Friday, January 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 52

Joining Jen for my 52nd installment, which is a milestone, if not an anniversary, thanks to plenty of weeks off. :)

1. 1 week! Eeee! I can't wait.

2. So, I think, without any doing on my part -- at all -- that I'm raising a little diva. Her current obsession is shoes. She's been somewhat particular and opinionated on the subject for some time now. When buying church shoes this fall, we ended up with a sparkly pair after she rejected the simple black leather ones I was trying on her by not letting me put them on her feet. She reached for the sparkle and slipped 'em right on. Aye! Anyway, her new thing is wearing shoes at all times (except meals, randomly). We aren't into wearing shoes to bed, so this morning, all of 2 minutes after waking up, she toddles over to me with a pair of shoes insisting that I put them on her with her jammies. I told her that she needed socks with her shoes, so she needed to go get me some. She comes back with not just any socks, but super frilly ruffly white ones. It's official. I'm in for it. Does anyone want to borrow a teenager in about 12 years?!?

Jammies, socks and shoes -- after I made her choose different socks.

3. We had our first official mother-daughter tea the other day. I had a mug of the real stuff to get me through the afternoon, so she had to join in the fun.

4. It's a last day of the rotation day for Charles. That means a short day plus some school stuff plus a relaxing weekend. It also means that he's down to his last 4 rotations. Woo to the hoo!!

5. 3 Takes worth of pregnancy talk? Sorry in advance. 31 weeks. Woo-hoo!! Everything looked and sounded good at my appointment on Monday, and I joined the every-two-weeks club! I'm getting so excited to meet and hold and snuggle and kiss my little man.

Weekly bathroom selfie

6. The best part of being married to a (almost -- just over 4 months to go!!) DO is that he can do osteopathic manipulative therapy. In other words, in addition to all the traditional medical stuff he knows, he can also do manual manipulations (similarish to chiropractic care) to fix aches and pains. For my poor, pregnant back and hips, living room OMT is pretty much the bestest thing ever.

7. Charles and I have decided that Clare loves her baby brother more than she loves either of us. She'll randomly give him kisses and pats (with ample reminders that she needs to be gentle, already). She's slooooowly figuring out that he is not "Tummy," but "Baby Bruddah." I don't think we're going to get his real first name out of her for awhile, as much as we try! And she loves nothing more than to curl up with my bump when she needs to lie down or snuggle with Mama. I think she's going to miss it when it's replaced with a real live baby! Hopefully, she'll love her ex utero brother 1/10 as much as she loves him in utero. Heck, I might be happy with 1/100th as much!

Mah kiddos!

Have a lovely weekend!!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Watched Pot Never Boils

And a watched calendar never flips, aparently.

'Cause, oh my gosh, people, it's only January. And it is only Tuesday.

I can't even blame it on the weather, because, um, hello, Phoenix. We save our complaints for August.

I actually wish it were cooler. Then I see everywhere else and think, "Be careful what you wish for."
The last 3 days have been full of busy-ness, doctors (Mr. Man is great. I am still a healthy pregnant lady. In case you ever wondered, having an 18 month old with a UTI is no fun; take my word for it.), fussy babies, interrupted sleep, and the early-bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed mornings that I seem to foster in the 3rd Tri.

You'd think the crazy would make the time fly, but no. It has made time stop. I have gone through at least 5 days in the last 48 hours. I'm pretty sure. So sure, in fact, I'd argue that the calendar is lying.

And since I'm normally a "Oh my gosh, how it is already _________?!?!" person, the slowness of time lately has been a real surprise.

(Ok, I'm pretty sure that, as I type, Mr. Man is trying to snake his foot around my belly to my back to grab some organ with his toes. Trippy.)

So, I'm going to go find myself something with caffeine (because oh-my-gosh it is only 2:45!!), and gear myself up for an afternoon of (recovering nicely) toddler fun. And bask in the glory of knowing that tomorrow is . . . Wednesday.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 51

Joining Jen.

1. No one is going anywhere out of town this weekend. No one at all. Can I just mention how freaking wonderful and glorious that is?!? Now that that's out of the way . . .

2. The Olympics start 2 weeks from today!! I haven't had the opportunity to talk about it here, but I am a pretty hard-core Olympics-phile (Olympiphile, if you will), and this particular Games brings out all of the things I love about the Olympics. I generally like the winter Games better than summer, though I have fond memories of the London 2012 Games. The timing was perfect, as I had a newborn, and something to watch 24 hours a day for a couple of weeks while we nursed 24 hours a day (or something like that). All of which is a loooong way of saying that I'm very excited and expect to be posting more on the subject in the next few weeks.

Patriotic Opening Ceremonies outfit

3.I'm pleased to have my first two "kids say the darndest things" to share today. Posterity, people. Posterity.

Me: What does a kitty-cat say?
Clare: Meow!
Me: What does a cow say?
Clare: Moo Moo!!!
Me: What does a baby say?
Clare: Goo goo gah!
Me: What does a cowboy say?
Clare: Goo goo goo goo goo gah . . . yee haw!! Cwown! (Clown)

Charles: Say "love you, Daddy!"
Clare: Wuv woo . . . Mommy! (Covers her mouth and laughs maniacally)

4. Clare has developed a real affinity for Dr. Seuss. I'd guess on average, I read Dr. Seuss books 5 times a day (often the same one that happens to be her favorite du jour). I'm pretty sure her poor brother will either arrive with a natural love for or hatred of The Can in the Hat. I'm 100% sure that any potential love will turn to hatred after the 3rd or 4th time his sister thwacks him on the head, interrupting a perfectly good breastfeeding session, with her demands to "wead."


5. Meanwhile, in learning to parent a toddler land (also known as "tales of things I fear will happen (will definitely happen?) while I'm breastfeeding the newbie"), the table has become a real attractive nuisance for Miss Clare. Go after contraband (for babies) objects? Check. Climb chairs? Check. Climb on table? Check? Climb on chairs while Mama does the dishes (thinking you're reading nicely like you were 2 minutes ago) to reach for a cell phone and/or bottle of Coke and knock yourself and the soda and the (thankfully very well protected) cell phone into a big puddle of mess on the floor? Check.

It's gotta be the allure of the scrunchie.

6. There was lots and lots of lovely stuff written Wednesday in light of the March for Life and anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but I was particularly moved by this piece from Heather. If you didn't read it, you need to.

7. 30 weeks today. April sounds like it's foooooooorever away, but 10ish weeks sounds crazy close. I'm still feeling pretty good, minus the routine discomfort. I'm getting to the point where pants are universally uncomfortable in one way or another, but fortunately, it has been a mild winter, even for Arizona (Sorry, non-West Coast peeps; if it makes you feel better, we are always in need of rain over here!), so I'm getting away with typing this (on Thursday) in a maxi skirt. I may well be torturing you with a pic a week for the duration, so consider yourselves warned, internet land. :)

From Wednesday, so 29w5d.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Me? Sheenazing?!?

I felt seriously humbled yesterday when I saw the email from Bonnie in my inbox. My mind immediately flashed to all those Oscar nominees every year who prattle on about how it's a thrill to be nominated. And yet, here I sit, thrilled and awed to be nominated.

To whomever nominated me, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Per the nomination email: "The Sheenazing Blogger Awards are a fun way to celebrate the excellence in Catholic blogs and are named for Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Over 160 people nominated their favorite blogs from the Catholic blogosphere (and non Catholic for the Best Blog by a Non Papist category) in areas like Best Lifestyle Blog, Smartest Blog, Best Link-Up, Best Blog by a Man, and Coolest Blogger."

If you want to vote for me (or, more likely, if you want to find a whole bunch of really wonderful blogs to suck up what little free time you had left and then vote for the real cream of the crop) head over to A Knotted Life and get a-clickin'.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3 Things January -- Miscellany

Linking up with Michaela at California to Korea for her monthly 3 Things I love About Catholicism series. {Note to Michaela: I love the shorter deadlines and themes. It helps with the procrastination and the writer's block! Thanks!}

1. Universality: I love that the Church really is catholic (with a small c). I love that the Church is the same both horizontally and vertically. Her prayers, readings, and teachings are the same every day in every place where Mass is celebrated, even if the language and some customs vary. I love that, similarly, she is the same through time. Her teachings may have developed over the years, but they have been, are, and always will be the same.


2. A Tradition Everywhere You Turn: I'm not a fan of picking and choosing which Church teachings to accept or believe, but I am a fan of that fact that there is a celebration, tradition, or devotion that speaks to everyone. As we grow in our faith and as our lives go through different seasons, there is a time and a place for these different devotions, different prayers, different emphases. So long as the focus remains on growing in love of Christ, these changes are perfectly acceptable and reflect the needs of different parts of the Body of Christ.


3. Love of People: Like God, the Church loves people. I love the Church's consistency on this subject. Forget cradle to grave. She loves people and seeks to protect them from conception to grave (and beyond if you consider prayers for the dead). I know that the Church sometimes gets flack for its (according to many in the media) emphasis on the pre-born, but her teachings reflect that each and every person from conception to natural death has inherent and equal dignity. That is why she seeks to protect the unborn, to serve those who are in the most need, and to protect the elderly and vulnerable.

Again, thank you to Michaela for the kick in the bottom opportunity to talk about my faith. May God bless you.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK Monday rambles

I'm sitting at Starbucks with a giant, probably not pregnancy-sized chai, enjoying a surprise afternoon break. Charles, thanks to his crazy busy travel schedule the last few months Arizona's desire to host Super Bowls MLK Day got a bonus day off while the clinic where he is rotating observes the day.

(Side note, Arizona really did lose the Super Bowl in 1993 because it did not observe MLK Day as a state holiday. Uproar ensued. The state promptly adopted the holiday, and now it is pretty widely celebrated around here.)

I need it too, thanks to one heck of a case of poor timing this morning. Last night, I had my first really, really bad night of pregnant sleep. Lots of trips to the bathroom and ninja-in-training action. Mr. Man is way over on my right these days, so when I lay on that side, he gets angry. Real angry. But my left needs a break every now and then, so . . . yeah. Then, while Charles was in the shower, Clare started crying. But it wasn't her up for the day cry. It was her middle-of-the-night distress cry. Nightmares? Teething? I don't know, but it usually takes about 20 minutes of rocking to get her back down for the count. Problem? Charles was mid-getting ready for the day that wasn't, and inadvertently woke her up. I knew it was inevitable, but fought it anyway. But alas, she was up.

And it was about 2 hours earlier than she normally gets up. Needless to say, we had a rough morning. She was too tired for a normal day, but not willing to go back to sleep and miss out on all of the fun of us being up and drinking "cahkee." By lunch, we were both over it. She went down for an early nap and was still sleeping when we took off.

Now, admittedly, I was awake when all of this happened, and probably would have gotten up and started hit the coffee within a few minutes. However, it would have been so much better if I had gotten up by my own free will. And been able to consume some caffeine before facing the day.

Old, but a fair depiction of the morning.
 The math inequality (people down the table are doing math lesson planning) no one ever taught me: alarm clock > baby. Seems truly improbable, but it's true. Alarm clocks are predictable. You can also turn them off. Babies are much less forgiving. And don't have snooze buttons.

All of which makes me nervous for the arrival of Mr. Man. I know that there will be a learning curve to figuring out how to parent two, and an even steeper learning curve to learning to navigate the inevitable exhaustion that comes from having a newborn + (crazy) toddler. I know I can do it. I know I will survive. I know that, eventually, I will thrive. But I also see how impatient and cranky I am when I'm too tired. I know that getting used to it and overcoming it will come with time. But the anticipation? That's the worst.

So, I'm trying, hard, to not think about it too much. I'm enjoying my time, my break, my afternoon. I'm enjoying this perfect Arizona weather. And letting Daddy enjoy Miss Cranky Pants for a bit. :)

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Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 50

What's up, Friday peeps?!? Linking up with Jen.

1. I think, hope, pray that this is Charles' last trip for awhile. Like the foreseeable future awhile. He took off for what should be his last interview event this morning and will get back tomorrow evening. Poor guy was is all traveled and interviewed and small talked out, so he was not too eager to get on the plane. I was feeling so giddy about the last one (and a short one at that!) that I was feeling pretty good about the early morning airport run. Just hoping no last minute musts pop up.

2. The end of interview season means that we're on to the next stage of the never-ending residency application process: putting together a rank order list. We have an idea of what it will look like, but we're still praying over things, and would appreciate any and all additional prayers for God's guidance. I trust that we will end up in the right place for us, but I know that, often, doing God's will is not as simple as sitting back and letting it happen. We often have to take steps and be proactive in our own lives. Putting this list together is one of those moments.

3. The first half of this week felt super, crazy busy. Thankfully, the second half of the week slowed to normal, so I was able to escape the feeling that life would never, ever slow down or ever, ever find a normal equilibrium-type balance.

4. Too much blathering . . . . skip.

Random pic instead.

5. Someone (Mr. Man) is extraordinarily wiggly. He is kicking or rolling or twisting or doing some impossibly weird contorting seemingly constantly. It is definitely getting to the point where it is now less and less fun, and more and more . . . weird. And occasionally keeping me up at night. I'm trying hard to not wish pregnancy away, but when the ol' body quits at 7pm . . . well . . . I might be looking forward to holding a wiggly baby in my arms and giving him 1 million kisses. Then I remember how little sleep I'll be enjoying come April, and am content with my in utero wiggle worm for a little longer.

Kicking -- quite possibly another repeat

6. Meanwhile, my crazy mama brain has been obsessively turning, and I've gotten started on my pre-baby to do list. I have some basics coming together, ideas and plans in place, and overall feel like I'm doing a much better job than I did for Clare, and that all worked out just fine. Blah. Stupid nesting instinct.

Finally painting the nursery ready for Clare Bear at like 35 weeks.

7. Just realized that I haven't made an official prideful statement about how my basketball 'Cats are undefeated and sitting pretty in that elusive #1 spot. Bear Down!

Have a lovely weekend!!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 49

Linking up for my Friday fix with Jen and the rest.

1. This is shaping up to be one of those wonderfully crazy weekends. Charles is out of town for his next-to-last interview event. I have a BBQ with a group of friends tonight, and then I am attending a wedding tomorrow. Sunday is either going to be recovery day or get life back in order day! (Or, most likely, a little bit of both!)

2. I am so, so happy for the couple getting married tomorrow. The groom was a mutual friend of Charles' and mine before we met. The bride was a friend of Charles' from Students for Life way back in the day (you know, the mid-2000s). I would have never imagined the match in advance, but they are such a lovely couple, and I am so, so happy for them. I am praying hard for them as they begin their lives together, as one in Christ.

3. This week involved lots of getting back into the swing of things for all of us. Charles was up and at 'em bright and early Monday morning, but said it took most of the first day to warm up the ol' brain and feel like he was "on" again. Clare struggled similarly on Monday, not used to having to share my attention with things like the bathroom and breakfast dishes. She spoiled by the multitude of adults who have been around to watch her during those time in the last few weeks. Yesterday and today, though, she seems to be doing a lot better on the neediness front, so I think we're comfortably on the road to recovery.

4. One thing I was able to really take advantage of this week was getting up early, about the time Charles leaves. It can be daunting to pull myself out of a warm bed this time of year, but it is totally worth it to have time to drink a hot cup of coffee, and spend some quiet time alone in the morning while Clare is still sleeping. I've found that I am a much better mom when that need for quiet and reflection is nurtured right off the bat. I would like to do a better job of building prayer into that time, rather than just leisure, but I feel like I'm moving in the right direction. I'm sure I'll get all settled in just in time for Mr. Man to make his appearance.

5. Photo break: a girl and her (not) chello.

6. Eeep! Clare seems to be awake from her nap!! I'm going to go enjoy my post nap snuggles! :)

7. 28 weeks. I have never been one who really sits and analyzes how people carry when they are pregnant. I have always just sort of recognized that we are all different and carry differently. Plus, every pregnancy and baby are different, so not something I really worried about. But, oh my goodness! This little one is riding so. low. I've finally stopped being in denial. I practically feel him in my hips, and I'm pretty sure my bladder is already reduced to the size of a pea. On the upside, he hasn't reached my ribs or affected my breathing in any way. Less than 3 months to go!! Krazee!!

Hall bathroom selfie? Don't mind if I do.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On the Feast of St. Andre Bessette

The Roman calendar being a sentient creature (oh, wait) gave me the opportunity to get into the meat of liturgical living ('cause Advent and Christmas are easy, yo) with a bang. Since we celebrated the Epiphany on Sunday, we were able to celebrate the feast of St. Andre Bessette yesterday. In our house, though, we know him as Br. Andre.


Br. Andre is the first member of the Congregation of Holy Cross (you know them because they run Notre Dame) to be canonized. He is also the patron of Andre House, a homeless hospitality center in downtown Phoenix, where Charles did a year of service as a core staff member before beginning medical school, and where we both did a lot of hours of service in our pre-kids years. Our wedding Mass was even celebrated by the organization's current director (thanks, Fr. Eric!!), who got to serve as an EM at Br. Andre's canonization Mass in Rome.

From our living room: Top: Br. Andre Bottom: Christ of the Breadlines (end of service gift to core staff members)

In addition to providing such services to Phoenix's large homeless community (especially in the winter, thanks to the warm weather) as clothing, showers, shade, and a place to make phone calls, Andre House serves 500-700 meals (and not infrequently more), 6 nights a week. Charles and I both look forward to a time when our kids are old enough to help prep food and hand out cups of water -- learning along the way just how essential service really is to the Christian life. And that we really are all children of God, each made in His image, no matter how visible our brokenness may be.

Our feasting this year really is going to focus on feasting -- sharing through food and conversation the lives and witness of the saints, and asking for their intercession. That's my style.

Anyway, I asked Charles last weekend which Andre House meal he'd most like me to honor for Br. Andre's feast day. He told me that, since it was Monday, he'd like Monday's meal: a take on chicken a la king. At Andre House, the same meals have been served each night of the week for more years than you'd like to know.

Charles and the rest of his core staff with Bishop Olmsted -  Via
Since I'd never really seen Monday's hot dish made, I did a little research and improvisation and pulled together something that was deemed "pretty close" and which Clare scarfed down. I served it along side green beans and salad. As I finished cooking and as we ate, we took advantage of the opportunity to reminisce on time at Andre House, its rituals, and to pray for the ministry, its staff, and its continued success.

Clare's plate reminded me of the trays dinner is served on at Andre House.

St. Br. Andre, pray for us.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Medical Monday - Last Semester!!


Wait. What?

I know. I know. We all know. Time flies. Bla bla bla.

But when you're in the midst of med school's 4th year, (at least via the hubs) January feels like a hazy-dreamy milestone.

The crazy-frantic cycle of interviews are done. The crazy-frantic obsessing over your (husband's) rank order list is well underway.

Rotations are back, as of this morning, and I suspect that, in the coming days, we'll fall fully back into our familiar patterns, and all the travel and topsy-turvy that the 2nd half of 2013 brought will become an ever-fuzzier memory.

It's his last semester of school. Ever. 

Let that sink in for a second. The next time someone in this family goes to school -- first day, last day, whatever, it will be Clare. And I'm so not even thinking about that at this point.

She? Is never going to kindergarten.

In our house, there is a feeling of calm before the storm. The coming months are going to bring plenty of change, and I find myself ready to face it.

Instead of fretting about what's to come, I'm trying to enjoy the now. Trying to eat up these last rotations of medical school, because intern year rotations aren't exactly known for their free time. Trying to eat up these last weeks with an only child, because baby is going to rock her world. Trying to eat up the last weeks of pregnancy, even with the ever-increasing discomfort, focusing instead of getting ready for Mr. Man's arrival. I think, in parenting and medical training both, it is important to savor the present instead of wishing it away.

I'm excited, though, for what's to come. I'm excited for all the changes. I'm excited to, at long last, be inching closer to that residency location, and getting life figured out there. I'm excited to meet my son. I'm excited for all the milestones my little family is anticipating.

But I'm waiting in joyful hope . . . 'cause life right now is pretty darn good, too.

{Linking up with Your Doctor's Wife, From a Doctor's Wife and Kelly's Reality for Medical Mondays.}

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Friday, January 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 48

I'm getting my blogging groove back, and linking up with Jen and the rest for Friday (afternoon) (never actually quick) takes.

1. For a lot of reasons, I'm not a big New Year's party person. I'm more early bird than night owl, and I'm certainly not one for going out at this point in my life. I'm team "My Kid's Bedtime is #1." Needless to say, I'm not a big resolution person. I have goals. I have projects. I have hopes and dreams. But I feel like the time to make changes in my life is now. I think that's why a lot of resolutions fail -- because people make them on Jan. 1, because they should, rather than because they are really, truly committed in this moment to making the changes. Like I say, just my own, pet theory.

2. Accordingly, we did some major living it up on Tuesday. Charles, Clare, and I joined his fam for a Vigil Mass for Mary, Mother of God, then went out for hamburgers. From there, we brought Clare home to put her to bed and watched TV on the couch while I knocked back a couple glasses of sparkling cider. We toasted 2014 at midnight eastern (benefit to living out west -- the chance to watch the ball drop early!) and went to bed after analyzing how happy we were to not be in Times Square. Wild. And. Crazy. I know. Don't be too jealous.

(At my dad's house) She slept through the calendar change. But in her crib.

3. The most challenging thing about being a SAHM come Jan. 1 is that it takes me that much longer than it takes everyone else to remember to use "2014" when I write the date, since I write it so rarely. I will inevitably write a check in, like, March, and date it 2013. Mark my words.

4. On Monday, I found my 2014 patron using Jen's generator, and was given St. Luke, the physician, patron of doctors (among others). It is an interesting assignment, seeing how prominently the medical profession looks to be in our lives in the coming year. What with the birth of Mr. Man, and Charles' whole Match-graduation-residency (minor details) (yeah, right!!) thing. One reflection I've had already is that St. Luke would be a lovely intercessor for our family through this portion of the journey. (I also hope not to look back on the year and find that we needed his intercession for any other reasons! God, I think the birth of one baby and the minting of one doctor in the house is plenty for one year. K? Thanks!) St. Luke, pray for us.


5. I never have had a chance to sit down and prayerfully discern a word for the year, but reading through other 7QT posts today, one word kept popping into my head: patience. I'm going to roll with it. Much like St. Luke, I can see how that will obviously apply to my life this year. I'm much more interested to see how it will end up applying in unexpected ways. Or maybe God knows that I need to work with what I have this year and not try too hard to take the high road. Did you ever do that in school? Try to be all smart and academic and choose some esoteric subject for a project and end up getting burned, only to realize that you could have really, really killed it, had you just opted for a different subject? (<-- with due apologies for the run-on sentence) Just me? Please say no.

6. Monday is back-to-the-real-world day. Interview craziness is more or less over. Interview time off is definitely over, and the first rotation of his last semester will get started. I've really enjoyed having him around, and I know he's enjoyed being around, but I think we're all ready to get back into our routines. Like I have said a million times, I'm a creature of habit, so not having any kind of routine is just wearying and jarring to me. Remind me of that next week when I'm beating my head against a wall while trying to make dinner with Clare whining at my knees.

The good life.

7. 27 weeks!! Home stretch, here we come! I seriously can't believe how soon Mr. Man will be here.

Blurry, belly-only bathroom shot. You're welcome.

Have a lovely weekend!

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