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What I Learned This Week – 10/26/14

Tonight I learned not to judge the middle-aged woman in her pajamas pumping gas at the gas station. She may have spent all morning trying to get the checkbook balanced, and after three hours had to settle for a 10 cent discrepancy.

One pair HAS actually been to yoga class...

One pair of mine HAS actually been to yoga class…

I learned not to judge the woman in yoga pants pushing the grocery cart around Meijer. It is quite possible she was wearing real clothes earlier in the day the first time she left the house. That would also be before she helped her husband pick up leaves, and got covered in dirt, rotting leaves, and dog poop.  Also, before the dog barfed up a combo of her own poo and grass in the laundry room.  Twice.

I learned not to judge the weary-looking mother staring blankly at the grocery store shelf. It is very likely that this is the only time she has been at the store without her preschooler in a very long time, and needs to take advantage of this by picking up gifts for him for his upcoming birthday and Christmas. She might just be racking her brain to remember what size Lightning McQueen he was most interested in three days ago when they were at this very same store together.



For all you know, that woman has worked for the last 6 days straight. She could have bitten off more than she can chew. She misses her family. She misses her dog.

I learned not to judge the woman with her hair quickly escaping her pony tail and no makeup out in public at 9:00PM. She knows damn well that she has no right to be out. But she also spent all of her day doing so many other chores, that she still needs to buy groceries, including supplies for her son’s lunch at daycare tomorrow. And when she arrives home, she still will need to put away the groceries, pack said lunch for the son, pack one for herself, and tuck the tiny night owl into bed.

Then eat some Halloween candy.

Then type up and publish a blog post.

Then start reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower as preparation to publish her own YA book, hopefully before midnight.


This week I learned that I am totally that woman. You can judge me all you want, but I am drained.  Stay-at-home moms always argue that the work they do is REAL work.  And I wouldn’t argue that point, having done it for almost 2 years myself.  But, it is DIFFERENT work.  For all the days when the house ends up more of a disaster at the end of the day than when you started, there are many more days than not where you feel a sense of accomplishment of actually finishing the dishes, making a semi-nutritional and/or delicious dinner, or spending an actual 10 minutes of quality time with your child.  Working full time makes those tiny accomplishments impossible.

365 Days

When I was a tiny child, a year was a very Very VERY VERY long time. In January, it would seem like Christmas would never come around again. Same with Halloween.  A year was just an infathomable amount of time for my immature brain. I knew that each day passed, and month by month, eventually we would get there. I knew this to be true. But it was just an eternity. I can’t even describe it. While so many other memories have faded, that one is still relatively clear in my memory.  The endlessness of time stretching out before me.

And from things my son says, I believe this is how he experiences time as well.

Here is an ugly picture that perfectly illustrates the topic of my post.

Here is an ugly picture that perfectly illustrates the topic of my post.

Maybe time moved so slow for me because as a child I spent a lot of time being bored. “I’m bored” came out of my mouth probably every hour of the day. I was bored in school. I was bored at home. I was bored in the car. I was bored at the grocery store. I was bored visiting my Gramma.

I look back now, and all that “bored” time just seems like such a waste. I could have been writing the books then that I don’t have time to write now. I could have hugged my Gramma a few more times while she was still here.

When I was in middle school and high school, time went faster than as a child, but was still very slow. And while the three months of summer vacation always ended way too soon, each individual day was slow and boring and painful to sit through. Sixteen hours of television a day helped a little. But even the Brady Bunch and The Dukes of Hazard can get boring after a while. Just like this post…

Here is a beautiful picture that perfectly illustrates the topic of my post.

Here is a beautiful picture that perfectly illustrates the topic of my post.

Now…Well, MY GOD.

I had my son yesterday. I went to sleep, and he is approaching his fourth birthday. Some of that is because my husband and I mentally block out a lot of the anxiety we had around his medical issues and surgeries. But even when I think about my previous employer, I CANNOT BELIEVE that I was there for over 12 years. (Especially because I didn’t really enjoy it, always wanted to do something more creative, and told myself if I was still there after 5 years, someone should shoot me. And now history repeats itself. I am always trying to do the responsible thing. I never learn. Enough of my whining…) I can’t even fathom how many books I added into their computer system. One that has now been powered down for good. I once calculated that in the year 2007, I allocated 15 million units of calendars as part of a three person team. (Yes, that is straight off my resume.)

I get up now, I rush through my day, doing everything as quickly as I can, sometimes accurately and efficiently, usually not. At the end of the day, I realize that it is actually Friday. I lost the whole week. I am so tired that I go to sleep. I get up, eat breakfast, and somehow it is Sunday night already. I have to turn around and do it all again. My life is racing by me. I don’t have one second to sit down and appreciate anything.

I am afraid tomorrow that I might wake up dead. I am not kidding. People in my family do not have a very good shelf life. Sure, my mom survived terminal cancer, but she has the longevity of the Eatons making up half her genes. They only make up a quarter of mine.

I just need to hurry, to finish as much as I can before I expire like a bottle of Diet Rite at a gas station.* But, the more that I hurry, the more behind I get, the faster time flies. I just wish a had a stop watch, so that I could pause everything so that I could enjoy what I have while I have it. And I need to book that trip to Las Vegas, and Hawaii.  Because someday, I will not be here to do it.

* No one buys Diet Rite, and all diet pop has a shorter shelf life to begin with because of the artificial sweeteners.

What I Learned This Week – 10/19/14

Yesterday I attended ConTroll YA Under the Bridge, a Young Adult Literacy Conference.  The best thing about it?

It was held in ADRIAN!  Where I live!  Nothing cool ever comes to Adrian.

I was sooo happy that I didn’t have to drive to Ann Arbor or Toledo, or even Detroit to attend such an event.

Some sweet stuff I picked up at ConTroll YA

Some sweet stuff I picked up at ConTroll YA

The worst thing about it?


“Con” apparently stands for conference.  The “Troll” and “Under The Bridge” parts apparently just have to do with that we are in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, hence, UNDER the Mackinac Bridge.  But, that is like 300 miles away.

Still confused?  It was a conference that brought eight Young Adult authors, both contemporary and fantasy, to the Adrian Public Library for panel discussions, a workshop, and a book signing.

This was the first year for this event.  It was evident, but everything seemed to run smoothly and I learned a lot.

I was kind of bummed that what was touted as a “Writing Workshop” turned out to be more of a workshop on traditional publishing.  This would have been very informative for my asbestos friend, who wishes to take that route.  Unfortunately, she did not attend.  I would have preferred a workshop on the actual writing process, or self publishing.  I learned about traditional publishing from the Ann Arbor District Library Emerging Writers Workshops that I attended, and from the 12 years I worked at the Borders corporate office.  Granted, Borders mostly taught me about the end of the writing process, where your book is published, reviewed by buyers, ordered, allocated, replenished, marked Out of Print, and returned.  That past knowledge was enough to convince me that traditional publishing is not for me.  And the information I received yesterday strengthened that fact.

There was one self published author there yesterday, Eric Priuska author of “The Fireball Rebellion”.  He offered up that he loved all the control he had with self publishing, but that the downfalls are that you have to do absolutely EVERYTHING yourself.  Ya, I kinda figured that.

Great tips from ConTroll YA:

- An outline should act as your story’s GPS, and that it is more important to know what your plot points will FEEL like, more so than what actually might happen.

- All writers are narcissistic to believe other people will want to read what you created, and also an insecure mess.

- To market your book, you must be PRESENT, as in you can’t be obnoxious, but you also cannot be a wallflower.

- You have to keep real yourself, and your author self separate.

- An agent only gets paid when they get you a publishing deal.  Don’t pay one out of your pocket.

- Don’t let in people who are not going to be supportive of your writing.  (Guess who?)

- Every scene should have conflict & every scene should be moving the story forward.

- For every character, you should build a history, then know what they want and what they are willing to do to get it.

Every change I thought up to make to my novel while I was at the conference, I had talked myself out of again by the time I got home.

For the first year, I think it went great.  I would definitely go back again next year.  The room wasn’t full, but there were enough people that with two entries, I couldn’t win a door prize.  And, as I sat in the seats listening to the authors in their panel discussions, I dreamed that maybe I would be up there next year discussing my YA book I am working on, The Wind Could Blow a Bug.

Books of the Authors who participated.  Thanks!

Books of the Authors who participated. Thanks!

Below are the authors who participated.  I have added the links to their home pages as well.  Please support them.  I did.

K.A. Barson – 45 Pounds (More or Less)

Eric Priuska – The Fireball Rebellion

Kate Bassett – Words & Their Meanings

Bethany Neal – My Last Kiss

Aimee Carter – The Goddess Test

Courtney Allison Moulton – Angelfire

Leah Cliffored – A Touch Mortal

Scott Tracey – Witch Eyes

I also learned this week that Jack Link’s Sweet & Hot Jerky and Planters Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Almonds are a great compliment to one another.

Re-Post: I’m SAD

This was originally posted on 3/11/14. But I figured it may be good to share this time of year, as this is when the onset of symptoms tends to happen. Original post can be found here:

I get Seasonal Affective Disorder. I suffered from it long before I ever heard about it on the news. I suffered from it for many more years because I had heard the special lights that could help it were available by prescription only.

I live in cloudy Michigan. It only gets cloudier and more dreary with less daylight hours November through March. Being a fan of the Twilight books, I sometimes like to pretend I live in Forks, Washington, where there are sexy vampires and shirtless werewolves around every corner.

Every year when the Christmas celebration died down and January rolled around, I would write depressing poetry. Or want to quite college. Or quit my job. I didn’t want to get out of bed or laugh or smile. But I did. I faked it. Because I am a Capricorn. Life must have order and go on.

Even at my previous job, when I would walk outside for 30 minutes a day on my breaks and be in the car for two hours Monday through Friday, there still was just not enough sun outside to ease the symptoms. I believe that people who are more prone to depression are probably more sensitive to this. That has been my experience anyway.

Then, a couple years ago, my mother-in-law’s doctor suggested she order a SAD light to use during the winter. His nurse printed off a list of lights that could be ordered off of Amazon (Go figure!). So she ordered and received her light. I kept inquiring to find out if it was helping. It had only been a short time, but she seemed to think that it was.

So, I totally pestered my husband to order me a light as a Christmas present. After studying them all online, I ended up picking the same one that my mother-in-law had. When it arrived at the end of November, I had to convince my husband to start letting me use it right away, as I could already feel the effects of less light creeping into my body. Plus, it is not like it was going to be a surprise. I had told him which one to buy.

And it did seem to help with my symptoms that year, although I think it would have been more effective had I started it earlier. My light is a SunTouch Plus by NatureBright with an ionizer. The instructions say to start with a half hour of light per day, then you might be able to step it down to 15 minutes. I always do a half hour every morning. With a toddler and two dogs, I have trouble staying seated in one spot for 30 minutes straight. And there are always a few days when I forget, or I have to get to work, so some mornings I might only get ten minutes. It is sort of like taking birth control pills. If you miss more than one day, you are going to have serious side effects.

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

You have to be fairly close to the light to get the benefits, as the lights are only like 15 inches tall. If I try to use my light and my laptop at the same time, it takes up most of my kitchen table width-wise.

Supposedly, the ionizer will help with symptoms as well. I do not use the ionizer at the same time I use the light (it has a separate switch). I don’t like to be that close to the ionizer when it is on. The ionizer has a slight, weird, plasticky smell that makes me feel a little sick. Sometimes I turn it on while I am making dinner or something, and I feel like it freshens up the stale winter air in my house.

I had a scare when my dog knocked my light over and one of the four bulbs quit working. I thought I was going to have to call the company to order a new one. But it turned out that she did not break the bulb, she just knocked it loose.

In a normal winter, it does help. It keeps me from wanting to peel my own skin off. It helps me get out of bed in the morning. But I have felt especially bad in the last few weeks. I think that is because this has been an especially horrible winter, with too much cold and too much snow. Where I live here in Michigan, we have had the snowiest winter on record, combined with that PMS and the death of my hard drive.

While I can’t wait for sunshine and warmth, I dread the ants waking up and crawling into my kitchen, and days over 80 degrees.


The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

The other day I was was at work when my husband texted me a great find from Walmart.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. DVD

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. DVD


The entire series!

For only $13!

Wait, what? Doesn’t anyone realize what a GREAT show this was? $13 is totally under-valuing it.

Haven’t heard of it? Let me fill you in.

“The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” to the casual observer was a comedy-western with a weird name that debuted on FOX in 1993, starring the guy from “Evil Dead”. If you actually watched a few episodes, you would realize it was actually a sci-fi western (Yes, ahead of its time) starring Bruce Campbell, in a role he was born to play. The supporting cast is stellar as well.

Bruce Campbell as Brisco County, Jr.

Bruce Campbell as Brisco County, Jr.

The late Julius Carry as Lord Bowler, who every week got referred to as “Brisco’s sidekick”, and he always objected to that. The great Kelly Rutherford as showgirl Dixie Cousins, who has Brisco’s heart. This is where she went when Homefront got cancelled. It’s no wonder I have trouble picturing her in the 21st century. I only know her from period pieces. John Astin is crazy wonderful as always as a professor with very progressive ideas. Christian Clemenson as Socrates Poole provides a good does of uptightness and bureaucracy to all the chaos. Billy Drago is sooo evil as John Bly. But I won’t get into him just yet. Oh, and don’t forget Comet the wonder horse.

I can remember standing outside on a hot, August evening as the sun was just thinking about setting, my mom and I talking to our neighbors. Their two young boys ran around as we talked. Then we all agreed that we needed to end our face-to-face interaction to go into our respective houses, because, as the neighbors put it, we “had to go in and watch the cowboy movie”. I knew that Brisco was a series premiere and not a movie. I am not sure that the neighbors knew that.

Random hot picture of Bruce Campbell

Random hot picture of Bruce Campbell

My mom and I watched Brisco every week. It was one of the few shows that we agreed on, although I am sure she probably always fell asleep before it ended. The show was packed with great characters and repeatable catch phrases, such as “Don’t touch Pete’s piece” and “The coming thing”. “The coming thing” was an obsession of Brisco’s. It was actually a device for the writers to work in modern (1990s) elements into a show set in the 1890’s. It was also a wink to the upcoming turn of the century. “The coming thing” included nods to hamburgers, motorcycles, sunglasses, tanks, rockets, and drive-thru windows.

The plot of the show was that Brisco County, Jr. was a bounty hunter tracking John Bly’s gang, who had killed his father the famous marshall, Brisco County. Within this framework, every week there was a new person to help or mystery to solve. But trailing John Bly led Brisco to a mystical object known as the orb. The orb would play a major part in the show’s mythology.

I got the opportunity to meet Bruce Campbell in person. Twice.

Books by Bruce Campbell

Books by Bruce Campbell

The first time he was signing his book “If Chins Could Kill” at Borders in downtown Ann Arbor. I bought two copies to get signed. One for me, and one for my mom’s friend Janet Jackson. (Yes, that is her name.) When I told him to make the one book out to Janet, he asked who she was. So then I went into an explanation of how Janet and my mom had gone to high school together. And how Janet’s husband Donald Jackson used to make low budge movies in Michigan, and did Bruce remember that he used to call him for work? He was like “Oh ya, Don Jackson.” And he said it like he really did remember him. (Don’t look up Donald Jackson’s work. His film credits aren’t that impressive.)

Later, a chick I worked with bragged about getting to talk to Bruce just before he went out to sign. But I’m pretty sure my personal connection with him was way more impressive.

Bruce Campbell's autograph

Bruce Campbell’s autograph

The second time, Bruce came to the Borders corporate office to promote his second book, “Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way”. He was very nice both times.

The great part is, he has been on a million shows and movies. It makes playing six degrees of separation a lot easier. Just think about that Bruce was in all of the Toby Maguire “Spiderman” movies (in awesome cameos, I might add). He was in both “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules”. I can connect myself to all the cast members of “The O.C.” through Bruce Campbell and Kevin Sorbo. (Wilson Bethel, that only makes me four degrees away from YOU!!!)

…AND only two degrees away from Matthew Perry!!!

If you have the opportunity to check out “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” at a bargain rate, I highly encourage it. If you like really gory, gross stuff, watch “Evil Dead” or “Army of Darkness” (I do not). If you like funny parodies of gory, gross stuff, watch the movie “My Name is Bruce.”

What I Learned This Week – 10/5/14

This week I learned that taking in a hand-me-down couch & thinking “Oh, we will upgrade in a few years”, can totally turn into 10 years before you can blink an eye.

This gives you a little taste of our old couch.

This gives you a little taste of our old couch.

I knew our couch was old and worn. I had sewed it up myself on several occasions. It regularly had 2 dogs on it. No amount of Febreeze gets rid of that.

I was just always waiting for tax return time to buy a new brand new couch (we had never bought our own before). But then the money always went for something else. Maybe next year. And we went from having an infant who oozed all sorts of substances, to a toddler who was more mobile with his food. It just seemed silly to get something new that would just be old again instantly.

On a whim, we found a good deal & got a new couch Sunday morning.

It is very weird to sit down on the couch and not sink down into it a good 12 inches.



Only after we got the new couch did we realize how much our old couch bothered everyone around us. No less than 3 people close to us had very strong reactions to our old couch. None of them live in this house! One never even comes over!

My mom, especially, could not say enough bad things about the old couch, now that it was at the curb.

Which, I had worried about having to call the garbage men and make special arrangements to have it picked up. But then some kind stranger loaded it into his pickup and it was gone. Actually, getting the new couch home in my husband’s car had been much less troublesome than I would have imagined.

I guess the new couch was just meant to be…

What I Learned This Week – 9/28/14

This week I learned that I am not immune to all the sickness that my son carries home from daycare.

Neither is my husband.


It’s Fate

When I was in high school and college, I dreamed about what guys might ask me out someday, and who I might one day marry. I wondered how I would meet my future husband. Where could I go RIGHT NOW to find him? I wondered if maybe it was even someone that I had already met. What if it was someone that I had met, but missed the spark? What if I had passed them on the street and NEVER EVEN KNEW that they were the one that I was to spend my life with? What if I MISSED my chance, somehow?

When very lonely, this path of thinking can drive a person insane. There is no way to know who or where the right person is, until it feels RIGHT.

Ponder that.

When I was in school, I always felt weird when I would see kids from school out in public with their parents. At school, we were all just individuals. I often forgot the other kids actually had families at home waiting for them. And my first instinct is always to not talk and pretend I didn’t see them.

One of the first times I can remember this happening was at the local small grocery store in my small town growing up. I was YOUNG, maybe only second or third grade. I saw another girl from my class, J, at the store. She was with her whole family, which looked like an army to me. I was there shopping with just my mom, as always. J had her mom, an older sibling, and younger siblings. My mom & I passed them in the frozen food aisle. I probably whispered to my mom that I went to school with that girl. I can’t remember if there was a Dad there or not. It was freakin’ over 30 years ago, it is amazing I can even remember it at all.

J’s family was so large, they all just sort of lumped together in my memory. The only thing notable was that her youngest sibling was in a sort of glorified stroller. It had brown padding, like it was custom made. I just sort of had the errant thought of “Oh, she has a handicapped sister.” And from then on, I just sort of knew that about J’s home life. Just something I filed away for later in my brain. If I overheard J talk in school about her, or if she gave a report in class about it or something, I would just sort of be like “Oh ya, I saw her once.”

Chew on that.

My best friend in high school was on the verge of dating this guy, C, a year behind us in school. We were seniors, so C would have been a junior. She was spending a lot of time with this C and his friend, S. I had never met S. But sometimes as we drove around town in her car while she smoked, there would be someone rollerblading and she would be like “Oh, that’s S, C’s friend.” One day he was rollerblading with no shirt on, and because I was a goofy teenage girl, I yelled out the window “Put some clothes on!”. We found it hilarious.

Wait for it.

J’s graduation party was on the same day as high school graduation. Our graduating class only had 94 students, so, although I wasn’t popular by ANY means, the odds were in my favor that I would be invited to a few parties. J was in a mediumly-popular group, mostly choir and drama peeps. For some reason, I was invited to her party, so I went. It was held in the local library meeting room, which happens to come in handy as a nice size for large family events.

I saw J. I saw my fellow graduates, all giddy on the freedom high. At one point, I remember a boy heading out the door past me. I was like, “Oh, he looks like J. That must be her brother.”

Stay with me. We are close to the magical ending.

A little over a month later, I would kiss that boy that passed through the doors at J’s grad party. He IS J’s younger brother. I would learn that he was C’s best friend, S. The very same guy on the rollerblades that I had yelled at to put his clothes on.

I went off to college. (That sounds dramatic. It wasn’t.) I was lonely and whiny and no one loved me. I wrote depressing poetry and stories. Now I just occasionally post them on this blog for free. Someday I will trick people into paying to read them.

About 2 1/2 years later, S & I would start dating. Six and a half years later, we would be married. A year later, we would buy a house and a dog. A year after that, another dog. Once we had mastered dogs, we had our son M.


By the way, that library meeting room? I had my bridal shower and baby shower in that room. J held her baby shower there. The younger handicapped sister? We held an apartment shower for her in that room when she moved out on her own.

Do you remember back to the beginning of this post?

My future husband was one of the kids I passed in the frozen food aisle at my local grocery store. I had seen him when I was probably about 8, and would not know for years and years that he would be the one that I would marry.

This is one of those incidents in life that makes me believe that their is a force called Fate that surrounds us all and controls our destinies. I also think Fate can be cruel, and sets up incidents to work out for its own amusement.

And S & M & Dave & I lived happily ever after.


What I Learned This Week – 9/21/14

I have ALWAYS wondered who sings the songs during the chase scenes on the TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

Many years ago, I bought a CD called Scooby Snacks, which included all the great chase songs, such as “Daydreamin'”, “Love The World”, “Recipe for Love”, and my personal favorite, “Seven Days a Week”. But the liner notes never listed who actually sang the songs. I am sure it was never in the dude’s original contract to be compensated for any further release of the songs. He never could have known in 1969 that people in 2014 would want to listen to his music on CD, mp3, DVD, etc.

Scooby Snacks CD

Scooby Snacks CD

The magic of Google always impresses me.

I just typed in the song title+Scooby Doo, and within a minute, I learned this week that the guy who sang all the songs above is actually Austin Roberts.

According to Wikipedia, Roberts also sings the THEME SONG to Scooby Doo, Where are You?. [Note: If you are not an expert Scooby-phile, I will let you know that there are many, many versions of the Scooby Doo theme song. But “Where are You?” is the first, and one of the best.

Roberts has worked steadily all these years, primarily as a songwriter, and is almost as old as my mom.

Here is a video of “7 Days a Week” in action:

This week I also met Teddy Roosevelt. Wow, in the last three weeks I have had my picture taken with two past presidents (the other was a Lincoln statue in Gettysburg).  President Roosevelt even gave my son the “teddy” bear he is holding in the picture.

President Theodore Roosevelt, M, and me

President Theodore Roosevelt, M, and me

I have been just a little obsessed with the 7-part documentary that PBS aired last week, The Roosevelts. You can still watch it now at [Expires 8 days from now].

I Don’t Know Jack

Jack the Lost Cat

Jack the Lost Cat

…but I wish that I knew Jack. I could totally use an extra $500 of non-reportable income right about now.

These posters showed up in my neighborhood a few weeks ago. My first impression is that someone must REALLY want this cat back. I imagine that it must have been some little girl’s treasured pet. This must be her parent’s attempt to cheer her up.

When the posters first appeared, I was impressed by the use of fancy neon posterboard, full color large photo, and lamination. These signs have been through several rainstorms. They are durable. Every corner in my neighborhood has several posted. These people must have some money. Most people would not go to so much effort to find a cat.

Then the $500 reward was added to the poster.

Then the cell number instructing you to “take a pic”.

Then they went around and hand-wrote his name on all the posters.

I now sometimes find myself outside yelling “Jack. Jack!” I want to find this stinking cat.  And I don’t even like cats.  It is just all about the benjamins.

The closest I have come to finding him was some fur that looked like it matched…squished in the middle of the road. I don’t think the family will pay for…

(wait for it)

…a flat Jack.

* I didn’t include the phone numbers, because I figured the family probably didn’t want it all over the Internet.  But, ya know, if you happen to live in lower Michigan and see him, I could hook you up with the contact info…for a small fee.


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