The weekend…

It’s hot, people, DAMN hot! One evening it was a little too chilly and breezy for the balcony, the next morning it was too hot to sit out there, that’s how it works in Kansas. We broke 100º a few days in a row, which is benign unless you were used to a chill wet spring right up to that point. It’s great, though, it’s exactly what we asked for… sun and warmth… and we’ve been all about it. Yesterday, Rita came over for tuna salad sammiches with all the other good summer stuff, and the three of us spent the afternoon in the pool out on the Ponderosa, doing that thing white people do… getting “a little color.” If Eastern European skin pigment is superior, why do we instinctively know that anything other than pasty white looks and feels better? Make it make sense, universe.

Now we’re slated for a few days of cool-down, and maybe some rain again. Helps when it doesn’t all hit at once without letup, and it feels a little sauna-like today, so maybe there are full clouds on their way.

Speaking of without letup… Arizona ballots from a federal election have now been transferred to a private compound in Montana where they’re being scrutinized for “bamboo fragments” and other imagined irregularities.

  1. How is this even real?
  2. How can it possibly be legal?
  3. Bamboo fragments?

And now other red states are clamoring for their own cyber-ninjas and never-ending “audits.” Make it make sense, please.

In the continuing standoff between the science-inclined and the boogeyman-believers, the latter insist that their guy be given credit for a vaccine they refuse to take, and there’s nothing in this world that can make sense of that, so I’ve done entirely enough thinking until at least Monday morning.

Ready for a lazy afternoon. Ready for sammies and beer. Ready for baseball, so bring it, Royals, our golden boys of summer…

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Feelin’ froggy…

Much happened in the past week, but with little outward change to show for it. The partisan divide that we hoped would begin to resolve after the former guy left only continues to intensify, making agreement on any matter a bridge too far for Congress. This week’s most heinous example: Benghazi somehow required ten investigations and thirty-three hearings, but the assault on our Capitol and democratic rule doesn’t merit even a second look by some of the very people who were under direct threat. Those senators who voted against sanity haven’t succeeded in concealing anything, most especially their own cowardice, and shamefully two of those people “represent” Kansas, which makes me want to hop a bus and flee the state.

Dan, never my type, is my late-life crush… I love him for his mind.

As usual, though, the week’s haul of good stuff has weighed more AND been worth its weight in gold… and when it comes to good news, the small things are the big things…

1.) Douglas County has brought COVID case numbers down to near zero, so protocols are being relaxed. At SPL the announcement was made on Thursday “NO MASKS REQUIRED” (for the fully vaccinated) and those old PickleBallers were celebrating.

2.) The Royals have been fun to watch and are playing some really good baseball, looking more and more like the cohesive team they’ve shown they can be.

3.) Food is a friend again, both good and bad news but definitely more fun – I polished off a hot beef sandwich at Kelley’s again on Thursday like I’d been chopping firewood all morning, and then snacked all afternoon. Um, yikes.

4.) The best thing this week was a text convo with John and this shot of him wearing a t-shirt brought to him from Ghana by a co-worker he mentored. The map and trim are made from kente, Ghana’s national fabric.

The guy in the t-shirt looks to have weathered a year-plus of COVID by getting younger, a nice bonus I wasn’t expecting for him, all things considered. We last hugged him, in Atlanta, in the spring of 2017, which my remaining math skilz tell me was four years ago. I was thinking it had been two or maybe three years, so the realization that four years have passed is putting me in a time warp. Life has intervened since 2017 – broken bones, illness, schedules, commitments, and COVID have all combined to keep us hug-less – but love and trust and silliness and blessed technology have made up the difference in sweet welcome ways and all is well. Life is life, we’re all adults here, it goes on. Still, universe… a hug would be nice.

It’s a chilly Saturday but people have been going back and forth to Farmer’s Market all morning so there’s life in the neighborhood. The pulse of #lfk is quickening, week by week, as people crawl out of their caves and shelters and venture forth again, and I’m here for it even when it’s just from my 4th-floor perch. In retrospect, the past year seems like a Dark Age with only the ghost light left on for guidance… and coming through and out of it feels like winning. No victory comes without loss, but it’s sweet nonetheless – humans are designed for progress and positivity, it’s our bread and water and we move on. I’m deeply grateful on this gray weekend that everyone whose love and caring I depend on, everyone whom I love beyond telling… has survived the pandemic. That’s something 600,000 American families can’t say this morning and my heart breaks that it’s true… so I’m inexpressibly grateful. We’ll still get a chance for those hugs one of these days…

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Wade in the water, children…

We both left the workforce ten years ago but the word *weekend* still holds allure, and we’ve kept it that way on purpose. The already glacial pace slows imperceptibly, the menu changes, sportsing is prime, the bed stays rumpled ’til Monday, and there are always spa soaks involved. On this Saturday morning it’s pouring rain… again, some more… and this sort of thing is predicted to go on for the foreseeable future, so the Royals/Tigers game may not happen this afternoon. Welp, there goes sportsing… except for golf. (Is it raining on the Outer Banks today?) And the Monaco Grand Prix, which I don’t really get into much, like most car racing in general, except in this case for dizzying glimpses of the principality.

So on this ridiculously lonely-looking Saturday, with a shortage of productive or not-so-productive things I have the energy to deal with, it’s on me to come up with whatever keeps me from losing more brain cells, and whine-writing is always a start. This week’s Hot Topic inside my head… the new masking advice from the CDC, which presumes all humans feel equally responsible for each other’s safety. Yeah, I know, I laughed too, but there it is and here they come.

A percentage of people are sick of the whole thing, and the rest of us are sick and tired of being tired and sick. Everything’s relative… I’m hearing Kansas people say they’re sick of the rain, and I understand. But if you grew up farming in a part of the state with a shortage of water and trees, that hits like blasphemy.

America is Freedom, I know that too… but the question always comes back around to “Whose freedom?”

Something to add to the equation:

Sorry, frontline workers, whom we “love with all our hearts” and whose “bravery is awesome,” your asses will be on the line forever, it seems. But hey, thanks, you’ve been just super.

COVID-19 is a subject America’s done with, finished, let it die, along with everything else we lack the cojones to face up to. The unvaccinated will ride our coattails to the end, and be pissed if something nasty catches up to them. But science denial isn’t our only problem here, nor likely our greatest – reform is required in every area of life if we’re ever to become a civilized society. The issues are all-encompassing and they’re killing us.

That’s from me to the universe this morning, thrown out there, guts and all, and Pollyanna certainly feels better, hope it helped somebody else’s day!! And I’ve temporarily written the sky dry, so who’s to say a terminal case of the morbs won’t be improved by a soupçon of sunshine? Kimmers is getting his weekend on with some heavy-duty cleaning of the environs, I see happy people walking back and forth down on the street, the coffee is stellar, and life is good.

“And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” -Julian of Norwich

“All I’ve ever wanted from life is perfection, is that too much to ask?” -Judy of Lawrence

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Beautiful Saturday…

Kim Smith – 05/13/2021

Five months into the year, change and upheaval were again the rule this week, including developments that could eventually lead to prison time for some current and former government entities. A monumental change came just yesterday when the CDC said that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in public. That feels like a positive indicator, and I’ll be happy to leave mine off in most situations once my governor ends the state mandate… but I won’t be getting rid of my colorful mask wardrobe any time soon, because we’ll now have to “trust” people who’ve acted dishonorably throughout the pandemic to follow the honor system and either get vaccinated or keep masking and distancing. With about 37% of the people we encounter refusing to do either one, we’ll be swimming with the sharks again, and the extra exposure, with variants multiplying, will strain these new baby vaccines to the max. Television personality Bill Maher, tolerate him or hate him, has contracted COVID-19 after having been fully vaccinated, so it’s hubris to think it can’t happen, and after flailing for months under the effects of the virus, the thought of getting it AGAIN, just when things might be improving here, is hellish. That’s my take on what, if I’m being honest, seems like a concession to selfishness. I get it… people are restless to go back to what they knew and loved, and who can blame them. I’m just not sure they’ll find life unchanged when they get there…

If anyone’s yoked to tradition, though, it’s me, despite a certain unwillingness to buy into some of it, so it’s a big deal to have pro baseball to follow again… and golf… and soon more tennis. That may all be bread & circuses, but I’m not proud – it gets surreal when nobody’s doing anything entertaining in the world! Life starts closing in when all the stages go dark at once, so this burst of energy on the horizon is as welcome as this morning’s rain. America’s athletes, Broadway personnel, administration officials, and others have done it right, gotten vaccinated, followed protocols… so there IS an “after.” They have my gratitude and respect.

The cards have been dealt, so hop back on the merry go-round, boys and girls… says Pollyanna, with a pained smile.

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Milestones…

We’re celebrating the first 100 days of the Biden administration, and the collective sigh of relief from the watching world is nearly audible. The refuseniks are sighing for their own reasons, but I remind myself every day that they’re outnumbered and on the wrong side of history, and then keep on keepin’ on while my thoughts range all over in the face of progress and good change…

First things first…

COVID… which is sticking with me like an octopus on my face… is one thing. The racial inequities are deeply embedded and not so readily addressed.

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The past year has been rough on everybody as we’ve each tried to meet and deal with it a day at a time, with mixed results. It’s taken a toll on our psyches, our confidence, our health, and our relationships, and I’m sure none of us want to ever see another one like it.

But giving in to ennui and depression is no way to end a year or a lifetime, so my attitude needs work. The days are beautiful and we have another errand to run today, out in the sunshine. Kim’s playing PickleBall now over in Lyons Park, bless his athletic soul, so he gets a double dose. It’s all good. Life is wonderful and we’ll survive it ’til we don’t.

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Sunny Saturday…

Flighty spring is giving us temps in the 60s today, with high 80s by Monday, so it stays interesting. Kim’s been playing PickleBall whenever and wherever he can, always a toss-up as to whether it’s outside or in – but I don’t know what today holds yet, beyond the regenerative breakfast we just scarfed down.

I’m going on autopilot for the foreseeable… golf… Royals baseball… so here are a few random saves from the past week…

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White Privilege is all the things we never even notice.

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Sainthood isn’t the bar for living.
Where it started… where we’re going.

Talk to me in Comments…

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Weekend rain… page 230

Day 362 – 03/13/2021

No downpours so far, but it’s gray and wet outside and only 48º so Miss Spring is playing the tease, as she is wont to do in these parts. We’re mostly tucked in for the weekend, but next week looks more outdoor-friendly, with highs in the 50s and 60s. Even if I have to sit while Rita walks, I’m getting out there, provided it isn’t raining, which is also a possibility, sigh…

Kim took note of something I’m wearing today and said that it makes me look happy. Who doesn’t love a nice comment, but it made me ask the inevitable question: Do I seem UNhappy to you? His answer encompassed the shitty year we all just passed, the illness rampant everywhere including in our household, the daily wear and tear, and the way everyone feels unseen through it all – he gets it. Truth: I’m happy, he knows I’m happy, have never lived a happier life and never will… but we both also know that feeling absolutely everything for everybody takes a toll. Germanic melancholy inserts itself throughout this creature who is me, and warring with that muse leads only to misery, so you get to hear all about it, Diary friend. I tell the truth here, and unfortunately it makes me sound like a sad panda sometimes. I can fix it by not keeping a diary or a blog of any kind, but nothing good would come of that, so keep eavesdropping if you want to… the smiles I wear on the outside come from a clear heart on the inside, and most of that happens right here.

Sympathizing with AtlantaMan this morning… it’s almost 80º there today and he’s inside the hospital walls. Same yesterday. He has jasmine in bloom on his deck, for Pete’s sake! Nobody wants to miss that! A thought this morning about missing… missing out… happy vs unhappy. We’re emerging into the light again as a nation, as a society… but there will always be that sense of what’s been lost, what’s missing… because the basics haven’t changed. That knowledge makes unbridled happiness a stretch for now… but neither can it be allowed to ruin what’s left, so Pollyanna stumbles on, always up for good news.

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Crawling right along… page 226

Day 355 – -3/06/2021

I’ve been without a hangout buddy since yesterday morning, so it was kind of a quiet, droopy Friday, and today doesn’t look promising either. Kimmers sailed through his first COVID shot while I was miserable for more than 48 hours, but the bill came due with the second one and he’s been down for the count. I had some chills and queasiness this time, pain around my waist, and general ennui, but that last part isn’t anything new. We’re fully shot up now and have the bracelets to prove it, so once Kim gets back on his feet, we’re good to go… if everybody else gets vaccinated too. The sooner that happens on a massive scale, the sooner we can return to some kind of social existence… and hug the people we love.

I went to Stabby Dillons just now to get electrolytes for Kim, my first time inside a grocery store in a year minus one week. I couldn’t find the PAY NOW button at self-check even though it’s the biggest one on the panel, but nothing much has changed except that there are no deli counters anymore. I still need two more weeks of immunity before I’m considered “not a threat,” but it was a rush to be out driving around on a perfect almost-spring day, knowing we made it this far.

From a fellow traveler…

Interesting statistic I saw this morning: So far, flu deaths are down 99% this flu season. Maybe we will someday unmask the reason for that.

Apparently Gatorade Fierce is good medicine, as the Big Guy is now lights-out with a Russell Crowe movie playing on blast, so it should all be just a painful memory by tomorrow. NO PAIN, NO GAIN! Righto. Every time.

A memorable season is upon us, with the advent of spring and a degree of vaccine security coming to us simultaneously. That’s perfectly scripted, and the hope, within and without, feels like something brand new… never been here before.

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A Saturday P.S.

Image by Paula Belle Flores

You’re not imagining it, nobody seems to want to talk right now. Messages are brief and replies late. Talk of catch-ups on zoom are perpetually put on hold. Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.

It’s not you. It’s everyone. We are spent. We have nothing left to say. We are tired of saying ‘I miss you’ and ‘I can’t wait for this to end.’ So we mostly say nothing, put our heads down and get through each day.

You’re not imagining it. This is a state of being like no other we have ever known because we are all going through it together but so very far apart.

Hang in there my friend. When the mood strikes, send out all those messages and don’t feel you have to apologize for being quiet.

This is hard.

No one is judging.

Donna Ashworth, author of poetry book, ‘to the women’

https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp…

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Socked in… page 223

Day 349 – 02/27/2021

Saturday breakfast underway, with fog peering in our windows… Kim Smith – 02/27/2021

Picture Guy got out early this morning and walked for an hour, taking fog photos…

South Park
More South Park… in Stephen King mode
Kaw River bridge
The view from the cheap seats
Old power station
We’ll leave a light on for ya’.
8th & New Hampshire… home sweet home
Home Sweet Home for real… ready for the weekend.

If it gets into the 60s this afternoon and the sun comes through for us, Rita & I will probably walk again – these windows of opportunity are too good to miss right now.

We got a call from the pharmacy, scheduling our second shots, so things are moving right along. We’re on for March 4th, which has been widely touted as a possible date for mayhem on the part of Q if President Biden were to give his State of the Union that night. Most of Congress, the Supreme Court, and of course the President and Vice-President, will be inside the Capitol whenever the address does take place, so it’s a prime target. March 4th is also the date the former guy is supposed to magically burst onto the scene as SuperPresident and something, something, all will be well once again for the proud boys and girls and their various cohorts. So! Vaccination day could be FIRE! I’ll just be happy if I don’t get ghastly ill again, but it is what it is… I’m gonna go through some things, but I knew what I signed up for. 😎 😷 🎤

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The days of wine & roses… page 214

Day 335 – 02/13/2021

Zeroº this morning, with the wind taking it to -17. No walking for now, but Kim got up at 5:30 and had half a day’s work done before I opened my eyes. He’s cooking eggs & taters now, so Saturday has begun.

My computer updated the other night and now I can’t get into Facebook except on the app. Not a crisis… I’ll figure it out… eventually. There are bigger fish to fry right now. Yesterday’s pathetic 3-hour “case” put on by DJT’s defense people was laughable, if it weren’t all so bloody dangerous, and if the Senate doesn’t agree to call witnesses today before slapping a CERTIFIED tag on this one, they’ll be culpable for what follows. Since watching arrogant men lie is one of my least favorite things to do on a Saturday or otherwise, they can just have at it today.

It’s Valentine-All-The-Time weekend and we’re here for it.

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Oh, hey, Saturday!… page 210

Day 328 – 02/06/2021

Wot a day, Ethel. After eight hours’ sleep Thursday night and seven during the day yesterday, I went BACK to bed just after dark last night and stayed ’til morning. Got up at 6am feeling in the clear… then reality settled in and I crawled under the covers for another hour. As of now, my bones say they’re not going anywhere near that bed again until sometime tonight, so I have to get my zhuzh together.

In here by the fire is the onliest place I want to be today, and my thoughts are with all who have to be outside in single-digit and low-20s temps. Painful. Mark showed me a graph of Chicago’s daily temps for next week and I saw mostly 7s and 8s… yikes.

Gonna be a reeeeeeal… sloooooow… Saaaaturdaaay….

Jayhawks are playing B’ball in West Virginia today, that’s all I know… although I have seen references to a big doin’s down in Tampa tomorrow. We have the koozies so we might tune in.

But first, our boys will be on the floor in WVU’s big stadium at 1pm. On my way, recliner, and I prolly won’t be moving much for the duration.

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Oooh, rainy Saturday… page 203

Kitty City at Lawrence Arts Center with Resident Kittehs – Kim Smith 01/30/2021

Day 321 – 01/30/2021

My favorite mornings are the ones when dawn starts to happen but then rain steals the show as dusky dark closes in again. Kim got out early for a walk, and soon after he circled back home the streets and sidewalks were shiny with rain. So far, our 100%-chance-for-hours forecast has held true, mostly a steady drizzle.

It’s heavenly to have a sense of smell and taste again and breakfast today was indescribably satisfying. Grandma Wagner never stopped reminding me that good health is everything, and she was right. Kids know it all but they don’t know that – that understanding sinks in much later. But yeah, health – the better I feel, the more I wonder if there’s been something low-grade going on since last March, simmering under the surface, not contagious, just there – feels like I’m waking up from a long uncomfortable hibernation. My eyes still look like they’re floating in clear Jello this morning because, as Robert’s mom always said, “If it’s not one thing, it’s two,” but it’s no BFD.

Kim gets the baking jones on rain or snow days. Today it was banana muffins and I scarfed one just out of the oven, with lots of butter – life is good. Jayhawks will be playing the Tennessee Vols at 5:00 while we munch on tacos and queso, that’s just how good life really IS. Food and sportsing will get us through.

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Wow, the weekend again… page 197

Photo Credit: Kim Smith 01/23/2021

Day 314 – 01/23/2021

We’re three days into the Biden administration, which was denied transition materials that would have allowed them to be fully up to speed on day one. But working in White House offices without desks, computers, paper clips, and other basics of government life, he and his team read the tea leaves and have already done more for America in those few hours than we saw in four years. People, however, never change, and some factions are already asking why he hasn’t fixed everything and turned the country into their version of utopia. At the same time, any mention of using $$$ to achieve that lofty goal is immediately shot down. “Money? OMG!! We can’t spend MONEY! Just look at this huge hole somebody dug in the budget while we weren’t looking, OMG!!!”

And just where, between 400,000 dead and “incites a coup,” do we place President Joe Biden’s Rolex watch? Dan Rather says, “One president burns some money on a watch. Another president burns down the country on his watch. Got it.” That would be the guy who once lived HERE but isn’t welcome to return to his former city, post-presidency.

Heart-of-America’s Poster Family

The couple who vacated their New York penthouse for the White House remained petty to the end, dismissing the staff before leaving the premises, thus temporarily stranding the new president and his family outside the doors when they arrived on foot up Pennsylvania Avenue. I’m sick of shitty human behavior and the people who support it. The shameless hypocrisy at every turn is truly a bridge too far, especially now that we have good-hearted, moral, decent people leading the nation again. We can kick the idiocy to the curb and get on with putting things back together, and that’s the only way it will happen.

Pretty sure it’s gonna stay ugly for some time here in what we once blithely referred to as the UNITED States. The fuck-your-feelings crowd from Hillary Clinton’s loss are all up in theirs and laying that whine on anyone who will listen, which doesn’t include me. As peaceful and liberated as I feel under Joe Biden’s first week in office, I’m hard-assed about the unhinged realm of *social media.* I have zero tolerance when I’m there… and I’m there less than I was. The rote, knee-jerk comments, repeated ad infinitum, have worn me to a nubbin and escapism can just come right on and carry me away. Breakfast was a perfect start, and Jayhawks are playing B-ball today. A win would be sweet, but I hardly care – they’re my boys and they improve my world by being in it.

I feel a great affinity for Pluto today, for purely self-centered reasons. Nobody’s rejected me… not in a long while… but like Pluto, we can all use a little TLC from time to time. And I feel somehow that Pluto is of the female persuasion, so…

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Kim’s filling the spa tub, so all is well. Hello, weekend, I intend to appreciate you and the fact that the sun’s shining, food is a taste & aroma balm again, and hope is streaking around the globe.

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The weekend… page 185

Day 300 – 01/09/2021

Misty Saturday morning. Saw a runners’ group go down the street earlier and a few stragglers are still loping past on their way back west. Almost inspired me to reach over and close the blinds.

For an hour or so last night I felt like me again and then the rollercoaster fired up and disabused me of that optimism, and this morning I’m ready for a nap after all the coughing. An RN I checked with, who’s been treating and testing for coronavirus all year, said this:

I’m afraid they didn’t test you properly. If it’s done correctly, you’ll know it’s been done. It hurts, causes your eyes to water and occasionally causes bleeding. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of instances where people are “tested“ and come up negative, then start showing severe symptoms and turn up positive later – after exposing people for days. Personnel need to learn how to test correctly: the Q-tip is to go well up into the nasal cavity and has to be maneuvered around for a bit. The fact that you didn’t feel it tells me that it wasn’t done correctly, and I would assume, as should you, that you are positive until further notice. I’m out of patience with people who do not test correctly – they’re putting other people at extreme risk. Tell everyone you know that if it doesn’t hurt when they’re tested, it wasn’t done correctly. It should hurt, and you should cry tears.

It’s a moot point, there’s nothing to do for non-respiratory COVID but rest, hydrate, and wait it out, and I’m not interested in the uproar of getting a real test just to verify its existence in my system. Someday baby sistah and I will both feel like real people again. Or Kim can hang a tag on my urn that says I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK.

I just realized I can smell the potatoes Kim’s cooking for breakfast!

We just ate that breakfast and I could taste every bite for the first time in weeks – the potatoes, the eggs, the bacon, the coffee.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Miss Emily Dickinson

Maybe I’ll try to table all the outer turmoil for the weekend. Maybe I’ll sit here inside myself and focus on health and wellbeing. Couldn’t hurt.

This guy’s story doesn’t cause turmoil for me. I nominate him for the 2021 Darwin Award.

Poor lil’ wannabe dicktaser.

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