Friday, April 30, 2010

[ 78/365 ] ..... Chantelle S.

My freshman roommate. Hearing her name I was anxious that she was black. Turns out she’s whiter than white and grew up in South Africa. She battled anorexia, and had to go home after 6 weeks. Double-single all for me!
Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

[ 77/365 ] ..... Julie T.

A good friend from old Grainger days. Lots of memories of lunches, dinner parties, pokeno, etc. She was a precursor to my infertility struggle, and a strong ear to tug on when it came my turn. We must get together!
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

[ 78/365 ] ..... Leslie L.

She landed my position at Learning Resources about a year after I left. The tiniest little thing. Just a tad A-type. Super sweet. HUGE Cubs fan. We shared not only the same job but also a love/hate relationship with infertility.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

503 Photography Workshop: Week 1 ... Spring is Here!

I'm afraid to say it, but I think Spring is really here. Shhh! Let's not all say it at once. I'm afraid it might go away if Mother Nature decides she wasn't really ready.

I wanted to post a quick follow-up from my BIG day last week. Our fertility treatment went as planned. We transferred two frozen embryos, all without a hitch. I'm feeling normal most of the time, but know that means absolutely nothing when it comes to this journey. I'm honestly not reading into any symptoms, which is new for me. We'll just have to wait and see what happens next week. Jeff and I are completely satisfied with whatever God has in store for us, and excited to see what that will be!

The 503 Photography Workshop started last week... and wow! I love it. So far it's just the right pace for a busy lifestyle like mine. And I've already learned a ton I didn't know. Which is a lot. Really. I know that surprises you, doesn't it? I really don't know everything. LOL.

This past week we started with aperture and ISO. This picture of our flowering crab apple tree was one of my homework assignments to capture a shallow depth of field. I like it. Do you? I now know how to get that lovely blurriness behind my subject (called bokeh... yea, I didn't know that either!). My homework hasn't been graded yet. So I'm wallowing in my own love for it.

[ 75/365 ] ..... Mark R.

Another IUSA geek. We had many a late night together strategizing campaigns, plastering the campus with posters, and partying til the cows came home. He was a great campaign manager. Glad it was him, not me. So much fun though.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Mother's Day Everyday 5x7 Photo Book { Hello You Books }

Mother's Day is May 9. Snuck up on you, didn't it? I know it did me, and now I'm wondering what the heck to get my mom. Are you the same? Lucky for me I'm a mom too which means I'll be raking in the gifts. Um. Not really. When your husband is out of work you can pretty much expect some extra TLC on Mother's Day, and that's about it. So what's a girl to do? Create her own Mother's Day gift... and not just one but two!

This weekend I was required to be lazy because of my recent fertility treatment. And for me being lazy means just sitting on my butt, but doesn't mean I can't create! Here are the two books... Mother's Day 5x7 photo books.

Not sure what to get your mom? Or your wife? Or your grandma? These are easy and definitely one-of-a-kind -- sure to bring a tear or two, and isn't that what we're looking for this Mother's Day? Email me if you would like to make one for your special mom. If you're reading this on Facebook, leave me a comment or send me a message!

This post features the Mother's Day Everyday 5x7 Book.

Click here to see the Mother's Day Love You 5x7 Book.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Credits: Paislee Press Everyday Moments 5x7 Quick Album

Mother's Day Love You 5x7 Photo Book { Hello You Books }

Click here to view this photo book larger

Credits: Kitty Designs Cutie Putie Birdie Kit

[ 74/365 ] ..... Aunt Pat

My oldest aunt, and perhaps the craziest. She loves taking pictures which makes my heart warm, and adores Sean often giving him sips of her pop. Her memory is sharp! When in doubt ask Aunt Pat and she’ll remember it.
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

[ 73/365 ] ..... Addison R.

One of Sean’s girlfriends. She lives across the street and he frequently asks, “Play Addison?” The cutest thing on the block. She doesn’t talk much yet, but she’ll have a lot to say. She definitely stands her ground. Little stinker.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

[ 72/365 ] ..... Meri

Cousin on my dad’s side. She was the baby of the family for a while, which I loved – someone to pick on other than me! We reconnected this past Fall at her sister’s wedding. Would love to catch up more.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

[ 71/365 ] ..... Mrs. N.

The mom of one of my guy BFF’s from college. She loved having us girls over for some girltalk. Always a welcome place to be before a night out bar hopping. She was genuinely interested in our lives and careers.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

[ 70/365 ] ..... Colleen M.

The amazing, talented intern at Young & Rubicam. Soon she will be copywriting the next CLIO award winner. My little cousin is all grown up! It seems like yesterday she was sporting a mullet because she cut her own hair.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

[ 68/365 ] ..... Mrs. M.

My childhood BFF’s mom. She was also my confirmation sponsor. She was the first person I know to use curling ribbon. And she insisted I sleepover when my brothers had a party, and never snitched on my brothers. She’s awesome!
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[ 69/365 ] ..... Margaret L.

An online friend I made during my struggle with infertility. We met once for lunch, but the friendship never flourished. She scolded me for talking to “others” on a board, and not responding promptly to her. What’s up with that?
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Finalist in Photography Challenge - Click & Vote!

My photo was selected as a finalist in the 503 Photography April Challenge... check it out and vote for your favorite! My photo is #5. ----->

[ 67/365 ] ..... Christine K.

A tiny little thing. I was super jealous of her petite, short frame – the exact opposite of me! We would love going to her house to jump on the trampoline. Back then not everyone had one. Softball. Chinese jump rope.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

[ 66/365 ] ..... Lauri B.

My third cousin. Looking back, I realize how patient and tolerable she and my sister were with me when we were kids. I’m sure I was a brat. Talent shows. Singing into the Sears tape recorder. Those were the days!

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

[ 65/365 ] ..... Mr. Lakamper

The father of my good friend, Ute, in Germany. He loved Hershey’s chocolate. I met him several times - the most memorable was when we had dinner at a local barn turned restaurant/brewery and he sang & danced for me.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

[ 64/365 ] ..... Matt D.

The D in NDB. Which doesn’t mean much except to a select few who remember it as an awesome student election campaign. Except we lost. I believe he was the lucky recipient of Lia’s flash during a senate meeting.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

[ 63/365 ] ..... Matthew V.

One of my cousin’s on my dad’s side. We hadn’t had a baby in the family for a long time so he was spoiled a lot. Now he’s about to graduate from Purdue, but I won’t hold it against him.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Top 40 Billboard

Yep, I’m still stuck on the 40 thing.

I’m only 40 once, so I’m going to suck every last opportunity out of it. I drove down to Indy this past Friday for a girl’s weekend with one of my BFFs, Myrna. We whooped it up eating out, going to the movies, pampering ourselves with pedicures, and shopping. Amazing.

The only downside is I had to drive four and a half hours to get there. So, I loaded up my CD player with some of my favorite songs of all time, and proceeded to sing like Whitney Houston in the privacy of my own car. During this private concert I had the brainstorm idea of documenting my very own Top 40 Billboard… one song for every year of my life.

I’ll be honest, the first five years were a little sketchy when it came to music (except for my Free to Be You and Me album) so I chose songs released in that year that hold some meaning to me. Here we go…

1970 – Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel) … I fell in love with Simon & Garfunkel as a kid. My mom would play their Live in Central Park album at home.

1971 – American Pie (Don McLean) … We recorded ourselves singing this song on a Sears cassette tape recorder.

1972 – I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash) … Not sure why, but it brings back happy memories

1973 – Piano Man (Billy Joel) … One of my all-time favorites from Billy Joel

1974 – Free to Be You & Me (The New Seekers) … I received the Marlo Thomas Free to Be You & Me LP album from my godparents, and played it over and over again. I pretended I was performing on stage.

1975 – How Sweet It Is (James Taylor) … Jeff & I cut our wedding cake to this song. James Taylor is one of my top ten favorites.

1976 – Disco Duck (Rick Dees) … This is the first song I remember singing to in the car while on vacation. I was only six, and I remember my brothers making fun of me.

1977 – We Are the Champions (Queen) … This must be on everyone’s top 40, right?

1978 – Summer Nights (Grease Soundtrack) … Sandy and I would steal our older sisters’ LP and dance and sing to this song over and over and over.

1979 – Message in a Bottle (Police) … The Police symbolized my pre-teen years

1980 – Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd) … Our class picked this song to sing in a school talent show. Catholic school. No joke.

1981 – Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Pat Benatar) … This was the first album I remember buying. I was eleven. My brother Mike said he would take me to her concert if mom & dad would allow it.

1982 – Jack & Diane (John Cougar) … I brought this song to school in 6th grade English class as an example of a ballad.

1983 – Safety Dance (Men Without Hats) … only my good friend Donna knows why this is on my list! Ahhh, summer days as a teenager.

1984 – 99 Luftballons (Nena) … everyone’s favorite song in 8th grade.

1985 – St. Elmo’s Fire (John Parr) …. loved this movie and this song. They both remain at the top of my list.

1986 – Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order) … so many memories of dancing to this song in high school.

1987 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2) … I’m not much of a concert-goer, but I did see U2 twice – Joshua Tree and Zooropa.

1988 – Friends (Michael W. Smith) … The theme song at our high school graduation. Lots of memories wrapped up in this song.

1989 – Stand (REM) … This song whooshes me back to the dorm freshman year.

1990 – Love Shack (B-52s) … This song whooshes me back to drunken parties sophomore year

1991 – Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice) … OK, you’re thinking “really Amy?” This isn’t a favorite song of mine, but it does hold funny memories of my overseas study trip to the Netherlands. Word to your what???

1992 – These Are Days (10,000 Maniacs) … I dubbed this the theme song of my college years. Those were the days!!

1993 – Closer to Free (BoDeans) … This song whooshes me back to bar hopping in my 20s

1994 – If I Ever Lose My Faith in You (Sting) … because you have to have Sting on your Top 40

1995 – You Oughta Know (Alannis Morissette) … One of the best “chicks rule” songs ever

1996 – Just a Girl (No Doubt)… the second best “chicks rule” song of my time.

1997 – Good Riddance (Green Day) … love this song for its melody, lyrics and simplicity

1998 – All For You (Sister Hazel) … This song appeared on a Valentine’s CD I made for Jeff the year we started dating (which was 2000. I know. I'm confused too. I was a laggard when it comes to music).

1999 – Angel (Sara McLachlan) … I fell in love with this song from the City of Angels soundtrack. Great movie too.

2000 – I Try (Macy Gray) … raw. pure. real. I turned 30 this year and met Jeff.

2001 – No Such Thing (John Mayer) … this song made me realize how quickly I was getting “old”

2002 – From This Moment On (Shania Twain ) … Our Wedding Song. Our first dance was choreographed, and every time I hear this song now I try to remember the steps.

2003 –Bring Me to Life (Evanescence) … I hated this song at first, but now it’s an all-time favorite.

2004 – 100 Years (Five for Fighting) … another song that made me realize how quickly I was aging.

2005 – Unwritten (Natasha Bedingfield) … this was my theme song during my struggle with infertility

2006 – Suddenly I See (K.T. Tunstall) … I had an a-ha moment listening to this song while walking through the woods at Vet Acres.

2007 – Upside Down (Jack Johnson) … the theme song of the year Sean was born

2008 – 1, 2, 3, 4 (Plain White T’s) … it’s pretty simple = there’s only ONE thing TWO do THREE words FOUR you… I love you.

2009 – I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas) … makes me wish I was twenty-something again bar hopping. Um, not really. Instead I sing it at the top of my lungs while driving {imagine embarrassing head bobbing and finger tapping on the steering wheel… thank goodness Sean is still young enough to get a kick out of me}

2010 – Fireflies (Owl City) … Dreams. Hope. Fireflies. Can’t get much better than this.

[ 62/365 ] ..... Christopher S.

My step-nephew, if that’s even a real term? He’s a fun loving kid and oh so polite which says a ton about his mom! Best of all he does more than tolerate the toddlers. He genuinely enjoys playing with them!

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

[ 61/365 ] ..... Karen W.

Hands down the best boss I ever had. Bar none. We were good friends too, but that didn’t stop her from being an effective manager. I learned a lot from her from managing people to being diplomatic to raising kids.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

December Daily: Final Book { Hello You Books }

You're not seeing things. And no, it's not a mistake. It is April and I'm just now posting my final December Daily book. You've seen all of the pages already, but I never assembled it all into one neat, tidy little package. Thanks to blurb I've done just that. They now have a super duper very cool BookShow(tm) which allows me to showcase my book for you. The only caveat is I have to order the darn thing in order to keep this live... so anyone who feels in the least bit sorry that my husband is out of a job, feel free to order it for me. Just kidding.

Check out this post for an overview of this project. And here for a recap. And here for a similar project called A Week in Our Life inspired by the blog of Ali Edwards. She's gearing up right now for her 2010 Week in The Life project, but I'm way too busy with my other journeys to do it right now. But let me know if you're interested in capturing your daily life for a month or a week, email me and we'll make it happen.

[ 60/365 ] ..... Jim R.

Jim and Pete. Pete and Jim. Best friends, and I rarely knew them to be apart from one another. Jim donned the 80s mullet like a rock star. He laughed his butt off when I couldn’t hit a tennis ball.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Monday, April 12, 2010

[ 503 April Photo Challenge ] My light. My hope.

Next week is big. Super big. On Wednesday April 21 I embark on two journeys, neither of which I know how they will turn out. One is the 503 Photography Workshop I've been dying to get into for about a year. So much of my creative energy right now is focused on documenting stories in pictures + words. And I like to think I have some inherent eye for composition, but my technical skills on the digital camera suck. I'm really looking forward to this incredible creative journey in the coming weeks.

The other journey is we head back to the fertility center for another shot at getting pregnant. I approach this with a high level of faith. I'm 120% confident in God's plan for our family building. It's been a long six year journey to reach this level of peace, and it's an amazing place to be. Am I confident that my body is in the best physical shape for this feat? Nope. Not one bit. But I do believe that God is pretty crafty and infinitely smarter than me. He can do it, if it's His will. And if it's not this time, then He will give me the grace and motivation and time to improve for next time.

I pray I enter both of these journeys with no reservations, no regrets, no doubts... just pure joy and faith in the process.

Meanwhile, I am inspired and motivated by Sean. My light. My hope. I snapped this shot of him last night on my camera phone. He woke up at midnight crying "mommy!" and I soothed him back to sleep. When I layed him back down in bed and turned on Charlie, I was struck by the tenderness of the moment. This is what life is about. My light. My hope.

The 503 April Photo Challenge was to snap a picture on your cell phone that spoke to one, some or all of the words - Hope. Dark. Light. Blue. I got a lot more out of this challenge than I thought I would. :-)

[ 59/365 ] ..... Myrna H.

One of my BFFs. She has her own room at my house, and I secretly wish she would live here. Or at least closer. I breathe easier when she is around. We’ve been to hell and back together. Love her.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Sunday, April 11, 2010

[ 58/365 ] ..... Bill L.

One of the gang in college. And one you could always count on for just about anything, including alcohol. I seem to remember he was the one to figure out I really didn’t know how to play Euchre while drunk.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Saturday, April 10, 2010

[ 57/365 ] ..... Kaaren F.

We started two weeks apart as admin assistants and became great friends. I was so jealous that her computer had Windows and mine was just DOS. We took a gazillion phone messages before there was voice mail. Misery loved company.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Friday, April 9, 2010

[ 56/365 ] ..... Mrs. Friend

My second grade teacher. I don’t remember much about her but that she was super nice just like her name. She & her husband attended my First Communion which was held at my house. I felt pretty special that day.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Today You...

Are so darn independent it makes Daddy & me giggle sometimes

Love stacking things. Big things, small things, anythings. "Top" you say, and then start piling things on top of one another. You also love to line things up in a row. I'm sure it's a developmental milestone but I'm too busy to look it up. Daddy & I like to think you're just super smart and demonstrating your ability to do advanced calculus.

Will watch Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, Mickey, Goofy, Dinosaur Train, Toy Story, Lion King and/or Iron Giant nonstop if we let you.

Just got a new pair of crocs sandals, and you were so excited to have them that you giggled for about five minutes while you stomped around.

Talk a lot. You have a lot to say sometimes and not always to a particular person. You say "da" or "ok" for yes. Have trouble remembering to say "please" and "thank you". And you have the word "no" down pat. So much so that you will scream it over and over while proceeding to hit anything in your way. We're working on that.

Can get really cranky when you're tired. You used to be able to stay up late. Not so much anymore.

Are not a very good boy in church. Most Sundays Daddy & I will go at separate times. You don't seem to like it when you don't go, and ask "go church?" often.

Love your cousin Hannah. You ask to go see her constantly, multiple times a day. The two of you are learning how to play together, but mostly do your own thing. This past weekend Hannah said, "Come on Shaw (this is how she pronounces your name), let's go outside." You said, "OK" and ran right behind her out the door. I hope the two of you always remain good friends.

Can't wait to go outside to play, ride your bike, or go to the park. You have a new wagon and will drag it around the house asking "go outside?"

Like to read. You wake up in the morning, sit in the big rocker and gather Pooh, Piglet, Roo, Tigger, Lumpy and all of your blankies with you while you read a gazillion books one by one.

Cannot go to bed without at least 2 or 3 blankies. And in the mornings you grab a blankie or two and ask to snuggle in bed with Daddy & Mommy. It lasts only a few seconds, but we cherish it nonetheless.

Are almost two and a half years old. Where has time gone?

[ 55/365 ] ..... Lisa B.

My big sister when I worked at Grainger. It was eerie how my life mimicked hers, just a few years behind. Wonderful cook. Good listener. Such a strong role model for me, and a dear friend at the same time.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

[ 54/365 ] ..... Barbara U.

Hands down one of smartest friends I’ve ever had. She had a “things to do before I die” list which was the coolest. When we graduated she gave me the song “Don’t You Forget About Me” and I never have.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

[ 53/365 ] ..... Dawn A.

Such a dear friend to me. She shares my faith, and struggles just the same with understanding it all. No judgments. No pretense. One more friend I know I can call at 2AM in an emergency. Love her to pieces.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Monday, April 5, 2010

[ 52/365 ] ..... Tim K.

I was a little nervous when they moved in across the street. We hadn’t had the best of luck with new neighbors. But oh, what a gem! Friendly. Funny. Kind. Love hanging with him at the Retts on summer nights.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This is what matters most...

You know when you get married and you realize that it's not just you any longer? That now you have an entirely new family to love and share and celebrate. Um, and figure out how you're going to juggle all this loving, sharing and celebrating. And then you throw kids into the mix and it's even harder because now you have to coordinate naps and bedtime and food. Whew! You know what I'm talking about, right? And you get to a point where you throw up your hands and say, "This is us. Take us or leave us."

We celebrated Easter three times this year. Yowza! First was on Palm Sunday with my in-laws. And the twins were totally adorable in that First Easter, crawling, giggling, put everything in their mouth kind of way. Lots of yummy food, easter baskets galore, and Sean's first easter egg hunt. Gotta love it.

Then on Easter Eve we celebrated with my family. In traditional Greninger style we colored Easter eggs together and ordered pizza. Can't get any more fun, comfortable, loving than that! It was so much fun to watch Hannah have an absolute blast coloring her eggs. She broke one (big surprise), promptly ran to get the Scotch tape and asked mommy to fix it for her. All better! And my niece Marisa surprised me by decorating an egg just for me.

And finally Easter Day sprung forth with all sorts of sunshine and happiness. Sean was genuinely surprised and happy to find the Easter Bunny had paid a visit during the night. New spring PJs, Duplo blocks, books, mini-slinky, flashlight, dinosaur stickers and loads of chocolate. Not a bad loot if the Easter Bunny says so herself. Next up homemade waffles, and then off to church. Heavens be praised Sean behaved himself for the most part. Oh, except for saying "I poopy. Poopies. Poopies." during the Consecration. I'm trying to forget that part (and probably everyone seated near us too). And finally to Aunt Susie and Uncle Frank's for the best brunch EVER. I took full advantage and loaded up my plate twice. It was an absolute delight to spend the day with them and my in-laws. Blowing bubbles. Talking politics. Playing with Playdoh. Chasing dogs. This is what matters most. Family. Love. Bubbles. We are blessed.

[ 51/365 ] ..... Jane W.

She started her own business out of her garage, and now employs just shy of 200 people. A classy lady. Professional, yet down to earth. I was always ready to get an earful when a catalog proof crossed her desk.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

The first sign of spring in our flowerbeds!

The sleepy colors of winter
Fade fast in the dawn of spring.
The joy of Easter's promise,
Delivers sweet reason to sing.

Refreshed from her snowy slumber,
Mother Earth exalts her worth.
In a colorful burst of glory,
She blazons her wondrous rebirth

Renew your spirit, refresh your soul,
Rejoice with all humankind.
Celebrate life everlasting.
Peace and wonder are yours to find.

May the blessing of the Lord be upon you...

[ 50/365 ] ..... Fr. Dupuis

My high school college counselor. I told him I wanted to go to University of Illinois. He told me I wouldn’t get in, and I would be better off at Indiana University. He was right. I was wrong. Fate intervened.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Friday, April 2, 2010

[ 49/365 ] ..... Tina R.

She told me when I first moved to IL that all stop signs with white trim were optional. I believed her. Playing basketball and softball together. Thank goodness she had a car to drive me home. Parties. Movies. TEC retreats.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]

Thursday, April 1, 2010

[ 48/365 ] ..... Claire W.

Our next door neighbor when we first moved to Crystal Lake. She was a little flighty, and I was flabbergasted seeing her shoveling dirt when she was supposed to be on bedrest. To this day I curse her landscaping decisions.

Click here to read about what the heck I'm doing with [40x365]


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