Saturday, December 18, 2010

I don't do that second thingy.. but the first? Ahem, yeah

And I have the original in my house. And I am not one of those people to let popularity get in my way of enjoying something. I still like it. But this makes me smile even more.

from apt. therapy...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

happiness is a warm.... velour quilt

unfortunately you can't see it all... but you can imagine it...

This throw from Anna Maria Horner, would make me so happy. It is VELOUR. And colorful. And there is a heart right in the center. I love Anna Maria Horner. I think if we knew each other we would be good friends.  She has a free pattern for it available. So if you have you know a ton of time and a hundred bucks for some shmancy cotton velour, go ahead and make it for me.  Don't worry, maybe I will make it for myself in a  year, when I have a job.  In the meantime, I will dream about cozying up under it.
P.S I am handing in a huge paper today, doing a presentation and by next Tuesday will be done with both work and my very last paper of the semester... Phew.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How do I Feel about this?

A bit excited.  
Relieved that Jane is not being depicted by Angelina Jolie which is what Matt jokingly told me, which elicited some screams, yes, screams. Though in defense of myself I had had a couple of glasses of wine. 
I love the Brontes. And I will probably never fully get over the fact that I will never star in an adaptation of one of their novels. 
Mia Wasikowska was wonderful in In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne, sigh, and I heard that she was great in Alice in W. So perhaps she will do Jane justice. We shall see. 

My favorite is Masterpiece Theatre's 2006 adaptation directed by Susannah White and starring sultry Toby Stevens, again sigh, and Ruth Wilson,  closely followed by Franco Zefferelli's adaptation created 10 years earlier starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, who I have a fondness for. But who doesn't love Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine?
Comprehensive guide to Jane Eyre adaptations.

Counting the Days...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

snapping out of it

I feel a little dirty putting a video of Neil Young on my blog immediately after little old me tries to sing one of his songs with my newbie uke fingers, but I have a feeling he wouldn't give a S$%^t.

Matt is the reason I ever listened to Neil Young, thanks Matt. And this is one of my favorite songs. And it usually elicits moist eyes, if not a complete geyser. Just call me Old Faithful

It really stinks to have so much work to do and no time to wallow.

I found today that the song below, after letting me wallow for a time in my own quagmire of blech, also forced me to snap out of it and get stuff done. Something about hearing the word Helpless over and over again makes you feel like NOT being helpless.

And by the way does it get any COOLER than Neil and Bruce?

Monday, November 15, 2010

harvest moon- neil young, and other things...

Today, I picked Ez up from school, drove to the doctor, paid for parking (with his money I only had pennies in my wallet). All this only to find out that the appt. I made last week (which took a half hour with a brand new receptionist) is for next Monday. He can't go to school on Friday if I can't get him an appt. soon, because he needs an mmr. The last vaccine he got swelled his arm up to the size of a tree trunk. So this is not something I even want to do.  I have a ton of work to do, a four hour licensing exam on Saturday. I am always tired.

Sometimes I wonder why life can't be easier and then I remember that it is. My sister is here. If I was going through all this stuff right now without her, life would be harder.

So I take a deep breath. And play ukelele. And eat some chocolate. And scratch my chin. And write papers. And teach preschool. And go to therapy. And read research. And do assessments. And read really important books that most people should read but probably don't like All God's Children- The Boskett Family and the American Tradition of Violence by Fox Butterfield. And go to zumba. And do all the things that moms do, because I am a mom.

A little ditty, with a couple very important interruptions but no cursing.

My next step is to learn how to add harmonies to my little videos. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Aragorn, costume design courtesy of Deborah Carlisle

I have a handsome, faux leather clad, deliriously happy 8 year old.

Should I go red?

from the Sartorialist

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Start the week off ight

I loved this article by Penelope Trunk about Perfectionism, you should read it. Apparently my little Ez is a bit of a perfectionist at school and it is causing some issues. His teacher says he is super smart and capable but wants to do things perfectly the first time and if he thinks he can't, he ends up in the quiet reading corner for quite awhile (once over 45 minutes), feeling very upset. So I have been thinking a lot about perfectionism and how to help Ez realize it's okay to make mistakes, which honestly I don't understand how he doesn't get that having a disorganized, slightly sloppy, wack job for me as a mom. Or maybe he is rebelling against just that, but I think he is too young for that kind of behavior. And then there is his wonderful dad who is a total perfectionist and just today after taking the worst pie he has ever made out of the oven (which of course is leagues better than my worst ever pie that a dog would likely retch at after smelling), and declaring what a bad pie it was and how disappointed that he was and on and on and on....And he was quite angry and I was hoping he would stop and lighten up and he never did. By this illustration, I am not saying it is Matt's fault that Ez is a perfectionist, and certainly the world is a better place with a few people like that out there but I think life is harder for perfectionists and so...

So lately I have been using a lot of meta cognitive strategies, talking aloud while I do something if I am struggling. Saying things like, "Hey, this is hard but I know that even though I don't have it right this time, the more I try I will get better." And "Gee, Whiz, this new uke tune is tricky, my fingers can barely get this chord and it sounds like noise, but eventually I will get better at it". And the slightly more obvious, " Ezzie, did you know that if you don't make mistakes you can't learn?" To which he nods.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

she ain't no rockstar

I am having a lot of fun with my ukulele. And I decided that if I waited until I was any good I might not get to share for a really long time. My uke and I have a lot of fun together. It has inspired me to listen to more Neil Young and Bob Dylan.  So here I am in all of my imperfectness. This is what I am doing when my papers are written, instead of the dishes and instead of wallowing/or pulling my hair out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I need a milkshake

I hope Molly and dad don't mind but I wanted to share a detail from their last email about their trip out West. It's about a milkshake.  

Molly - ...the viscous sludge, manhandled into dimpled styrofoam cups by an obese woman who set about the business with such grim determination that I knew we were in for it… 

Dad- Sometimes a negative can be as significant as a positive.  The Marianas Trench in it’s way is as impressive as the Himalayas.  The malts referred to above were created in a small town of less than 500 in Eastern Wyoming on US 20 by three earnest and immense women.   The malt shop had been in operation for about 6 months and in that time they had not developed the foggiest notion of how to make a malted milk shake.  The mixing wand for the milkshake was in a closed 2’ by 2’ box with a plexiglass door, the like of which I have never seen.  The strongest of the three placed the milk shake cup in the shake making box so that the mixing wand was immersed in the liquid.  She closed the door and then wrapped her blacksmith arms around the entire contraption.  In wrestling parlance she had placed it in a bear hug, and as the machine spun the mixing wand, the woman shook the entire machine as if it was a vending machine that took money but refused to dispense.   The malt she produced by these machinations was biblical in its badness.  It was malted milkshake hell.  If the best malt shop can be equated to the Taj Mahal or the Alhambra, this one could certainly be equated to the reactor at Chernoble, and is no less noteworthy.  Take my advice, avoid milkshakes in Eastern Wyoming like the plague.

Monday, September 27, 2010

the wisdom of honest abe

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns 

or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. 

- Abe Lincoln

I have a professor who ends every class with a quote, and although part of me wants to think it is silly, I really enjoy them. I enjoy them and they always pertain to what we are discussing in class. In Special Education, professionals easily fall into the trap of constantly focusing on what is wrong with a child, what they are not doing, what they need to do better, what they can't do.  The other day in class, we discussed yet again, how we can't lose focus on what the child can do, however small it is. This seems to be a theme in my life right now. I am dealing with some kids with real behavior issues in my classroom and my life in general is topsy turvy right now, and that is putting it positively. 

So, I am trying to remember and focus on what in my life is really good right now. Like the fact that Ez cannot get enough of "reading". That both, BOTH of my boys are really good at soccer, and they love it. That I think I can make it through another year of grad school. I had breakfast with a girlfriend the other day and it was so much fun. I am learning to play an instrument. Right now there is chili in the crock pot and my class for tonight was cancelled. Those are all roses. And I have bunches more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

notes from an adventurer...

I must admit that I am a bit jealous that Molly and dad are now on their second adventure together. The last one, a couple years ago, lasted a month, maybe longer. They drove across the country together, hiking and camping along the way. My one consolation is that my dad sends us emails every few days illustrating the trip. My dad writes much like he talks and it is such fun to read his letters. He has the Carlisle tendency towards hyperbole...which can be entertaining. And of course he is a soil scientist so he can't help but talk about the landscape in very particular terms.

Here are a few excerpts...

     The next day got us into Nebraska and I80 was beginning to get wearisome so Molly discovered a road on the Atlas that cut catacorner in the general direction that we needed to go, Nebraska Rt. 2. Up to this time we noted that the foliage colors up to well west of Cleveland were pretty much the same as back home. The pastoral landscapes were not that different compared with what you might find in New York. The land was rolling with a bit of flatness here and there, pretty much like upstate. The only thing of real interest really was an occasional outburst from Molly when she was behind the wheel Her knowledge of expletives is fairly rich, and she makes excellent use of inflection to add diversity.
     That second day ended at a little town at the edge of the Nebraska Sand Hills called Broken Bow where we found an excellent hotel and a great meal at rural Nebraska prices. The Sand Hill region is one of the great grassland regions of the world. The hills themselves are stabilized sand dunes from a bygone geologic era, and provide great scenery. In the Sand Hills you begin seeing pronghorn antelope (cattle of course).
On the third day we drove out of the Sandhll region and then through a bit of pivot arm irrigation agriculture (makes the big circles that you can see from planes), and then through splendid canyon vistas, finally arriving at Cody, Wy, the gateway to Yellowstone Park.
     On the fourth day we mosied into Yellowstone, couldn't hurry because there is a lot to see in getting there. Saw a Buffalo grazing under a bridge before we even got to the park. Yellowstone is pretty other worldly. Maybe a hundred thousand volcanic vents, guysers, pools, etc. Lots of Buffalo, you soon learn that a Buffalo sighting does not get you many CUS credits (creatures of unusual size). Lots of mountains, great streams and waterfalls, and bunches of tourists, and this was the off season. We camped that night and it was cold. We observed all of the precautions against bears and red squirrels because half a hundred people this year didn't and payed the penalty, either being mauled, eaten and then killed by the bears or having their faces gnawed off by squirrels as they were trapped in their sleeping bags. I dodged a bullet that night in the tent, secure in my 20 year old sleeping bag. Molly was secure in the back of the truck with a 16 ounce canister of bear spray. Unbeknownst to me in the pocket of my sleeping bag was a large handful of salted peanuts. A stick of pepperoni would be worse.
     On the fifth day we continued through Yellowstone and then drove through the Grand Teton National Park to Jackson Hole.
     Which brings to today, where I am writing this from our motel room.
The journey continues.

PS We saw one moose from a quarter mile away, so I digicammed it, a bit fuzzy but our only moose.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

life long learner

At 33, I am learning salsa, merengue and Bachata (in my zumba class),weight training, finally. And, I am teaching myself to play the ukelele. I love it. I am practicing a bunch of songs now. Songs by Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Leslie Gore, The mamas and the papas, Dusty Springfield and Lefty Frizzel, Dolly Parton, the bangles ( I am a jill of all trades here) and more. I can barely feel the tips of three fingers on my left hand. I can't play that well yet but when I can , in a year or so. I will post a song here.
I like playing the uke for many reasons but most of all I like playing it because it means I get to sing, to music. ANd I have a good friend and neighbor who plays and sings with me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lump Sum

I have long loved this song and only recently discovered the acoustic version. And then had to look up the lyrics. Which are of course beautiful.

Lump Sum- Bon Iver

Sold my cold knot, a heavy stone
Sold my red horse for a venture home
to vanish on the bow
Settling slow

Fit it all, fit it in the doldrums
So the story goes
Color the era
Film it, it's historical, my

My mile could not
Pump the plumb
In my arbor till my ardor trumped
Every inertia lump sum

All at once
Rushing from the sub pump
So the story goes
Balance we won't know
we will see when it gets warm

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I did not sob today

How could I, with that grin on my little boy's face? And notice that the first thing Ez does is try to figure out how the windows work on the bus...

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Keewaydin Summer Cottage, Brooklin, Acadia, Maine

I am living in the now, really. I promise. But I have what I think is poison ivy again and I am starting to think that grad. school+ work+2 kids+life is a lot right now. Yikes. I know in a few weeks I will calm down and feel like I am handling it but why can't I have two more weeks of cocktails and fiction reading?

My mom sent this to me today. Which made me...
1. Excited for next summer family time and
2. realize that I need to chill out and enjoy right now. I can't spend all year waiting to lounge in a beautiful cottage in Acadia with my family next summer. Yes, life can be stressful but I have already proven to myself that I can do it. It' s just extra hard when your soon to be kindergartner is acting crazy and worried about school and yoru new third grader comes home the first day crying that he likes his old school better and all of his Best friends are in another class.
And I already have school work to do.

Henry's first day back and Wildwood School FIrst Day Parade

They wanted to match.
Slightly nervous last minute snuggles
Watching and listening for the big yellow bus.

We wave until we can't see each other anymore, a tradition started in kindergarten.
Ez and I check out the gym.
First Day of School Parade!!! A MArks Meadow tradition becomes a Wildwood tradition.


Henry's First day started off without a hitch.
He has another beautiful teacher whose name I can barely pronounce or spell.
Ezzie and Matty and I had a successful orientation at his new school.
Fall is falling into place.
And I am sure that the rash I have is not poison ivy. It can't be. Really.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010



Some facts about Ez.
He weighed 9 pounds 3 oz. at birth. I ate A LOT of peach pie (and healthy stuff like kale) when he was in the womb and the doctors swore that I was perfectly healthy but I felt like Moby Dick and stopped looking at the scale when it reached 160.
He and Amy have matching freckles on their lefty left hands.
He could live on bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, pb and h, and tomatoes.
He is a very determined boy and could tie his shoes at 4.5 and ride a two wheeler at age 3.
He loves to sing.
He especially loves hip hop. Ahem, Kanye, Alicia Keys...
He is particular about who he keeps company with and prefers to hang with kids who are not chatty. He is not the social animal that I am. And I am learning to come to terms with and respect that.
He is very conservative with his hugs (except with me).
He loves to collect bugs especially big black beetles.
He loves to handle fish and other animals. I am trying to teach him to study and hold animals but remember that it might be torture if he is not careful.
His favorite color is green
He likes to wear belts and costumes.
He was not sure about having a party and at the last minute decided he did not want one. I had to explain to him that it was too late to cancel. Again, who is this child?
Ezra can be moody. Sometimes he wakes up grumpy. I don't understand this. I wasn't moody until I had kids. Even as a teenager, I would get sad but I at least pretended to be happy and carefree for everyone else's sakes (which I realize is probably unhealthy).

Ez is not a people person. I was introverted for a period of time in my life. I still crave alone time and don't mind being by myself but I am a social being. I love connecting with folks, adults and kids alike. It has taken me awhile to realize that my kids are their own little people. Ez is very different from me and it would be unfair to expect him to be like anyone else. It is okay that he is not always into talking to people, hugging people, being sociable. I just have to help him use manners, use words, it is a challenge.

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you." -Kahlil Gibran

Rose loved Sweet Honey in the Rock and put this song on a cd for Henry when he was 3. Thanks Rosie!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Office nook

One of my goals this summer was to carve out a homework space for H. So, after moving their bedroom around 3, yes 3 times. This is it. He has a little desk nook.
Thanks to IKEA, Target and some repurposing, it hardly cost anything. And he feels really good about it. Of course, Ez had to get in on the action, though I hope he doesn't have any homework in kdg. Both boys picked out a plant or two. I gave each of them a little glazed pot to put tools in. They each got a new ruler, and some fresh pencils. Hen picked out a little lamp and Ez is using the old one.

Yesterday ( a few days before he officially turns 5) we had a birthday bash for Ez.
Vanilla cake with Penuche frosting.
Friends and their families.
Sweaty candy necklaces.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Ez is going to kindergarten in a few days. I am having a bit of a hard time dealing with it. For so many reasons. He is my baby. My last child. His cheeks are still soft and squishy. He frustrates me to no end and I lose my temper with him but we still get to have those gooey moments when he wants to be as close as he can. He says I smell so good. He touches my hair. He kisses my forehead.

This adoration goes away eventually. And they get so busy. And skinny. And they don't need these tender moments quite so much.

So when I read Anna Maria Horner's post about her daughter going away to school I seriously bawled.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i love this poster

I especially appreciate the "keep it wonky" sentiment, I am good at that. Just a reminder of what you/we are about. I do have the *Keep Calm and Carry on Poster* that went viral a year or so back, but I can't seem to look at it when it matters.

the talk

Before I had kids I knew, as all non-parent people "know" certain things about child-rearing ha ha ha, that I wanted to be able to have frank discussions with my children about sex. I wanted them to feel comfortable approaching me with questions and concerns. I wanted them to not have sex until they were 40, but sure, I wanted them to be able to talk to matt and I about it. The other day I asked an older friend when she first spoke to her kids about sex and she said she spoke to them about it all along whatever that means?). I thought "Oh shit, I have some catching up to do."

I am scared, by the way, terrified really.

So the other day in the car, it came up. See, until recently, when my kids asked me about religion I answered them in a certain style, by asking them questions back and telling them that different people have different opinions about these things. And when they asked about birth I used a similar spiritual style with the addition of a few basic biological facts. So, Henry came up with some of his own ideas, and being the older brother to Ezra, Ez adopted these ideas as well. So they believe that you are a star in the sky before you are born. You look down and pick out your parents. Then when you die you become a star again. I was apparently picked because I am "beautiful and have long hair", they did not know that I have a temper and can be neurotic or they might have chosen someone else.

But the other day in the car, they wanted to know how a baby actually gets in the mom's belly. Oy Vay. So I breathed deeply. I told them all about eggs and *gulp* Sperm. I told them the eggs are found in the woman, the man provides the sperm. They wanted MORE INFORMATION!!! Why is this so scary for me? I told them the rest of the information was pretty complicated and I had groceries to unload. Which was true. But I also needed a glass of wine.

This is when living on a farm would be so handy. "You want to know about reproduction, Johnny?, Let's go watch the horses have at it and then we'll watch the filly being born in a few months." Or maybe we should stick with the chickens?

Julia Sweeney did a much better job than I, check it out on TED talks. Thanks to Kim for alerting me to this hilarious podcast!

the talk, scroll down to #31, Julia Sweeney (remember Pat on SNL?)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

REAL PICKLES, local business shout out...

I love pickles, especially fermented pickles. I love fermented veggies in general. At our CSA farm down the road , the fridge in the pick-up barn is packed with local goodies, dressings, popsicles, pork, eggs, milk, etc. I usually don't purchase any because they are all pretty pricey but once in a while I splurge. It's worth it, supporting local business and healthy eating and all. A few weeks ago I bought a jar of fermented, gingered carrots and some truly delicious kombucha (which is saying a lot for me, sometimes I like the stuff but sometimes those cultures taste like fresh vomit). I will save the kombucha gushing for another post. The fermented carrots are delish. I eat them by the spoonful daily (one spoonful from the jar as a snack). And I just ate a bowlful with a generous dousing of sriracha on top. Thanks local business, REAL PICKLES! They support many local organic farms in Massachusetts and New York.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This will be a wiki wiki (quick, in Hawaiian) 400th post.

5 years ago I started reading blogs. My dear friend, Tina pointed a couple blogs of note out to me. It was quite a relief, to be able to read about making things and look at beautiful pictures while nursing a new baby and dealing with serious back pain and a crazy toddler. Then, three years ago Matt started encouraging me to write a blog. Inspired by Tina's blog and the other blogs I read, I decided to go for it. I know maybe 10 people read it, if I am lucky. But really, for me it is a very fulfilling outlet. In many ways it is a (less private) journal of my family.

My sidebar showcases my favorite blogs to read. I still love keeping up with Tina and now I enjoy reading my friend Laura's posts, my newest friend to join the blogging community.

If I hadn't been eating bacon, cookies and pie for the last few days. There would be cake.

In celebration of blogging or as I sometimes like to call it berging. Here is a link to a nifty sandal making tute on CRAFT.

Monday, August 16, 2010


One of the great things about living for so long in such a tiny, poorly made apt. is that the living environment can't get worse. I am pretty sure it would be illegal for us to live in a smaller apt. And it is pretty hard to find a smaller apt. in this neck of the woods anyway. Therefore anywhere we go is up.

Since I passed my test I have allowed myself to dream a bit more. Dreaming in the form of job searching and house hunting. I know how silly it is. We have no money for a down payment and won't for a couple years (and that is assuming we get real-life adult paying jobs next year) and even then, we may have to relocate for Matty's job. Although, if I can make enough and he works part-time to cushion the income from my job, I told him he can become a writer, or something.

The following are just a few homes I have dreamt about. Like I said, anywhere is up. Ideally, the would have more land and be cheaper...
Just down this dirt path is a real life cabin for sale. Can you imagine chickens? A dog? Forts in the woods? And me with a cup of coffee in the morning on the porch? Plus it is nearly 2,000 sq. feet, that is 4 times the size of our apt. and it includes nearly two acres. Also great school district. $224, 000 is almost cheap for around here. Let's be optimistic, okay? Moving on...
This may be sort of jolie/laide (prettyugly)but I have a strange affinity for that gross siding, even though I may want to remove it. This house was built in 1780! Cool, right? It is in the country and right next door to great hiking trails but real close to town. Over 2,000 sq.ft!!! $189,000.
I love a big old, white farmhouse with no bells and whistles.Circa 1813. About an acre. Again, chickens. HUGE. PORCH. GAH.

So, Laura and Mike are you moving here? Ditto for Susan and Mark. Although I am feeling a pang right now for tina and Mark. you guys could move too, ya know...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

time for a little bit of braggin'

I think my new glasses jive with my new nerdiness

I just passed a scary math test.

A couple years ago Massachusetts, in recognition that our country's kids are lagging behind most other countries in their math skills, decided to weed out teachers who can't teach math. They made the Mtel Math subtest much harder. It took me almost 4 hours. Yikes. The result? Most prospective elementary teachers have been failing the test and not getting their licenses (70%). So they passed an emergency resolution stating that if you fail within a certain range you can still get your license as long as you pass the test within 6 months.

I passed it the first time!!!! And I have always struggled with math. If this is all I accomplish this summer, I am a happy girl.

We celebrated with some Antonio's Pizza. Did I say I was happy?

Friday, August 13, 2010

pieces of a summer

I know summer is not over yet, but the word "school" is scrawled on the bottom of the current page on our calendar. The end of summer is on my mind.

I tend to measure my summers by the following

books read- this summer I have read the last book in The Millenium Trilogy, Evelina, The Count of Monte Cristo, The help and The Passage, I think I am not missing any.

ice cream cones consumed- only two (not enough), both soft-serve, one too watery the other just right.

variety and number of slices of pie eaten- only one. very. sad. indeed. But, thanks Tina, for the apple pie (with apples picked from her tree, and the perfect sour/sweet ratio). This weekend Matty has promised to make me a peach pie, my second favorite.

lobster rolls consumed- 2, both excellent. Not sure if there are enough lobster rolls in the world to satisfy me.

camping trips, quantity and quality- One great camping trip. We had a second one planned but we can't afford more Cape this summer. Especially with my lobster roll habit.

number of BLTs eaten (ok so food is clearly important to me)- zero. zip. You know what I am doing for the rest of this summer, (remedying this serious omission).

ocean visits- 2. Our family loves us some ocean. There could always be more.

weddings- 1. A beautiful, very emotional Quaker wedding. We have been to quite a few Quaker ceremonies. This was the first one that featured two paper airplanes being thrown in the midst of one of the moments of silence. And, alleluiah, it was not one of my kids.

lakes and ponds visited- 4 . Lakes, Owasco, Cayuga and Wyola, and Puffers Pond, for fishing, barbeques, swimming, stone skipping and general happy-making.

trips sans kiddos- 3. NYCx2 and Home. Sigh.

# of s'mores- When I am eating a s'more my brain momentarily loses function so can't remember this factoid. But I am guessing, 4-5, reasonable.

am i missing anything?


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