Haiku Horizons, Home

Nestled in my lap

sleep, red-furry dog, snore, sigh

Home, together, safe.

 

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Coming home, head down

ashamed, broken, unsure, sick

Family is love.

 

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Homecoming queen sits

silver sparkles, crown, glory

starved, tortured inside.

 

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#Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

Credit: We Heart It

 

Nowhere To Go, In Time Or Place

I felt the tears of uncertainty and dread spring to my eyes. I quickly wiped them away with the back of my hand because if I didn’t they would stick to my face like hot glue. Change hasn’t happened in our lives for years but I know, in my gut, we will be saying good-bye to the world as we knew it, forever.

Saying good-bye to the past, yet clinging, pathetically, to the memories that I hold dear. Old memories that rust in time but bloom in my brain like day lilies.

Another chapter will be beginning but we don’t know when or where.  Getting older is not easy unless you are a sweet, innocent child. Children love to turn another year older, there is no death in their future, just presents, and  cakes with candles, hope, fun and friends.The aged lack hope universally.

For us, their parents or grandparents, it takes on a whole other realm of closing a chapter and warily beginning another, the last third chapter or the beginning of the end. We don’t celebrate parties in the same way anymore; birthdays come around, it feels like, every few months. There is no happiness in aging when you can’t go back in time. Even memories become stale, photographs, blurry.

Our bodies hurt, pain clings to us like Saran wrap on cheese, transparent, almost impossible to remove. It holds us hostage in our weary, broken bodies

I hold on to the wooden stair rail, going downstairs slowly, sticky over time, but now I am fond of the predictable stickiness in certain areas. I have walked up and down these stairs thousands of times, with sick babies, and naughty toddlers, with gleeful children and with young adults I was proud to call my children. I walked with my husband supporting me and me supporting him.

I am not sure of the timeline, of when we will leave. It could be as early as six months but it could be more like a year, maybe two. The jittery nerves inside me says it will sneak up on us like a deer crossing our path in front of our car in the dead of the night.

I have practiced saying good-bye to everyone I love and have to leave behind in my shaken heart. I will be leaving this home, this carrier of memories. I know I am on my way, still clutching to some false sense of security.

Entering into another phase of my life, of our lives. I have to control myself from me not to sob out loud. I know this tiny, white house which in six months could be painted navy blue or brown. I don’t know, I will never know. But it will never be my house again. My children will not grow up here, the trees we planted for the children will stay and the two big gray rocks other people’s children will climb on.

We are homeless, we have nowhere to go although we can stay for a little time in a few places but never like this again. The locks on the doors will be changed in two days, maybe three, new owners will eventually move in.  The FOR SALE sign on the front yard seems to deface our property. It has already defaced our home.

English: for sale sign

A chapter in our lives is about to be over, a new chapter has not yet been written, the lines blur together. We are standing, clutching on to memories not yet ready or willing to create new ones. I am not sure I will ever want to make new ones.

We step aside, we cling to the naked walls and to each other with the depths of our depression in our hearts beating slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#FWF Kellie Elmore

Petrichor: The smell after it rains.

 

After it rains

 

Lavender

 

the scent of sweet lavender lingers in the air

 

droplets of water, morning dew, glisten on tall, oblong leaves.

 

Wild flowers, purple, pink, yellow, blue sway together like fans in a concert

 

dancing in the wind

 

stretching to feel the warmth of the velvet sun.

 

Fresh, green mint plants,

 

tickle our noses,

 

we inhale the menthol, clear our senses, to feel alive.

sunset

sunset (Photo credit: lil miss priss)

Mix mint with lime and muddled basil and sweet cane sugar, seltzer

 

to celebrate the glorious day with mojitos.

 

We sit on the freshly painted, white outside deck, of our house

 

waiting for the sun to set

 

With our best friends, our beloved dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, Dear Ones, I DO Eat Healthy Food

I love all my readers, I really do, you’ve become more family to me than, well relatives. However, I have one reader who gets very upset when I write about eating pizza with grape jelly or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with mashed potatoes and Baked Lays.

Big Salad

Big Salad (Photo credit: kattebelletje)

It’s true, I do like weird combinations at times. But, my goodness, give me some credit. I don’t eat this ALL the time, just once in a great while as a treat. Now, I know that most people don’t think pizza with grape jelly is a treat BUT, I only do it if the pizza is dry and sub par. Try it sometime, give it a chance. Wink Wink. Let me know?

I gave eating fish a chance and now I like some of it, except for salmon which was ruined for me forever. (See the post I Hate Salmon…) I will eat mild fish and I only myself to try it when we were in Florida on vacation. I tried it several times and I can kinda sorta say “I like it.” If I had to choose fish or a petite filet mignon, would I pick fish? Not a chance but I am open to the idea of eating it and we don’t eat red meat very much at all.

Another thing to consider is that there is no income coming in to our house and there has not been any income coming in for almost a year. I’m not complaining, it’s the worst job market ever but we do eat scrambled eggs and toast once a week and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches once a week. You can’t blame me for that.

When we go shopping we buy chicken not steak, good food is for good news only and we haven’t had any of that lately. We keep saying that if any good news happens, we will go out to eat and celebrate. I’m not sure we believe in good news anymore.

Our condolence prize is a pizza pie once every two weeks or so. It’s not the end of the world. My husband is a good cook and when I try I am adequate cook as well. Lately, there hasn’t been time to cook since I am literally spending each day going to a different doctor trying to find out why I pass out and end up face down on the floor.

The medical factory that I go to has lined up every single test in the world. I understand why they do it and that is why I have cooperated pleasantly but it’s not as if I am home, watching Orange is the New Black and eating ice cream bon-bons.

Strawberry rhubarb compote

Strawberry rhubarb compote (Photo credit: Kitchen Wench)

So, while I appreciate your concern, please do not worry, (biological sister and twin) because it’s not as bad as it seems. On the stove now I am cooking a fruit compote with rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries and a few prunes in a slow simmer with Sugar In The Raw. I’m not even using fake sugar (yet.) I love this stuff and I love cooking it.

We had a huge green salad for dinner, steamed asparagus and half of a leftover lobster roll with cold cucumber yogurt dill soup. See?  Do you feel better? I do have good food habits but writing about them is not nearly as entertaining as the other stuff. Is it?

PS THANK YOU FOR CARING!

Read Comfort Food, Larry and Lola

It’s Not Just Peanut Butter And Jelly Anymore (Food Cop)

I’m hungry, borderline starving. I know that’s a fairly regular experience for me but tonight I am ravenous AND I have to be careful ABOUT the texture of what I eat.

     

    a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, top slice ...I’m having a flare-up of everything that could possibly hurt, especially now with my jaw, teeth, head and neck.

    Having a vicious battle with TMJ  AND a cavity that needs to be filled, I thought I would be cautious and eat soft food. Since I was not feeling well, all day, light-headed, dizzy (reason still to be determined with the dreaded TILT test) my husband was kind enough to bring me a peanut butter and jelly (extra orange marmalade on the side to be mixed in) sandwich. For a side dish there was a tiny amount of mashed potatoes, leftovers from last night yummy restaurant. Oh yes, there was sour cream and butter in those “mashlers” as my dad used to say and as part of my family still says.

    The amount of peanut butter and jelly is crucial to any perfect sandwich, bearing in mind everybody’s personal preference. For me, more jelly and less peanut butter is the way to go. My husband and our friend John in the neighborhood, put staggering amounts of peanut butter on their sandwiches (“There IS NO such thing as too much peanut butter in our house”) John said. My husband, agrees. He slathers on peanut butter and measures it in inches. I disagree. I’m a more jelly than peanut butter kind of girl.

    I was having a bite of mashed potatoes, on the side, following a bite of my sandwich (the color of the jelly and the taste is carefully matched too) when I noticed a wonderful, soothing, comfort spreading taste in my mouth and stomach. After two or three bites of the sandwich and then the mashed potatoes I was sure that a combination sandwich would definitely ease my pain.

    Wait for it, my friend, Maureen, because you KNOW it’s coming….

    Hence, the peanut butter and jelly and mashed potato sandwich was born. Don’t prejudge, it is the ultimate in comfort food. The peanut butter and jelly or jam is cold or at room temperature and the hot mashed potatoes, sans gravy, are warm, buttery and rich.

    It was love at first bite. I finished every creamy morsel and would have eaten more if I had more to eat. I have had in the past peanut butter and jelly with cheddar cheese and once I had a peanut butter and jelly combined with tuna fish sandwich but those are a little too much and way less comforting than my new, favorite combination.

    Mashed Potatoes!!!

    Mashed Potatoes!!! (Photo credit: Manuel Alarcón)

    It’s a win-win situation. How could it not be fabulous? The greatest in comfort food.

    Sure, I make a mean chicken soup, or lentil soup, those are all   eaten mostly in the Winter. But this new combination?  Adding mashed potatoes as an ingredient? A genius idea of comfort in a bite. In every single bite.

     

    auntie cherye: I call him son

    ” You suck ass” that’s what my nephew told me was the top derogatory phrase these days. and no, he does not know the meaning of derogatory because he is just turned 10 and his name is Jason D. but he knows what’s right and what’s wrong. he knows how it feels when kids are pickin on him about his old clothes and shoes and say horrible things to him like that. i wont let him repeat that nasty phrase. kids pick on him and say mean things that’s for sure.

    he knows his mama and daddy are both looking for jobs every day and night and that’s why hes been staying with me so I can take care of him properly. he’s angry at his life and his friends who live in big houses and whose parents are rich.  Our boy, well really my boy wears old clothing and shares a room with his auntie, me, nothing to be ashamed of at all.

    American Mailboxes - Hope Street ... Tired Of ...

    I see he gets to school on time because i drive him thru this dusty land  with no paved roads and eats his eggs n toast for breakfast and not grab some stupid sugar bar like he wants. i wont even start with that in this house. we have real food, not fancy rich people food but it is real food in this house.

    i love that boy as if he my own and in a way he kinda is. been caring for him since he was a toddler and now look, he still living with me. Mostly we all hang together here. this is my family, i sure like to think and mama comes and we cook together and sing and laugh and talk about the ol days.

    On Sundays that’s when jason’s momma and papa come for sure to share a meal or two and he knows he is loved by everyone, and that they are trying so, so hard to find work.

    jason looks at all of us like we are nuts but he grins and he knows we are happy to be together, so what if we don’t have money or nothing, we got great love in the family and with our church. they’s family too.

    It's been the ruin of many a poor girl, and Go...

    we’re grateful for what we got and we all try not to complain as best we can.

    Everyone in this family learns sooner or later that fightin is not the answer no, it really isn’t. but when times are tough, like not havin any money to buy food or pay rent or to go to the doctor when you are sick thats just plain wrong but we pray a lot, hold hands, eat lots of spaghetti with ketchup and soup stock, brown bread i make in the oven.

    i found a local hospital just yesterday an they said we could come if there was an emergency anytime, i didnt know some people could be so kind. you look hard enough and u do good enough stuff youself, you will find those people. and those people will sure enough find you.

    food

    if i didn’t believe in that, i would have been dead a very long time ago, believe me. i’ve had my hardest times, i have shed many tears when my baby girl died an i wanted to kill myself but thats for another time, not now.

    I’ll keep waking up day after day as long as i have somethin to live for. right now its cooking and raising my boy jason d.

    Soul Baby (5 parts)

     

    Dear Baby Girl Z,

    Part 1

    I’m so sorry, I really am. I know you can’t and won’t forgive me, how could you? I will never forgive myself. Everyone, pretty much, hates me. I don’t know what I was thinking, I guess I thought you would complete me, solve all my problems. But, I had to solve them on my own, didn’t I? I think I wanted you in my life for all the wrong reasons and I know that was selfish and horrible.

    One of my friends had adopted a baby and she was the light of her mom’s life, she lived for her baby and I thought that having you would make me whole. I had to learn that the only way for a person to be whole was to be whole first.

    Z, I will never, ever forget what I did to you in my entire life. Until the day I die I will think about you every day and every night.

    I had dreamed about you for the past seven years. I tried to be patient, I had gone through all the legal hoops and still I waited, until finally three years ago. I finally was finished, I was approved, home inspection: check. Now the only thing I had to do was wait.

     

    Part 2.

    I was a lawyer hoping to make partner and every day was so busy from seven in the morning to at least ten at night. But, I had arranged everything. I had a nanny set up, a nursery, went out with friends, checked my cell phone constantly.

    sadness

    sadness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

    Every day was a possibility, every night could be a disappointment. Even the mailman, Mike, knew my situation and one day, the thick manilla envelope arrived. It was delivered on a bright, sunny Wednesday in the Spring, Mike lingered in the building to hand it to me in person. I didn’t want to share this with anyone so I thanked him and went upstairs to my apartment’s open, airy, bright chrome kitchen and ripped the envelope apart.

     

    Thinking

    Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn DeLight (back again))

    One look at the black and white photograph, seeing your eyes, your deep, dark sad eyes and I held my breath, waiting for the tenderness to overwhelm me. I didn’t feel happy or joyful, I felt terrified and wrong. I thought to myself:’ I’m having a heart attack.’ “I was in shock” I told myself, “of course” and waited to feel the love and sense of motherhood I had longed for. This was MY baby, the baby I had looked forward to for years. My stomach sank to my frigid feet, I felt out of control, overwhelmed, out of my mind. I felt hollow inside and empty but mostly, I felt nothing.

     

    Part 3.

    “That’s ridiculous” I thought, “it’s just shock. I’m scared, nervous maybe and more than a little unsure.” I talked myself into first day jitters but I only had a photograph and all I could see was the pain in your eyes. I turned away, I walked to the living room, leaving the photograph sitting, turned over on the kitchen counter. The second I turned my back I knew what I had to do,  I knew it in my head, right away, right after, in my heart.

    I called my best friend to come over because I was absolutely hysterical, she came but I could not be calmed down. I had made the wrong decision. I would call the agency and tell them that the deal fell through and I’m sure she would be happier with a family, one with kids…and a dog.

    Part 4.

    I’ve lived with this pain, this regret for many years. Why, how, could I have walked away from my Soul Baby?  I thought all I had wanted to do was be a mother, I swear, until it was almost possible. What was I trying to prove? I was in no way able to offer the love and stability of a child AND have a full-time career. I was selfish, I wanted both. But, after looking at the photo of your sad, tortured eyes, I could not do that to you again. This was not a trial run, or sweater that I could exchange in the store. This was a life and I knew I couldn’t handle it.

    I broke down in tears, hysterically crying. I don’t know what happened but I could not be responsible for this beautiful, sad child. What if I was not enough to make her happy? I wasn’t sure enough if I could make myself happy. The next 24 hours were the hardest of my life. I cried through most of them. I wouldn’t speak to anyone but I knew, deep down in my heart that I could not, would not be a mother to this child. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t even know myself yet.

    English: Photograph of Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophi...Part 5.

    I know this much, there was no excuse for what I did but it was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. Each morning before work and each evening after dinner, I would take out the same photo that I had never given back, look at it and said “I’m so sorry Baby Girl Z” I not only turned my back on her, I had turned on myself. Eventually I put the photo away and stopped looking at it. I practiced law full-time and yes, I was a Partner.

    10 years later:

    My son and daughter come running to me, I left being a lawyer when our son was born and two years afterwards our daughter. In their hands was a piece of paper and they were laughing and giggling. “Mommy, who is this?” they cried, pushing and shoving each other. In their hands was the black and white photo of Baby Z, Soul Baby, I had never thrown that photo away nor would I ever.

    I looked at my kids straight in their eyes and said “that was Baby Z, she was supposed to be your sister but mommy made a big mistake, it was too early.” They didn’t ask any other questions and there were no other questions left to ask. I took the photo and gently placed it back in my old journal from years ago; this time I put it in the lock box, my husband Jim, of twelve years, smiling by my side.

     

    Baking For Cousins

    It’s been a rough week, I’ve started about twenty new posts and never finished any but last night I talked to a new friend and it felt refreshing like biting into a piece of lemon cake on a hot summer day. Sometimes, when things feel black, an unexpected opening, like a crack in a window, appears from nowhere and you can finally start to breathe normally again.

    Open Window

    It doesn’t solve your problems and It may not last,  but at least it makes you remember that “normal” really isn’t the deep-down, below the ground hurt, sadness and resentment you have felt for the last few days. It’s as if you have been given a “time-out” to think about your marriage, your grown up children, your family and friends, your Life.

    It’s like taking a break without traveling. It’s NOT dreading the barbeque at your house that you felt two days ago but happily making food. Slicing the mozzarella and the tomatoes, drizzling olive oil, and balsamic glaze and scattering chopped pieces of fresh basil on top.

    English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

    I’m making my daughter’s favorite, everyone’s favorite, guacamole with avocados that have ripened in a paper bag with two apples. I will squeeze fresh lemon on them, add chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, salt and a few grains of sugar (my secret recipe) to undercut the acidity.

     

    My mouth is beginning to drool. My husband and son are at the supermarket buying meat for the rest of the carnivores, hamburgers and hot dogs.

    Mostly, I am hosting this barbeque, to see the four cousins together which never ceases to delight me. Jon, Anna, Tim and Jillian. All grown up but still as close as they were when they were young and building forts in my living room with “Milton.” (Don’t ask)

    banana bread!

    Our house was the favorite, of course, because my sister and her husband were much stricter about food than we were. Hence, when the cousins came over, they said hello, gave us hugs and went directly to our pantry. I loved every minute of it and still do and even though I swore I would never bake another banana bread again…there are two freshly baked loaves waiting for them, on the granite counter.

    One with raisins, one with chocolate chips, both with love.

     

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    My Name Is Nobody

    When my sister and I still lived at home, many years ago, we would look at each other sadly and randomly say: “Nobody cares.” It is in fact, true on some level. People don’t seem to care the same way anymore or maybe they are just too busy. Too busy to show that they care? Yes. Sorry.

    Life

    Life (Photo credit: bitzcelt)

    I used to be Somebody but not anymore, I don’t feel like Anything or Anyone anymore. I just Exist.

    A very long time ago I was a little girl who played dolls, went to school year after year and I was a Student. I was known for always Smiling by my teachers but I seemed invisible to my classmates.

    When I was in college I became a Young Woman, an excellent student, also able to cut a class for an outdoor concert with good friends, under the sun. My camera draped around my neck like jewelry, it did not get better than that. Of course I didn’t appreciate it then, does anyone? No, there is no frame of reference until you look back. Those WERE the BEST years of my life.

    I always worked, every summer during high school,  I started working right after college but my world was still centered around Me. That wondrous place in time, the narrow window of fun, between college and the real world, now in today’s world fraught with unemployment. I had my apartment, I learned from good experiences and bad; mice running over my arm and leg at night or crawling in the walls and utter fear to getting frozen at knife point by a gang and the guardian angel who saved me. I learned that sometimes it is easier to say no, than it is to say yes. Eventually, I moved.

    English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...

    English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a window. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    I used to travel for barely nothing, to visit a friend, to fly across the ocean, to visit different countries. I was lucky, Dad worked for the airlines. Then, I was a Traveler, a Tourist. I learned to eat new food in Greece, jumbo shrimp staring at me with watchful eyes, lemon-egg soup, and everything tepid, I loved that. Food was not served burning hot. I walked up winding white and blue steps in Greece on a tiny island, where there were no cars, just donkeys. My family traveled to Portugal and I refused to eat sardines that the fishermen just caught. But, our family drank wine together outside in a beautiful garden, near a forest.

    I learned to trust MY instincts, not my sister’s, the daredevil, with no common sense. We ended up on a canoe, going to on an island with two fishermen.  I had never been so scared in my life. No big deal, she shrugs it off, grinning. Yeah. Right.

    Then, I was a Working Wife and Mother, I had a title again, a meaning for my Life,  the most special one. Being a Mother did not feel like a job but it fulfilled every one of my dreams, it was all I wanted to do my whole life. I wanted to have two babies, a boy and a girl and bring them up to be good, conscious, wonderful people. In that, I know I succeeded; I did my job well, I am proud.

    My life has no meaning anymore. You can’t argue with something that is true. My kids are adults, they don’t need me anymore, my husband and I are very best friends, he could manage. My friends, the real ones who care, are sincere but have their own lives.

    I need a new Life. I am so sick of the old one. I want to peel off my skin like I peel bananas for the banana bread I bake. I need to do something new with the second half or even quarter of my life. The end of my life, where did the first half go?

    It left like whispers in the air, silent passages of time, I blinked.

     

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    F Is For Food, T Is For Tuna

    When I have nothing else to do, I think about food. I always think about food. Some would say that its my downfall but others who know me well would say its my savior. I love food, all types and even though I used to be scared to try new foods I am getting so much better except for icky textural issues.

    I will not eat raw oysters and slurp them down my throat. The mere thought of doing that makes me want to gag so no, I stick tight to being inflexible. I would say “Not for a million dollars” but to me, a million dollars is a lot of money so I could be bribed, potentially. Sushi, raw, same reaction, it’s the slippery texture that I can’t seem to get by though I have tasted it in tiny bits a few times. Not my style, at all. Chicken teriyaki and rice please, I am not ashamed.

    raw oysters @ Sway

    raw oysters @ Sway (Photo credit: dionhinchcliffe)

    I am proud to say I do eat mild fish now which was a big leap of faith for me, I never ate any fish except tuna fish that came out of a can (which to me was totally unrelated to real tuna.)  Yes, I did have a real disconnect but it worked for all the years I didn’t put it together. Tuna and tuna were very different, one was for a sandwich with mayo and the other one was disgusting. I know, I know. I’m a little slow.

    I know I am fussy and crazy but I have tuna-approved places like the diner in the next town where I regularly order it. It’s perfect, not too mushy, not chunky at all, the right amount of mayo. It is a tuna-approved lunch place. If it looks, smells or resembles dark cat food it is not for me. That is why I have

    7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat

    7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat (Photo credit: Wolfgang Lonien)

    friends and family to order things first and I will taste it and decide later if it is okay to order next time. (Except for Sarah my bff who will not share her food, not even a bite but that’s okay.)

    Another place in town sells “Spa Tuna” with apples and raisins and just a hint of mayo that is wonderful as well. I will not eat tuna in an unknown diner or restaurant, I stick with safe foods like scrambled eggs or a ham and cheese sandwich or soup. An adventurer I am not.

    Beverages, to me, have to fit the food. For example: a tuna sandwich goes well with either a Diet Coke or Coke or hot chocolate. Period. Never would I drink orange juice or water with it, it needs the sweet balance. Likewise, I have to force myself to drink plain water to keep hydrated, so my kidneys don’t flop and fail on me instantaneously. I add lemon or lime juice to the water to pretend it isn’t water at all. Epic fail.

    Growing up we never drank water. It was Hawaiian Punch or Lemonade or Grape Juice or other sweet beverages. But, water? Never. Luckily, my daughter drinks a lot of water but not my son. He also doesn’t drink enough water either but he does drink organic fruit juice which is better than nothing.

    When you have no control over anything in your life you either lose control or you need to have control over something. For me, it’s food. In the beginning I wanted to lose weight and I did, I also kept it off. After that, I got into a major dessert phase where I needed a good, yummy dessert every single night.

    Phish Food

    Phish Food (Photo credit: Vanessa (EY))

    I am trying to pull back from that now because I feel I am getting hooked ( HA HA I know I’m hooked) on sugar. So I am down-sizing my dessert (sigh) and will only have them intermittently. I will miss you jelly doughnuts, Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, and Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Cake. Not to mention you my darling Orange Hostess Cupcakes…I have a whole blog post just about you!

    I’m not making promises on how much I can deny myself dessert. I will try having less. I made banana bread yesterday with raisins, funny how that does not appeal to me at all. I will try, that’s all I’m saying…

     

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