Tuesday, February 28, 2012


First, a nod to Miss Raven over at Just Expressive. She's been working on this Wear Your Stuff project--an attempt to actually wear all the things in her closet, not just the favorite few that hang out near the front. Since I'm lucky enough to have 2 clothing swaps a year with my friends, this keeps my closet pretty well pruned. What I'm really, really, woefully inadequate about? Accessories. I know! My sister B is a WHIZ when it comes to accessories. She WEARS all her stuff, and she's got a lot! Jewelry, scarves, shoes, etc. It reminds me of that line from Steel Magnolias: What separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.*

So, to sum up--I'm practically an animal. I HAVE lots of jewelries and scarves and such, but I'm crap at actually remembering to wear any of it. So I took some inspiration from Raven, cleaned out and organized my jewelry box and have made an attempt to wear earrings & necklaces that match my outfits. So far (2 days) so good. Let's see how long this lasts. Maybe if I'm lucky until the baby gets here. Then I shall stop wearing things that can be used as torture devices by tiny hands.

The other part of my recent inspiration is in two parts. First, TJ tweeted about a sale at Ulta, so I went, and now, in the style of the Fabulous Ms. Sarah Lena, I shall tell you about it. So, by spending $17.50 on Ulta brand makeup for a friend's birthday, I got this:
this is the picture of all the stuff on the inside from the Ulta website. 
It's a little green makeup bag full of makeup. Yep. More makeup. I can only recall having purchased one Ulta brand makeup thing before, and while I wasn't impressed at all (it was an eyeshadow crayon thingy in "white wedding" that didn't blend... like, at all), I was willing to give them another shot. Normally, I'm a Sephora girl because of brands like Makeup Forever and they give me lots of free stuff because I spend as much money there in a year as my husband does at Chipotle--which is A LOT.**

There is a lot of stuff in there, by the way. I took it upon myself to wear as much of it at one time as possible.  Strangely, that didn't result in the complete disaster you might be picturing. 

 These eyeshadows are the reason I chose the green bag over the purple or orange version. While the purple would have made more sense in term of stuff I'm more likely to wear, I already have so much purple makeup, and I don't have any yellow eyeshadow, so... you know... I'm branching out. All in all, I like these quads very much. For free makeup, they're wonderful. The shadows aren't as pigmented as I would like, but they're not pale, pasty pastels either. The yellow is truly yellow and I actually wore it on my face, with all the other colors in that quad at the same time and it was pretty ok. Kind of a rainbow-y effect, without pink or purple. Sadly, I have no photographic evidence of this, as it was on a Thursday night and I went to Lace rehearsal. But if the Lace didn't scream at me, it couldn't have been that bad.
 Here we have some truly neutral lip gloss & cheek color. They're fine. The gloss is sparkly on the pale side and matte on the nude side. I'll probably only ever wear the sparkly side, because I find nude lips to be... on me, kind of pointless. My lips are pink to begin with, so to make them "nude" is to make me look... well... dead. Anyway, I'll save you the trouble and tell you the same thing about the lipstick below. Nude. Pointless. For me.
The "Voluptuous Volume" mascara and the nail polish were both a big disappointment to be honest. While the mascara wand looked promising, the formula just did nothing for my lashes. Nada. Squat. The nail polish is a color that is very much not up my alley--kelly green--but that's not my biggest complaint. It went on super streaky, because a single coat was nearly sheer. It was weird. It took 3 coats to get solid coverage, and then it chipped right away. Not the best polish I've ever worn. But you know, free, so worth every penny!

That's all I got. Over all, I'm pleased with the gift bag. The eyeliners aren't as awesome as my Urban Decay ones, but nothing ever will be. They're functional and versatile, so that's good. I mean, there really are only so many uses for an eyeliner called "Ransom" but "Chocolate" goes a long way on many days.

And now I'm done!

*It should be said that roughly 85% of the dialogue in that movie is deliciously quotable, more so now that I live in the southern portion of the States.

**Also, Chipotle never gives HIM any free stuff, so, I feel my spending is somehow... cooler.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sponges... sort of

Ok, so there’s this thing about information. I want to know stuff. Right now, mostly stuff about birthing babies, because… yes, I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies. Which isn’t exactly true.  At the moment I know a lot about what is supposed to happen and lots of things that might happen, but no idea what will actually happen.

Be that as it may, this is just the latest in a long line of things that I want to know about. My brother and I have this in common, but he’s much better at it than I am. More follow through and charisma. He likes a thing, he researches that thing and becomes an expert. Example: He likes wine. Now he’s a sommelier.  I mean, I guess by extension, I’m doing something similar. I like babies, now I’m going to be a mom, but it’s not quite the same.

ANYWAY… so, information. Here’s the thing about it. You’ve heard the expression “to be a sponge” right? Where someone just sucks up all the information about something that they can get, like a sponge absorbing water? Well, there are lots of levels of that situation that I’m going to ramble on about.

See, a totally saturated sponge is actually pretty useless if we’re talking kitchen-type sponges and not the things that live in the ocean, which I am, so keep up, ok? If you pick up a saturated sponge, you just make a mess—water everywhere and then you need a sponge to clean up the mess you just made with the sponge you have. It’s really not that effective. I guess this is what you call “analysis paralysis” if you’re one of those people who are keen on naming things that people do with easily remembered phrases to explain away the oddities of human behavior. I am one of those people and I want to avoid this. The internet is FULL of information. Not just forums (which seem mostly full of the extreme cases) and my Twitter ladies (who are mostly full of the reasonable), but we all know the dangers of Googling your symptoms, right? Too much information.

You want a damp kitchen sponge, right? If, for example, you’re going to use the scrubby side of the sponge to get something that’s dried onto a dish or counter, what you really need is very little liquid and a lot of brute force—for the scrubbing. I don’t need a lot of knowledge to move furniture. Some understanding of physics, gravity, and simple machines is enough.

Also, you need the right kind of liquid to get the most use out of your sponge (which I’m using to talk about my brain here, in case this has already gone completely off the rails). Plain water is fine if you’re just planning on wiping up a few crumbs but if you need to sanitize something (well, first you need a clean sponge, and I’ve always been a little uncertain as to how one cleans a sponge exactly, but I think a dishwasher is involved), you probably want something more potent. Like bleach or Lysol or that Mr. Clean stuff that comes in the purple bottle. So when my brother decided that liking wine was going to become a hobby he wanted to get better at, he had to know who to ask to get reliable information about things, like the wine guy at his local liquor store, not, you know… me because I still describe the way wine tastes in colors more often than flavors.

The point in all of this? I’m not sure. I want to be a useful sponge. I think it's like this--you hold the sponge under the water and let it get good and soaked, then squeeze it out to use just what you need. I’m learning as much as I can about birth, and babies, and how to take care of them and myself, how to be both wife and mother, cut myself some slack, rest now, nest now, enjoy these last few days when it’s just J & I with the critters in the house, be ready, knowing that I’ll never be 100% ready and remember that I’m more than just pregnant since lots of things will go on the back burner once Freckle decides to make her external debut. Filling the sponge, as it were. Then there will be some squeezing and hopefully what I'm left with is what I need to do the job at hand. I’m really kind of glad that I’ll be unemployed* in a week or so. 

*anyone else hear that in Vicini’s voice and have to restrain themselves from adding “in GREENLAND!” on the end? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I went to a party dressed like flapper... not a costume party

It's true. I'm on my way to my favorite kind of party--small, laid back and with people I like.

I will be wearing WAY TOO MUCH makeup because I had a) time on my hands and 2) a burst of inspiration after seeing the lovely mask my friend over at Always Never Quite Right did this weekend. I've stuffed as much color-appropriate jiggaflern onto my head as possible and slipped into the most comfortable dress I own...

The combination? Some sort of strange Mardi Gras flapper...

Good thing my friends like me, eh?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Things I learned in Arizona

I'm still not over PJs @ TJ's. I keep reading all the awesome recaps and thinking "OH YEAH!" so here are some of those moments. Also, maybe the coolest thing (other than the floor bed) was that this event CREATED A BLOG! Yeah! Peer pressure!

1. Hotel bunnies aren't afraid of people with cameras.
2. Stephanie is an awesome roommate
3. Sometimes what you need is to just roll over & go back to sleep. And if you have an awesome roommate (which, see above, I did), she will too & it will be like magical sleepytime...magic.
4. Elise is the baby whisperer. Seriously. She rocked/bounced/soothed all the fussy babies to sleep. All of them! I spent a lot of time watching her to try to discern her secret ways as that might come in handy soon. Thankfully, my mom also seems to have this skill and she's a lot closer than the Far North.
5. If I'm going to get heartburn no matter what, I'll have an extra piece of pizza. And another soda. And a tiny ice cream sundae. And more awesome dip. Ok, so all the food really.
6. What I think is heartburn is very mild compared to what could be going on in there, so I'm very grateful.
7. I like braiding my hair. I kinda forgot that, and now I wish I did it more often.
8. I recognize Diane by her glasses. Also, she reminds me of my grandpa, which is actually a compliment, because she's the one you want to sit next to because she says funny stuff, but in that quiet, under-the-table way.
9. Noemi has amazing hair. For real. And I was a little starstruck honestly. Because I've been lurking on her blog for a long time. Lurking isn't my normal M.O. (I'm too obnoxiously loud for that!)
10. People in real life really do look just like they do on the internet. It's kinda bizzare.
11. Other not-shy people make me happy, and complimenting someone's freckles can turn into a conversation about boobs and genetics. Seriously.
12. Glitter-hippies are the best kind and talking about some of the crazy hippie stuff that I'm trying with people FROM THE INTERNET in real life is also pretty amazing.
13. When in doubt, just wave at strangers and hopefully they'll be the ones who were looking for you in random public locations. Worked for Kammah!
14. Canadians don't know how to work electronic card reader/signer thingies, but will not blink an eye at multiple u-turns and crossing 4 lanes of traffic to turn left on the wrong road. (I didn't know it was the wrong road at the time)
15. I didn't mean for this to be a big name-dropping thing as I really did enjoy everyone that I got to talk to, which I think was everyone.
16. I think my superpower is being able to get back to the places I've been to. I mean, in terms of navigating & giving directions. If I've been/driven there, I can probably get back there, but only by the route I got there in the first place. Alternate routes just confuse me.
17. I really loved the way that everyone cooperated to make stuff happen--like carpooling & making trips to pick people up and taking the Canadian to a Target, which apparently they don't have in BC.
18. The smallness of this event was really appealing to me. It was all my favorite parts of the Blathering--eating & talking to people in small groups--without any stress about what I "should" be doing (based on no one's pressure but mine, by the way. But I've been to Phoenix before, so I didn't feel like I had to "experience" the city to make the trip count. I could just sit and talk, even though I'd only met 3 of the people before).
19. I have to remember that people read my blog, so I don't have to repeat myself. I'm really bad at this. It's that weird line of not wanting to seem to self-absorbed that I assume everyone remembers every word I've ever typed and not being so self-deprecating that I assume no one reads so I can tell the same stories over & over again.
20. Babies do crazy things, and listening to moms tell stories (even stories about the awful parts--pinching, getting you sick, being demanding little tyrants) is pretty cool. I have NO IDEA what I'm getting myself into, despite the vast wealth of information I've accumulated. I know that I'm having a baby, but no idea what that really means. Thankfully I know that all these women will be there in a few months when I start asking more WTF questions.
21. The desert is dry. I know, that sounds like the stupidest thing ever, but I had to actually pay attention to how much water I drank, and I didn't really realize that the difference in humidity (or lack there of) would make my skin freak out. I don't know if it's because pregnancy hormones are making me more sensitive, or I'm just paying more attention to everything that happens with/to my body. Either way, the air was dry and I needed lotion.
22. Phoenix roads will randomly gain or lose a lane without warning. This can be very confusing in the dark.
23. There is a Carter's STORE! A physical building full of nothing but Carter's baby stuff... I didn't know they had such a thing! It was...well, I'm just glad there isn't one too close to me, because I would GO NUTS! Everything with a giraffe or hippo would be MINE... I mean, Freckle's...whatever.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Better than I imagined

So, we all know that I'm not shy of strangers. I mean, I talk to people when I go shopping quite often. Somehow, it's slightly more intimidating with people that you sort of almost kinda know because of the internet.

Seriously, my weekend was kind of surreal. I kept looking at people (and their babies) and thinking--but you're from the internet!

Anyway, the point is that Pjs @ TJ's was pretty much exactly what I needed and totally wonderful. There were moments of awkward because I'm loud & say inappropriate things and sometimes I hug people who aren't huggers, but those moments were VERY FEW, thankfully.  Mostly, it was just a totally relaxed weekend--for us. TJ had a lot more stress, because getting on & off the base was a little confusing, but everyone there was totally willing to do whatever was needed to make things happen as painlessly as possible.

There was lots of food and drinks and we all just sort of camped out in TJ's living room and talked about stuff. I know that doesn't sound like whoo-hoo big time party fun, but it really was! There were bad in-law stories and many babies to be passed around and chocolate and popcorn. Movies that you could watch & glance at twice and still know exactly what was going on because you'd seen it like a million times were played in the background. There just aren't enough words for how great that feels--to feel all comfortable and relaxed with people whom you've really just met for the first time hours ago.

Anyway, now I shall resort to showing you pictures!

It's pink! It's a shotglass! It's from Alaska!

The view from the pool Saturday evening. You can't see, but there are 4 bunnies frolicking on the lawn

Sunset on the way to base. With palm trees!

This is Temerity Jane's baby. 

This is PJs @ TJ's, complete with streamers, matching plates & napkins, and a BED! In the LIVING ROOM!

This is my manicure
And TJ was brilliant. Everything that anyone needed was there, and for the pajama party portion of the weekend--you guys, this is such an amazing idea, I can't get over how cool it is--she put A BED in the living room... YEAH! A bed! And we all piled on it and talked like schoolgirls, except not, because I don't know many schoolgirls who have horrible in-law stories and tips on birth & breastfeeding.

The point is, I thought it was going to be cool. I expected to be awkward and nervous and clumsy. It was way cooler than I thought, mostly because of all the cool people I got to talk to. My only regret is that I talked too much & didn't listen to more stories. Oh, and that it seems impossible for me to get a manicure without the tech cutting my cuticles until they bleed. Other than that, I had an excellent time. I'm seriously considering doing one of these myself. Jeans at Bean's y'all!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The week of 3 Wednesdays and other pointless taless

Last week was The Week of 3 Wednesdays. It started out innocently enough. Monday came and went as expected. All the normal Monday-ish things happened like they were supposed to. Then I went to bed and woke up on Wednesday. It must have been Wednesday, because I had my doctor's appointment that day, and for many weeks those appointments have been on Wednesday. Thus, logically doctors appointment=Wednesday. I went on about my day doing my normal Wednesday things until about 8pm when I got a text from my sister B asking why I wasn't at dance. I almost replied "because it's Wednesday!" (dance is on Tuesday), but then I realized it wasn't Wednesday. Because that morning I'd had a similar conversation with my husband when I asked him why he was taking his guitar to work. He said it was because he had rehearsal that night. I said asked why and he said, "Because it's Tuesday." But I then went back to sleep and forgot the whole thing. Then the real Wednesday happened. I wore this shirt. 'Cause it's Wednesday!
Then! the next day... it was Wednesday too! Because we had to go to the hospital for our "learn how to have and care for a baby" class. And those are on Wednesdays. Well, the first class was. The second class (Lamaze, y'all. I... I know. It's crazy) was actually on Thursday, but it didn't FEEL like a Thursday, even though the day before had been Wednesday, because I didn't have Lace rehearsal. Lace rehearsal is on Thursday. Except this week, it had been moved to Friday, but that meant that my class was still on the day before Lace rehearsal, so of course that made it Wednesday. You see the logic there, right? It all makes sense.
Then it was Thursday, then Saturday and the week got all messed up and now I don't even know what day it is.

Leftover People
Ok, so in my attempt to become a better person through meal planning, I must take baby steps. It seems that the first one would be to plan some meals, then cook the meals and ta-da! There you go. Unfortunately, things aren't working out that way. I used to do this so well. When we first got married I had a spreadsheet and a database and all sorts of plans. Then... something unidentified happened. We got more social, or something. Now, meal planning is made difficult by 2 things. Thing 1: We're only home together to eat the same meal one night a week, and maybe the weekend. Thing 2: We're really bad at eating leftovers. So, when I do get up the give a squat to actually cook, I can never manage to just make enough for 2. Mostly because "enough for 2" is a very vague and changing quantity in this house. J can eat like a rhinoceros at times, but other times (when he's on his ADD meds) he barely has an appetite at all. All of this to say that leftovers happen. We should then take them to work or eat them for lunches or the next night, or on a pre-approved "clean out the fridge" night, but... we don't. We're just not thoughtful about it. We need to fix that. We need to become leftover people.

Natural Woman
For a long time I've been trying to get my hair back to it's natural color in the dumbest and least-patient way possible--with dye. This is... problematic to say the least. What I remember my natural hair color being is... a weird shade of red. It's like the dirty blonde version of red. Dirty copper? I don't know. Anyway, based on highly technical things like pictures and the fake hair that perfectly matched the last time my hair was it's own color (5-6 years ago) I've been trying to get back to that, because I don't really feel like letting my hair color grow out for 3 years. I've resisted saying "just make everything match my roots" because they didn't look the right color. I know that sounds stupid, but they were too dark. My hair maybe gets lighter as it grows out? I dunno, but I remember having darker roots than ends for a long time, but the color in the middle is the color I think of as mine. But I finally got tired of all the highlights and touch ups and blah blah blah so I went in and finally said "just make everything match my roots" and... it was dark. Way darker than I ever remember my hair being. That was in October, days before The Blathering. I haven't had my hair colored since then. My hair is all still the same color. With some grey bits. SO... apparently the kind of dark-honey-amber-reddish color I remember is gone. Now I'm a slightly reddish brunette. WEIRD.

That looks awful!
There is something strangely comforting in hearing your doctor say those words. There's the validation of knowing that I'm not being a totally whiny brat. There is reason to be uncomfortable and I made the right decision to go see the doctor and have it checked out. On the other hand, it would have been nice to hear "Oh, yeah, we can clear that right up!" instead of "Oh... I mean... oh!" I adore my doctor, by the way, so... you know... she can say stuff like that.

Unemployed and Pregnant
So... the "BIG NEWS" of today is that I sort of, kind of got laid off. I mean, I'm a contract person, not an "employee" so it's a little different, and my contract is with Company A, who contracts with Company B, whom they bill to pay me. Company B terminated its contract with Company A, effective 2/25 (plus a 25 day "finish it all up" period). So... if I actually have work to do that whole time, that comes out to March 21st, which is only 10 or so days away from my due date, so that's not so bad. The thing is, work has been slow for a while. I haven't worked a 40 hour week in longer than I can remember, so the income that's coming in is already reduced. We've been making it work, and we will continue to make it work, but it's an adjustment at a time when I'd really like to be spending a lot of money on things for this baby to sleep on and what not. I guess it's better to have my income taper of gently rather than just abruptly stop. It does sort of answer the "will you be going back to work after baby?" question for a bit, since I won't have a job to go back to. Finding a new one as a new mom should be... exciting. I don't know yet if that's what I'll do. If we can make this one-income thing work and I can learn to be a mom who is at home, I'm totally willing to give that a shot. Still, I'm praying that J gets the promotion he just applied for. That would help a little.

Friday, February 3, 2012

How far we've come

So, way back when I first found out about this whole "having a baby" thing, I saw this cute idea for a little countdown jar. I... sort of overestimated how many M&Ms were in the packages I was buying, so instead of just making one as a gift and one for me, both dads got jars too...and I ate some extra M&Ms. It was hard work, I tell you.

Anyway, as things get closer and closer (9 weeks left to go, 2 months!) I looked at my little jar and noticed that it does actually look emptier. Then, for comparison, I went back to look at the original pictures.

Dude! We've gone from this:

To this:

So this is me at 7 months. The first tiny stretch marks appeared today. I knew they were coming, as my skin is prone to them anyway, and now here they are (not pictured, obviously, because... eeeew)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's totally happening!

I haven't really wanted to say much about this here, because my attendance was extremely tenuous, awaiting doctor approval, but I got it, and I'm going, and I'm so excited. I already have my PJs packed. (Of course, J keeps calling it "P-yamas at Penny's mama's" with the Spanish pronounciation of pajamas... I don't know how you spell that. Anyway, it's happening. My doctor said I could fly. I just need to book a rental car for when I get there because I'm flying in & out at some seriously rediculous times, but whatever, I'll get 95% of Friday and all day Saturday to... do stuff... with TJ and 17 other internet ladies, because the internet is AWESOME!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Twitter is my knitting circle

I was on Twitter for a long time before it became valuable to me. I blame the Blathering for getting me hooked. Before then, I followed people, read their stuff, but didn't really interact with anyone. Now, I can spend the majority of a day talking about things that I have no one else to talk about with--with ladies I've either never met, or only met once, but I talk to regularly enough that it isn't at all weird to ask questions about personal stuff like giving birth. And I thought, MAN! How did people live without the internet? How did we manage without the immediacy of advice available from my Twitter feed?

Oh yeah... they lived in multi-generational communities and talked to people that they lived and worked with. So, Twitter is my knitting circle.

I mean, I have real life friends of many ages who I can turn to with questions and get advice and help from. And I do! They taught me how to do a 4-strand braid, and make bread, and jam, and better hard-boiled eggs. They've given me advice and suggestions on morning sickness, heartburn, some other h-related pregnancy symptoms, feeding this baby from my boobs, getting her to sleep, how to deal with gas. And all with the understanding that maybe none of it will work for me, but better to have the knowledge and have it fail than be totally clueless. My sister-in-law has 6 kids--she's an incredible resource. I have my mom and my grandmothers around to ask about things like how to sew stuff and why would anyone press a tablecloth when it's not on the table and what's baking powder for and stuff like that.

I talked to my mom about birth too. She's done it twice and two different ways (drugs & natural) and so, you know, has knowledge and opinions about stuff. But that was still 30+ years ago. Some things have changed. My close friends who've given birth recently both had planned C-sections, so while they have LOTS to tell me about taking care of tiny people and what tools are handy and what worked for them there, when it comes to labor... they didn't do it. By doctor's orders, and I am in NO WAY saying that they are somehow less or not as awesome as women who have labored. I wouldn't say that because that is dumb. They still suffered discomfort and indignity to get their internal babies into the outside world and no one should BRAG about any kind of birth at all. That bothers me. If I do it, smack me with a tuna, or a marlin, or some other big sport fish, ok? Havin' a baby is havin' a baby. It's different for everyone and blah, blah, blah, you know all this. Soapbox put away.

So, barring unforeseen complications arising between now and then, there are no plans for this baby to come out like toast (best description of a c-section ever, thanks K!). That being said, I want to know what it *might* be like. No way to know what it WILL be like until I'm there, but... I like to be prepared. I get that there is a line at which too much information becomes a bad thing and might stress me out and freak me out unnecessarily and all that, but I still want to know stuff. The hospital class we took was very informative and all, but I wanted to hear from people I know--what was it like for you? What do you wish you knew before hand? What's worth worrying about and what isn't? This is how I got into a day-long discussion of what happens to your undercarriage during and after birth. With people that aren't really strangers, but... I only know through the internet mostly. Were there some scary stories out there? Oh yeah! The phrase "stem to stern" was used. I blinked more than a few times at some of the descriptions and advice given. I laughed out loud at an inappropriate time at my office at one description and couldn't even explain why, because most of the words used aren't really office friendly, and "meat grinder" out of context just isn't as humorous as it was at the time.

And all this got me thinking--not about my undercarriage, but about my Twitter friends. I have somehow managed to stumble upon a pocket of rational, reasonable, diverse and respectful people--ON THE INTERNET! Mostly women. It's not just some mutual admiration society where everyone likes everyone else and we all sit around stroking each other's egos. That sentence seems grammatically awkward and I can't figure it out. Moving on.

These women are awesome. There are disagreements. If I say something that someone else has a different view point on, they will say so--but there's no drama! I mean, I haven't seen any, so don't start any now. We're doing so well. I'm talking 100 women, give or take. That's crazy and amazing and wonderful. I have so much experience and information available at my fingertips. Anecdotal advice and recommendations. Sympathy and suggestions. I've learned so much from these ladies. SO MUCH! They're not saints. I mean, there is complaining and some snarkiness and sometimes they talk about tv shows I've never seen using abreviations I don't understand and I have to google a lot of the people they talk about, but that's how I learn stuff.

I really don't have a snazzy conclusion here. I just... like my Twitter people a lot.
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