Category: Time

Searching For a Miracle and A Dog Named Dug

With all due respect to dogs, I’m totally a cat lady. I love cats. I can’t help it, I feel connected to them. But I also have quite a soft spot for most all animals. Both wise and helpful to their humans, animals are special.

And they’re also somewhat dependent on us. Which is why I kicked into gear for a dog named Dug. Dug, a black Labrador retriever, is our neighbor. We don’t know him, or his human family. But last week, that didn’t matter.

I was just getting ready to leave when I thought a bomb went off in my front yard. BOOM – car alarms blaring – people screaming. I have never heard that sequence of sounds in real life, and didn’t know what was happening beyond noticing a speeding parade of first responders appearing out of nowhere, zooming down my street.

We live inches from Boston’s city line, although inside a woodsy oasis of urban conservation land. It’s still the city, where scary things we try to ignore happen every day. But bombs going off? I was nervous, I couldn’t see beyond our tree-lined property and wondered if the BOOM came from the small private college across the street.

In spite of searching for any breaking news, it took hours before we learned what happened. An 18-wheeler had taken out a car, throwing both its driver and a dog into the road. Although the hit shredded the car, the driver was miraculously ok. The ambulance took her to the hospital, but the dog…where was Dug?

Neighbors, the police, animal rescue – we all searched for a dog we didn’t know, dredging through the muddy woods running alongside the busy road, batting away mosquitoes, removing brush and woodsy debris along the way. But nothing.

Was he injured? Dead? Lost? They said it would be a miracle if he had survived. My heart was breaking.

So I dug deep and tried to conjure up my best psychic abilities. We’ve all got intuition – surely I could locate Dug. I tried, without success, until dusk. So I gave my phone number to the police and neighbors, and tried to let it go. If only I could.

After dinner I stepped outside to shake out my kitchen rug, and that’s when I heard it – barking, loud, big-dog barking coming from the woods behind our house. Sir Husband quickly ran into the woods with our neighbor. The two of them called and called, hoping it was Dug.

As I stood at the edge of the woods trying hard to wait, my cell phone rang.

“We have Dug! He just came home,” said the unknown woman from the accident. “I don’t know how he got here but your search must have somehow directed him home, and he seems just fine. Thank you so much, thank you.”

I’d say maybe that was a miracle.

Everything is connected. Everything.

 

 

 

 

Locking Down Our Destiny Is Pretty Hard To Do

Do you ever wonder what on earth you are doing here at this particular point in time? Are we here to evolve our souls or make an impact, or do we just live for a while then turn to dust? Because however you look at it, we are here now, making and breaking history.

The movie Slum Dog Millionaire (love it) tries answer that with a multiple choice question ~ “Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 Million Rupees. How did he do it?”  A. He cheated  B. He’s lucky  C. He’s a genius  D. It is written.

I’m an answer D’er. We have our own destiny, it’s already written and we’re here to fulfill it. The bigger question is, what is it? For some it’s obvious, for the rest of us, not so much.

Until this year I never really questioned my place and time in history, I was always just happy to be an American at a time that life in our first-world country was pretty okay. So I just went about my business trying to fulfill my unknown-but-written destiny.

Turns out our path to destiny comes with challenges we have try to work through, hopefully learning as we go. Doesn’t matter what they are – health, job, people, life – I was feeling pretty happy recently to have finally overcome (or so I thought,) years and years of rollercoaster challenges, thereby rocking my destiny.

Then things started getting tricky. Trump tricky. And all of a sudden some of those challenges I thought I was done with – bullies, narcissists, abusers, sociopaths, dangerous, angry humans – is happening on a massive, grandiose scale beyond what most people really imagined. Doesn’t matter what side you’re on, historical chaos ensues.

So the other day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the state of national affairs, I asked myself, any idea why you are here at this particular point and time? Was this written? Did you pick this time to exist to experience this? Or are you just lucky? Because some might say experiencing hardship is good for the soul. Think about Moses and the Israelites. Or slaves. Or Jews in Nazi Germany. Syrian refugees. Was that good for them? Did they meet their destinies or their fates?

And now why, all of a sudden, do I feel like I need to re-examine my own destiny more closely? To dig deeper and lock it down? I thought I already did that. But thanks to our lifetime’s history-in-the-making, I get the opportunity to keep on keeping on my own path of destiny discovery.

Maybe that’s the whole point. Whether we are here to evolve, make a known impact, or simply turn to dust, wouldn’t we really like to know what on earth we’re doing here? I guess I shouldn’t work so hard at it. After all, I’m pretty sure it’s already written.

 

 

Maps For The iPhone Has A Mind of Its Own

I don’t have road rage…although some who ride in my car beg to differ. I have GPS rage. Maps is in charge, and I hate it. Oh don’t get me wrong – I love having global positioning at my fingertips to help me navigate the squiggly lines our state calls roads. Even George Washington grumped about that in one of his diary entries when he was passing through Massachusetts, but I find a squiggly grid of asphalt over horse tracks quite charming.

It’s that Siri wants me to go on the highway every single time I hit the road, even if I opt for the alternate route when she hands out the options. I type in the address, watch the spinning ball calculate, and most of the I time pick the back-roads option. Sure it may be a few more minutes in time, but it’s usually less miles in distance, and I just prefer a little more scenery.

But nope. When I pull out of my driveway and hear, “Starting out to <address>” and turn the way I know is the alternate route, all of a sudden I see a big REROUTING come across the screen. Say what?

Then when I hear, “Turn around when possible,” I know she wants me on the highway. So I defy her to stay on the back-road track and the big REROUTING game begins. She directs me toward the highway, I defy. She redirects, I defy. Back and forth back and forth until sometimes I trash my destination altogether just for the sake of defying her. Yea.

Sir Husband with his unbounded patience finds it quite comical, along with my irritation-turned-rage. It’s particularly bad at night, Siri really has the upper hand and knows it. It’s dark, my night vision isn’t keen and things look scary and confusing. She always wins.

I suppose it’s a control thing, I’m only a follower if I can maintain some personal control. Me against the machine, technology, Big Brother.

But, life’s idiosyncrasies prevail.

Because as I caught my breath after a particularly irritating rerouting adventure – in which I found myself on the highway before all was said and done – I learned that Siri is a real person. A woman named Susan Bennett, who in fact was not even hired by Apple to be the voice of Siri and beloved Maps. They took her voice from some previously recorded material she did for another company in 2005, and didn’t even compensate her.

I was feeling rage against a real person, well not really. But technically speaking, there is a human behind the device. There are over 700 million iPhones in the world now. She’s literally all over the map…and in my car trying to get me on the highway.

So I might maintain a little George Washington grump when I fight to turn right when pushed to turn left on a road that doesn’t even go in a straight line. But I know without a doubt, eventually Susan Bennett will get me where I am going and let me know it with her clear certainty.  You have arrived.

 

It’s Easy To Be Yourself If You Remember Who You Are

Last night my historian husband started singing a song (he does that a lot, just starts singing out loud, usually songs from the 1970s,) that he used to karaoke at a club he frequented way back in the day. This was before karaoke even existed mind ya, he used a beer bottle as his mic and people would clear the dance floor for him to croon. Then he stopped mid-song last night and said, Wow, I can’t believe how many people I have been during my lifetime. 

Did you ever stop and think for a minute about how many people you may have been in your lifetime to date? I don’t mean multiple personalities, although sure why not – our personalities can and do change to some degree depending on our situation. I’m talking about who you really “were then,” verses who you are “right now.”

He began reminiscing about those different people he was – during his formative years, as a teenager, a wild fraternity brother, a banker-turned-journalist, husband, father, husband again, step-father, photographer, writer, furniture-maker, antique car enthusiast, Harvard University employee and student, and of course a pseudo-karaoke star.

As he did that I was overcome with physical and emotional discomfort – not from his chronicled narrative, but from whatever is locked up behind closed doors in my own mind. Memories that I can’t see or hear, but I can feel. I think it’s called dissociative amnesia – the stuff is in there – I just can’t remember much after too many years of overwhelming stress.

I don’t know many people who lack some of their autobiographical memory. I try not to talk about it because it’s hard. I hate that I can’t remember much of my life, especially when people around me are reminiscing. So ironically, I try to put my amnesia out of my mind.

But I live with a walking Wikipedia. Sir Husband remembers pretty much everything, and most days I’m in awe and astonished not just by his vivid memories all the way back to his toddler years, but by the smarts he accumulated and maintained along the way. He actually remembers every word to every song he has heard throughout his life – and sings them, in tune. He recalls worldwide historical events in detail, like he was there. He even remembers what I was wearing when I was a teenager and he picked me up for school every day. Wow. I can’t compete.

I’ve been lot of different people in my lifetime too – but the things they did, places they went, the clothes they wore, I’m not really sure. They say our life flashes before our eyes when we’re changing realms, so I guess eventually I’ll remember who I was.

On the other hand, I do know who I am now, today, in this perfectly memorable moment. And I’m thinking that’s who really matters.

 

 

Time Changes Everything, Most Notably On New Year’s Eve

Is it me or does New Year’s Eve come with a lot of pressure? Why the big deal? Yea, it’s the end of the old year – time moves on, just like it does every day. But we celebrate this particular end of time as if it’s truly the end of time so we better kick it up a notch or three. The build-up mounts in the weeks ahead, “What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?” If you say “nothing” you kind of feel like a loser.

img_2616-1I’m happy to do nothing and cozy up with my honey, a roaring fire, a good movie and a bottle of bubbly. But this year we went out to a jazz club I haven’t been to in over a decade. I was pretty excited actually. The millennial offspring had dispersed after a week of family time and Sir Husband and I were loaded up with Visa gift cards for our night out on the town. Zero pressure.

So there we were sitting in the dim light at our awesome tiny table inches from stage, drinks in hand, waiting on the show to begin while people poured in to the cozy space, and my phone lights up with img_2620a text from my youngest.

“Hey did you hear about the shooting in the nightclub just now? A couple of people dressed up like Santa started shooting everyone.”

BUZZKILL. And startlingly uncomfortable. OMG where? I wrote him back, silenced my phone, stiffened up and started scanning the room. It was on the other side of the world, but Jesus that can happen anywhere, even here, on our big New Year’s Eve night out – you know the important night of celebration and romance without the pressure of worrying about the kids. Shit.

This is what we’ve come to now in the world. Miserable, nasty, sick people think they can shoot you because they want to. You see it on TV and you cringe then disengage, going about your business trying not to think about that kind of horror in your own airspace. By the way, the Times Square ball-dropping celebration was surrounded by SWAT teams and homeland security. Wow.

Change is everywhere. I was surprised when we got to the club (I had frequented annually with my former husband,) to learn it had not only doubled in size, they moved it down a few floors in the building and eliminated the cityscape view from the walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. Bummer.

I said a little prayer in my head thanking the invisible Divine for keeping my boys and us safe while we all did something special on New Year’s Eve in our own respective locations, then I sat back and enjoyed the scene with the love of my life.

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Anyway, Happy New Year. It’s here with plenty of new pressures – like resolutions. Mine is to learn to really embrace change. Although you know what they say about resolutions. Statistics show…they don’t last.

 

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There’s No Place Like A Home For The Holidays

That Irving Berlin song – Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep – from the 1954 movie classic White Christmas – is a great little tune I’ve heard every holiday season my whole life. I love it, and it only took a few decades for its meaning to sink in.

We’re a week away from Christmas and winter truly arrived last week with a polar vortex that brought record-breaking, dangerously cold temperatures to the Northeast and we felt it. Really felt it. So much so that I shed a tear for the poor animals who live outside when I could barely get from my car to my front door without legitimately feeling pain. Although we live in the city, our home is on 23-acres of conservation land where all kinds of creatures make their homes – deer, wild turkeys, birds, fox, coyotes, it’s quite amazing. I worry about them in the brutal cold.

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On the first day of the nasty vortex, grey and dreary, winds whipping over 30 miles per hour, I stood in the window and watched a flock of wild turkeys pecking for food around the front lawn. They had to be cold. There I was in my house, all decorated for the holidays and cozy, and I was overcome with gratitude. I not only have heat, but a big wood-burning fireplace we enjoy using several nights a week. It wasn’t just the warmth, it was everything. I was bursting with  gratefulness.

Finally feeling the peace, Sir Husband and I are finding this a lovely place to be – on the other side of hardship – dreams seized and nurtured. Sure we still have stress, but normal stress, the manageable stuff that doesn’t seem so huge when you realize you are overjoyed to have heat. And other things, like food, clothes, jobs, and a roof over our heads with indoor plumbing.

I never realized how valuable those things truly were until I was standing in the hallway after a holiday carol service a couple of Sunday evenings ago while it was still fairly warm out (funny that 40 degrees is now considered warm.) I noticed two people right outside the window sitting down on what looked like a ground-level ledge of the building.

161211carolservices32We were in a big, old Catholic church built in the early 1900s. It’s stunning actually, and the floor to ceiling windows reveal the fairytale-esque city square that looks like it’s right out of a movie. It was hard not to be mesmerized by the magic of this extraordinary church let alone the amazing voices of the choir performing there that night. And there these two people were, sitting there huddled together talking. I thought it was two college students since we were in Harvard Square. But when I looked closely I could see they were layered in clothing partially-wrapped in sleeping bags, next to them was a full plastic garbage bag – of something. They were homeless and settling in for the night.

I stood there wondering who they were and why they were there, tucked into the nook of a big, brick church trying to stay warm. They looked unfazed actually, I could hear them chatting as if it were two people talking over a dinner table at home. I assumed they would be there all night and wondered if this was their “home.”

While we were inside completely moved by the choir’s angelic voices singing beautiful carols in Latin, German, and old English by candlelight …  Silent night…holy night…all is calm…all is bright … they were outside with only the clothes on their backs and a garbage bag by their sides.

Count your blessings instead of sheep. Because baby, it’s cold outside.

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Happy holidays ~ See you next year.

 

 

(*winter scene photo courtesy of NOAA)

Halloween Is Over, Bring On The In Between

Welcome to the Christmas Season! It’s just two days after Halloween – the official holiday launch. We can tune in to Christmas music on satellite radio now, and we better start shopping for all the popular gifts.

Nah. I’m headed to the store to get a bag of Halloween candy for 50 percent off. We didn’t really get to celebrate Halloween this year, nearly empty-nested for the first time. Our 16-year old wasn’t interested, and we live in a big old house-turned-condos that sits well off the road in the woods, nobody rang the bell here.

At first I didn’t mind the lack of festivities – much to my holiday-loving surprise – the last halloween-04-064-copyoctober-05-010-copytwo decades of hazy Halloween memories were more than enough. No costume quandaries this year, messy pumpkin carving or mad dashes to the front door making idle chit chat with wee fairies and movie characters who aren’t old enough to eat a Skittle. No boys up past their bedtime sitting in a pile of open wrappers in the middle of the floor, no candy coma, no weeks of chocolate sitting around the house. Yea it’s all cute, and I loved it year after year…including raiding their bags when nobody was looking. But they’ve grown up and moved on.

Then the sun started to set on Halloween night…and some sadness crept in.

Halloween was over and it hadn’t even begun. I didn’t miss the hoopla or mess, I missed tradition – the anticipation of the doorbell ringing, trying to keep our hands out of the candy fullsizerenderbowl, pumpkin seeds toasting in the oven, glowing amber candle lights in each window, decorations, black and orange everything. Nope, none of that this year. Just a couple of full-size candy bars that Sir Husband sweetly brought home and placed near our teeny pumpkin. We missed the kids.

But “it’s whatever” as our millennials say. They are able to move forward in time without batting an eye, something I continue to try. I think there is an “in between” phase for parents, when we’re conscious of the big change adjusting to the empty nest. The shift in circumstances is noticeable.

But why do we always try to hurry our way on to the next thing, the next phase, even the next day?

water-restIn between is underrated. Nobody wants to hang out in between anything. Whether it’s between life phases or in between holidays, the world just pushes forward instead of embracing the void in between. What’s so bad about the void? That’s where we can pause, take a breath, and just be for a minute or three.

There’s something cool about being in the gap. Suspended between destinations or phases, hanging out in this space of has-been and will-be. Like when you are looking at a candy bar sitting on your table and you know it’s there and you are psyched about eating it but you don’t go for it. You wait. You anticipate. In between.

That was my favorite part of Halloween back in the day. The part just before the sun set when everything was ready but it was too early for trick or treating. We just hung out in those moments of peaceful readiness for whatever was ahead. We enjoyed the scenery. We enjoyed the pause.

Anyway…in the meantime, Merry Christmas.

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Fall Is Back, It’s Time To Look Forward

fall-dayI’m a few days behind on my autumnal equinox recognition, but like its meaning, it gave me time to reflect on the past season’s abundance, of which there was plenty. Traditionally this changing of the season from summer to fall was celebrated as the second harvest, extolling gratitude for our blessings before the stillness of winter…horns of plenty and all that jazz.

Astrologically this is the time of balance – between light and dark, space and time, ego and soul – a time to remove old limiting patterns and Divinely renew intentions and desires for manifestations. Or simply put, work on our dreams coming true.

victoryFunny thing is, we don’t often realize a dream has come true until hindsight reveals it as such. Sure we have those jump-up-and-down moments when we get some acknowledgment we’re on our way, or validation that we’re on the right path. Those celebratory moments feel good – like baby dreams coming true.

dream-is-realBut if you’re anything like me you dream big – real big. And you start out on the path ready to face and embrace the miracles as they occur. And you have no doubt that there will be miracles because you believe in them. Even in those doubting moments you still keep the faith, keeping the dream alive.

Whether we use vision boards or gratitude lists or just share our dreams out loud, sometimes in the back of our minds we wonder, will this dream ever come true? So we plug away, invested, determined, focused, trying to execute whatever we think will help us reach our heartfelt goal. Every day we try to “get there,” on that road to success. Or we think it’s the road to success.

change-your-thoughtsWhile thoughts become things according to Universal Law, we don’t always know if what we’re thinking is right, let alone what we’re doing, when we don’t see tangible results. Are we on the right path? Or do we need to make a U-turn, better yet get on a new road?

Those answers may or may not clearly come. Ultimately we’re getting somewhere, this is just life. But we have to pay attention to the invisible-visible signs. When the confirmation is confusing, our dreams can take a detour, and we can feel quite off-balance.

still-growingAlthough we may be on our yellow brick road, it’s hard not to depend on others to help lay the bricks. That’s when we get into trouble of course – pinning our hopes on others. But in some cases it’s the actions of others that help make our dreams come true. Like writing a successful blog – it takes readers to excel. I’m nearly 950 posts in, but its growth is going slow.

I invest a lot of time and energy, but is a daily post too much? I get deep satisfaction from doing my soul’s work – I know I came here to write, and it feels completely good. But the perfect recipe or secret of success? I just have no idea.

keep-goingMaybe I’m missing the point. While I’m waiting for the miracle, I’ll look to the end-result…the big picture.

“You can’t expect to see the miracles during the journey,” Mike Dooley says. “You don’t see them until after you arrive.”

We have arrived at the autumnal equinox and I’m grateful for so much. But as the seasons change, so must we. Maybe my focus needs to shift toward fulfilling another dream of writing a book. I’ve thought about this since I was young and who knows if it will fly. But I guess while we’re here, all we can do is try.

horn-of-plentyI’ll still post at least once a week and please weigh in anytime ~ any thoughts, suggestions and ideas are welcome. Thanks to all of you who read, from the bottom of my heart. Abundant blessings to you all, and while I mention it, welcome fall.

 

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Sometimes We Don’t Realize Just How Far We’ve Come

Don’t you love when you stop what you’re doing and notice you’ve accomplished a lot? I can squeeze in a whole day before noon – and let’s cut right to the chase – daily life can be a lot of work so it’s good to knock it down.

Besides my usual routine, yesterday I had to scan nearly 200 pages of my former medical records one slow page at a time, for my new – old – medical team. I’m going back to doctors I saw a long time ago, before I moved away. And sheesh, those 200 pages were only the records from the previous three years.

going-placesIt’s easy to take for granted when we stay settled in one place and our life remains compact. As simple as we want to make it, it’s not easy to move, although I have embraced it over and over as a opportunity to recalibrate, welcoming fresh starts as a vital part of healing from whatever wounds I may have. Clean slates are refreshing.

But this was the first time I moved back to someplace I’ve already been. I didn’t try to or plan it, it just simply worked out. I was thrilled of course and had some expectations which without a doubt were normal. I assumed I would see people who never left, whose lives just went on peacefully while I was participating in my own ongoing drama. I tried not to think about going back in time to a life that used to be, but how could I not?

fought-to-be-meThen it occurred to me. In the years I have been gone I have moved in and out of three states, gotten divorced and remarried, my children have grown up, I have changed my name three times, my hair color a lot, I’ve lost an internal organ, grew and removed a (thankfully) benign breast mass, gotten glasses, become a professional writer, I am not the same.

When I look in the mirror sometimes I don’t even recognize myself. I still feel like me I guess, a little bit, but the image continues to change. Which I just decided should work in my favor. I realized as I was scanning all those records, I have actually reinvented myself. And not just once. Then I started thinking – do we all do that anyway? Is that just part of steadily (or not steadily) advancing through our lives?

processWhen I go see my old doctors they probably won’t recognize me at all. Will I tell them it’s me and throw in a “how have you been all these years?”

I saw a story about past lives online as I was contemplating my old-new self. It said “the question isn’t who are you, but who were you?” This of course was relative to examining lifetimes. I believe in that, but it seems I’ve had plenty of lifetimes in this very one. Then it asked a fundamental question. “Why are you here now?”

fullsizerender-1“It is best not to trudge through the remnants of a distant past, slogging through random moments in order to discover little gems from bygone eras. Rather it is good to know that somewhere buried in your subconsciousness lies the memories of pivotal moments which have shaped your personality and have guided you toward the lessons that you are encountering in this life.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s about making peace with our past.

Don’t you love when when you stop what you’re doing and notice you’ve accomplished a lot?

 

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You Don’t Like Me Being Myself? That’s A Shame, I Am Who I Am

Is it just me, or is anyone else noticing that people around them are quick to defend their thinking, quantify their judgements, and sometimes even shut another person down. I don’t know if it’s the political season that has people all stirred up, an overall shift in society that culturalists will eventually sort out, or if it’s simply about myself.

I’ve noticed this for a while now, and it came to a head for me when the other day I ran into a former BFF. I say former because many years ago, eight to be exact, she “broke up” with me. I was in the thick of my earlier life’s drama, and honestly it was bad. So although it was heartbreaking at the time I did the grown-up thing and accepted it.

hemingway-quoteShe wasn’t the only one, over the course of the next few years I lost almost all of my best-friend tribe. On the fringes of understanding it, I tried to sort it out. My life was a disaster, so I was who I was at the time.

Although a few things nudged at me about how I came across, the bottom line was I was dumped essentially for being me. Looking back through my life though, I hate to admit it was a common theme, sometimes even I found it tough to be around me.

So the other day I accidentally ran into my old “friend,” and she was fairly shocked. She knew I had moved away, but didn’t know I recently moved back. It was a strained conversation but pleasant enough, more than I thought it would be. So I casually asked her if she might want to get coffee or lunch and this was her reply ~

“Hmmm. Let me think about it.”

prove-worthOoooh. Ouch. That’s how I took it anyway, because it’s been a lot of years. Life has a way of changing people for the better or the worse. In my case I know I’m different and better – evolved and grown – in fact I may have totally changed. I told her that in not so many words but apparently it wasn’t enough.

I got this sick feeling in my gut which was a telltale sign. I have let all my old baggage go, but it was clear that she has not.

But it’s not just her response that is on my mind, it is in several places I turn. What is it that people don’t like about someone just being themselves? It must challenge comfort levels, something I know I do.

no-one-is-youI just love how honest and raw you are, not trying to be anything but yourself, a friend recently said to me. Her words meant so much, they were the acceptance of who I am.

That seems rare these days as she also pointed out – It’s so refreshing in a universe where everyone is addicted to the theater of social media.

Is that what is perpetuating the prevalent “I am right and you are wrong” rigid, uncaring attitude?

Hmmm.

Let me think about it.

 

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