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Monthly Archives: September 2011

My mom always wanted me to write in my journal.


Just about spiritual things. So here goes. I am hanging out in my temple. My feet are dirty, I am sticky from sweat, and I am laying down on my sofa with no one around. I have some serious joy going on.

I ran/walked today. Who cares? I do. Because I noticed that it was just me out there in the 94 degree day. I mean, of course there were others. The bulked up guy sweating it out on the top of his mountain bike. The older couple in spandex holding each other up coming down the hill. The nazi mom with 3 kids keeping them well exercised and hydrated at precisely the right time. (This is Colorado, after all.)

What I’m saying, though, is that no one was with me but me. No one was with me in my black shorts that were really my sons swim trunks (not a good idea in the sweltering air) , complete with mesh-ness (a great idea). No one shared my blotchy face and breathe counting. Not one person felt my butt muscles work, but me. My wheezing at the end… was my own. I was my temple. My place of honor, of love, of peace and comfort. I guess mom was right after all. She always said not to defile “My Temple”, and to take care of it. What a blessing.

it was me that decided when to push faster and when to ease up. It was me that asked myself why I had let my thighs grow together so my shorts rode up. And, it was me that forgave myself, got a chuckle out of it, and used it as a rhythm to walk to. (fwwp, fwwp, fwwp…step to the side to bring them down,…fwwp, fwwp, fwwp, …step to the side…) This has become a spiritual ritual that I adhere to daily. No husband, no kids or friends go with me, and it is damned freeing. I am partaking in the joy of doing it for me. The sky, the air, the bugs, the sounds, the flavor of the outdoor world… these are my temple grounds. Woot.

Each time I went from voluptuous curves, to “you look great! So thin! How did you do it?”, it was due to a heartache of some kind. A tragedy. I didn’t eat or sleep as I was going through heartache, and the pounds just fell off. No joy in it a-tall. Currently, however, I am not in a relationship with a heartache, so I wanted to see what it was like to be healthy on my terms. Thus the walk/run every day earlier than the rest of the family gets up.

I don’t ask or want praise from family or friends. I don’t care that my socks match my shirt when I go. I certainly don’t brush my teeth first. I absolutely revel in taking this space and being perfect in it, however it looks. Even when it looks like taking two water bottles and lifting them in the air at various positions to get my arms a workout at the same time. Or cans, as the case was today. The older couple on the hill thought that was great. I know this because I wasn’t paying attention to them until I whacked the lady in the shoulder with one. (I now know her name is Thelma and she has 9 grandkids).

Then back to the breathing, the counting, and listening to the latest Harry Dresden audiobook as the prairie dogs chitter at me and the gnats compete with my nose hair.

The stretching at the end is the best. The climax. Out on my lawn, still alone and dedicated to my ritual as cars and neighbors pass. I bend, lunge, reach, and flex until… Until… until I am done. I water my plants, checking on them, loving them, and staying smelly for another half hour or so Just for the joy of it. When finally I move indoors, I look to the next step, and now comes the only decision of the morning. Shower? Or flop on my sofa and Facebook? Either way, I have permagrin.

 
 

That flavor of popcorn will never taste the same….


by Sharon Thornton Montgomery on Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 23:10

I never knew that the startle response could go on and on and on. Remember the feeling of being scared out of your wits, coming around a corner and almost running into someone? “Oh! You scared the crap out of me!” Then laughing for an ackward second as you walk away, but your heart is still pounding and you think you peed just a bit? Yeah, that startle response. I’m good with one of those a decade, and here it was a continuous moment that just wouldn’t go away.

One minute I’m having a great night out at the movies and thinking, “It’s about time I relax and let down my guard. I’m with good company, after all, and I’m stuffed to the gills with great food.” The next minute, I notice how many people are near me, brushing up against me, STARING at me. Then BOOM! My heart feels like a hand is around it, making a fist. Squeezing…. squeezing…squeezing. How can this feeling hurt so much??

Looking around, I’m terrified of each and every person’s motions. The moments slow down, and as I move my eyes around there is an echo of the picture before it. Bu-na na na. Bu-na na na. The Six Million Dollar Man sounds are playing in my head as I look around in terror. Every movement, whether head on, or periphrial, is acutely jarring.

I look at the person next to me and wonder if she can tell how creepy, how …. violated…. I suddenly feel. “How can I make this stop?!”

This is so silly, I rationalize. I’ll just stand here, in the corner with my back up against the wall, and breathe. Only, it just keeps getting worse. All these people were actually breathing the air I needed! Oh No! I can hear my friend asking me if I needed anything, if I was ok. I even hear myself say “Yes, I’m fine. I’ll wait here while you step into the restroom.”… And that was just the beginning. Once she was gone, I couldn’t breathe! Ears ringing, short sharp breaths with my heart pounding in my throat, I didn’t know how to ease the squeezing in my chest.

I will never, EVER question the validity of someone else’s panic attack. Or my own.

While she was gone, I just wanted to slide down to the floor and cry. I went from 36 years old to 7, just like that. Ahhh! So many people staring at me! Are they looking at me because they know how vulnerable, how scared of them I am? Or are they looking because i’m looking at them and jumping slightly as they come nearer and nearer to me? Their eyes, which just a few minutes ago said they were having a good time at the movies, now said that any one of them could corner me, could hurt me, and no one else would help.

And then, the calm came through the storm. Thank you BFF, for coming out of the restroom and seeing me even though I thought you had forgotten me, or missed me in the crowd and I was sure I was alone. I figured I was hiding my untimely terror pretty well as you “decided” that, instead of hanging around and doing another movie, we could just head home.

We walked out of the doors of the movie theatre and I figured I could keep this to my self, what with the fresh air, the moving away from the crowds, and…and…and then it hit me again. Like a wave. Instead of people, it was darkness, and the people that were around and passing us. The wave slapped me again, and I couldn’t breathe.

I wonder at the calm and patience you showed as you stopped to hug me on the sidewalk as my tears and snot rolled down your leather jacket. Thank you for hugging me through the shaking and sobbing while the little girl in the window of the restaurant stared at me. Thank you for keeping me walking in the right direction when I had no idea where I parked my car. And sitting down with me as I was frozen stiff on the sidewalk, hurling the popcorn, the Coke with lemon, and the horrible memories that brought me here in the first place. Lastly, thank you for not making a big deal of me reaching back down to grasp desperately what was left of my bag of popcorn, and clutching it to me as you drove me home. You were so nonchalant as you brought me to the safety of my house, my family, and my quilt.

I remembered to breathe about 10 minutes or so into the ride home. I stopped rubbing my solar plexis around the time we turned off the freeway. The fist around my heart let go when I walked up the steps to my front door. And I started to regain my dignity 10 minutes after I wrapped my quilt around me and blew my nose for the umpteenth time with those precious Puffs tissues.

I have no idea when BFF left for the night, but I do know that I won’t be getting popcorn for a long, long time. And… Life is not tidy…

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Life

 

So This Is The Flavor of Crazy. Not Bad. Not Bad At All….


by Sharon Thornton Montgomery on Sunday, 06 June 2010 at 01:12

Summer. It’s what I wait for every year. Summer equals fireworks, and watermelon. It equals gardening and promise. It equals sprinklers under the trampoline and stargazing. How, then, can I be caught by surprise when the heat and stickiness make me go crazy EVERY YEAR? It laces right over the heart of the watermelon I cram into my mouth, and sinks into the fabric of the hammock I just teetered on.

Crazy even shows its ugly head throughout the beauty of the 4th of July fireworks display as I fight the crowds to find that 3 foot square plot of land in the park. I cram the kids, snacks brought from home, lawn chairs, and a tent onto this spot so I can savor the golden moment, and KA-CHOW! our senses are assaulted.

Heat and stickiness seep into all of my activities throughout summer, but I forget about it until it has a firm hold of me and starts giggling.

I wonder why everyone and everything is irritating until I realize… Oh. I’m the grumpy one. I can’t breathe in without feeling the dampness of my skin moving against my wrinkles in my clothes, and my hair. Immediately the thought pops in, “I’M GOING CRAZY!!!! If I don’t…(insert ultimatum here)… I’ll go crazy.”

This year, If I don’t cut my hair, I’ll go crazy!!!

I’ll deal with it here in a few more days. I’ll look at the clouds and notice the moisture forming as I water my garden, or go to the mountains and breathe in the cooler air as I ride the Alpine Slide down the hill. I may even sample some fresh peas and forgive the heat altogether. I do remember that without the heat, I can’t have the fantastic-ness that is summer. As long as Crazy tastes this good, I’ll take it.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Life

 

Oh Abby. The mohawk is just the start of a beautiful relationship with your Grandpa..


By Sharon Thornton Montgomery on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 23:41

I’m giggling.

Not out loud, because that would be odd. (I’m supposed to be sleeping, and my daughter is right next to me.) But nevertheless, I’m giggling on the inside. It’s burbling up from my toes, through my knee caps, over my hips, and I’m keeping it at bay on top of my belly with some serious perma-grin and a note.

This is what the laughter is about: I’m remembering what my niece said to my dad this morning. Abby, who is a proud 4 year old, noticed that Grandpa T. didn’t exactly approve of the mohawk she was giving to her little brother Carter. He came close to examine it and gave a small hint that he would look better with it down on his head.

She looked at Grandpa for a second and said, “Gwampa, Caw-tah is only pwetending to have one. He is too young. Not like you, Gwandpa. You awah old old OLD. But you don’t have any ha-yah. Too bad.” Observant? Yes. Grandpa T. is bald as an egg, except for the base of his skull. And I should say at this point, a bit sensitive about it. He would rather have a flowing mane of locks, but alas, it’s not to be. The result to the comment was a bit of a scowl.

Now at this point, I would think that Abby would take the hint and change the subject, or at least go back to fixing Carters hair. Not so. She just plowed right on in her brutally honest way. (Somehow it works well, because she has an adorable voice. It’s probably why she has made it to the ripe old age of 4.)

“Gwampa, you awah so so SO old, but you cannot be 100 yet, because when you awah 100, you die and stay dead.” This seemed to be sound reasoning, so I didn’t step in, other than to shift away about a foot from where my dad was plastering on a patient face. He is also keenly sensitive about not being 30 anymore. In addition, he had just come back from a brisk walk with me, and was ticked that he had to slow down for me, a young whippersnapper. Maybe that could be why he started snorting steam from his nostrils. Not sure.

(Carter, by the way, was happily chewing on an IPod in his high chair, and was oblivious to the dangerous situation that was brewing. Ignorance is bliss.)

Abby then came over and touched her grandpa, kind of patting him on the arm in a maternal way and blurted, “Oh Gwampa, does it hoot to be old? I would give you a mohawk if you had mo-ah ha-uh, but you don’t because you awah too old to have ha-uh”.

She Promptly gave him a great big hug, said she loved him, and went back once more to Carter’s ‘do.

The look on my dad’s face was one of keen irritation. Then smiled. It melted his tantrum that was brewing. Once the hug came on, I could tell he was whipped. It explains why he keeps coming back for more, honestly. He is a grandkids boy, that’s for sure.

It highlighted my morning, and as I assisted Abby with her brother’s mohawk, and Grandpa went on to talk with his grandson, I realized that neither my dad, nor Abby would remember this moment as the funny moment it was. It deserved a good guffaw later. And that’s just what I am doing now. It came out as a snort, but I know what it meant.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Life

 

My mom always wanted me to write in my journal.


Just about spiritual things.  So here goes.  I am hanging out in my temple. My feet are dirty, I am sticky from sweat, and I am laying down on my sofa with no one around.  I have some serious joy going on.

I ran/walked today.  Who cares?  I do.  Because I noticed that it was just me out there in the 94 degree day.  I mean, of course there were others.  The bulked up guy sweating it out on the top of his mountain bike.  The older couple in spandex holding each other up coming down the hill.  The nazi mom with 3 kids keeping them well exercised and hydrated at precisely the right time. (This is Colorado, after all.)

What I’m saying, though, is that no one was with me but me. No one was with me in my black shorts that were really my sons swim trunks (not a good idea in the sweltering air) , complete with mesh-ness (a great idea).  No one shared my blotchy face and breathe counting.  Not one person felt my butt muscles work, but me.  My wheezing at the end… was my own.  I was my temple.  My place of honor, of love, of peace and comfort.  I guess mom was right after all.  She always said not to defile “My Temple”, and to take care of it. What a blessing.

it was me that decided when to push faster and when to ease up.  It was me that asked myself why I had let my thighs grow together so my shorts rode up. And, it was me that forgave myself, got a chuckle out of it, and used it as a rhythm to walk to. (fwwp, fwwp, fwwp…step to the side to bring them down,…fwwp, fwwp, fwwp, …step to the side…)  This has become a spiritual ritual that I adhere to daily.  No husband, no kids or friends go with me, and it is damned freeing.  I am partaking in the joy of doing it for me. The sky, the air, the bugs, the sounds, the flavor of the outdoor world… these are my temple grounds.  Woot.

Each time I went from voluptuous curves, to “you look great!  So thin!  How did you do it?”, it was due to a heartache of some kind.  A tragedy.   I didn’t eat or sleep as I was going through heartache, and the pounds just fell off.  No joy in it a-tall.  Currently, however, I am not in a relationship with a heartache, so I wanted to see what it was like to be healthy on my terms.  Thus the walk/run every day earlier than the rest of the family gets up.

I don’t ask or want praise from family or friends.  I don’t care that my socks match my shirt when I go.  I certainly don’t brush my teeth first. I absolutely revel in taking this space and being perfect in it, however it looks.  Even when it looks like taking two water bottles and lifting them in the air at various positions to get my arms a workout at the same time.  Or cans, as the case was today. The older couple on the hill thought that was great.  I know this because I wasn’t paying attention to them until I whacked the lady in the shoulder with one. (I now know her name is Thelma and she has 9 grandkids).

Then back to the breathing, the counting, and listening to the latest Harry Dresden audiobook as the prairie dogs chitter at me and the gnats compete with my nose hair.

The stretching at the end is the best. The climax.  Out on my lawn, still alone and dedicated to my ritual as cars and neighbors pass. I bend, lunge, reach, and flex until… Until… until I am done. I water my plants, checking on them, loving them, and staying smelly for another half hour or so Just for the joy of it.  When finally I move indoors, I look to the next step, and now comes the only decision of the morning.  Shower?  Or flop on my sofa and Facebook?  Either way, I have permagrin.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Life

 

Oh. She’s Hanging Around. The Boombox Will Give It Away…


It just seemed logical.  For her to watch over me a bit on her journey up, up, up.  And I felt her in the birds silence.  In crickets, singing their song in the background.  In the Cicadas stuttering harmony.  Stuttering, then still.  Stuttering, then still.  And especially in the pool, warm and comforting.  It cradled me as I floated around by myself in the night, watching the clouds open and close across the star speckled night.  Even the backyard foliage seemed to work to give me this space to mourn.

I kept my eyes up to the sky and wondered why I didn’t cry now.  Now, when there were no longer kids to comfort, phone calls to take, or heads to stroke. The hugs to give in sadness had been given, for the night.  There was just me.  Me and my gulping ache just at the bottom of my throat.  So welcome was the water, with the sky as my focus.

Crying was the reason I ducked into my friend’s pool.  So I could just let my sadness have it’s time.  I needed to sob, and to ache, and to contort my face into unattractive, out-of-control pain where no one could see.  But the tears didn’t come, and I found myself concentrating instead on the stars.  I knew they were just points of light.  And constellations.  And things to count when I was snuggling down to sleep on my lawn during summers, long ago.  However to me, this night, they were beloved members of families and friends,  watching over us beings still alive.

Maybe she was looking back over her shoulder, I think, as she went further and further on her journey to new things.  Maybe she was already there and was looking to see if I could handle her grand-kids with the same patient love as she did.  Maybe,  and a bit of an angry sob stuck in my throat, she was just floating around somewhere and didn’t care anymore at all.  Just part of the universe in a ka-jillion motes of nothing.

That was a secret fear.  What if,  after all I have been taught and comforted with,  she was just really gone?  Just … Nothing?  Nothing to look forward to,  no way to look forward to a meeting with her in another place and time.  Just gone?

That would mean I really didn’t have a reason anymore to forgive her for my petty thoughts.  My busy life.  My assumption that she would just be there always. In the background.  Like these crickets, you know?  Chirping beautifully, and adding to my life now, but not having to acknowledge them as a beautiful accompaniment in my life. They just enrich the setting .  That’s their job.

It would mean I chose to go into HER background, when I could so easily have stayed engaged in her life.   Crap.  It’s true, either way.

I felt her here, though, as I wandered through the water. First doing lazy laps.  Angry, dog-paddle laps that fell short of any form or completion.  Then just floating with the momentum.  I felt comforted for a few minutes and remembered the same blatant comfort I felt the first time I met her in her kitchen.  In that messy, cluttered, busy kitchen.  It was cramped, and well-lit. And… loud.

Cows themed that place, and salt n pepper shakers, and miniature spoons from all over the world (a gift from her husband as he wandered from one military assignment to another).  Nicknacks abounded and needed a good cleaning.  Dust had blended with cooking grease on them, as it happens over time when ceiling fans and dinner preparations blend. It had that country feel of not needing to impress anyone, not even the owners, and was full of bodies and jokes and laughter.

And come-on-in-and-leave-your-troubles-at-the-door-ness.  It was obviously the heart of the house, and she was the heart of that kitchen.

I remember walking into this place as a new girlfriend to her middle son, in that awkward, stiff way that meant to me, “I am new, and have manners and will not hurt your son while i know him.”, but to her meant, “I got a lotta hurt and judgements.  Just love on me a bit, for as long as I am here..”  So she loved me.  Right from the start, and right there in that kitchen.  She did about the only thing that would have kept me there.  In that kitchen full of teens, and huge dogs running through everything with hair and slobber spraying into the kitchen air, she put me to work.  Making food.  The kind of food that should never exist in a healthy lifestyle.

If she were in the South, she would put Paula Deene to shame with her fatty, creamy food.  From the first mouthful, it was happy goodness that let me stay.  Total indulgence kept me there.

How different from the disciplined life that I grew up with.  The life of constant repentance for deeds and thoughts not quite pure enough.  My young teenage experience compared the life of order, and making sense, and purpose.  An ingrained schedule and routine. Chores and strict manners. (That above all, in my angry, dramatic, teenage view, was what mattered.  What I hated the most…)

That life had no place in THIS kitchen. Or this house, for that matter.  Here, I was enough.  Just as I was that day, that moment, that instant.  It was a craving I never knew I even had.  So I stayed.  I stirred and opened cans, and eavesdropped as the chaos of off-color jokes and suggestive retorts blended with some strange feeling of acceptance.  I put the slobber and hair and clutter out of my head that day and just reveled in it.  In her.

That was what I experienced as I drifted along, toes and belly and fingertips sticking out of the water, juuust a bit, and chilly in the night air.  The rest of me felt decidedly luke warm, which was enough.  A gentle breeze blew and I went back to my childish view of a dead person. Sitting on a cloud in their robe of white, strumming a harp and singing a bit in adoring bliss. I chuckled.

NOPE.

That view stopped right there.  For one thing, she would never have worn a robe without adornment.  Bangles, or shimmery bits, here and there.  Maybe a gold mu-mu with a white cord…. now THAT would have made the proper statement.   Nor would she have been fine sitting in one place.  Jumping from cloud to cloud, with stray angels following her as they looked back to see if they would get in trouble… that seemed more her style.

In addition, that harp would be replaced with an 80’s boom box, stuck on the sappiest song station.   She did love music, i thought with a smile, and sang absolutely off-tone.  So seemingly tone deaf was she, that she only sang when she thought others were not listening.  But then, by darn, it was with gusto.  Without reservation, and decidedly feminine.  Her 5’11’’ solid frame would delicately reach for the high notes as she swayed along to the music as she washed dishes. I loved overhearing her at these intimate times.

Maybe that would be her heaven, I think.  Belting it out and loving her voice.

Eventually, I just sat at the edge of the pool in the shallow part.  I squatted with my legs in a sitting position, just my chin above the water.  I looked down through the clear water to my knees, the lining of the pool, and my red toenails.  And thought of nothing.  That’s when the tears came.  And the regret for Not Being There Enough.  All those things that people must say when a loved one passes away, I said em to myself.  Why did I just move on and let the phone calls get shorter and shorter?  And less personal and intimate?  Why did I feel like I had outgrown her advice, her jokes, her empathy? Because I was an adult now, I thought.  I could make my own decisions, and did not need to consult her or any parent.  And, I say quietly to myself,  because she got older, and sicker, and less of her boisterous self.

I started resenting her.

I resented that she chose to keep eating those wonderful meals and snacks, even when the doctors said it was making her sick.  I got haughty and angry that she didn’t listen, so she must be stupid, or crazy, or just too old to care about me anymore. Otherwise why would she choose to be sick?  That was not my doing, but I made it about me.  Of course, about me. It was me she left hurting, right?  I’m the only one in the pool, doing the hurting.

My tears and sobs let loose as I found how petty and selfish my thoughts were of her.  Not that she was a saint or anything.  Lots bugged me about her, but these particular thoughts were absolutely one-sided.  She loved and loved and loved and loved.  Her kids,  her in-law additions,  her adopted ones,  her grand-kids.  She loved us the best she could and knew how.  Her 100%. And here I was, angry with her for not giving more, or longer.

Could I say I loved her the same way?

I loved when it was convenient and when I visited.  I loved with considerations.  And I loved while I gossiped.  (That last one hurt the most.)  As she got weaker and weaker, my view of her changed.  CRAZY…  Even when her mind started doing quirky things, she was still the quick-witted woman who loved me through the crap part of marriage, kids, and life.  And the dark and light parts of me.   It just hurt too much to see her look and act different.  And I resented her for it.

My tears and sobs went on and on and on.  Clear fluids leaked from my face to the pool water and I was glad no one was there to see. I was glad the chemicals took it away.  I no longer looked to the stars as I sobbed.  I looked inside me and just let the hurt wash over me.

Eventually, I focused on the good times we had. Camping. Cars breaking down while we were camping.  The lightning and thunder when camping. Jokes and laughter based around hours of playing cards. Sitting on her bed watching TV as not only the ceiling fan, but the portable air conditioner froze us to death (Even in winter.) Her crazy cold room with feminine touches surrounding her.  Even the looks of anticipation and joy on my kids faces as we drove into her driveway, knowing they would soon be riding that converted old riding lawn mower around in her field.

The advice we both shared openly from the ends of our phones, miles away from each other, were just as entertaining and insightful.  She was the Wicked Witch of the West.  That made me the Wicked Witch of the East (until my new sister-in-law moved to Jersey).

She gave me permission to be human.  And loved me for it.  And that was when I knew she was there. At the pool.  Just reminding me that in that instant,  tats minute,  that night, and any night I needed,  she could be there.  Her memories are there for the taking.  Her love is there for the keeping and the sharing.  That made it a bit easier to get out of that pool, dry off, stick my toes into my flip-flops, and head home.

That permission to be human.  It’s a gift I can give back to her family now.  Something I can use to stay close to her with.  And when I see my own strays, my adopted kids walk through my door and ransack my kitchen…  well, I know she is there, too.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in boys, Death, family, Kids, Life, small town, Uncatagorized, women

 

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Making Amends……. (via My Life….)


I found this just a few minutes ago and had a quick minute of love for the caring and tang of heartache that created this poem.

To Shan.
And Carol.

I do miss you both. Just not the pain.

I’ve done all I can do to make amends, But it’s clear by your actions you don’t wish to be friends. I’ve asked for a chance to make a fresh start, But there's no forgiveness within your heart. * Without even trying you’ve closed your mind, And are willing to leave a friendship behind. I would like to think you’re not really that small But your silence to me, indeed says it all. * I have tried to talk to break down the wall, But you guard it so cl … Read More

via My Life….

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2011 in Life

 

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