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I’ve been hearing Sarah Brightman {with Andrea Bocelli} in my head this last week; ya know, because life is a soundtrack and all that jazz.

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember that I hate shopping.  I hate shopping so much I’m seriously thinking about making a category, just so y’all can kvetch with me. Erg.

So anyhow.

June of 2011 brought me to a critical point in my decades of running when, thanks to my chronic illness{s} and my plantar fasciitis, I realized something serious needed to change if I was going to not only walk without pain, but continue running. I spent a boatload of time researching, as I do with all things. I am not prone to leaping into fads, and do what I can to avoid them. By the time I got around to ordering my hobbit feet,  aka Vibram Five Finger Bikilas, I was pretty much at my wits end, and at the end of options to try. Bikila VFFs

I knew there would be a period of time to transition into them full time, which I wrote about. I also promised periodic updates, which I managed to keep up with up to the point we moved. My last post about my VFFs was in May of 2012, when I hit 1,000 miles. I am sad to say, my running tanked when we moved. It was sporadic at best, and it’s taken me over 2 years to log close to another 500 miles. :shock:

There has been SO much to do on the farm; not just chickens and horses, but painting the whole house, including doors, windows, and all the miles of moldings. I haven’t gotten a whole lot finished, but I did manage to get the really bad blood spatter painted over. I still have curtains to make for every room but one. And that’s just inside. I have a ton to paint outside, too.u

With Hunny away for work and me basically single-parenting day-to-day, I reached a point where it was time to get back to my running. In many ways, it’s been really tough to have to build my mileage back up. I started at 4 miles and worked my way back up to 5 miles {and some change}. Hah!

I think I’ll prolly have to hold steady through the summer, unless it cools off, because wow. I left late this morning at 7:15 and it was 80 degrees when I got home, with a 90 something % humidity. Coming from the desert, the humidity while running takes some getting used to. I make a point to leave early, but overslept today.

Over the course of the past week, I’ve noticed spots on the bottom of my shoes getting really thin. I am not a fan of gravel, which my road in either direction is, for nearly 1/2 mile in the one direction I regularly go. I had been looking online periodically for my next shoe, and have been extremely disappointed to see that my beloved Bikilas are not made any more. They have the Bikila Lses, which have laces. And then they have the Bikila EVOs, which have a thicker sole and are for folks transitioning into minimalist running shoes. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I briefly thought about turning my Komodosport LSes KomodosportLS into my running shoes, but honestly, I’d rather save them for wearing for the rare occasions I’m not wearing flip flops or boots.

In a mad dash, I got online and ordered what I could find that looked like it would work. I ordered the See Ya Lses from the Vibram website. I was really excited when the See Ya Lses came today. I put them on, and then got really disappointed. seeyalses

Vibram has changed their US sizing. Instead of measuring your foot as before, now they ask you for your shoe size. I don’t know about you, but I notice that with traditional shoes, like clothes, the size is variable to the shoe. Frustrating! :mad:

They are too big. Like, by at least a size. I tried them on and wore them around the house. Not only are they too long, but they are too wide. Any Vibram that has the laces are made for slightly wider feet, which I have, but the fit on these was just plain wonky.

Perhaps the most concerning feature was the heel. If you look at the pictures, you can see how the heels on the See Yas are pointy. That part right there is much taller, and digs into the back of my Achilles. I had them on for not even an hour and had a pressure mark on the back of my foot when I took them off. My plan is to return them for a smaller size and see if the right size makes a difference in that part of the fit.

Another thing I had read in some of the reviews, is that because they’re largly mesh {aka, “breathable;” and  is hard to see from these pictures, but is pretty clear on Zappos.com}, folks have said they are not good for winter running unless you wear socks. And we all know what my sock situation is like!

Earlier this eveing, I spent several hours online looking for other Vibram models; thus, my conundrum. I went back to the Vibram website to see what else they had. Right now it’s slim pickins’ because they just had a huge sale and are out of stock on numerous models. After hunting for hours, I ordered another pair from Zappos.

The Vibram KMD Sport Lses are, as near as I can figure, the updated version of the Komodo Sport Lses. kmdsportls How ironic is that?! I figure, if I still don’t like the fit of the See Ya Lses, I can send them back. If I like them, I can wear the KMDs during the colder months if I don’t want to wear socks. At the very least, they have the notched heel like I’m used to, with a bit of cushioning there, too. And, if I love the See Ya Lses, I can hang onto the KMDs and wear them when the others need to be replaced.

Of additional concern are the reviews that say all of these models wear out quickly. We’ll see.

My original Bikilas, as I mentioned, have lasted just over 1,425 miles. By the time the others get here, it will be close to or over 1,500.

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The foot bed in the right shoe has started to rip, and in that same shoe, the whole foot bed is wrinkly because the adhesive is shot. The upside is that it didn’t really bother me. Two days ago, I ran the last mile with what I thought was a pebble in one of the toes, only to discover it was actually a little black beetle that was still alive!

And then today, the gravel got me hard in the middle of my foot.  rockSeeing as that is not part of the foot that generally comes into hard contact with the road, you can tell I was distracted by one of the dogs who I to run back to the house because, as a border collie, she wants to run circles around the cars that pass us on the road. :/

So, as much as I hate to, it’s time to say goodbye. I am hopeful that I actually can find another pair of VFFs that I like as well, and is as well made. There is something really fantastic about not having to change out your running shoes every 300 miles!

Here’s also hoping I can get this song unstuck from my head…. :lol:

 


Tina Cahill is on a mission. She is going to shut down the saloon at any expense! Well, they have to notice her first. Her daily picketing doesn’t seem to be having much effect, but she’s still trying! stucktogether

Even though she’s convinced everyone hates her, they sure don’t mind her cooking. But with the former cook at Glynna’s locked up for trying to murder Dr. Riker, Glynna’s husband, she figures they tolerate her just so they don’t have to try and gnaw on Glynna’s food. And, to make matters worse, she keeps running into “Invincible Vince,” of Regulator fame and town sheriff.

This afternoon’s picketing brings an all-out sidewalk brawl and trough dunkings. If anyone asked, Vince would be the first person to tell you what a thorn in his side she is! Despite Tina being easy on the eyes and Vince being one of the last remaining single men in town, marriage is not in the cards for him. Between his tyrannical father and his mother’s mental issue, there is no way he’d curse a wife and kids with those genetics.

And yet………

When Vince’s father arrives with his mother and a sister he didn’t know about in tow, and then sneaks off as quickly, Vince finds himself having to lean on his Regulator family- including Tina. Things come to a head when, “Tina’s picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a no-brainer. I love Mary Connealy’s writing. This is the third title in the Trouble in Texas series. I have reviewed the first two books, Swept Away, and Fired Up. As usual, this title gets 5 out of 5 stars. I was really excited to find this one available for review. Definitely add this title to your reading list!

Mary Connealy’s  website has all of her titles- be sure to check it out!

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for this unbiased review.


The only thing that Cassie Robichaud has ever really wanted is Will Foret, the love of her life. But when Will discovers that Cassie is part of S.E.C.R.E.T., an underground group devoted to helping women experience their deepest sexual fantasies, Will breaks it off. Heartbroken, Cassie dries her tears and focuses on her work with helping the latest S.E.C.R.E.T. recruit, Solange Faraday. Cassie also reignites her relationship with sexy bad-boy Jesse, even though she knows he can never love her as deeply as Will did. secretrevealed

Meanwhile, beautiful, brilliant Solange, a local news anchor and divorced mom, has a great career but a wilting love life. She rekindles long-lost passions, going deeper and hotter than any other S.E.C.R.E.T. candidates before her. Can Solange find what her heart most desires? And when Will realizes he’s made a tragic mistake, will Cassie be able to forgive him?

S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed is the explosive, sexually-charged finale to the phenomenal S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

You’ll have noticed that I’m using the publisher summary instead of my own. Why, you might ask? In a nutshell, this is an x-rated book. :shock:

This is the final book in the trilogy. Despite that, you don’t need to read the previous titles to get the gist of what’s going on. If you enjoy this genre, you will likely find this title fits right in. I’ve been reviewing for the Blogging for Books program for almost three years, and this time is the first time I’ve been stumped on what to write. There was a lot of “OMG!”s and “I can’t believe this book came from this publisher!”s going on throughout. I’ve been done with this book for over a month, and obviously, had a tough time sitting down to write the review.

Without a whole lot of detail, I can say it’s imaginative, although I’m absolutely sure the actual premise is something that I would never get into. ……

Anyhow. Because it’s the last in a series and I wasn’t lost; the writing was definitely descriptive; overall well-written, and because the only thing that gives me pause is the subject material, I’m giving this one 4 out of 5 stars. If sexually explicit writing is not your cup of tea, pass this one by. Really. Trust me on this. Don’t even crack the cover open.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Cooper the bull and his cow friends, Bonnie and Clyde, were happy. They were so, so happy.

They got to eat all the grass they wanted.

They got to wander in the woods.

They got to visit the crazy lady across the street.

They got to eat the grass in her hay field.

They got to stomp and scare her dogs.

They got to walk back and forth over the gravel where the loud machines would zip by. Mostly at night, they would watch the funny machines up close.

Because the crazy lady complained, the mean people came and pretended to try to get the three of them put into the pen. After hurting the one man’s arm, one other man said he had to find another man who could “rope” them and put them away.

That sounds scary!

But Bonnie, Clyde, and Cooper weren’t worried, no sir! Those people had tried and tried and tried to put them back, but they were still out, weren’t they?

Early one Friday morning, the crazy lady looked outside across the road. What did she see?

She saw THREE cows in the pen! Before she got really happy and a whole lot less crazy, she crossed to road to see if it was really Bonnie, Clyde, and Cooper.

You see, the last time she thought Cooper had been put away, she was surprised to see Bonnie and Clyde inside the pen instead.

So, she crossed the road to check, all the while hoping she would see her three friends inside, happily eating hay.

Hooray! It was true! Bonnie, Clyde, and Cooper were inside the pen!

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Bonnie and Clyde seemed happy.

Cooper- not so much. :/

Cooper looked mad.  :mad:

He was caught. He didn’t like being caught. :mad:

He glared at the smiling, not-so-crazy lady. And then he went back to eating.

The lady was sooooo relieved! :D She was happy that she didn’t have to wear her gun, worried about Cooper charging her. She was happy her doggies wouldn’t get chased. She was happy she didn’t have to worry that Cooper would chase her dogs and come on her porch. :shock: :eek:

Saturday morning, the lady and her girls went to go ride their horsies. They waved goodbye to Cooper in the pen as they drove by.

Alllllll day passed, and the lady and her girls had fun riding their horsies. It was wet and muddy because of a bad storm the day before, but it wasn’t too wet or too muddy for them to have a lot of fun.

When they finished the trail, it was time to take the horses home and check on the chickens.

Uh oh. The lady only sees two cows in the pen. Who is missing?

Do you know?

You’re right! It’s Cooper!

Cooper is missing from the pen!

Now, Cooper had gotten B-I-G from eating all the nice, green grass. The lady wondered if maybe he had been taken to the market and sold.

The lady didn’t know, but she thought she would watch out for Cooper, just in case.

The lady left and went to go eat supper with the other horsey people. When supper was over, it was time to put the chickens to bed, so the lady and her girls headed home.

What do you think she saw?

Do you know?

You’re right again! It’s Cooper!

Cooper decided he wouldn’t be put in that pen. No sir, he wasn’t having any of that!

He liked being free! He liked to be able to eat all the nice, tall, green grass!

He liked being able to go into the woods. He liked chasing the crazy lady’s dogs. He liked looking at the funny, loud machines up close.

The people came and fixed the fence. Again. They tried to catch Cooper in the morning. They tried to catch Cooper in the afternoon.

But Cooper is too smart for them! Don’t they know that Cooper comes to the pen area every night? Cooper comes to see Bonnie and Clyde; to see if they will join him.

Bonnie and Clyde seem happy. They think about joining Cooper. But so far, Bonnie and Clyde are happy having the good hay all to themselves. And there is a dry place for them, which they can huddle in when the rain is really horrible.

But not Cooper! No sir! He’ll take his chances in the woods with the sharp, loud lights from the sky, all to stay free.

And, to this day, Cooper is happily outside the pen.

 

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ya, really. I want to say, “Unbelievable!” or “Inconceivable!” but the reality is, I am not really surprised. The sad thing is, I really want to drop the restraining order, but I don’t feel like I can, so long as Cooper continues to get out. As long as the situation is such that I might have to actually defend myself/my family/my animals/my home, the threat that he will be crazy enough to retaliate exists.

Dude. Fix your fence so it will keep ALL the cows in. Why is that so hard?! *sigh* :cry:

 


It’s hard being a brainiac genius. Gina Gray knows this all too well. She wants nothing more than to get married, but finding the right guy- someone who isn’t intimidated by her intelligence- has left her with nothing but a broken heart.

Some of Gina’s expertise is in sonar. As in, under the water sonar used by submarines. As the sister of a sub commander, Gina’s sonar work was paramount in keeping him safe.

After a particular stunning and unexpected break up, Gina decides to head West to stay with her brother for a while; work, and try to mend her wounded heart. And see if her brother can recommend a guy for her.

Mark Bishop is one of Je Gray’s best friends, and also a submarine commander. He’s not surprised to see Gina, and can tell she’s using work as a distraction. Since Je is still underwater,- literally- Mark decides to keep an eye on Gina, knowing how dangerous her sonar work could be to her personal safety.

Mark, a widower, is also looking for love. Well, marriage, at least. After 10 years as a devoted and loving husband, he really misses not having anyone waiting when he comes home from sea. He misses everything about being a husband. When Je arrives home and casually suggests Mark think about dating his sister, Mark turns him down, thinking the age difference and friendship with Je would just be, well, weird.

And so, Daniel Field is introduced to Gina, and they get along really well. So well, in fact, that it’s not long before they are considered to be a couple, and Gina is invited to meet Daniel’s family.

As part of her work, Gina works closely with both Mark and Daniel, neither of whom mind that she now needs 24/7 security as a result of her discoveries. Maybe it’s because they work closely together; maybe it’s because she has a beau and is off limits, but Mark finds himself completely falling for Gina.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Without giving it away, you can obviously tell that at some point, Gina will have to chose between the two. Both are good men; good choices.

Because I have read other Dee Henderson titles, I was not deterred by what could be considered the “dry” beginning. Some might get bored by the dialogue; I thought it was great. The more I read, the harder it was to put down, and I found myself wondering about the scientific theories and wondering how plausible they were. I mean, I wondered if this WAS plausible, the book really ought to be classified.  :lol:

At one point, I realized the brother and wife being referred to were Charlotte and Bryce, from Unspoken. As with that title, one gets the feeling that the author is very knowledgeable about the topic, which I appreciate. Even if it’s all made up, the “facts”  seem believable, and that makes a book thoroughly enjoyable for me.

As with her other title, if you are turned off by technical talk, this might not be the book for you. Again, like her other title, I loved it and am giving it 5 out of 5 stars. Dee Henderson goes on my “must read” author list. I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

You might really like the trailer. Definitely worth the 2 minutes. Go watch it. :D


Ivy had no intention of attending her estranged father’s funeral. None at all. Until her agent- also known as her uncle, and her father’s brother- dragged her off to it.  abrokenkindofbeautiful

Talk about uncomfortable. Summers at her father’s with Marilyn- married to her father when Ivy was conceived- were never comfortable, either. Ivy always knew her father didn’t love her; didn’t want anything to do with her.

And now here she was, back for his funeral, on the explicit request of her agent uncle, who holds her modeling future in her hands. Not only is Ivy aging- almost 25- but now it appears she can’t keep her opinions to herself, which are affecting her contracts.

Learning she’s been dropped from her cosmetics contract, Ivy escapes home, leaving the town to gossip without her. Nobody cares about her broken past- or her broken future.

As Uncle Bruce relays the latest to Marilyn, Marilyn senses an opening. She’s been contemplating what to do with her latest bridal wear line. She needs a model. Ivy needs a job. Ivy can’t help but to note the irony, since she’s nowhere close to the pure bride wearing white.

Davis Knight has secrets of his own. Now working as a church maintenance man, he was resolved to never pick up a camera again, especially not to do any fashion photography. And then Ivy comes back…..

Ivy, who he can still see as the sad and tortured young girl during their childhoods all those years ago. Ivy, who  he sees as way more than just an empty head and a pretty face.

Davis is intrigued by Ivy. Intrigued enough to pick up his camera and be the photographer for Marilyn’s bridal line photo shoot?

Can they work together and keep their secrets intact?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For me, this story revolved around redemption: redemption for past sins; redeeming relationships. Initially, I thought I was reading an author new to me, but with a little digging, I realized I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed another of Katie Ganshert’s titles, Wildflowers from Winter.

When I got this book, I thought the premise might be too far-fetched to enjoy. Characters were so well-written, though, that the occupation is really just a job, and secondary really, to the plot. I particularly liked the Marilyn/Ivy relationship development.

Now that I know I consistently enjoy this author, I’ll make a point to be on the lookout for addition titles. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars. Don’t miss it.

I received this copy for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.

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Are We Done Yet?


Apparently not. If you haven’t been reading about the antics of Cooper The Bull and his friends, Bonnie and Clyde, go read it now. We’ll wait.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~INTERMISSION ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The more I thought about being threatened, the more upset I became. There is something about this level of hostility that, while I don’t understand it at all, makes me even more worried than I was to begin with.

You let your bulls and cows run loose, but threaten me when I say I’m going to defend myself? That, seriously, is a special kind of cuckoo. And not the happy, cheery {redundant, I know, but I want to make sure you understand it} cuckoo clock birdie kind of cuckoo.

What could he have possibly thought he would accomplish by coming over and confronting me? How many times do I have to say, “We would not HAVE a problem if you had your animals contained!”?

I seriously doubt he would have had the guts to come over if my hubby was home.

I really don’t give a rip WHO you think you are. You are not going to come over on MY property and threaten me. ESPECIALLY when YOUR OWN SON was nearly trampled the day before AND has an arm swollen to three times its normal size. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know that then, or I would have been inclined to point that out, too.

Sheesh. Some people.

I’ve talked to a whole lot of people who’ve all said the same thing: he thinks no one can tell him what to do, and he can push around whoever he wants to.

Well. Ahem.

Blame it on my ignorance of not knowing who the “important” people are around here, but I don’t give a rip who he *thinks* he is. He is no one of importance to me. And given the way he doesn’t take care of his animals, I can say without hesitation or reservation that I am GLAD he doesn’t think kindly of me or like me, because I have ZERO desire to be in that class with him or his kin.

I find the older I get, the less I give a rip about much of anything. You do the right thing {as in, keep your animals contained and freaking feed them} and I’ll have no quarrel with you. Do right and leave me alone, and you won’t hear a peep out of me because, {let’s say it together, boys and girls,} “I don’t give a rip.” Life is too darn short to be dealing with the amount of snot and feces some people are able to generate. And I am sick and tired of dodging both of them.

In addition to my concern over being shot by a person with clear mental issues, I worry about what they are going to do to my animals. It wouldn’t surprise me to find some downed fencing. A burned down coop. With that kind of irrational crazy, there’s no telling what all they would do. In a perfect world, I’d get one for the whole family, including the middle-finger-flipping teenagers.

Since I don’t live in a perfect world, I did the only real thing I could think of to do- I went to talk to the county magistrate and got myself a court date to get a restraining order. Apparently, out here, in order to get a restraining order, they have to issue a felony arrest warrant. Not quite what I had intended, but hey, if it gets his cows put back away, so be it.

Two days later, Bonnie and Clyde are still out. They’ve been hanging around my mailbox. Animal control said they would file charges, and this is not the first time.

I’m beginning to wonder if anything will ever get done. At some point, it’s almost normal to see them all over, and then there’s a jolt of, “Hey! That’s not right!” that reminds you that they are prone to charging.

A dear friend, who is also an awesome artist, suggested I write a children’s book about Cooper and his misadventures. She offered to illustrate. Although I don’t have her illustrations yet, I do have the first draft of the story and some pictures. Let me know what you think. :mrgreen:

 

The Mis Adventures of Cooper the Bull {and Friends}

Once upon a time, there was a bull named Cooper. Cooper was sad.

Cooper was sad because his friend, another bull named Frank, had died, many months ago. Cooper was all alone. No one came to see him to give him food. Cooper was so, so sad.

One day, someone brought him a horse. Oh, he was so happy! He chased and chased and chased that horse! And then he chased her some more. What fun!

A few weeks later, the people brought another horse. The first horse was very happy. She had a friend!

But poor Cooper, his happiness was gone. :cry: The horse has a friend, but he had none.

Soon, it was winter. The two horses and Cooper were cold and hungry. The grass had stopped growing in the pasture. The people never came to bring them hay.

One day, Cooper decided he’d had enough! He saw the green fields around him that the farmer had planted, and he was hungry.

Could he get to the field? Would the short fence keep him in?

Hooray! The fence let him out! Very skinny Cooper was so, so happy! Now he could eat!

Yum! Yum!

Cooper learned there were a lot of puddles and a nice beaver dam nearby. This meant he didn’t have to be in his pen to get water.

Cooper was happy! He ate, and ate, and ate. He drank, and drank, and ate some more.

Cooper started to feel really good. He wasn’t skinny any more! His ribs and hips stopped showing. He started to make more muscle. He started feeling very strong.

The people didn’t care that Cooper was out. He roamed, and roamed. He visited the crazy lady across the street, in her yard. He had fun chasing her dogs. He had fun walking in the road and scaring the people who drove by.

Because Cooper was out of the pen, the people decided to give the horses some new friends. The people brought Bonnie and Clyde to the pen. They didn’t bring any food, though.

Bonnie and Clyde were sad. They were hungry, too. Why was Cooper allowed to be outside eating, but not them?

Well, they started to think it might be fun to be outside with Cooper. Then they could eat, too!

And, they could explore! They explored the woods. They explored the road.

A mean man came. Together with the lady and her girls, they put Bonnie and Clyde away.

Bonnie and Clyde weren’t sad, though. They knew a secret. Do you know what their secret was?

Shhhhh! The fence couldn’t keep them inside.

So, Bonnie and Clyde stepped right over the fence again. The explored the woods. They explored the road.

They explored until they found the bridge by the interstate.

ZIP! ZIP! ZIP! Those funny machines are fast! And loud!

The same mean man came, and moved them with his funny looking loud machine. He scared them so they would move away from the bridge by the interstate.

They knew he was going to try to make them go back in the pen. No sir, they’re not going back! Cooper doesn’t have to go back, so why should they?

Bonnie and Clyde ran into the woods to join Cooper.

One of the people got close to Cooper, but he hurt the man’s arm so the man would let go.

Cooper liked his freedom!

After that, the people drove by, but couldn’t catch Cooper. They were afraid of Cooper. Bonnie and Clyde like their freedom, too. They can all eat, even though the people finally brought hay, hoping to entice them to the pen.

But they’re not dumb, no sir! They’re not going to fall for that, especially when the good stuff is outside their pen

To this day, Bonnie, Clyde, and Cooper are happily outside the pen.

They eat. They sleep. They can chase the lady’s dogs if they want to. They can drink water from the beaver dam and big puddles.

And they can say hello to the people in their big, loud, funny machines, as they meet them on the road.

The End.

 

 

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Shall we start a betting pool on when or if we think the rogue bovine will get captured and returned to the pen? Anyone?  :/

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