Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thanks to my top EC droppers! You rock!

Here are my top 10, in no particular order because they were all perfect in their drops for the month of February! Pay them a visit, drop and take a moment to learn something new from each of these wonderful blogs!

Picture to people
Anything Goes with Pahn
The Junk Drawer
Enjoy Work As Leisure
The Ad Master
Tech Spotlight
Parental Instincts
Lola's Diner
What's on my mind today
Authority Directory

Stuffed Full Saturday


I finally broke out my new Wacom tablet that has been sitting in the box for three whole days, untouched because there was not time for such fun for me! I have been playing with a photo of Sadie's new ride and it has been tons of fun and relaxation for me! If you like to play with photos or graphic design, I highly recommend this fun little toy!

Today is another packed full of things to do day that will include a little fun for me too! In between all the things I NEED to do will be lunch with my nieces, Tracy and Shannon! I cannot remember when the three of us were together last so this will be a nice diversion to the day! We need to get together more but life always seems to get in the way!

Next on the agenda will be taking pictures of Zach and Breanna as they head off to the military ball later tonight! Zach told me I could come to the school to take pictures but I would have to stay in the balcony! What!? Is he embarrassed of me? What is the deal? Then he tells me that if I want to take pictures from the floor I will have to wear a formal! I DON'T HAVE A FORMAL, unless of course you count my wedding dress but something tells me that if I show up in a wedding dress my son will disown me in a heart beat! So if I want photos I will have to use a longer telephoto lens!

I want to go take pictures but what I really need to do is stay home and work on my song for tomorrow morning! I am singing a special in church and do not have the words memorized yet. I think I know it but I really need to MAKE SURE I know it! I also need to make sure that my chest cold doesn't get worse because that could be a disaster.

The photo for today is Sadie's new tricycle done in black and white with the bike in color. I had to play with my new toy and this was the quickest thing to take a photo of since Sadie was napping.

Hope you have a great Saturday! Any big plans for any of you?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Just Plain Tired!





OK, I'll admit it, I AM NOT SUPERMOM! There, I said it, that feels better!
Yesterday was great for Sadie! Thank you for all the birthday wishes! She had the perfect princess day! She got a Cabbage Patch Doll, Leap Frog game, Color Magic Markers and paper, big girl underwear, Abby in Wonderland DVD and (what she wanted most of all) a tricycle with a Barbie helmet! She was so excited! And then...........

The inevitable happened, suddenly and without any advanced notice.........THE TERRIBLE TWO'S struck with a vengeance! It was swift and fierce and possessed the body of my adorable toddler causing her to throw a tantrum like I have never seen her throw! She threw things, turned all shades of red, jumped in the air landing on her bootie and then rolled on the floor, all while making the most horrible screaming sound a parent can imagine!

WHAT? Where is my sweet girl? Is she gone forever? WOW! I knew the terrible two's were on the way but who know that they put the stuff that causes them into their second birthday cake? No one also told me that it takes effect immediately!

Boy am I exhausted and the weekend is here again with the promise of more excitement because Zach has the Military Ball tomorrow night followed on Sunday by the Senior Ball! No it is not for seniors in high school, it is for the seniors in the community! They get to come to the high school and dance and eat cake and drink punch while the JROTC kids are there to serve them. The kids also get the benefit of their wisdom because the kids get to sit and chat or dance with them also! It is a big hit every year!

So today for me will be a bill paying, resting and recovery day so I can hit the floor running tomorrow! Have a great weekend and look for more pictures and interesting happenings tomorrow! BTW, you can now click on the picks to make them larger!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Princess!

It is so hard to believe that two years have flown by so quickly! Today Sadie is 2!

To My Beautiful Sadie,

You are the dream that I never thought would come true! I waited for you for so long that I had almost given up but God had another plan and it happened in His time, not mine!

You will never know how much I love you becuase it would take me a million lifetimes to show you everything that you mean to me! It is my pleasure to be your mom and I hope that I do right by you and teach you the important things that you need to know to make it in this world!


First, love with all your heart! You will not regret the love that will come back your way tenfold. Second, be true to who you are and who God made you to be! You can become anything in this life, just make sure you do it for you and not to please someone else! Third, always remember that you are beautiful on the inside and out! Don't let this world set the standard to which you hold yourself because God created you in His image and that is the most beautiful that you could ever be! And last, remember that you are loved by me forever and always! I love you for you and not what you do or what you achieve in this world! You will always be my little baby!

Love Always,

Your Mommy






Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Sadie is Two!
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And now for the pictures from her two year photo shoot! They were not easy to capture but that is ok with me! Happy Birthday Princess Sadie!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Old Dog!

This is one of the best emails I have gotten in a while! My sister Debbie sent this to me and I thought it was too funny not to share with you all! Just a reminder that tomorrow I will finally be revealing Sadie's two year photos! You know, the ones she really made me work hard to get?!

And yes today's photo to go with the story is my old beagle Boscoe!

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An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard.I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of. He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep. An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour.

This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar:
'He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep.

Can I come with him tomorrow?'

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Santa Visited Me Yesterday!!

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The top photo is the new gear that arrived yesterday via UPS aka Santa! I love the UPS dirver because he brings me more goodies than my husband ever thought about getting me. In this photo is an external hard drive that will hold a terrabyte of information (that is alot), probably more than I will need but the price was right! The small case in front is my portable hard drive that holds 250 GB of info which is perfect for traveling with my laptop to do shoots. I also got a remote (not in the pic) for my camera! Then there is the new lens!! It is a Sigma and I LOVE IT! After much research I went with this insted of the Nikon equivalent! This is my new fav by the way!

The second pic is the first thing I saw with the new lens (forgive the subject matter)! I love the sharp focus on the paper towels and the softer focus of everything else! This will be my new go to lens! This lens is also perfect for low light situations bar none!

The third photo is a macro of some lighted garland that I made! Again I just like the sharpness of the subject in contrast to the soft focus in the rest of the photo!

Tomorrow will be Christmas again because my new gear bag will arrive via the same big brown truck! My Wacom tablet will be here next week! Wow, it does not get any better than this!

I hope you are all ready for Thursday when I will post Sadie's photo shoot. We are busy preparing for the day since she will turn two! She has asked for a tricycle and helmet so that is what the little ladie is getting!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Manic Monday!!

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Why is it that I am always more exhausted on Monday morning than any other day of the week? Is it the prospect of everything that there is to do in the coming week or is it that I do not take the time to rest on the weekend? It could very well be a mixture of both!!

I know that I try to cram to much stuff into the weekend because it is the only time that we are all home as a family and there is much to do! That coupled with the fact that Saturday is my shopping day and Sunday is full of church activities and then afternoon laundry and homework and cleaning that has been neglected!

So today I thought I would really play with some of the actions in my photo editing program which turned out to be very therapeutic for me because it is something that I enjoy almost as much as taking the photo itself. Editing allows me to be more creative with whatever the subject of my latest shoot might be.

Since it is Manic Monday, I thought my junk drawer would be the perfect subject for a photo which naturally led into the other photo which is my newest fav from Bath and Body called Optimism which is something we can all use when looking into the junk drawer of life!

Happy Manic Monday to you all and remember Thursday I will reveal the rest of the photos from Sadie's two year shoot!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Calling All EC Droppers


My friend Tim is new to EC and is credit poor like the rest of who just get started!! If you could show him some bloggy luv and stop by his place and drop on him that would be cool! If you have some extra credits that you would like to donate to him so he can get some ads going that would be cool too! He is a great guy with a great site check him out!

Silent Sunday - Elmo's World

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A girl can NEVER have too many Elmos! Can she?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another cool award!


This award means a lot because I am a mom first and foremost! It was bestowed on my by my boggy buddy Michelle at My Crazy Life with a Toddler and trust me she deserves this award because of all the things she has dealt with as a mom over the past week! Check her out!
I am giving this award to all the wonderful moms on my blog roll! There are just way too many to list!

I'm So Excited........

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And I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I........... Yeah I am singing the Pointer Sisters classic hit! I really am excited because there is some great new camera gear is headed my way! A new lens, remote, travel bag that will also hold my laptop, a portable hard drive, a Wacom tablet and some new filters! Yup I am so happy, kind like Christmas all over again!

I confess, I am a dork but it really does take so little to make me happy! OK the cost is high but the profit for my business will be higher with the addition of these cool gadgets! I am a gadget girl after all!

On another note, I AM SICK OF COLD SNOWY WEATHER!!! Did I say that loud enough for you all? March 1st, this can all go away and not come back until December of 2009! Yea, right like mother nature will listen to my toddler tirade about her weather practices! Just wishful thinking on my part!
Today's photo is from the cemetary shoot! It was a beautiful day with the perfect mixture of sun and cottony clouds!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sneak Peak Friday

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We are getting ready for the little princess to turn 2 next week and I realized that I needed some new photos of her! OK, I know you are thinking I take lots of pictures of her but I am not talking candid shots, I am talking posed in a pretty outfit pictures that you share with grandma and grandpa and other adoring family members! So I set up my area and get Sadie all dolled up in her new dress, complete with hair in ponies and clippies! I must have been out of my mind to attempt this by myself with no one around to help or entertain her!


Who would have thought it would be so difficult to make your own child smile for the camera but it was! In fact it was horrible! She made me work for everything I got and then some! By the time I was done I was sweating and in need of a shower (she is at her best first thing in the morning unlike her mother)! I managed to get some good shots, very few with smiles but I can live with what I got because this is who she is at this stage in her life! Uncooperative, inattentive, curious about everything and did I mention that she does not like to sit still at all, even for two minutes unless she is passed out cold? I can only imagine what she will be like when she takes her first airplane ride later this summer! I apologize in advance to the unlucky folks who will be traveling on the same 2 hour flight!


Today's shot is a sneak peak of the photo session that will be revealed next Thursday (Feb. 26) when my little angel turns two! Sorry about the feet but you know how I love little hands and feet (I can't help myself).
Still having trouble uploading photos directly to blogger but I was able to go through Photobucket, which is a pain because it just adds a few steps that I really do not have time for! Oh well, at least the photo is here!

Frustration

I am unable to upload photos to blogger today! This has actually been going on since yesterday afternoon! I have tried several times on both the desk top and my new laptop! It is just aggravating and to top it all off I have tried everything to submit a ticket to Blogger to no avail. I will keep trying and if I can get it working will post my original post that was intended for today! Sorry! If anyone has a suggestion please feel free to leave it in a comment! Any help would be appreciated.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reflections




Lately I have been in a reflective kind of mood. I have been looking through tubs of old photos thinking that I need to scan them all and then preserve the originals so that future generations can enjoy them also but I find myself getting lost in the nostalgia of it all! I love the walk down memory lane that each photo invokes in my brain. There are lots of laughs and a few tears that come to the surface as I remember the good times and the sad.
Today's photos were taken during the cemetery shoot that I did earlier in the week. I love nature and I am really ready for a change of season because that means new things to photograph. I love the top two photos for different reasons. Photo one is all about the colors to me from the eroding sand to the blue sky reflecting in the stream. Photo two is all about the reflection of the trees and the clouds in the water and how the merge to make the perfect nature shot. Then there is photo three, in which the river rocks symbolize us as people and the water symbolizes life rushing around us, changing us slowly with each ripple and swirl!
I hope to take these same shots later in the spring when the colors and the landscape will be yet again be different as is our ever changing lives. My advice for today is: Live in the moment and never forget to love today while embracing the hope of tomorrow! (Yes you can quote me on that!)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

History Walk Wednesday

I'll admit that this walk through photographic history will be unlike any you have ever taken before because of the subject of the photos. I chose old tombstones for this walk for a few reasons. Number one, I am fascinated with the lives of people I never knew and number two, each tombstone tells a story. Some are weathered and worn with the engraving all but gone and others are still very clear to read. So take a walk with me as I tell you about the history of photography and the tombstones tell you the history of Coles County, Illinois.

The first type of photo is called a Daguerreotype. This first form of photography was popular from 1839-1855 and the images were captured directly on to a thin piece of silver-plated copper. Since there were no negatives, there were no copies so each image was unique. I loved the angel in this photo.


The next advance to come along was Albumen which allowed the first paper copies of photographs. The negatives were captured on glass and then printed on paper using albumen from egg whites to bind light sensitive chemicals to the paper. Notice the dates on the second photo and how Susan lived to the ripe old age of 115 which was virtually unheard of in those days. Aunt Polly also lived a pretty long life.




The third type of photograph is called a Cyanotype because of the cyan or blue color. Developed in 1841 this process used ultraviolet light to convert light sensitive chemicals to Prussian blue. Can you guess what else this process is used for? If you guessed blue prints then you are correct! This photo intrigued me because Oliver Sallee was a Civil War soldier, yet, someone still put a flag by his grave in recent months! This stone also replaced an older stone that was either destroyed by vandals or stolen.
The next advance to come along was Platinum which was used from 1873 until 1920. Platinum based developing placed the paper in direct contact with the negative which resulted in a high quality prints that was very stable for the time. However, the high cost of platinum made this process an expensive method to use. Notice this first photo. Dennis F. Hanks was a tutor to, none other than, President Abraham Lincoln! Cool, huh? The third photo was a child who passed at 1 year, 2 months and 24 days into his life. The stone stood alone under a huge tree.



The last method I will use today is early color or autochrome. This was a popular method of producing some of the first color photos and was developed in 1904 by Auguste and Louis Lumiere. This method used potato starch granules that were dyed red, green and blue to create colored images on glass, similar to a slide.

Just an interesting walk back into the history of photography through the tombstones of the people who lived in that those time periods!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Picture Perfect Memories



Wouldn't it be great if we all had picture perfect memories? We don't and that is why pictures are so important! They tell the stories of our lives that we forget over the years and they remind us of times gone by both happy and sad. I wish that I could always say that taking pictures had a priority in my life but is hasn't. I got away from it for a while and found my way back and I am so glad that I did!

We need to make sure we document our everyday life as well as the special events that occur once in a lifetime! Please take lots of pictures because future generations will be so glad that you did!

The photos today were taken this past Sunday while on a visit to Spencer's Dad. The top photo is Larry and his partner Chris, who is a wonderful woman and takes care of him like no other! The bottom photo is Larry with his son Spencer and grandkids Zach and Sadie! These are the photos that we will all cherish in the years to come!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Papa's Hands


I got an email the other day from my Aunt Pat the was entitled "Grandma's Hands" and the author had taken a generational hand photo that was treasured by her family because it was taken just before great grandma passed away! I loved this idea because I am intrigued by photos of hands and feet, especially those that tell a story! The hands in the photo belong to my husband Spencer, our son Zach, Spencer's Dad Larry and our daughter Sadie! I am so in love with this photo that it will soon be framed and hanging in a place of honor in our home!

Let me share with you a little about Papa's hands: They are rough from years of gardening and working with wood but are gentle enough to hold his precious grandchildren. They have hammered nails and worked on cars. They have taught the next generation how to use tools to build things like bird houses and rat houses and boxes to hold treasures. Let's not forget the bug boxes used to catch and house fireflies and crickets and caterpillars.

They have held a paintbrush and steered the tractor. They have cultivated the earth and planted seeds to grow many wonderful things like flowers and tomatoes and apple gourds (lots of apple gourds). They have been used to help a neighbor or family member in need and they have never let him down!

They have wiped away tears of happiness and they have wiped away tears of sorrow. His hands are worn and tired but they have served him well. Papa's hands are loving hands that he has shared with his grandchildren and those are wonderful memories that no one can take away from them! Papa's hands are a legacy of love to be remembered and cherished always.

This is the story behind the photo! These words are mine and they are what I think about when I think about Papa's hands. Remember that 50 years from now, no one will care how we looked in a photo! The photo itself is important because it is a piece of history, a reminder of what was and where we come from. It is proof that, for a short time, we were here and that we leave behind a legacy. What will your legacy say about you?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guest Post by Lindsey Cox


Hello All,

I just wanted to share with you the elegant words of my 15 year old great niece, Lindsey. Her family has been through a lot and yet she has wisdom beyond her years. I got her permission to share this with all of you! Enjoy!


Recently, I have been asked the question "Who is your hero?" and "What does it mean to be a hero?" Those questions really got me thinking about things. Why? I don't know. But it did. I've been thinking for a while now, what does it mean to be a hero? and who is my hero?

What Is A Hero?Everyone has their own definition of a hero. No matter who you talk to everyones version of a hero is a little different. I think thats because a hero can be so many different things. It doesn't have to mean you are superman or a warrior or anything like that. Your grandmother could be a hero. Your neighbor could be a hero. Even the person sitting next to you in science could be a hero.

To me, a hero is someone who fights for what they want. Someone who sticks to what they believe no matter what the cost. A person who is not afraid to stand up and say the screwed up. A person who can walk around all day dying on the inside and not hiding it. Someone who is always there when their friends need them, but isn't afraid to say they don't know how to help. Being a hero doesn't mean you always have the answers. To me, being a hero means that you care about others, and your not afraid of what others might think. You aren't afraid to be yourself. Your not afraid to admit you failed. and your not afraid to love.

Who Are My Heros? Jackson Trevor Summers fits that definition completely. He was my best friend in the entire world. He's the only person I know that wasn't afraid to show who he truly was, no matter what the cost might have been. He was a guy you could always turn to if you needed something. I have never met anyone so open hearted and kind as he was. He would randomly talk to people and soon enough would be their best friend. Even if you weren't that close to him, you could rely on him for anything. If you needed an ear to listen he was there. A shoulder to cry on, he was there. At the age of 16, he was diagnosed with a mental disorder after a severe accident. Every day of his life after the accident, more and more of his brain cells were killed off. He went months without telling anyone of his diagnosis. But even when he finally came clean, he fought every day. He fought every day of his life until he couldn't fight anymore. Jack died on January 22, 2009.

I will never forget this boy, or the lessons he taught me. Jack cared about everyone. Jack loved with all of his heart. I will never meet someone with so much love in them as he had. Jack was genuine. Jack was my best friend. Jack is my hero. I will never forget all the times we had together. I will never forget everything he did for me. I will never forget the friendship he and I had. It's not something you come across all the time. Its quite genuine. And I was lucky enough to have a best friend as amazing as him.


Another amazing hero in my life would be my mother, Tracy. She is another person in my life who has fought for things in her life. In the past couple years, my mom has had some very serious medical issues. Even though our family has gone through so much, she never gave up hope. She kept fighting and kept believing everything would be alright. I, of course, looked on the dark side of situations. I looked at the side that told me I was going to lose my mother. But she never did, and if she did, she never showed it. When I looked at her, I saw someone who was going to fight until she couldn't fight anymore. I hope to one day have the courage and strength that my mother shows me every single day of my life.


One more hero I would like to recognize is my best friend in the entire world, Brittany Brackett. She has been here with me through everything. I became friends with her when she first came to WL. We met in PE class and soon became best friends. She has been through so much with me and she inspires me to do so much. She has always been there to back me up, no matter what I do. She always tries to protect me. She's like the sister I will never have. I love her so much. She is a wonderful person. She's not afraid to be who she is and she's not afraid tro stand up for what she believes in. She helps me to reach my goals and she's always going to be my best friend. I love her to death.


If I have tagged you in this note, maybe its because your also one of my heros. Maybe you've been an inspiration to me. Or maybe you've just been there with me through it all. Either way, if youve been tagged, you are a big part of my life, and I look up to you.

And this would be the answer to the question "Who is Your Hero?"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!



Valentines Day, for me, is not all about the wine and roses and romance since we seem to be past that stage of life! I will admitt that if Spencer were to suddenly buy me a gift, I would wonder what he did wrong that he felt the need to buy me something so I really don't hope for gifts anymore even though I love surprises!

What I do hope for is a deep, meaningful, lifelong relationship with the person I love and married! Sometimes life gets in the way and we need a reminder of why we got married in the first place. If you need a reminder I recommend that you see the movie Fireproof! There is also a blog that you can check out here. It is about never leaving your partner behind! It doesn't matter if you have been married 20 days or 20 years, this is a must see movie. You can rent it at your local rental store or buy it at Walmart. It is well worth the money and the snuggle on the couch is pretty good too!








Enjoy this day created just for love and get back to the basics with the love of your life!

Friday, February 13, 2009

On Vacation!

photo from Bahamas.com

I am on a beach in the Bahamas with a cabana boy catering to my every need from sun screen to lovely little fruity drinks that are very cold and refreshing and come with a cute little umbrella. The sun is bright and warm in the cloudless blue sky and the water is warm as it rushes over my toes. There are no computers, cell phones or barking dogs! There is no one making me go in three different directions at the same time and I am reading a book that I have longed to finish for, oh, six months or more!

The sand feels wonderful on my, usually, boot covered feet giving them a much needed pedicure the natural way! The suns rays caress my face as I sink back into the chair that cradles me like it was made just for me and I feel happy! For the first time in a long time, I am completely relaxed and at ease. All the knots in my back and shoulders have melted away with the touch of the sun and it feels good! NO, it feels great!

My pulse is slow and steady with the beat of the ocean waves against the shore, I could take a nap. I smell the wonderful flowers that adorn the island as the scent floats by on the breeze. I love that smell, so clean and fresh like laundry hung to dry on a warm day. Suddenly, I feel the spray of the ocean on my face it is warm and refreshing............Oh crap, I hear myself say as I realize that the ocean spray was just our beagle giving me endless kiss and the natural pedicure was only out pit bull using her sandpaper like tongue to lick my feet! I was only dreaming but what a dream it was!

Have a great weekend! Check back tomorrow for pics of my new "do"! It will be the same cut with a SPLASH of color only you have to check it out for yourself!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Beautiful Boy


I know that I talk about Sadie a lot but I do have a 16 year old son who likes to do his own thing and rarely lets me take his picture, until now! He recently got a new "do" and I think he looks so handsome, not to mention that he has a ton of new found confidence with his new look.


Here is the 411 on my first born: He is very creative, like his Mom, he likes music, art and theatre. He plays trumpet in the band and has taken some guitar lessons in the not so distant past! He has been involved in every theatre production that the High School has put on since becoming a freshman (now a sophomore). We discovered, last year, that Zach could sing when he had a solo in the spring musical (we really had no idea)! Zach loves to swim and go fishing (he can spend hours at our friends lake house doing both)! Most of all he is a wonderful big brother to Sadie and she just adores him!


It seems like just yesterday, he was toddling around the house like Sadie. Somehow I turned around and he is now a man, towering over me at 6'2" and 230 lbs. with a size 14 shoe (yes I said 14, try getting those at the local mall)! He is a loving, kind, compassionate young man who became a vegetarian over a year ago and is active with PETA.


Don't get me wrong, he is no angel but he is a teenager on his way to manhood who is trying to figure out how he fits into this great big world that we call home! I love him for who he is and who he is on the way to becoming!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

"In Motion"Sadie's First Time On Skates
Getting Better
Doin' the Hokey Pokey with bubby

 

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