Tuesday, May 31

Charlie goes to the Airport: TAKE 2

This video chronicles my journey to get home from FitBloggin.

Thursday, May 26

The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl and her sidekick Goober Charlie

*Note to readers: There are going to be a few posts about Fitbloggin over the next 2 weeks. It’s taking me a long time to process this info, plus I have the added stress of UNPACKING MY DANG HOUSE, but I promise not to let these get boring. You know that’s a promise I can keep!
You all might recall I have a hard time meeting people I really admire. I get nervous, palms get sweaty, I say stupid things… the usual. And with the added pressure of KNOWING FULL WELL I was gonna meet Dietgirl, well, let’s just say in usual Charlie fashion, I was a mess about it.
After getting to the airport on Thursday and the fiasco that all was, including the 1.5 hour shuttle ride to GET from the airport to the hotel, well, it was just rough. I felt rough. I felt discombobulated. And I wanted just one glass of wine to calm me down.
So I get to the fitbloggin mixer, found my roomie for the night, Steve (more on the fabulous roomies in a later post), and we dropped off my luggage in the room. Then we headed back over to the hotel restaurant so I could get some food. And Steve told me there was a group of us meeting there.
MizFit, Dietgirl, JackSht, Karen Anderson, Christie Inge… the big ones. The ones I’ve been stressing about meeting.
So I’m sitting there at the table, trying to look all cool (after I did the Wayne’s world ‘I’m not worthy’ move at JackSht’s feet. No lie. I’m humble like that.) and not act like I was ready to pee my pants from the excitement of it all.
That was when the waiter, who speaks no-good English, brought the bread and butter. Only the butter looked like a thin wedge of cheese. And there was something totally shaped like a ball on the plate next to the butter.
“Excuse me, sir, but what is this ball thing?”
“It’s crap.”
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
(Translation from not-good English to English: CRAB)
Well, that (plus the glass of white wine) totally sent me into fits of giggles. Didn’t matter if I was sitting right across from Dietgirl (whose name is Shauna, BTW). I had no composure to keep my mouth from running. So I kinda acted like a goober. Plus, Shauna’s accent is so flipping adorable! Not to mention the moments we are speaking the same language, but it’s different words for different things. Just had me cracking up with obnoxious laughter! Plus, she was very interested in my uber red lips, and how I make it work since red is a hard color to keep on your lips. We had a discussion about that!
Sending her a direct tweet later that night (cause we’ve been exchanging DMtweets!), I told her this: ‘Sorry I acted like such a goober tonite. I’m still a little star struck!’
(Understatement of the year)
To which she tweeted me back and assured me she didn’t think I acted like a goober and was perfectly fine. Bless her heart.
On Friday, there was the 5K (which I slept through), Zumba (which clearly as the picture illustrates, I was working hard at…watching Jack throw apple cores in the hotel hallway...)
The "I'm not going into that Zumba Room" Club 
L to R: Me, JackSht, and Tracey Jones
(Photo by Susan Ito, AKA FoodieMcBody)

And finally, the evening affair I’d been waiting for: The solo performances of Foodie McBody and Paolo Sambrano. Guess who sat at my table? SHAUNA.

And she was just as sweet and funny as she was the first night. I was a little less goober-rific. Not much, but a little.
On Saturday, I went to the “Intuitive Eating” session, which Shauna was moderating. And the session as a whole was so much more than I could have dreamed. By far my favorite session of the weekend. Intuitive eating is about listening to the cravings of your body and entering moderation into the mix: Essentially, not letting the food control you, but not forcing you to control the food either.
Shauna started talking about the fact that she bought some KitKat bars, and they had been sitting on the counter for a while. She decided she would finally eat them, and offered some to her husband. Half to be exact.
The story went on that her hubs said, “Are you sure you want to share?”
To which Shauna said, “Oh, yeah, cause 2 fingers is enough for me.”
CLASSIC LOST IN TRANSLATION MOMENT. I didn’t think about KitKats having fingers, but they kinda do! Of course, being sleep deprived and giddy, my brain didn’t interpret it that way. NOOOOOOOOOO. I went into the gutter with it. And started CRACKING UP SNORTING.
About that time, you saw the wave of laughter working its way through the crowd. And Shauna was the last person to get it- I blame the lost in translation, because she’s smart as a whip. Which made it even funnier!
So of course, later that day during MY session with JackSht and Mrs.Fatass, I had to whisper that into the mic.
Just once.
“2 fingers worth.”
And everyone who had been at the Intuitive Eating session burst into laughter.
Shauna caught me in the hallway later and said something like “I heard you mentioned my 2 fingers and now everyone’s talking about it!”
I just nodded my head and grinned, because it really was one of the funniest lines I had ever heard!
We decided that later that night she was gonna stop by our hotel room and have a cocktail with us. SQUEEEEEEE! So we kinda got things together in our room. I ran down to the hotel store (AKA Overpriced Gas Station) and got a bottle of Bud Light and some orange juice. I wasn’t about to drink tequila like the rest of the gang. Noooooo, I’m too much of a lightweight for that. I needed just a little. So Beer and OJ, which we call a “poor man mimosa” was in order. I also picked up a little gift for Shauna, just in case she really did stop by.
Pretty soon, my phone tweet alert went off:
Shauna-  Are you still going up there? :)
Charlie- Yes, and I have a silly gift for you up here!!! Come on up!
Immediately the energy in the room intensified. It was me, Mrs. Fatass, Steve, and Sean. And we all just had one collective crap our pants moment. The flurry of excitement  exploded in our 21st floor hotel digs. “She’s coming! OMGosh! Shauna is gonna hang out with us!”
Of course, when she walked into the room, we were cool as cucumbers. All our hearts were racing, but Shauna? She kicked off her shoes, plopped down on a bed, and was even more awesome than I could have imagined!
I told her I was so thrilled, and I felt like I was meeting diet royalty, and her response was (and imagine her saying it with an Australian accent, cause that makes it even cuter)… “That’s just shite. I’m not royalty, I only went on this journey before you did.” If there were ever words that would make me love her more, those were it. Because she DOESN’T have a big head about things. She is a published author, wildly popular podcaster, and long time blogger with a huge following. Yet, there she was, kicking back like the rest of us, enjoying her poor man mimosa I made for her.
And the silly gift I had for her? It was a king size KitKat. (Hilarious to give someone at a health and wellness blog convention…) And her words about that were ones I will never forget.
“There must be AT LEAST SIX FINGERS in here!”
(I was cheesing SOOOO HARD!!!)

Shauna is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Warm and sweet, funny and smart, and so beautiful. Of all the “famous people” I’ve ever met, she is top of the list.
And I’m happy to have been her gooberific sidekick. Even if it was just for the weekend.
You can purchase Shauna’s book, The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl, and I highly suggest you do. It's a read you will NEVER forget!

Monday, May 23

The first leg of Fitbloggin: Charlie goes to the airport

It was a beautiful Thursday morning. I kissed my kids and husband goodbye, hopped into Big Blue (the new used van we have made exactly one, count 'em, ONE payment on...) and headed off to the interstate exit. I had made sure there was gas and oil the night before, so I had no reason to stop.

Low carb Monster energy in one cup holder, coffee in the other. No Doubt CD in the radio. Phone charging in the lighter thingy. Airport itinerary and ID's easily accessible. Packed to the gills and cape in suitcase.

I WAS UNSTOPPABLE! On my way to Fitbloggin!!!

That is until Big Blue made a weird noise. She seemed to still be going, and I was almost to the halfway point of getting to the airport (almost 2 hours away), so I slowed down a little. Maybe that was all she needed.

But then I realized I was going a little too slow for interstate driving. (Thank you drivers behind me by informing me with "polite honking." I didn't realize I was having a problem till you brought it to my attention...)
I had the gas pedal to the floor, and at 45 miles an hour and slowing, I realized something was SERIOUSLY wrong with Big Blue. I flipped on my hazards and coasted to the shoulder of the road. As soon as I came to a complete stop, Blue died.

I figured maybe if I sat there for 5 minutes, willing the problem away, there would no longer be a problem. (For the record, that was how I also dieted for a LONG time...) 5 minutes passed, and with all the confidence in the world, having sufficiently prayed the name of Jesus over my van, I knew my van would start.

Only it didn't. It was dead as a doornail.

Now, here was my dilemma. If I CALLED someone, and then the van started, it would all be for nothing, and I didn't want to bother anyone. But on the other hand, if Blue was down for the count, that was precious time I would have to get to the airport so I wouldn't miss my flight. Kind of a catch 22.

I decided to wait one more round of 5 minutes to see if I was in real trouble or not.

Yep, I was in trouble.

Now, here's the weird thing. Up until this exact moment, my cell phone was in a dead zone. No service, no signal. Nada. Zip. I looked at my phone, then up to the sky and yelled "I NEED YOU TO THROW ME A FREAKIN BONE!" (Me and Jesus are tight, so He doesn't take offense to me talking like that. He understands me.) And when I looked back down, not only did I have 4 bars of reception, but I had 3G internet to boot.

Springing into action, I got on facebook.

Status: Van broken down on I74 on way to the airport. Suggestions?

Next, I called our insurance provider. We have roadside assistance for this EXACT reason. All our cars are crap and have to be towed at least 2 times a year. Tow truck was on it's way. She asked me where I would like to have it towed, but the airport was not an acceptable response. Fine, to Wilson's Garage in Crawfordsville. I'd never heard of them, but whatever.

Rechecked facebook. "Call AAA. Call your Insurance. You poor thing."

Called Matt. Not a great conversation, but vehicles never break down when it's convenient. He was stressed out, and worried about my safety. And me getting to Fitbloggin. (He's the best!) He offered to take the rest of the day off to drive me, but truth be told, our white van is in worse shape than Big Blue. (Well, not at that particular moment, but you know what I mean...) I told him I'd try to figure out something.

Recheck facebook. There's a message from Sonnia.

"Call me if you need me to give you a ride to the airport-SERIOUSLY!!"

I really didn't have many other options at this point. And while it killed me to have Sonnia take me, I was desperate enough to get there. I mean, Dietgirl was going to be there! And we were going to meet!

So I called her.

And she said she was going to leave her house in 5 minutes to rescue me.

Meanwhile, the tow truck showed up, got me loaded, and we headed back to the garage. Knowing Sonnia was on her way to fetch me, I asked if he could PRETTY PLEASE drop me off at whatever was closest to the interstate exit so that it would be an easy place for Sonnia to find. He agreed, and I was dropped off at a truck stop.

While at the truck stop, I called Delta Airlines and told them what had happened. They were AWESOME. (And after later installments of this story, you will learn why I will fly Delta for the rest of my life...) They told me to go to the ticket counter as soon as I finally got to the airport, and they would have me on the next flight out of there.

Then, 30 minutes after I called, Sonnia rolled up her glam white sunglasses and big honkin' SUV. My girl knight coming to save the damsel in da' stress. Emphasis on STRESS. She loaded me up, and before I knew it we were on our way to the airport.

"I saw all these people offering you suggestions like triple A, and I thought "Why isn't anybody HELPING her? Wait, all I have to do today is go to the grocery store! I CAN HELP HER!!!"

And I thanked her lots, and we chitchatted the rest of the way to the airport. Before I knew it, we were at the correct exit, and she turned to go into the parking garage. Honestly, I kinda figured she would just drop me off and bolt. But, nay, I got the full service girl knight. She was determined to see me into the airport and make sure I got a flight out of there. As frustrated and stressed as I was, I was so grateful she came in. It was really nice to know I had a friend by my side, making sure I was ok.

I got new plane tickets, and then we girls had a Starbucks and sat down for a bit. If you ever get stranded, I sincerely hope someone like Sonnia comes to rescue you. She took my nutso situation and made it kinda fun!

We said our goodbyes and I hugged her tightly. That was an amazing gesture of friendship, and I cannot thank her enough for all she did for me last Thursday. As I got on the plane and we took off, I watched the sky and marveled about how wonderful my life, even with the craziness, really is.

Big Blue will be waiting at the mechanic's for a while. $1000 to fix the dumb thing. Remember how many payments we have made on her? ONE. Frustrating? Yes. But can we get around it and save up the cash to get her out of garage hock eventually? You betcha.

Cause we have a wonderful life. Even when it's stranded halfway to the airport.

Come back tomorrow night to read the second leg of Fitbloggin: Charlie the Goober.

Wednesday, May 18

Twas the night before Fitbloggin...

Saturday, May 14

Mayday! Mayday!

The month of May appears to be "Let's see how close we can push Charlie to the edge" month!

On Wednesday, we were extended the offer to move into my brother and Tricky Nikki's old house until we get all the credit score issues taken care of and can move into our forever house. And we said yes.


The bonuses of moving there are pretty extensive:
Jetted Jaccuzi Tub
4 Bedrooms
2 Toilets (hallelujah!)
No leaky roof
No basement that backs up with sewer water every time we turn around
Knowing that I can relax at night because there's a security system installed in the house.

It's really a great move for our family, and we are excited. But it's going to take a ton of work to get us over there. So I need to get off here and get back to packing.

And 2 other weightloss related things:
I hit 155. And that brings me to 83 pounds lost.
I am currently wearing a pair of size 6 jeans. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for LYCRA.

Please, keep us in your prayers and good thoughts over the next few days, and if you can come help us move, we won't turn down the help. Tomorrow is the actual moving day, starting about 1pm after church, and today I'm just kicking around packing. Just send me an email with your name and phone number at oscbb@yahoo.com and I'll tell you where to come hang out and help. :)

Back to work. And I'm off...

Wednesday, May 11

Foiled Again...

Saturday, May 7

Charlie VS Glamour

Friday, May 6

How to Prepare for Fitbloggin: The Practical Guide for Neurotic Bloggers

Wednesday, May 4

The Point of Impact

    I remember the first time I saw her.
    It was back in high school at a “Christ In Youth” conference in Missouri. They were having auditions for high school students to sing specials during the worship services, and my youth group encouraged me to try out. I agreed to it only because Sara was going to do sign language to the song with me.
    I walked into the room and there she was. Jet black hair, piercing blue eyes, and as much makeup on as me. I liked her INSTANTLY.
    Then I started hearing the whisperings in the room.
    “She’s already got a song on the radio.” “She’s a REAL singer who wrote her first song and got it recorded.”
    That song was called “A Baby’s Cry.”
    And that girl was Amanda Pate (now Fessant).
    As you guys well know, I’m not opposed to walking up to ANYONE, regardless of their level of fame, and talking to them. Amanda was no exception. And I’m forever thankful I did.
    She and I became fast friends, especially after we heard each other sing. There was an instant respect between us regarding talent. We spent the majority of the conference hanging out together, talking about things like music, our body images, and our dreams for the future. The real bonus was we lived less than an hour away from each other.
    That friendship continued for several years. She would come to Danville for a concert or a game, and we would meet at the Monicals Pizza. I’d go over to her house in Paris for the weekend, and we’d spend time raiding her mom’s ivy decorated kitchen, singing and talking about Jesus and boys. And she was the FIRST person to introduce me to tiramisu.
    The fact that Manda-May was singing professionally never got in the way of our friendship. I was always so proud of what she was doing, and the ministry she had started. Perhaps at times there were twinges of jealousy, but it was never because I wanted HER life. I just wished I was as sure of what God wanted from me as she was. Me and God had this prodigal daughter routine going. Mandy was as steady as the rock of Gibraltar.
    After we graduated from high school, our feisty little friendship continued. We spent weekends together, running all over Illinois and Indiana. I wrote my first real song at her house. On her bedroom floor. And to date, it’s still my favorite song I’ve written. “Alabaster Jars” And I’ve never performed it. But one day I will.
    Mandy had a friend in the band “All Star United” (and it was no secret that there was major crushage going on there, on one side for sure, and perhaps on the other) and she had been mailed a demo copy of their not yet released album, with 4 songs on it. We listened to the song “Drive” over and over again the whole night, dissecting the lyrics and trying to decide if it was written for her or not. That was one of my FAVORITE nights with her. (And I’m listening to that song as I’m writing this.)
    Then Mandy decided she was going to move to Nashville, TN to really pursue her music career. It was hard to be so far from her, but one weekend, she called and asked if I wanted to spend the week with her in Nashville.  She had to work, but she knew I had written a few country songs and wanted to give a shot at getting them sold. I had ONE music contact, so I made an appointment on Friday, and on Sunday afternoon, Manda-May and I began the roadtrip to Nashville.
    I SWEAR ON ALL THAT IS HOLY- Mandy had a lead foot that terrified me. We were in her dinky little car, and she was going AT LEAST 100 mph. Every hour I had to make her stop so I could pee and smoke, just to calm down from the fear of almost meeting Jesus on the interstate from her driving. If Mandy hadn’t been so good natured about the whole thing, I would have felt bad. Cause I kept yelling for her to slow down or she’d kill us both. She just laughed and said “God’s got things for us to do. We aren’t going anywhere.” Like that helped me unclutch my white cramped knuckles from the O.S. bar on her car’s interior roof…
    Up until that trip, I thought I knew how my life was going to go down. I’d become a Nashville fixture as a country songwriter, and we would continue our friendship as we always had. I’d make a bundle from royalties (back in the day when people actually bought cassette tapes and CDs) and I’d work to become a Christian vocalist.
    But that didn’t happen. The one contact I had didn’t like my songs, because they weren’t recorded. She encouraged me to make a demo tape (but a really good one, which means expensive in music speak) and come back. But I never did. That one rejection was enough to make me lose my nerve.
    That was the first time Mandy and I ever fought. I was broken hearted, but she was used to the rejection. “That’s the music business. You have got to be thick skinned!”
    Except I didn’t know how to do that. So I started to pull away from Amanda, because her success reminded me of my own failure. And I couldn’t bear it.
    Mandy was always ministry minded. God driven. She wanted to change the world. Love people.
    I however, was “me-nistry” minded. Idol driven. I wanted to change my world. Make people love ME.
    When you get into a position where you share your life with others, be it in relationships, on a stage, from a pulpit, or even on a blog- you learn quickly that people are messy. They are opinionated. They feel justified in saying things about you that break your heart. And I wasn’t ready for that when I was 19. I wanted to run around, party, and be irresponsible. She had met her darling husband BJ, and was getting ready to be married. She asked me to be a part of her wedding. I knew Mandy didn’t approve of my chosen lifestyle. Nor should she have. I was being stupid, making dangerous choices, and would soon pay the price for my indulgent ignorance. I didn’t go to her wedding, because I was afraid she would see right through me, and call me out on my behavior. I wasn’t ready to give it up.
    After I met the first husband, I was pregnant 6 weeks later. Long before we were ever husband and wife. I found out a few months later Mandy was pregnant too. When I brought Amy home from Phoenix for her first Illinois visit, I met up with Mandy, her mom, and her new baby son. They talked about how HIS Ministry was growing. How God was changing things. Me? I was a mom now, but now struggled even more with who I was.
    After all the kids were born, we reconnected a few more times, but our friendship was never the same. I was always running from ministry. Mandy hoped I would get there one day, yet I don’t think she was holding her breath. Our friendship suffered because of ME. My utter denial that I could ever be a leader in this messed up world.
    I mourn that we never really got to make things right before she died. But I know she sees me now, and I hope she understands. I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready. Until now. And it’s not too late.
    After years of running, I find myself smack dab in the middle of a ministry I had no idea I would be in.
    MY LIFE.
    I know that every word I speak on here isn’t about God. Sometimes it’s about periods and boobs. Sometimes it’s about my frustration with Dominos. Other times it’s about my friends who support me. Or my feelings. My hurts. My burdens.
    But in everything I do, I want you to know one thing.
    In all that I have done wrong in this world, I have been forgiven. My blessings supersede my previous behavior. I hope that I bring you a not-pushy message about what a woman with a little drop of faith can accomplish. I refuse to become one of those people who slap scriptures on every item in my house. Sometimes, life doesn’t necessarily have a spiritual point. If it doesn’t, I don’t make one up. It’s just a story, an experience. But when there is a point, I feel compelled to share it. And I pray that my humble words bring you peace and inspire you to keep seeking good things in your life.
    My “ministry” will never look like Mandy’s. The reach God allowed her to have is amazing. She was well loved all over the world. When she found out about her cancer, more people were praying for her than live in both our hometowns put together. Her heart’s cry was “If all the people who said they were praying for me would talk to Jesus and get a real relationship with him, I would go through this all over again.” I bet she had an amazing homecoming when she passed into the next part of her life. Her life was a beautiful testament to God’s love.
    As for me?
    What is my ministry?
    I have learned that I don’t want to be famous around the world. I want to hug people and walk through fires next to them. I want to show you that we can live normal lives and have hope. Have joy. We can laugh. We can fight alongside one another, even if the common enemy is the scale. I want to embrace joy whenever I can, and share that joy with you. Even if it’s about peeing my pants.
    I want to encourage you that no matter what your faith is, you should never give up hope of conquering your struggles. My opinion of you doesn’t change if you are a Christian or not. If you are fat or not. If you are living a questionable life. I don’t care about your “whats.” I care about the “WHO.”
    TO BE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY, just as I once was.
    That is my ministry, the point of impact I hope to have in the world.
    I pray I will do you justice.
    And now, it’s time get ready to say goodbye to my friend.
    I love you. I always have. And I can’t wait to see you in heaven. Thank goodness we don’t have to drive to get there. I'm dustin' off my boots as we speak.

Sunday, May 1


Tonight my precious daughter hugged me tightly.
She was watching her Mama cry tears of sorrow, because I lost my friend Amanda, who went home to be with Jesus today. And even though she didn’t remember meeting Mandy, Natalie used her empathy skills to console me. She then started helping around the house, without being asked to.
After I had composed myself (a little, anyway) I thanked her for being such a sweetheart.
She nodded and said, “I did such a good job I think I earned some homemade cookies!”
We don’t have any in the house, but if we would have, I would have given her the whole lot.
I dropped Amy, our oldest, at the movies with some friends, thankful to have a few moments in the car alone. I went to the store, and grabbed a few items. Then I went to the refrigerated cookie aisle and picked up a package. Because I was determined to bring that little girl some cookies.
As I got in the car, my heart heavy with frustrations and sorrow, I cried. I prayed and asked God to comfort me. And the still small voice inside me asked one question.
“Is she WORTH cookies?”
Before the horrible parent police show up at my door, I want to assure you- this question is not what you think it is. But I think a letter to my daughter would best explain what I mean.

Dear Natalie-
I want more than anything to give you cookies. Sweet, just like you, and so delicious. There have been many times in my life I earned cookies too. Sometimes other people gave them to me, especially when I was a kid. As a grown up, living on my own, I got those cookies myself. Even though I shared them with you kids a lot, there were many packages of cookies you never knew existed.
Any time I felt extreme feelings, ranging from happiness to crushing sadness, I had cookies. And chips. And cakes. Those things made the feelings I was experiencing seem a little more tolerable. They moderated the extremes in my life.
And you saw the result. My body 3 years ago was proof that I had been “feeling” for a long long time.
Natalie, you are one of the most precious children I have ever met. And I know it’s tough for you being the middle kid. Amy gets to do everything first, and you often get her hand-me-downs. Tim gets to do other things because he is a boy. He gets clothes nobody else has worn, because he doesn’t do pink. So you kinda get the short end of the stick. And I know that.
And while you asking for cookies seems like such a small request, so insignificant, so easy to just let you have-

My sweet darling girl-
I’m going to say NO.

You don’t deserve a life that bases your feelings or your worth on food. You deserve to be taught appropriate ways to self-soothe, a skill your Mama has been lacking a very long time. As much as I want to give you cookies today, I don’t want you to struggle with wanting cookies tomorrow.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have cookies again. That’s the joy of this- if you learn to enjoy them in the right way, they will taste even sweeter.

I wonder where my life would be today if I hadn’t abused food. Granted, this blog would never exist, but what else could I have achieved in my life if food hadn’t been an issue? Would I have pursued my songwriting career? Would I have moved to Hollywood? New York? Paris?
I will never find out what my life could have been, but my daughters (and son, of course) deserve to find out where their lives can go. I cannot pass on my broken habits to them. I want  to give them every opportunity to learn to be the most complete and whole humans they can be while under our roof. They will move out and make their own mistakes, I realize that. They will have their own struggles, but I don’t want one of them to be food. Because that one comes straight from me.
Tonight, as I struggle with more than my children will ever realize is on my proverbial plate, telling God I can’t handle ONE MORE THING, and another thing falls on my head and heart- I am left with the question.
Do I finally realize that I, too, am worth more than cookies?
Am I ready to use my faith to self soothe instead of calling on the disciples Ben and Jerry? Am I willing to deal with the feelings instead of shoving them down with food?
I think that I am. I’m going to do my best.

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