, but in particular that amount of fat. And that length of time sitting, although believe me, I also did a lot of zooming around the kitchen wrassling everything onto the table. Even my patented "pre fab" approach (frozen pre-stuffed turkey, canned cranberry sauce with add-ins, canned turkey gravy with thyme and sage etc. etc. ) does not eliminate all of the labour!

Suffice it to say, I had more than an elegant satiety. I know that I'll feel much much better when I've burned a little of it on the elliptical cross trainer. And done a lower body ST workout!

Bring it on!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCY- 12/27/2011 3:22PM

    Those kind of meals help me measure my progress in my quest to be healthier. There are things that can be tweaked. WTG on making things simple and being kind to you.

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_LINDA 12/26/2011 10:58PM

    Good one Donna, all too true! I can't work off my calories yet, got to have patience. Good for you with your discipline Ellen! Sounds like you didn't do too much damamge!

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DONNACFIT 12/26/2011 5:16PM

    Christmas Cheer ends up on my rear!! Haha..oh I over ate too and now I'm ready to gear up to burn off those extra calories!

Happy Boxing Day..maybe we should do some "kick boxing"

Look out exercise bike!!

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DDOORN 12/26/2011 2:50PM

    Yep, back at it here...have staked out my 4.5 mile loop for Nordic Walking and jogging @ DS & D-i-L's.


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TRYINGHARD1948 12/26/2011 2:07PM

    I think quite a few of us will be feeling the same way today Ellen. So lovely to enjoy a few days without guilt and then get right back to normal. We can do it.

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PHEBESS 12/26/2011 1:05PM

    Sounds like a wonderful Christmas - and Boxing Day is here to burn off those Christmas calories!

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TRAVELGRRL 12/26/2011 10:55AM

    Well, thank goodness Christmas only comes once a year!!!

We went out to eat, which means no leftovers in my house! Yay.
I don't eat like that very often either, and I ended up going to bed early -- it must have been the overload of all the bad stuff that made me feel so sluggish.

I'm with you -- already have my 4 mile walk in today and ready to get back to some healthy eating!

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NEWKAREN43 12/26/2011 10:52AM

    Track it all and take it to the gym...that's the recipe for success even when we overindulge a bit! Good for you!!!

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Mary made Christmas happen the first time . . . .

Friday, December 23, 2011

. . . . . and it must have been difficult. Worrying.

Money worries? Certainly: the taxes were due, after all. Not easy.

Riding a donkey to Bethlehem at 8.9 months pregnant? Not easy.

No room in the inn, having to labour and deliver in a stable? Not easy.

And then accepting that she was the mother of the Messiah? Couldn't have been easy at all.

But: (and meaning no disrespect, absolutely none) Mary only had to do it once. Once only.

Moreover, she had lots of help.

The greetings department was expertly managed by a heavenly host of angels. Better than Christmas cards or emails: no trips to the post office, no stamps, no inbox overloads from photo blogs.

The shepherds visiting handled all the travel arrangements themselves. No pickups at the airport or the bus station.

Gift shopping? Thank to the magi, all wrapped up and delivered. No Visa bills after the event.

House cleaning? Not a big concern, under the circumstances. Maybe a little extra hay spread around.

Baking? The baby Jesus wasn't yet interested in gingerbread houses. No shortbread required for refreshments after the church pageant.

Decorating? One big star seems to have done the trick.

Music? A little lowing from the cattle . . . that apparently sufficed.

But since that first Christmas, all over the world women make Christmas happen over and over again, year after year, for their families. Maybe you're helping your mother and your sisters. Or it's your first time alone, Your fifth. Perhaps you've done it thirty times. Will do it fifty times, or more. In your lifetime. With help from your daughter as you get older.

Because in most families, it still is women who do most of the work. Who make Christmas happen. For everyone. Their own families, their relatives, and anyone who needs a place to go that special day so as not to be alone.

Okay, we're not pregnant every year. But most of us have been pregnant (or with young children) quite a few Christmases And young, middle aged, or getting on in years we still handle the visitors, the cleaning, the gift shopping, the wrapping, the grocery shopping, the baking, the meal planning, the decorations, the entertainment, the . . . yeah. All of that.

And did I mention, we also get ourselves all dooded up a bit too? Hair. Makeup. A pretty seasonal outfit. That's also suitable for leaning into a hot oven and lifting out a fully stuffed turkey??

Mary did it once. Once only, And by all accounts she kept it simple.

As I sit down in my house (decorated) with a fridge full of groceries and a small mound of gifts (wrapped) I think of Mary.

And what she did, once. Simply. Magnificently. Joyously.

What all of us have done over the past month. And what all of us will do, over the next 48 hours.

Mary Christmas? We are!! And Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas!!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYLSLYNN 12/29/2011 2:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon I WANT TO BE MORE LIKE MARK AND KEEP IT SIMPLE. I WANT TO KEEP MY LIFE SIMPLE SERVING GOD.

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MA_DIDDLES 12/26/2011 10:26PM


Comment edited on: 12/26/2011 10:28:59 PM

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GOOSIEMOON 12/24/2011 10:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 12/24/2011 1:49PM

    Having no children and never will, I do appreciate all the work mothers (especially mine) puts into making Christmas special for her children and grandchildren when they gather round. She has been going since five o' clock this morning without any help or respite. My poor step dad is next to useless. He can't cook or clean, but he can do a little wrapping, but the effort Mom puts into getting him to do it sometimes is too much and she gets it done quicker herself. Can't keep him away from his puzzles (he plays solitaire on the computer and sudoku and crosswords most of the day when he is not falling asleep while doing it). So yes, Moms deserve kudos, and as much help as they can get from their fellow women.
But wouldn't it be nice to go back to simpler times.
I hope you vcan enjoy the Christmas you have worked so hard for!!

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PHEBESS 12/24/2011 11:54AM

    Sending you Happy Merry Christmas wishes, and may you have much love and laughter in the coming year!

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EBPOOKIE 12/24/2011 1:49AM

    Most wonderful and thank you and you have yourself a Merry Merry Christmas!! and a great 2012!

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ANYVAR54 12/24/2011 12:11AM

    Thank you, our mutual friend SHERRIE_BERRY shared this with me. I am glad she did. Thank you. Good blog. good thoughts.
My daughter is helping me with Christmas this year, we are having it at her house.
And we do have a little one, her brothers son is 22 mths old.
And my daughter has one on the way. Due in July.
What a blessing this Christmas is, and will be.

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DDOORN 12/23/2011 11:38PM

    Oh hey, Christmas would pale if it wasn't for the efforts of all you lovely women out there...absolutely no DOUBT about that!

Lovely thoughts...thx for sharing!


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SHERRIE_BERRY 12/23/2011 10:45PM

    Wow!!! This is the most inspirational, beautiful blog I have ever read!

Merry Christmas to you!

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The darkest evening of the year

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter solstice is, of course, the darkest evening of the year: and it's no coincidence that so many religions have a celebration of light, the gradually lengthening days to come.

Many of us will remember school days studying or even memorizing Robert Frost's deceptively simple poem on the topic:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

We stop and ponder the dark moments. Contemplate surrender to darkness. And then move on. To keep our commitments. Because there are more tasks to be completed.

And always the potential to be relieved by light, surprised by joy.

My first pot of narcissus was somewhat disappointing. The bulbs produced vigorous green leaves but only one blossom. I've got another pot which looks more promising. And my pink amaryllis is budding.

DS and DD, both home for the holidays, have been busily decorating the house while DH and I are at work. It was lovely to come home last night to see the Christmas tree, lit up, in the dining room bay window. And the Christmas village alight on the mantle.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/24/2011 1:54PM

    Lovely poem and thoughts! So glad your children are home and helping out!! Sorry about the lack of blooms :( Hope your other one does better!
I feel real guilty I am not home with Mom helping her out. She has been running herself to exhaustion looking after me and now all the extra prep, cooking and cleaning getting ready for her other daughter and son and children to descend on her little bungelow. The kids are all grown except my sister's youngest Maddy, at 15, so big appetites coming. Mom started out making latkes!
Hope you have a wonderful time with your family!

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SLENDERELLA61 12/23/2011 3:13PM

    Love the celebration of light! That your kids decorated the tree and mantle for your return -- well, that is just cool!! Wishing you much light and joy this season and throughout the year. -Marsha

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NANCY- 12/23/2011 10:05AM

    Sorry about the disappointing narcissus, I was looking forward to your description of them to bring a bit of light into winter.
Even at the darkest time there are ways to bring light into our lives. Celebrate the darkness with dance.
Thanks for reminding us not to surrender.

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CARRAND 12/22/2011 7:11PM

    I love that Robert Frost poem. Thanks again for sharing.

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SALSIFY 12/22/2011 6:23PM

    I've already been celebrating that the nights are getting shorter as I thought the winter solstice was yesterday, not today - but I was wrong! I always feel better when I know the nights are getting shorter - I'm so not suited to living in a Northerly latitude.


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TRAVELGRRL 12/22/2011 6:20PM

    I DID have to memorize this poem in eighth grade; it was always one of my favorites!

I'm glad your children are home; how heartwarming to see them participating so fully in family traditions.

When I lived in Michigan (frozen north) I always loved to watch an amaryllis grow and bloom during the dark and coldness of winter...now we can enjoy pansies outside all winter long.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, Watermellen!

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PHEBESS 12/22/2011 10:41AM

    And how did I know that would be your poem?

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!!!! Wishing you much joy and laughter in the coming year, dear friend!

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DONNACFIT 12/22/2011 9:53AM

    Thanks for sharing!! Enjoy your family and Merry Christmas!!

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LINDAJ0621 12/22/2011 8:14AM

    Beautiful blog! Enjoy this magical time of the year with your family and loved ones!
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EMGERBER 12/22/2011 7:50AM

    Thanks I had totally forgotten about winter solstice.

Christmas is fast approaching and it is so nice to have family members home who have been away.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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What did you buy yourself for Christmas??

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last Monday was my annual Christmas shopping day . . . and I got most of it done.

But: today I was out looking for the "stocking stuff". Silly little items, mostly . . . A tiny toy airplane for my son, who's training to be a pilot. A princess tiara with glittery purple rhinestones and marabou for my darling daughter! Some dark chocolate . . . .

And I spotted some 100% cotton flannel ladies shirts. A red/black/white check. A grey/black/white check.

I've been wanting a couple cozy flannel shirts for awhile. To wear over a long-sleeved T or under a sweater, with my jeans on the weekends.

The Lands End or Woolrich or Eddie Bauer versions are nice . . . but pricey. Fifty bucks and up . . . plus shipping and customs into Canada.

These were marked down to $15 each. Well made, roll tabs on the sleeves, small breast pockets with the plaid on the diagonal and nicely matched horizontally across the front placket. Soft. Feminine fitted cut.

The check out gal asked me, "Are these for you?"

"Yes," I said. I bit shame faced. Wondering how she knew; maybe something proprietary about my pat as I folded them up. "Guess I shouldn't be shopping for myself/"

( I'm thinking that the red one will be great with my black jeans . . . and I've got a nice black jeans belt, leather, with appliquéd red leather stars. The grey will be great with my grey jeans . . . and yeah, I have the same belt with white stars as well!! Those belts were $2 each . . . love them).

By this point, check out gal has all my purchases parcelled up. And she is grinning at me. "We all do it, " she said. "We all buy something for ourselves while we're out Christmas shopping for gifts for everybody else."

So: what did you buy yourself for Christmas?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 12/21/2011 8:32AM

    I don't go shopping very often; it's not an activity I enjoy. So at Christmas, when I do shop, I have occasionally decided that I like a gift so much that I bought another one for myself.

Enjoy your family this holiday season!

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FROSTIERACES 12/19/2011 1:36PM

    You should always shop for you sweetest Ellen! I sometimes will buy two of something when it's a gift for a friend or family and if I love it too..I buy myself one too. Yet I know that feeling very well.

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KALIGIRL 12/19/2011 11:49AM

    emoticon all Santa's gifts (with DH along of course)!

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_LINDA 12/18/2011 10:45PM

    Good for you! Sounds cozy, I love soft cotton clothing. I guess my new wardrobe is what I have been buying for myself..
Little over the top really. What you bought yourself pales in comparison!

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LISALGB 12/18/2011 9:55PM

    While shopping for my brother, who is impossible to buy for, I bought myself a new purse. I am a sucker for a great purse (as if I don't already have too many.)
Shopping for others is fun, but it is also fun to pick up a little something for ourselves!! emoticon
Your flannel shirts sound wonderful!! I love a great, comfy shirt.
Merry Christmas!! emoticon

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TBANMAN 12/18/2011 11:09AM

    While buying a sweater for a friend, I bought one for me too.


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NANCY- 12/18/2011 8:16AM

    SCORE!!!! Enjoy the flannel! You deserve it.

I usually wait until my birthday to get something. Hair done, pedicure, reflexology, a day of relaxing shopping. I'll pay full price for a gift for others, but the sales close to Christmas are when I will snag a something or two just for me. This year I pretty much already have what I need,
What I love to do on my birthday is to turn some soothing Christmas music and sip a little something while gazing at the lovely Christmas tree. Reflecting and projecting. Ah I cannot wait for tomorrow.

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SLENDERELLA61 12/17/2011 11:38PM

    I think buying something for yourself at Christmas is a good practice. But the only thing I can think of that I bought myself this year is pathetic. I bought a whole bunch of scotch tape. Natalie loves to play with it and I need it to wrap packages. I almost ordered myself 3 bras online, but my computer hung up and I haven't tried it again. If the free shipping is gone, I'll wait for my favorite style to come to my local store. So, I think you have pointed out a weakness in my Christmas shopping. Honestly, I haven't bought much this year for Christmas and haven't gotten me anything of consequence. Maybe I will. This is my first Christmas actually retired and I think I'm still adjusting to new financial situation. I don't feel poor, I just feel uncertain.

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PHEBESS 12/17/2011 11:30PM

    I'm trying to order two Eileen Fisher scoop neck, long sleeve, cropped viscose tops - like a long sleeve cropped T shirt, in viscose rayon - to wear in the winter over a tank with a skirt, with slacks - even over a simple tank dress. One in black, one in cobalt blue. They'll be perfect for travelling - because they're multipurpose and they don't wrinkle!

They don't have the VI on their "state" menu so I have to call in the order, and keep getting put on hold.

And I love a plaid flannel shirt over a pencil skirt, belted - sporty and warm!!!

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KMICHA 12/17/2011 10:26PM

    I haven't done that . . . yet! There is still a week left! LOL!!!

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SCOOTERGIRLOZ 12/17/2011 9:40PM

    Hi and big thanks for your warm congratulations. Very appreciated.

We splurged on portrait photo sittings as my Xmas gift.

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Hope you have a great holiday time.

Scootergirl in Oz

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MARITIMER3 12/17/2011 9:27PM

    "Sarah's Key", because I'd seen the movie and wanted to read the book.

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BMEIER2543 12/17/2011 9:08PM

    a new watch that caught my eye :)

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DONNACFIT 12/17/2011 8:32PM

    Yeah while shopping in Williston, ND on Thursday I bought a beautiful snow flake necklace, coffee cup polar fleece pjs, a Christmas t-shirt, new makeup etc all for me :) haha

Merry Christmas to me!!

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JERZGURL_NAN 12/17/2011 8:28PM

    Nothing intentional for me - but I did order a gift that I'm going to keep since my granddaughter already has it and it was pretty cool.

However, I came home f rom work the other day and the New Toby Keith CD was playing. DH had purchased it for himself, while the one I bought him is wrapped and under the tree. His loss. lol

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CARRAND 12/17/2011 8:16PM

    I bought myself two sweaters - very soft and pretty - and they were 40% off.

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