Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's your thing?

First off, Gina, Julie and Tania - I can't see your email address on your comments.

Please send a blank email to marcia AT the123blog DOT com so I can send you your Kitchen Organising Pack.

Thank you :)

The rest of you should already have it in your inbox.


Right, now onto today's post.

There's this girl about 12 years my junior at work.

We are quite similar in personality and share a lot of interests (like a passion for travel and Myers Briggs :)) but she's much cleverer than I am :)

Anyway, we were talking about books and I promised to bring her one of the best career books for women ever (Nice girls don't get the corner office - keep an open mind and read it if you're a working mom) and then she promised to bring me one (Steve Harvey's Act like a lady).

We did the exchange today and I told her I'd start hers this week and definitely be done within a week.

She said, "well, you'll be waiting a LOT longer for your one". LOL

And then I explained my modus operandi.

I can easily read one book a week, reading 30 - 60 minutes every evening, which is why my goal is 5 books a month because this way I have to intentionally set aside EXTRA time on the weekend or a weekday evening to read.

My goal is one night a week for fun things.

I don't always make it for an entire evening but having the reading goal forces me to relax and enjoy my time off.

Some of you may say, "is it really relaxing if you have to push yourself?"

And I say an absolute yes!

It really is just getting over the hump of (very slight) guilt at not whizzing around, replying to emails, cleaning, organising, etc. and relaxing. And about 5 minutes after sitting down, I'm enjoying my book and couldn't care less about other things.


When I say this kind of thing to people, I see they want to slap me but just remember, I'm a time management coach and I coach on purposeful and intentional living, so to be in integrity, I have to live my talk.

I told the personal trainer today that I could never coach if I wasn't doing the stuff myself. I'd feel like a fraud.

So that's my thing (love love LOVE reading).

What's your thing, and how do you make time for it?

Aren't you glad this is the last day to vote? I know I am :)

P.S. A big congrats to Laura Case for launching her photography business. I am a big fan of Laura, the photographer, but even more so of Laura, the person, as she is someone who really lives life BIG! She also has the two cutest boys in the world! Laura, I can't wait to see your business take off and soar :)

PPS I'm off to try and finish a book by midnight to reach my reading goal :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

So my kids are growing up

I think this was week number 9 or 10 (of course I'm counting) and the kids just run into the children's ministry now.


When my MIL and I collected them they looked like this:

Apparently they had a face painter who made them look like lions.

They looked adorable.

The pics were taken hours and hours later as my camera's battery was flat so I couldn't capture the cuteness at the time and had to send D with a charged camera later.

I took a quick cell phone pic after deleting almost all my messages but don't have the cable here to show you.


D transferred car seats and off they went with MIL, Connor screaming.


Just the start to the afternoon.

The two of us did a quick pitstop at Mr P Home Greenstone (to buy a green chair) and then home.

We had a lovely afternoon making food and got through half a movie before D left to fetch them.

I would have gone with him but decided to clean the house, cook and organise. I even had time to do the budget.

Do you know how much fun I had?

It is BLISS without people around when you want to get things done.

Honestly, it felt like Christmas :)

So he took their supper and bath stuff, and he and MIL fed and bathed them.

He arrived home THREE hours later with two sleeping babies.


And even cuter is seeing your husband carry sleeping babies in from the car to bed.


Apparently the kids were PERFECT angels (!) for my MIL and they all had a fantastic time.

I know it's good... but I feel a little sad like they're growing up and doing stuff apart from me! *sob*

We then had supper and finished watching The Back-Up Plan with JLo and the Australian guy.

You could see it was a movie because those two were far too happy and blissed out after having twins (and having s*x!).

I must tell you about supper. Which was Chicken and cashew nuts.

I found the recipe here and for the sauce I used a sticky chicken sauce with tamarind and something else I found at Pick and Pay for R26,99. It's enough for two meals.

I used 100g onion, 400 g chicken and half a bottle sauce with some garlic and ginger. Served over rice with broccoli.

DIVINE - better than a restaurant. And so easy it's almost criminal.

We're having friends over on Sat and I'm making it again!

(my plan is to eat the worst things closer to Sat and then eat properly a la Weigh Less from Monday)

So what is your current most favourite food to make? And how was your weekend?

Giveaway - kitchen organising pack

Thank you so much to all of you for participating.

The 10 winners are

Cat, Julie, Sweets, Heather, OneRadMother, Gina, Shelby, Caren, Tania and Julia (they match up to the numbers above but this list is not ordered the same :))

Congrats, you guys!

Here's to organised kitchens.

Please give me until tomorrow to send you the pack - I want to add one or two extra goodies and make it look pretty :) and I have to upload to my website.

Meanwhile, on a scale of 1 - 10, how happy are you with your kitchen organisation?

I'm an 8 - I need to maximise storage a little bit more...

Today and tomorrow are the last few days to vote for me. You can vote once a day so get clicking... please. Last time I checked I was number 41!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Teacher appreciation gifts

So, a question from a South African girl who doesn't have kids in school...

I'm browsing the internets (and all my crafty blogs), and I see all these teacher appreciation gift posts.

I have nothing against showing gratitude and there's nothing I love more than a heartfelt thank-you note/ gift, etc.

  1. how many kids are in one class, on average?
  2. do all the kids bring gifts?
  3. do people go ALL out? or are there lots of slacker moms like me?
  4. are they bought stuff or do people do handmade gifts? what's the split?
  5. what does the teacher do with all that stuff?
  6. where do they/ you store it?
  7. how long does this go on? (up until what age, or do all school-going kids bring gifts?)
  8. South Africans, does this stuff happen in our schools too? It didn't when I was at school, um, over 20 years ago!
  9. if you're a teacher (One Rad Mother and others), please share your thoughts. I am seriously curious.
Let's talk in the comments :)

PS pic taken at Legendz Cafe in Dullstroom. Excellent food.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

7 Saturday Snippets

1. I gained 0.4 kg at Weigh-Less this week. I get so annoyed at people who MOAN that they ONLY lost 0.2 or 0.4. Any loss is good for me and even to stay the same would be good at this point.

2. We've just had the most delicious soup. Gosh, I couldn't believe how yummy it was. Recipe below. I'm blogging it as much for me as for you as somehow this combination of ingredients was PERFECT! And I've been slacking on my veg portions because I didn't have enough soup.

Marcia's delicious soup :)

120 g onion
80 g broccoli
200 g carrots
200 g butternut
200 g red lentils
1 can of chopped tomato (400 g)
2 chicken stock cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
About 1.5 - 2 L water (I just add until it's the correct consistency after I puree all the lumps out)

That's it - I needed no other seasoning - it is PERFECT.

3. We went to visit my friend, Nat, today. Both families were supposed to meet at Jhb Botanical Gardens but it's been hellishly cold here and would not have been pleasant, so we went to their house instead. The last time we were all there was Jan last year. Nat and I get together often by ourselves and have long lunches (if I drank alcohol, it would be like having long, boozy lunches :)) and talk about deep things :) and some nonsense.

But what a difference 16 months makes! We could actually have a conversation while the kids played alongside one another :) and chased the cat. Her babies (even though D1 doesn't think he's a baby anymore) are gorgeous! I can't believe we have 4 babies between us, less than 3 years after meeting! Crazy.

4. I was quite distraught last night. When I checked my email, D had received an "application unsuccessful" email from a place he'd been shortlisted for and we both thought he'd get a job offer from. He is SO disappointed. He really needs to get out of his current place of employment but there are not many jobs going. I would still like to know why as I know he is brilliant (he really is! I'm not just saying that) and they both liked him (from the two interviews). Grrr.

5. I will start showcasing some blogs next week since you all want to see. Warning - your reader is going to become very full as I read TONS of truly excellent and inspiring blogs :) The giveaway is still open. Add your comment and enter.

6. Guess what we're doing tomorrow? My MIL is taking the kids to her house after church (straight from church) and we're coming home to have the house to ourselves. This is D's bright idea because my MIL always says it doesn't matter where the kids are and we say it's easier taking care of them at our house. But as D says, one way or the other we'll find out tomorrow. I hope we don't get a frantic phone call saying, "come fetch them!"

7. Look at this pic. It's the flower each of the ladies got at work for Mother's Day. We also got gorgeous photo frames - mine holds one of my JV photos :) My company is brilliant - they give EVERY woman a gift whether you're a mother or not. It really helped to not feel left out those 4 years we were trying. Anyway, this flower only died today after 3 weeks - I'm very impressed.

See the blurry background? I don't quite know how I got it like that (because I have a point and shoot) but I love it. If I could do it for pics of people I'd be one happy person.

So what are you up to this weekend? If you're in the US, what are your plans for Memorial Day?

I know Heather's preparing for her boys' 2nd birthday party tomorrow but what about the rest of you?

PS I'm still reading my Sophie Kinsella. It's a very strange book - best I go see on Good Reads what other people thought of it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Giveaway time!

So, I hit 100 followers on blogger some time last week.

The Wordpress people don't show up, neither do those in the Google Reader but I love and appreciate all of you reading my crazy ramblings VERY much.

Thank you!

I see on the crafty blogs (which I am addicted to) they keep celebrating each 100 followers so I thought I'd copy this and do something nice for 10 of you. Gosh, I hope 10 of you comment :)

Here are all the details:

Leave a comment on this post and you'll be in the draw for a Kitchen Organising Pack (designed by me, a professional organiser in my other not-so-private life) which has menu planners, grocery lists, project lists, etc, etc. to help you organise your life a little bit better.

If you tweet/ share on your own blog, you get another entry. But you have to come leave another comment otherwise I won't know about it.

This giveaway is open until Sunday 12 pm Eastern (6 pm South Africa time).

Over to you!

By the way, would you like me to showcase some of my favourite blogs now and again?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Arnie and Maria, and affair-proofing your marriage

New post here


I read this post on Michael Hyatt's blog on Tuesday and found out there for the first time about Arnie and Maria.

(in my view, his is one of the best blogs out there on intentional living, leadership and productivity and also very practical)

To say I am devastated is an understatement.

I could hardly think straight after that.

Ever since I first "met" Maria on Oprah's show, I have loved her.

I love her spunk, her passion, her ideas on child-rearing, etc.

I don't know what happened in their marriage but I have a no-tolerance view of affairs for me/ us.

We were just chatting about it in the office.

When D and I used to be in ministry, we had boundaries for ourselves as pastors, and when I ran the consultants ministry.

There was counselling sessions, meetings with leaders, and the one-on-one assessments.

If a girl had to assess a boy, our rule was that another consultant would be assessing at the same time.

Always, no exceptions.

Same with D and me. When we had leadership meetings, we would never be alone with a person of the opposite sex.

So as to avoid the very appearance of anything inappropriate.

D and I also have rules. We each have one or two work colleagues of the opposite sex we're friendly enough with to have lunch/ coffee/ etc.

We tell each other when we're meeting the friend and always meet in a public place. I have my lunches right here in my work coffee shop in full view of everyone :) He does the same.

Aside from this, we have a rule to not talk to other people about things we really should be discussing with one another.

Do you have boundaries for affair-proofing your marriage?

PS Tomorrow I'm doing a giveaway to celebrate 100 followers
PPS I recently heard from a work friend that her friend who has 8-month-old twins is getting divorced, not due to infidelity but unfortunately due to the stress of having multiples. Sadly, it doesn't even surprise me because it's so hard!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Of friendship

Since I've spoken a lot on friendship on this blog, I thought I'd share these two links with you.

They are excellent.

I particularly resonate with this one on cultivating deep, intentional friendships.

I know I've been somewhat apologetic about wanting meaningful connections but no more.

This is me and maybe it's my age but that's what I want.

I find myself slightly irritated if I only talk superficially with friends.

There's a time for lightheartedness but there's also a time for deep connection.

I found myself saying to a friend the other day, "we'll chat on Facebook" and I kept thinking about those words over and over.

I don't want to be a FB friend only. I want to engage properly, whether in-person, on the phone or by email, but not in sound bites.

When did we start thinking it's enough to connect by saying, "cute pic" or "have fun" or similar, quick comments on Facebook?

I think we may be losing the power of real connection.

I haven't fully thought this out and there's no solution but it's just the kind of thing I've been thinking of.

My one friend suggested a "date" either with me alone, or with kids and husbands, and I genuinely had things on all the time and dates I had to keep free for work, etc. BUT it made me feel like such a flake, especially because she stepped up and said, "let's get together" and I do want to do it, and yet I couldn't seem to make it happen.

Yesterday I came clean with her and said I really DO want to see you; life is just crazy busy. So at least I don't feel like a flake and she doesn't think I'm disinterested.

Since one of the things on my Mondo list is to have deeper friendships with more people (who may already be in my life but I'm leaving it open anyway), I thought I'd share this link on how to get more friends, just in case there are others like me out there.

I find it much more difficult these days to make friends because I don't want to get hurt but my natural style is to be open and honest and share deeply if I trust the person and if I feel like there's reciprocity.

Are most of your friendships superficial or deeper? Which do you prefer, honestly? Do you find it easy to make genuine, deep friends?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Much better

Well, I had session 2 with the personal trainer today and it was much better.

We worked on my abs and upper body but only after I gave her a talk about how I have TWINS and have to RUN around after them and how I cannot expect my HUSBAND to do it all if I can't walk blah blah blah.

I know some of you think I'm being dramatic but I literally could not walk. I was limping on my tippy toes, holding onto furniture, right up until Saturday.

See, I was a bit miffed because she worked me so hard even though she knew I hadn't worked out for 7 weeks.

But I was more cross with me.

I should know better and stand up for myself. I do so with everything else.

I think I was just trying to show off that I could do everything she wanted me to do.

Can you believe when I told this to my boss he laughed at me?!


We are both very competitive so he gets me.

Anyway, so I feel much better about this whole exercising deal.

I'm to email her tomorrow to tell her how I feel :)

On the eating front, I am so sick of tuna I could puke!

You have to have so much of these things to constitute 1 portion of protein.

E.g. 1 whole can of tuna is 1 protein and 90 g of lean ham is 1 protein (the pack I buy is 125 g so just imagine leaving 3 pieces and having that entire pack for lunch. Ugh!)

Good thing I still love my baked beans but I've jazzed them up this week by cooking them with onion, tomato, coriander (yum...) and some curry powder. One can makes 3 portions (1 Protein, 1 Veg) the way I did them and they were DELICIOUS on toast today.

But back to you...

How assertive are you with this kind of thing? Would you have said something to her, or not?

Thanks for voting :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Finally getting my head out of the sand

So, first the plan was to send the kids to pre-school next year in Jan.

Our school year runs from Jan to Dec, very sensibly, I might add :)

This plan was all in my head and not based on anything factual or research *shudder*, but a lot more on gut feel.

Then I phoned two places and after getting back on my chair after falling off at the crazy prices, I decided we should keep them at home as long as possible.

After checking with Dr S, who also said 3 is a good age for twins, we are nearly convinced that this is the way to go.

I sent Nanny V on a two-day course in Dec last year so she'd be able to do activities and so on with the kids, and it's working beautifully.

It was taught by a childcare educator and is the best R1000 I ever spent.

They keep coming up with all these things and it's obviously V since we do almost nothing "educational" with them, except for speaking and reading.

Anyway, back to the schools.

I haven't actually visited any and I really need to get my act together.

Sharon wrote on her blog the other day about her process of elimination in the search for a nursery school.

How she had these questions, emailed them to a number of schools and then made a shortlist on those that responded.

Now here's the part I love about Sharon.

She is firm and no-nonsense when people don't respond.

I'm a bit of a softy and think, "what if they had internet problems? what if they're off sick?" etc etc

Because there is a school near us that is apparently brilliant. But they have not responded to TWO of my emails nor have returned a voice message.


So after Sharon's post I was thinking I need to stop being a wuss (courage and all that...) and just deal with this pre-school thing.

And then ... confirmation!

On Friday night D plonked a catalogue of sorts on my desk - the pre-and primary schools guide.

I now have 6 schools to write to/ phone.

So tell me...

what things should I ask them beyond the obvious ones?
  1. half day/ full day
  2. meals/ snacks
  3. how much
Money is a big consideration (because of the times two factor) and also, as you know, I like to live and not just survive :)

What are you considering as far as schools are concerned, and what was on your list?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend wrap-up

Yesterday morning I determined that I would go to weigh-in no matter what, and I did.

And guess what? I lost a kilo!

I'm not getting too excited though as my knee seems to be messed up (yes, from Tuesday's exercise) and I'm on Voltaren...so I'm taking it easy with exercise if I even get there.

I spoke to the lady about my C problem and she upped my fruit to 3 a day, checked that I was still drinking all my water (I am) and suggested prunes as that 3rd fruit.

She said to me that she hoped I wasn't offended by her text. As if! I told her I LOVED that she called me out on it.

So off I went to Pick and Pay to get a ginormous packet of prunes and when I saw this, I decided that I deserved a (non-food) gift for losing a kilo :)

Isn't it pretty?

D and I had our date - a shopping one for party stuff/ kids' presents, etc. We bought them 6 things each - mostly things they need - but we're hiding most of it away til their birthday.

I got a few stationery items as I normally do (this is my vice).

But best of all, we went for a baked cheesecake slice and coffee to talk and we are finally in agreement on the party theme. My two boring ideas are out and we're going with something more fun but still easy (I think).

I'm not telling you because some of the people reading this blog will be invited and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

And so I've bought stuff already - paper bowls and plates, muffin cups, some balloons, and some things from my beloved etsy (I know it's a sickness :)).

Things are moving and I'm happy.

Let me just take a moment here and say this: it is near impossible to find non-character party themes these days.

For someone like me, that's terrible.

But Ben 10, Hello Kitty, and a whole host of other characters I don't even know (would you believe I have still not seen the famous Barney on TV and neither have my kids?!) or care to know.

Anyway, moving on...

Today we had church in the morning and then a few errands on the way home.

We've just finished a new section of the church building and it's looking stunning - I am SO proud because it is seriously gorgeous.

We took the kids to the family room with us today because we were late and Connor was making friends with bigger boys, other families, etc. The boy has no problems with shyness!

He even sat next to another lady eventually and wrote all over her notebook!!!

Kendra did the same in my notebook with my purple pen. I think she loves that I have a lot of coloured pens so she can choose a fun colour.

MandyE, I don't give her my Pilot 0.7 gel pens. Those are sacred. I know you understand :)

Yesterday my kids slept for 2 hours (yes!) but today they slept on the way home from church and that, it seems, was that.

I let them run free out in the garden so I could clean the kitchen. They love being outside so much and we are SOOOOOOOOOO blessed in Jhb to have absolutely the best winter weather in the world.

In my unbiased opinion, of course.

So they were out like a light tonight.

I tidied my study on Friday but there are lists everywhere, yesterday's shopping "hiding out" here and I need to restore some order.

Remind me to talk about scrapbooking paper sometime - maybe it's a good thing I only found out about its goodness this year :)

My vices are paper, notebooks, pens (all stationery actually), mugs and handbags.

What are yours?

And how was your weekend?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Five on Friday

1. I guest posted over at Dolli-Mama yesterday on I got my mojo back. Go read and please comment :) - everyone else that has guest posted has tons of comments. Eeeek.

2. You know how we all have good intentions about keeping track of our babies' likes/ dislikes/ milestones/ favourites, etc? And then how 90% of us don't actually do it (I am very firmly entrenched in that group)?

Well, here is the answer. One Rad Mother is a genius. Seriously. I'm in awe.

3. Men are not designed for party planning. Or maybe it's just my man. Do you know we had a 30-minute discussion last night addressing just two areas - theme and venue - and we are still undecided?

Do you also know how frustrating this is for me? I make decisions very quickly and then take action, and this is just about driving me batty.

We now have a party planning date for tomorrow afternoon. I can't believe I'm writing this. As Rebecca would say, kill me now!

4. The babies got put in time-out about 3 times in 30 minutes this morning. They got into the bin in my bathroom and emptied out all the stuff ALL over my bedroom. D was awake but in the shower; I was asleep.

When I woke and saw the stuff on the floor, I went, "Kendra!" because I know she's the instigator and wherever she was in the house, she got such a fright she started crying. And D and I both laughed.

5. As you know, Connor is VERY attached to his bear, Friday. Wherever you see Connor, there you'll find Friday. It's safe to say that it is his most treasured possession. So this morning (this is why you have to write down these things; they happen all the time) he hands Friday to me and then told me he wanted my phone. It was sweet of him but the phone is still off-limits :)


And for me?

I cancelled my personal training session for this afternoon. I consider this taking care of myself because I have not been able to walk properly for 3 days now. I'm still walking on my tippy-toes to relieve the pressure on my calves. Sigh.

I came home with a headache last night and instead of rushing around cooking, I did sweet NOTHING and just lay on the bed for an hour, reading. Bliss. I've now finished another book :)

And then I did no business work for 2 days besides client stuff due to (3) above.

Can you believe I can't WAIT to get home to tidy my study? I just function best in an ordered environment (don't laugh, Jayme) and it's going to make me happy!!!

What kind of home environment do you function best in?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Voting Day

this was me 2 years ago on Voting Day (21 April)

this was me yesterday with babies!

I am not really into politics but I do vote.

My plan was to go at 6:30 (polling stations close at 7 pm) but D was hell-bent on voting at a reasonable hour.

I was going to babysit and let him stand in those queues by himself.

After texts from all of my family in PE (to take the kids as they let you into the front of the queue), I relented and we eventually left home at 12:10.

I had this bright idea to walk and take the babies in the pram. Since it was a lovely day, fresh air and so on.

Well, the walk was much longer than I thought and of course, I was taking pics all over the place.

babies pointing to bins, trees, cars, etc.

leaves, glorious leaves

I don't know how she got that mark on her chin.

When we arrived at the voting station, we joined the back of the queue to suss things out. An official was right there checking for old people and ones like us and immediately showed us the way right into the hall to cast our votes.

It was fantastic aside from the rude glares from jealous people.

One man joked with me that I should rent out my kids so people could skip the queues :)

The officials were fantastic - courteous, quite efficient (I'm afraid only the Singaporeans measure up to my very high standards of efficiency :)) for South Africa and very, very friendly.

In and out within minutes.

And that was with people oohing and aaahing over the babies.

On the way out we met very old church friends of ours we hadn't seen in years so spent a good 20 minutes catching up with them - lovely.

a lovely grey cloud...

I like these garage doors

So I'm not political but I do love passionate people and a certain blog friend *cough* Hayley *cough* is so passionate about this stuff, it's lovely to see.

Also I don't get all the people complaining that they were turned away at the wrong voting stations - I'm as apathetic as they come and even I sent a text to check that I was, in fact, registered where I thought I was.

Quick and easy and reassuring to know they had me on record.

It may surprise you to know that I don't vote for either of the two major parties (!) - teehee :) I'm not about just lumping my vote in with large volumes of people.

I'd rather have one or two persons properly representing my values and ideals than 10 people I don't agree with.


So I saw on FB that in some places you don't get time off to vote - what???? (honestly speaking, I'd be much less inclined if there wasn't some free time thrown in) - and that you get fined if you don't - whattttttttttt????

Do you vote? Did you vote? Where are you on the caring about politics scale? (I'm a 2)

PS My favourite pics are the one of the flower with my voting dot on my finger and Connor's face, "what am I supposed to do with this flower?"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mr blue mouth

Today the kids didn't repeat their wonderful sleeping habits from the weekend and only took a morning nap.

As a result, they were MANIC in the afternoon.

In between all this craziness I'm trying to cook.

Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I spot a little boy whizzing past me in a I know I'm being naughty so best I ran as fast as I can way.

So I chased him and only caught up with him in the lounge.

Little 22-month-olds go fast on those tiny legs.

I must confess I screamed. Like a girl.

Because my little boy had a blue mouth, blue hands and his grey top was also splattered with blue food colouring.

D is the one who told me to go fetch a camera!

He'd got into my baking things.

Then I realised I have light carpets which are new (for us, two years is new) and screamed again for D to come collect him and take him straight to the bathroom for a bath.

Fortunately we had no drips anywhere and I removed the blue bottle.

I know I'm supposed to be cool, calm and collected but I'm afraid they already know I'm prone to the screaming.

Do you know that Connor laughed when I screamed?

Do you scream? Do your kids laugh at you too?

PS I had a WONDERFUL experience voting today and will tell you all about it with lots of pics tomorrow because I figured if I'm going to endure all that civic duty business, then I'm going to have fun at the same time.


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