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Archive for the category “Order of Appearance”

Don’t Act As Though I Am The Only One

I remember my dad pulling into a parking space that there seemingly was no one else around. Perhaps it was to catch his breath, perhaps it was to enjoy an ice cream cone without having eyes studying your every move.. but then it would happen. Another car would pull up and park in a space very near if not right beside us. He would become annoyed, angry at other times. However, the constant thought /statement was, “They just came over here/parked here because I was here.” The older I got the more ridiculous it seemed to me for him to say. My dad was a kind, smart, rational man. However, when that statement came out of his mouth, he seemed far from any of the afore mentioned adjectives.

The years are advancing, the body is changing, and the mind is playing tricks on us all. Sometimes I want/need to be alone. I am comfortable in a restaurant eating a meal or going to a movie unaccompanied, for in those places you never really are alone. My refuge has become my vehicle. I am in control in there, no one giving me suggested routes or directing me to the closest spot to the door of a given retail establishment. I don’t seem to be bound by the four walls of a building either. It feels of freedom. Just me and my music, if I chose to play music. I also MUST note how powerful I feel having that absolute power over the sounds in my car. Remember not-so-long ago we were subject to AM/FM radio.

On a particular Friday afternoon, I found myself in one of those moods that insisted I NEEDED to be alone. I did not argue or resist. I hoped in the car and took off for parts unknown (not too far away it was a Friday). I decided that I felt hungry enough to eat, but rather than grab something from a fast-food joint I opted for a grocery store meal. That felt better, healthier even though that may or may NOT have been the case. You can talk yourself into anything, if you put a little effort in. I even had to get out and walk to get said meal.

Mission accomplished, I had my food and a bottle on kombucha. I did not like the parking lot vibe of the market and sought a more secluded calm spot. I settled on what seemed to be a less frequented shopping plaza that had a national chain hardware store as an anchor. I found the perfect spot under a tree and the concrete planter assured at least one space on one side of me would be unoccupied. Plus, it was the middle of the day Friday, surely folks had other things to do. I was not worried in the least.

I got about 3 minutes into my meal when a small white sedan pulled into a spot directly across from me one space to the left. I tried NOT to notice or pay attention and continued eating my food. Now a full-sized red truck pulls in next to the planter on the other side. Let’s not forget the silver sports car, which had clearly just been waxed. I looked around the parking lot, there were plenty of spaces, closer to the stores, I felt it coming on. Maybe I would have felt better if everyone pulled out something to eat or even drink, but that didn’t happen. I found myself locked into paying attention to these people and to what they, in their respective cars, were doing. This annoyed me immensely and at first, I thought,” Just start the car up and move to another spot on the lot or go home”. However, I was now genuinely hungry. I decided to stay put and do what I intended to do in the first place. Then it happened and a smirk of a smile came across my face as I thought about my father…I said aloud,” Dad, you were right all along. They did park in these spaces just because I was here.”

Misuses and Manipulations

Here we go again. Someone opens their mouth or writes an opinion piece or gets cause saying something that can come back and bite them in the butt. When and where does that happen you may naively ask? You needn’t look far. In our society one that vacillates from 1st Amendment rights to sticking the perpetual foot in one’s mouth it has become the flavor of the day. Yet at the heart of it all we find the real victim, WORDS.

Just because you went to school and successfully completed an English class or two does NOT mean you know how to use words, let alone use them wisely. We have been reduced to creatures that would rather text than talk. Ever hear, “If you don’t use it, you will lose it”. Well folks many have done just that..LOST IT!

Proclaiming the right to say what they please because the U.S. Bill of Rights grant them this freedom. I venture to say if presented that way many of these same folks would scratch their heads in confusion because “they” were speaking of the Constitution. YIKES!!!. This is a pondering research point in case you missed it.

Listen, just because you can does NOT mean you should. Joe Rogan, case in point. I do not follow this guy; prior to his apology for using racial slurs more than once on HIS PODCASTS, he was insignificant to me. I did bother to look him up and found where his fame came from. Still not impressed or moved by his idiocy (my opinion). I have to point out what is taking up considerable time; our ability to take whatever we are fed by media, celebrity, hearsay and then running with it. Please read this whole blog before you tear it, me, my opinion to shreds.

Political views, lack of concern for our fellow human beings, headline grabbing, and greed now shapes the way we see one another more than ever. What’s more we are rapidly losing our ability to physically speak/ talk to one another. I’ll just send a text is a way of life. Therefore, you have a society of people who don’t know what they are talking about, saying things they do not understand and NOT caring who they offend or hurt in the process. There is no room for tact, decorum, or facts in this society thus we are all becoming victims and causalities of this behavior. A great place to hide is in the phrase and one time rule of thumb Absence Of Malice. However, who needs that anymore? Just say anything. (sarcasm)

Take this from me, from this piece. I do not think anyone has the right to use a racial slur. I do believe many more than ones caught on tape (so to speak) do. I do believe in the freedoms granted by the 1st amendment, but I also believe it is misused, manipulated and left up to the interpretation of whomever has a stake in the game at any given moment. We as humans are all capable of making honest mistakes, we are also all capable of learning from them. If I do something or say something wrong allow me to make an effort to make it right. However, if I do this wrong thing in a blatant public fashion, take for granted I knew what I was doing and expect me to accept the consequences. I have no doubt Joe Rogan is sorry, I just question how and what he is actually sorry for. To the folks who do not think an apology is enough then figure out what is acceptable and then be willing to be the recipient of that SAME fate if you are ever caught doing the same/similar. Idealistic… perhaps but then this is ONLY my humble opinion.

My”Bloody”Ear

I just HAD to have that third earring! It has literally been a thorn in my side from the beginning. First, I grew up during an era when it was stylish to pierce from lobe to cartilage. I did not get my ears pierced until I was 16. While many of my other classmates and contemporaries went through the process of string, straws and finally actual earrings my lobes remained intact. Why you might ask. I certainly wanted them pierced like the other little girls. Something about having shiny little pieces of gold, silver, or birthstones in your ears just added to perceived beauty. Not many little girls do NOT want to be seen as pretty. My barrier was my mom. Mom had seen a girl with keloids, rather large ones hanging from her ears and decided she would NEVER pierce her ears and subsequently no daughter of hers would either. As we grew into young teenagers these decorations became more ornate and colorful. I now realized they were status symbols, attention getters.

Earrings had peace signs on them, black fists, happy faces, flowers, hearts, even marijuana leaves by the time we got to high school in the late 1970’s. However, I had “missed the boat” already. The last thing I wanted to be was noticed or have attention drawn to me. Yet at 16 armed with my beautiful best friend and her equally beautiful mother, I got up the nerve to ask my mother if I could pierce my ears. To my surprise mom said YES. Off to the mall we scurried and while I was denied the “pageantry” of strings and straws, I was at last able to finally sport cute shiny objects in my ears. They went virtually unnoticed.

Before I turned 20, I had the 2nd holes in my ears. I was on my way to being an ornate young lady with piercings lining my entire outer edge of my ears and that was where the process stopped. I spoke with females in passing and was informed that the closer one got to the cartilage the more painful and cumbersome the piercings would become. I wasn’t about no pain. Now we had ushered in multiple piercings, the men were now more readily sporting earrings (although men in other countries had been piercing their ears since before sailors went around the Cape of Good Hope and marked the accomplishment with a single gold hoop in the left ear). I still had my same two holes in each lobe without incident.

Flash forward, my inaugural trip to Hawaii I felt incomplete without getting that 3rd piercing. Therefore, I did it. I told the young lady at the piercing spot in the local mall I did not want it higher on my lobe but pointed her to an area that was beside my uppermost piercing. I naively thought she does this all the time if it would be a problem, she certainly would not do it AND she would tell me why. No such thing occurred. I had selected the diamond stud a bit more expensive made of better materials and because over the years I had discovered an allergy that prevented me from wearing “fashion” jewelry without suffering the consequence of itching rashes. I followed the instructions and waited for my ears to heal. The progress did not seem to be moving forward, it also did not seem to be any real problem associated with the piercing either. I wanted to be able to wear hoop earrings to Hawaii but since the ears had not healed completely that did not happen. During the past 4 years I have babied, treated and endured the sensitive 3rd piercing I just had to have! The left ear was the bigger problem, but the right would act up also.

Most recently I was in my bed and that left lobe felt itchy and sore to the touch. I was too lazy to get out of the bed and figured it was time to put some healing, anti-bacterial agent on my troublesome ear. I took the white gold hoop out finding noting unusual. As I applied the ointment, I felt a bit of fluid. It was wet enough to cause me to get up. I then saw the blood. I, quite annoyed, treated the ear. The process sent me on this psychological journey, that gave life to this piece. In the end I have decided if this ear gives me the slightest problem again, I am merely going to let it close up. I have long hair that mostly covers my ears anyway, so my everyday earrings are not so important now.

What I wonder is why it took so long and why such an arduous trip to discover I really did not need another piercing in my ears. A discovery I kinda made about 44 years ago. And I made it without the help of “my bloody ear” or my ear “bloody”.

Looking For Love and Waiting for It to Find You

Is this a lost battle before it begins. I have to wonder. As you are tossed in the dating pool, you struggle to tread the waters of uncertainty, new rules, perpetrators, and let downs. No one said this would be easy. There are also no guarantees there will be any successes, but oh how we dread being alone.

Who among us wants to be viewed as undesirable? Plagued by images of blissful couples, faced with cliche’s such as “there’s a hat for every head” and plenty others, each day we are whisked into a battle to protect our egos as well as our very being. What is the formula and is the formula good for everyone?

As a writer I came to realize that I gravitate towards situations that I feel as though I can control. What situations one might ask. I will only admit to, “most“. Therefore, as I examined the world through the eyes of an individual seeking companionship, I encountered the usual pitfalls. Beginning with I like you do you like me? Sadly, beyond the superficial the answer tends to be NO. What is it about attraction that is so complicated? One either appeals to you or they don’t. However, that is not where the confusion begins or ends.

Approaching this with logic seemed to be the way to go, coupled with the control freak in me, I was fairly confident this process would yield favorable results. Starting with honesty I laid out a seemingly accurate blueprint for what I was in search of. I did not believe it would be an instant success, but I felt with a little patience, in a few months I should have a couple of suitable suitors of which might evolve into something more. I now laugh at the naive and rather arrogant expectation. I also must add, I am not a quitter, so this is NOT over.

As I believe that the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. I also believe that falling in love does not necessarily make your heart skip a beat, but it allows it to maintain a steady rhythm. When you fall into your lover’s embrace it is not always the excitement that makes it real, substantial, and strong. It is the comfort of finding HOME; a safe, warm space for your heart…

Twice A Child IV-Acceptance

This is my current situation; I am weak, my doctor has told me I need to take even more medication and now I cannot even escape my reality for a few hours by going out unaccompanied. What would you do? That seems an easy enough dilemma, I say. However, I forgot to mention a little thing I am 81 years of age. When presented with this problem at our own individual ages, we think what we would do at the only age we truly can identify with, we exist in the now. Therefore the solution I come up with, may very well NOT be the solution needed here.

I think get yourself healthy first, that means following doctors orders, resting taking your medication. Hey but I only have one prescription to take, once a day. Additionally, I CAN come and go as I please. Maybe the unorthodox way is not completely out-of-order. Sometimes in spite of things, we as individuals do know a little something about self. There is the basic underlying fear something bad or worse could happen if these restrictions are not honored.  However, we as the helpers have to put ourselves in those elder shoes and realize how the confined feeling would affect us. “Toss caution to the wind”.. well maybe sit it outside so it can gradually pick you up and blow along slowly.

Human Beings will do amazing, unusual, desperate things in order to make themselves feel some level of comfort/self-comfort. Our aging loved ones may hold onto items or a routine that makes them feel like their situation is not changing unless they themselves let/make it change (i.e. needing to pay bills daily OR using that as an excuse to get out of  the house).

Patience,vigilance, and understanding will prove to be your double-edge-sword. Perhaps you will do daily battles with it. Words of caution, you may not always win. Now is a time when vantage points and perspective take on an entirely new meaning, and my friends our is not the only view involved here.

Twice A Child III-Denial

I disregarded the fact that she had just told me this same story the last time we talked and that was just two days ago. When she said the trash collector will be here today because he comes on Friday and it was actually Sunday, I barely paid attention. Then she lost her house keys, twice in a month. I rationalized, well I have lost my keys in my purse so that is no big deal. When she told me she had her purse stolen from the exam room at her doctor’s office I was furious! I called the head administrator, I called the local police department, we made out reports. Today I can look at these things and so many others and I know I was in denial. I did not want to face the facts. However, the facts may spare you and your loved one at least some undue duress.

Fact like the most typical early detection is CRUCIAL for diagnosis and treatment. Many factor are weighed in regarding diseases of the mind. All memory disorders are NOT dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease gets tossed around as the catch all for older people with some memory impairments but Alzheimer’s has some very case specific symptoms that separates it from all the rest. Other physical disorders can affect the mind like diabetes and high blood pressure. Pain exacerbates these conditions as well. In our effort to be PC and kind we are calling these conditions out of their name, and it not only puts you in the wrong state of mind it puts others and perhaps the ones you love suffering from these conditions in a misguided, misinformed state. Speak to a medical professional, do reading on your own, and KNOW your family history. The person you may be caring for now could easily be you in the years to come.

This not to say every little misplaced item or forgotten lunch date is cause for concern. One must weigh each situation accordingly; listen to others around your loved one and speak directly with them. Just because you are close to someone, does NOT mean you know all about them.That closeness can be the very reason you are in denial. As our group maneuvers through this era of our lives these are some of the realities we are faced with. Our parents, if we are so blessed to have them still, are in the “twilight” of their lives. Some may live on to their late 90’s. 100 is not as uncommon as it used to be. Some of them may never loose their sense of consciousness, others may look at us one day and no have any idea who we are, and then there are all the variations in-between. However, we are strong and we will get through this, too. Simply be aware.

Twice A Child II-Anger

When you fall from grace there generally is no cushion.  No matter how you brace yourself the landing is rough. A sudden abrupt thud. Examining the some of the stages we experience with this aging process, I think this is one of the more difficult ones, but to be honest one really isn’t better than the other. They are all emotional avalanches.

There he or she is, they look remotely familiar at times they look exactly like this person you know and love, then something strange occurs. You tell yourself how ridiculous this is, how out of character this person is behaving, what you have to realize is they are no more in control of this change than you are. Oh how you long for the person you used to know. At times you may get a glimpse of that individual again, but as unpredictable as a gust of wind they will disappear on you. Then you must realize the look is what looks, are surface impressions and superficial. Your loved one is transitioning and for your own sake you had better try to as well. I am not talking exclusively about death here.

I warn you take you hearts off your sleeves, because these folks you were once so close to, will pull no punches. From nowhere the accusations fly, ” You talk to me any kind of way, You don’t care about me, You took my money, You don’t respect or love me, I wish I was dead.. Venomous hurtful things said for reasons unknown, but then you have to try to understand this is not someone who is completely in control anymore.  I cannot say that enough, because you will be challenged by this, repeatedly and you must be strong for it will take a lot out of you. They are floating in and out of awareness, without warning attitudes and temperaments change. The very next day they will not remember how ugly they treated you, so you MUST try to forget it as well.

I think because we live(d) our lives without being told or being taught it is okay to get mad/angry/be upset with people we love, we don’t know how. We fight back these feelings, we feel guilty about having them and grow frustrated with behavior of ourselves and them. If you have experience in “fighting fair” you MAY be better equipped, but note the word “MAY”. Furthermore, there is NOTHING fair about what is happening to your loved one. It simply is happening.

Try to be kind to them and yourself. Look at this experience as one that shall pass, for it will, and be able to share with another person information to give them solace as they travel the path you have gone down. My BFF is big on random acts of kindness; well the next time you see an elderly person who looks lost take a moment out and talk to them, they have something to say and your listening could make all the difference that is needed in their world. A stranger may have to help someone you love one day, find their way back to where they belong.

 

 

Twice A Child

I think about children running in a park laughing and squealing from excitement. I see tiny cute faces with smiles that light up rooms. There is a side that we see sometimes, when these same sources of joy do not get their way, and reality has to be put in play. These same beings with limited experiences of life now must be taught some life lessons. Then we move on to the next fun learning experience.

Now you have been primed for a discussion about something I truly hope none of my readers have to go through. I also know many of you will and many of you have or are going through this. I can only say, I am beginning to understand. When a loved one starts to loose touch with reality it is a process similar to the discovery of cancer. Many emotions and feelings surface. It is hard to describe the helplessness. Disbelief, Denial, Anger, Sadness,Confusion, and Loss; I believe I am scratching the surface here and the order may be different for we are dealing with individuals.

If I think about it long enough or pull out the obituary I can give an exact date, but the date is not important, the experience is. My grandmother was about 70 years old when she died. She suffered from dementia. I didn’t know a lot about her, she and I were distant at best. I only know of one grandchild she was close to and I didn’t care for him. This same grandson who, in her eyes, could do no wrong ultimately assisted with her demise. At the time Sammy was an easy target, he was all you want in a villain; unattractive, fat, not intelligent but a conniver. My maternal grandmother was an unhappy individual; she had nine children, I do not know that she ever embraced motherhood, for I saw her later in life. She was a stout woman about 5’3″, she had long silky hair and high cheekbones, her skin-tone had a copper red color to it characteristic of her Native American bloodline. I think my grandma was dutiful and of all the things a mother teaches her child if one thing/action/word gets to sum up the experience of being related, that would do it for my grandma and my mom.

Grandma helped out of a sense of obligation. This woman who taught me to cook and of whom I shared a room with, I know little more of her than the story she told of my uncle biting her which resulted in the end of his breast feeding. I cannot recall her saying she loved me or any of her grandchildren, I choose to believe that was because she felt this emotion was understood. I lived with her for seven years with my family. When she grew tired of us being there, she became mean and invasive. She never said,”Get out!” she showed it. Did she intend on being mean, that is debatable, what I do know/feel/believe is she was at a place that told her she should be afforded her way(willfulness much like that of a child) and if she did NOT get her way she was angry, she would pout, be unreasonable, or throw a tantrum. Yet in the end the child she treated badly, was the one who visited and tended to her at the nursing home everyday until she departed this life.

How can you recover from that, will you ever be able to rectify this or even acknowledge you were wrong or sorry. I don’t know how my mother felt about her mother, there was a coldness to grandma and I think she transferred some of that coldness to my mother. Mom was sad and she cried when grandma passed, but as I look back it seems like it was the thing to do, to be sad. I know I don’t want my grandchildren to think about me like this way, and in some ways it seems to be in my DNA. I am here to tell you, I fight this attitude daily and consciously. I tell myself ,” Don’t be sour, no one wants to be around a mean old woman.” I love my family openly and freely..unless they suffer memory loss they will not think of me and say,” I wonder if mom/abuela loved me/us?” I tell them everyday and each time  I see them I tell them it more.

One can believe what one wants, but stress can kill you. Putting undue pressure on yourself regarding things that are out of your control is senseless, it drains the very life out of us. The older we get the more difficult it is for us to return to a normal state. Thus being older and angry is NOT a place you want to be. The good is hard to remember when the bad is slapping you in the face. We have no control over what ultimately will be our condition physically, but what we do have charge over, we should take very seriously and guard it with all that is in us. Be pleasant, smile and think happy thoughts. Once it is gone there really is no turning back; not for you, not for the ones who you love.

Love People

Sometimes I surf the internet. One picture will motivate me to visit a site next thing I know it is midnight.  I have been noticing over the past decades there are a lot of really gorgeous children being born.  Is it the grandmother in me? Perhaps, but I see these little happy folks and I cannot help but smile. They are the best of humanity, they are what we all are until life and cynicism ruins us. They look at a flower and it’s color makes them happy. They don’t run from or smash it because of it’s particular shade they adore and admire it just as it is. We adults in turn have nothing but praises for the babies, “aren’t you the prettiest, sweetest, smartest, most talented little one we have ever seen. And we don’t care who you belong to.

Fast forward about 15 years, those beautiful wonder-filled beings are now starting to make decisions and voice their opinions. They are now met with, “You don’t know what you are talking about, Why don’t you behave better, What are you listening to and What is that you are wearing?” They go from the Apples of Society’s Eye to Menaces to Society in less than two short decades. All the while their main critics forgetting they once occupied that very same place in life. The reason being no one wants to stay in that place of confusion, indecision, and turmoil. We wonder what is wrong with our children as they begin to mature. We love them always, but are challenged to like them. I recall a woman I saw many years ago at the mall in Alpharetta;she was neat and tidy, dressed in a suit, had corporate America written all over her. She was carrying a Louis Vutton purse and every hair was in place. As she approached the counter in the young men’s department at Rich’s(region department store now out of business) this surly, thin,  greasy haired young man dressed in goth-type clothing came to and stood next to her. I expected her to jump out of her skin because he was so far away from who she was, but after a moment you knew this was not just someone she knew, this was her child. The were a curious pair walking out of the store. I shook my head and thought, “You never know..”

These two made me think of how we judge and make decisions about OUR young people. We have issues with our own children, so it is hard to imagine us being any more tolerant of someone elses’ and guess what, we aren’t. Do any of you recall that time in your life? The time when your music basically made your parents or most any adult grimace at the very least. The time when self discovery was coupled with fear and insecurity. The time when your excuse of being young and not responsible was fading into, ” It is your fault, You know better.” The thing that MUST be taken into consideration here is, it was a time of transitions.

Time marches forward some more. Now we have an adult he may be in our workplace being difficult or perhaps she has gotten into trouble and landed herself in jail. The significant thing here in both of these cases is; once these throwaways, these social irritants, were adorable sweet faced babies that we  all loved to love.

Too bad we don’t get to transform ourselves from beautiful-adorable baby to upstanding-citizen adult. However, that is  not our reality. We are human and we are flawed. Your flaws look a lot more serious than mine because I am judging, but then I must consider that door swings both ways that I am also on the receiving end of judgment. My son often speaks of loving without condition; from a Christian point of view, this is a difficult goal but at least it is a goal that is presented to us on a  weekly basis( although it should be a constant basis). Perhaps if we ALL task ourselves with this loving one another without condition on a regular-targeted basis, we could get closer to the goal as well. As human beings if we aren’t challenged we vegetate and die, so it is with ideas and concepts. Take the challenge and make your contribution towards solving the problem of just Loving People without condition and stipulations.  “Shoot for the moon” here, people “because if you miss you will still land among the stars…”

Yes It Can And Does Happen In Your Neighborhood

Listening to the crickets chirp, watching the lightening bugs float around the night, a slight hint of gardenia in the air, and sporadic sounds of life. We have several family of deer living among us; rabbits and chipmunks try to stay out of the way of the cats, various dogs walk their owners during daylight and night time. Tonight an eerie shadow is cast upon us, the inhabitants of this safe enclave  just a little north of Atlanta. I look down to the end of my block and the un-naturally  lit, lifeless house serves as a reminder of the events of the day.

How many times have you watched the news and heard someone who is interviewed say,’This kind of thing doesn’t happen here. This is such a nice neighborhood”. I cringe each time. I say, ” What are you thinking idiot, your community is immune to bad occurrences?”Today I would have been that idiot. While I may have not verbalized my feelings, it certainly was my thought pattern and behavior as well.

I  heard the beeping sound of a truck backing up at 6:30 A.M.; it is trash day, but still early. The blue and red lights flashing  from various police as well as fire department services illuminate the block. Yellow tape surround the house in question, that is NOT a good sign. About a dozen officers enter the location and about five minutes later they emerge, but there is an odd scene as a woman being rolled out in a sitting position follows. I see a few familiar faces down the block but cannot get to them because the police have created a barricade on my block.

Later we would find out there was a murder and a home invasion. Later we would find out the two children who lived there survived but they we not unharmed one physically but both impacted psychologically. Later we would find out the perpetrators were still at large. Later we would find out it was the first and only murder that had happened this year in our fair city. However for now we are in a state of shock, denial, and disbelief.

You might ask, why are we all so disheveled;  I have many times when I was simply an observer of others in similar neighborhoods. What makes us think that simply because we live among those we deem to be upstanding citizens, people who keep their lawns tidy and their houses painted, that their lives are as spotless as these home’s exteriors. We bought into an illusion and in that illusion good people you live next door to don’t argue, don’t have abuse going on, don’t hoard animals and debris. The people we live down the block from mind their own business, but they look out for their neighbors. We can leave our doors unlocked, parcels can sit on the porch or in the driveway without  the worry of someone who does not belong here entering our places or taking our things. We wave at passersby so they will know we are good folk, but we are watching you.

We have all allowed ourselves to forget the common denominator, we are all just people not immune to the flaws and frailties that make us all human. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in our kind of community, but somehow it just did.

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