3 Days in Brooklyn – but nowhere near the block

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This is what I thought of when the hotel said “room with a view “

I went to New York for Visual Studio Live 2015. It’s OK if you don’t know what that is. My eldest said it sounds like something involving geeks on ice. He was disappointed to learn that there was no ice.
I stayed at The Marriott Brooklyn Bridge, I asked for a room with a view, they said we’ll have a room for you in an hour. I went to a nail shop on Lawrence Street and got the worst pedicure EVER. The hotel called while the wax chick was trying to convince me to get my upper lip done (as if). I was so excited I gave the baggage check dude a generous tip, grabbed my luggage and raced to my 18th floor room.
I ..was..so..disappointed. My view was of a building under construction and a rooftop playground full of kids. Am I wrong for thinking that a room with a view – at a hotel with the word “bridge” in it’s name- meant  a view of the water?

At least I was around the corner from Fulton Street and I enjoyed shopping from street vendors, cause I miss that sort of thing. I would have shopped some of the discount stores but I’m trying to do that frugal thing.

Had an awesome dinner with my two baby brothers at Sancho’s in Bay Ridge. And I got my water fix in by walking down to the Promenade . I miss being able to walk everywhere and I miss all the people. So I really enjoyed people watching as I walked.

I want this house

I want this house

Regrets- conference hours, time and my iffy back meant I did not get to go back to the block. That’s OK, going to do it next year for sure-:)

5 Things You Should Know About Contour from Cox (aka why I plan to cancel my cable)

I was recently “upgraded” to Contour. I was very excited – you can watch shows in one room, pause and continue in another room. I thought that would be cool. You have more stations available on OnDemand. The layout is beautiful . I thought that I would be happy with it but I spend less time watching than I had originally planned because:

1. One day, with no prior warning, the remotes just  stopped working – naturally you think it’s a problem with the battery and you spend your time trying to fix that, then you find out that the other remote doesn’t work either…call Cox.

2. Select a show to watch ,hit start, view the black screen of nothingness. Go back, start again and hopefully it works. This will happen for every show that you watch (at least on the main box).

3. In my bedroom I have a secondary box and it has no clock. NO CLOCK, in a bedroom. How am I supposed to know what time my hot flashes wake me up if I don’t have a clock? Whose stupid idea was it to make a box with nothing but a tiny orange light? And while we’re on the subject of clocks, can I speak to the 20 year old who designed these, blue light on a black background? Even the 11 year old grandchild has trouble seeing it.

4. I watch more Amazon Prime and Netflix than I do my cable (which costs me a whole lot more). As soon as I get an hour or two of catching up on shows in than the box  throws an error and I just give up for a couple of days. What make sthem think i want to call customer service every five minutes?

5. Speaking of customer service, they’re very nice, the wait times are fairly short, and they understand my frustration but cannot comprehend why I would want to be credited for the time that I spend NOT watching my very expensive cable programming.

Oh and sometimes it doesn’t pause the live shows . Or you stop a program in the middle and are forced to start from the beginning.

But that’s like 7 things and I only promised five. If you only watch live programming, Contour is fine for you. But if you can only watch television at certain times and are a huge fan of OnDemand, then don’t bother quite yet.



10 Cool Things About Having a Foley Catheter

1. You can pee anywhere ..oh for crying out loud, you didn’t really believe that title did you? It’s what you call a loss leader, just a little something to get you into the store. I had a second surgery last week – no, not because the first one didn’t take- to repair my ureter which was kinked or sutured or ignored in such a way as to cause my birth canal to become Niagara Falls.

I can’t help thinking that if my gyn-surgeon had listened to me when I said “do not take all of my lady parts” I wouldn’t be lying here writing this. On “Burn Notice” Fiona would say “Should we shoot them?“. I think of her every time I tell someone new about what has happened to me , because they always ask “Can you sue them?”

Truth is that I probably could sue them but I’m a bleeding heart liberal (or so my right wing friends tell me) and I don’t see the fucking point in bringing a suit. Wait, let me go ahead and digress here :

When you are in recovery, you are fair game for anyone who wants to make a dishonest dollar. Please be careful. Stop being such a control freak, and turn your debit card and financial decisions over to your significant other or your Mom or some responsible adult other than you with the fuzzy mind and the inability to remember the words that you need to describe things and end sentences. End of digression.

So back to this lawsuit. My sister says that I shouldn’t do it for money but I should at least do it for all of the other women who could be hurt by this doctor, as well as what I have lost because my recovery  from the first surgery never ended and so far this recovery has been no bed of tulips or whatever. I just want to get better and get back to work and life. I don’t want to spend a lot of time with lawyers or in courts. I don’t want to hurt any nice people (my gyn is a really nice lady) or ruin their practice /life. We’ll see.

So how do I feel? I feel even more emotional now than I did after the first one – because whatever residual hormones I had left are gone baby gone. I feel tired most of the time, short forays from my bed only provide a reason to go back to bed. I have kept a temperature above 99 every afternoon and evening since coming home (we can discuss some other time why they sent me home 24 hours after my surgery, even though my insurance approved a 4 night stay). This catheter is slowly sucking my energy and life-force (although I did manage to score an Amazon deal a few minutes ago,so I still have some juice).

I am sure that there are people who enjoy having catheters and I am also sure that they are really old and just tired of getting out of bed in the middle of the night to go potty.


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Where Are All My Friends? The Polarizing Force of Radio,Television And Blogs

Years ago I had a lot of friends, and according to Facebook, I still do (but I don’t believe that boshwah because I know better).  I was first introduced to the negative after effects of talk radio by Tom, a coworker who believed that he was Axl Rose, (whole nother story that) and that racism was dead, and that black people (except for me of course), were lazy welfare swindlers and a lot of other crap that I’ve since erased from my memory banks. Tom was a Rush Limbaugh listener, and what struck me about Tom was not the things he said, but the angry and loud way in which he said them. I cannot think of one single moment in a scary movie that can rival being stuck alone in an industrial sized building for 12 hours a day 3 days a week with a Limbaugh Lunatic. Thank God we could at least agree on Rock and Roll. That was almost 2 decades ago and things have gotten worse instead of better. Had I known then that our political affiliation would become the thing that defines us and determines the length and breadth of our friendships, I would have made the effort to only friend Democrats and Left leaning Independents (and yes that is laughable so go ahead chuckle).

I thought I had friends at the job I worked for 10 years. We did lunch, hugs, Christmas presents, and talked about our husbands, wives, kids, and money issues . But all the while, they were being groomed by talk radio too, or maybe it was Fox News, or maybe it’s already in your DNA? I dunno. Two years ago I happened on one of my “friends” in an elevator, I was so happy to see this friend that I rushed over to give them a hug – they actually physically cringed and shrank into the back of the elevator, the look on my friend’s face was priceless, and the moment is stamped in my consciousness like a bad dream that I just can’t shake. I didn’t know what I had done to create whatever animosity, dislike, or disdain that this person felt for me  – but when I saw some of their more recent Facebook  posts I got what some folks would call “a clue”.

Then there are my other besties who no longer call or respond to emails, or even interact with me in any way shape or form on the public forum we call Facebook.

They say that politics is polarizing America, but I don’t believe it not even for a second. We used to be able to agree to disagree and then go get drunk together. Heck we even used to (gasp) marry outside of our Party.  It’s all the angry (probably white, but sometimes not) men that’s really pulling us apart (did I say that out loud? Ok I went back and amended it) . So tell me, former friends of mine – if you have a roof over your head, a good job, food in your mouth, and the kids are alright- what are you so effing mad about? And why are you mad at me?

And one last question – you keep telling me you “want America back”, but since you also say that it’s not about the President being Black and it’s not about him not being Black enough, and since back assumes that there has been forward movement to some place that’s undesirable to you- then what or whom do you want your country back from?

And another question (sorry this one baffles me so much I gotta ask it twice)- what are you so mad about?

I sure wish you’d turn the radio off, stop reading blogs that offer affirmation rather than information, mute the TV and put some music on, it will calm your nerves.

The First Half: Life ,FootBall , Whitney Houston

Life is like  football (a game I don’t know squat about) you get two 4 quarters and two halves; you can screw up the first quarter, bounce back in the 2nd quarter, rest on your laurels in the 3rd quarter, and come roaring back in the 4th with a Hail Mary that brings home the win. Of course there are alternate scenarios but my point is that you get a lot of chances in life and as some famous guy once said “It ain’t over till it’s over”.

Nothing yanks my crank more than someone who thinks that life has a three strikes and you’re out rule.

Someone in my FaceBook stream asked why is it that we mourn celebrities more than we mourn ordinary people? The answer is obvious – we don’t. I can offer my condolences on the passing of your loved one, but chances are that I (and others) don’t know anything about your loved one – what they looked like, who they married, how many children they’re leaving behind, their favorite movie or song. So while we mourn your loss we don’t really feel it the way we would if it were our own loss.

Celebrities on the other hand –well if something they did or said ever affected our lives  in any way shape or form then we can really feel that loss.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about, and after a conversation with a friend of mine I’m feeling some kind of way about what I was going to say but I’ll say it anyway:

If you’ve ever been active in MLM/network marketing and/or read a lot of personal development books then you’ve probably heard in passing stories about Grandma Moses (who did not start painting until she was in her 70s) and Colonel Sanders of KFC fame who at age 65 had to start over when an interstate put an end to his roadside business. What these two lives illustrate is the idea that it’s never too late to start over and life really does have a second half.

Which brings me to Whitney Houston and how saddened I was by her death. Back in 2007 I had a huge fight with a co-worker because I said that Brittney Spears was going to be alright and he said that there was no way in hell that she could come back from all the craziness. Obviously one of us was wrong, and I should’ve put some money on that.

I believe in comebacks. I love a good redemption story. Nothing makes me happier than to see someone turn to face their demons and then vanquish them (probably why I was such a big fan of the shows  Charmed and Supernatural). In short I believe in a second half  – and I’m always surprised to discover that there are  people who don’t.

Whitney died before her second half and that my friends means its over.

Do you believe that we get a second, third, fourth chance to hit our stride and make  our mark?

Ten Things I Enjoyed This Summer

Benjamin Bratt at awards night at Sundance
Image by qbac07 via Flickr

It’s almost official, Summer is over. You can try to hang on to her if you want but it’s not the same with the kids back in school and roads clogged with traffic. So here is my summer roundup, watched a lot of TV, read a couple of books, exercised – sometimes I did it all at the same time just to keep things interesting.  Swam in the pool next door once, got my tan for the summer (only swim once every summer, don’t ask me why).

For your reading pleasure and in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things:

  1. TNT – they know drama. Those guys on “Dark Blue ” are hotttt in a dark undercover kinda way.
  2. Chester Himes – read a collection of his short stories, took me back to my youth. Especially loved “A Modern Fable” . A political tale which could have been written yesterday but was actually written 30 to 50 years ago.  It’s about a politician and a common man during the depression. The politician promises increased wages for WPA workers, the common man votes for him. The new senator gets in office and votes against a bill that would increase the wages of WPA workers because he just cannot see leaving that much debt for future genrations. The WPA program is abolished and the now unemployed and homeless common man gets a gun and visits the Senator…read it for yourself, Chester tells the story much better. I also liked “Prediction” it’s dark, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
  3. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the story of a young girl growing up in Nigeria. Her father is religious & has some ideas about raising children that are  “different”.  A great read.
  4. P90X – Someone gifted me with a copy of this and I absolutely love it.  The workouts are different enough to keep you interested an hard and intense enough to actually change your body. They just came out with Insanity and I’m thinking about it.  Check it all out here
  5. Burn Notice – don’t you just love the way this is narrated? How he teaches budding operatives how to be full fledged operatives? I really like Sharon Gless as his Mom,  but then I like her as anyone’s Mom and am just happy to see her looking good and doing her thing.
  6. Marching Band Camp – I am blessed with the exalted  position of “Hospitality Chair” for the Grayson High School MB. This means I got the chance to  spend two months convincing businesses and churches to donate food so that we could feed the little darlings for two weeks. Band kids are great, and I am lucky to be a band Mom.
  7. Columbus OH –  traveled there on business and took  the hubby with me, we had not had a vacation alone in many, many years (not since Montego Bay in the late 90s). Downtown Columbus is beautiful, we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn which is an old bank converted into a hotel. We ate at Jambo a cajun restaurant across the street from the hotel which had just opened – excellent.
  8. The health care debate – well not really. But it took up so much of my summer I thought I’d mention it. I have watched in stunned disbelief  as people who have stood up for nothing in the past 10 years, began falling for everything that was thrown at them . Seriously folks – death panels?
  9. Facebook – I have had the opportunity to reconnect with so many wonderful friends of my youth all thanks to FB;  gotta love it
  10. The Cleaner – Benjamin Bratt sizzles as a recovering addict who talks to God and assists other addicts in cleaning up (ok he abducts them, handcuffs them to a bed, and makes em go cold turkey –  but they usually come around to seeing things his way).

I just started using the Core4 products from CNI, will talk about that in my Fall roundup, LOL. So what did you do this summer?

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The Elephant in the Room| How I Crossed My Racial Divide

guesswhoscomingtodinnerBack in 1997 when my teenage son began dating the blonde haired, blue-eyed girl next door, my reaction can almost be called hypocritical. After all, hadn’t I spent the years after my divorce specifically dating only Caucasian males?

Well perhaps it was this specificity in my past choices, which led me to believe (as many still do) that just as lesbians and gay men “choose” to be homosexual, so do teenagers “choose” to date outside of their race.  I was distraught over my son’s choice because I felt that in choosing to date a white girl, he was rejecting his  Black mother, and all of the other Black women in his family tree.

So, what did I do? Well what could I do?  You know from my previous posts that I love my children just the way that God gave them to me – unconditionally. And, for  that reason, I would never allow them to feel less than loved by me.  When my son was 5, he said to me “Mommy, how come you’re white and we’re black”.  Hmmm,  even at 5 my boy had deep thoughts ; as you well know, I am not white, but I am less brown than my children are and I mention this only to illustrate that kids don’t start seeing color and differences until we point them out.

When it comes to people, our childrens’  likes and dislikes are based on their feelings about those people, and race and ethnicity don’t even come into play for them. That is until we start to point it out. I think that my reaction to his choice of girlfriend freaked my son out because I am the last of the hippie chicks, the love everybody equally generation, the don’t judge a person by what’s on the outside school of thought.

And there I was being a big fat hypocrite when my son did exactly as he was taught and didn’t judge the book by it’s cover!

12 years later I am older, wiser and more accepting. I know now that you love who you love, and like Michael Jackson so eloquently stated “it don’t matter if you’re Black or White” . I know that my childrens choices when it comes to their partners is not a rejection of me or their race. I believe that if we leave them be, our children will obliterate the racial divide – if we let them.

Unfortunately, I saw on Mamapedia that there are parents who are now entering the struggle.  I have a friend who is white and her  teenage daughter likes  a Black  child in her grade. They are unofficially dating, I don’t have a problem with it, but my friend does, even though she has never mentioned it to me.  I feel like there is a big old elephant in the room every time we are together, that there is something we should talk about but don’t. We discuss husbands, diets, raising kids – you name it. But I see the elephant out of the corner of my eye, and I so want to mention him.

I know in my heart, that she will come around on her own, 12 years from now she will probably laugh about this and wonder why the situation upset her so much. You see when our children date outside of their race it’s not about us, and if we will remove ourselves from the equation we would not be upset about the color of the other person and we would be free to judge them on “the content of their character”,  just the same way we judge anyone who dares to date our child.

I think it’s telling that this interracial relationship is totally accepted by her child’s peers. The future looks bright after all.

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Cleaning Out My Closet | What Happens When Your Child “Comes Out”

Défilé de PASTT à la Gay Pride à Paris en France
Image via Wikipedia

It’s summer, I’m traveling, I have Marching Band camp and I’m launching a new application at work. Finding myself in this blogging topics dead zone I checked Mamapedia to see if there were any questions that struck a chord. I stumbled upon a Mom whose 18 year old son told her that he is gay.  I thought to myself ” well there’s a topic with teeth “;  why? because I have been there and done that and quite a few years of experience that I can bring to the table.

I don’t recall exactly how long ago it was that my handsome boy came to me and said “Mom, there’s something I have to talk to you about”. I had no idea where the conversation was going to lead when we sat down in my “meditation room” to talk.  He was very straightforward and said “I’m gay”.  I don’t remember my reaction (resignation?), I recall asking a lot of questions and being a little hurt that I was not the FIRST person that he told.

I do remember telling him to never forget that I gave birth to a boy and not a girl and I’d better not catch him being a flamer. In retrospect that was probably a mean thing to say, but he has honored me by respecting that one request. Of course I  worried about him being out there in a world that can be so mean to people who are different – after all as hard as it can be to be a black hip-hop looking kid, how much harder to be a Gay black hip-hop looking kid?

When I told my husband and older son they gave me a “so?” kind of look, they always knew and wanted to know why I didn’t. I think that helped me to get through the process faster than a mother who is on her own with a revelation like this. And, yes, I think that I probably knew all along but was in denial about it. I think Moms know their children better than anyone else and when a child “comes out” they’ve really just voiced what we’ve known for a very long time.

Well back to the Mother on Mamapedia, she’s devastated, upset because she will never have grandchildren from this child (she has others), and has actually removed his pictures from the house because she can’t stand to look at him.  I fully understand how she is feeling. You see as parents we tend to see our children as both an extension of ourselves and the path to  fulfillment of  our unrealized hopes  and dreams. We think our children and their lives are about us, when really it’s about them. And that’s where we go wrong.

Imagine how hard it is to sit down with your mother  (your first love, your lifeline, your shelter in all storms) and tell her something that you hope will not cause her to cast you away. How does the child feel when their Mommy does exactly that? Throws them away, letting them know without words that they are useless and worthless because they’ve made a “bad choice” (yeah like a kid would choose to be a pariah).

My son told me that he’d known since he was young  that he was probably homosexual. He said that when he was 15 he tried to kill himself becaus eof the kids at school and his own confusion. I didn’t hear the whole story because blood rushed to my head and i blacked out with my eyes open at the very idea that I could have lost him and never known why. My children are undeniably the loves of my life, I would never for any reason stop loving them. Being gay is small stuff, being dead … well that’s pretty final.

For some, a child coming out of the closet is  in some small way like a death in the family, you will go through the phases of grieving:

  1. Shock  – you may experience feelings of disbelief or may be momentarily unable to feel anything at all.
  2. Denial – this is where you decide that it’s ” just a phase” and send your teen to counseling or a church “re-training” program.
  3. Bargaining – usually with God, but you may try to bargain with your child too (“I’ll buy you a new car if you promise to stay away from your homosexual friends”)
  4. Guilt – “What did I do wrong?” , “Was he too much of a Mama’s boy?”, “I shouldn’t have let her play sports”
  5. Anger is another totally natural part of the grieving process. Unfortunately, in these cases all of the anger tends to be directed at the child, mainly because parents think this is a choice they made out of defiance or some such.
  6. Depression – this can be alleviated by remembering that your child is still here, they didn’t die, it’s only one of  your expectations for them that died. Remember that Gay men and women do become parents, they go to college, they attend church, they live the same types of lives that we do.
  7. Acceptance  – I have read of parents who refused to speak to or see  their children after they’ve come out. What an absolute waste.

I have never been to a meeting (never thought about it actually) but I hear that PFLAG can help parents through to acceptance. Check their site for a chapter near you.

While having babies doesn’t come with a “contract” like marriage and business relationships, the act of conceiving, birthing, and keeping your baby creates a binding contract. You promise to love that baby unconditionally, treat it fairly, and set it free when it’s time. People who deny their children based on a condition ( sexual orientation, choice of marriage partner, not meeting expectations) did not deserve those children in the first place.

I did not personally go through all of the stages of grieving, I’m a pretty modern woman, have been lucky to have fantastic Gay friends (yes even in the Marine Corps back in the 70s) and was able to get over myself fairly quickly. My son has been with the same person for almost a decade and they plan to make it official some time next year –  and of course I will be there -:)

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How To Deal With School Bullies When Your Child is the Victim

Image taken by me on March 5, 2007.
Image via Wikipedia

I  was combing through the bathroom archives (you know that thick stack of reading material that you keep under the cabinet in the loo?) and found  a “Best Life ” magazine from 2008. There was a great article in there about how one father handled the situation when his child was being bullied. This article stirred up a lot of emotions in me, partly because I was bullied as a child and also because an 11 year old here in GA (Jaheem Herrera) hung himself as a consequence of having been the victim of bullying.

I had also noticed on Mamapedia a question from a Mom who is at her wits end because her girls are being bullied and she absolutely does not know what to do about it. So for anyone out there who’s child is a victim and also for RS in Kansas City, I  want to share

How To Deal With School Bullies When Your Child is the Victim

The first step in handling bullying is actually learning how to recognize that your child is being bullied. But it’s hard to look for some of these symptoms if no one is at home when your child comes from school every afternoon.  I was bullied because I was an immigrant, I talked funny, the other kids hated me so they beat me up every afternoon like clockwork.

My Mom was a single parent and a nurse who worked the swing shift – that’s 3Pm to 12AM. Since she was usually not home when I got home, I don’t think she ever knew what was going on.   Strive to be there for your children after school, it’s really so very important. Look for symptoms such as :

  • a sudden loss of appetite
  • or your child is ravenous when she gets home because she isn’t eating
  • your child is sleeping more than usual
  • your child is restless and can’t sleep at all
  • your child pretends to be ill to get out of going to school or looks for reasons to stay inside

How does a parent handle bullying? Isn’t this one of those things that kids should “work through”? Shouldn’t the school take care of this? I got lucky, I had my sister Penny who was fearless and put a stop to the whole bullying thing for me. But your child may only have you to help them, and help them you must, the loss of self-esteem associated with bullying can follow a child into adulthood and define the kind of person they become.

The important thing to remember is to create and leave a paper trail. in the case here in GA the school and county deny that the parents ever asked them to address the issue. Here are a few tips from that article that I read in the bathroom:

  1. Talk to your child and find out exactly what is going on, have him name the people involved.
  2. Arrange one meeting with as many school administrators present as possible: the principal, the vice principal, your child’s teacher, the guidance counselor, the dean
  3. Address the issue at the meeting, ask that they keep this person (s) away from your child. If they want to take a  “boys will be boys”  attitude then make sure to throw in words like “civil rights are being violated” and other terms that make it seem you are willing to take further (possibly legal) action.
  4. Write a letter to all parties after the meeting listing the items discussed an agreements reached.  Keep a copy of this letter, a little paper goes a long way to proving your case should this situation escalate.
  5. Contact the parents of the bully or bullies in question, let them know that some tension exists between your children and you plan to do your est to keep your child away from theirs and you would like them to do the same. Let them know that you have had a meeting with school administrators (chances are they will then call the school, which now makes this a very important issue to administrators).
  6. Follow up by writing a letter to the parents summarizing your discussion , the issue at hand, and the solutions that you both proposed. Keep copies of these letters.

The bottom line is that you cannot control other people’s children, nor do you want to be the Mom or Dad in the schoolyard tussling with a bully and embarrassing the heck out of yourself and your  child. But people can and usually will control their own kids if they feel that they have something to lose by not doing so.

How about you, have you been bullied or had to deal with bullying in your child’s life?  What solutions worked for you?

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Which Michael Jackson are you mourning?

I am a pretty emotional person who feels things deeply. Back in 97, I got up at 2 am to watch Princess Di’s funeral- and cried through the entire thing (she died on the day I finally received my bachelors degree and they buried her onmy birthday, should have been a great week for me, I know). When my dog Storm passed last month, I cried for days afterwards. And let’s not even talk about Tupac.

Of course I am mourning MJ and my husband knows this, so last night he asked me to pose a question to my friends and readers. The question is “Which Michael Jackson died for you on Thursday?”

Is it the little guy in the suede vest singing “I Want You Back”?

Or is it the gawky adolescent who sang “Ben”?

Maybe for you it’s the dude who brought us “Thriller”, “Beat It”, and “Billie Jean”

Did Michael Jackson the MoonWalker and “Smooth Criminal” pass away?

Or was it just Wacko Jacko? That overexposed and strange looking dude?

Leave a comment!

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