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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Other Job Possibilities

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm going to talk about work.  Some more. 


Just like any other working human being, there are days I like my job and feel fulfilled as I run out the door.  Other days, not so much, and I run out the door even faster.

Anytime I try to think about what else I would want or could possibly do - I am clueless.  Truly, clueless.  Honestly, I think I get stuck because there are many wonderful things about my job/where I work that keep me from looking outside of my window-less cubicle walls.

My undergraduate degree is in Marketing, and my master's degree is in Engineering & Technology Management, the latter of which is tied pretty specifically to where I currently work, but not exclusively.  Now, almost six years out of undergrad, I feel like I'm so far removed from Marketing that my only option would be going back to an entry level sales position and work my hind end up the ladder.  No, thanks.

When I really sit down to think about what other job possibilities might be, this is what comes to mind - in varying degrees of seriousness:

- Grab my childhood joke books and becoming a comedienne

- Start asking strangers if I can take their family pictures and build a portfolio for a photography business

- Pen a series of children's books

- Become a voice-over actor

- Create new names for crayon colors, Baskin Robbins ice cream flavors, and Girl Scout Cookies 

- Run an in-home daycare  

- Open and operate an indoor learning/play facility

- Write witty greeting cards for Hallmark

- Become a children's fashion consultant and teach parents the keys to making their child/children look homeless in public


Yeah.  Maybe I should just stay right where I am.

Take Luck,
LP

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Worm

Since finishing my master's degree program last May, I have been a reading fiend - seriously devouring anything that isn't related to systems engineering, managing people, and/or number crunching.

Here are my recent favorite reads:


11/22/63 by Stephen King - This book was so good, that I've now read it twice.  It is unlike any book I've ever read and may have every type of possible genre all wrapped into this one book.  The main character uses a time portal to go back to 1958 to try and prevent the Kennedy assassination from happening.  Thrilling.

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Inferno by Dan Brown - Dan Brown is my man.  I've read all of his books and loved each one, with Inferno being no different.  Robert Langdon, the principal character from The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol, returns and finds himself in Italy - but doesn't remember how he got there.  The one thing I get tired of with 'ol Danny Boy's books is the aesthetic details of scenery and artifacts, but he does make up for it with character and plot development, and action. 

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The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - Robert Galbraith is actually a pseudonym for JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.  Because she penned this book, of course I was going to read it.  The book tells the story of a supermodel who dies (presumed suicide) and whose family hires a private investigator to (gasp!) investigate. I read and read, and I kept waiting to get sucked in, but didn't until the very end.  The ending was great, but to be honest, this book was a hard read for me.  To make it a more pleasurable experience, I read it with an English accent.  I hear there's a sequel in the works and you can bet I'll get suckered into reading that one, too.  Cuz I'm loyal like that.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -  A book I surprisingly loved about a young girl growing up with foster parents in Nazi Germany during World War II.  Let's just say that after I got over the initial confusion of who was narrating the story (hello, it's Death), I shed a few tears and loved the relationships she formed with other characters during the course of the story. 

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - After hearing from several people that I should read this one, I did and I couldn't put it down.  Gone Girl is about a couple who have transplanted themselves from swanky New York to the Midwest.  Their marriage seems a bit rocky (depending on who you ask) and then Amy disappears.  A little dark, but this book was fun.  I wasn't a big fan of the ending, but I'm interested to see what they do with it on the big screen.  And I don't care what anyone else says, I'm a Ben Affleck fan.

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - Clearly, I like murder mysteries and Gillian's style of writing because I then quickly read her second book, Dark Places.  This one is about Libby Day, the lone survivor of a Midwest massacre in which three of her other family members are killed.  Her testimony put her brother in jail for the murders, but after being approached by a group of people interested in the crime, Libby starts looking into the details.  Again, super dark - darker than Gone Girl, but really, really good.

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Need I say it again?  I dig a good murder mystery and the way Gillian changes the perspective in her narration hooks me.  Sharp Objects follows Camille, a Chicago journalist who is tasked with returning to her small, Missouri hometown to investigate the murder of two young girls.  It's clear that Camille has some baggage, but she gets to the bottom of it.  More darkness, with plot lines you don't even want to think about being reality, but very, very good.

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Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple - I needed some comical relief after spending so much time with Gillian Flynn.  Enter Maria Semple and Bernadette, the story of a Seattle mother who, long story short, loses her shit and goes missing.  Her husband is a Microsoft executive and their poor daughter is in the middle of the mess.  Of  course, I really enjoyed the references to Seattle/the Northwest.  A quick, fun, and funny read if you are looking for something light.

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I'm currently reading And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, who also wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  I'm just starting, but based on how much I enjoyed the first two books, I don't expect to be disappointed. 

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Have you read any of these books?  I would love to hear what you think.  Have you read any good books lately that I should add to my reading list?  Please share!

Take Luck,
LP

Friday, March 21, 2014

Humbled

Back in college, a teammate of mine shared with me a quote of her Dad's that has truly stuck with me ever since.  



"Humble yourself and you shall be raised.  Raise yourself and you shall be humbled." 

Now, since becoming a mama, that quote rings true more than everrrrrrrrrrrrr.  I mean, I'm considering writing a mommy manual and making Chapter 1: Prepare for The Humble Smack Down.

Cam, as with other wee humans, has this way of destroying every small victory I even attempt to fist pump when it comes to being his mother and raising him to be a functioning member of society.  This is not to say that I think I have mastered ANY thing related to motherhood or child rearing, but every once in a while, I feel like I've at least made some headway in my quest.  Only to be reminded that I've got a lot to learn.  

Tiff and I joke about it often, that we will tell each other about something our boys have done (or in some cases, stopped doing), or something we feel we've finally got figured out, only to be humbled.  Quickly humbled.  Humbled quickly.  

Here's how:

- When Cam was resisting sleeping through the night but sleeping pretty decent stretches of time at night, someone would ask about his sleep (I quickly began to loathe this question), I would regale them with his sleeping abilities and then, like Richard Sherman, the midnight monster would come out of nowhere and knock me back on my sleep deprived behind.  No more sleeping decent stretches for several nights.  Humbled.  

- Camden loves bath time.  Oh, wait.  No he doesn't.  Screams and refusal to sit down in the bath tub commence.  Humbled.

- Attempting to plan out the day with activities/errands and his nap schedule.  I plan for a one-nap day and he clearly (clearly) needs two.  Or, I plan for two and he refuses the second.  Humbled.

- It's the weekend and with Daylight Saving Time, I guess Cam will sleep until about 7:30am.  In hopes to wash my face and feed myself before releasing him from his bed chamber, I set my alarm for 7:00am.  Not so fast there, mommy.  He wakes up scream shrieking at 5:00.  Humbled.

- After three months of new daycare, I think he's finally stopped crying at drop off and I shout it to the blogging rooftops.  Yeah, that lasted a solid two days.  Cue tears, pouty lip, and the dreaded silent cry.  Humbled.

- Hammy is such a great eater and will eat anything we put on his plate.  The next day he's throwing every piece of food (that he just wolfed down the day prior) off his highchair tray and onto the floor.  Maybe he is my child after all?  Humbled.

- After telling Ryan how sweet Cam had been all day, he (Cam, not Ryan) strolls over, sits in my lap, and bites my forearm.  Humbled.  And bleeding.

See what I mean?  Clearly, I could go on.  But why embarrass myself even more?

In all seriousness, I know this is just a kid being a kid - constantly changing and letting you think you've got your shit together, only to prove you wrong, wrong, wrong-o.  In all reality, if I've learned one thing my 15 month tenure as a mama, it's that you've got to find the humor somewhere - especially in humbling situations.



Take Luck,
LP

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Camden Lately


I just can't help myself but tell you about my little man cub.  My now-15 month old little man. 

- 15 months old and "growing on his own growth curve" - weighing in at 20 lbs 12 oz (7th percentile) and 29 inches long (4th percentile)

- Climbs. On. Everything.



- Showing love for Brock and Sonny by petting and laying his head on them.  He's super gentle with Brock but needs continued reminders to be gentle with Sonny and not tug on her ears.


- Will shove his hand down my shirt any time he feels like it.  Any time.  Any place.

- Is quite the snuggler, loves to give hugs,  and has started backing up into us when he wants to sit in our laps

- Totally and 100% knows how to nod his head "yes," but refuses and violently shakes his head "no," instead

- May be very fitting for him to be a chipmunk, squirrel, or hamster for Halloween considering his apparent need to see how much food he can hide in his squishy, puffy cheeks

- Wants his breakfast, lunch, and dinner... And yours too.  Offer him a bite and he may take off a finger

- Knows the sign for "more."  Especially when it comes to asking for more of Costco's weekend sample size four-cheese tortellini.

- Has developed quite the attachment to his blanket and lovey.  He may or may not get slightly frustrated when trying to pull his blanket through the crib slats.

- Speaking of attachments, he also recently found his St. Louis Cardinals hat and loves to wear it.  I don't mind - even though it makes him look like he's about to walk out the door to Kindergarten.



- Knows to trot down the hall to his room when we say, "Time for night-night" and "Let's change your diaper," and literally runs to the bathroom when it's "Bath time."

- Also knows that the dirty diapers go in the Diaper Genie and loves to help throw them away after a lift from mama

- Insists on emptying drawers of kitchen utensils, sippy cups, place mats, and plastic bags every. single. night. 

- Goes straight for the opened box of tampons in the bottom bathroom cupboard.  Every time.

- We've transitioned to have pacifiers only available at nap and bedtime.  Hell hath no fury like Camden spotting Roberto (the monkey pacifier) or Franky (the frog pacifier) outside the baby cage.



- Can point to his head, and maybe if you're lucky - his nose, too 

- Drinks milk and water from a sippy cup.  I swear our neighbors can probably hear him gulping his water (and subsequent gasps for air) on a daily basis.  


- Really, really likes to throw his sippy cup to the ground from his highchair perch, but will clap for himself when he does happen to place it nicely on the tray.

- Also really gets a kick out of feeding himself yogurt.



- How dare I try and escape to try and pee behind a closed bathroom door yesterday.  He stood yelling, "Mamamamamama!" and knocking (yes, knocking) on the door for the duration of my attempted alone time.

- Loves to dance and spin in a circle

- Those four molars I talked about two months ago?  They're still working their way through.  Good times.

I say this all the time - but I am truly, truly loving this age.  I try and try to get time to stop, but it's not listening.  Instead, I'm trying to live and enjoy the "right now" and soak up my beautiful, sweet, and fun-ny boy.  Before he turns terrible two and I want to give him away.  Just kidding.

Take Luck,
LP

Friday, March 14, 2014

Latest Obsession

I didn't used to think that I had an addictive personality, but clearly - Lara Bars disproved that theory.

My latest obsession?  Coconut oil.




I already knew of the wonders coconut oil could do when cooking and baking, but I'm just now learning how amazing this stuff is when used outside the kitchen. 

I kept seeing a blog post link being shared on Facebook recently and decided to see what oil pulling was all about.  It immediately struck my interest because I feel like I could brush my teeth three times a day, every day, and they still wouldn't be as white as I'd like.  I'm normally way behind on anything trendy, so what did I do first?  I asked my three confidants - Tiff, Rachel, and Cara, if they had heard of oil pulling.  They always know about trendy things lightyears before me.

To my surprise, none of them had.

Basically, you swish 1 tsp. of coconut oil (or any other vegetable based oil) around in your mouth for 20 minutes.  The sticky oil then attracts and pulls bacteria from your mouth and body and dissolves it.   Whaaaaat? 

I mulled over the thought of swishing coconut oil in my mouth for 20 minutes and was a little intimidated.  I don't like coconut and I get tired of swishing mouth wash after 20 seconds so... This didn't sound too appealing.  With no other reason to discredit this practice - I gave it whirl.  

During my first attempt I was totally caught off guard by the need to sort of chew the oil at first (gross), and the need to actively remind myself not to swallow it.  Once I got over those humps, I was swishing away.  Surprisingly, the 20 minutes went by fairly quickly, and now, as a more seasoned oil puller, I've swished while showering, blogging, or doing some other task that will keep my eyes off the timer. 

I've been doing this daily for a week now and can totally tell a difference in my pearly whites!  Apparently, in addition to oil pulling whitening teeth, it can strengthen your gums/teeth/jaw and help with tooth sensitivity, prevent cavities and gingivitis, rid acne/eczema and other skin issues, provide a general body detox, cure a hangover and migraine, improve sleep, clear sinuses and provide allergy relief, help halitosis and general pain issues, and so many more things!

Because coconut oil is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory, oil pulling has prompted me to become slightly obsessed with coconut oil.  I've started using it as a mask on my face to help moisturize and eliminate redness and smearing it on Camden's bum to keep redness/diaper rashes at bay.

Other uses for coconut oil? 

- In place of/addition to Lanolin cream to sooth cracked or irritated nursing nipples (Uhhh, why was this not readily available in our home in December 2012?)
- A tiny dab rubbed on your hands and then through hair will help get rid of frizz
- Topically, can help skin heal faster after injury or infection
- Externally, for pets struggling with skin issues (I'm looking at you, Brock)

Seriously, the list goes on, and on, and on!

So, tell me.  Have you used coconut oil inside or outside the kitchen?  Have you heard of or tried oil pulling?  Inquiring minds want to know!

(Rachel tells me that Costco sells giant jars of coconut oil.  I may or may not become a coconut oil hoarder.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

7 Reasons Why Camden is Like a Little Old Man

It's becoming increasingly obvious that Camden (and babies/toddlers in general) are a lot like the elderly.

Here are seven reasons why:

[1] Walks funny when he's got a loaded diaper

[2] Gums his food prior to swallowing

[3] Wears Velcro shoes and tube socks

[4] Gets real cranky if he misses his afternoon nap


[5] Eats prunes to help keep him regular

[6] Eats dinner promptly at 5pm

[7] Wears a jogging suit and walks with a purpose while strolling through the neighborhood, fully engaging his hips and arms

video


Am I right?

Take Luck,
LP

Monday, March 10, 2014

10 on 10: March 2014

10 on 10: 10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!

I was traveling on February 10th, feeling totally uninspired, and decided to spare you from pictures of an airplane, an air sick bag, and my luggage.

You're welcome.

[1] My breakfast.  A Paleo breakfast casserole!



[2] Hammy eating his breakfast - waffles and banana



[3] Poor Brock is a small dog trapped in a big dog's body.



[4] Bags and kitchen utensils litter the kitchen floor.  Every night.



[5] He really, really loves his pink sippy



[6] Our dinner.  Spaghetti and broccoli!



[7] Daddy and Cammy play time



[8] High fives all around



[9] If you can't read in the bathtub, where can you read?



[10] Baby selfie



Take Luck,
LP

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Awkward

I am starting to feel that I'm just a generally awkward person.  Awkward situations seem to follow me everywhere.

Source

Case in point: After work on Friday, I swung by the bank to deposit some checks.  I pulled up to the post, filled out my deposit slip, and sent the tube through the vacuum.  The bank teller appeared in the window and gave a warm welcome, telling me she would have my receipt right out.

Apparently I didn't designate the account (checking or savings) to deposit the money, so she needed clarification.  When I poked my head out the car window to respond, I realized that I was talking into the microphone and not looking at the teller through her window - which she could clearly see me from.  Then I felt my face flush as I realized I wasn't sure where I should look and speak.  Do I look at the window and talk through the microphone?  Or do I look at the microphone and speak, pretending like the teller isn't there?

Totally ridiculous.  Yet, I make it awkward.  Cuz that's what I do.  Apparently.

This encounter got me thinking about all the other awkward things that have happened recently.

- Approaching someone in the hallway and you both move in the same direction to get out of the other's way, only to move again and you continue to block each other

- Not knowing someone's name when they clearly know yours

-  Trying on a clothing item, seeing it doesn't fit, and getting stuck in it while trying to peel it off your body (Because panic-induced sweating and heavy breathing totally helps)

- Asking someone about their significant other only to find out they aren't together anymore

- Holding open a door for someone and they walk right past

- Using the phrase, "you too," when it doesn't apply (Namely, at the movie theater when the cashier tells you to enjoy the movie and you say, "you too")

- Waving back to someone who is actually waving to the person behind you

- Sarcasm getting confused with a serious comment

- Saying my name to someone face-to-face and they still think I said "Warren"

Please, please tell me that some of these awkward situations happen to you?

Take Luck,
LP

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The D Word


Daycare.  Daycare (and the daycare setting) has haunted me since before Camden was born.


My dear friend, Jessica, swooped in and saved my sanity when she offered to watch Cam for us when I returned to work full time.  It was a temporary arrangement that turned into 10 months' worth of love and care.  Camden clearly loved it there and I was comfortable/confident with the care he was getting, and loved being able to check in with Jessica whenever I wanted throughout the day.  So, in early December when Jessica decided she wanted to go back to school, it was time for us to face the daycare music.  I was sad, but kept reminding myself that Cam wasn't a little 3-month old baby anymore, and I just needed to get over myself.

I immediately put him on the wait list for one of the local childcare facilities.  Never having been there before, I went and took a tour of the facility. As I stood there taking it all in, my chest got tight and a giant lump in my throat kept getting bigger and higher.  This place wasn't bad.  I know mama's that send their kiddos there and love it.  But I was completely overwhelmed by the thought of my sweet babe going from being one of two kiddos in a cozy house, to one of 40 snot nose rug rats in a big facility.  There was an unpleasant smell in one of the two pre-toddler rooms, and at first I thought that one (or more) of the little ankle biters had a poopy diaper.  But the longer I lingered, the more I realized it wasn't that kind of smell, and in fact, I couldn't definitively identify the stench.  I'm not a clean freak, but this was just too much, and it sent me over the edge.  I left, fleeing the premises without the warm and fuzzy feeling I was hoping for.

I started researching other options - both private, in-home and facilities/centers.  I politely said, "Thank you," hung up, and snorted in disgust upon hearing some of the prices for several of the local facilities.  Good grief people!  I need to be able to feed my little pig, too!

Coincidentally, a co-worker had a birthday gift for Camden and we swung by to pick it up.  While chit-chatting I was telling her about our need for change in child care arrangements and my experience with the facility I toured.  She immediately offered me her child care provider's business card, gave me the low-down, and I was 98% sold.  I figured, if this person, who's opinion I value and respect, sends her sweet kiddos to this lady - she must be OK.

I called and set up a meeting for the next day so we could come check things out.  The gal and I chatted while Camden raced toward the kitchen set, making himself right at home by banging the pots and pans.  I immediately felt at ease picturing him in this home environment with only a few other kiddos.  Watching her interact with the few kids that were there that day - I felt like she was a perfect combination of structure and relaxation.

The first few weeks with the change were tough - mostly because I didn't know this person at all and bam(!) I'm leaving my child with her.  What made it even harder was that right about the time Camden started the new daycare, he developed some separation anxiety.  Super great timing, little dude!  He would cling to me, cry (alligator tears crying), and jut that pouty lip out like no one's business.  The crying would start before I even got him out of the car, for goodness sakes!  I had to institute a "drop and run" rule.  No lingering.  No waving.  Just kiss, handoff, and run.

I really, really beat myself up over this - wondering if it was an age thing, if he was just super comfortable with Jessica, or - did he not like it at his daycare?  I already have serious mama guilt issues.  This was just another pancake on the stack that was making me feel like the worst person in the world to be leaving him in that state every day.  The daycare gal assured me that he stopped the blubbering and was fine soon after I left.  He'd get distracted by the cat, Milo (who he LOVES) and the other kiddos and have a great, happy camper-Cam kind of day!  Inside, I was just crumbling because the last image I had in my head - was him reaching for me and cry, cry, crying.  This went on, and on, and on, and on.






(I promise my kid is not under the influence of drugs).

To make matters worse, Jessica watched him just last week for an hour (while I had my very belated birthday massage).  We came inside, I sat him on the floor, gave Jess the rundown, gave him a kiss and said "bye-bye," all while trying to get out the door in a flash so not to unleash the tears and lip.  What do you think my little man cub did?  He stood up (ALL smiles) and waved bye-bye back to me.   Uh, what?  Who IS this child?!  

Needless to say, my super relaxing massage time was spent with my mind racing - wondering if I'm doing the right thing.  Is he happy at daycare?  Is he trying to tell me something?  Should I investigate a new daycare?  Gah. 

This week (this frigging week!) he finally stopped the clinging, crying, and pouty lip at drop off.  Three frigging months after starting in her care and we're over the drop off hump.  Good grief.

I do have to say that I've very happy with Cam's daycare lady and the care, love, and attention that Camden seems to get.  There are four or five other kiddos there on a daily basis, so he's getting lots of socialization and interaction.  They do baby yoga, celebrate holiday's with little parties, and do art projects.  Our refrigerator is starting to overflow with hand/feet-prints and scribbled coloring pages.






(Yes. That's my child. Not participating in yoga and running amok). 

Yesterday, I was driving up the road and noticed some kids were playing outside in the front yard.  I slowed down and stopped before reaching the driveway because I was witnessing the cutest thing.  Four kiddos were walking in the grass, one following the other, looking like little ducks.  Which little duck do you think was pulling up the rear?  Hammy.  Hammy in his hoody, too-big pants and Velcro Adidas shoes.  I about died.  And really, really wish I had my Nikon in the car to document.


The smile on his face was priceless and to see him be independent and thriving in this environment (pretty much) made the anxieties and doubts I've been having the past three months wash away.   

So, congratulations, you've just finished reading the longest blog post on daycare in the history of blog posts about daycare.  You deserve a medal.  Or a hug.

Take Luck,
LP

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dada Baby


Hi.

I'm still alive, but have a severe case of blog writing aversion.  I have been busy enjoying life and my loves - little and big.  I sit in front of a computer all day, so the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is power up my Mac and think of ways to regale you with my wit and dramatics.

(You're welcome).

Not much has been going on around these parts.  Ryan turned 30 this past weekend and because I'm such a loving wife, I continually remind him that he is now in his 30's and I'm... still in my 20's.  Camden continues to be the light in our lives and I truly, truly cherish and love that little bugger more every day.  (Even last night when he was naked, arching his back, and trashing as I tried to coax/drag him away from the pacifier he knew was hiding in his crib under a blanket).





Just prior to the naked thrashing session, I was giving him a bath.  I don't remember exactly what I said to Camden, but it was something about him being my baby.  Ryan piped up from the living room and said, "I thought I was your baby?!"  It sparked a conversation that went a little something like this:

Me: You are my big baby.
Ryan: Yes, I'm a big baby.
Me: Don't I know it.
Camden: Dada baby

Certain that I had just imagined those two clear-as-day words coming from those sweet lips - I poked my head out of the bathroom and practically yelled to Ryan, "Did you hear that?!"  We laughed (and laughed, and laughed).  Cam started splashing and laughing too because somehow he knows that he's adorable and funny.  Of course, I kept saying, "dada baby" to try and encourage him to say it again - but 10 unanswered attempts only proved that I can indeed put together two word sentences.

I hope to get back into a somewhat normal routine of posting.  I feel like I have so much and so little to write about - all at the same time.    

Take Luck,
LP
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