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Perhaps Coming to Life

Friday, September 05, 2014

I dropped out of action the past few months because I'm getting burned out. I knew it would eventually come to this, I just didn't know when. Still, my mind has been with SP all the time. Just taking my parents to the doctor has been a part-time job for all practical purposes.

My daughter has been worrying about me and got an "aha!" moment. She handed in her resignation at work and will begin taking care of my parents full time in a few weeks. We can let the agencies and other helpers go, they are making tweaks in their personal affairs, and she will be the one case manager for them, doing all the housework, finances, medical, shopping and cooking, etc. With all THAT, I will have to pitch in at times, and confer with her at times. She wants me to get a break, and the only way to do it is to take over. Now my parents will pay her instead of all these other people and me. I need the time, not the money. I am one of the fortunate few who doesn't need to work, but here I was with the most difficult of jobs. I can see why there are nursing homes, but my daughter is still adamant that they will not go there until it is absolutely necessary. It was becoming absolutely necessary because I reached the end of my rope this summer.

I don't know if this will mean I will jump back into SP like I was before. It seems I will need a time for recuperation where I will do nothing but the easy route with just about everything in my life. BUT - there's a ray of hope and I see some positive changes in my behavior already.

I love coming back to see what everyone else is doing, and you're still Sparking! That is awesome and a source of comfort and support knowing you will always be there. And Inspiration. Reading your blogs and seeing your progress is exciting!

Take Care Everyone! Hope to see you soon!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 9/6/2014 9:05AM

    Lovely to hear from you.
Take care of yourself and have a wonderful break.
We're always here if you need us emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/6/2014 9:06:33 AM

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RDEE22 9/6/2014 7:22AM

    Get some rest and recuperation for you. emoticon

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MICKEYH 9/5/2014 11:41AM

    So glad to see you back and reading your blog. Take your time to recover from all the stress. You need to relax first and rejuvenate then you will be ready. emoticon

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JACKIEWALKS4FUN 9/5/2014 11:11AM

    Oh, I am so glad your daughter will be helping. Sure sounds like you need a break to recover from all this. Stop by anytime will be here when you need us. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401 9/5/2014 10:46AM

    You have a wonderful daughter. So glad you are getting a much needed break and can take some time to take care of yourself.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

I am super busy so am keeping a low profile while still being involved. The task for this period of life is keeping good habits up when the chips are down. When I get harried, I don't plan (i.e. pack meals for when I'm on the run). Yesterday, I spent the whole day on my parents, including taking a car in for repairs in a metropolitan area far from my pastoral rural domicile. But the people were nice.

On my Spark page, both on the landing page and in my photos, I have flowers with what appears to be little bees on them. I wondered what they were. I found out when reading a book on companion plants this morning. Actually, they are insects that we do want to attract to our gardens! They are called hoverflies. They are a family of insects. Mine are a particular type. Other hoverflies look more like bumble bees than mine do.

In the book, they merely described them, but they did it so well, I knew I'd found my answer. I just had to go online for a short jaunt to find photos of them. There is a link at the bottom of this blog if you are curious.

Here are some of my hoverflies. On my Spark Page, I called them bees.

I believe these are hoverflies. They are wonderful pollinators and attack aphids, leafhoppers, caterpillars, thrips, corn earworms, and mealybugs. They need nectar so are flower lovers. If you think they are something other than hoverflies, please let me know.

Here is a violet. They are currently blooming. There is a little bed of them on the walkway to our patio. I took this photo on Monday.

Lastly, I will throw in some perfectly spherical water drops on my newly emerging bleeding hearts about three weeks ago.

I will be around, although you may not know it much. I am still caregiver to 4 people, and I feel it now! My life is going to start getting more hectic over the next few weeks. Thank goodness for gardening! It's a relaxing source of good exercise. I burned 1,190 calories earlier this week, on Tuesday. All in one day. So even though I'm not out running marathons, and appear rather staid in how I go about my fitness, I'm burning serious calories. Later on when the garden is farther along, I will start walking more.

Thanks for stopping!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAM.1 6/9/2014 9:15PM

  Lovely photos.

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PEGGYO 5/31/2014 10:16AM

    beautiful pictures

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MARTHA-ANN 5/30/2014 4:20AM

    Beautiful flowers, hoverflies are wonderful, there are over 280 species of it in England, they're great little insects for the garden.
Take care, missed you emoticon

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MICKEYH 5/29/2014 4:54PM

    You have a beautiful garden. Glad that the gardening is helping you relax a bit. Best wishes for your care of people. emoticon emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401 5/29/2014 4:44PM

    The pics of your flowers are great. Take care of yourself. I know how it is when things get busy.

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Movement Reset

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dr. Mickey starts out by emphasizing that a little means a lot. Just "1 degree" of increased effort can make a difference.

The simplest way to speed up your metabolism is by increasing your regular daily activity and exercising a little more each day. A fantastic benefit of exercise is that it will increase your metabolism for up to 12 hours postworkout! Exercising and leading an active lifestyle do wonders for the metabolism.

Thermogenic Effect of Exercise (TEE)

Mode - what kind of exercise you do
Duration - how long you exercise
Frequency - how often
Time of day - a.m. versus p.m.
Quantity - Amount each day
Type - strength training with free weights, body weight or machines versus cardio exercise
Sequence - what you do first and what follows
Intensity - how easy or difficult

Mistakes That Sabotage:

Not committing to regular exercise
Not having the right reasons
Using the wrong mode for your goals
Exercising at too high intensity
Routine that is too short or too long
Wrong location or time of day

Guide to Revving Your Metabolism

1. Exercise in the morning. If you exercise in the morning, you will reap the entire day.
2. Make your cardiovascular sessions at least 30 minutes. The first 12-15 minutes is taken up with sugar burning. After 15 minutes there is a transition from sugar to fat burning. After 30 minutes and beyond, you're burning all fat.
3. Remember the postexercise effect. Metabolic rate increases 5-10% after exercise, and it continues for 8-12 hours!

Your attitude can make all the difference. It is here that he advocates the common advice to park farther away in a parking lot, walk instead of drive when you can, take stairs instead of elevator or escalator. Even though we burn fat with longer walks, he still wants us to use little opportunities to move. "The more you do, the more you'll lose."

Even though the average adult woman burns approx. 200 calories walking 2 miles, and a bagel contains approx. 200 calories, it is still worthwhile to exercise. Why? Excess postexercise oxygen consumption dramatically raises your metabolic rate! Again, he reiterates that your increased metabolism will remain for 8-12 hours! He points to a study that says exercising 30-60 minutes dramatically increases your caloric output compared to less than 30 minutes.


When you lose weight by food restriction alone, you lose fat, water and muscle. When you regain the weight, you regain fat and water but NOT the muscle. If you don't exercise while losing weight (thus gaining muscle), you will have much more fat in your body than when you started, if you gain the weight again. This has an incredible lowering effect on your metabolism from then on.

This is why thin people can eat an ice cream cone and still be thin. They move.

The exercise he advocates is walking. Frequency - he prefers 7 days a week, since we eat 7 days a week. But - he'd rather have you walk less at the start, rather than burn out. "I've found that daily exercise produces results that are faster than and superior to those seen with exercising only three or four times a week."

That said, he wants you to take a 3-day break every 4 weeks. Two reasons: 1. he thinks it will keep you motivated. You'll be eager to start back, 2. keeps the body from becoming burned out or injured by overuse. He thinks women tend to exercise too often and too long once they get in the groove.

At this point he repeats you should walk for as long as you can beyond 30 minutes, up to 60 minutes, but it is very important to take your 3 rest days every 4 weeks.

Intensity - you should be able to talk. Once your exercise is easy, you should raise the intensity by walking faster, for a longer time, taking longer strides, taking shorter strides at a quicker pace, holding a pair of light weights in your hands, or attaching weights to your ankles, wrists, or waist. [This sounds like something we naturally do once we have walked for a while. I thought ankle weights invited injury; I will still avoid, as it seems hard on the knees.]


He likes strength training. It should be done IN ADDITION to walking. Walking should come first. He recommends: dumbbells, jump rope, Swiss ball (balance ball), exercise mat. He does not want people spending a lot of money on this, probably because a certain segment of the population won't start if economic outlay is required.

He says the wrong kind of strength training can produce horrible consequences, but the right kind will produce marvelous results. You need just the right amount of stimulation without overtaxing your muscles, connective tissue, nervous system, and hormone levels. When he talks hormone levels, I believe he's referring to the fact that stress raises cortisol and other undesirable hormones.

He wants to add strength training 30 days after starting cardio training. Begin with 3 days a week, in any combination that will allow "2 days of rest between workouts and 3 days of complete rest, meaning no strength or aerobic exercise, after your third workout for the week." [I thought we were supposed to work out 7 days a week. That must refer to the first 30 days when we are doing just walking.]

He recommends a fitness professional to determine your ability to lift weights and do reps. [Then we go back home, because he said earlier to use inexpensive equipment?]

Two weeks after starting weight lifting, he says to use a split routine of 1/2 cardio and 1/2 strength training. He would like the cardio done by 11:30 a.m. and the strength done by 3:30 p.m. Again, the reason is that the earlier you exercise, the more results you will see. The metabolic increase continues all day, but apparently not at night. So, the earlier you work out, the more hours of postexercise effect you will realize.

Aerobics are best for lowering BP, increasing HDL (good cholesterol), decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol), strengthens the heart, lowers body fat, keeps blood sugar stable. [I thought I remember Cory Everson saying strength training burns fat. That was in the 1980s, though].

Now he covers the dangers and symptoms of overtraining, presented Sweet 16 Tips, and nutrition and exercise myths and truths. I won't go over those.

Now you have the gist of this book without reading it yourself, in case you don't have the time or availability. I think he has some food for thought. I will try it. It certainly can't hurt to try walking in the morning. Traditionally, my favorite time was evening around dusk because my chores were over, signaling "my time." But I can change my ways for a good cause and see how it feels.

Best wishes, my friends, and keep Sparking! I know I will!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JACKIE542 4/22/2014 10:49AM


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MARTHA-ANN 4/22/2014 2:04AM

    Interesting info, thank you emoticon

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HICKOK-HALEY 4/21/2014 10:59PM


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MICKEYH 4/21/2014 4:23PM

    Thank you for sharing these valuable informations. It does really make sense for all of these info especially doing cardio in the morning. Let the metabolism work on your favor all day!
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CBRINKLEY401 4/21/2014 3:22PM

    Excellent information. Thanks so much for sharing this!
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Diet Reset

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dr. Mickey Harpaz, PhD has degrees in applied physiology and nutrition. He has treated more than 10,000 menopausal women.

He starts Diet Reset by repeating that during menopause, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone decrease, while androgen increases. But he says estrogen plays the key role. Loss of it is what causes weight to creep up.

When blood sugar goes up, insulin goes up. That results in no weight loss or weight increase.

Here is what we do in daily life to cause this to happen:

1. Going without food for at least 3 hours. This sharply raises your insulin level the next time you eat.

2. Eating too much at one sitting. This causes a problem for the LIVER. It can't break all that down without increasing triglycerides. The excessive sugar taken in a big meal makes insulin go up. When insulin goes up, the body can't burn fat.

3. Eating more than 10 grams of simple sugar per serving. Same as above. Causes increased insulin and no body fat burned.

4. Eating two carbohydrates in one sitting or near the same time. How many of us eat potatoes and bread at the time meal? Or pasta and bread? The same is true if you eat two serving sizes of one carbohydrate. The liver can't handle that and insulin levels go up too much and fat burning is "demolished." (The word he uses.)

He says you should eat fruits and vegetables ANYTIME you're hungry, even if it hasn't been 2 hours since your last meal or snack.

You want to stop blood sugar spikes, because the higher it spikes, the lower it drops afterward. It is an equally inverse relationship every time!

There is one more part of the picture: lack of exercise. This is number 5. Exercise is VERY important to menopausal women. Not using your muscles is going to make your blood sugar go up too. "Your goal is to burn energy from morning until night." Quote unquote.

Did you know that a woman gains weight from the bottom up? And that she loses weight from the top of the torso first, then from the bottom? I thought the past several months that my midriff seems to be getting smaller, but what about everything else? Dr. Harpaz answered that. I have a way to go, but it will continue and balance out!!!


Dr. Mick lists three quick tips to create the thermogenic effect of food:

1. Eat a minimum of 6 times per day. Three meals, three snacks.

2. Reduce fat intake, increase carb intake, and eat sufficient protein. In a diet that is 1,200 to 1,800 calories, total fat intake should be between 240 and 300 calories. (This confused me a little, because I thought we were already eating too many carbs).

3. Eat more than 1,000 calories every day.

At this point, he gives specific advice with lots of menu ideas. (I mean pages).
Always eat something within one hour of getting up, even if it's just a small piece of fruit, so your blood sugar doesn't go too low. Snacks should 120 calories or under and less than 10 grams of sugar. Remember, you're eating every 2 hours.

Yesterday, I ate 89 grams of fat, because one meal consisted of guacamole and blue corn tortilla chips. The avocado was 35 grams of fat in itself. So I need to consider his advice and see what happens if I do things differently. Of course, I don't do that very often. No one was home at dinnertime and I was free to be lazy so that's what I ate. Nuts are a part of my daily diet so I need to check into exactly how many grams of fat I am taking in from them. I always thought that as long as my overall calorie expenditure was within limits, I was okay. Apparently not.

I think that vegetarians might protest this. Any vegetarians out there, please share your opinion or experiences. I can see a vegetarian eating beans and grain at one meal, a bean burrito for example. My calories are usually in range, yet I'm not losing weight. I might see what happens now that I am finally exercising again. But I will keep in mind that my fat intake should be dropped, even if it is healthy monounsaturated fat.

Eat a minimum of 5 times and up to 8 times per day. Mix one protein and one carbohydrate. Never have two carbs or a double portion of one carb at one meal. Each meal or snack should be eaten 2 to 2-1/2 hours after the last one. Keep sugar intake under 10 grams. Fat intake should be 10 grams per meal and 20-30 grams per day. (I'm already up to 54 grams today as of lunch. I have to stop this.) Each meal should be 60% carbs, 30% protein, 10% fat. Never have second servings. Never skip meals or snacks.

It's too bad that I didn't finish this chapter on Diet Reset before I started some soup this morning. I put sweet potatoes, corn, lentils, and rice in the pot! Egad! If this guy is right, I have to change my ways! Again, my calorie intake is okay, but between lack of exercise this winter and violating these guidelines, I can see why I'm not making progress.

Next, I will cover Movement Reset.

I already started reading Denise Austin's new book Side Effect: Skinny. I like to get different ideas. I couldn't resist hearing what she has to say these days. It's interesting how different diet and fitness experts have varying approaches and each claim success. I guess that's because everyone is different, just like Spark People has said. I remember early on after I started, they said different things work for different people. I hope you find something useful in this blog.

Have a great day! I'll be out walking my dog this afternoon. The weather is beautiful and it will be cooling off the rest of the week, starting tomorrow already! Until then, it's happy birdwatching and enjoying the balmy breeze!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGORA4 4/12/2014 1:12AM

    Yup, just finished reading this book yesterday, and it surely is an eye opener. I had the same conversation with my husband today, and he mentioned the need for grains to go with beans for complete protein. He also stated that if your one serving of mixed carbs, you'd be getting a 1/2 serving of this and a 1/2 serving of that, but still only one serving.

I agree with CBRINKLEY401, you need to limit it to one total serving, not a serving of this carb and a serving of that carb. So soup would be one serving with mixed veggies in it, not a lot different from having a salad with mixed veggies.

I really appreciate you mentioning this book, I'm giving it a try. I didn't really want to hear some of what he said, but I needed to hear it, because what I've been doing isn't working. Thanks.

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HICKOK-HALEY 4/2/2014 11:36PM

    Good article!

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MICKEYH 3/31/2014 11:49PM

    Thanks for sharing this blog. It was kinda, eye opening to me. I can definitely use and follow some of this info. Can't wait for the movement reset next. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CBRINKLEY401 3/31/2014 1:44PM

    Of course, that soup isn't going to count as 4 FULL servings of carbs if you don't eat 4 full servings of soup! Since it says eating 2 different carbs or 2 servings of one carb, I have to assume he means 2 SERVINGS each of different carbs. So if that is the case, you can eat 1/2 serving each of 2 different carbs, or 1/4 serving of 4 different carbs, because that only results in one serving total of carbs.

I'm not a vegetarian, but combining beans and a grain is so that you get complete protein, so that wouldn't count as 2 servings of carbs - more like one serving of carbs and one of protein. Someone who is a vegetarian would know better, I'm sure.

Again, thanks for sharing the information you're learning from this book. I know I'm not exercising the way I should be, especially since I prefer outside exercise and this eternal winter has made that difficult - except when there's snow to be shoveled! Now that Spring is in sight, I can resume my long walks.
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LOVELESMILLS 3/31/2014 1:18PM


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Friday, March 21, 2014

I am ready to blog on Diet Reset but got distracted with the conflict and time taken to get my dad off the road. His license expired two months ago and with the cold weather, it was easy enough to keep him in their apartment with the icy conditions in their parking lot. As soon as the asphalt was exposed, he drove himself to the doctor on Monday. I followed in my car because I won't sanction him driving. He doesn't think of himself as breaking the law because of the provision to pay a late driver's license fee.

I'm not getting much help. The doctor didn't send in the physician form from the DMV that I personally printed up and drove down to his office last month. He apparently has a policy of not filling them out because a "I don't want you driving" speech is enough for his patients. Not my dad. Dad got that speech on Monday. He went to the DMV the next day and got his license. The nurse and office manager in the clinic said they would do a driving test. They didn't. How he got past them I will never know but it's a satellite office in a very small town. I spent two hours in the clinic that day just sitting around and by the time I drove home, I was trashed for the day. It wasn't until Tuesday night that my daughter called to inform me that she wrung it out of him that he went to the DMV that day and got the license.

So Wednesday, I printed a form that can be filled out by anyone and spent the day writing the things I had seen and heard from my experiences with him. I simply wrote on the form "see attached" on the lines provided and sent them pages delineating his medical problems and what he had done on the highways and streets of this area over the past 18 months. Then I had to drive 10 miles to the nearest fax machine because the DMV told me over the phone it would be better to fax it rather than wait for snail mail. I don't have a scanner connected to this computer.

All of this takes TIME, all diverting me away from taking care of myself and my family. I realize he has rights and we are trying to keep their personal rights intact. That's why they're not in a nursing home yet. But he shouldn't be on the road in his shape. There are enormous numbers of kids who will be on the streets in their town by June, going to library programs, the beach, summer school, riding bikes. It's a hopping place. And my dad has a history of clipping corners. The street from their apartment building comes out onto Main Street about two blocks away from the beach, and two blocks from the library from the other direction. There are always kids on that corner waiting to cross.

Another positive about his staying home all winter is I have been doing all their grocery shopping exclusively. I have not been bringing soda pop, ice cream, candy, baked goods that he had being bringing (two 12-packs of Coke at a time). He has lost 15 pounds over the winter. For a diabetic, that is a big deal. Now I hope he doesn't start going to the store and bringing that stuff back home again. He certainly didn't seem to miss it. I made them guacamole, healthy dips and spreads, brought lots of berries and fruits and veggies, other healthy snacks, and prepared them so they never were in want. He was happy and satisfied.

I'm spending whatever time is required to get him at least a decent evaluation from the state before he commences. I feel it is my responsibility to the community. Let's hope for the best. The DMV will evaluate his situation early next week. If they let him drive after that, then my conscience is clear.

I spent yesterday taking his VPAP machine to the medical supply company because it had died. He was content letting me do that for him and didn't give me any trouble about driving down there. I take him back on Tuesday to get his new one.

Diet Reset will come ASAP. It will be shorter than Mind Reset, I guarantee you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GALINAZ 3/25/2014 10:45AM

    Such a difficult responssibility for you! I can't imagine what I would do if I couldn't drive. My city is not walk friendly and our summer heat really would restrict me. That said, thinking about your situation with your father, finding alternatives to driving may help him accept losing his license. Selling his car and banking the proceeds for taxi/transport services is one possibility.

Equally important is taking care of yourself. Even if its just 10 minutes in a quiet place emptying your mind of everything you have to do and just breathing. You are being an amazingly caring daughter.

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MICKEYH 3/22/2014 7:54AM

    I so appreciate your caring about your Father's safety and others. I live in the state known as "heaven for retired people" due to warm climate. And we do have sooooo many elder people live in our state and elder driver. I see TV news saying about accident caused by elder driver like every other day. Even when I'm on the road at traffic stop, looking at the person lined next me, I get so scare thinking about their age and in her slow movement she was honked by the car behind her when light changed.
Some time I feel sorry for them that they are still in needs of driving or they can't realized "its time to giving up driving". Good luck on getting great answer from DMV. Keep all record you sent to them as good cause. Just in case of blaming bush from police or community for your family's sake. Sending prayers for your Father's safety.

Looking forwards for your reports. ***Hugs***

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DJ4HEALTH 3/22/2014 1:49AM

    Just remember that you can only do so much and then it is all in their hands. You did warn them and make sure that you keep all the paper work so that you can prove it to them when they try to say that you did not warn them.

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CBRINKLEY401 3/21/2014 1:49PM

    Thank you for being a responsible daughter and thinking of others safety and trying to get your dad off the road for everyone's safety. I know too many others who would rather let their unsafe parents continue to drive because they are too busy to run errands for them or make arrangements for them to get to appointments.

It wasn't easy for my Dad either when he demanded my Grandmother's keys after she backed out of her driveway and ended up on the neighbor's lawn across the street (it wasn't the first time that something like this had happened). She was mad, of course, but he said that they would take her any place she wanted to go and he was doing so for her own safety as well as others.

I wish you luck with this.

Comment edited on: 3/21/2014 1:50:27 PM

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