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The Days are Getting Longer . . .

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just as I was leaving for work this morning, a very large rabbit ran past my door with ears alert.

. . . . I rarely leave work at 5 p.m., but looking out my office window I can see there is still some daylight at notional "quitting time"!

A few signs that winter . . . and I am loving the winter skiing, truly . . . will not last forever.

Spring will come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEADSBAY 1/29/2012 10:33AM

    Love the added daylight, too.
What a strange winter we are having!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 1/28/2012 6:40PM

    Can't wait to get out "walking on the road" in the early morning hours!

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KALIGIRL 1/28/2012 8:21AM

    The sun is wonderful!

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PENNYAN45 1/27/2012 10:20PM

    I just commented today to my husband that it was 5:30 and only beginning to get dark.
Longer days!! HOORAY!!

emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 1/27/2012 3:47PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Bring on the emoticon emoticon emoticon
I certainly have noticed that too :)) Can you see I am happy about this??
Have a fabulous weekend!!

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DDOORN 1/27/2012 10:20AM

    Can't wait to break out of this outdoor no-man's land between no snow for cross country skiing but too cold and sloppy for cycling! More daylight is always good for the song in one's heart!


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LISALGB 1/27/2012 9:46AM

    Can't wait for spring!!

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NANCY- 1/27/2012 8:03AM

    Ah yes the coming of mud season!!!
I saw a skunk out.. should he/she still be sleeping?
There may be more light but the sun is still so low in the sky casting long shadows.
Indeed, changes are coming.

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SALSIFY 1/27/2012 4:27AM

    It's wonderful that the days are getting longer. I noticed that I didn't come back from walking the dogs in the dark when I took them out the other afternoon. Also the heads of the gulls (or terns?) on the river here are all turning black - which is another sign that spring is nearly here for me!

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/27/2012 3:56AM

    And as your light lengthens, ours begins to shorten. What an amazing system we live in.

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TBANMAN 1/26/2012 11:53PM

    Funny you should blog about this today. As I was leaving for work at 6:30am there was the barest crack of light on the eastern horizon. The days are indeed getting longer.


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HEMIGIRL46 1/26/2012 8:54PM

    Its nice to know that I am not the only person noticing that its getting lighter sooner and darker later! Oh the things we hang on to to get thru winter! LOL

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CARRAND 1/26/2012 8:39PM

    I am not a winter person at all. Give me lots of sunshine!

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In Soup as in Life . . .

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yeah. Putting together the best option (most healthful, most delicious) from what you have on hand. And surprising yourself. No two pots the same!!

I just figured out that this is why my random "soup of the week" has been such an enduring concept for me. Duh.

There's that postmodern concept of "bricolage" -- just meaning the assembly of something new from random stuff. Best if the random stuff was selected with a bit of an eye on nutritional quality in the first place, I suppose . . . But those (somewhat) pretentious postmodern theorists weren't on to anything more clever than soup-making. Really.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRYINGHARD1948 1/25/2012 2:10PM

    Soup ponderings, yes, a bit like life, pop everything in and hope something wonderful is the end product, something to be proud of, tasty and beneficial to the world. Hopefully never bland or boring, a little spice should never be forgotten.

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LISALGB 1/25/2012 9:56AM

    Soup - THE comfort food!!

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FROSTIERACES 1/25/2012 8:45AM

    Isn't that great to make soup and expect it will be the same, but it isn't and sometimes it's even better than last time!! I love that! I love next day soup as well...yum!

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FREELADY 1/24/2012 10:15PM

    I love how you ponder things and then get me thinking too. Great how you bring ideas together ina meaningful (and intriguing) way.

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PENNYAN45 1/24/2012 9:25PM

    When you think of it, your kind of weekly soup making can be a great metaphor for living.

I'm reminded of a quotation from Theodore Roosevelt:
"Do what you can with what you have."

There is also a folk tale called Stone Soup - in which one person begins with only a stone in the pot - but everyone in the village contributes one or two food items to make a delicious soup that feeds everyone.

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FRACTALMYTH 1/24/2012 2:37PM

    :D My breakfasts are like that these days too... saute whatever veggies I can find in the fridge, top with two eggs and stir until done :D YUM! Looking forwatd to making soup tomorrow - I keep forgetting - but thankfully you keep reminding me!

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SALSIFY 1/24/2012 2:24PM

    Does adding quinoa to my soup make me a post-modernist?

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PHEBESS 1/24/2012 11:06AM

    Wisdom from the soup kitchen!!!!!

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NANCY- 1/24/2012 10:13AM

    When you start with quality it is easier to end up with quality.
Here's to WATERMELLEN, a souper person!

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_LINDA 1/24/2012 9:58AM

    No two of my Mom's soups are the same -its what ever she has left over she wants to get rid of, a good way to use your left overs or veggies that are getting 'tired'.
Love hearing about your creations!

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DDOORN 1/24/2012 8:25AM

    Starting in the kitchen is the first step toward healthier foods...a nod from Pollan & me! :-)


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GROEDER 1/24/2012 7:59AM

    You have it figured out!!!!! We all need to keep on "cooking" in the kitchen and in our lives.

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In the soup . . . vegan black bean and quinoa

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Here's what was available.
In the fridge: celery, carrots, two medium sweet potatoes, large green pepper, mini red, yellow and orange peppers, garlic, half a carton of baby spinach.

In the cupboard: a box of quinoa, dried onion, chili flakes, two cartons of vegetable broth, a can of black beans, a can of chick peas, can of diced tomatoes.

I brought the broth and tomatoes to a boil, chopped up the celery (3 stalks), carrots (handful of baby ones) and peeled chopped sweet potatoes and simmered with lots of garlic, dried onions and lots of chili flakes until just about tender. Then added the thoroughly drained and rinsed black beans and chick peas, and stirred in the quinoa: brought it back to the boil and simmered until the quinoa was done (little white rings) about 15 minutes. Then added the chopped green, yellow, red and orange peppers, simmered briefly. Took off the heat and stirred in the coarsely chopped spinach.

This is pretty good . . . vegan but still full of protein . . . and warming after my cross country skiing this weekend!

I'm hoping that the pot lasts all week for after work suppers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 1/25/2012 8:52AM

    Sounds good!! If we weren't juicing right now I'd start making soup this very moment! I have found that even the juicer makes excellent veggie broth! like EXCELLENT! I have a couple new recipes I'm writing a blog about. I love cooking and discovering new creations!

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MEADSBAY 1/24/2012 9:10PM

    I have GOT to make more soups- I love them!

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MSSNOWY 1/23/2012 9:44PM

    Sounds really good. I made a vegetable curry the other night with sweet potatoes, diced tomatoes, onion, chickpeas, and celery. Added a little fresh cilantro and had a dollop of plain yogurt on the side. To die for.

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PENNYAN45 1/23/2012 9:02PM

    That's the best kind of cooking: using what you have in the house.
And of course, this soup sounds delicious - especially on a snowy day.

Cross- country skiing is so much fun! We have tried snow shoeing too.
Great exercise!

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/23/2012 4:36PM

    Isn't soup just the most wonderful invention.

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NANCY- 1/23/2012 7:56AM

    Your soup sounds delightful and comforting.

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SALSIFY 1/23/2012 5:41AM

    Sounds yummy - I haven't put quinoa in a soup before. I'll have to try it!

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FREELADY 1/22/2012 9:24PM

    I like to cook this way. You are very inspiring. You come up with variations I wouldn't think of. But they always turn out to be good.

Thanks for helping me be a more adventurous and mindful cook!

(I always like your wordplay as well!!)

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DDOORN 1/22/2012 9:18PM

    Yum! Sounds great! I made up a big batch of black bean hummus to last me through the week for my fresh veggie lunches. Have a little quinoa sitting on the shelf in a bag...might have to try that combo sometime...nothing like home-made soup and you're right, between the black bean and quinoa you've got some great protein going down there! I've ALWAYS got dried beans around for my home-made hummus, but this is most definitely SOUP season!


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_LINDA 1/22/2012 9:14PM

    Sounds awesome! I have been working on some black bean vegan chili Mom made for me, with extra spice of course :)
The product I use is called Spot Shot and can be found at Wal*Mart or Canadian Tire, it positively amazing. There were some pretty old, gross stains on the club carpet that had been carpet cleaned over and another product used to no avail, but this stuff took it right off! The neat part is it takes very little effort, you just wipe it up, no need for vigorous scrubbing!

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CARRAND 1/22/2012 7:22PM

    It sounds delicious!

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KIM--POSSIBLE 1/22/2012 7:07PM

    That sounds really good! I have most of those things in my fridge/cabinets. May have to try something similar! Thanks for sharing.

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PHEBESS 1/22/2012 5:43PM

    Sounds yummy - and filling!

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Shedding the old "central life metaphors"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Following up from my recent blog about identifying our central life metaphor (the answer to the question, "I'm a ______________"; the prism through which we refract all of our life experiences . . . and whether it's really "central" or shifting/multiple) I've been thinking hard about the issue of choice with respect to metaphors. And in particular, the issue of choice with respect to out-moded metaphors we don't want any more.

While thinking about all of this, I've been struck by DDORN's recent blog ( "Don") in which he writes about swing dancing . . . and his persistent shyness about asking partners to dance. Here's the blog:


And here's my response to his blog:

"Don, you are clearly just a very very nice person (and also handsome I could add) that it's impossible for me to believe people would not welcome your invitation to dance. Really!! "

Don responded

"Thank you for swinging by my blog and getting me to blush...! Thing is while I *know* in my head that I would never be turned down at Swing Dance, *I* hold myself back with all the old, critical baggage of yore which is still alive, kicking and holding me back...if I allow it! "

And: my response to Don:

"I totally get that "old baggage" thing (and did not mean to make you blush, sorry). One of the "central life metaphors" that many of us formerly obese people find most difficult to shed is . . . yeah. The "I'm an overweight unattractive person that repulses everyone". Years later, we're still shocked looking in the mirror. . . and look over our shoulders to see who is attracting the attention . . . and find ourselves still heading to the XXL section of the clothing rack . . . and: like that!! "

It is so difficult to stop seeing ourselves as the "fat person". To stop assuming we'll be patronized and rejected . . . and to deal with the anger we experience because it wasn't "fair" to reject us because we were fat, and it's not "fair" to assume we're totally different people now that we're not. So: very mixed emotions. Sure, it's so nice to be approved of. But equally, it's sure not great to be approved of simply because . . . . we're not fat. Any more. The conditional nature of the approval . . . well, it's enough to drive a person to . . . if not drink . . . potato chips!! Ice cream!!

I'm thinking that the "old central life metaphor" thing is a challenge for maintainers in particular. After all . . . weight creep only corresponds with the image we're still carrying around. It's familiar. It's (at some level) comfortable.

Shedding the pounds, that's one thing. Shedding the other baggage: not so easy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 1/22/2012 9:31AM

    Great topic, gorgeous. I love the exchange between you and Don. I will also add it is simply hard to unlearn the learned social behaviors that it took decades to build, in that, even though you no longer "see" yourself in a certain way one is still left the quandary of learning new skills - which includes everything from social to emotional to spiritual skills - that are more inline with our new life and lifestyle. It's all very interesting. And all very doable but can be daunting at times.

Totally insightful blog. Cheers.

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SLENDERELLA61 1/21/2012 3:23PM

    You nailed this one, Ellen! It truly is difficult to give up that prism of "I am the fat girl" coloring or distorting all my life experiences. But you are one of the positive forces in my life that is helping me create a new metaphor and to search for a glass without distortion through which to view my life! -Marsha

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/19/2012 12:00PM

    It is very difficult to stop that small voice that repeats and repeats in the mind. Firstly we have to recognise it is there and then we have to hear what it is saying. Then, we have to question why it is saying that. Once we discover how negative it is to our well being, we have to change the record to a positive recording.

Unfortunately, beautiful people do have an easier ride through life. Our ideas on beauty change with time and today's version is slim and youth. To be happy with ourselves we just have to keep working on being the healthiest we can be and realising how amazing, we, as humans are,

Thank you Ellen, another thought provoking blog.

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DONNACFIT 1/19/2012 9:31AM

    This makes me think of 2 things..one is from Tut messages from the universe..their motto..thoughts become things.choose good ones.

and 2..I'm doing my friend's Beauty is Soul Deep 2 program and part of this week's assignment is look in the mirror, what do you see?

Powerful stuff emoticon

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PHEBESS 1/19/2012 8:35AM

    Ellen, I just wrote a spin-off blog - first as a response to your blog, but realized it was really more a blog of my own.

Point is, I've never felt the discrimination that some people feel as a large (fat) person. I've disliked my reflection in the mirror, but that's ME - not coming from outside of me.

So while I understand what you're saying, some of it (the dislike from outside) I don't understand. Haven't experienced.

Anyway, yes, we all still see our fattest selves in the mirror. Standing in back of (sometimes in front of) our current selves.

You know what I do? I take my tightest fitting pair of jeans, close the front, put them on the bed. Next to my baggiest, loosest, still fitting pair of pants (or shorts). And I remind myself that that skinny pair of jeans fits. I look at how small that now looks, compared to the baggy pair. Which is still much smaller than the at-my-biggest pair that I wear when tiling the murals at school, which looks like a skirt on me, which could sub for a flag!

And looking at that skinny pair of jeans, I can seriously see how much weight I've lost. How much smaller I am.

And that fat reflection in the mirror subsides for a while.

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KALIGIRL 1/19/2012 8:25AM

    Here's to letting it ALL go...

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DDOORN 1/19/2012 8:17AM

    Oh-so-TRUE! There isn't a SINGLE THING in that dancing environment that I could hang an excuse on for holding myself back. People of all sizes just dancing the night away! *I* am my own worst enemy...and in that environment the ONLY enemy that can hold myself back from fully engaging and joining in with the fun. And that is the greatest challenge to overcome when I head out for weekly Swing Dance: check the old paradigm at the door!

Would that mindsets could be changed as easily as clothes!

Thank you so much for the support and helpful nudges! :-)


Comment edited on: 1/19/2012 8:18:29 AM

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NANCY- 1/19/2012 8:05AM

    Ah the baggage! Our mindset is our responsibility. Fortunately we choose how we think,,, so we CAN change how we think. Transitioning from one mindset to another is challenging, but can be done. You know who you are in your heart.Take a good look at yourself. Is what you think you see the truth? I am working toward being healthy and fit. My actions reflect my belief/goal.
I had to convince myself that I do not smoke. sure it would be easy to slip back, but that is not who I am. Besides I was born a non-smoker so I knew I could be one again. Believe and get comfortable with the you, you really are.

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Out our kitchen window . . .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

. . . . the hemlock tree is laden with snow. The red pines in the woods behind the house are laden with snow. Charlie came back inside laden with snow and sat patiently while I brushed him off, just the tip of his tail wagging.

About seven inches of fresh white sparkly stuff. It's a gorgeous winter morning!

And the narcissus and hyacinth in bloom on the kitchen table fill the air with spring fragrance.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 1/25/2012 8:54AM

    Beautiful! I miss snow!!! ....wait no I don't! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SCOOTERGIRLOZ 1/21/2012 2:54AM

    Sigh, I sure miss snow over the Christmas Holidays.

irl in (hot) Oz

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    Ahh, I feel like I've had a little retreat. Thanks! emoticon

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KLPEFFERS 1/19/2012 3:18PM

    I am so totally jealous of you right now! I love the snow and the winter, we have the cold, but no accumulation.

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TEENY_BIKINI 1/19/2012 3:16PM

    Wow! That sounds amazing.


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TRYINGHARD1948 1/19/2012 12:13PM

    Brrrr.....! Shiver, shiver. Memories of childhood in Scotland come rushing through my mind. Ice on the inside of the bedroom windows, bed piled with blankets and a quick dash to the kitchen where the paraffin stove quietly warmed the room.

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MAMASUDS 1/19/2012 2:58AM

    Beautiful. We haven't seen much snow this year, but since my spring bulbs are already showing their faces, I am not sure I really want to see the white stuff this year. But, the best of both worlds, snow outside and flowers inside sounds like the makings of a lovely day. Enjoy!

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IMAGINE_IT 1/19/2012 1:03AM

    You described it so beautiful..i felt like i was there too!! You already know i miss snow very much..here in Texas ..smack in the middle..we hardly ever see a snowflake..sighs!!
Enjoy those peaceful Winter days emoticon

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LISALGB 1/18/2012 4:13PM

    Sounds lovely!! We usually have snow this time of year, but so far we've had only a few flurries.
I hope you enjoy it!! It is beautiful when everything is covered . . . like a a winter wonderland!!

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TRAVELGRRL 1/18/2012 2:28PM

    YES, there ARE times when I miss all the snow...mostly when you blog about it!!! emoticon

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DONNACFIT 1/18/2012 12:30PM

    Beautiful...we have snow here now too. Enough for me to snowshoe finally! Now it just has to warm up..we're in a cold snap..around -40 with the wind chill whether you do C or F!!

Thanks to you my amaryllis is just about to bloom..two huge red blossoms..just perfect timing..when I'll appreciate a touch of spring :)

Yesterday's blog I included a new poem from YourTrueNature
Advice from a snowflake :) Be cool..and Sparkle emoticon

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_LINDA 1/18/2012 12:03PM

Across the blanket of snow on the grass behind my apartment is the track of an animal I can't identify. Too small for a rabbit, too big for a mouse, Mom thinks it may be a squirrel, there was no 'tail' track. I have never seen one out my back, just the rabbit. We didn't get all that much snow, but it was enough to coat everything in a pretty white layer instead of all the brown! Pine boughs do look lovely with a layer of white on them :)
Charlie is a very good boy -when ever we had to towel off one of our dogs, that was like a call to play time and tug of war :))

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NANCY- 1/18/2012 11:08AM

    For a second I could almost smell the flowers. Thank you for my serenity break for today.

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PHEBESS 1/18/2012 10:20AM

    You do make cold weather sound nice!!!

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DDOORN 1/18/2012 9:05AM

    Now THAT'S how I like my winters: if it's going to be cold, at least let's celebrate with lots of snow! :-) Still nothing happening in my neck of the woods...sigh...climate change sometimes leaves a lot to be desired...


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KALIGIRL 1/18/2012 8:14AM


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SHERRIE_BERRY 1/18/2012 7:54AM

    Lovely!!! Enjoy!

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