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Plan for the Break

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Once again, we are reaching the end of a round of the BLC and it's time to think about how I'm not going to lose all the ground I've gained during the round, especially since this is a long break (5 weeks) over the Christmas and New Years holidays. We are supposed to be detailed and discuss potential obstacles and how we are going to deal with them.

First, I want to say that it's hard for me to come up with detailed plans because, frankly, the core of my success so far has been an ability to be flexible. I have to be flexible. I have to be flexible and adjust when life gives me a curve ball, I have to be flexible when my body says "NO WAY. You are not going to work out today. You are going to sit on this couch and not move because you are in PAIN and are hurting yourself." The holidays make it more complicated because it means on top of my normal responsibilities, I have 2 office parties (no idea what that's going to be like as it's with my husband's new company), 2 family Christmas parties, 2 SCA gatherings, and 2 parties with friends. Plus all the stuff related to that--buying the gifts, decorating, wrapping, planning, cooking, etc. Oh, and we also have THREE birthdays we're celebrating! And if that isn't enough, we still have to finish moving in (not to mention getting unpacked!) We still have stuff at our local apartment to box up and bring over and then clean the whole apartment, and every room in our house is full of boxes. The only rooms that are remotely functional are the kitchen and office and even there they're only marginally functional. If I try to adhere to a rigid food or exercise regimen, I know myself--it will all fall apart.

So instead... my over all plan is to be as flexible as possible. I will also be continuing to be active on another team challenge, which will hopefully help me keep my healthy lifestyle in focus.

1) I hope to continue my streak of working out in some manner shape or form for at least 20 minutes 5 days a week... but first I need a break. Like a multi-day break. I know it's going to set me back, but I am hoping that a few days will do it (hoping too I can postpone it until next week as we have a walking challenge this week for another team I'm on) but I can read the signs and my body has been pushed really long and hard this summer and fall and it's reaching a quite literal breaking point. And while I want to earn a lot of steps for the challenge, I am not willing to risk messing up my hip and knees so that it takes months to recover, like has happened before. In fact, today was a rest day for that very reason--I walked a TON while I was in D.C. last week for a conference and I needed a day off.

2) Nutrition... I try to make healthy choices when it comes to food, but I don't do well with deprivation schemes (they make me very angry and resentful and even depressed) so instead I aim at moderation. So yes, this means that I will have pie at Christmas. I only get my mom's homemade pie a couple of times a year and I plan to enjoy every bite. The same for my husband's applesauce--it's a treat and one I fully intend to enjoy. But I'm not going to go hog wild, either. I don't usually, to be honest. I like veggies, I like a lot of healthier options, and frankly most of the food, even holiday foods, that my family and in-laws prepare are relatively healthy. The work parties will be harder since I have no idea of what to expect but I'm hoping that balance and moderation will work there, too.

3) I will get my sleep. I need this, especially during a particularly stressful time of the year. If my sleep unravels, everything else falls apart.

4) Related to that, I will continue to carve out me time. This typically means reading time, though it could also be playing video games, crafting, etc. This is necessary for my sanity.

5) I am still working on cutting back on the pop (or at least keeping it cut back!) It has crept back this summer, despite my efforts otherwise.... but I'm not giving up. My tea is more accessible now, and I'm going to drink tea every morning.

So.... obstacles (the real rub)

1) Exercise has 2 major obstacles. One is my cranky, semi-broken body, which means I need to practice thoughtful exercise, if you will--that is, to be AWARE while I am being active how my body feels and rest when necessary. The other is that with the weather turning cold and with my house literally full of boxes--there's no floor space anywhere--finding a space to work out in is a challenge. To add insult to injury, we fence at a local university, which closes for the holidays... so tomorrow is our last local fencing practice until January. However, we had always planned for me to join the local YMCA in December--I can get the admission fee waved and it will give me access to a lot of exercise resources, including a pool. Also, if the weather is nice enough, we live in a great area for walking and I want to explore the neighborhood some.

2) Nutrition has 2 major challenges. The first one is the holiday gatherings (all 8 of them!) the different parties have somewhat different challenges, but I will do my best to moderate my eating, chose mostly healthy foods, and to enjoy myself and my choices. The second one is that our kitchen is barely functional, since we've been painting and working on the basement and the old apartments ever since we moved in. But we will continue to unpack the kitchen and get things put away and, most importantly, cook more foods at home.

3) Sleep has a lot of obstacles this time of year, but stress and my routines being off because of holiday etc. gatherings. However, I don't have to be up at specific time, which helps, and if I stay active and avoid caffeine hopefully the stress won't keep me awake.

4) Me time is precious and I just have to figure out how to carve it out of a busy schedule. I don't really have a recipe for this other than insisting on making it a priority.

5) My biggest obstacle to making tea are related--laziness and difficulty in finding/making the tea. But I have my kettle and tea pot at least set up in the kitchen, even if it's not the way I want it long term, and my tea is finally accessible if not organized (I would love to have it organized but I doubt that will happen before Christmas, with everything else that is going on) so I can quickly find the tea I want.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-COURT- 12/18/2014 12:15AM

    Hi Zanna, I didn't know you were on BLC. I'm thinking of joining. I scanned some threads and saw a post by your DH.

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EILEEN828 12/16/2014 3:57AM

    You're busy as a bee! Don't forget to eat some honey while your setting up your hive! It's good to be the Queen Bee! emoticon

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MLDRLD 12/11/2014 11:24PM

    Wow, Zanna, you have a lot on your plate for the holidays! You have already received some excellent comments so I'm going to tackle the team step challenge issue. As far as the step challenge, please put your priority on you, your health, and what your body is telling you that you need to do. That's MORE important than the challenge. You can be supportive by emoticon cheering the team on being a source of encouragement.


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ROSAMARCELLE 12/10/2014 10:19AM

    It's always hard to make plans when so much changes all the time and with so much going on at this time of the year. Your flexible plan seems great and you know what the obstacles are going to be. emoticon emoticon

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CIPHER1971 12/10/2014 2:31AM

    Absolutely love your plan, I had that gyms close over the hols.

Have a great day

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1MIN17SECB412PM 12/9/2014 11:06PM

    Wowzer, you HAVE got a gr8 'map' of how to tackle everything, right *here* Zanna!! Maybe if you used a calendar to block out the party days, then made a list of what you're going to wear, what you're going to bring, what foods they're going to offer ... then you'd have your private 'menu' of what you want to eat/drink *there*

Sleep is sooo important, so, whenever you sleep, just be sure it's 6-8 hrs every night, or squeeze in a power nap if you can.

You know what they have for the exercising that may just work? Chair exercises. Since your floor area is limited and even your body shows signs of too much, take a look at that when you can. Of course, the pool at the Y is a dream come true.

If you use the 'blocking out' for TIME on a daily chart, you can juggle WHERE you're going to CAPTURE your YOU TIME.

I'm very impressed with how you've laid out your foundations!! Best of Luck!!

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 12/9/2014 10:41PM

    You have a very functional plan for you over this busy time. You are right to listen to your body when it says to rest and also when it says you can push it. Have fun at the Y! Your plan will overcome the obstacles you face.

Have fun!

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Contrary to what it may seem, I am still around... but I have not had a lot of time to be on line (and sometimes did not have an internet connection even if I had the time) so I have not had a chance to respond to all the wonderful comments I got on my earlier posts. I did however read them all--and the comments on my spark page!--and appreciate all the wonderful support.

It's been a crazy month. Those of you who have bought houses probably aren't surprised, but nothing seems to be going smoothly. Oh, nothing major, just little set backs like not being able to get the movers on the day we wanted, problems with getting the basement refinished (the contractor we had hoped to use estimated twice our budget--and our budget was a pretty reasonable/realistic one, grrr), we decided to go ahead and refinish the dining room floor as hard wood to match the other hard wood on the first floor (which will be beautiful but really complicated matters), painting was more complicated than expected, the paint that was left behind for touch ups is either dead or the color we need is missing, etc.

We've also been seriously crazy busy. We packed like fiends, have moved a ton of stuff, and yet still have so much left to move!!! My dad has taken to calling our apartment a tardis or bag of holding, since every time I think I've finished packing or moving all of X we find more of it... We ended up painting all 4 bedrooms instead of the 3 we intended to paint, plus the dining room (the living room will get repainted after we refinish the basement, as most of the furniture that's in there now is moving to the basement and we're getting a new couch and chair for the living room, and I figure we'll pick our paint colors based on what couch etc. we buy. We'll also probably refinish the floor in there with hardwood at the same time, so the whole downstairs will have wood floors Pity we weren't able to do it all at once, but that just wasn't an option). The hot tub is up and running (and awesome to have after a long day spent painting!) This weekend we are moving the bulk of our stuff, and then I'm painting the Ypsi apartment white, cleaning it, and turning in the keys at the end of the month. (We don't have to repaint the Lansing apartment, thankfully, and we have until the beginning of January to get it scrubbed and the keys turned in.)

So anyway, very busy, exciting, but stressful times.

So we have a special challenge on the Hogwarts Team where we pick a mantra that motivates /inspires us and the one I chose is one I borrowed from Kal--Breathe In, Breathe Out, BIBO BIBO. This mantra has been very useful this week as it's a reminder to stop, breathe, and let go of the stress. To let it go rather than ramping it up. To relax. I've needed that a lot, especially the last 3 weeks since we got the keys.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EILEEN828 11/21/2014 3:51AM

    Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will finally get there! When it's all done you'll be so appreciative of all that you have and went through to get it. Your own home is so worth it. Thank God for hot tubs too! emoticon emoticon

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LINTPICKER 11/16/2014 6:17AM

    take a breath and be happy things are coming together!

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MONETRUBY 11/9/2014 7:52PM

    Well, I just left a comment on your page, and I should have read here first. I'm glad to hear that you've now moved, and things are really looking up! You and Kal are right, sometimes all you can do is just keep breathing and moving forward. I am so happy for you and your husband, both of you have worked so hard to get to where you are now. I wish you all the happiness you can handle, and the ability to handle even more!

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 11/6/2014 4:56PM

    You surely do have a lot going on and BIBO! is a great reminder that breathing helps. Hope you get some down time soon. Enjoy your new home!

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1MIN17SECB412PM 11/6/2014 11:02AM

    Ypsi ... interesting how that founding city got it's name. ugh, were you bouncing from state to state or are both places in the same? Regardless, there's no peace when life is sooo scattered!! I have one place + a large storage and after refinishing the 'bonus' room master guest/sitting/en suite above the double garage, then painting the (vaulted ceiling included) living room, tiling the backsplash (chevron pattern inserted within the basic diamond - may have to upload pics) with the completion of the back patio (chess pattern with border for oversized chess pieces) there's still much to 'do' and that includes sifting through all the boxes to de-clutter. What I'm sayin' is . . . I FEEL YOU.
" Oh, hold me close as I
Breathe in, breathe out
Breathe in, breathe out
I'm on the edge
Just take me now
And if you're gonna push me
Then promise you'll break my fall"
It's a love song, but still reminds me, when things in life push us to the brink, there's always promises (gems of relief, i.e. songs, quotes, visuals, friends) to break our fall.

Comment edited on: 11/6/2014 11:53:30 AM

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MJK0430 11/6/2014 7:26AM

    Shoot! I had to BIBO just reading about your move. :) Honestly, you really seem to have it all under control so enjoy that new gorgeous house of yours!

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ZELLAZM 11/6/2014 6:34AM

    Good to see you as you come up for air! Praying for you as the transition moves forward. I think moves are always more expensive than we expect. You'll have a lovely new home to enjoy in a matter of months, though!

(Even without the mantra, I've had to remind myself to breathe a lot lately, too!)

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My expectations for BLC 26

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

To be honest, I'm expecting a kind of crazy, rough round. We just closed on our first house, where hopefully we will live for a very long time, and we will be gaining possession of the house next month. Then we will not only be moving in, but also finishing the basement. So for the next 12 weeks I will be packing (in a different city than the one where I am really living now), moving from 2 apartments into 1 house, painting the house, painting the apartment, cleaning the apartments, contracting someone to finish the basement, buying shelving and other furniture that we need to make the new home work (mostly storage but we are also going to replace the couch and my husband's chair, as the ones we have are dying and have been dying for years), a freezer, etc. We're going to bouncing back and forth between two different cities, moving in multiple shifts, etc. And I also need to start hard core job hunting ASAP (should have really done so already, in fact) as well as writing articles and a book proposal for publication. Even though I currently do not have ready access to a functional office and am typing currently on the dining room table, which isn't good for a lot of different reasons.

My goals I posted earlier, and they seem reasonable--even easy goals--but I'm afraid of being overwhelmed. We have so much on our plate right now, it's going to be hard to keep even simple goals in mind. I've already barely holding onto my fitness streak--which I just started--by the skin of my very sore teeth. I'm on week 4 (I think) of a migraine, which is unusual for me, but the stress of the move plus the dental issues I think is aggravating it.

This is not my first BLC so I know it's a real challenge. But this time I expect, to be honest, that it will be more challenging than many. But I have survived challenging rounds in the past--like the 2 rounds that made up my last year of Grad school. If I can survive that, I can survive this.

I expect that my team--as well as the Hogwarts team, which I just joined, and my other spark friends--are going to be a big help, because I know in the past that they have been. You guys keep me inspired, motivated, and encouraged when I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged. You understand and cheer on my little victories as the victories they are, however small, and sympathize when I am struggling. You guys are awesome.

I expect that my team will keep challenging and pushing me to try new things.

I expect that at the end of this round I will be a little lighter, a little thinner, and hopefully a whole lot fitter.

We're going to rock round 26. They are calling it the marathon round and in some ways, with everything we're juggling, it feels like a marathon. But you know what, all the better to cross that final finish line!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONETRUBY 10/8/2014 10:20PM

    Good luck with everything! You do have a lot on your plate, but there is so much exciting change on the horizon, that it will all be worth it in the end.

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EILEEN828 10/4/2014 3:28PM

    Good luck with your move, sounds very exciting to me, even if it is a lot of work. emoticon

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/23/2014 12:43PM

    You will do fine. Just do what you can each day. It will be enough. You have a little time to get it all going. Try not to stress so much. It takes too large of toll on you. One step at a time and it will be fine. Yeah, corny but true.

Have fun too!

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SAPHRAEL 9/23/2014 7:30AM

    You got this! You'll enjoy Hogwarts. I joined one of their earlier semesters. I liked the a la carte style of picking your classes. For some reason, all the tracking was to much for me back then. But I really liked the Harry Potter theme to it all. Best of luck this round. emoticon

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CIPHER1971 9/23/2014 6:48AM

    As ever you will exceed your own expectations and we will all be here to support you when necessary and cheer you on.

Have a great day

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ZELLAZM 9/23/2014 4:06AM

    Yep, I remember at least one of those grad-school rounds! The move will be tough, but moving always is --- your Spark buddies and teams are here for you! Have a great BLC!
emoticon emoticon

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YMWONG22 9/23/2014 2:57AM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Fitness test result

Monday, September 22, 2014

This weekend, being the first weekend of the new BLC round, we had a fitness test to measure a baseline we are working to improve over the course of the round. I had a rough time with this in part because I had a root canal last Monday that is really bothering me, plus dealing with a migraine on top of it. But I got it done, and if the numbers aren't the best that's okay because the point is to get better from here, right?

Plank (full): 30 seconds
Jumping Jacks: 69
Sit/Rise test: 9
1 mile walk/run: 17 minutes and 22 seconds.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/22/2014 7:17PM

    Great results! Just think last year you wouldn't have been able to do the full plank! Congrats!

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CIPHER1971 9/22/2014 7:00PM

    Great job on the SRT - I only got 8.5, and the jumping jacks are impressive too.

12 weeks will see a fitter us.

Have a great day

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Goals for BLC 26

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I realized that I'm still struggling with a lot of the same things I was dealing with last round as far as goals.... too much stress, too tired, and still figuring out this life after grad school thing since I basically graduated and then moving took over. It's been just one thing after another and being split between two residences while buying a house has us both... of balance. Simple things like keeping healthy food and my normal workout routines are suddenly huge and overwhelming challenges.

So my goals need to be flexible because things are really up in the air right now--the challenges this week may be totally different from next week, which are probably different from the week after that. I may have options available to me in one location that are not available in another. And I'm just... overwhelmed and really, really tired. So my goals are modest and subject to change.

The big picture goals:

1) SLEEP. While not quite so desperately, I still really need sleep and it's something I've been struggling with--especially since the end of July, when we really seriously started house hunting. Part of it was the house, part of it was sleeping on an air mattress really messed with me (we have a real bed in both apartments now), and part of it was sleeping in an unfamiliar place. But I need sleep. I do best right now with a good, solid 9 hours of sleep, but that's hard sometimes to get. But if I don't get enough sleep, I don't handle the rest of the stuff I need to deal with very well.

2) I really need to find a way to get work done again... I mean anthropology. Specifically, this round I need to get out a book proposal, get some articles submitted or publication, and put together a paper presentation for a conference. And right now I don't even have a space to get work done, let alone time. So this needs to be fixed somehow.

3) I need to cut back on the pop (and caffeine) again. I had mostly cut back after I graduated... but the pop crept back in at Pennsic and the caffeine crept back in because I'm chronically so tired. I know part of the reason I'm struggling is because it's not as easy at the moment to make my tea properly (I only have 1 good tea kettle--the kind that heats the water to specific temperatures suited to different kinds of tea, for example) and I don't have the space to make it in. Pop is so much easier... but I need to stop drinking so much of it.

4) I need to figure out a new exercise routine and follow it. I've never been a fan of regimented programs--they don't work for me. But right now I don't have space to workout at home, at all--the one apartment is much too small (and the floor is currently filled with boxes, bags, and a pavilion), the other apartment is full of boxes every where because we never fully unpacked.... it's a nightmare. I don't have regular access to my normal walking routes and to my fitness center... so I need to figure out something. Sadly, I've been trying to come up with a really workable solution for a month now and still am stuck. Once we get the house it will be easier... but we won't be fully moved in until the end of November and I don't want to wait that long.

5) RELAX. I really need to learn how to relax. I need to shed some stress. Right now it means remembering to take some me time, remembering to exercise, and maybe mixing meditation back into the mix. I may try different things. I just know that I really, really need to reduce the stress. It's better than it was before I graduated, but I'm still much too stressed and I've been under stress for so long that 1) I think I've been dealing with adrenaline fatigue for... years really now. Utter adrenaline burnout. 2) I literally don't know how to relax. Even when I'm doing something relaxing--taking a bath, reading a book, hanging with friends, I'm still... tense. Have an underlying stress/worry. I think too much. My muscles are too tense. I need to learn how to relax.

6) I need to eat regularly. This is more important than ever because the disrupted lifestyle has really messed with my meal patterns and it's not good for me... I'm getting more headaches, blood sugar crashes, etc. than I have in years because I'm forgetting to eat on a regular basis. Sometimes I don't eat because I don't have food and no way to get it. This needs to be fixed.

My SMART goals:

1) SLEEP. Get at least 8 hours of sleep (not necessarily how much sleep the fitbit says I got since it reads me as "awake" every time I roll over, but the time from when I go to bed with the intent of sleeping to the time I wake up) 5 days a week.

2) CAFFEINE: Drink tea instead of a soft drink in the morning--and then stick to a non-caffeinated beverage after that for 5 days a week.

3) Work at least 2 days a week on anthropology stuff (more is good, but I know some weeks coming up more won't always be an option).

4) EXERCISE: Get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, plus resume fencing again, hopefully at least once a week though I will have to miss fencing this week (was out of town when practice happened). Figure out some exercise options--plans and back up plans--so that I'm not stuck wanting to workout but no idea of how to make it work.

5) RELAX: Make sure that I get some downtime every day, at least 15 minutes. Reading, journaling, video games, tea with friends, crafting... whatever, just something that helps me decompress physically and mentally. Try meditating again a couple of days a week, either sitting meditations or moving meditations (prefer moving ones).

6) FOOD:

7) WEIGHT LOSS: 1/2 pound a week, so 6 lbs for the challenge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONETRUBY 9/21/2014 10:25PM

    These are great goals. It sounds like things are crazy right now, so you have a good plan in place to help you find a bit of equilibrium amongst the chaos. I have faith that you will do that, and will find the balance you need.


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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/18/2014 5:51PM

    You have great and commendable goals. I am glad that you put sleep as number one. I have noticed that with insufficient sleep I make all kinds of bad choices in my daily life. A good night's sleep is never a waste of time and can set you up for success.

I hope that your new house provides a great, stable, reliable sleeping experience. emoticon emoticon

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GLUCOZA 9/17/2014 9:17PM

    It sounds like you're going through some complicated times right now. You're right to focus on your sleep and stress management. Once your mind is rested and in peace you'll have no problem taking care of your body! emoticon

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/17/2014 7:15PM

    Excellent analysis. Figuring the new plan as life changes is tough. Good luck with finding your new stride. You have a great plan in place that is flexible, yet allows you to acheive your goals. You can and will do this.

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CIPHER1971 9/17/2014 7:13AM

    Great plans, you will overcome your obstacles and get the routine you crave.

Have a great day

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EMSSBEARS 9/17/2014 1:19AM

    Sounds like some great goals for the challenge and a good plan for achieving them so all you have to is execute your plan. I know emoticon just keep your focus on what is important to you and the reasons why you are doing this.


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ZRIE014 9/17/2014 12:53AM

  you know what you want to do. keep at it.

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