November 2012 archive


Getting a little bit lost in most towns in America can cost a mom anywhere between 5-15 minutes. With a 2-year-old in the car, 5-15 minutes is the difference between a rousing rendition of, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and screaming inaudibly and the possible decimation of anything in the back seat.

Getting a little bit lost in L.A. reaps far worse consequences.

On the way to the park the other day, I took a wrong turn. I may have taken 2. I can’t be sure. A simple little turn down a simple little street raised the stress level in my car to a level that changed the way I parent and possibly my decision to have more children. Abe’s sweet little voice asking, “Park?” over and over again began to quiver. I could tell he was quickly losing faith in my ability to provide an adequate life for him with each and every wrong turn I took in a panicked desire to get us to the, “Sweengs.” The little quiver in his voice turned to a shout. He started screaming, “Stuck! I’m stuck!”
“Yes, Abe,” I said calmly, “you are stuck in your seat so that you can be safe in the car.”
He then begged. “Snack?! Snack? Snack?!?!” Did I mention I had a friend with me in the car? She reached back and handed Abe a snack, which he quickly refused. So now, not only did my stress level rise with Abe’s dissatisfaction, it rose as I began judging myself on behalf of my friend (who was not judging me) about what a terrible mother I am that my child has the patience of an old, angry, senile goat.
The more frantic I got, the harder it became to focus on where I was going and where on God’s green Earth this damn park was hiding. The chanting from the back seat got louder and louder until…the whining started.
And if you know the whining, you know it’s worse than the shouting. It stretches out your ear drum Looney Tunes style. It makes your eyes squinty and your teeth clench. Abe has a special way of whining that also makes time stand still, which is a nice feature.
“Abe, stop whining. Just stop it.”
This always works, amiright? The whining continued. I ignored it. I found my bearings and got us back on track. We were headed in the right direction and my dear-in-the-headlights friend politely and lovingly pretended like we weren’t trapped in a metal box of hell.
Then the whining got louder and took on a cadence. A beat.
“Abe, this is ENOUGH. Mommy is taking you to the PARK right now. You should be GRATEFUL and stop CRYING.”
Again, this is mother of the year kind of behavior.
The crying continued, escalated, and even took on a sort of life of it’s own hopping back and forth between whining, crying, and a kind of sheep sound.
“Abraham. Stop it. You need to stop crying, this is ridiculous.”
That worked. He stopped.
My nerves got so fried between traffic and Abe that I reached a new level of greatness with these next few lines.
“Abe, if you don’t stop crying then the park is going to cry and then you can’t play in the park because it will be too busy crying.” (Anytime I start a sentence with, “If you don’t stop…” it usually indicates I’ve run out of ideas to solve the current problem and resigned myself to cliche parenting phrases.)
Abe continued crying, which I know shocks you. Then this happened…
“Abe, we are on our way to the PARK. And we are almost THERE. If you look out the window you can SEE it. A PARK. WITH KIDS. Mommy is taking you there to PLAY. FOR YOU. NOT FOR MOMMY. FOR ABE. WE ARE GOING TO GO TO THE PARK TOGETHER AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GREAT TIME NOW STOP CRYING.”

Guess what Abe said as we pulled into the park?

“Oooo! Mommy, look! Truck!”


Forgiving Me

It was jokingly brought to my attention this week that I leave cabinet doors open. And lights on. And shoes on the floor. While I’m a neat and organized person, I do it in chunks. I will walk around the entire house turning off all the lights, closing all the doors, and picking up all the shoes in one fell swoop at the end of the day as opposed to doing it as I go. So when my friend mentioned she was going to send me her electric bill, I chuckled knowing there’s absolutely no comeback. I’m completely immune to abandoned house lights.

And I know these things about myself. I know that I make a smoothie and forget to put the frozen berries back in the freezer before I finish drinking the smoothie. I know I can’t even see the contents of the bag I dumped out on the garage floor three weeks ago anymore. I know that the blueberry stuck in Abe’s hair probably won’t get removed until bath time tonight. It’s just who I am.

I read a great post from Kris Carr this morning on “Unconditional Acceptance”. Reading it reminded me of my friend’s joke, and how that very joke would have sent me into a self-worth tale spin not long ago, even though she was just being funny. I would have walked around the house checking and double checking lights so frequently that I would COMPLETELY forget to clean up the cherry pie I dropped on the white carpet. And then I would have felt worse. I would have waited for her to acknowledge what a “good job” I did remembering to turn the lights off so I could award myself “Most Improved at Turning Off Unused Lights”. I would have patted myself on the back for being “better” because I remembered. Self-worth = Turning lights off.

But I’ve given myself more acceptance lately. I’m by no means good at it, but I’d say like 30% better than I used to be.

This work-in-progress feels incredibly selfish, to be honest. To just accept all my little quirks and imperfections instead of feverishly working to change them feels cocky and stuck-up. To simply apologize and chuckle at myself when my husband slams his head into the corner of the cabinet AGAIN instead of shaming myself about how I never work hard enough on myself to right that wrong is so much more accepting of who I am, and way harder. Forgiving myself for not taking Abe to all the museums in Los Angeles during our visit is way harder (even though my friend reminded me Abe would be happier in a pile of Cheerios than in a museum). And further, to accept that I’m the kind of person who gets stressed out during travel no matter how smooth the trip (it’s going to be horrible no matter what), or the girl who starts an exercise routine and gives up within a month (it’s boring, it’s all boring), or the girl who finds absolutely nothing appealing about a hot bath (why would you just lie there in your own filthy water?!) is to be honest about who I really am and give people the opportunity to like me for it.

In essence, I forgive me for all my little shortcomings. Except my recent banana chip addiction. That has got to stop.

The Horrible, Terrible, No Good…

This morning I woke up all grateful for being alive.

My husband let me sleep in until 7:30 and when I came out, Abe shouted, “HI MOMMY!” I proceeded to play legos with him on the floor while checking emails for work on my phone. I wrote to my friend how lucky I am to sip coffee on the floor with my son, play legos, and work all at the same time. What a glorious day this is. Huzzah.

Today we were invited to come play at my friend’s preschool. So an hour before departure, I asked my husband to bring Abe into the shower 10 minutes after I got in. This way I could take a nice shower alone and then finish up by washing Abe. He miscalculated the 10 minutes by about 5, so Abe joined me while I was still washing my hair. He began playing with a car and a bar of soap at my feet. We don’t use bar soap at home, so he was scooting it all around the floor, thrilled with how slippery it was. My relaxing 10 minute shower turned into me straddling Abe on the floor beneath me, leaning forward because the floor was slippery, and up on one toe so as not to step directly on the matchbox car underfoot, all while trying to lean just my head back to keep the soap from getting in my eyes.

No problem, though. Abe hung out in the shower for a while after I was out and it gave me time to dry my hair. I put in a few bobbypins and got Abe ready to go. By the time I looked at the clock I was already running a little bit late! Oops! I ran into the kitchen to make myself a quick cup of coffee for the road and grab all of Abe’s snacks to toss in my purse. If we’re a few minutes behind it’s no big deal.

Then I knocked over the coffee. All 8 ounces of it liquid. Off the side of the counter, onto the floor, and onto my jeans. Deep breath. Ok, fine. I can handle this. This is no problem. The morning started great, small blip, and we’ll just be a little later than I thought. I’ll find a towel and get this cleaned up and we’ll move right along.

I started soaking up the coffee off the floor as quickly as possible, futilely trying to beat the streams of coffee pouring down the side of the cabinets replacing the coffee puddle I’d just soaked up with another one. Once I finally got that under control, I moved on to the cabinets. As I detailed the white (of course they’re white) wooden cabinets with a rag, carefully sticking my finger in all the cracks and crevices where the coffee was holding on for dear life, I noticed a small line of coffee sitting comfortably on the lip of the of the drawer. Now, if you have a kitchen with a drawer and you spill coffee down the outside of that drawer, you can probably just sop it up with your towel and go about your day. But if you have an old kitchen, with an old wooden drawer, odds are that old wooden drawer doesn’t really seal shut anymore. This was the case with me. I opened the drawer to ensure I’d removed all the coffee from the lip when, much to my surprise, the drawer was full of coffee.

Now, at this point, I’d cleaned up nearly 3 times the amount of coffee I spilled, a little joke on my assumedly played by Science of Physics or one of those classes I never paid attention to. I pulled everything out of the drawer, laid it on the counter to dry, and grabbed my stuff to pack in the car. I got everything in, I re-checked to ensure I had snacks and diapers and my sunglasses, and got in the car. Deep breath and we can start the day over anytime we want.

Wait. I didn’t get Abe’s pacifier. He might have a meltdown on the way home. I should bring it.

I ran back to the front door, put the key in, turned, pushed the door and snap. Yep. Snap. My favorite sunglasses, my favorite sunglasses that I’ve EVER OWNED purchased for my by husband and given to me by my son as a Mother’s Day gift SNAPPED against the door and cracked.

I stood, staring at the cracked wooden frame. I could feel it welling up inside. I’d done so well. I let it all go at each new stage of suck and here I am with no karma backing me up, demonstrating that the world has my back. I’m here with no coffee, broken sunglasses, and no will to go on with my day.

I got back into the car and literally sobbed in the front seat. I don’t remember the last time I cried over anything, let alone any THING, but I did. I cried. I loved those sunglasses so much. My favorite pair. And as I cried, my little boy piped up from the back seat and said, “It’s okay, mommy.” This, of course, made me cry harder. Then he asked, “What’s wrong, mommy?”
“Mommy broke her favorite pair of sunglasses. The pair you and daddy gave me. I’m just sad because they’re broken and I liked them so much.”
“Mommy? It’s okay. It’s broken.”

Did this make up for the fact that my sunglasses were broken? No. And it didn’t warm my heart enough to not care about the sunglasses, so don’t think for a second that’s where this blog post is going. I miss my sunglasses. And it’s too late for coffee. My kid’s cute, though.

One Minute

Abe’s brain for one minute:

Open. Close. Open. Close. Open.
Close. Open.
Open. Hi! Close. Bye! Open!
Door! (Runs into door.)
Oh no!
Bump. Bump.
Oh no bump on-nah head.
Abe’s head.
Bump, oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh nooooooooooooo.
Twinkle, twinkle little star.
How I wunna what you are.
Dump truck.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Abe head bump.
BIG truck.
Read books? Read books?! READ BOOKS!??!!?!
G’night truck, book?
Pets? Pets book?
Read books.
Abe read book. Read Book.
Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up.
Books. Book. Bump.
Bump on head.
Ring around the rosey, pocket full of posey, ashes, ashes, we all fall DOWN!!!!
Water, please?


First of all: traveling with a 2-year-old > traveling with a 1-year-old.

I can’t even explain to you the difference. Abraham was borderline pleasant to be around for 5+ hours of airplane rides yesterday. Between shows on the iPad, coloring, stickers, and reading books, he was just like traveling with a needy friend or a fellow passenger who insists on telling you all about their last colonoscopy for the entirety of the flight: a little annoying but way better than a screaming kid. People complimented him on his behavior which, of course, made me feel like mother of the year (and shouldn’t we all base our worth on the applause of total strangers on an airplane).

What actually sucks way worse than traveling with a 2-year-old is a three-hour time difference with a 2-year-old. Yes, a 1-year-old wakes up at 4am for a few days when you travel west, but they also go back to sleep at 7am, again at noon, and probably one more time in the stroller at 4pm before going down for the night at 7. Today Abe woke up at about 4:45am, napped at noon for barely 2 hours, and is still awake as I type this running from one of the yard to the other shouting, “RUNNING!”

Hours 5am until 12pm were the longest 7 hours of my entire life. Abe was wide awake, rapid-fire requesting everything you can think of. A trip to the grocery store that I literally don’t remember somehow failed to produce chocolate OR coffee creamer, staples in my diet. And this afternoon when I woke up from my nap, I found that the eggs were neatly stored on top of the toaster. My friend generously offered to store them in the fridge for me. Three cups of coffee and generous amounts of dark chocolate-covered almonds, I feel a mix between hungover and suffering from early onset swine flu. And somehow my child has never felt better, or louder.

Have a beautiful (yawn), weekend.


Three Hands is Not Enough

I’m talking to a co-worker on the phone on one hand, getting Abe out of the car to go to Target with another hand, and trying to get my purse in the shopping cart with the other. That’s three hands. Guess what? I don’t have three hands.

You see, we’re packing for a 2-week trip to California for Thanksgiving and Thanks-West-Coast-For-Existing. This means I am carefully and painstakingly packing tens of clear plastic bags labelled with sharpie full of toiletries, cars, socks, books, etc. I’m counting and recounting vitamins, t-shirts, diapers…it’s exhausting. Planning 2 weeks away requires an INTENSE amount of preparation with this little human that lives with us now. And, of course, there’s a ton of last minute items that I’m going to have to pick up.
Abraham is seriously in to Nemo right now. We watch it several times a week (between episodes of Curious George). I loaded my iPad with every tv show and movie I thought might interest him with the hopes that the iPad will serve as one of 9000 methods I’ve conjured up for keeping him quiet on the plane. So as we run to Target to get extra socks and plane snacks, I grabbed Nemo (the iPad) and tossed it in the back seat with Abe while talking on the phone and rushing and solving all the world’s problems.

Cut to me dropping the iPad on the asphalt in the parking lot of Target and cracking the screen into a million pieces.


I go inside to return my husband’s underwear, all the while staring at the broken iPad in my cart. This is the ONE thing I had to keep my sanity on the plane and now I leave tomorrow and have NO other means of entertainment that works anywhere near as well as Nemo and OH MY GOD WE’RE NOT GOING.

Abe: Nemo?

Mom: You can’t watch Nemo.

Abe: Nemo??

Mom: You can’t watch it. It’s broken. Nemo’s broken.

Abe: Boken?

Mom: Yes, Abe. Yes. Mommy broke Nemo.

Abe: Mommy boke it?!

Mom: Yes, it was an accident. But I broke it.

Abe: Oooh nooo!

Mom: I know. I’m sorry. I broke it.

Abe: Noooooo!!!

We haven’t even gotten out of the state yet and he’s already upset. So I come across one of those technology FixIt store fronts on the way home and I pull in.

Man: Oooh. What happened? Little guy drop it?

Mom: Nope. That was all me. How much to fix it?

Man: It’s an iPad 2, right?

Mom: No. First generation.

Man: Oooh. Wow. Ok. (Right? Like it’s vintage now or something?! Like I should take it to Antique Roadshow? It’s 2 years old!)

Mom: How much?

Man: $150.

Mom: Just to fix the screen?

Man: Yep.

Mom: You’re high aren’t you?

Man: Yes.

(The last two lines are implied)

Fine. Awesome. So I forked over $150 that I don’t have to fix the screen of an iPad that I don’t use unless we’re traveling. An iPad 1. One. That’s right. They didn’t even call the iPad 1 the iPad 1 because it was just the first one. It was just the iPad. Because I’m sooooo old fashioned that I couldn’t even get a 2. Whatever.

I’m going to require heavy narcotics to get through the next few years of my life.

Booking It

This is week number 2 of working on my book. I had a moment of, “Too much. Nope. Can’t do it,” late last week. I’ve calmed down since then with the help of an amazing editor and some wine. Today I added the pregnancy blogs to the big, long, running word document that contains all the content we somehow have to work into an actual memoir (not just cute little bloggies bouncing around like little overweight Mario in the underwater level). I’m forced to remember what all this stuff felt like while I was experiencing it. Some of it was truly fun and some of it was just mortifying at the time. It’s all very, “If I knew then what I know now,” sort of stuff.

We’re trying to work my current understanding of the world and motherhood into the very naive, very worried mother character I was 3 years ago. I don’t want to write a book chronicling something that I was without also incorporating who I am. Otherwise, people could just read my blog.
We’re also working to expand upon stories and give people who don’t know me (who doesn’t know me?) a better understanding of my life so that hopefully when women experience infertility, they have someone they can relate to in this book. There are a lot of stories I’d forgotten about, a lot of memories I hadn’t considered including. My editor keeps reminding me  that (in an annoyed teenager voice), “It’s like your story is an accordion and we’re going to pull it apart and expand to hear to real music,” or whatever. The truth is that expanding on some of this stuff makes me go back in a feel the struggle again which kind of sucks and makes me never want to have kids again. What sucks even more is she reads this blog so she’ll remember to push those buttons when we talk next.
She’s a button-pusher.

In other book news, I entered my blogs into a journalism prompt and was chosen to have my books included in, what is now, a book called Bumptabulous. Lots of other moms with blogs are in there, too, which makes me wonder how long I have to blog before more than just 100 people read it. But I digress, it’s a really cool honor and the chick who put it altogether was awesome to work with and for. So in case you wanted to pass my blog along to some of your friends to increase my readership, you can now tell them I’m a published author. Because I’m sure that’s what new moms ask for first when given a mommy-blog recommendation shortly after changing 2 poopy diapers and confusing breastmilk for half and half.

Happy Monday, everybody.


Ripped Off

Running errands took way too long today and I was late for my afternoon appointment at the spa.

I know. You’re completely jealous that I had a spa appointment. Until you find out it was for a bikini wax. Men, you can stop reading now unless you want to truly, and maybe for the first time, appreciate what women do for you in terms of hair removal.

Already late to this appointent, which could potentially make me late to pick up Abe, I rushed in the front door of the spa. Everybody was all zen with neatly folded edges, smiling at me as I entered the tortue chamber.
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Ok, hi I’m Lori! I’ll be taking care of you today.”
“I hate to do this, Lori, but I’m already late so if we could do this as quickly as possible, that would be great.”
“Oh, sure. No problem. Just change and lay under the towel and I’ll be right back.”
“No no. It’s fine, Lori. I have no dignity or pride. Let’s do this thing. Turn up that soft music.”

What happened next could literally only happen to me. Lori started by “prepping” my skin, which I think just means tossing around some baby powder and giggling. Then she applied a thin layer of some adorably delicate wax and gently, almost lovingly applied the canvas strip. She then ripped the strip off my leg like I was her ex-husband. I immediately started sweating. I’ve never gotten a bikini wax that I don’t sweat through. It makes the entire experience that much sexier.

“Oh, wow,” she said. “Let me try again.”

You get that folks? She’s going to “try again.” I’ve never had anyone who was ripping hair from my body DO IT and then say, “I’m going to try again.”

“Try again? Why?”
“Well, your hair is, resistant. I’m going to have to try a thicker wax.”

Resistant. Ok. This is probably the 30th bikini wax I’ve ever gotten. No one has ever described my hair as being ANYTHING because no one has ever described my HAIR to me because they just RIP IT OUT. Your ONE job here is to remove the hair; that’s it. I don’t care how you do it. I don’t care which wax you use or how you describe my hair to yourself as you do it, as long as you remove it the first time you rip off my epidermis. Forgive me if I’ve already lost faith in you in the first 5 minutes.

Lori proceeded to coat me with what appeared to be playdough. I know. It didn’t seem right to me either. In hind sight it might have been best if I jumped up, hurriedly put my pants on while repeatedly screaming, “The kittens. The kittens! I completely forgot about the kittens!” and went running out the front door. Instead, I found myself encouraging Lori that I was sure she made the right choice in wax the second time around. After she ripped off the strips of playdough (which hurt way more than the adorable wax), she shook her head.

“Wow. Really resistant. I’m going to try the other wax again.”

Nope. Not kidding. In case you weren’t counting, she’s now waxing me for a third time. Financially speaking, I’m getting a pretty big bang for my buck. Inflammation-ally speaking, I will probably not be able to let anything (cotton, silk, air…) touch my bikini area for…well, forever.
I’m not done folks. Because after she waxes me fort he third time, she then begins plucking my bikini line with tweezers. Have you crossed your legs yet? I almost did. This is when I reached the “bargaining” stage of grief.
“You know, Lori, I will pluck those when I get home. You don’t have to do it.” Because what I was thinking was I’m going to kick you in the face. It’s violent. I know. But you weren’t the one on the table praying to the god who is assumedly permanently perched in that ceiling for all the women who are trying not to vomit.
“Oh, ok! You’re in a hurry, I forgot!” Yes. This is because I’m in a hurry. This is why I want to leave.

I walked back to the front to pay for whatever just happened to me, three times, and the woman behind the counter asked, “I hope you had a pleasant experience.”
“Pleasant? No. I had a bikini wax.”
The woman behind the counter suddenly humanized, flung her hand in the air, and quipped, “Girl, I had an out of body experience the first time I had a bikini wax. And not the good kind. Did you want to leave a tip?”
“No. I think I’ll just pay and go. I already feel a little ripped off. No pun intended.”

It’s Like Talking to a Foreigner

Mom: Abe, look up in the sky!
Abe: The sky?
Mom: Quick! Look! A blimp!!
Abe: The sky?
Mom: Look up, Abe! Up!
Abe: Up? In the sky?
Mom: Abe, move your head. Look up. It’s a BLIMP!
Abe: Bump?
Mom: No, there’s a blimp, Abe. In the sky. Look up. Can you see it?
Abe: See the sky?
Mom: No. Ok. Move your head this way. (moves Abe’s head) Ok, now look. No, look up. Look UP, Abe.
Abe: Up.
Mom: There. See it?
Abe: Up. In the sky.
Mom: Do you see it?
Abe: See it?
Mom: The blimp? Look at it. It’s the only thing in the sky.
Abe: In the sky?
Mom: Yes. Do you see it or not?
Abe: Sky.
Mom: Ok, well, that’s the Goodyear Blimp and it’s a really big deal to see it and it’s the only thing in the sky and I have no idea how else to explain it to you but if you just look at it, you’ll notice it’s a big blimp in the sky. Flying.
Abe: Flying.
Mom: Right. Whatever. Nevermind. There’s a blimp in the sky.
Abe: Bump.
Mom: Yeah.
Mom: Yes, Abe?
Mom: I’m saying yes.
Mom: I’m just going to stop answering.
Mom: No, that’s a blimp.
Mom: Whatever. Airplane. It’s a blimp. I was just showing it to you and you didn’t see it and now you see it. There it is. It’s a blimp.
Mom: BLIMP, Abe. BLIMP. It’s a BLIMP.
Mom: Close enough.

The Critic

Alright. I’m doing it. I’m writing a political blog post. Get ready.

I want every good, law-abiding citizen to have the same rights that I have. I want to relax knowing my dear friend who is disabled (and can only be AWAKE for a few hours at a time because of her illness) will have access to the healthcare that literally keeps her alive. I want to retain the ability to make choices in my life that are right for me and for my family. I am so lucky, SO LUCKY, to live in a country where these wants can be a reality. But that’s not all…

You guys, I happen to believe that my money is not more important than other people’s health, other people’s happiness, other people’s rights. I’m not really worried about whether or not all my money is safe and sound and no one can ever touch it. I can’t really control what happens in my life with my money anyway. Tomorrow, my house could be blown away in a Super Storm. The next day my dogs could both rack up huge vet bills. I could learn I have cancer or God forbid my husband got sick. The harder I hold on to my money, the less control I really have over it.

What I do have control over is being grateful. I have control over my attitude, my reactions, my love. I have control over how hard I work and how much good I try to put out into the world. So I think as much as we like to think our government or big business can control whether or not we receive a paycheck or pay too much in taxes, we’re fooling ourselves if we think anyone has control over money.
I care so deeply for our country and those who suffer within it. I want to stand up and help those in need, and I really think most people do. Look at the reaction to Hurricane Sandy. Look at the ways we reach out and help each other in times of need and strife. We have it in us to do good all the time. We have it in us to support each other even when we disagree. We don’t need a bunch of money to do that.

As we move forward in 2013, please find a way to give what you have. Teach your family and friends that having is not nearly as satisfying as giving. We are implementing the Giving Box in our home. Each day we are taking 5 things, no matter how big or how small, and putting them in the box to donate. As soon as Abe is old enough to understand this, he will join. I implore you to find a way to give in the coming year, and share with me how you’re doing it so I can pass on all of your good ideas.

I finish by telling you that, in response to all the nasty, disrespectful things I read today about the election and its outcome, I was reminded of this quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Don’t be a critic today. Be the man in the arena.


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