About Me~, inspirational, Uncategorized, world affairs, Writing

Hillbillies, Happenings, and How are y’all?

 

 

14424721_1216518198420851_2592819625145033806_oSo , How are y’all ? or as some would say , How y’all are?  There have been quite a few interesting happenings  in my lovely home state  of Arkansas in just the last few days. Some private citizens paid to have a monument to those good list of rules that are just a pretty good idea for all people to follow, or you would think pretty much everybody would think they are good rules for everybody to follow. You know things like, “Don’t go knockin’ your neighbor over the head. ” and “How ’bout we don’t make off with things that don’t belong to us?” and here’s a pretty swell idea for the general population , “How’s about we don’t lie to each other , so as we can trust what we all say?”  and maybe , ” Let’s not go gettin’ naked with somebody else’s spouse?” that wouldn’t be an alright thing, now would it?. So anywho, they put these and few more like them on a big ole rock, and put them on the lawn of a building. Now the government didn’t pay for them, some regular people did. And they were no more out there a day , then what some feller decided he’d run them down with his car while shouting , “FREEEEEEDOOOOMMM!!!!!” Yes. This really happened.  And what’s more , apparently this individual had done this once before.

So this happens two days ago. Now TODAY,  in some club in the capitol city of my home state some people decided that they were offended by something someone said, or did, or just looked at them sideways, and 25 people were shot, and 3 other people were wounded. No one died. Which brings me to the point of my blog today. Which is……… WHEN people find out I am from Arkansas. Which is pretty much right  after I open my mouth. ‘Cause I guess, I have an accent. Who knew.

That’s right . Y’all go on ahead and laugh. Everybody else does. Other people have two reactions. They either think it is the sweetest thing ever, or the most ignorant . But it’s always the same. “Oh my goodness, that is just the sweetest thing! Where are you from?!?” or “Well, don’t you just sound stupid. You MUST be from the South.  ” Because apparently, being from the South, especially from Arkansas , and having my particular accent , makes you immediately some sort of inbred with the I. Q. of a turnip.  And these types of news stories are NOT helpful. So I am going to set the record straight, we have had loads of educated, brilliant , magnificent people hail from here, and  as a tiny tasting here is a small list……………..

Alan Ladd ~ Actor

E. Fay Jones  ~ Architect

Maya Angelou~ Poet

John Grisham ~ Author

Sam Walton ~ Founder of Wal-Mart

General Douglas MacArthur

Brigadier General Archibald Yell

Glen Campbell ~ Singer

Johnny Cash ~ Singer

Ne-Yo ~ Rapper

Hattie Caraway ~ 1st Woman U.S. Senator

Dick Covey~ Astronaut

Hangin’ Judge Isaac Parker

President Bill Clinton

Luther Capps

Okay, so you probably don’t know the last name on that list. But to me he was the most important. He’s the man in the picture above. He was my Grandpa. Now he didn’t go to some fancy dan college. And he had an accent too. But he was in my estimation one of the smartest men ever. He could grow anything. Fix anything. Build anything. He was born in 1913, and lived through the Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression. He picked cotton, lived in California and worked the orchards, rode the rails as a hobo, and did anything he had to do to survive. He had muscles like whipcord even in his 70s and could out work men half his age. He taught me to drive , barefooted in an old 1963 Ford Falcon pickup on a backroad with the windows down and the air so hot you felt you couldn’t even feel your lungs move anymore. He followed those rules that the crazy FREEDOM shouting man so callously ran over.

 

So I refuse to apologize. That man running down the 10 Commandments and the crazy nightclub shooters are not what the “average person ” is like here. The “average” person here is like my Grandpa , God rest him.  So, NO, I am not going to “flatten” my accent to make other people feel better about themselves, or to hide where I am from. I will straight up tell you, “Yes, I am from Arkansas. No, we are not ignorant hillbillies. I do not care that you think my accent is stupid. Yes, we talk slow. Maybe it’s so all of the REST of you people can understand , ’cause y’all are the ones a little bit ‘off’, did you ever think of that?”

I will leave you with the words of Ms. Maya Angelou herself ……..

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.

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About Me~, art, inspirational, Uncategorized, world affairs, Writing

How Bizarre~

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The beautiful is always bizarre.  ~ Baudelaire 19657041_1349803748431210_6828812241786549423_n

I’ve never BEEN normal.   It was a certainty in my bones , a knowing even. An intrinsic feeling , yet not a difference that I felt was a problem. I didn’t SEE it as being a difficulty. I knew I was not like other people. I don’t say that as a form of braggadocio or as a way to say I was better or somehow on another plane. I came into this world , a wild animal. For most of my early years I refused to wear clothes, driving my mother to insanity. I thought going about skyclad was the best thing in the world.  When she DID manage to keep me clothed, it had to be boy’s clothes of the most ragged variety imaginable. Jeans, cutup, cutoff, dirty, t-shirts the greasier the better. My Dad’s castoff welding hats and goggles. A pair of corduroy Levi knickerbockers. Cowboy boots with the soles worn completely through. A set of leather chaps that a friend of mine had outworn. I spent my days out of doors ;climbing every tree within 10 miles of my house. Skinnydipping in the Little Missouri river until I was sunburnt to the color of red ripe watermelons we gommed from Granny Jo’s garden in the evenings.  I don’t know how my mother kept from killing me in those years; I never shut up, when I WAS home, which was seldom, I despised school work; what was I going to need all THAT useless information for anyhow, I wanted to be any and everywhere besides chained to that drudgery . I brought home any and every creature I could find , that slithered , crawled or flew, and was sure that both my mother and sister would find homes for them, and be just as fascinated as I was. (  I was wrong on both counts many times. ) Come to think of it, I don’t know why my SISTER didn’t kill me in all those years. I’m sure she had just cause. She was all the things I wasn’t . She was clean. She was a whiz at school, quite dedicated to it actually. And she actually kept her clothes ON. She swore on many an occasion, that “For the love of GOD, Nette, you are adopted. I swear. You actually belong to some nudists somewhere!!”  Heh.

I guess , to me, life just all seemed so bright, amazing, full of things to see. It still seems that way. Everywhere I go now, I still wonder why people want to be “normal” . And the funny thing is they struggle so hard to do this thing they call “fitting in”. What IS that, anyway? I had an interesting conversation with my niece, just the other day.  I was asking her , about a certain person , “Why is he dressing that way?” ( Meaning goth, emo, shopping at HotTopic, you know the whole ‘look’) She said , “Well, he’s making a statement I guess. Trying to stand out. ” So I asked her, “But if EVERYONE is doing that now, dying their hair, getting tattoos, going “goth” , and shopping at HotTopic, are you really making a statement? It’s not. It’s the new ‘normal’, isn’t it. ”  She didn’t really know what to say to that.  See, I don’t have a single tattoo. I don’t dye my hair technicolor. I’m not some trendy gender. Been married to the same guy for almost 21 years. I don’t have a nose ring, or some other odd piercing.  I think people ought to be respectful to others , and pretty  much live and let live. Wow.  In this day and age, guess what? I’ve become the new bizarre. And to quote Baudelaire, “It’s beautiful. “

About Me~, art, inspirational, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

Crossings ~

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I’ve always been fascinated with eyes. From the time I was small , and realized I could draw , I was determined to get the shapes and forms of eyes realistically captured on paper. Human eyes, animal eyes.  I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love looking at people’s eyes when they spoke. It seemed to me they spoke volumes about what it was they were really saying.  I never really realized until I was grown that although a person could be telling you one thing with their words,  that their eyes could be telegraphing something  quite different.

I guess there’s quite a whole psychology behind that kind of thing now, and educated folks who know about that kind of stuff would say I probably have some kind of a complex or something. That whole Nietzsche quote , “And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. ” , and all that jazz.  I’m not so sure that’s what old Friedrich meant.   I’m more inclined to believe in the Biblical standpoint of Matthew 6 :22  “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

So I guess, really it’s my unconscious way of gauging whether I like you or not. My mother has always joked that I have an instant people -radar . Either I like you or I don’t. First impressions, ALWAYS. And I think it’s the eyes. I can just kind of tell , ” Yep. Me and these peeps , we’re gonna’ be friends.  Or these people are shady, I don’t like ya’ now, and I ain’t gonna’ like ya’ later.  Maybe that’s wrong of me. I’ve always tried to trust my intuition in those kinds of things, and in most cases it’s served me well.

Besides , eyes are quite beautiful , don’t you think? The colors, the shine, the slight twinkle that says they know something that you don’t. And that maybe, just maybe if you look long enough, they might let you in on the joke.

Very young eyes,  eyes full of life, and of course my very favorite , the eyes of the very old. The things they’ve seen and the secrets they hold. If I could have a camera to capture it all.  But of course , the films are theirs. Memories only they choose, to keep wound on the reels of the 8mm cameras of their minds. And rightfully so.

  Because there is a word for this soul gazing  ~ Opia ~ The intensity of looking someone in the eye which can feel simultaneously invasive yet vulnerable .

 Perhaps Nietzsche WAS right in a sense,  but it’s not an abyss at all; it’s a crossing,  a sharing  of sorrows , of joys , of things unsaid,  and songs unsung, and a time passed between two like souls.

 

About Me~, chronic illness, humor, inspirational, Uncategorized, world affairs, Writing

Against the Flow ~

 

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Fair warning.   I like to give fair warning. If  a post might seem long, or  scatter-brained, or even if some of the topics or wording might seem offensive to some.  I had no idea until just a few years ago that even the very discussion of illness is considered offensive to some.  There are things called content warnings,  and trigger warnings.  I don’t really do that here.  It would be great if the world were all cotton-candy and lollipops but it’s not. Unfortunately, in the real world there is potential for your feelings to get hurt.  So I said all that to basically say this post might be long, and you can feel free to leave, I won’t be offended. So onward, and upward!  🙂

Anywho, This month , May, is Lupus Awareness Month.   For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I have lupus, and have had for about 20 years now.  I run a lupus support site on FaceBook  called Lupus Sucks ! Lupus Support and Humor . I’ve run it about 5 years now, and have about 9,100 followers.

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That’s not to toot my own horn , by any means . It’s really rather to toot the horns of the amazing people on my page.   My BUDDIES I call them.   They’re amazing. They rally around each other.   They grant  words of encouragement.  They lift us up when we’re in the  hospital  , offering ways to get by  when we’re  having wretched stays in those most horrid of “Hiltons”  🙂  We’re able to help each other find doctors, share tips on what works best for exercises on already hurting bodies,  and most of all , my favorite part , is find humor, yes, I said find humor in this crazy life that got chosen for us.  By God , or the Universe,  or Fate, or however you decide the great wheel of life chooses these things.  002c9f165a729c2482566b023003f4e3

I’ve often told people if I hadn’t been able to laugh I’d have died a long time ago.  I hope that I have been able to grant some small bit of that humor to someone else. It really is okay to laugh. I decided a long time ago , I was not going to let this crazy disease and all it comorbid compatriots to steal my joy.

Which got me to thinking about May being Lupus Awareness Month, and all the things that come with it. I’ve been trying to do research about Lupus Awareness Month. When it started, WHO started it? Why is it in the month of May?  Why is our symbol the butterfly? WHO made these decisions? Was there a committee formed? Who was on the committee? Did the people on the committee have lupus? Who decided that purple was a good idea for our color ? Seeing as how this is the list of disease that use purple or some variant of it for THEIR awareness

Lavender Awareness Ribbons
Lavender awareness ribbon
Periwinkle ribbon
Periwinkle awareness ribbon
Orchid
Orchid awareness ribbon
  • Testicular Cancer. There is debate about the color for testicular cancer awareness and ribbons, however orchid, a purple/violet color, has long been recognized as the official color for testicular cancer.
Violet ribbon
Violet awareness ribbon

Are we really using the MOST effective color in our push to get people to be aware of the disease we are affected with? I have been to many sites over the last couple of days , looking for ways to get flyers with info, or ideas for spreading awareness in even my very small town. They offered no ideas , or assistance. No free printable information.

So I guess, I’m confused. Confused and a bit angry.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been angry that I have lupus. I’ve always looked at it like I got dealt a lousy genetic stack of cards. I was never angry at God. I didn’t rail at Him , saying , “Why me? ”  But I find myself feeling angry at the lack of support from these for lack of a better word “mega-corporations”. These are the people who are supposed  to be backing us up. With ideas, with materials to make flyers, with community research . They are the people that are supposed to make things HAPPEN. 

 

On that note, did anyone ask YOU , did YOU want the butterfly for the lupus symbol?

If you could choose an animal , what would you choose , and why?

Did anyone ask YOU , if May was the best month for Lupus Awareness Month for you?

If you could choose a month, which one would you choose , and why?

Did anyone ask YOU  how you felt about purple as a representative color?

Would you have chosen a different color , and if so , which one?

Why are there NO (Non-Profit) materials geared towards the average “LUPIE” ?

What kinds of materials do you think would grab the attention of the  public?

(Meaning ~ Female , between the ages of 15 and 44~ in other words , we’re young and cool not some doddering bunch of people in nursing homes )

We’d appreciate cooler , more age appropriate , materials geared toward that audience.

How do you best think we could attract the attention of the general public that we are trying to educate?

 

All that being said, I know we all have our struggles. With mobility, with being out in the sunlight, with fatigue, with emotional and stress issues. I know some of us have physical limitations which prevent us from getting out and dealing with the public. I know there are those of us who can’t speak on the phone, as it causes anxiety. I am not expecting anything to be done THIS May , but wondered if we might pool our ideas, and resources; creatively ( ideas, publishing , marketing) charitable, ( those with access to businesses who might help us with flyers, stickers , pins or buttons,etc. ) or simply working up a way to have it mentioned on a local news station. Please feel free to let me know any ideas that you have. And remember, our lupies are women between the ages of 15 to 44, but of course , the more people who are aware is even better.

I want so much to make a difference in the next year.  And I BELIEVE that we CAN DO IT!!  So maybe, just maybe it’s time WE 

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About Me~, chronic illness, humor, inspirational, Uncategorized, Writing

Yakkity Yak……..

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Happy HumpDay EveryBUDDY! I hope this finds you having a good one so far. It has been a crazy roller-coaster week for me. I went to see the neuro-specialist yesterday and received some long awaited answers. ( I know we are still doing our “26 Days Series, and this will tie in, I promise. ) I have had neurological problems since early childhood; severe headaches, attention difficulties, etc, although , you know that kind of thing was not really treated in my generation. In my teens the headaches became unbearable, and with pregnancy ; let’s just say, they were the kind where you went to the E.R., and begged to be put out of your misery. After finding out I had systemic lupus at 19, the neurological problems only snowballed. Neuropathy; that lovely feeling of sticking your extremities into a light socket repeatedly (ZZZT!ZZZT!ZZZT!) , brain “fog” ; having done  a  simple task ; like writing a check , a million times , and then suddenly not knowing how to do it (What do I put on that line again?!?) , and then the final blow ,  an actual stroke that for a couple of days left me paralyzed from the neck down (Oh crap. My nose itches, and I can’t even move my hands. This is a problem I had NOT anticipated. ) . And we just yesterday found out left me with permanent mid-brain damage. We HAD thought I was having seizures of an epileptic variety. The specialist, who is tops in his field is almost certain I am not ( He figured this out when ……….He said …………move your eyes left………….I attempted to , but the whole ROOM felt like it moved left, I hereby proceeded to simultaneously attempt to toss the lunch monkey on the good doctor’s Italian leather shoes, and then pass out .) Which is apparently hugely autonomic and NOT epileptic. This is both GOOD and BAD news. The good news being , this brain damage is static . It is where it is , it is not going anywhere, it won’ t move, or get any worse. The BAD news being , it is where it is, it is not going anywhere, it won’t move. It also can’t really be treated.  (In the good doctor’s defense, he stood right by the exam table, and patted my hand, reassuring me, while I tried valiantly not to fall of the edge of the Earth. He seems like a very decent bloke. ) There’s nothing to be done for it. This place where it is damaged controls the wake\sleep center of my brain, the pupil function of my eyes, and the temperature control of my body. So basically, I have no way to tell my body to shut off, go to sleep, shut my pupils against the sun, or regulate itself against heat or cold. And I wonder why I feel lousy. Heh. Anywho. The doctor wants one more test to absolutely rule out seizures, but he is almost certain the midbrain damage is the cause of all my troubles. The reason I said all this, was to say, 18 years ago , when I was diagnosed, I would never have told a single soul all of that. I would have been embarrassed. I would have said, “People don’t need to know that. ” “People will laugh.” “People might make fun of me.”  But these days , I think it is so important that I use my experiences to tell others what can and DOES happen with lupus. I didn’t know that heart failure, stroke, neurological, and autonomic failure was so rare in lupus. Most rheumatologists will only see one or two cases of it in their entire careers. So if I can talk to other people, and educate them about what I am going through, I want them to know. Lupus is so much more than just joint pain. Talk to someone. If you know someone with lupus , ask if you can talk to them about it. Ask them questions. Talk to them about their feelings. Talk to them about this stupid disease. Talk to them about the lack of options that we have. Talk to them about the lack of research. Talk to them about how they feel about the lack of doctors, and care. If you HAVE lupus, talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Talk to your doctors. Talk to other lupies. Don’t isolate yourself. I will basically answer any question openly, if people ask honestly. I learn, they learn………win, win.

And because I got totally sidetracked, today’s letter was “T”, by the by. “T” for talk.

Oh, and if I haven’t said it yet today, I LOVE YOU! with all my ❤ and 🙂 and as always ((HUGS)) ~ Ruby J.

About Me~, chronic illness, humor, inspirational, Uncategorized

I Got Pills……..They’re Multiplying..

Okie  dokie artichokies! The world can now go back to its regular scheduled programming. 🙂 I. E. we are back to our “26 Days , 26 Ways” series.

So if you’re keeping up the list so far is…..

A: Acknowledge and Accept

B: Breathe.

C. Find  Comfort

D. Get a Doctor or team of them you can trust

E. Exercise ~ even if it’s just a scoonch ( Hey ! Scoonch is a word!)

F. Have Faith

G. Set a Goal , even if it seems small

H. Hugs! Everybody needs them!

I.  Sometimes we need, Isolation 

J. Rid yourself of Junk

K. Keep Kindness as a philosophy

L. Laugh long, laugh often!

And now on to the letter “M”, and it’s one of those things that we all have to discuss at some point in our illness journeys. M , for Medications. Sigh. I have had an up and down relationship with medications. Always have had. They are a double-edged sword of the worst\best variety. And there are so many opinions on them! Some people are all for it. Their attitude is, “If the doctor prescribes it, it HAS to be a good thing!”. Then there are people who are so ANTI-MEDICATION that it’s practically a religion with them.

 

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These are the people who will give you the whole, “Big pharma is a scam. They only do this stuff to make money , and if you take that you’re going to do nothing but make THEM rich, and yourself sicker!!” . But let me just say, I happen to be of the  middle of the road opinion on this matter.  I’ve had some really great experiences with medicine. At one point I took Imuran for about 2 years, and my lupus went into remission! That was amazing. But I’ve also had some very-not-good experiences with medications. Case in point, Ambien. I took ONE Ambien , and ended up in the hospital for three days hallucinating and talking to someone I called “the green men. ” Or so  my husband tells me. I don’t remember ANY of it. Morphine is another Nay-Nay drug for me. Doesn’t do a thing for my pain, and shuts my respiratory system down. So I believe you put that in the don’t column. 🙂 And then you have the heavy-hitter. Prednisone. Oh , joy of joys. Satan’s tic-tacs. At my worst I took 80 mgs of prednisone every day for 2 years.  Yeah. Heh. Fun times.

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Prednisone really CAN be a wonder drug. Without it, I know that my heart would have been lunch-meat for the zombie that is lupus. But it leached all the calcium from my bones, leaving me with the skeleton of an 80 year old lady. It caused me to have hearing loss, cataracts, and sent me into adrenal shock when they misjudged weaning me off of it.

So there you have it. The good,  the bad, and the very bad. So what’s the solution? Do you stay away from all medications? Do you take everything the doctors want to throw at you?

What to do ? First you have to research, research, research! Read up on it, ask millions of questions , and then ask more. Weigh the benefits against the risk. Sometimes as my Momma says, “The juice is just not worth the squeeze. ” Meaning, the side effects may be more horrible than the original problem.  Secondly, I just think we need better options! Lupus and auto immune diseases are somewhat of an orphan industry. The pharma companies don’t seem to think there are enough of us to really put in the research for it to make a profit for them. So in that case , the anti med people are right. We need genuine caring researchers and scientists to be interested in a cure for lupus! We need better, more effective medications that will be target specific.  Until then, we must make do , make the best decisions we can, and work in concert with our doctors to make sure that we are getting the best care that we can for ourselves and those who love us.

Oh and by the way, if I haven’t said it today, I LOVE YOU!! with all my ❤ and 🙂 and as always ((HUGS)) ~ Ruby J.

About Me~, chronic illness, inspirational, Uncategorized, Writing

I Think it’s Time to Fly Away ~

 

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Hey howdy hey, everybuddy! I hope today finds your basket full of spoons, and that you are brimming with ideas of things you want to do. 🙂

So far in our journey we’ve covered letters A-H, and I hope maybe some of it has helped you.

A: Acknowledge and Accept

B: Breathe.

C. Find  Comfort

D. Get a Doctor or team of them you can trust

E. Exercise ~ even if it’s just a scoonch ( Hey ! Scoonch is a word!)

F. Have Faith

G. Set a Goal , even if it seems small

H. Hugs! Everybody needs them!

Today brings us to a subject that I have struggled to bring up,  but I have promised to be honest in all my writing. I mean , if you can’t be honest , why bother putting it down to paper, ( or screen , as it were. )  So here goes.b4795f73acc52313ef76394d71f8e54a

Today’s letter is obviously “I” , and in my long journey with chronic diseases, I have found that believe it or not, sometimes, just sometimes, ISOLATION helps. That might seem harsh. And I guess probably to our families , and loved ones, who care so deeply about us, it probably is. But being this sick is overwhelming. In a way that , unless you’ve been there, you can’t POSSIBLY understand. Doctor visits, nurses visits, specialists visits, therapy visits, pharmacy visits, family visits, ( and although they mean well, sometimes this is hardest of all. )  “How are you feeling?” ,  “What do the doctors say?” , “Have you tried that new medicine?”, “Is it working?” . People crowding you in from every side, with every question they can think of. Until you feel you have no air left to breathe, no answers for any questions, no identity except this horrible unseen monster that has taken over every waking moment of your life, and you feel you absolutely MUST GET AWAY! FAR AWAYFARAWAYFARAWAY someplace where you can just let all thoughts of this stupid disease melt away, if only for an hour. This is the hardest thing to explain to the people we love. We want them to feel like they can ask how we are, of course! We want to share that. We want friends, and those in our lives, to care, and feel like they know if they are saying the right things.  But sometimes, there JUST IS NO RIGHT THING TO SAY.  So when it all starts to pile up into a huge steaming heap of medications, I.V. infusions, chemotherapy, endless rounds of blood draws, and doctors with no answers, we just have to withdraw. (Temporarily , mind you. I’m WAY too much of a ham to ever forgo my “audience” forever 🙂  But if we need to do that, we ask those who love us, “Please give us this space. This time. This isolation . ” I promise, we’ll come out feeling better for it. And I know that’s all our loved ones want. The best “us” available.

And by the way, if I haven’ t said it today, “I LOVE YOU!! with all my ❤ and 🙂 and as always (( HUGS))~ Ruby J.

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