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Archive for August, 2011


With an unbutton and a pat, it was announced. This was a long-awaited announcement for many. Eagerly anticipated, rabid rumors swirled in the past, all to be debunked.  This time, it’s true, though. 

Beyonce is pregnant!  (Not me, sillies!  😆  Sorry to say, that ship has sailed and sunk.  :lol:)

I am not wrapped up in celebrity, and I don’t particularly care about Beyonce/Jay Z, but this situation has gotten me thinking……

Initial reaction was to be pleased that they are going to have a baby.  Y’all know I’m about mothers and babies, and have very strong opinions about mothering.  And that’s putting it mildly.  😉

I see another side to this. While, yes, Beyonce has said she would have a baby at 30 (and I won’t even go into mapping out the minutiae in a your life), she has also made it well-known she was terrified to actually have a baby, after watching her sister.

I’m not going to rant about births being too medical and the damage unneccessary (and scheduled) C-sections cause, not just for the mother, but for the baby, too. (The keyword here being unnecessary– certainly, there are time when lives are saved- I’m not talking about those times)  That’s a topic for another blog entirely.  😀

Nope, I’m talking about the role women often find themselves forced into. I agree, people often have preconceived ideas about birth (and breastfeeding).  Often, those ideas are not based on actual fact; certainly not experience (if it’s the first for a mother), and often, those preconceived ideas affect decisions mothers make on every single front.

The easy answer is to ensure that every woman gets fact- solid information based on science and *good* studies that aren’t backed by companies who have vested interest in the “outcome” (like artificial baby milk manufacturers, for example), and let those mothers make their own decisions.  There is no replacement for critical thinking.

Since we all know that’s not going to happen any time soon because there’s just too much money tied up in it and I as a single person don’t actually have much sway in the big business arena and I have no designs on becoming politically active, the only real avenue for change available to me is what happens in my home.

Are you totally confused?  🙂

My rant today is about the social perception of women. I am not a bra-burning feminist in the traditional sense.  Before you go throwing rocks at me, let me explain.  🙂

I love women.  I think women are God’s gift to the world.  Women are unique; we are not men. We have a distinct place in the world and that place is no less than a man’s place in the world.  I believe in equal pay for equal work.  I believe in equal opportunity.  If a woman can do the same job as a man, she should be paid the same and get the same benefits that would be afforded to a male counterpart. Women and men, though, ARE different.

And from this fact, is where this issue stems. The problem, as I see it, is society in general. Roles are assigned to people based on gender- really, it’s true- and this is why women in the workplace often get the short end of the stick.  Women who have children miss more days of work.  More than that, women who have children are *expected* to miss more days of work than men with children.

Women are expected to want to have children.  Certainly (and my husband can attest to this), if a woman has a ticking clock, it can be LOUD and can-and usually will- dominate her every waking thought.

But is that ticking real?  Is it really a desire the actual woman has, or has it been so engrained in society that children are what women should want that it’s really the expectation of children that is ticking and not so much the woman’s desire?

When I was growing up, the expectation was that I would go to college, meet a man, get married, and stay home when the babies came. True to form, while my path may have veered and taken its own route, where am I now?  I’m married, with 4 kids.  Yep, I mostly stay home with them (although I’ve been active volunteering for a good many years and now have a very part-time job that deals with kids), and we homeschool.

Those are not choices and decisions I question.  I whole heartedly believe that in the early years, the child has an intense need for his mother’s presence that is as basic as its need for food. After all, the child has no say in this deal, and if you are going to have them, there are basic things they *really* need, and are entitled to, for natural development.

My sticking point is this, though: What is wrong with a woman not wanting children?  Why do we as a society ostracize them? Why do we think less of a woman who isn’t married and doesn’t want kids or who is married but doesn’t want children? Why has the “in club” in adult women become exclusive to only those who have children? It is just so we can sit around and tell our war stories about pregnancy and birth?

You probably know by now that out of my four kids, three of them are girls.  You probably already know, too, that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And my personal struggle is trying to be content.  Yes, I’m grateful for my life; for my family and living situation.  Yes, I’m grateful for the opportunities I get to experience because of the that situation. And yes, motherhood IS the most challenging job out there on the planet.  It’s probably also one of the least societally acknowledged jobs.  Dirty Jobs has got nothing on motherhood!

I want my girls to know- and to truly understand- that I don’t have any expectations (besides moving out of the house and being self-sustaining adults :lol:).  I want them to be happy.  I want them to know themselves well enough to make their own choices, and follow their own interests. I can’t do it for them. I can’t live their lives for them; my feelings about their choices should never take precedence or replace their own.

I want them to follow their own paths; unencumbered and unpressured by me or society. I will help them achieve their dreams and goals in any way I can  And, if somewhere along the way, they choose to have kids, I’ll be thrilled. If they don’t, though, they will never be “less than” or “missing out” because it’s not my life; it’s theirs.

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Hi. My name is Tikki, and I’m an addict.

Never in my life did I expect to end up here.

Never in my life did I anticipate working so hard to secure this stuff, nor feeling like the world was going to end if I missed my window of opportunity for getting it.

Never in my life did I expect to have radar where this is concerned, thus sending me into a frenzied state when it’s nearby. (yes, really, I am sad to say- if you know my kids, you will know this is true.)

Never in my life did I think my life would revolve around this. (Ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, given that this isn’t about chickens. :lol:)

My name is Tikki, and I am hopelessly, and quite unexpectedly addicted to green chile.  😆

We had been here for a few years before I became hopelessly addicted.  Initially, I shook my head in wonder at the stampede during chile season, and kept shaking it as I saw people waiting to have their haul roasted when I went in to do my grocery shopping and the same people still waiting when I came out an hour later.

“What on earth was the fascination,” I wondered.

My dear friend who lived across the street had hers roasted, and then she froze it.  I remember asking her what they used it in, and her funny smile as she replied, “Everything. We use it in all kinds of dishes- R (her husband) eats it on his baked potatoes.”

Well, huh.  And still I resisted. I was from Michigan, after all, and certainly, there was nothing I was missing. 😆

Last year, I canned 90 lbs, about 3 bushels, of green chile. I’ve got mild, medium, and hot. Now that it’s green chile season again, I am going to have reorganize my pantry, and see if I can actually fit more in there.  I may only have to do a bushel this year.  Because I’m an addict, I may end up doing more, even if I don’t actually need it right now. 😆

There is nothing in this world better than the smell of roasting green chile. (Except maybe the new baby smell!)  😉

Most people freeze their green chile.  I, however, can it.  I have nightmares (literally, I do!) about the power going off and losing everything in my freezer. As it is, one of my OCD traits is while checking the locked doors at night, checking-repeatedly- that the freezer in the garage is closed.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out and found the freezer not quite sealed, and shut it all the way, averting the impending disaster.

Generally, I use 1/2 pint jars to can, which gives me the ability to add a smaller amount to dishes like macaroni and cheese, for example, without making it a necessity that everyone else in the family is subjected to my addiction. In these situations, I add the green chile to 1/2 of the dish; leaving the other half free for those in my family who don’t have the good sense to be addicted like me.  🙂

The general rule of thumb is to have the green chile processing within two hours of roasting. Because skinning and dicing (I use a food processor for the dicing) is a time-consuming venture, much to the chagrin of my kids, this means I enlist their help.  We have a system down pat, where we skin and clean, chop, can and process.  Looking at last year’s records, I see that one bushel of green chile generally equals about 45 1/2 pints. This literally was an all-day event for us, taking breaks, of course, while things were pressuring.

Hatch green chile (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch,_New_Mexico) is known around the world, and is considered to be “The world’s best chile pepper.” This year, there was some concern about the crop, given the severe drought we are in.  I was expecting chile prices to be outrageous, but at this point, they seem to be similar to the normal going price in years past.

Because the New Mexico green chile is so well-known, recent steps were taken to protect the use of the term,via the New Mexico Chile Act. The NY Times article, New Mexico Takes Its Chile Very Seriously. Even the Spelling. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27chile.html?_r=1) demonstrates why it’s important for us to protect our chile.

Other resources are listed below: (sorry for the links; WP is being wonky today and not letting me embed them into the text)

New Mexico’s Chile Pepper Protection Law (http://www.trademarksandbrands.com/2011/06/07/new-mexico%E2%80%99s-chile-pepper-protection-law/)

NMDA Interim Director/Secretary Responds to The NM Chile Advertising Act (http://nmdaweb.nmsu.edu/quick-reference/public-relations/NMDA%20Interim%20Director-Secretary%20Responds%20to%20The%20NM%20Chile%20Advertising%20Act.html)

New Mexico Chile Advertising Act (*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with this site or its products) (http://www.biadchili.com/blog/?p=7/)

New Mexico Chile Advertising Act (http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?Chamber=H&LegType=B&LegNo=485&year=11)

Chile Facts (*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with this site or its products)(http://www.buenofoods.com/br_chile_facts.html)

 

The next time you are in the mood for something spicy, give NM green chile a go!  Be warned, though: it’s highly addictive!  😆

 

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Successful.  Accomplished.  Respected.  Professional. These are all words that Krista could use to describe herself as a professor of history.

Longing. Distant. Thorny. Unloved? These words are directly conflict with the way Krista lives her life. They come to her unbidden, and now she is running out of time.

For the last ten years plus, Krista has lived her life hundreds of miles away and emotionally removed from her mother, who has been robbed by Alzheimer’s. Krista’s relationship with her mother has been a struggle her whole life; feeling like a burden to her mostly single mother; trying-and failing- to please her mother; wishing she could feel loved by her mother. Krista never met her father, and as her mother slips away, she knows she has to face this head on; to try to reconcile the relationship within herself before her only remaining family is physically gone forever.

While hundreds of miles away, Krista has made sure that her estranged mother had the best care possible.  That care comes in the form of a skilled nursing facility run by her first (and only?) love, Dane. Krista comes home as the end nears for her mother.  Can she face and overcome her demons?

This book had a solid plot and execution. It was entirely too short, though. I really felt like the characters could have been developed even more and the book could have been more revealing. This tells you how much I liked the characters- I wanted more!  🙂

While there were relatively few characters, I think they could have had their history explored more- more memories of times and experiences together- without it being detrimental to the story line.  I think had this book been longer, I would have definitely given it a 5 star rating.  Because of the length, I have to give it 4 stars.  This was too short read for me, but the plot and characters were solid.  I would definitely recommend this to a friend, but would encourage another title as a companion read, because this book will be over entirely too soon!

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

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Believe it or not, I have actually talked to people who wouldn’t consider homeschooling because they “knew their kids wouldn’t be able to play sports and do extracurricular stuff in high school.”  Yes, really.  True story.

I admit, this is one of those comments that usually results in me not even bothering to comment and walking away. It’s one thing to have questions and not know how to go about researching and getting answers.  It’s another thing entirely to make broad assumptions and erroneous conclusions based on something (like extra curricular activities) that your child may not even be interested in years down the road.

“Um, you know they are *extra* curricular, as in EXTRA; like, beyond or more than what is usual or expected; or more than what is *necessary* or needed?  You know, EXTRA, as in, not essential?”

Come to find out, the bit about being essential is actually a sticking point for some folks, who feel that without those things, school just isn’t worth it.  Certainly, my own recollections of high school reflect that the only things that made that time tolerable for me was all the extra curricular stuff I was doing.

I’ve heard people say, “They are only kids once.  They have their whole lives to work and be responsible and unhappy.”(yes, really!) “At least they can look back with fond memories of their time in school, when they played football/basketball/baseball or were cheerleaders. I loved high school.  If I could go back in time and stay in once place, it would be high school.” “If I could do one time in my life over, knowing then what I know now, it would be high school.  I’d have soooooo much fun!”

{blink} {blink}

Is that what’s wrong with us as a society? It makes me wonder. What if we could encourage our kids to find their natural paths; to pursue the kind of learning they are passionate about and interested in, instead of forcing them to focus on testing and taking subjects they won’t retain, just because some strangers somewhere decided “x,y, and z” would make Johnny a well-rounded individual?

What’s wrong with being focused and passionate about a few things? I was well-rounded and exposed to all kinds of things.  As an adult, I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  What would have happened had I been allowed to pursue full-force the things that really interested me?

Some will argue that if kids aren’t exposed to all kinds of things that they will never know all the opportunities in the world available to them. I think we can hand the world (and all those opportunities) to our kids on a silver platter and they still might not find their niche. Why?  Because if we don’t allow them to immerse themselves in their interests, and give them the space to pursue those things, they may not find out for themselves how far they want to take it. Who says we can only discover our interests (or do extra curricular activities) in a school setting?

And what on earth *does* that have to do with extra curricular activities?  😆

I believe that it’s never a good idea to think that we are the only ones who know what’s best for our kids. Maybe our kids know what is best.  Maybe they don’t know it now, but if we give them the chance, they CAN figure it out, so long as we don’t stand in their way.

Believe it or not, just because a child is homeschooled, that may not preclude him/her from participating in public school extra curricular activities.  I know that may be a shock, so I’ll say it again.  Even if you homeschool, your child may be able to participate in extra curricular activities in the local public high school.

In fact, many states have regulations that are clearly defined allowing homeschooled students the option to participate in team sports and other extra curricular activities.  Are you surprised?  I know I was!

Depending on where you live, your kids may be able to legally participate in sports and other extra curricular activities, like band/orchestra.

State Laws Concerning Participation of Homeschool Students in Public School Activities is a good place to start.  Of course, it goes without saying that you’ll need to contact your local school district if you choose to take advantage of the opportunities available to you.  In many cases, the people who you come into contact within your local schools won’t know state regulations, particularly the newer ones. You’ll want to make sure you have information with statute numbers, so if it’s called into question, you are the one providing the (current) information and not the other way around.

It took me literally minutes, and I was able to find an update to my state’s law concerning homeschooling and extracurricular activities.  Instead of only being eligible to participate in three athletic activities, homeschoolers are now able to participate in all public school activities governed by my state’s activities association.  Nice, huh?  🙂

Schools can (and usually do) have requirements for student participation in activities, particularly sports, so it’s important to know what those are as well, in addition to knowing your state regulations. Another point to consider is that many schools participate in athletic associations, which are usually free to make their own rules and regulations, and it may be *these* regulations (instead of school/district policy) that prohibit participation of those not enrolled full-time in public school.

For more information on the discussion of equal access, a good place to start is here. To learn more about the variables in this debate, read these articles:

Why the Question of Homeschoolers’ Playing Public School Sports Affects All Homeschoolers – Larry and Susan Kaseman

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

I fall firmly in the camp of believing in low regulation of homeschoolers, and I believe that regulating any aspect of homeschooling (like whether or not homeschoolers can participate in public school athletics, for example) opens the door for additional regulations. Without opening that can of worms, let me just say that I/we believe in freedom and that the government has gotten too involved in our lives in general.  😉

If you happen to live in a state where homeschoolers aren’t eligible to participate in any school activities, don’t despair! There are other options, even for team sports.  At the younger (read: non high school) ages, opportunities are numerous for team sports.  There are all kinds of community team activities people (including kids) of all ages can participate in, so don’t be afraid to do some digging while you think outside the box!

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The short answer is: Cost will depend on what you are looking for.  🙂

When our oldest was attending public school those two years, thinking about how much had changed since I was a kid was a constant reminder to me. We expected, of course, to have to deal with shoes, clothes, and a lunch box.  I assumed we would probably have to buy some school supplies, particularly as they got older and needed things like notebooks and binders.

I was not prepared for the school shopping list.  I had no idea I’d have to pitch in for room supplies, like tissues and hand sanitizer. Really?  This may not be accurate, but my recollection for that one year, not including shoes, clothes, and a lunch box, was that we spent around $60 on supplies for a 1st grader; 9 years ago.

Going into having children, we knew there was going to be cost involved.  It is my job to research as a means of finding best price and deals to help keep costs down.  When you are given a list of specific brands and items that “have” to be purchased for school, you aren’t in control yet again.

Can you tell I’m a control freak?  😆

Seriously, though, one question I hear a lot has to do with cost.  “How much does it cost to homeschool?” I’ve also heard comments like, “I’d love to homeschool, but it costs too much,” or “Homeschooling is just not in our budget.”

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know that early on, like many others, my preconceived idea of homeschooling meant sitting around the table; books open, pencil in hand, doing school work. This notion revolved around curriculum. By now, though, you know that we primarily unschool, which means I don’t generally worry about pre-packaged curriculum. 😀

We also had good support early on through Clonlara.  Yes, that cost money.  😆 If we had to do over, knowing then what we know now, we most likely would not have paid anything out the two years we registered with Clonlara. One of the reasons we chose Clonlara was the lower cost, compared to other options I had researched.

It didn’t take long, though, to realize that yes, actually, we could homeschool without spending a lot of money. I was amazed at the free resources I was able to find online for young kids!

Keep checking back to the Homeschooling Information and Resources Page, because this page will have more links for resources. The resource page is a work in progress, but in the meantime, here are some young learning links to get you started:

Enchanted Learning– this site has a ton of free resources for young learners, including language activities.  There is a member’s site, too.  We’ve never paid for membership, so I can’t comment on what is in that section and available to members.  The free stuff is great, though!

Ed Helper.com– Some freebies; members section.

First-School– Free! We used this, and its sister sites *a lot*.

Super Kids Educational Tools– make your own printable worksheets- Free!

Math.com– this link goes to homeschooling resources, but there is a lot of free stuff at this site. The games section has exercises for 1st- 8th grades.  The other puzzles are fun for all ages!

Math Playground– more for elementary and middle school aged kids, but links to

IXL Math Practice, which has lots of great stuff for pre-K- 8th grades.

National Geographic Kids

Kid Zone

Kids Astronomy 

Kids Chemistry

Resources for Kids

Are you starting to realize how much free stuff there is out there?  Or how many resources you can find that don’t cost a lot of money? Certainly, you can purchase pre-packaged curriculum, and that is a valid option many families choose. 

If you feel strongly about using a curriculum, don’t rule out buying used.  eBay is a hot spot loaded with used curriculum at usually deeply discounted prices.  Many curriculum packages offer consumable workbooks, and many people find that buying used text books but new consumables is another good way to offset the cost of formal curriculum.

My point is this: Keep an open mind. 🙂 Do a lot of looking online, and connect with others who are homeschooling so that you can pick their brains. Once you have an idea of what you want your child to learn, you can start looking and finding materials. If you put your mind to it, you can find resources that will help you get on your way to homeschooling that are either free or may not cost a lot of $$$!

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Took me long enough, eh? 😆  Last month was busy, which meant not much actual time for running.  I am a morning runner.  Come afternoon, I cannot promise I’ll be out of bed, unless, of course, I am working. So, I *have* to run in the morning when I am sure I have enough go-go juice to do it.

Summary 

Mileage for this record: 50 miles

VFF miles: 39.5

Total miles since getting VFFs: 152.5

Total VFF miles- 88.75

Total days running in shoes: 31

Pain summary:  As of this moment; right now; today, most of the tendon issues seemed to have resolved (knock on wood).  The hip pain has started to creep back in, so I am back to doing more exercises targeted to strengthen them. I have found doing the yoga stretches (that gave my L foot fits )*before* and after running has really been a very good thing. I have not had any additional extensor tendon pain.  

My chief complaint this record is as usual, the heat (rolling eyes), since overall, the foot pain has been tolerable. I’m still sick of pain, but am getting periods of reprieve, so that is encouraging.

Conclusion: Seriously- take it slow in adding mileage and make those resting days count.  One of the best things I’ve done, I think, is to add extra distance in VFFs the day before a rest day (the weekends, for me).  I also usually take Wednesday off as well, although I am pretty sure at this point, it’s not as much of a necessity as it used to be. I only add 1/2 a mile at a time, which I think is the most I would want to add (now that I have my head screwed on right :lol:).

The log is below.  Leave me your comments if you are interested!

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

Day 22; Monday – ran 3 1/2 in VFFs; didn’t push; first day back after a week off

Day 23; Tuesday – ran 3 1/2 in VFFs; could not push; some L Achilles tendon soreness; cramping pain R heel; will do a lot of stretching today and tonight.

Day 24; Friday – ran 4 in VFFs, did a lot of stretching; glad I took 2 days off (company); R foot sore this am; very hot still, and feeling tired, so my pace was surprising today.

Day 25; Tuesday – ran 4 in VFFs; some Achilles tendon soreness; could feel R calf tighten, so will keep an eye on that; R foot continues to be pretty sore overall.

Day 26; Thursday – ran 4 in VFFs, some Achilles tendon soreness and some top of foot soreness; could feel R calf tighten a little bit, not as sore as Tuesday, but still needed to take yesterday off due to extreme soreness.

Day 27; Monday – ran 4 in VFFs; some Achilles tendon soreness along with sore R foot; R calf sort of tight; stitch in R side not feel real good; still wishing feet were not so sore, even when stretching.

Day 28; Tuesday – ran 4 in VFFs; more Achilles tendon pain; R foot moderately sore; could feel the tightness in R calf; didn’t push a lot today and was surprised speed was the same as yesterday.

Day 29; Thursday – ran 4 in VFFs; some Achilles tendon pain but not too bad; feet feel better today overall; R calf not as tight.

Day 30; Friday –  added ½ mile in  VFFs; ran 4.5; not much Achilles tendon tenderness; can still feel it, but thought it would be ok to increase another 1/2 mile; R calf pretty normal except when stretching and then I can feel it.

Day 31; Monday – ran 4.5 in VFFs; things feel ok today, but pretty hot; didn’t want to try to push

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You’ve been thinking about homeschooling, and via your information gathering, you’ve come to feel that yes, you can create an environment at home that is conducive to learning. You also feel that academically, your kids (should you choose to compare them to their schooled counterparts) will do just fine, and will probably be ahead of their traditionally schooled peers.

You still have a few questions, though.  As you’ve been researching what kind of homeschooling you think will be a good fit for your family, you have noticed that the overwhelming majority of pre-packaged curriculums are Christian based. You’re not particularly religious, or if you are (Christian), you’re not inclined to wanting to have your kids influenced by ideology that may not reflect your own, and you’re wondering how would you know that unless you’ve used the curriculum?  Really, you’d rather just not use any religious-based programs, but given your research, you are now wondering: Can I Homeschool if I’m Not Christian?

The short answer is yes!  Even in Alabama, the law says “church” but does not define that a church has to be Christian. (*disclaimer- this is my understanding, and is by no means comprehensive, since I don’t live in that state) I have seen folks who were not Christian homeschooling in Alabama.

Later in this series, I’ll be sharing resources for those wanting Christian curriculum. Today, I’m going to share a few resources for secular homeschooling.  Believe it or not, there are a few out there! I admit, this is not something I’ve actively searched for, because we do our own thing.

One site I’ve found has forums.  Forums are a great way to communicate with and get support from those who are like-minded.  If you have a hobby or interest, there is probably a forum out there somewhere for you to join.  😆

Secular Homeschooling.com has a forum and has resource articles.  Another site is Secular-Homeschooling Magazine.

Additional links for secular homeschooling:

North Alabama Secular Homeschooling

Leaping From the Box– Alabama cover school

Secular Homeschoolers.net

Parenting Beyond Belief

Jon’s Homeschool Resources; Secular

Atheist View: Homeschooling Without Religion  (if you are Christian, you may want to skip this one  🙂 )

If you are interested in curriculum, here are some resources:

K12

Calvert

Successful Homeschooling.com

Time 4 Learning Secular Curriculum

Home School Curriculum Advisor

Obviously, yet again, this is not a comprehensive list. More and more, people are finding homeschooling to be their choice of viable education. As they do, some (like me) blog or otherwise write and collect information on this topic. There is a lot of information out there, and slogging through it can be daunting.

At some point, I felt like I had done enough research and information gathering to make an intelligent decision.  I know you’ll get there, too!  🙂

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