Studies in human nature…

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“I vant to be alone.” ~ Greta Garbo

Except, according to Ms. Garbo, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be let alone!’ There is all the difference.”

There is all the difference.

You can’t do much writing, unless you’re journaling about one of the dustier sciences, without becoming a student of human nature, an endlessly intriguing and confusing subject. Who could ever comprehend humans? And having somehow done so, how would we ever live with what we’d learned about each other?

Once in a while the undercurrent of low-grade depression that accompanies my existence gets to be a bit much and I’m forced to acknowledge its existence to the point of taking a break from whatever seems to be the main problem. This time, Facebook was clearly leaving me in a state, so a Fall Sabbatical was an easy decision, and I’d no sooner closed the door than my normal sunny personality started breaking through again. Full disclosure, I also activated my sleepy Twitter account around that same time and started finding *inner healing* through shooting my mouth off.  To each her own poison.

Yesterday iMessage, which I can get to on my desktop now only through Facebook (I need a teenager, STAT), contained an odd and off-putting message that still has me in a mood. It was a clip of a skit enacted by young black students, male & female, dressed in scrubs, shooting police officers with automatic weapons, along with a personal message that said in part: “I have felt that you lean towards only seeing one side. I know you have taken a recess from FB and I just wanted you to see this. Are the youth in our schools being given permission to have such disregard for authority? This will only lead to more serious problems.”

Why now? Why purposely back me into a corner when I’ve said I need the exact opposite of that for a while?  I can wish mightily that I had answers, but I don’t. I’m tired. My head is tired, my heart is tired, I just need to go in a different direction for a few weeks and let some of the nastiness of recent battles filter out a little. I’m angry. Angrier than I’ve ever been in my life that lizardy old men think it’s just fine that other men assault and take advantage of young girls like I once was, and they laugh about it and celebrate it and elevate each other to the highest offices in the land. So angry. For the first time in my life there are people I hate.

It would have been an excellent time to let me alone. I asked nicely, after all, like any good little American girl would do. And we see, over and over and over again, how that works out.

 

 

 

 

 

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The good…the bad…the good…

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First things first: An important bit of business – Kim got a new cast yesterday, his second, but Dr. Huston decided to wait another week to remove the stitches. I got to see them and they’re perfect – and his arm isn’t badly bruised or scary-looking so we’re all kinds of encouraged. While I iPadded in the Waiting Room, new X-rays were taken and a lighter-weight fiberglass cast put on, leaving his fingers a little more free but once again reaching to his armpit, this time placing his arm in the supinate position rather than pronate, and incorporating a swanky but awkward elbow-rest configuration. In a week the plan calls for stitches out and a smaller, even lighter cast. Today the plan calls for addressing the severe case of Cabin Fever that has set in and taken up residence. Looking for our Creative Caps…

And while the Big Guy is taking a walk, for starters, in the crisp fall air, allow me to quote George Takei: “It appears the Age of Unreason truly has begun.” He said that on Twitter this morning and if you’ve been keeping up with the news at all during the past week you know exactly what he meant. And if you haven’t, of course, the only thing to do is leave it there, with the qualifying comment that I can’t decide if I feel any better for the fact that it now has a name.

I’ve learned three things this week, three things I’ve instinctively understood all my life but never owned out in the open: 1) incomplete men fear women – our intelligence, our anger, and our truth-telling; 2) we’re expected to keep those things quiet and behind closed doors; and 3) we will never be forgiven by incomplete men, and the women who protect them, for being vocal and public with our intelligence, our anger, and our truth-telling. It’s been a tough week in America.

Guess who has a cracked-up wrist and will be seeing Tommy Emmanuel this Sunday night? My Kim, who deserves every break he can get. Sometimes I’m so funny…

But seriously, folks, when he was out walking he saw a handbill for TE, one of his all-time guitar heroes, who will be playing a block away in a tiny historic theater in our smallish historic city, and there were actually a few balcony tickets left. I’m so happy for him – it’s been a tough couple of weeks in Kim World.

 

 

 

 

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Breakthrough…

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A day comes, if you’re lucky and it’s true, when you see that

You never really know what’s going on

Though others seem to have it by osmosis.

No worries…

Though the dawning knowledge that you don’t…quite…fit…ANYwhere

Is a gift of liberation not accompanied by explanatory text –

It rather defies description.

Quickly you see the grace you’ve been given for navigating

Tricky waters and tests of loyalty – 

  When you’re mostly invisible you get to slide.

That’s when the gift becomes the knowledge that you belong

Only to yourself

And you need to know only your Truths.

You can forget the rest, and *fitting* is vastly overrated.

Or so I hear.

 

JSmith 09/30/2018

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Life goes right on happening…

Constant or even Casual Reader probably knows that when I say *interesting week,* stuff happened. This past weekend has been interesting.

On Friday, Kim had his first Mid-Life Crisis Sports Injury, and since 9:30 that morning, routine, that deadly imposter, has gone out the window. Two neatniks have reverted to hippie habits, of necessity, and are getting used to relaxed standards. My singleton side of our King bed is easy enough, just pull up sheet and quilt as I bail out, but there’s a 3′-high pile of clean laundry on the chaise next to the bed, and various admission and dismissal detritus from the hospital strewn across the dresser. Kim’s living and sleeping in his recliner for now, so the table next to him is a conglomeration of what he needs throughout the day and night – but he has a system and don’t screw with it. His kitchen needs his Navy Squid attention, especially since we’d been planning a fall scrub-down, but oh well, I’ll knock some of the big chunks off in a day or two. When somebody you love is in pain, that’s where all your energy automatically gets funneled, as it should.

All day Friday, from 10am to 5pm, was spent going from ER to Ortho and back, X-ray to CT Scan, lightweight “sugar tong” cast, to temporary traction, to plaster “sugar tong.” Food, finally, at 6pm, and home. Saturday and Sunday are a blur of opioids and other meds, a grocery run to maintain a cushion for the drugs, some amazing sleep, and a sense of marking time.

Yesterday, Monday, we checked him in for surgery at 10:30am. He went to the back for pre-op at 11. Was told they were taking him to surgery at 12. Froze my fanny off in the waiting room, listening to my tummy growl, until 1:30pm when a nurse came out to tell me they were backed up in the surgical suites and had just then taken him in. I nearly cried, and would have had she not said “He’s been napping this whole time.” I just said very quietly, “I’m freezing,” whereupon the receptionist said “Oh honey, you have to say something!” I told her “I didn’t know I could!” She turned up the thermostat, the nurse brought me two blankets out of the warmer, and I settled in for the long haul. I’m terribly out of practice since my days of caregiving for six older family members – I didn’t think to take my iPad or any protein snacks, or even BAD snacks. My head had room only for Kim, getting this repaired, and taking him home.

When all was said and done and I’d gotten the Ortho surgeon’s report (he looks all of 19, of course), it was 6pm, eight hours since we’d left home. But the report was good and that’s all that matters. It was a bad break and Kimmers now has a plate in his body that wasn’t there before, but the bones went together well and Dr. Huston was able to deal with the bone gravel and other crunching in there that wouldn’t have been good longterm. All’s well that ends well, which is down the road a bit. He’s in a heavy-duty cast until time for the stitches to come out, then a less mondo one, and finally he’ll get a fiberglass number that will start increasing his independence noticeably.

For now, it’s a little like Momming again and I’m glad for grown-up cartoons like YouTube and television. The drugs make the patient a little sleepy, so movies are good. Also car porn, like Mecum Auction and Barrett Jackson. And the car rebuild shows – there are some of those we both like a lot. The Big Guy has seen me through at least four major medical events in the 14 years we’ve been married – I’ll do anything to keep him comfortable through this one. It’s how we roll.

 

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The rest of the story…

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Part Two of two…

You know what dries up tears? Knowing that you possess power of your own.

I’ve been using the hours I’m not spending on Facebook to finish lots of little organizational projects, which in turn frees my mind to deal with larger issues that are important to me, and the more my inanimate life gets lined up, the more my animated brain freewheels. I’m loving this, I need this, I have to have this.

Full disclosure, I’ve finally had to admit to myself that I live with a fairly steady level of genetically-transmitted low-grade depression, so I have to focus a little more intentionally than some on not making it worse. I’m a natural introvert, so in-your-face small talk in the form of tedium is toxic for me. That makes online social media a good fit – provided I can pick my battles and/or my passions; participate fully as myself; I’m able to speak my truths free from judgment; or I’m at least free to talk back to judgment if it comes at me.

A confession about social media: I’ve been a Twitter snob. I joined five years ago for the sake of this blog – more exposure, more contacts – but didn’t pursue it, mostly because I didn’t know how it worked and didn’t feel like taking the time to find out. Let me just say that I had all the wrong ideas about it, but slap my ass and call me a newborn, we can learn when we’re motivated, and Twitter turns out to be just the ticket for a mouthy girl like me. Once I figured out how to build a community of like-minded people I was off on a whole new adventure. One advantage over Facebook is that Twitter is virtually without commitment and lends itself well to hit or miss skimming, which is what Dr. Me ordered for Fall. (Truly beloved friends on FB, pls remember that this isn’t a divorce, merely a sabbatical. As far as I know. We’ll tawk.)

I do suggest you not follow me on Twitter if your opinion of me hinges on words like nice, careful, and reticent. Those are the qualities, along with the necessity of walking on eggshells and judiciously parsing all my words on FB, and sometimes even here, on MY OWN BLOG, that led to the ever-deepening state of depression I finally had to shake loose from. I’m not nasty on Twitter, but I’m pretty sure some of my FB followers, and some from other places, wouldn’t like me there because I speak truth as I see it, with nothing owed to anyone. And the good news is that I’m feeling more whole than in too long a time. I woman-‘splained how the whole thing works to my baby sister, and after taking a look at my timeline, her spot-on comment was “Twitter’s cool. It’s where the big kids go to play.” That’s it exactly. You can follow any ol’ body you might think of, and if you behave like an adult they probably won’t block you. You can sort of rub shoulders with the people you respect on television, and one of them might even like one of your comments sometime, but try not to be an idiot if it happens.

There are bots and trolls there, but you knew that. Most of them are neither clever nor creative. I hear there’s porn there, but apparently if you aren’t looking for it, you’re less likely to encounter it. There’s everything there because it’s genuinely global. What I’m finding are smart, funny, caring, off-the-wall, freedom-loving, democracy-protecting, feminist liberals like me. Because that’s who I’m looking for. The world is crackazoidal crazy right now, and swimming around in the deep end with the big kids is therapeutic, so don’t send out the posse. Let’s just all make the best of this beautiful “time of endings” we’re in. Fall, despite its heartbreaking melancholy, is my favorite season, and I’m feeling more hopeful for a time of new beginnings to follow.

 

 

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Sometimes problems have answers…

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Constant Reader will be relieved to learn that I may have solved my problem – the one where I cry nonstop. Oddest thing … turns out the answer in my case to the question “What do you read when you’re sad?” (see preceding post) … is “NOT FACEBOOK.” I haven’t sorted out why that is yet, but it’s a fact. Maybe it’s the abysmal state of our society right now and so many things are hanging out there unsaid, unaddressed, untalked-about, for fear of offending too many people, until finally there’s nothing left we can say. Maybe that’s it, maybe not. What I CAN say for sure is that I’m crying at the right places now instead of carrying tears in my throat like a pelican all day long and shedding them over stuff you wouldn’t believe.

A Facebook summer sabbatical was exactly what I needed, but since I slogged right on past every subtle AND clanging message to that effect, a fall sabbatical sounds even nicer. I started it a week ago – or more honestly the break started without me – and the sea-change in my mood was almost immediate. There are a few people I’ll have to peek in on once in a while, but I can’t be there right now and that’s okay. Bottled up thoughts and emotions aren’t healthy for humans, so this fall is all about restorative outlets, projects, and relationships. And wow, I feel better already, just for having written that.

Part One of two …

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What do you read when you’re sad?

 

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what do you read when you’re sad

what do you write when your skin doesn’t know how to

hold you to a place where your heart can’t find cover

who anchors you when you need to fly free because

the ground has thorns and rocks and all of it

reminds that belonging bears a price you won’t pay

what do you read when everything hurts

what do you write when the nice words won’t come 

the soft words have sharp edges and your pledges

to stop the tears all come to lies

tell me what you read when you’re sad

jsmith 9/12/2018

 

 

 

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Try a little happiness…

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Hello blogging buddies. A thought hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks this morning – I used to be the also-proverbial ray of sunshine. A daisy. A Pollyanna, a fixer-upper, a this-is-not-so-bad girl, a “we just need to sit down and talk this out” person who was always about the positives and the possibilities. You too?

Have we disappeared for good, we thoroughly optimistic, cheerful souls who kept the world afloat through sheer determination and plucky grit? We haven’t, right? Not for good? We’re just biding our time until it’s safe to stick our heads out again, right? Because if we’re really over and done, that would be too sad, and I guarantee the world would miss us. They think they wouldn’t, because we’re annoying and always underfoot, but they definitely would, and it wouldn’t take long because life is no good without hope and optimism. People get irritable and touchy, including us feel-goods, and it’s not fit for man nor beast out there, which is right about where I find my happy lil’ ass this morning, so it’s past time for a major attitude adjustment. (I’m starting to sound like a broken record, I’m keenly aware of this.)

I’ve Twittered and Facebooked and coffee’d to the max so far, written a couple of “sorry for that thing I said when I was tired” notes (oh yes, until my dying day), made a mental list of “Miles to Go Before I Sleep” tasks, and thought about a nap at 9am but opted for a little more coffee instead. It’s Monday and the slate is clean so I might tread lightly through my life for a bit just for grins…

Go out there and be happy campers, my fellow believers in the good stuff – the world isn’t expecting you so it’ll be a nice surprise all around. x0x0x0x

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Just me, talking to you…

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The world sucks, doesn’t it. Life and everything about it. The news is dire. Social media is awful. Humans are horrible. Things happen on the daily that make us want to go back to bed and forget we belong to a race, any race, especially the human one.

Except. Except every day something beautiful happens. Every. Single. Day. If I extricated myself from the morass that is Facebook I’d miss the wonderful things my friend’s son with speech apraxia says and does every week now – funny things, amazing things, things that make me laugh and cry with both of them. I’d miss the twins another friend’s daughter had just the other day, one boy, one girl, so sweet and tiny on their mama’s chest, her eyes full of tears from the overwhelming emotion of it all.

It’s a little quiet over there these days on my feed – people don’t really know what to say while we wait for the other shoe to drop, and we’re hoping to still be friends after the world ends or doesn’t. There are people I’ve known forever and people I’ve never been near in person, and they all mean something to me so I’m staying cool, posting a few laughs, keeping things friendly, sharing something from my side of the fence once in a while but on the down-low so as not to disturb the balance too much while maintaining my right to be me.

Twitter is where I let my bad self out to run around, such as it is. I’m not raw, vulgar, or spitting in the face of authority, but if you’re looking for careful civility you should maybe stick with my blog and my Facebook feed. There’s a rumor that I also have an Instagram account, but I can never remember that or think to log in and take a look at what’s accumulating there in my name.

Summer is trying to switch us over to fall, that melancholy time of endings. I’m ready – fresh out of creative ideas for now, so let’s see what’s next. Change is necessary, boys and girls, so here we go.

I’m so glad we could have this little talk – you’re the best for listening… 💙

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A win is a win is a win…

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Slip-slidin’ through a Sunday, overcast and cool. The sun’s nothing but a weak yellow blob behind lofty layers of water molecules that don’t yet feel like cooperating enough to make rain. That’s only because they have no awareness of how badly we need it, so no hard feelings.

Kim’s playing in a PickleBall tournament today, which is every bit as exhilarating as it sounds, and I’m without adult supervision. I know, I’m just as confused by that as you are. The original plan was for me to go out there a little ahead of now (9am) when his first match is starting and watch as play continues into the afternoon. Today is Men’s Doubles, and Kim and his partner Marcelo are guaranteed at least eight matches, which I would genuinely love to see, so yesterday we made a trial run.

First of all, we live a block off downtown, right on the verge of East Lawrence. And Rock Chalk Park, where Kim plays in all but nice weather, is way the Helen gone out on what is, for now, the far outer edge of WEST Lawrence. A 15- to 20-minute drive across town is not, of course, a dealbreaker, but stay with me here.

2) Parks & Rec puts the olderish-fart PickleBallers at the farthest end of the mahoosive all-under-one-roof sports complex (sure, okay, we need the most exercise, we get that, but…).

3) Above-the-action “Spectator Seating” for PickleBall is three food-court-type tables and a scattering of matching chairs. I tried one out while Kim went down to the courts on an information-gathering mission.

4) So okay, there are actually two choices: a} stand at the rail and watch, or b} scooch a plastic food-court chair as close to the chicken-wire as possible and catch the action from various angles while peering through the wire.

It became apparent that the phenom that is PickleBall is still new enough that they might not be quite ready for prime time. (Just a fact, not a snark.) Also that this fan, loyal though she is to one adorbs player, couldn’t be spending Sunday at the tournament, no need to belabor all the reasons why. (And now I learn that I could have sat on bleachers directly courtside, but still… )

Kim has explained the game to me (repeatedly) in very clear terms but it doesn’t make intuitive sense to me when I see it played, the way basketball, football, tennis, golf, all the games I grew up with do. I’m hopeless at trying to understand soccer or any kind of hockey, and the lines on a PickleBall court baffle me, because they’re nearly always painted across the markings for basketball and other court games, and played sideways on half the court. Clear as mud, right? Yeah, same here.

Just got a text from my big kid – he and Marcelo won their first match quite handily and should now be into their second. He likes playing, he likes winning. And he didn’t need me out there messing with his head game, so this way everybody wins. Kim and Marcelo, after eleven matches, won 3rd Place in their division.

Also, just between you and me, once I told myself I didn’t have to write another word until I felt like it – I felt like it. Love you, friends, thanks for hanging in with me and I hope your Sunday will be nothing but win. Summer isn’t finished with us yet.

 

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A Time for Truthiness

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I do seem to be gone. But not for good. Don’t you go away forever either, friends, I would miss you terribly. Fall will happen, it always does, and we will be right again, and be human together. Be safe ’til then…

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Are there any safe subjects left?

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Good Sunday morning, friends. At 7am there’s a perfect day happening outside my door, how about yours?

I made a bold move last week – after five years’ of sharing my thoughts here I no longer had any idea who in my social media circles had been invited to the blog and who hadn’t, so I lobbed it out there, “Come one, come all,” which sort of made it sound like I intend to write something. Again. Some more. Or for the first time, depending on your viewpoint.

Which I do. Eventually. Trouble is, I’m finding that I don’t have much to say lately. Or I have too much to say and don’t know where to start. Or I’m a little chicken to start because I don’t know where the stopping point is. “Saying” has so little effect one way or another, really. But then, not saying feels disingenuous and phony.

Sticking to safe topics would mean talking about grandchildren, of which I have none; pets – unfortunately, none of those either anymore; gardening, which I don’t do; sewing – nope; books – I love them and it’s been known to happen here, but face it, it’s been done to death, right?

Memories. Maybe we’ll talk about some of those again. They’re safe because they’re mine and they’re over with – they don’t hold the power to mess up anyone’s day. Tomorrow’s anybody’s guess and I’m not too cranked about today so maybe I’ll go back and see what else I can dig up from Grandma’s old trunk…

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The accidental sabbatical…

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Things – they happen. The heat. The rude surprises. The unbelievable and the bizarre. The days and nights when the dank Hound of Funk sits on your chest and won’t move. Things – they deteriorate in a heartbeat and leave you with your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth and your brain encased in glue.

This space has been mostly shuttered for the summer due to the above, not on purpose, it’s just worked out that way one steamy day at a time. I sit here to write, while anything and everything happens but that. For some reason, Facebook and Twitter have to be monitored incessantly, even though they’re primarily what empower the big ugly dog to bring me down. And once the smelly old Funkmeister makes himself at home it’s all about staring out the window with a throat full of tears, marking time until Happy Hour.

Last week something clicked on the inside of me and I was all at once disgusted with myself for being passive and discouraged and lowdown blue over feeling helpless, which made me mad, which ignited some good energy, which scared the Dog, which made me laugh, and I haven’t had to swallow any tears since, nor has the Funk Dog come slinking back. That’s what we’re calling progress around here in lieu of light at the end of the tunnel until we get some.

A friend this morning posted “8 Warning Signs That You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted:”

  1. You Lack Motivation
  2. You’re Easily Irritated
  3. You Can’t Sleep
  4. You’re Having Anxiety Attacks
  5. Small Things Upset You
  6. You Feel An Urge To Cry
  7. You Feel Dizzy And Nauseated
  8. You Feel Detached

I was there on six of them and I have a feeling we could ALL benefit from a stretch of R&R right now. The world’s an unholy mess, that’s a fact. But here we are, against the odds. It’s summer — time to read, have a cold brew or two or a few, enjoy the sun and the water, and love on our babies of every age, size, and description. I’m only one small person – in the end maybe my answer is to better the space I’m in and to do no harm. So okay then, joy to the world and happy sunshine, and I mean that sincerely. We can work this out.

 

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Bye…please write…

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JUNE

HOT

GOT DISCOURAGED

GOT THE BLUES

DIDN’T WRITE

JULY GOT HERE TODAY

HEAT BROKE

TIRED OF FEELING BROKEN

MIGHT WRITE SOON

“Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.” – Albert Camus

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Beauty is its own reward…

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An exquisite gift from The Root Connection that mirrors the month of May – the rain that makes the flowers, and the steaming cup of tea for appreciating it all. 

We’re two weeks into the month already, so burrow down into the good, the true, the right, and the lovesome, and let it heal you. All this other stuff is gonna keep happening, so go ahead and let the outstanding in the world make you dance again and take you completely away from the things that give you the blues.

More about spring and happiness and for lord’s sake not crying so much, later. For right now, if it’s as nice outside where you are as it is where I am we both should be out there. I started with rain and ended with sunshine and 87º (implied), and I’m sure there’s a tie-in but I lack the discipline to nail it right now, so that’s your mission should you choose to accept it. No, forget that – go outside and get some sun – spring/summer has finally arrived.

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