Posts Tagged With: life

 
 

Apples and Other Things

 

Monday Friday Letter to My Kids – September 25, 2017

Dear J, J, L and L,

I know, I know, it’s not Friday. And I haven’t written to you for ages. I figured it must be about time. And besides, why wait until Friday?

I ran across this quote recently.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich

It’s not exactly the kind of thought a mother wants to talk to her kids about. Nope. A mom wants to talk about hope and happiness and all that good, sticky, lick-your-fingers kind of stuff.

But there it is.

I’ve tried all I can to protect you. From day one it was my main instinct. Still is.

At this point in your lives, and in mine, all I can do to provide protection is pray like your lives depend on my ability to call down the powers of heaven and surround you like a giant cone of cotton candy. But, no matter how much faith I have, or how hard I pray for you, I know the cotton candy part isn’t always, or even often, in the equation. Although I do believe there’s divine help made available in abundance.

fullsizeoutput_aa2I know you have faced down some hard things in life, even as young as you each are. I know the road has been broken and has worn down countless pairs of shoes for some of you. I know you’ve felt swallowed up and beaten down.  I would take and carry it away from you if I could. But motherhood has its limitations.

Thankfully, I also know you’ve felt the opposite of all that heartache. Joy beyond measure! I remember big J’s words as we left the hospital to get some breakfast after little H arrived. You said with every bit of energy of your soul, “What a beautiful morning to be born!” I know you’ve each shared a similar outpouring of happiness beyond imagining.

Mostly your days bring that mixed tangle of laughter and frustration, just like it should be. Some days you stagger under the weight of it all. Other days it’s like you have wings and the world is alive with hope and energy.

Every experience you have is another bite of one of those apples. Sour, juicy, tough skinned, sweet, worms, bruises, crunchy, crisp, laced with cinnamon and sugar, tasteless, tangy, tart, cold, mushy, magnificent, tiresome.

fullsizeoutput_a9cI pray you taste as many as you can, as often as you can.  I hope you love, often and deeply and with wild abandon. I hope you occasionally have the chance to sit under the tree and savor the smells and sounds.

I’m working on my hugging-more and worrying-less experiences. Those are the apples I need to taste more of.

Now I feel like baking up some apple crisp. And then adding a pile of vanilla ice cream on the side. Sounds like the perfect breakfast, doesn’t it?

I love you wildly,

Mom

~~~~~

640px-RedDelicious

 Photo by Brian Arthur

“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
~Kahlil Gibran

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Categories: Family, Food, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

The Average Person Awards Show

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From Hallmark.com

I have a very humorous friend on Twitter and Facebook (you should look him up and follow) who posted the following comment last night:

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and then one of his friends said this:


So I said this:

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thinking the idea would catch and spread like fire in an August field of dried weeds. But it didn’t. Weird. I suppose everyone was riveted by whatever particular daily famous people awards show was playing.

But I added another of my own: 

and one other guy added: img_7933

So (thanks to Lourie J Kolar whose brilliant idea it was) I thought I’d write up some more of my own categories for:

The Average Person Awards Show!! 

*Cue annoying music that cuts off mid-measure*

Here to present this year’s categories, wearing Riders Slim Fit She’s Not Kidding Anyone Jeans, with a Kohl’s 30% off three quarter sleeve purple fake sparkly T-shirt highlighted by her plain gold 36 year old wedding band is none other than the woman who everyone mistakes as their long lost aunt, cousin, neighbor or old girlfriend, Kami Tilby.

*Sound of crickets.*

Thank you for holding your applause. Let’s get right to it.

Category 1:

For Outstanding Efforts in Resisting the Call of Social Media when Real Life was More Important.

Category 2:

Working on a College Degree While Holding Down a Full Time Job and Supporting a Family.

Category 3:

For Holding Your Tongue When A Witty Response Would Have Been Stunning But Hurtful

And in the same category for the shorter interest span: Deleting A Scathing Comment Before Posting It and Walking Away From the Electronic Device.

Category 4:

Staying Up All Night With Your Kid/Mom/Spouse/Friend while they Puked/Cried/Seizured/Melted Down and Still Carried On a Full Day after No Sleep

Category 5:

Most Creative Multiple Late Excuse Note Writing for a Junior Or Senior in High School

Category 6:

Fixing Dinner for the Gazillionth Time Without Complaining Outloud

Category 7:

Waking Up and Going Off to Earn a Living for the Trillionth Time With No Recognition or Applause and Not Breaking Windows or Rioting While Having the Government Take Thirty Percent

Category 8:

Speaking Kindly and Forgiving that Sibling Who Still Pushes your Buttons
So The Family Can Be Together in Peace

Category 9:

Stretching a Dollar Past Its Physical Capacity to Feed A Family Well Beyond Reason

Special Semi-Political Category Because It’s My Blog and I Can Do What I Want:

Public School Teachers Who Selflessly Work Well Beyond Their Compensated Time to Meet All Standards Prescribed and to Teach, Cajole, Love, Care For and Protect Children They Aren’t Even Related To While They Get to Hold Down a Second Job to  Pay for the Opportunity to Work the First One.

Category 10:

Single Mothers and Single Fathers Who Do The Work Normally Handled By Two People and Still Raise Nice Kids Who Respect Women, the Elderly and Children

Category 11:

Starting a Small Business on a Feather and a Lot of Sweat and Prayer Against All Odds and In the Face of Economic Ruin

Category 12:

Being Honest and Trustworthy and Maintaining Integrity Even When It Costs You Your Job

A LOT MORE POTENTIAL CATEGORIES

Make up your own category and comment below. Nominate someone. Heck, nominate yourself. A few people need to be recognized for the outstanding everyday effort they put out continually and will never ever be noticed or applauded for it.

And no, this is not some lame, participation award people get just for showing up. There, I said it.

Maybe we just need to hand out compliments to people we know for a job well done. Thank the kid who cleans up after you’ve spilled popcorn while watching that movie. Thank the people who fill in potholes, keep the electricity running, haul off your trash, and clean up the parks. Give a high-five to whoever you think deserves it, because they probably do.

We can all use a little recognition for our efforts, don’t ya think?

This next part is the very important small print but in average size:

Voting for this year’s categories will be accepted until February 28. You can vote if you’re an average person. No famous persons allowed. Sorry. Being Average has its privileges. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Awards, People, Priorities, The World | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Giving In and Saying It Anyway

The earth somehow keeps spinning.

The earth somehow keeps spinning.

I’ve resisted as long as I can.

The voices have occupied my head for a day or more now. Ignoring them makes them grow louder. Sometimes what you want and what you need oppose each other like two big scary dogs, teeth bared, back hunched, a low growl, narrowed eyes, hackles up.

Fine. I give in. Here it is. The thoughts that have raced through my head the past twenty-four hours.

I’m not a Mother’s Day fan.

There. I said it.

What?

You want an explanation? Do I really need to give one?

Seriously, this year I decided to let go of that whiney, complaining, high expectations, nonsense that surrounds a holiday to celebrate motherhood. I had determined to embrace the joy, the beauty, the gift of life attitude of this greeting card holiday.

I nearly lost my Mom this past year. Twice. Heart stopping in its possibility, that thought has haunted me the past day. Haunted me since last July the first time it happened.

I’m sorry, but I can’t let my mother die. That can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t ever never ever never happen. My life would come to an end if that happened. You see, there’s this spiritual umbilical cord-like thing that attaches her life to mine and mine to hers. Her blood beats in my body. I’m part of her and she is part of me, in more ways than the merely physical.

We might go a week or two or even a month without talking on the phone and six months or more without seeing one another, but the connection of daughter to mother is strong and undeniable and filled with comfort and power and this undefinable somethingness I can’t find a word for.

How does anyone survive the death of their own mother? And then, how much more pain is there on Mother’s Day when your mother isn’t there to call on the phone, or have over for dinner, or send a card to?

I don’t ever want to find out.

When my best friend died five months ago part of me broke loose and has rattled around inside me trying to find a landing-place. So far it just keeps banging around, running into things, pinching, jabbing, stabbing, clanging about.

She left behind four children who today celebrate, mourn, cry, thrash, scream, yowl, sob, pretend, remember, deny, cherish, ache. My heart hurts for them, for their unspeakable pain and loss.

Then I think about all the mother’s that might have passed away this year, last year, all the years and such sorrow washes over me. How does the world keep spinning in the face of such things?

I have no idea.

I do know that Mothers possess a singular sort of magic.

Maybe it’s sort of like this. Some thing in the power of motherhood pushes life forward, keeps this impossible ball spinning on its axis, gives us strength and will to put one foot ahead of the other, and whispers in our ears, “Live!”

 

 

Categories: Death, parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What We Choose and What We Give Up

Ten thoughts by other people with no commentary by me. Make of them what you will.

Alice par John Tenniel 31

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.

‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.

‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.

‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.” ~ Lewis Carroll

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“Find a purpose to serve, not a lifestyle to live.” ~ Criss Jami

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“Every man gives his life for what he believes … one life is all we have to live and we live it according to what we believe.” ~Joan of Arc

Thou Mayest

Thou Mayest (Photo credit: danbruell)

“But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.” ~ John Steinbeck in East of Eden

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Megiddo altar_0670

Megiddo altar.  (Photo credit: hoyasmeg)

“Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to.” ~ Mitch Albom

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” ~Shauna Niequist

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Lucy in the Sky

Lucy in the Sky (Photo credit: gritphilm)

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” ~ Charles M Schulz

Hogwarts coat of arms

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ J.K. Rowling

Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Depends

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it.

How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it.

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em.

How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”

–Shel Silverstein

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Categories: Family, Gratitude, Joy, Love | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mud, Potholes, Spinouts, Blowouts, and Other Fun Times

I hit a pothole once that literally tore a hole in the side of my tire. I didn’t think that was possible. That mangled tire made me much more cautious of those seemingly innocuous bumps in the road.

I’ve also been stuck up to the rims on a muddy road in a little Vega. Luckily my husband was up for a hike and found someone with a truck and a rope to pull us out.

And I’ve been in a van with the entire family on a snowy freeway and suddenly found ourselves spinning like a carnival ride. Not sure how the vehicle stayed upright. Half an hour later one of the tires suddenly went flat, so we’d obviously done some damage during the spin.

Why do I tell you this?

Life is a highway, a road, a path, a journey.

I’ve often felt that I’ve had my unfair share of uphills, spinouts, flats, mechanical failures, blowouts, impassable roads, uphill stretches and potholes.

Road blocked by landslide

Road blocked by landslide (Photo credit: wiesmann)

We could all feel that way, rich or poor, blessed or not, third world or first world, ill or well, single or married. Life isn’t easy.

It is easy, however, to tell ourselves that it isn’t fair. It’s easy to look at the road behind us and curse and complain. It’s easy to look at the path ahead and decide to sit down and cry instead of moving forward.

Yup. Too easy to take the pessimistic, sad, sorry for myself stance. I give in some days. I wallow in self-pity sometimes. I allow myself some poor me tears.

Little SRisonS Enters The Old Zone

(Photo credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS))

But then, I, hopefully, wash my face off, get dressed, and do what needs doing.

With a smile.

That’s the hardest part of all some days. Especially if there are metaphorical storm clouds looming, or a deluge of life’s crud to wade through.

I am not really a fan of Nietzsche’s idea “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” attitude.  I’m more on the side of the “I can’t tell if it’s making me stronger or killing me” team.

*insert rimshot here*

Meaning, I look at things not through rose-colored glasses, idealized and perky, but through the lens of humor or sarcasm. Laughter has gotten me through more rough patches than anything I know. I’m more likely to have a joke memorized and at the ready, than a quote about getting through life’s adversities. Depending on your temperament, one may work better than the other.

If I share a quote on this topic it’s probably because I see something humorous hidden in between the words. Or it resonated somehow with me. These few did.

“I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ” ~Agatha Christie

The words wildly, despairingly and acutely seem melodramatic to me. Reminds me of a toddler’s response to the word “no.” I can see myself throwing a tantrum when life isn’t going my way and that makes me laugh. Not to mention, life really is a grand thing. Keeping my eyes open to the grandness makes a huge impact.

Bob Hope

Bob Hope (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” ~Japanese Proverb

This is the stuff of slapstick comedy. Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Robin Williams. We are constantly falling down, failing, messing up, missing a beat, off kilter and out of sync. Well, I know I am. I do a sort of mental double take and then dust myself off and keep going. At least usually.

Here’s hoping your path today is a smooth one and your road plowed and pothole free. If it isn’t, I hope you’re able to smile, or laugh, or at the very least, have a good cry and then keep moving forward.

Categories: Gratitude, Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bridges on the Path

Another photo from a shared walk with my cousin last year.  A month later I actually crossed this bridge and took the less traveled rocky ledge of a path.  So glad I did.

bridge over Queen Creek“The most precipitous chapter of life always begins before we quite know it is under way.”

-Morrie Morgan, from Ivan Doig‘s “Work Song

Funny how life doesn’t give us any road signs, warnings, ominous theme music, or any other clues that some big change is waiting around the corner. Life is not like a movie at all. It’s simply putting one foot in front of the other, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

Sometimes we have a choice to take one path or another, never knowing the outcome of what the other path might have brought us to.  That’s all probably for the best.

I am glad my path has taken me here to where I am right now. What bridges lay ahead of me? Don’t think I want to know.  Whatever maps I might create or use to plan the road ahead will be rendered useless by life’s fickle sense of humor, fate’s sense of irony and God’s will for me.

I breath in. I breath out. I enjoy what I can and love as much as possible. I give my best.

I keep walking.

Enjoy your journey.

Categories: Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Navigating Through Life the Traffic School Way

A traffic school for navigating through life sounds like a good idea to me. Anything that helps me avoid a big fine, a penalty, some heartache, frustration or pain seems like a great idea.

So I’ve come up with a few rules of my own.  Having done some significant amount of traveling, I figure maybe I’m somewhat qualified. At the very least, I need the reminders myself.  I’ll work on the slide show presentation later.

Old Truck

Old Truck (Photo credit: cindy47452)

  • Avoid rush hour if possible, morning and evening.

The sun is always at a bad angle at rush hour, low in the sky and in your eyes, or reflecting in your side or rearview mirror.  I aim for the middle ground when possible.  I can legally use the HOV lane between nine and three. I can easily change lanes, merge, keep space between me and some yo-yo on his phone.  This works in real life too.  Trying to do what everyone else is doing, when they’re doing it isn’t always the best course of action. Be yourself.

  • Don’t text and drive. Don’t drink and drive.

That’s a no brainer isn’t it?  Likewise, don’t drink and be online.  You’ll regret whatever you put online while under the influence.  An emotional crash, a friend bender, relationship dents, are all possible outcomes when you’re online under the influence. You are not wiser, wittier, more honest or pleasant when you’ve had a few too many. Angry texts and online rants aren’t generally productive either.

  • Use a map, or at least have one with you.

I used to always have a map in the car.  I used to always have a plan for my life, for my day, for my week, for the next hour.  Sometimes your plan just needs ditching and you need to take a detour. If so, go for it. You’ve got a map to get you back on course when you’re ready. Sometimes you need to stick to the planned route no matter what.  Only you know which it is.  It’s also okay to ask directions, get a different perspective, especially from someone who knows the terrain.

  • Have a contingency plan if you get separated.

Staying in touch is always a good idea. A weekly email to your sister, a phone call to mom or dad, a text to your brother, an instant message to a friend, an ongoing Scrabble game with your cousin. There’s also actual handwritten letters, not to mention live and in person visits. Don’t let those distances grow too far apart. Those connections are what really count. That’s what the drive is really all about.

Another closed rest area.

Another closed rest area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Stop for bathroom breaks more often than you think you need to.

I can tell you from experience, breakdowns happen and you don’t want to be squatting on the side of the road, no matter how big the bushes might seem.  You think you can go full throttle through your day with no breaks, no feet up, no ten-minute nap, but you can’t and you shouldn’t.  Step outside and breath real air, go up and down the stairs a couple of times, drink a bottle of water, actually go to the bathroom, do some deep breathing, read a page or two of a book, rest your eyes, do a few stretches.  Give your brain and body a break here and there and then you can put the pedal to the metal for a while longer.

  • Bring snacks, CDs and water.

Snacks provide entertainment value sometimes, but they also provide memories.  See my post about the Lonely Duck for proof of that one.  What’s a road trip without licorice, peanuts and m&m’s?  Not a real road trip.  Pop some music or a great audio book in the CD player and enjoy. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference, don’t ya think? A handful of laughter, a little dollop of whipped wonder or a spoonful of silliness, can make all the difference in life.

A typical speed limit sign in the United State...

A typical speed limit sign in the US showing a 50 mph restriction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • It’s okay to go slower than the speed limit.

Now there’s a revelation!  That number on the sign says it’s a LIMIT.  Not a suggested speed, but a maximum speed.  I know this is a new concept to most drivers.  It’s also okay to not race through your life.  Just because everyone else has their kids in fifteen afterschool events per week doesn’t mean you have to do the same with your kids.  Your to-do list could have one item on it, and that’s okay. Take life at the speed you’re comfortable with.

  • Take the scenic route occasionally, or at least take a different route.

Studies show, (okay I made that up, but it’s true) that a change of scenery is a great plan.  You don’t have to up and move to another state, like I did six times, for a change.  Maybe the change you need is simply a change in routine, or a change in how you react to traffic, or a change in how many breaths you take per minute, or a downshift in the urgency you place on whatever it is you’re doing. Smell those roses, pick those daisies, walk on that grass, take that photo, touch the wet paint, turn right instead of left!

road rage

road rage (Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan)

  • Don’t yell at, aggravate, cut-off, or flash random hand gestures at drivers.

I still talk to the traffic way too much, but I have changed how I talk.  I say quietly to myself  things like, “I sure hope his wife doesn’t deliver those twins before they get to the hospital.” Or I wish them well in “getting to a bathroom before the food poisoning hits full force.” I figure there’s a reason behind what people do, no matter how aggravating it is to me.  I also try to cut myself some slack when I’m the irritating person.  I try to say kinder things to myself, give myself credit for what I do right, instead of focusing on the few things I think I’m failing at.  Kindness never hurt anyone, in fact it often helps.

So, class…did I miss anything?  Would you add any pointers to my Traffic School Advice?  Let me know in the comments below.

Don’t forget to buckle up and have a nice trip!

Categories: Humor, Traffic | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mason Jars Filled with Do Overs

“If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do, is to save every day ’til eternity passes away just to spend them with you.”

– Jim Croce

MSH thinks going back in time and reliving his life sounds wonderful.  Many people I’ve asked agree with him. Give them a second chance at life, they’d take it!

Me? No, thank you! End of discussion. No way.

Well, one way, maybe.  If I could remember everything from my first time through, then sure, I’d be willing to face my childhood, puberty, early marriage, and every other stage of my life with confidence.  But without my memories, my hard-earned learning curve intact, there’s no way I’d have a do over.

Too many regrets, that’s why.

A Kerr mason jar

A Kerr mason jar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For instance. Instead of letting my eighteen month old son cry himself to sleep laying next to his bedroom door, I’d let him fall asleep snuggled in my arms on the couch every single night until he decided he preferred his bed.  Call me foolish.  I don’t care. I can still see his little tear streaked sleeping face peeking out under the gap between the floor and the door.

I’d have bought those Wizard of Oz sparkly red shoes for my youngest. I wouldn’t have put off getting that sailor dress my daughter wanted. I would have asked more questions, assumed less, pried more, talked directly, been less afraid.

Instead of anxiously awaiting the day my kids would start school I’d clean the house less and play with them more.

My own teenage years were a horror story of stupid decisions, bad behavior, rebellion and embarrassment.  I’d just completely remake myself.  I’d be friendly and outgoing instead of trembling and introverted.  I’d care less about what everyone else thought about me and wonder more about how they felt and how I could help. I’d complain less to my mom and help out more.  No, really, I would.  I’d soak in every moment of being young and healthy and energetic.  I’d run with more abandon, sing louder, laugh longer, smile more often, tell jokes, be nicer to my sisters and tell my brothers that I thought they were cool.

If I could have time in a bottle…pretty much everything that happened from day one until now would be different.  I’d be different.  In fact, I wouldn’t even be me anymore, would I?

That’s a scary thought. A hopeful thought. A weird thought.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Or I’d change everything.

After harvest - jars of glass filled with honey

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Life in Three Parts

A diagram showing layers within the Earth's ma...

A diagram showing layers within the Earth’s mantle and core (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peel back the layers.

A crust of clothing disguises.

A mantle of skin, muscle, and bone

Houses and protects.

A core of Spirit,

Essence,

Soul,

Refined matter,

The Life-giving center,

Lasts somewhere,

Forever.

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This post was written as a Trifecta challenge response.  Please check out their site and see what great stuff they’re generating from writers.

Categories: Poetry, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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