Thursday, October 19, 2017

My little brother

One of my favorite parts of living here is that people I love show up unexpectedly from time to time.  Yesterday Enoch called.  He was in Salt Lake for business meetings but had some time.  I said, "Come to dinner!"

But then it turned out I had invited him under false pretenses because:

Mark had voice lessons from 5:00-5:45

Adam and Mark were doing a service project in our neighborhood starting at 6:00

I was tutoring at 7:00

So first Enoch and Adam and I went to The Home Depot to pick up the log splitter Adam was renting for the project.  (Come over!  We'll do exciting things like go to The Home Depot!)

Then Enoch and I went to Kneaders and he bought me dinner.  (Come over!  You can buy me dinner!)

We did have a good time visiting and I enjoy one on one time with that kid.  We talked a bit about our kids and the ways certain of them puzzle us (we'll never tell which).  I was hugging him good-bye in the driveway when my little tutoring students pulled up with their dad.

Tutoring is one of my favorite things.  This was my first time tutoring in awhile and my first time with this brother and sister duo and they are adorable in every way.

The little girl, Jada, was reading a story about a girl who wished for a big brother.  I said, "Do you like having a big brother?"

She said, "Mostly."  Then she whispered, "But he does get a little bossy." (She didn't need to whisper because her brother was downstairs playing in the colossally messy lego room.)

I said, "Did you see my brother outside when you came to my house?  He's really big, but he's my little brother."

Her eyes got big and her mouth formed an O. "What?"she said.

"Yep," I said, "he's younger but he got big."

"Wow.  Yeah."

I sure love my big little brother.  He makes me feel like I lucked out.  (And not just because he buys me dinner.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Emma's song

Saturday when we visited Emma she played a few songs she'd recently written (one in collaboration with her friend Emme--they said if they had a band, they'd just call it M).

Then later that night she sent another song she'd written.

She said, "I've just been in a song writing mood."

Like that's something that just happens?

Then she created an album cover for the song because she knows how.

Ever since she was a little girl, I swore there was talent just dripping out of her little fingers.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Adam and Thelma enter the 21st century

Yesterday I canceled our landline.  We were maybe some of the ten people in America to still have one.  Interestingly it was Adam, who's way more technologically savvy than I am, who dragged his feet on getting rid of it.

The only calls we ever received on it were from my mom, Marianne, and telemarketers.  A lot of telemarketers.

Adam finally got tired of hearing me complain (which is a sentence that could start any number of anecdotes) and I called to cancel.

What's next for me?  Will I stop calling audio books "books on tape"?

Monday, October 16, 2017

The upside is we love Provo

We have been beating a path between here and Provo.  Too many trips.

Thursday, we went and had dinner at Mother Cannon with our kids.

Friday, I met my parents for lunch and Braeden and I went to the Provo Temple together.

Also on Friday, Braeden decided to stay the weekend so he drove Loki here. (His friend/former mission companion stayed Saturday night too--I love filling the house up a little more from time to time.)

Saturday, Emma's ankle, which she had sprained, was hurting.  I wanted to take her ice packs and an ace bandage so we went again.

We decided to take Loki to her so she could come for Sunday dinner.

She decided not to come for Sunday dinner.

So we had to go to Provo Sunday night to return Braeden.  After dropping Braeden off we walked around campus a little.

How long has this been there?  Adam and I had never seen this sign on the side of campus behind the Maeser Building.

An alternative to the Big Scary Tree.  The one we used as a meeting spot back in the Pax Thelma (which is what we're calling the time Adam and I were at BYU) closer to the library is gone.  I'm glad there's another one for the next generation.


Autumn is my favorite season and BYU is one of my favorite places on earth and walking around campus holding hands with Adam it didn't feel like going to Provo too many times after all.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Grateful Friday

Six Things I'm Grateful for Today

1) Mother Cannon

(We got the name from Desi.)  Emma has extra money on her meal card so we all had dinner at the Cannon Center last night.  Even though it's vastly different than when Adam and Robbie and Erin and Rachel and I ate dinner every night together at the Cannon Center, the fond memories persist.  Love me some Mother Cannon.

2) College

I love that it is hard for our kids.  That's good for them.  Also, they are lit from within sometimes with excitement about this or that.  BYU is pretty much dripping with opportunities and I'm grateful every day they are able to go there.

3) Junior High Drama

Maybe I should say theater.  There's always drama in junior high.  Mark is doggedly working on his lines.  It's great for him to also have something hard to do in his life.  Also, he and Braeden and Emma are scheming Mark's costume for his upcoming Midsummer's Night Dream performance which will be set in the 50s.  There's possibly a baby blue suit involved.

4) Plants

Yesterday I moved plants around.  I brought some inside, I threw some away, I repotted some pothos which I'm constantly in a state of regenerating (I may have too many but I can't stop myself).  I repotted my outdoor geraniums and decided Emma's room with it's lovely amount of winter sunshine was a perfect home for them.

I can even wheel the wagon out if she ever deigns to stay here overnight.

5) The library

I get giddy sometimes when I go there.  I leave with my bag overflowing with books I may or may not read but that's the best part.  Yesterday I found a modern retelling of Emma by Alexander McCall Smith.  Jane Austen and Alexander McCall Smith?  Literary dream team.

6) Adam

The more time I spend with him, the more I like him.  This strikes me as a good thing when I'm married to the guy.  We discuss current events and our children and what's going on in our world.  He encourages me when I'm discouraged and I try to do the same.  I also read aloud to him from Alexander McCall Smith.

7) My parents

Today they'll be around so we're going to lunch and to the temple.  Proximity for the win.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

You would think I'd blog about him more

He's our only kid home and I'm grateful for his dailiness.

Braeden is in and out of home quite a bit too.  The other day he was here and Adam and I were lecturing Mark because he was acting like a 14 year old.  Then he was sassy and Braeden laughed and choked (on the cereal he was eating) and was also shocked and a little horrified.

Later he told Mark to never ever talk to me like that again.

(It's nice when the 20 year old has your back.)

Mark though.  Despite the sass, I love that kid.

He's well on his way to being independent and grown up.  He takes care of business and is quick to hug me (when the sassiness has passed and we declare we are friends again).

So here's a little of what Mark's been up to:

While we were in Washington, D.C., Adam and Mark went on an adventure to Great Basin National Park.

Adam's report was that they talked the entire time.  Mark loves finances and accounting and loves to talk about it.  Also sports.  And cars.

Last night for his mutual activity they went to Top Golf which sounds pretty swanky.  It's a driving range but fancier.  Also I heard about the food.  Boys that age + food = it matters.  Mark's leader texted all the parents this picture:

Parents responded back with things like "So cool!" and "Wow!"  I had no idea who that guy was.  He looked a little like the guy from This is Us?  I texted the picture to Braeden and Emma for their opinion and Braeden said it looked like he was trying to mug Mark.  Emma thought he was trying to slip something in Mark's pocket.  Vanessa (who Emma must have shown the picture to) said at least Mark was The Chosen One.

So they didn't know who he was either.

Turns out the guy is Mitch Mathews.  He is a former BYU and NFL player.  Who knew?  All the other parents apparently.

Speaking of football, Adam looked up when the Seahawks were going to be playing on a Thursday.  He thought they'd go to Buffalo Wild Wings and watch the game because that is the kind of thing that makes Mark's heart sing.

He showed Mark the date of the game.  Adam said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

Mark said, "Yeah, go to Arizona to watch the game?"

(Mark also loves Arizona.  And road trips.)

Adam explained that instead he had been thinking they would go to Buffalo Wild Wings.  You've got to hand it to Mark though.

The child dreams big.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The day Emma sang for the devotional and I (accidentally) got fancy photo skills

Emma had vaguely mentioned that she was singing in a devotional but I didn't know the exact date.  Luckily my mom called me to tell me (she'd seen on Facebook).

I alerted Nola (because Sara also hadn't told her mom).

Sheesh.  We're these girls' biggest fans so why are they so reluctant to show off?

I had my fingers poised over the keyboard so I could take a screenshot if I saw Emma.  Adam scoffed a little and said that we could always re-watch it.

I said, "No, this is the only chance ever.  If I don't take a picture now, that's it."

Adam didn't say anything.  

I think sometimes he is rolling his eyes on the inside but he hides it well.

I took this screen shot of Emma--I added the snazzy heart over her face, because I'm snazzy.

I love watching her sing.  She feels the music deeply and just sings her little heart out.

I took this picture off the BYU Women's Chorus Facebook page (which is the true hero in this story, next to my mom):

Happy talented pretty musical girls.  I love it.

The best picture I took was when I tried to take a screenshot of Sara so I could show Nola.

In the middle of my screenshot, the picture was changing from the girls singing to Sister Applonie directing.

And that, my dears, is me being accidentally fancy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mr. Braeden goes to Washington

Our plane arrived in Baltimore at around 11:00 PM on Thursday night.  The last time I flew to Baltimore with Braeden he was 7 months old.  Can I just say this was easier/more pleasant?  He hefted my suitcase to the overhead bin.  He provided nice conversation and showed me funny memes on his phone and he didn't cry one time.  Not even at takeoff and landing.

So that was different than the last time.

We told Stella that we would take Uber to the rented house because our arrival was so late.  She wouldn't hear of it.  And if there's one thing I know it's that you don't argue with Stella.

She picked us up and then wondered if we wanted to go see the monuments at night.


So we drove by the temple, all lit up on the beltway, then into Washington, D. C.  By then it was well past midnight and we pretty much had the streets to ourselves.

We got to the house at 2:30 AM.  Stella?  She loves the nightlife.

Friday we did more sightseeing.

I loved the sassy license plates in our nation's capitol.

Taxation Without Representation

We took the metro which was remarkably clean.  (My last experience on subway transit was in Paris and ew.)  Our first stop was the top floor of the W Hotel which Stella knew about as a photo op spot.

Here's Braeden overlooking the back side of the White House

We went down to the Mall and saw all the sights.

There's the Washington Monument in the background which we didn't quite get all of. Selfies are hard.  Even when you have long arms like Braeden.

I texted a picture of Braeden and the White House to Fam-a-lam and then Emma magic happened.

Getting that girl a cell phone was a wise move.  Entertainment for days.

I hadn't seen the World War II Memorial before and it is beautiful:

I posed by the Nevada:

Braeden and Stella by Virginia:

And then Braeden between North Carolina and Virginia, the two states in his mission.

I said, "Smile!"

He said, "I'm trying to be like D. Trump.  When in Rome."


We visited the Vietnam Memorial on our way to the Lincoln Memorial.

My little (maybe not so little) political science major was pretty much in love with the whole place.

I took a picture of him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, as a companion to this other picture we have:

He was more alert this time around....

By then we were getting tired so Stella hailed a cab and we took that to the Jefferson Memorial.  The cab driver was from Ethiopia and Braeden and Stella had a good visit with him and the introvert in the back seat pretty much kept her mouth shut.

Stella calls the memorials "Mr. Lincoln" and "Mr. Jefferson" and it's a toss up between which one I love more.

We took another cab to the Capitol and this time the driver was from Pakistan.  Again Braeden and Stella chatted with him.  I admire and don't possess those skills of easy conversation with strangers.  There's a reason why people like Stella and Braeden have so many friends.

The Capitol was closed for the day by the time we got there.  Stella and I found a place to sit and Braeden said, "I'm just going to go touch it."

That's him down in front.
Taking Braeden to Washington was sort of like taking Emma to Paris.  The stuff of dreams.

Monday, October 9, 2017

My cup runneth over

Braeden and I got home last night from our Washington, D.C. trip.

I wish I had better words to describe it but I will have to do my best.

Mostly I felt like I did this small thing.  A little sacrifice.  I sent my dear son away on a mission.  It wasn't easy.  I missed that kid and it felt physically painful to drop him off at the MTC.  But I did it, because it was what I was supposed to do.  I wanted us to be obedient.  I guess I hoped Braeden would benefit from the experience.

So I did that small thing and I never expected the enormous blessings and rewards that would result.  I didn't know I would end up with dear friends.  Over and over in my life, I realize the rewards for our obedience and efforts always outpace any offerings we make.  It makes me feel puny but also incredibly loved by a Heavenly Father who blesses His children.

Braeden baptized Stella last year on September 10.  Somewhere along the line he said, "Can I come back here when Stella goes to the temple?  And also I promised her I would."

So that was that.

And also Stella is part of our family now and I got to go too.

Saturday we went to the temple.  We had the baptism and confirmation performed for RenĂ©e, who is Stella's beloved daughter-in-law who passed away several years ago.  Braeden performed the temple work for Christopher, Stella's son who has also passed away.  I can't wait for Christopher and Braeden and Mark to meet.  Stella and I have a lot in common and one thing is that we adore our sons.

I was honored to be Stella's escort while she did her own temple ordinances.  In short order she had every temple worker we talked to in love with her.  Because that's how she is.

There is no one in the world like Stella.

People from the Salem ward who love Stella and threw their arms around Braeden in a happy reunion came from Virginia Beach to be with Stella.  I loved all of them.  Not just because they told me I looked young enough to be Braeden's sister, but that helped....

After our wonderful day at the temple we went back to the house Stella rented for us.  Some friends from Virginia Beach joined us for Chinese food takeout and we sat around the table and talked.  Stella related some of her experiences leading up to her baptism and then the Heinzelmans (I really don't know if I'm spelling that correctly) told us the story of their conversions.  It was astounding.  Hearing the experiences of these good and intelligent and truth seeking people, it was clear to me that Heavenly Father loves them.  He loves His children.  He wants us back.

Every insignificant and temporary worry that plagues me seemed to float right away.  I felt the perspective of what matters most.  I felt filled up with light.  I felt increased love for Adam and our children and really everyone.

This is what matters.

This is where it's at.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Grateful Thursday

I'm a day early this week because I won't be around tomorrow.  Braeden and I are flying to Washington, D. C. later today.

I'm excited.

And nervous.  (Because I'm always a little nervous before I take a trip.)

I'm also very grateful.

We are going there to see Stella.  We're going to stay in a house with her that's she's rented for the occasion.  I'm looking forward to visiting with her.  Mostly, we are going so we can go to the temple with her.  What a crowning event in the life of a former missionary!  I'm thrilled that I get to be there with Braeden.  And most importantly Stella!  She is an amazing woman, full of light.  She is prepared to take this next step and I'm honored we get to be there alongside her.

I'm grateful to Adam for encouraging us to go and making it possible. 

I'm grateful to Mark for walking home from rehearsal later since Adam will be dropping us at the airport.  He's a good kid.

Other things happened this week.  Monday we hosted around 30 neighbors for a potluck dinner at our house.  I hadn't met some of them and didn't know some of them well.  It was nice to get together.  (And finally put a face with the Lamborghini house--Mark was especially interested in getting to know who lives in that house.)

Tuesday we went to Emma's choir concert.

(I took this from Facebook.  She looks deceptively tall in this picture.  She isn't.  She was in the second row, on the floor in front of the risers and I couldn't see her.  I caught a glimpse every once in a while to know where she was standing but I couldn't see her face.  I suggested she bring a box to stand on next time.  I'm not sure if she'll obey....)

The concert was amazing.  I always love the PGHS choir concerts and this one really kicked it up a notch from that.  It was a showcase of all four choirs, Women's Chorus, Men's Chorus, Concert Choir and BYU Singers.  I thoroughly enjoyed each.  Three boys Braeden graduated with were in Men's Chorus and it was fun to see them singing again.  (They were all in PGHS Chamber Choir.)

After the concert Emma was sparkly with her dangly earrings and shiny costume.  She was also lit from within, delighted to have sung with her choir.

If there's anything better than happy children, I don't know what it is.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Choose your hard

The other day I saw this meme:

I've been thinking about it ever since and thinking of all the applications to life.

Exercising is hard.

Being unhealthy is hard.

Choose your hard.

Remembering to floss is hard.

Having gum disease is hard.

Choose your hard.

Cleaning up is hard.

Never being able to find anything in your messy house is hard.

Choose your hard.

Forgiving is hard.

Staying angry is hard.

Choose your hard.

School is hard.

Being uneducated is hard.

Choose your hard.

Making time for the most important things is hard.

Not having the most important things is hard.

Choose your hard.

Being part of a family is hard.

Being all alone is hard.

Choose your hard.

I could go on an on and on.  I have got to remember to choose the right hard.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How the rest of the weekend went

Adam and Braeden and Mark went to the Priesthood Session of conference so Emma and I hung out together Saturday evening.  We went to Magelby's for dinner.  We predicted how many men would be in the entire restaurant (which was packed).  I guessed three and she guessed six.  There were five.

Sitting across the table, Emma and I chatted and I just enjoy being with that girl.  We talked about BYU and her future plans and her friends.

On the way home we stopped at Walgreens for a prescription for me and my ring ding eye.  The pharmacy was closed but good news!  We didn't go home empty handed.  Emma bought a little cat that was painted to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.  I don't like Halloween but Day of the Dead is better.  I like the bright colors.  Emma named the cat Josefeline.  Because she's my clever girl.

I tried to convince her to stay the night and she didn't want to.  I had her give me five good reasons why she should drive back to Provo and she only came up with four.  I said I would give her five good reasons why she should stay and I could only think of four also.

The boys came home and I asked, "Braeden, are you staying here tonight?"

He said, "Heck yes!"

I said I was trying to convince Emma to stay and Braeden said, "You know guilt won't work."

And yes I do.  Emma was packing up her belongings (and Josefeline) and I said, "Emma, you know you're the most stubborn person in the world."

She said, "Yep."

Adam and Braeden and Mark and I stayed up late, talking.  We talked about the past year or so for our family and the lessons we've learned from some of the craziness.

I'm grateful for our family.  I love our children with a fierce mama bear love but I also just really really like them.  The older they get, the more they feel like friends.

Sunday we went across the street to the Porters for a brunch and to watch the first session of conference together.  It was an amazing spread of food.  Nola said she likes it better than Thanksgiving.  Between sessions of conference, we were treated to a concert by all the talented kids.  There was singing and piano playing and cello playing and more singing.  Garrett, one of the Porters' friends from IN who is attending BYU, played the piano laying on his back on the piano bench with his hands crossed above his head.  Maple Leaf Rag.  It was awesome.

We headed back across the street to watch the final session of conference, uplifted by the spiritual feast of conference, the literal feast from brunch and the wonderful talented kids.

I just love General Conference.  The older I get the shorter it seems to last.  I can't wait to read the talks and remember the way I felt.  I aspire to be more and to do better.

The kids stayed around until about 9:30 Sunday night.  We ate and played games and made plans and Adam crushed everyone's dreams at Yahtzee.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Life with Braeden

That pretty much sums it up.

Braeden was having two of his mission friends stay with us Friday night.  Then they were going to have "dates" (at our house, watching General Conference--hence the quotation marks).  We were going to feed them all lunch and then they were going to hike between sessions.

Change of plans.

Now there were three boys staying.

Change of plans.

One of the girls was staying in Centerville (none of these kids are from here).  They decided instead of watching conference here, for the dates, they'd go to Salt Lake City for it.  So now they just wanted a quick breakfast-while-going-out-the-door-early and wouldn't be eating lunch with us after all.  I bought muffins.

Change of plans.

Now the girl is staying in Provo rather than Centerville.  Breakfast and lunch were back on (as of 11:30 on Friday night).  Adam took a late night WinCo run for provisions.  So one car would go to Provo to get her and another car would go to Eagle Mountain to get Braeden's date.

Change of plans.

Nope, she's not in Provo, she's in Alpine.  (I'm telling you, this girl is a nomad.)  So Braeden and BJ went together to get the girls.  One boy left super early to go to conference in person and another was here for the first half of conference then he went to Salt Lake City too.

Change of plans. 

They needed to eat lunch QUICKLY because they decided to go to Salt Lake for the afternoon session.

It was dizzying.

But also really great.

Some of the group at breakfast:  Nate (aka Elder Nipco), Braeden (aka Elder Davis) and BJ (Elder Turley).  They called each other by their missionary names.  At one point, one of the girls said, "You can call me Makalai."  BJ said, "OK, but I'm going to need some time Sister Weibye."

The boys were super polite and easy to talk to and I loved the easy camaraderie they had with each other.  At 11:00 on Friday night they called one of their former investigators (who now lives in California) to wish him a happy birthday.

Braeden apologized to me for the craziness.  I told him (quite truthfully) that we welcomed the adventure.

Ever since he was three years old and asked me to call all his friends so they could perform a play on the stage at the stake center, that kid has been orchestrating things.  And I just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Grateful Friday

Things I'm grateful for this week:

We haven't had to run our heat or AC.

I got to visit with my grandma and parents.

Everyday I survive the insanity and anarchy that is the Pleasant Grove Junior High parking lot...yesterday I almost collided with a red convertible Corvette.  Who drops off their junior high kid in a Corvette with the top down when the temperature is in the 40s?  That lady.

Emma stopped by to visit us one night.

I found the perfect meme to use when Mark is salty in group texts:

Taking an after dinner walk with Adam.  Or Adam and Mark.

Braeden just shows up occasionally/frequently.  He was here last night after a dinner which was part of his multi-day mission reunion.  He ended up staying the night because he worked late on a paper he's writing.  (He's smart enough to get Adam's input on papers he writes.) I just love having that kid around.

Visiting the Springville Museum of Art

It's conference weekend!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Books I read in September 2017

I had a good reading month!

The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright ****

Loved it!  Geri loaned me this book and I'm grateful.  It's the true story of a little boy who was kidnapped in India and then adopted by an American couple.  The story was fascinating and I loved that the couple lived in Utah County so the setting was very familiar to me.  It made me want to go to Bombay House in Provo for dinner.

Shadow in the Sea by Sheila Nielson ***

When we read Forbidden Sea for book club, the author told us about this book which was the sequel.  I liked it.  The cover is weird but the book wasn't.

Maude by Donna Mabry ****

We read this for book club too.  Oh my.  It is also based on a true story, written by Maude's granddaughter.  Our general consensus was that the author was a little too self congratulatory and the book may have been more effective had we not known her connection.  The story was amazing though.  It is hard to fathom that many things happening to a person. 

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman ****

Another book I loved reading.  It started in 1999 at the height of the internet bubble, then the bubble burst, then September 11 happened.  Against that backdrop was the story of two sisters and the concentric circles of their lives.  Seriously, there were A LOT of characters.  

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin ****

Satisfied all my anglophile and Downton Abbey-esque proclivities.  At the same time it made me appreciate being American.   Daisy Goodwin also wrote the screenplay for Victoria which Adam and I are watching (and enjoying!) on Masterpiece Theater and when I learned that it made a lot of sense.  There are similarities.  The American Heiress is about a wealthy American girl who married a Duke and tried to navigate all that entailed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Two Jacks

Monday Mark built a fort.  He just does that occasionally. 

Also, Mark has been cast as Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest and coincidentally Braeden played Jack four years ago at Glacier Peak High School.  He was quite the dandy:

For the theater class Braeden is currently enrolled in at BYU, he has to volunteer 10 hours with a theater program.  Mark's school seemed like the obvious choice.  Last night at rehearsal, Braeden was tasked with helping the cast with their accents.

Braeden came here after and Mark wanted to show him the fort, of course he did.  They took Mark's script and Braeden's old script inside.

My two boys, in a blanket fort, speaking in British accents.

I love my two Jacks.  I just wish my Jill had been here too.  (She stays on campus more than her brother does....)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


He lives on campus but I don't think he knows about the campus.  He came home last night to print something.

Not that I'm not happy to see him every time, but I'm guessing they have printers on campus.  (Going out on a limb here.)

He brought his roommate Sam who is the only one we hadn't met yet.  We had heard glowing reports of Sam from Switzerland.  And he was a nice guy.  He speaks perfect English.  Europeans make us look bad that way. 

Adam made a FIFA joke and Sam laughed uproariously.  Who knew FIFA was headquartered in Switzerland and then how to make a joke about it that would make a Swiss person laugh?  Adam.  That's who.

Sam and Braeden seemed like the kind of kindred spirits my kids usually end up finding in friends.  (I'm always a little surprised, there are more of you out there?)

This text conversation happened after I was asleep last night.  That is often the case:

So I guess this is to say Braeden hasn't figured out how to use the printers on campus but he is having fun.  Who didn't see that coming?


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