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Threenager

Are you familiar with the term “threenager”? It’s just about the best way to describe a three year old. A tiny ball of growing, developing emotions that can’t seem to express themselves well enough for reliable conversation, an explosion of love and depression and excitement and anger and… well, prettty much everything else. It’s pretty ridiculous.

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Eriana is fully ensconced in the threenager stage. Yesterday she was so angry with me for picking her up from school that she and I both ended up in tears on the car ride home.

Then tonight she cried sobbing buckets during a board book she picked tonight that tells about how grownups go away but they always come back.

She’ll RAGE because I said the word “okay” too many times in response to her story, then kiss me unprompted and tell me I’m her best friend.

She corrects me, my speech, my demeanor, my behavior, then tells me I’m beautiful and snuggles me tight.

She is bossy, and sassy. She listens, even when I don’t really want her to or realize that she is. She chooses not to listen when I really need her to.

She is difficult, loving, harsh, sweet, angry, kind, unreasonable, and amazing.

Three is terrible.

Three is great.

Three is the worst. And also the best so far.

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When do the tantrums go away (and does the sweetness stay)?

Let’s Go to Swim Class

Eriana started swim lessons a couple of weeks ago. She had started expressing interest in swimming a lot, and we have two pools in our complex. So we thought we should get her into lessons for safety purposes, if nothing else. So we signed her up for a summer full of swim classes. By full summer I mean five classes per week for 10 weeks. Our mistake (maybe?) was signing her up for a summer full of accelerating courses.

She started level one, and though a mom I started talking to daily and sitting with (but didn’t have the courage to ask for her phone number because making friends is hard and being socially awkward sucks but that’s another story) said that it took her daughter three rounds of level one to pass and that she was told most kids don’t pass the first time around, Eriana did!

Wet head, sweet smile.

She is tentative about submerging her head, and hesitant in blowing bubbles from her nose, but she can still manage to do both. At least well enough to pass the class. There’s an enormous purple slide the kids get to go down on their last day of class that Eriana refused, but maybe in two more weeks? We’ll see if she can get through level two the first time around. She’s signed up for levels three through five, too, and will have to be waitlisted to repeat level two if she doesn’t make it this time around.

You guys, I’m so stinking proud of her. The second class she had the worst tantrum she’s ever had in her short life. And the third day of class she had thrown up that morning and didn’t go. So she only went to eight full classes of the ten and still progressed.

Go Eriana!

When did your kid(s) learn to swim? Did they have trouble with anything in particular? How did you combat that issue?

How to hang a photo wall with as few wrong holes as possible

Before I had Eriana my older sister came over and helped me hang all of the pictures on the nursery walls. There were several that needed to be hung on a couple of the walls, and I’m typically very bad with hanging a lot of pictures together without needing touch ups and lots of hole-filling. But! My sister had butcher paper in tow. Which, what? Genius is what.

This is the first house I’ve decorated since then, so I employed the butcher paper method today when I finally got some stuff on the walls of our house (three months after moving in. Don’t worry, we still have boxes hidden away in two closets and paint to touch up all over the place). After spending a small fortune on having photos printed from an online retailer, buying a bunch of picture frames from a thrift store, and some spray paint at the big orange home store, I wound up with a bunch of pictures to hang all over the first and second floors (entry, living room, kitchen). I wanted to do a big photo wall above the couch, and here’s where the genius comes in.

So here’s what you do:

  • Lay out your paper on the floor, the size of the space you’re going to fill with pictures. (I didn’t have any butcher paper, so I taped together a bunch of pieces of printer paper. Not the BEST way, but it worked.)
  • Lay out the pictures the way you want them on the wall.
  • After you get the pictures where you want them, trace the outlines of the frames.

 

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  • Then the hard part. (Well, maybe not hard for you, but hard for me. The most time-consuming part, for sure.) Measure each frame and mark on the paper where the nail goes or nails go for each frame.
  • Then hang the paper on the wall.

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  • Nail in your nails. Then carefully remove the paper from the wall.
  • Then hang up your pictures!

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  • Voila!

I only messed up two pictures! Only two wrong holes! Yippee! (On another wall, with only one large picture I made a total of five holes. So that one didn’t go as well.)

What’s your favorite home decorating tip?

 

Quick Takes

Dance Program (tentative ballerina in blue).

She’s my very favorite girl.

Jim shaved his beard.

Eriana was cute.

The “school year” ended.

Eriana got bigger.

Eriana turned 3.5.

I’ll be back soon. But in the meantime, what’s new with you?

Unbiased

At work today I needed Jim’s help that was pertinent to the project we’re working on together (with a team, not just us), and he came to my desk and fixed something for me. And when he left I was talking to a coworker about him, and she said how thankful she is for a developer who listens and fixes stuff right away, instead of, in the past (and sometimes still present), developers who ignore ignore ignore requests for upgrades or needs for new applications for years. And I said, “I’m a little biased, but I think Jim’s pretty great.” And she said, “I’m not biased, and he is great.”

But then I really thought about that and realized that even though I love Jim more than anyone else in the world, even though he is my best friend and the love of my life, I am still unbiased. Because every day I have to choose him. Every day I choose to be his friend, to love him, to like him.

Marriage is work. It’s also a lot of fun, and a great bolster to my life. But it’s still hard sometimes. A lot of times. It is, after all, the melding of two lives, of two separate people and two separate brains and making them work together, sometimes as one, most of the time alongside one another, sometimes completely separately.

I have had friends and family members who have had marriages end. A few after just a little while, but most after significant lengths of time (of course, arguably, any length of time can be significant, given how it is used). There are a million factors that can test or ultimately end a relationship. Sometimes marriages end because of factors beyond control or understanding. Sometimes marriages end because one or both people have other plans. Sometimes marriages end because one or both people stop working at it. Jim and I have been through times when one or both of us was done trying. And we had to consciously choose to continue. And I know that doesn’t work for every couple. But I am eternally grateful it has worked for us. And very hopeful that it continues to work each day.

One of the most inspiring quotes about marriage I know is from the “Sex and the City” movie, which, okay, whatever. But Samantha asks how often Charlotte is happy in her relationship and she says, “Every day. Not all day every day, but every day.” This is what I hold to.

I want to be happy in my relationship every day. At least a little. I want to always get excited when I hear the garage door open when Jim comes home. I want to always be proud of him and proud to be by his side. I want to always look at him and think he’s handsome and incredible. I want to always see the good in him, even during the hard times.

I want to choose him. And I hope he always chooses me, too. Not because we’re already married, although our marriage and life together is certainly something to take into account when making that choice. But not because of some built in bias. Because I want to and because he wants to.

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Advocate

I had a lot to say on a different topic. But something else has come up. I’d like to talk today about advocacy. Fair warning, because I hardly ever swear on this blog, but I’m pretty wound up, and sometimes I swear when I’m wound up.

I know that many of you will disagree with me. I ask that you see that I might just be looking at this from a different perspective. That I might have a different view because I have different experiences than you. That I might see things differently because I am a different person than you. And neither of us is more right or more wrong than the other. We are just different. But we have the same end goal. 

I am a firm believer in helping those who cannot help themselves. Or standing with those who can help themselves, but need more people to make a difference. I get really angry when people hurt children or the disabled. Or when people are assholes, just to be assholes. I get really frustrated when people take something said and blow it out of proportion or take it out of context.

However. I’m also a realist, who never presumes that people are out to do good. I have been burned by too many people to believe that everyone is good. I see the shit that people put out and I easily see through a false exterior. I get really pissed off at hypocrisy and double-standards. I get angry at ignorance that can be combatted.

This weekend Twitter blew up with the #YesAllWomen topic. And it’s an important topic. A very important topic. But it’s one I stayed largely silent on. I tweeted something, then deleted it. I sent a few direct messages to people who I wanted to reach out to. But I felt a lot like it wasn’t for me. Like I wasn’t included in that sentiment of ALL women. Because I have never lived through assault, sexual or otherwise. Because I married my first real boyfriend, a standup guy who would never harm me and who consistently looks out for me.

But you know what? Bullshit. I do have a story. I have lived my life as a woman. I grew up in a combined conservative and religious situation where the man was always the Head. My wedding vows included the “to obey” line wherein I promised to never cross Jim. (Thankfully he hasn’t held me to that.) I grew up being taught to check under my car for men who would cut my achilles tendon and kidnap me. I was taught to walk with my keys between my fingers to use as a weapon. I was taught to never go out after dark alone. I was taught to live in fear. Because I was a tender, weak woman. I must submit to men. I must be scared when alone. And now? I didn’t want to go pick up a filing cabinet I was buying from Craigslist by myself. I text Jim when I’m going running so he knows where to look for me if I don’t check in. And I’m teaching my daughter to be fearful. And that sucks. It sucks that one of my best friends was assaulted by her boyfriend and their roommate drove the asshole to the bus station instead of letting the cops pick him up. It sucks that I know so many people who were assaulted or raped or both, and many still feel like their assaults were their fault. I do have a hand in this fight. I do have something to say. I am the mother of a daughter who just might rule the world someday. Because she can. Because she’s awesome. Because no one had better stop her if that’s her aspiration.

And I know that the point of #YesAllWomen was to empower women. But I didn’t feel empowered. I felt shuttered. I felt like some (NOT ALL) women were using it to bash men for being the way they are, whether the shit from their or our society’s history (meaning: the way they were raised or the way society has favored men and set it up for them to have an easy time) made them that way or they chose it. And I felt like a lot (NOT ALL) of men were using it to defend themselves, and fully missing the point. And I kept reading that men should keep silent; this isn’t about you. And then some teenage jerks picked a fight with two of my online acquaintances and were inappropriate and terrible and in support of using force against women, and talking about how women should be making them sandwiches and their MOTHERS defended them. And I realized: This is bigger than letting women tell their stories. This needs advocates. Of all kinds.

This needs women who have been harmed. This needs women who haven’t. This needs women who have lived through hell. This needs women who have never dreamed of the pain their friends have felt. This needs women who have sat by because they didn’t know how to help. This needs women who have seen the pain inflicted upon their friends and felt helpless. This needs women who have lived in fear just because they were women. This needs women who have felt safe all their lives. This needs women who have been told something that wasn’t their fault was their fault. This needs women who have been told they shouldn’t have worn what they did or drank what they did or been where they were. This needs women who have been put in uncomfortable situations. This needs women who are the mothers of boys OR mothers of girls (or both). This needs women who have struggled. And and and. YES, all women need to get involved. Because this is about ALL women.

BUT.

This also needs men who want to be part of the change. This needs men who have made mistakes but have truly seen the error in their ways. This needs famous authors who tweet about how important it all is. This needs athletes and politicians and actors and musicians of all sexes. This needs fathers of daughters and fathers of sons. This needs men who have seen women they love get hurt. This needs men who love women and want to see them succeed.

Because those boys who picked a fight with my acquaintances? They aren’t going to listen to a woman. Their mothers have been taught that the man is the head. Those boys have been raised to believe it. Maybe it will take a favorite author or athlete to get them to understand the severity of this situation. They don’t care about the stories of the women. They may not be mentally ill, just living their easy lives, being men who were told they “rule the world.” Or they may very well be mentally ill and in need of help. They may not see it until they marry a woman who has been through abuse. They may not see it it until they have a sister or daughter and see the unfairness or see her get hurt. They may never see it. The men who never considered any of this until they had daughters? It sucks that it takes that to get them to see the problem, but GOOD that they are seeing it and want to be a part of the change! The men who made mistakes when they were young and stupid and growing up in a world where they were taught they were the top because they were men? There may be hope for them, too. The next generation of men can be part of the change. And my friends who are raising sons are working toward that, just like I am in raising my daughter.

I get that the men didn’t need to tell their stories. It was a time for women to bring to light the things that men can’t understand, that many women can’t even comprehend. But I don’t agree that they should keep silent. Not forever. Not completely. And if a high profile man wants to get involved, to be an advocate, to try to be part of the change? Bring it.

Be an ally. Be an advocate. Get involved. Be part of the change. Or get out of the way. Because it’s coming. Damned if my daughter is going to grow up in fear, just because she lacks a penis.

Meme-ing

Jess posted this because Jennie posted this, and I do love a meme.

1. What is your favorite type of cheese? Oh, man. Cheese. I love cheese. I’m off dairy right now (at least on weekdays, and I’m trying to limit it on weekends), in an effort to lose some weight (and it’s working!), so cheese is kind of a sore subject. My favorite is pepper jack. Or mozzarella. Or… well, most cheeses are my favorite, depending on what meal it’s being served atop.

I also like this kind of cheese:

Blue teeth and big grin thanks to a sno-cone at “Sesame Street Live

2. What are you excited about? We are going on “macation” (vacation, in Eriana-speak, and not really) to Seattle for the long weekend and I’m super pumped. I am excited to see/meet some friends, to relax with my lovely family, and to get to sightsee with Jim and Eriana.

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August 2013

3. How did you celebrate your last birthday? I turned 32. I went to work, then I painted Eriana’s room at our new (current) home, then went out to dinner with my loves. It was low-key, just like I like my birthdays to be.

4. What’s on your bedside table? A couple of books, a lamp, a couple of lip balms, a couple of hair ties, and a few charging cords. The usual.

5. What do you order from the movie concession stand? Wine. Well, the last time I went to the movies (thank you Living Room Theatre!). Usually some sort of chocolate candy and some popcorn.

6. Do you have a garden? What’s growing? No. I wanted to have an herb garden, but I didn’t do any research and now I think it’s too late? I don’t know these things. I just want to grow my own cilantro and parsley.

7. Any summer plans? We are going to Oklahoma at the end of the summer for my baby sister’s wedding (!!!), but have no plans in the interim. It’s going to be difficult for me to get off work, and we’re saving up for our trip to the wedding, so other than maybe a weekend or two away, probably nothing.

8. Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for? All of my TV is a decade old on Netflix. So… a Buffy and Angel reconciliation? For Piper and Leo to last forever? For Weevil and Veronica to get together?*

9. What’s the last thing you bought? An Elsa costume dress. (Eriana’s half-birthday is coming up FAST.)

10. What’s one thing you are passionate about? EQUALITY. Did you hear that Oregon ended the ban on same-sex marriage yesterday? And Pennsylvania today? SO EXCITING! I am so hopeful for my sweet girl to grow up in a world where she can marry whomever she wants, should she choose to get married. And hopeful that the equality will extend even further to her never feeling marginalized for being female.

11. What are you grateful for this week? A supportive husband. I have been… struggling with some stuff, and Jim is so stinking supportive. He just wants me to be happy, and to be in a position where I am utilized and feel like I’m making a difference, because that’s what I want. He has Big Plans for his professional future and our family future. I’ve eternally felt like he’s putting his dreams on hold for me, but he never makes me feel that way or makes me feel guilty for going to school for so long or for being out of work for awhile or anything. He’s just… lovely.

How about you? Will you answer these fun questions and tell me about it?

I have some big posts in my head, but I’m too het up about a couple of topics to post them right now. I’ll get to them, though. And I’ll get back to blogging more, too.

*Yes, I’ve seen the movie (three times! Wait, four?), and I know I am not supposed to be rooting for something that was never really a possibility. But Weevil is so good looking! Who wants to buy me a Team Weevil mug?

Organizational Wizard

You guys. We’re still unpacking. I have NEVER had it take this long (I’ve also never had a job when trying to unpack and get settled, which apparently is a big time deterrent?). Every day I’m still taking stuff upstairs, moving stuff around. I took two completely full car loads to Goodwill, and there’s more accumulating in our downstairs closet to take another day. We’ve mostly gotten all of the boxes out of the main living area. There’s still a lot to go through in our downstairs “spare” room, to get organized and to make that room usable as a guest room. And there’s still some more organizing to do. My goal is to wind up with ONE box. One. (You know, the one of things you always have that you can’t get rid of but can’t currently use. In our case it’s things that aren’t mine but I’ve promised to do something with, and things like our tv wall mount that we don’t want to re-buy but won’t use right now, etc.*)

I have an advanced degree in organizing. Sort of. I mean, yeah, organizing information and books. Jim once called me the “most disorganized organized person” he knows. Yep. Pretty much sums me up. Everything has a place, but a lot of times there are still things in disarray. I like containers and boxes and labels and alphabetizing my books. But the clutter, oh MAN, the clutter. Who bought all of this crap? Oh, you mean it is stuff we use on a daily or weekly basis? Dang. I guess we can’t get rid of that. So I guess if we need it and it has a place, THEN WE SHOULD PUT IT AWAY. Reminds me of TJ’s CrapMagnet post. Right now? The entire townhouse is a crapmagnet. And everything seems so disorganized and crazy while we try to find the best place for it. And we keep taking stuff to Goodwill, but then we have to go buy more stuff. More containers. More fabric boxes. More plastic drawers. More… more. WHY DO WE NEED MORE WHEN WE WANT LESS? Good freaking grief.

Our garage door got fixed this week, so that’s helpful. Of course there’s too much unorganized stuff piled up in the garage right now to pull the car in. Plus approximately 400 million broken down boxes. And two still formed that are full of packing paper. (Anybody in PDX need some boxes? They’re yours.) So tomorrow’s plan is to organize the garage so we can pull in one car. I should probably tell Jim that… Okay, he’s in agreement. We have a date night planned this Saturday (DATE NIGHT), so I want our house to be in some sort of order when our babysitter comes. You know, to at least pretend that we are organized people. Then this week after work my plan is to finish putting the kitchen together. We have very few drawers, which is good in that we can’t have a junk drawer, and bad in that we can’t have a junk drawer.

Right now I just feel like I’m drowning, in several aspects of my life. But beyond unbloggable things (don’t worry: no one is sick, no one is dying, my marriage is great), and the lack of time present in my life, the lack of order at home is the highest frustration. I’ve got to get through this stuff. I’ve got to get everything done.

Meanwhile, look at my kid. She’s pretty great.

Brave girl. Frozen shirt. (Get it?)

*Of course, there will still be tubs of stuff in our garage that we continue to store like my wedding dress, excess invitations and programs from our wedding (we’re coming up on 11 years. How long am I supposed to keep that stuff?), holiday decorations, lawn equipment we don’t know if we’ll keep but brought all the way up here, suitcases, camping gear, etc. in addition to tools and other garage-type stuff.

How long did it take you to get settled last time you moved?

Moved!

Well, sort of. I mean, we live at our new house, and all. But, WOW, I forgot what a mess moving is! And! I didn’t have a job for our last, um, four moves. So now I feel like it’s taking ages to get through every box. I did not get Eriana’s room completed by the time we moved in. She’s doing okay, though. She likes the new house, and her bed is purple and pink and her room is purple. She’s got a bunch of toys back about which she’d forgotten. She’s better than I feared, it what I’m saying.

(Of course, she got a double ear infection, a stomach bug, and her allergies attacked all at once, so she’s been home from school for the last three days. But she’s getting over that.)

Right now we are living in a sea of cardboard. We have an entire closet spilling over into the spare room full of stuff to take to Goodwill. We have at least two more trips to the old apartment to get everything, plus we have to clean it top to bottom this weekend. We have till the 24th, which seemed like a long time until now because it’s the 16th and… that’s not a long time. Where did all of this stuff come from? Why did we bring all of this stuff with us? Why do we have a full closet of stuff to give away and still have boxes that need to be emptied? Good gracious.

PLUS! On Thursday (you know, moving day) night, I pushed the button for the garage and the door went almost halfway down, made a very loud banging noise, and went back up. It didn’t hit the car (that was out of the way), and it didn’t fall off the tracks, thank goodness. The panel that holds the motor thing to the door broke off, and the top section of the door cracked. So. That’s awesome. So I made a work order, and someone came and said it would probably need to be replaced. Then, THEN, when I hadn’t heard back from the apartment office in a couple of days I called the office and the guy who had put in the work order had the gall to ask if we hit the door. He said, “Well on your move in form you said the door was working. So did you maybe back into it with your car?” First of all, I think I would remember doing that. And second of all, the damage to the door is not such that would have been caused by hitting it with a vehicle. And THIRD of all, nope! Come check my cars, Dude. I said, “Well the garage door was working. We didn’t, like, check every screw and examine each panel of the door.” Do you do that when you move into a new place? Whatever. They have a vendor coming out tomorrow to see what will need to be done for repairs.

So I don’t know when I will be able to post pictures of our house, but I won’t until it is clear of boxes and decorated. Only one piece of furniture wouldn’t fit upstairs (YAY! I FEARED IT WOULD BE MORE!), so our “guest” room is sort of a mess, what with the piles of stuff to donate, the couch we need to sell, and a huge armoire that wouldn’t fit upstairs. But I will happily share pictures of our home once I’ve put my decorator’s mark (ha!) on it. So far we’ve made one trip each to Home Depot (paint and supplies!), IKEA (new dresser (since our armoire wouldn’t fit upstairs)! New bookshelf! Meatballs! Little things we needed!), and Target (new soap dispenser for Eriana’s bathroom!) just for house-related stuff. I’m sure those numbers will go up soon.

But! We have beds to sleep in, and dishes to eat from, and food to cook. The mass amounts of storage in our new house are great! But! Lots of cabinets and few drawers. So that’s going to take some creativity. Plus everything is made for tall people. Or at least average-height people. Basically the counters are high and the upper cabinets are high. I need a step stool. And, also: I haven’t lived in a home with stairs since 2003. I’m not a super-fan of stairs. Living here will either guarantee I only live in one-story homes for the rest of my life, or be a stair-climbing master. Three stories. THREE stories. That’s taking some getting used to.

Anyway! Let’s see some pictures of my kid, shall we? Okay.

“Helping” paint her bed pieces.

Sitting in the “perfect place for [her] booty” at brunch.

What is your best moving story? (Good or bad.)

 

2014 First Quarter Books

9 books read : 66 to go (I need to step it up.)

I’m going to do things a bit differently this year, and organize by stars on a 1-5 scale. (On my 2014 Books page I’ll just organize by reading order and then tell you how many stars I gave.) Five stars are my favorite! Books! Ever! One star books are not worth even going to the trouble of picking it up from the library or downloading it for free. Very few books get five stars from me. I’m stingy.

5 stars

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: A reread, but OH! I loved it even more the second time around.

4 stars

Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin: I love Allie Larkin. This book was lovely. It was quite unbelievable, but I loved it anyway. I spent the whole book wondering what was going to happen and when everything was going to blow up and it was great!

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner: Oh, this book. Oh, Lia’s story broke my heart, and I want a group of friends like hers.

Stay by Allie Larkin: Because I loved Why Can’t I Be You, I checked out this book and devoured it. I loved it. I really really want a sequel. Or to know what happened after the book ended. Because I need to know that Van is happy with… the guy (no spoilers!) in the end.

3 stars

James Potter and the Vault of Destinies by G. Norman Lippert: Well. I really want to love this story, and I still gave it three stars even though I was a bit frustrated by it. It took me FOREVER to get through. Lippert is just so long winded! And complex! So much of the story could have come through with less TALKING. Holy moly. But I love the characters and his development of Rowling’s characters. So three stars it is.

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes: Meh. I went into this book expecting to love it. But I didn’t love it. I was just annoyed, mostly.

2 stars

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed: Oh, goodness. I have a love-hate relationship with the works of Cheryl Strayed. I felt the same way after reading Wild. This book, though, was a bit much for me. I needed quicker resolutions from her advice column. BREVITY, Cheryl.

Christmas Proposal by Cheryl Parsons: Hmph. This book was strange. I bought it on the recommendation of a mutual friend the author and I have, and I was with her till the end when it just… ended. I actually checked Amazon to make sure there wasn’t a problem with my download. Because what the heck happened? I was so confused! It wasn’t even a good set up for a sequel, it just was over. Weird.

1 star

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Nope. No. This book was so annoying. SO slow, and with a complex plot line I expected to be more into it. And I did not like the main character. At all. He’s kind of a douchebag. At one point it seemed that everyone in the story turned British. That was weird. Overall not a fan. NY Times Best Seller? Sad I wasted money on this one.

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