Sunday, June 30, 2013

Therapy

I get really worked up sometimes.

Let me rephrase that for accuracy: I get myself really worked up sometimes.

Yesterday was one of those times. I was agitated from a particularly taxing workday. I was a little annoyed with myself for not having any Saturday night plans. My head played an endless loop of my to do list.

I was tired but I was wound up. It wasn't a night where I could just go to bed and try again in the morning.

So I made a quiche.

Which was precisely the therapy I needed. I talked with my cousin/roommate Liz and I busied my hands with making pie dough. Liz left the kitchen and I sautéd onions and cracked eggs. I washed dishes and I scrubbed the counters.

And, if I do say so myself, I made a damn fine quiche.

Not that it was about a quiche. But that caloric-heavy pie of cheesy eggy goodness? That could solve problems on its own.

The Swiss cheese helped, but what saved me last night was the simple act of completion. I started. I finished. I saw the finished project. I ate the finished project. I accomplished something. I scratched something off of my list.

It is a trick I plan to employ the next time I am overwhelmed.

Get one damn thing done.

Put a vanity task (like, for example, a quiche that you decide to make completely out of the blue simply because you have never made a quiche before) on the list. Do it. Check it off. Calm down.

And then shamelessly eat a huge slice of quiche for each of the next four meals.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Busy to busier

I seriously detest going more than a day without blogging. Especially when the reason I'm not blogging is because I'm busy (read: have something to write about for once) rather than because I am suffering from laziness or a nasty case of writer's block.

What have you guys been up to?

I'm just trying to keep my head above water.

It turns out that quitting my job is a fairly time-consuming transition. I am feeling rather rushed to complete anything and everything. This may or may not have something to do with spending the week I put in my notice in an unproductive daze.

Perhaps.

Anyway. I had yesterday off (I'm at work today) and I could have spent the day getting something done, but instead I packed the day full of things that I liked and things that I didn't.

Liked: yoga with grandma in the morning, the simultaneous but not couples massage appointment that Lucy and I had in the afternoon, dinner with Lucy and Chet and Baby A, post-dinner trip to the bakery where Lucy was obviously influenced by the baby and I have nobody to blame but we ate donuts on the way home and didn't tell Chet and then had more dessert when we got to their house.

Disliked: doctor's appointment where the doctor was running late and that also included a referral to another doctor.

Neutral: meeting about my new job.

Days shouldn't be that busy.

But if they must, some of the busy must be due to a massage.

I'm glad we made time for the rubdowns because Lucy won't be qualifying for a prenatal massage much longer and I can't find a free hour for weeks.

Just looking ahead to July exhausts me. It's going to be a great month: a new job, Lucy's new baby, lots of soccer, Meg's birthday.

And The Coach will leave for what will supposedly be his last season of coaching 2,000+ miles away.  

I'm focusing on the good.

A sweet new baby boy. Decorating my new office.

And another massage come August.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lost: it

For the second time in a month, I lost my pearls.

For the second time in a month, I tore apart my bedroom in search of my pearls. The necklace I like very much, but it was not my concern. The bracelet, made from a strand of Aunt Marie's pearls, was very much my concern.

Losing that bracelet would break my heart into a thousand pieces. Losing that bracelet would not be okay.

And I lost it. For the second time in a month.

For the second time in a month, I dumped out my jewelry box. I dug through a few drawers. I went into the basement and found the suitcase I brought to the Kentucky Derby and opened all of the pockets even though I knew I had worn it since returning from Louisville.

And then I did it all over again. Just in case I missed the bracelet and the necklace the first time through.

Fir the second time in a month, I promised myself that they would turn up, while trying to figure out how I could ever forgive myself it they didn't. If I lost that bracelet forever.

I want to wear that bracelet when I get married.

I can't lose that bracelet.

And, for the second time in a month, I lost it.

With a 10:00 am date with Lucy and Baby A, I had to leave home before I could find my necklace and bracelet. Had it not been for our Wednesday morning coffee date, I would have kept looking. I would have torn the place apart.

I found my bracelet and my necklace when I got home.

For the second time in a month, I lost my bracelet and I lost my necklace.

For the second time in a month, I found my bracelet and I found my necklace.

In the stupid f'ing box Liz bought me in China that sits on my dresser with my jewelry box and WITH ALL THE REST OF MY JEWELRY. 


Found: my bracelet and my necklace.

Lost: my mind.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Feelings! All of the feelings!

I didn't have it marked on the calendar, but apparently it's Feelings Tuesday here in my humble little world.

Maybe I should clarify that: Negative Feelings Tuesday.

I am feeling bitter. I am only working until noon and I had all of these grand plans to meet Meg at the lake and slather myself in sunscreen and spend the whole day trying to remember to flip myself over at regular intervals. And it's raining.

I am feeling overwhelmed. Trying to wrap up two years of work basically sucks.

I am feeling stretched a little too thin. You know when you're trying to quit your job and run your soccer team and plan a trip to Brazil and research rental houses for August while brainstorming a baby present and mentally planning out post-baby meals (that must be vegetarian) for your favorite little family and you're also trying not to forget your massage appointment for Friday or to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer? Yeah. That.

I am feeling scared. Former Coworker B forwarded me an email exchange between him and a well-respected figure in our industry. They were discussing my new job. And me and what a big job I have ahead of myself and how what I'm walking into probably isn't sustainable in the long-term and Former Coworker B meant nothing bad by forwarding me that email (and sent me a follow up to make it clear that, however it shakes out, the job will be great experience for me) but it has turned me inside out.

I am feeling hideous. My hair doesn't want to cooperate. My skin looks seriously rough. I basically hate all of my clothes except my new skinny jeans and my feet are ugly.

I am feeling frustrated. I have one week to buy Meg the perfect birthday present and I have no great ideas except to buy her something off of her list and you know what she wants? A waffle iron. A waffle iron is no fun! I mean, okay, waffles are fun and being able to make waffles at home is fun but I always have something clever to give her that she hasn't asked for but really likes and this time I don't and I just want to stomp my feet about it for a little while. Then I will buy the damn waffle iron. 

I am feeling like I need a drink. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dirty Laundry

As I have gotten older, I have lost my intensely private nature.

I used to be so terribly private. As a teenager and into my early 20s, I kept everything inside. Every crush, every fear, every accomplishment, every dream: I held them all like playing cards, right to my chest. Nobody was getting inside.

It's a wonder I had any friends, really. That's probably why my circle was so small. That's probably why I left college without having made a very, very best friend. What is the sense in a friendship where one party is intentionally closed off? Who would want to be friends with someone who won't let you see them?

While I didn't start blogging to fix my overbearing need for privacy, I do credit blogging for pushing me past it. For proving, yes, you can put all of your ugly out there and it won't scare everyone away.

That's a valuable lesson that took me way too long to learn.

Because, on Friday night, I appreciated being able to sit down to dinner with Lucy and Chet and throwing it all out on the table. First the foolish text message that came from my father that was the result of an even more foolish mistake. Then the gory details about my trip to the urgent care clinic. Followed by Lucy's detailed report from her last trip to the obstetrician. And Chet's happy confession that he ate both the one pound chocolate bar and jar of pickles that I bought him as a Father's Day present...in one sitting.

I like that my friends know that I'm not perfect.

I like knowing that they aren't, either.

The Coach falls into the same category as Lucy and Chet. If I've got a good story, I'll tell him. Anything. Everything.

Except the one thing that I should.

The one thing that I haven't discussed and dissected with Lucy and Chet.

To make what I suspect he already knows abundantly clear.  

Maybe one day I will lose my ferocious need to protect my heart, too.

Friday, June 21, 2013

This, That

I'm in snippet mode today. Apologies!

On my dad: either he reads my blog or I can vaguely predict the future. Yesterday, he pulled an insanely dumb move to really reminded me, again, that he is clearly an imperfect person. I might write more about it at another time so for now I'll just say this: he had it coming.  

On buying the perfect present: it isn't quite his birthday but he was in my bed and I had wrapped it up a week ago and I didn't want to wait any longer. The Coach's birthday present. When I saw the shirt, it was so him that I couldn't resist buying it. Apparently I was right. He put it on and wore it home. I found that quite endearing. Like a kid who opens and proceeds to start playing with his Lego set despite being in the middle of his birthday party.    

On my grandma: she texted (!) me yesterday to see if I wanted to go to yoga. I've been feeling kind of crappy and I didn't want to drive all the way to her house, so I sent her a return text to tell her that I was feeling under the weather. She called Mom last night and said "I just wanted you to know that I'm worried about Alyson. She's sick." Cute.

On picking out an outfit to wear for the day you meet all of your staff for the very first time: not an easy task, especially when you're nervous about looking too young/too dressed up/too casual/like you tried to hard/like you didn't try hard enough/etc., etc., etc.. I should probably start on picking out outfits for my first week of work. Set up a spreadsheet. Or let you guys choose!   

On my new job: I'm afraid I won't be able to write much about my new job. Not that I'm working in a secret compound or anything. Just that, well, I am long overdue for defining rational boundaries about what I do and do not blog about (I will be the first to admit that my book is a little too open) and my career seems like a good place to begin.

On what I'm currently reading: This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz. Enjoyable. And if you're in the market for a good read, I am pretty good about keeping up with my Pinterest board of the books I have read this year.

On the weekend: mine is only one day and I have no plans and I'm still excited for it.

On deleting all of the job posts that land in your inbox because you won't be looking for a while: best feeling.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Somewhere beautiful

I was scheduled to work on Father's Day, so we celebrated with brunch. I met Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandma and my late Aunt Marie's husband, Uncle Bob, at one of my favorite restaurants in town. It's a charming place, built in the old train station, and the food is excellent. I'm pretty pissed that was a good girl and missed out on the opportunity for a pre-work drink because there were a few especially enticing cocktails on the menu.

Damn conscience. 


Brunch was fun and brunch was weird.

Uncle Bob was quiet and withdrawn. Rightfully so. Here he was, at Father's Day brunch: his kids are both out of state, his own dad is dead, his wife is dead. He got a little choked up when we were leaving. I'm glad he could come with us so he wouldn't be alone. It was obviously a hard day for him.

And my grandpa. It seems like he's aged 10 years in the 3.5 years since Aunt Marie died. While he is very much still my grandpa, who loves to make bad jokes to the waitstaff and drone on about his tennis game and his sail boat, it's a hard thing to watch. 

I had about 15 minutes to spare after we finished brunch. As I drove through the center of campus (which was that eerie summertime empty that seems so unnatural), I pulled onto a side street and parked my car.

The cloudy morning had given way to a gorgeous early afternoon and I had those spare 15 minutes. 

Might as well spend it in the middle of somewhere beautiful.     


Somewhere quiet.

Somewhere that on Sunday, all emotional about the new job and the Father's Day family time and the great weather and a few sweet but meaningless text messages and everything else, brought tears to my eyes.

Tears. I kid you not.

Apparently I have a Place and I didn't even know it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What did you do today?

Here's what I did: quit my job.

It was weird, liberating, sad, overwhelming and exciting.

I had dreamed about resigning. For days. Really weird anxiety dreams where I accidentally resigned to the wrong person or otherwise botched the straightforward process that is telling your employer that you're going to work elsewhere.

When I got to work, the Director wasn't in and I instantly assumed that she was on vacation and wouldn't be in all week or maybe for two weeks and HOW AM I GOING TO RESIGN? (It's protocol here to resign with the Director instead of your actual supervisor.)

She was at lunch. Crisis averted! (As though speaking directly to the Director was the only way I could possibly resign and I would be forever held in indentured servitude if I did not follow the status quo.)

I marched into the Director's office and handed her my letter of resignation and basically blurted out "I'm here to resign."

She was a little surprised. And then when I told her where I was going to work and what I was going to do, she gushed "oh, you had to take it," like it was such a big opportunity that I couldn't possibly pass it up.

I didn't realize that I wanted that response and that approval, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. That this opportunity really was one that was just too good to resist. That I hadn't just talked myself into believing that I was making the right choice. That it really was.

My boss was gracious when I gave her the news. My coworkers have all been very sweet.

It's humbling to know how many people are cheering you on, who wish you well, who are excited to celebrate your successes.

It doesn't, however, cure the mildly queasy, anxious stomach that has hung on for a week now. I think it's just nerves but the hard part is over -- at least for a few weeks when I have to start actually getting shit done -- and last night I played such pathetic and laborious soccer it was like I had a refrigerator strapped to my back and also it would be cool if I wanted to eat and I really need to get over this.

Because it's all going to be fine.

After all, I made the right choice. I just had to take it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daddy

For the last three years, my relationship with my father has been complicated.

Learning that your parents are human -- that they make shitty mistakes, that they can do awful things, that their head can crack open and their heart can beat incorrectly -- hasn't been an awesome lesson to learn.

And how lucky I am, to have spent my first 27 years in blissful ignorance and hero worship. Some kids never get that. They never get to blindly adore their dad because he is, quite simply, the best and would never hurt you, hit you, raise his voice or make you brush your hair on the days when Mom was putting in 12 hours at the hospital.

So maybe my dad isn't the guy I had made him out to be.

But that person doesn't exist. That perfection isn't real.

And I wouldn't trade in the one that I have, anyway.

He's my dad.

I am very lucky.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The calming scenery is not helping

Thank you for all of the congratulations, friends!

This wasn't how I had imagined spending my week of vacation. I thought there would be more afternoons spent on the lake with a book and a bottle of sunscreen and less anxiety.

All the anxiety. I wasn't anxious about the interview, but I was anxious about the job offer. About what taking this job means. About the change. About the challenge. About all that I will have to do and learn. About all of the responsibility that I will be taking on.

I was also quite focused on the not-so-generous time off included as part of my benefits package. Just something to obsess about, really. I negotiated myself an extra week of vacation. The rest of the offer checked out, so taking care of that one little snag should have chilled me out. It did not.

I thought that officially taking the job -- as I did on Wednesday afternoon -- would alleviate the anxiety but it didn't. I'm still the slightest bit anxious. I can't shake it.

I can feel it in my stomach. I can't really eat. Maybe I'm just confusing my nervous stomach with a bad stomach. I didn't feel great on Monday, before The Great Job Offer of 2013. Maybe I just don't feel good.

Maybe I'll feel better once I put in my notice on Monday.

But what a foolish way to spend a week of vacation. On the lake (when the spotty weather permits it), with a book and a bottle of sunscreen and this nervous anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Watching Baby A with this nervous anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Baking cookies with this nervous anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Visiting the farmer's marker with this nervous anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Spending too long on the treadmill as I attempt to sweat out this nervous anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

And having the worst damn stress dreams. About the new job. About the job I'm about to leave.

I really need to chill out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My head is spinning.

Today is Lucy's birthday!

She's 31.


How can this be? How can my best friend be 31 years old? How can I nearly be 31 years old?
Didn't we just take this picture on our senior-year field trip to the zoo?
Speaking of things that cannot possibly be real as I am merely 17 years old:

I was offered a new job today.
Like, one with a lot of responsibility.
I would be running the show. I would be the boss. I would call the shots.
The prospect of this is equal parts scary and awesome. 
There is no logical reason for me to turn down this job and I don't imagine that I will. I do feel a little bit like I'm going to throw up. (I'm pretty sure I felt that way before this offer came in, however. I'm not feeling great this week, which is cool being that I'm on vacation and all.) It's overwhelming and exciting and I think it's going to be really good.
 Change is scary. Growth can hurt.

But I can do this.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A note on the weekend

I learned something this weekend.

I learned that it is a good exercise to occasionally to do something that is so very decidedly not you so that you can learn that it really is you after all.

And if it isn't you, at least you took some of the damn fear/awe/mystery out of it.

And regardless of how it turned out, you probably got a damn good story out of it.

And, if you're truly lucky, it's a story that's unfit for your not-quite-anonymous-enough blog.

That is what I learned.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Random blog post about random text message

It's Friday. I am on vacation next week. The only productive thing I am going to get done at work today is setting my out-of-office auto reply at approximately 5:56 pm.

This week has been very busy in a very boring way. A lot of the usual, you know?

Oh. Except I got called back for another job interview on Tuesday. Exciting.

And I booked Lucy and I hotel rooms for the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

And The Coach sent me this gem of a text message. 


Upon further clarification: what he wanted to know was if I thought he was marriage material.

Which he asked me about via text message. From a bar. Where he was in the company of his parents.

Yeah.

I got a good day of entertainment from that exchange, dissection of which went so far as AM assembling a panel of male coworkers to delve into the male psyche.

A girl could get excited about such a thing but I chose to merely be amused.

And then I thought I was going to see him but I didn't and maybe he had a legitimate reason (I talked to him and I do actually think that he did) and, oh, right, it isn't my business if your reason is legitimate or if it is not. Whatever, bro. I don't need your cute face to sit on the front porch and eat oatmeal raisin cookies.


Which is the Smitten Kitchen recipe, if you were curious. And quite delicious. 

Not caring feels the best.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Everyone has a skill

I'm writing out our lineup for our first game of summer Sunday soccer. Which is, oddly, on Friday.

Still, I'm preparing it early because there's a lot going on between now and Friday at 7:00 pm and, if I get it done, it's one less thing I need to worry about. (Other things to worry about include: packing up the jerseys for our new players, our game ball and the corner flags, going to the bank for cash to pay the referees, remembering my own uniform since I'll be going straight to the game from work, making a reservation for our post-game outing, etc.)

I'm jotting out who will play center midfielder. We play with two. Stacy and Megan. No. Stacey and Megan. Not M-e-g-h-a-n. Not S-t-a-c-y.

That is something that I am consistently good at: spelling names. I'm very aware of how people save their name. And I spell them right.

It is unquestionably a biproduct of having my name spelled incorrectly for my entire life. It is the random skill that I picked up because my parents decided to spell Alyson with a Y instead of in I.

Truthfully, I take a good bit of delight in not interchanging Brigitte/Bridget, Lindsay/Lindsey, or Hilary/Hillary. It's a name. I think that's important. And, subsequently, I spend a lot of time double-checking when I type out a name in an email or jot it onto a soccer lineup. I hate to get that wrong even though I barely notice, let alone take offense, when my own name is spelled incorrectly.

What's your random skill?

Monday, June 03, 2013

Hometown Royalty

Last Thursday, I interviewed for a position in Mom and Dad's hometown.

I applied for the job on a whim. I was (and still am) frustrated with the hiring process with Former Coworker B and, despite the lofty job title, the salary and the relative size of the community made me think that landing an interview was at least a possibility.

I didn't think much of the job after I sent over my resume and my cover letter. I forgot to even mention it to my mother until after they called me for an interview.

"Make sure you ask your grandmother all about it," Mom told me. "You know, when she owned her bookstore, she had some connections there."

It made a bit of sense. But when I mentioned it to my grandma (the week after she made me cry), she didn't have much to say about it at all.

But I still couldn't shake off the feeling that maybe I got the interview because of my name.

My mom's maiden name is my middle name and I include it on my resume. With Grandma's bookstore and their four overachieving children, people knew their family. And, with their athletically overachieving children and their long tenure in the community, people know my dad's family, too.

Prior to my interview, Lucy and I joked about how I basically amounted to royalty and I was just returning to take my rightful place in the community.

And then I was right.

Not about the royalty. (Okay, maybe just a little.) But about the part where my name was recognized.

When I walked in the building, I was met by the board president. "I know I shouldn't ask you this," she said after I introduced myself, "but did you grow up in Parkview?"

Parkview was the subdivision that my mother grew up in. Everyone knew my mom and her siblings lived in Parkview, the 1960s subdivision of all subdivisions. My grandparents still live there.

And, after I gave her a brief explanation, she followed it up with "And do you know Robbie SoMidwestern?"

My dad.

She was my dad's teacher in elementary school.

I quite nearly died on the spot. I couldn't tell you exactly how I responded to either question because I was so shocked that it was really happening rather than that situation being something that I dreamed up in my head but never actually came to fruition.

But this time, apparently my hunch that I would be outed as the offspring of two natives was spot on.

The rest of the interview was totally normal. I'm not counting on any special treatment. I'm not counting on the job.

Whenever I interview, I'm always like "blah, blah, blah, it was good experience and good practice."

Forget that noise. That, my friends, was a good and awkward story.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Balancing Out

Apparently, in order to balance out the high high high of my Friday afternoon with The Coach, my mood regulator needed to push me right into Mighty Bitchdom for Saturday evening and all of today.

I'm unpleasant.

I first realized that I was being irrationally crabby when I was feeling bitchy about last night's dinner plans with Lucy. We were exchanging text messages when I was still at work and I got annoyed. That's always a sign that I'm really in a mood: when I start feeling surly towards Lucy. I never get irritated with her. Because, honestly, she so rarely gives me a reason to be irritated. And she definitely wasn't yesterday.

Didn't stop me, though!

I attempted retail therapy after our dinner and that didn't help my mood. I tried getting to bed early but, despite a good nine hours of sleep, I still woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I was annoyed at my first soccer game of the day. I was a ripe bitch at my second soccer game of the day. I had dinner with my family and didn't want to punch any of them, shockingly, but Aunt Lynn stopped by and it took all of my willpower not to poke my eyes out with a kitchen knife.

On my way home from dinner, I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up coffee and a few other things my cousin/roommate Liz needed and I was so out of sorts that I couldn't even bring myself to purchase any other food. Nothing.

I'm unpleasant.

And I didn't even realize it until late this afternoon. As we tend to do, AM and I were exchanging emails (about boys -- standard) and I was in the middle of a sentence when I finally put all of the pieces together and, oopsie: I've been a hot bitch for the last 20 hours without even noticing it.

Now that I've sacrificed an entire day of my weekend to my foul mood, I indulged in more than enough dark chocolate and painted my nails Russian Navy and I am blogging it out and I'll be nice again tomorrow.

Just, like, regular nice. Not over-the-moon happy. Because I really don't feel like compensating for that joy with another thunderous black cloud mood.

Not this week.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Internet addiction, funerals and The Coach

As I mentioned last week, Meg and I are looking at apartments for our trip to Brazil next summer. We were mulling over one that quite clearly stated that it did not have internet access. I sent her the listing and the quote, we were obviously looking at it at the same time, and we emailed each other at the same time. "But it doesn't have internet."

Not that it's a complete deal breaker, but it would be terribly inconvenient. We didn't have internet in our room for the two weeks we were in Africa and that in itself was a pain in the ass.

As if to shine a spotlight on my maybe-not-so-healthy dependence on the majestic expanse that is the world wide web, I had a ridiculously busy Thursday and an equally hectic Friday and was almost completely disconnected for the entirety of two days (not even time to blog!) and I would be lying if I didn't admit that there was a second or two when I felt like I was missing whatever exciting things were happening on the interwebs over those busy few days. Seriously. You never really appreciate how many emails you receive over the course of a day until you receive them all at once. It's a little overwhelming.

Yeah. So, anyway, I have mild issues and The Facebook clearly isn't the whole problem.

Despite keeping me out of the loop, Thursday and Friday were fairly phenomenal days.

Thursday featured a job interview that went really, really well. (Could I bother you to cross your fingers for me?)

And then I got an oil change which I needed to do and was not phenomenal by any stretch of the imagination but I can appreciate not having to think about that for a while.

After that, I went to Marie's dad's funeral. Nothing about a funeral or the burial or the luncheon can be described as fun, but I was really grateful that I could get the day off of work so that I could be there for her. I had only planned on going to the funeral, but she flat-out asked me if I was joining the funeral procession and going to the cemetery and I said I would go if she wanted me to and she just nodded and there wasn't any question. I was going. On a very, very long and very, very slow drive into Detroit. It was hot and I was wearing stockings but I am still glad that I went. That's just what friends do.

Friday marked the return of The Coach. Usually, when he gets home I graffiti the blog with every thought, musing, observation, description, insecurity and emotion that I have about his long-anticipated arrival.

Forgive me for holding out on you at the moment. I'm feeling oddly quiet -- and oddly calm -- about his return. It was just so nice to see his face. It was just so nice to have him around. It was just so nice to be with him and not worry about what I should be saying or what we should be doing or how it should be. It just was. And it made me so happy.
 
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