Dreams ……

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(photo credit)

…… are just so …… so very weird.

When Jim first died I was disappointed that I didn’t dream about him.  The first dream that I had of him came a few months after he died.  And it was very comforting.
But later dreams were not.

I still have a vivid memory of the first dream that left me reeling.
It was the first dream that I had where he was back and he wasn’t dead.
Actually, he had never died. In that dream.
I had just dreamed that he died. Like when Bobby Ewing spent an entire season being dead on the show “Dallas”, and then on the first show of the next season we found out that his wife, Pam, had just dreamed the entire thing. He never really died.
He was just in the shower.
Yeah. It was stupid then, too.

Anyway, it was the first of many “not dead” dreams. And when I first woke up, I still thought it was real.
And then reality set it …… and knocked the breath out of me.
Again.

So yeah, I’ve had many, MANY “not dead” dreams.
In the first few years they were pleasant. I’d wake up and re-hash them in my mind.
In those dreams, for some odd reason (and always a different one), Jim would just reappear, out of nowhere, and be home. I was always a bit miffed at him for being gone but only for a few seconds. Then I was ecstatic that he was alive.

Over the years those dreams have changed from pleasant to downright disturbing.
He still comes back, but I’m less than thrilled to have him back.
In most of them he left/pretended to be dead because he was with another woman. And he comes back for various reasons.
When I wake up from those dreams it takes me a moment to realize that it’s not real.
And that he’s still dead.
Which, as horrific as this may sound …… is a relief.
It’s a relief to remember that I actually saw his body …… and that he did not cheat on me.
Wickedly disturbing, I know.

A couple of weeks ago I had a dream that really made me think …… about how much has changed.
Jim came back.
Again.
He had left with another woman.
Again.
But he decided, 11 1/2 years later, that he wanted to come back to his “before” life. With me.
In Texas.
Right where he left off.

I was less than thrilled.
I mean, I was happy (sort of) that he was alive but also really upset that he’d left me in the first place. With her.
Whoever she was.

And, I had just moved to NY.
I explained to him that I had moved and that I was happy living in NY.
He said that we could keep the apartment but we’d have to live fulltime in Texas.
Back where we lived 12 years ago.
Where I’m no longer friends with some of the people who used to be quite close.
Where I still have friends but where life has changed.
Where I don’t really want to live again.

Because really, you can’t go back.
Things are never the same.
Nor should they be.
Life moves on.
Even if you don’t.
Or pretend to be dead for 11 1/2 years.

The worst part of the dream was having to move back from NY.
Yep, even worse than the slut he ran away with.
Whoever she was.

I think I woke up soon after that discussion.
And again, it took me a moment to land back in reality.
And remember that I really did see his body.
And that I’m still in NY.

The relief that filled me is hard to describe.
Probably because it sounds terrible to most people.
People who think they’d welcome back their loved one no matter what.
People who haven’t walked this road for almost 12 years.
People who don’t …… can’t …… get it.

I love my life.
I love my home.
I love my city.
And I still will always love Jim.
I will always wish that he never died.
But he did.
And life, and I, have moved forward.

It took me a long time to be here.
I never thought I’d be happy again.
It’s a different happy, but it’s happy nonetheless.
And it’s my happy.
I think I’ll keep it.

And continue to feel relieved when I wake up.

Even When It’s Dark ……

…… there’s sometimes a bit of light.

Or maybe that’s just here in NYC when there’s a blackout. 😉

So yeah, I lived through the blackout of 2019. Of course, it’s easy to live through it if you’re not stuck on a subway train, or an elevator (like some in my building).
It might also help that it only lasted 5 hours. But hey, those were 5 very long, hot and exhausting hours. Especially when you have to climb down and back up 20 flight of stairs.

So yeah, I’m a survivor.
Now I just need to find a t-shirt that says that.

Here are some pics from the aforementioned blackout.

This is me after getting a text from some neighbors about the power outage to the building.  And then another text saying that it was from Midtown to 72nd on the Upper West Side.  I live at 63rd.  At this moment I had just finished a 2 1/2 hour walking tour (wearing the wrong shoes) and was tired, hot, sweaty and 3 1/2 miles from home.  With sore feet.

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I walked a while and then finally found a cab driver who didn’t seem to know about the outage.  Score! Because if he’d known, he never would have agreed to take me “as close to Columbus Circle as you can get”.  He looked at me rather oddly when I said that.  And then I confessed why.  He and I became good friends.  Trauma does that to people, you know.  As do dangerous situations.  We’ll never see each other again but for a while we were best friends, surviving the carnage together.
Too much?

Aaanyway, he got me a little more than halfway there so I gave him a good tip and bade him goodbye.  And headed home.

This is the dark Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.  Odd to see it dark in the daylight.

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These are the people who had been in said TWC and were now just hanging out, waiting to see what would happen next. You can also see the people congregating in the Cirlce across the street.  It was getting crowded.

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This is the other side of the Circle, where the steps leading down (or up) from the subway are.  A happenin’ place right about then.

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These are the people who had been stuck down there on those trains and in that dark subway station.
I’m glad I was with my good friend, the cab driver.

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These are some of NYC’s finest, keeping dumb people from going down into the dark subway station and trying to tell other dumb people that they have no idea when the power will be back on.  Do their uniforms say “Con Ed”?  I don’t think so.

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This was the sign on the door of West Elm.  I found it amusing.  All of the stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. were closed.  ALL of them. But it was nice of West Elm to sign it.

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This is the view of my building as I was walking up to it.  Notice that some poor souls were already opening windows.  I tried that.  For about 50 seconds.  It was so hot and humid out that I couldn’t take it.  Not to mention the constant, and I DO mean constant like I’ve never heard, sound of the sirens screaming past the building as firemen, police and ambulances rushed to free people from elevators and rescue others who needed electricity for things like oxygen.  You know, survival necessities.

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This is my lobby.  With no light.

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This is the view of Columbus Circle from my apartment, at dusk and with no lights. Well some lights, but very few in buildings.
Did I mention that my apartment is on the 20th floor?  I did?  Well, good.  Because it is.
And that stairwell was very warm.

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Here’s the view of Columbus Circle after dark.  So weird.  Some buildings had generators.  Lucky them.

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This is a dead flashlight, thus proving that its name is a lie. I spent quite a bit of time looking for it, then put fresh batteries in it only to find out that it was going to be of no use to me at all.
Stupid flashlight.
(I now have 2 new flashlights and a lantern sitting on my dining room table, courtesy of an irate shopping spree on Amazon, in the dark.  I’m sure I’ll never have a use for them.)

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This is the candle that I chose to light before I found the perfectly useless flashlight.  I’m not sure if it helped with my stress level, but it smelled good.
It was also hot.

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This is a view of a mostly dark and closed Lincoln Center.  They had all manner of shows going on that night.
For a few minutes anyway.

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These aren’t anything special, just some dark buildings across the street.
Though I bet the people who live in them would be highly offended by that comment.

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And this …… THIS is the email that I received a few minutes before the power came back on and I did a very, very happy dance.
I’d do it again and film it for you but it wouldn’t be the same.  Tragedy turning to joy cannot be successfully re-created.

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This has nothing at all to do with the blackout.  I went on another walking tour the next afternoon (the irony does not escape me that I was tempting fate to do another tour so soon after barely surviving Armageddon the last time I did a tour) and the tour guide pointed this building out.  This happens to be in my hood.  When it’s finished this will be the tallest residential building IN THE WORLD at 151-ish floors. It will be taller than the Freedom Tower with its radio tower thingee on top.
Let me know if you want to buy an apartment in there.  I’m sure I can hook you up.
And I bet we’ll NEVER have another blackout again so you can feel safe living on floor 151. Ish.

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So there you go, the tale of surviving what must have surely been one of THE most dangerous and exciting nights in the history of this city.  If not the world.
I’m just glad that I survived so that I could tell you all about it.

Too much?
Tough.  It’s my blog.
🙂

 

 

The Calm ……

…… after the storm.
Ahhhhhhh. (Insert long, peaceful sigh.)

The kids are back in Texas.
It was a great week.
It was a loud week.

The boys are wonderful and wild.
Invigorating and exhausting.
Hilarious and frustrating.

Exactly how they should be.

It’s always great to spend time with my kids. I loved having two of the daughters here to hang with for a short time. Daughter #3 FaceTimed in so that she didn’t totally miss out.

Soon-to-be-Grandson #2 turned two while he was here. We went to the zoo that day. We watched them feed the penguins, which he seemed to find a bit dull. We watched them feed and show off the sea lions, which he loved. And he got to feed several goats, sheep and an alpaca (I think. I thought it was a llama. All I know is that it didn’t spit at us so that’s a win.)

Grandson #1 is hilarious. Most of the time.
Walking through the city with him is …… interesting.
He’s always loved cars, trucks, buses …… pretty much all the wheels.
But now he’s going through this phase in which he points at every truck/bus/van/etc. that’s going by and shouts (he almost always shouts) “I LOVE that truck/bus/van/etc!”
Every.
Freakin’.
One.

And not only does he shout that out, but he then expects you to answer his shout of glee with an appropriate confirmation. Or he shouts it again. And again. And again. Getting louder with each shout.
Do you know how many trucks/buses/vans/etc. pass by in NYC every minute?
A lot.
A whole lot.
So what starts out as cute and endearing suddenly turns into something that makes you want to shout, “Yes! I see ALL the trucks/buses/vans/etc.! I see ALL THE WHEELS!”
But here’s the thing: even if you do shout that out (not that I would EVER do that … ?) it doesn’t stop him from shouting at the sight of the very next one.
He’s a man on a mission.

Grandson #2 just kind of goes with the flow.
Until he doesn’t.
Which is basically the way most 2 year olds operate.
He still loves to cuddle, give kisses and be held (most of the time).
He’s absolutely fearless.
Which doesn’t bode well for Daughter #2’s future.
(snicker)

I’ll be flying to Waco in 10 days to stay with the boys while she goes to a conference out of town.
Before they got here I told a friend that I plan to keep them out of daycare that week so that we can just hang out, do things and have an all around fun time.

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

I think I changed that plan before the end of the day they arrived.
What can I say? I’m weak.
And old.
And can only take so much conversation that contains the words poop, poopy head, poopy butt, butt cheek, pee and pee butt.
Boys ……
‘Nuff said.

Speaking of boys, Son #2 and his lovely girlfriend arrive tomorrow. I’m excited to see them.
He won’t care about the passing trucks.
Hopefully.

Have a great weekend.
You poopy heads.
🙂

It’s About Time ……

 

…… that I wrote another blog post.
I’m hoping to get back into this and to do better with keeping it up.
(If I had a dollar for every time I’ve written/said that …… I’d have a whole lotta dollars.)

So I’m going to post some pics to help catch you up with what I’ve been doing for the last month since I moved back up here.
And I’ll also catch you up with the fam.

The kids are all doing well. In three days (WHOOP!) Daughter #2 will be here with a friend, and with Grandson #1 and soon-to-be Grandson #2. Yep, we’re in the last stretch of him becoming a permanent part of our family.
T.A.N.W.

Daughter #1 and K will be here this weekend, too. I can’t wait. I haven’t seen them since Christmas. It’s about time.

Then, after a week when D#2 and her entourage leave, Son #2 and his girlfriend H will arrive for a week. It’ll be good to see them, too.
It’s going to be a fun two weeks.

Son #3 just finished his first year of law school. For those of you who’ve been around since the very beginning of my blogging …… you know how huge that is.
And how proud I am of him.

At the end of their visit I’ll be returning to Texas for a week. D#2 has a conference to go to for a week so I’ll be pulling Gigi duty. And I’m looking forward to it.
Ask me how I’m doing on Day 2.

So, as far as what I’ve been up to …… I’m still playing tennis every week (mostly), I’m now playing Mah Jongg at least once a week, sometimes twice.
I’ve joined a few Meetup groups, re-joined a book club, made new friends, applied to be a CASA here in NYC (a very daunting prospect), taken a few walking tours, seen some shows and a few movies.

I think I need a nap now.

But first I’ll post some pics.
You’re welcome.

These are my celebrity sightings in the last few weeks.

As I was walking to the subway a couple of weeks ago, Geoffrey Rush walked past me. Pretty cool.
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Then, a few nights ago I was at a show. I don’t usually pay attention to the people around me, like …… anywhere, so I’m always surprised when I see a celebrity. I had been looking through my Playbill and then decided to look around, just in case I might see someone. And low and behold …… Hilary Farr, from the HGTV show “Love It or List It” was in front of me.
I refrained from leaning over and saying, “I’ve decided to love it.”
She’s welcome.
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Here are a few shows that I’ve seen:


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Gracie and I continue to visit Central Park on a regular basis so that she can fulfill her duties as Ambassador of NYC.

Here are some places I visited:

A cool exhibit at the MET:
(And yes, that’s Prince’s guitar.  One of a few that were there.  This is a great exhibit, in case you’ll be in NYC over the summer.)

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The Frick (a truly wonderful museum that you can see in a couple of hours, unlike the MET, which you could live in for a month and probably not see it all):

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A walking tour around Gramercy Park:

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Another walking tour on the Upper West Side:

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Lunch and a tour of the UN …… it was amazing!:

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Our street was named Sesame Street, since it never really had a home before.  Now I live on Sesame Street.  Not bad.

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This young man dropped his phone on the track as he was getting on the subway.  After the train left he jumped down on the tracks to retrieve it.  The next train was less than three minutes behind that one.  And he struggled a bit trying to climb back up.
I think I aged a few years.

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I went to a friend’s lakehouse for Memorial Day weekend.  We had a great time.  It was beautiful and it brought back a lot of memories of time spent at our lakehouse:

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Yesterday we hung out on a lobster boat/shack.  We had lunch on it and sailed out for a bit.  It was fun.

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A few weeks ago I went to a lecture at the Hayden Planetarium (at the American Museum of Natural History, aka, the place where Night at the Museum was filmed) and tonight I went to another one.  It’s such a cool experience.

This was on my walk home.  I love walking in the evening, when the sun is setting.
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So that’s what I’ve been doing.
My house in Waco is still on the market (sigh).
But I’m definitely enjoying city life.
I’m in my happy place.

I’ll leave you with this picture.
I found this piece of paper when I was unpacking. It’s a pro/con list of moving to NY that I made several years ago.
I’m glad that I decided to follow the pros.

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Home Sweet ……

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…… apartment.
Nah. It’s really Home Sweet Home.
Finally.

I’m in New York.
And so is my stuff.
The movers arrived Monday, at around 11:30 a.m. It took them approximately 2-3 hours to bring in all of the boxes/stuff.
And then I got down to business.
For the next 10 hours.

The next two days I unpacked/put away/discarded things for 16 hours. Each day.
Yesterday I got up and worked about 3 hours and finished.
All boxes had been unpacked, flattened and recycled.
Everything had been put away where it belongs …… or stuffed somewhere to be attended to at a later date.
Today was that later date.

I went through every junk drawer/basket/file, you name it …… I went through it, cleaned it out, organized it and purged.

The apartment is finally …… and totally …… done.
It.
Is.
Home.

And I feel happier than I’ve felt in almost 11 1/2 years.
I feel content.
Settled.
Accepted.
Alive.
Vibrant.
Joyful.

I am where I’m supposed to be.
It’s not where I thought I’d be 11 years ago.
But time passes.
And it sometimes changes things.
And people.
I am definitely changed.
And happy.

Yes, I still miss Jim.
Every day.
But I’m living my life.
Not our life.
And though I wish it were different ……
It’s not.
And I’m okay with that.
Because to not be okay with it would mean that I would be miserable.
He, nor I, would want that.

My kids are all good.
They’re healthy, happy, secure, successful …… and loved.
I couldn’t ask for more.

The road from there to here was long, dark, excruciatingly difficult, painful, lonely and full of potholes, unexpected detours, closures and some amazing views.

I don’t know what the future holds for me.
And that’s a good thing.
I don’t want to know.
I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to know.
I just want to live this life …… this full, active, busy, sometimes sad, most times good, challenging, never dull, always interesting and full of love life one day at a time.
That’s all.
And that’s a lot.

I’m home.
At last.

Life Moves ……

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…… on.

I’m not saying that people move on, or better yet, people who are grieving move on. Because we don’t.
But we do move forward.

Life. It’s life …… that moves on.
At this point in my life, I can say that that’s not necessarily a negative thing.
At first it is. It hurts. A lot. And it’s hard to accept and adjust to.
But after 11 years, it is what it is.

And while I’ll never move on from being Jim’s widow, my life is definitely moving that way.

I’m back in Waco. I’ve been here for a little over a month. It’s time for me to sell my house here and to move to NYC full time.
I. Can. Not. Wait.

Don’t get me wrong. I like being here. I love being around my grandkids and being closer to most of my kids. And my parents.
I also love my house and will really miss it.
But my non-Gigi heart is in NYC. Thankfully, all of my kids know this and are more than okay with it.
Even Daughter #2, who lives here with the two boys. I know that she has mixed feelings about me leaving.
She loves NYC, as do all of my kids.
And she loves me and knows that it’s my happy place.
She also knows that I will probably be in Waco just as often as I am now. I can’t stay away from those boys for too long.

But it’s time for my life to move on from here. I need to be there full time so that I can fully live my life. I want to volunteer in a few areas and it’s difficult to do that when you don’t live there all of the time.
I have many friends there and I miss them when I’m not there.
And …… there’s still SO much for me to do, learn and experience in NYC.
And I can’t wait.

So …… I’ve been getting my house ready to be put on the market.
Which means that I’ve been purging like crazy. There are very few things that will move to NY with me, so I’ve got to get rid of a whole lotta things.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time with D2 and the boys. In fact, I took care of them this week while she went to a conference in Vegas.
At least, that was her story.

It was a wild week.
Grandson #1 is now 4 years old.
And goes to a Montessori school.
Grandson #2 is a year and a half.
And goes to daycare.
Unless Gigi is watching him and wants to keep him home.
Which I did.
(I was also annoyed with the daycare because I took him there on Monday and they decided that he has pink eye. With no pink eye.
Seriously?
I tried to tell them that you can’t have pink eye if it’s not pink.
Or itchy.
He has allergies.
But whatever.)
So he and I had some great time together this week.

Grandson #1 is a hoot.
And a strong willed, vocal, and stubborn young man.
All good (yet sometimes not) qualities.
I had some flashbacks this week when the school called.
He had a couple of rough days.
I hate flashbacks.

But all in all he had a good week.
D2 got home at around 1:00 a.m. this morning.
I immediately got in my car and went home.
I was eager to sleep in today.
And to give Gracie some down time.

She had dental surgery this week. I took her in expecting her to have a tooth extracted.
She had four removed.
W.T.H?!

Evidently her jaw bones are on the crappy side and seem to be disappearing, which loosens her teeth and causes infections.
And the need for extractions.
Fun times.

Poor baby.
I had to board her at the vet the night before because I couldn’t get her there on time the next morning and get Grandson #1 to school on time.
She had never been boarded before.
I’m not sure who suffered more, her or me.
Wait …… that’s not true.
I know who suffered more.
Any person and/or animal that had to listen to her whine, cry and screech all night.
I was surprised they didn’t charge me extra for that.

Anyway …… she was pretty pathetic when I picked her up and she stayed that way all night. I let her stay in her sling that I wore most of the night. Yes, I have a sling for her. It makes life MUCH easier in NY and in airports. And she loves it.
So, yeah. She was miserable but pretty drugged up all night.

The next morning she was back to her normal, hyper, obnoxious, cute self.
Must’ve been great drugs.

Back to D2 getting back this morning.
She took the boys to school/daycare and went to work.
Then she picked them up early this afternoon and headed to Austin to go on a retreat for single foster moms.
Daughter #3 and her hubby will be taking care of the boys.
She asked me if I wanted to go.

…… bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!
It’s not that I don’t love visiting my Austin kids, because I do.
But yeah …… no.
I need some down time to re-charge.
Yes, I love and adore those boys.
But ……
I’m too old for this stuff.
And I have no idea how I mothered 6 kids.
None.
Other than the fact that I wasn’t 50-something.

So I went to the grocery store today to stock up on essentials …… coffee and creamer. And bagels and cream cheese.
And I got 4 movies from a Redbox.
BTW, it was snowing here in Waco at that time.
I kid you not.

My plan this weekend?
To veg out, drink coffee, eat bagels and watch some movies.
And hang with Gracie without having to chase down the fastest crawler on earth before he eats dog food, gets into dog litter, grabs a glass of “night time coffee”* (Don’t ask. I haven’t told D2 about that yet.), or tries to dive down some stairs.
Did I mention that I’m too old for this?
And exhausted?

It’s going to be a good weekend.

*night time coffee is what D2 told Grandson #1 is the name for wine.
She’s brilliant.

Eleven ……

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…… seems to be a word that stands on its own. It’s big enough to just let it sit there.
Eleven.

Eleven years since I’ve seen his face, held his hand, kissed his lips.
Eleven.

I no longer disbelieve that he’s not here.
I no longer think about calling him when something big happens.
I no longer cry when I look at his picture.

Eleven will do that to you.

I really don’t have anything new to say.
Life is good.
Our kids are good.
All six of them.
Most of you know just how huge that sentence is.
Our kids are good.

It’s been a good year full of travel, grandkids and New York.
I can’t complain.
Even when I do.

Life is good.
Even when it isn’t.

I will always miss him, just as I will always, always love him.

Eleven.
It’s so much better than one.

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