Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Son

Early yesterday morning I got a phone call from my son.

"Mom, I don't feel well. I can't stop throwing up and I have a bad case of diarrhea."

After a visit to the doctor's office, he was admitted to the hospital. They ran massive tests and think he very possibly might have swine flu. My kid is sicker than a dog. He is severely dehydrated and is running a high temp. His hospital room door has a sign on it that says something to the effect that it is advised any visitors wash their hands thoroughly after leaving this room.

Two weeks ago, a kid here, the same age as my son, died from the swine flu so I'm hoping the doctor is just being extremely cautious. It's not a pleasant thing to see your kid suffering and IVs running into his arm.

The tests results have not come back yet. I'll keep y'all up on his condition.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Confession

I have a secret. I am not proud of what I am about to confess to you, but confess I will. I have a phobia. Wikipedia defines 'phobia' as thus:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A phobia (from the Greek: φόβος, phóbos, fear or morbid fear), is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. When the fear is beyond one's control, and if the fear is interfering with daily life, then a diagnosis under one of the anxiety disorders can be made.[1]

"A phobia of what?' you ask. Okay, let me take a deep breath before I continue and tell myself I can share almost anything with you and you will still return to my blog and read my daily musings.

Here it comes.


I suffer from acridophobia.

The family of orthopterous insects which includes the true locusts and the grasshoppers with short antennae.
Acrididae is the name of a large and diverse family of insects (order Orthoptera) which consists of the locusts and true grasshoppers. There are about 7,000 species in 1,100 genera.

acridophage, acridophagous, acridophagy
Feeding on, consuming, or eating grasshoppers.
Hunter-gathers eating grasshoppers at acridophagy.

Fondness for grasshoppers.
An abnormal fear of grasshoppers and locusts.

Yup. My name is Beej. And I am an acridophobic.

Okay, how did this come about, you might ask. It's all because of Eddie Magarvo. (Yes Eddie, I am putting your real name here because you caused me a lot of suffering over the years not to mention a ton of extra footwork, walking blocks and blocks around my house so as not to have to walk past a grasshopper! I hate you, Eddie Magarvo and if you ever have the misfortune of crossing my path, I WILL hurt you.)

This is the story. When I was a very very little girl, I loved nothing better than to start my day by standing in the front yard and watching the 'big kids' walk to school. my folks had installed a fence around our yard (mostly to keep me prisoner because even at this tender age I had a bad habit of taking off as soon as the opportunity to do so presented itself.) Anyway, every morning Eddie would walk by and every morning I would say "hi Eddie!" and every morning Eddie would throw a grasshopper in my face. (I hate you Eddie Magarvo.)

Now you would think that after this happened one or two times, I would know not to say "Hi Eddie!" to this mean moron. Not so. This went on for weeks. And every single morning I would have a large grasshopper thrown in my little face.

Eventually it did dawn on me; Do not say "hi" to Eddie Magarvo! But the damage was done, and I was left with this horrible phobia.

Now, you might rightly say, "But Beej! You feed your lizards crickets and seem to have no problem with that!" And you would be correct. But as much as crickets and grasshoppers resemble one another, they are not the same! A cricket is a cricket and a grasshopper is, well, a grasshopper.

And so, I am on a mission to face my fears, and as part of that process, I vow to study this photo daily until it doesn't bother me any longer:

And now, my kind and sympathetic friends, I think I need to go lie down and recover.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Lizards and Other Reptiles.

I have not shown any recent photos of my lizards, which are, afterall, the inspiration for the title of this blog. But first, I want to share this remarkable thing we saw in a neighbor's yard:

This is a six to seven foot long snake skin. I can tell it's freshly shed because it has no holes and it hasn't collapsed yet. I was all over the place trying to find the snake. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to see him!

Now, to the lizards..these are bearded dragons from Australia. They are well over a foot long, one female and one male. They have bred three times but each 'clutch,' which is what a group of lizard eggs is called, was infertile.

The female has a slight underbite and is in the process of shedding, so her scales are two different colors. I'm hoping that showed up on the photo.

These were about an inch long when we got them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oak-Leigh Farms

Oak Leigh Farms is a beautiful place. The white house has a huge surrounding porch and a circular driveway in front, giving it an antibellum look. It took me a while to find it. In fact several times I believed I must have missed it somehow, and considered turning around. But then, there it was.

The first thing I saw when I parked the car was a large fenced area with several alpacas resting. I have a feeling these were the mommas-to-be.

As I went up the driveway, I saw this on the back of a van parked there:

I continued and saw a wooden fence surrounding a large portion of land.
A gentleman approached me, hand extended. I introduced myself and asked if I could get some photos. He could not have been more gracious.

This is Ken, who owns the farm along with his beautiful wife, Patti.

Ken opened the gate and led me to the area where about ten alpacas were grouped together. I was afraid I would startle them, but these alpacas loved the camera. In fact, this one came right up to my lens.

My favorite had to be this half grown alpaca (I believe this one is Bella) who was apparently hungry and thought I must be mama because she suddenly grabbed my finger and began to suck.

I'll tell you, the only thing keeping me from whipping out my checkbook and buying this precious little girl was the knowledge that I don't have enough land. Or it would have been a done deal.

I loved this guy. (I think they said his name is Dusty.)

Then we went to see the peacocks. Oh my, they were beautiful!

Afterwards, they gave me a little mini lesson in spinning, with what is called a drop spinner and which is the forerunner of the spinning wheel. Here is the process from the raw wool to the finished skeins and then clothes.

Sorry thats in backward order but it gives you the right idea. And see the brightly colored skeins? Those skeins were dyed with kool-aid!

I said my goodbyes to the Spruells and thanked these wonderful, warm folks for allowing me to spend the afternoon at their farm. They invited me back in May when the alpacas are to be shorn. I look forward to this but I have a feeling I'll be back there long before spring.

peacocks and alpacas
ken and Patti Spruell
11780 Fortner St.
Dothan Al 36305


While I ws there, my son phoned me. Here's a snippet of our conversation:

"Hi mom."
"where are you?"
"Im at an alpaca farm."
(long silence)
"What are you doing at an alpaca farm?
"I'm looking at alpacas."
"Oh. who are you with?"
"I'm by myself."
"Oh. Why did you go there?"
"I wanted to see alpacas."
(long silence)
"I'll see you when I get home, son. Bye."
"bye mom."

Looking for an Alpaca Farm

Today I am bored and restless so I thought to myself, "Beej," I say, "today would be a good day to find an alpaca farm."

I know, I know this might seem a little strange. Most women go clothes shopping when they are bored. Or read a book. Or take a nap. But I don't want to do those things. I want to go visit an alpaca farm.

A few days ago I saw an ad on tv saying that this is Alpaca Week and therefore we should all go to our local alpaca farm and see the animals. Apparently, most people who farm alpacas also sell sweaters and the like made from the wool of the animal, so I would guess Alpaca week is also a way for them to sell their goods.

How do you find an alpaca farm near you? No problem! The ad included this link to an alpaca farm locator!

So I went there and lo and behold if there is one in Dothan Alabama! (I'm amazed what I can find in this small city!)

It is called Oak Leigh. Nice huh?

Wowsah.. Those alpaca scarves must be expensive!

Well, further browsing on their site led me to realize that it isnt necessarily the wool that sells well, but the animals themselves, especially if one happens to be a pregnant alpaca!

This little gal sells for a mere $25,000:

One interesting thing is that Oak-Leigh also raises peacocks. what diverse ranchers these folks are.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A True Love Story

This is a true story.

Frank and Irene had been married for almost 50 years when they decided to pack it all up and retire to the east coast of Florida. Irene, especially, loved the ocean and every evening, after dinner was done and they had washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, they would walk, hand in hand, on the beach. It made Frank happy to watch Irene's face while they walked. She almost looked young again.

Their life was idyllic. But then Irene got sick. She had cancer. Frank took care of her as best he could and still, as long as she was able, they would walk hand in hand on that beach in the evenings.

Sadly, Irene passed away. Frank stopped going to the beach for his nightly walks and it was a long long time before he could do so again.

Then one evening, he ate his meal, washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, same as every evening. But this particular evening, he then went to his bedroom and took the urn with Irene's ashes and walked to the beach. He slowly walked down the fishing pier, took the top off the urn and scattered Irene's ashes into the water.

Ever since that evening, Frank goes for his nightly walks on the beach alone. But he does not feel alone. He feels he is with Irene. And as he walks every evening, he sings:

Irene goodnight
Irene goodnight
Goodnight Irene
Goodnight Irene
I'll see you in my dreams

Lead Belly

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Today I went to see my hairdresser, Jamee. Jamee is s a specialist in coloring and I do not trust anyone else with my hair. She is worth not only the rather high price but also the hefty tip I always give to her. (I do this not only because Jamee is my friend but because I want her to remain very very happy to do my hair.)

While I was there, I had Jamee perform one of those girly-girl things we women have to suffer through...waxing. Men, you have NO IDEA! None whatsoever! This HURTS! So I thought I would explain what goes on here with this.

I have my eyebrows and my bikini line waxed. Eyebrows are fairly easy. The bikini line is a little nerve wrecking. Here is the process; Jamee heats up wax in this little burner thingy that looks all the world like a teeny slow cooker. Then she takes a little tongue depressor type of tool and spreads hot melted wax under each eyebrow. While the was is still hot, she puts a little piece of gauze type stuff on top of the soft wax and waits for it all to set. Then whambamthankyouma'am!!!she yanks it off taking unwanted eyebrow hairs with it.

The bikini line is similar except you need to strip to your undies. A bigger tongue depressor tool applies the wax to the top of the inside of your thighs. She applies a bigger piece of gauzy stuff and when it cools, whambamthankyouma'am! she yanks it off.

Afterwards your skin is a little red, but this quickly clears up and then your skin is as smooth as a baby's bottom, and your eyebrows are a very feminine, clean sight.

I am lucky; some women need to have a mustache waxed off. And some women do their legs and their arms. I am only hirsute on my head so I have no worry there. But can you imagine a man doing this? They just take a razor and shave it off! Now when have you ever seen a woman do that on her upper lip? None I know of. men do not suffer to look nice. We women don't give it a second thought. But someday, when I am 90 years old, I am not going to do any of this. I'm going to let myself go to hell in a hand basket and thumb my nose at younger women who still believe in this torture, and maybe even yell out to them, "What the HELL is wrong with you?!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Little Book Store

You have probably already figured out that I work at a book store. We had just moved to Alabama when I went in to this place and as I approached the register, I impulsively asked if they were hiring. (My life is made up of a series of impulses, sometimes a good thing, sometimes resulting in dastardly consequences. That could be a story for another time tho.)

This is a really really cool store; not only do we carry lots and lots of books, we house an adjoining bistro, which Judy, AKA Minnie Pearl, runs. We have quite the faithful following and sometimes I feel like I'm in with the in crowd for working there.

IT seems everyone under the sun comes to my store. I meet some great, fun people ...some day I'll tell you about Charlie who is the captain of a large oil ship. Charlie buys hundreds of dollars worth of books at a shot because hes out in the gulf for months on end. I like Charlie. He brings his mother in with him and buys her whatever she wants. (Apparently captains of oil ships, or whatever they're called, make lots of money.) But back to the man himself..he's a renegade, has a pony tail down to his hiney, a huge huge laugh and I have a great time with him when he shows up.

Then there's my good friend Dennis. Dennis is a handsome, chatty great guy, who plays Atticus Finch up in Monroeville, where Harper Lee lives. In fact, he is personal friends with her. I hear all sorts of 'Nell' Lee stories from Dennis, and once he even let me hold a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird that she autographed.

The list could go on and on. I mean, this is a fun place to work. But there is a flip side to this; I also run into some really really not too bright folks. Take this little conversation for example...

CUSTOMER: Have you read Patterson's 'Sail?"
ME: no but i understand the premise is pretty good."
CUSTOMER: "OH?? I haven't read that one!"

No, duh!

Then this lady..

CUSTOMER: Is such and such book out yet?"
ME: No ma'am, it hasn't been released yet."
CUSTOMER: "Well, fine! I will just go to your competitor and get it!"

Go right ahead you stupid bitchtard! And good luck! IT ISNT OUT YET!! ANYWHERE!

Then this one:

"Do you have a bathroom?"

"Uh, no. We serve a ton of coffee and make everyone hold their tee-tee. It's a contest we have going. The longest tee-tee holder wins a free hardcover bestseller! Why don't you just make yourself comfy in that chair over there and see if you can win!!

and this one:

"Do you know anything about the books?"

No. Go ask Judy in the cafe.. (Har Har gotcha Judy!)

Oh yeah, and this one:

"Can we borrow the books?"

Oh sure. Thast'll pay the electric bill..

But today I got a really good one. Somebody returned a book of erotica. Dog-eared, spine broken, cover torn.

"Can I return it? I didn't like it."
(Looks like you LOVED it to me!)

I figured what the heck; even sex maniacs need a break.


I gave him his money back, and marked the book as 'used.' Somebody in a warehouse will get a charge out of that, I'm sure.

Judy, the Coffee Lady

This is Judy. She runs the bistro at the little book store where I work. Judy is a five foot tall, megaphone mouthed full fledged southern mama who was born in hyper drive. She reminds me of Minnie Pearl, and believe me, she sure can rival Minnie's full throttle, bone frazzling, "Howd-YYYY!", the standard 'Judy-greeting' all customers receive upon entering our store.

I am surprised we sell any coffee at all because Judy is enough to wake even the dead. I love Judy. She is the ying to my yang.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Big Egg

Some things just were never meant to be eaten.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I still am not totally out of my little funky blues so I decided to do something just for me, something incredibly frivolous, something I should be embarrassed to admit. But, admit I will; I had a manicure today and had the manicurist paint a white flower on the index fingernail of both hands. (Here comes the frivolous part..) Then I had a little diamond imbedded in the center of both flowers.

Please try not to judge me too harshly for this; I do feel guilty, but I needed to do something just for me for a change. Life is a little difficult right now for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Most Pious, Sister Beej

When I was in eighth grade, I decided I wanted to be a nun. I had happened upon the movie, 'The Nun's Story' and I thought to myself, that's what I wanted to do with my life! I wanted to be just like that beautiful, kind sister! I began to obsess about it. I remember standing in our living room in front of my mother, who was on her knees, pins in her mouth, taking up the hem on a dress she had just sewn for me.

"Mom, I want to be a nun." said I.

I thought she was going to swallow her pins.
That was all she said.

We were devout Catholics. Not only that, we had a very close relationship with the clergy of our local church, who would often come to our home for dinner. Mama must have talked to the good Father about my new aspiration because not long after, she told me I could go to a retreat at what's called The Mother House. Ths is where aspiring nuns go to meditate and to sort out their hearts' desires. so I went.

The house itself was a mansion. I was given a little room, called a cell. Each cell had a little nameplate of a saint on its door. Mine was Theresa the Little Flower. I prayed. I meditated. I became the most pious of the pious. And then I could take no more.

I became rowdy. In my defense, I was only 13 at the time, extremely active, curious, fun loving. I had met a couple other nuns-to-be at this retreat, and by the time I was done with my week long meditation, I had not only gotten all of us in trouble, I had actually broken the elevator that the honest-to-pete real nuns used to get up and down in the four story mansion.

The Mother Superior had had enough of my shenanigans, which had culminated in a broken elevator, took me aside (once they got me out of the elevator where I had been trapped) and told me, in no uncertain terms, that she didnt think the sisterhood was my true calling, and I was sent home.

I was devastated, and I have often wondered through my life if I had missed my true calling and chance for pure unadulterated happiness by not entering the convent. Then I look at my two kids, and thank God that I broke that elevator.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Innocence of Youth

I went to a fancypants high school for four long years. It consisted of three separate parts, the girls school, the boys school and the boarding school. Yup, a fancypants preparatory school for which my father paid through the nose. Now, at an older and wiser age, I'm so grateful that, when I give it any thought at all, I could simply collapse on the floor in a puddle of thankful tears. Not so, back then. I tried everything I could think of to get expelled so I could go to public school but as smart as I thought I was, they were a whole lot smarter and realized what I was trying to do. So, instead of kicking me out, they gave me other rotten consequences, like staying after school to scrub all the chairs in the cafeteria.

The sexual revolution had already begun, but because my opportunity to meet guys was limited, so was my opportunity to join in the fun! The boys school even began and ended an hour after the girls to discourage us from meeting. Even in retrospect I think this was absolutely pathetic and let me tell you, it screwed up my first year in college royally! I was so happy to be in a co-ed college that I made up for lost time and didnt have a lot of energy left over to actually go to class. As a result, I lost a full scholarship and ended up finishing my education while working full time..the pits of a thing to have to do.

We girls whose parents paid through the nose for our fancypants school, were horribly uneducated in any sexual matters. You want to know what pathetic is? My best friend, Margie, had a little job cleaning rooms for a cheapo nearby motel. I used to go and help her and once we found, on the floor, one of those wire closures that come on wine bottles. Margie was eying it with great consternation.

"What do you think it is, Beej?"

I studied it for a few minutes.

"I think its some kind of birth control."


Let me tell you, when we got older and saw that same contraption on the top of wine bottles at the liqueur store, we cried with laughter.

Now, a school full of hormonally saturated teenaged girls find anything sexual to be uncommonly wonderful. And, since we didnt have the opportunities for adventure that our public school counterparts did, we would attach innuendo to ANYTHING. And thats what brings me to this story; we would delight one another by taking song titles and adding '"she said as the bed broke" to the end of them. Here are some samples, lets say, from willie nelson songs:

"Crazy" she said as the bed broke.

"Hello Walls" she said as the bed broke.

"Red Headed Stranger" she said as the bed broke.

"I Gotta get Drunk" she said as the bed broke.

Man, we were dumb kids! But we thought we were sly and sophisticated and oh so very witty!

Kids today would roll their eyes at something like this. They're just so experienced at such tender ages. But I'm glad we had this innocent bit of fun! I wouldn't trade places with them for the world.

Yuh, right.

The Satellite Gym

I've been a bit sad lately. call it depression, melancholia, down in the dumps, blue, bummed doesn't matter, it all means the same. I am, by nature, content. They say when I was a baby, they would come to get me out of my crib and I would be one big toothless, slobbering smile. I have teeth now, I don't drool, well, not often and usually not when I'm awake, but I still smile a lot. To this day, I awaken smiling. Other people consider it obnoxious first thing in the morning. But I am rather glad I am this way.

The only problem is, when I'm not content with life it's pure hell for me because am not accustomed to it and I do not like it one bit. I cannot deal with it very well. But one thing that helps me on these rare occasions is to go to the gym. So, I went off to my satellite gym this morning.

My regular gym is beautiful. And huge. In fact, it's three stories high. Its walls have a pretty paint on them, sparkling mirrors everywhere, bouncy happy music blaring. The only problem is, it's not open on Sundays. So for a few extra dollars, I joined the subsidiary gym which is open 24/7. As you can tell from the photos, it's small, a bit grungy and there is no trainer there to talk to. The floor is covered in old peeling paint and the walls are dirty. Its just free weights, ellipticals, weight machines and treadmills. but they do the job.

I felt a bit better after an hour there. Not a lot but enough to get me through until tomorrow when I'm sure I'll have my happy, smiley bubble back.

In the meanwhile, I think I'll go read a book.

Just Because

The brother with the long hair reminds me soo much of my son if he wore his hair like that.
(Sorry, it won't let me imbed but you can click on the youtube link to listen; its well worth the extra step.)

'You turned into a lover
And mother, what a lover,
You wore me out...
...You led me away from home
Just to save you from bein' alone
You stole my soul and
that's a pain i can do without.'


I love Rod. I love his energy and I love love love the way he moves. This is an incredibly sexy man.
One dance with you, Rod, honey, that's all I am asking for. One very long dance.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


There is a large pond at the entrance to my neighborhood. It's called Emerald Lake, but it's not a lake. it is, well, a large pond. In the center of this pond/lake, there is a fountain. We who live here are very proud of this fountain because we took up a collection and paid for it ourselves, tho it is maintained by the city.

Living on Emerald Lake is a gaggle of geese. These are gorgeous geese and we love them..EXCEPT their waste clogs up our fountain which, in turn, allows the entire large pond to turn into a murky, stinky swamp. More on this later, however.

This is my real story; in this gaggle of gorgeous, huge geese, abides a duck. One lone duck who has lived with these geese for as long as I've been in this neighborhood. I do not know if he knows he's a duck, or if the geese do either, but I suspect he just doesn't give a crap. He's happy. And the other fowl seems to totally accept him. If you double click on the photos above, you can get a really good look at the geese and the duck and see for yourself how well they live together.

Back to the bird excrement that causes our showcase pond to pollute; somebody decided we could solve the problem by gathering up the birds (these are large birds; i dont know how they went about catching them and loading them on to a vehicle.) and hauling them to the outskirts of town, hoping they would establish themselves in a pond located there. No such luck; they flew back. All of them, including the duck.

I admire this guy. He swims and eats and walks around the lake with nary a care in the world about standing out as being different. The geese seem to live amicably with him. They live and let live despite the difference.

We could take a lesson from these geese, and their friend, the duck.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I swear to God, this is how my dream went:

Hugh Hefner is taking me to my sister's house. It's not the one she owns now, but a big, old dusty, dilapidated dump she rented years ago. I am in her eldest daughter's bedroom, looking at my reflection in an antique wall mirror.

I am horrified; there I am, in a bunny costume, bunny ears on top of my head, and I am clad in a skimpy, tight bunny outfit which has pushed my boobs up to only a few inches lower than my shoulders. I turn three-quarters around and check out the bottom half of my bum cheeks hanging out of the costume and, yup, there it is, the large cottonball bunny tail stuck in the middle of my buttocks. I am more than horrified; I am mortified, "How will I explain this to my kids?" I wonder. Then I realise, "Wait. Thy know I'm with Hef. What else can they expect at this point?" And all seems well.

A few nights later, I dream I am at a posh outdoor buffet with my date, Donald Trump, sitting across from me.
"Beej," sez the Donald, "bring that chafing dish and follow me."
I pick up the silver serving dish (maybe gold? This is THE Donald, after all..) and follow his gray pompadour down the long table. He stops and tells me to ladle some food onto a guests plate. I look down and guess who it is? Yup, it's Hef, in a ruby red satin smoking jacket. (God, I hope he's not jealous because I'm with Donald!)

At least in my dreams, I am surrounded by rich, old, important men.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ohhhhh Nooooo..I am So Embarrassed!

Did you ever have one of those moments where you have been sooo emabarrassed you wish that you could just slither out of the room and end up in your bed with the covers pulled up over your head? And not come out until you were 90 years old? Or, better yet, dead? I had one of those today.

My son's friend came into the bookstore where I work and wanted to talk. I noticed it had stopped raining so I suggested we go outside. I sat on a low window ledge while we talked and after a short time, stood to go back instide. I immediately felt a cold draft on my hiney and realized I had sat in a puddle of water. My back end was sopping wet. I knew we were too short staffed for me to go home and change so I walked back into the store with water dripping off the rump of my pink pants.

My friemd, Dennis, had stopped in to say hi and after he composed himself..yes, he was laughing...he suggested I go into the ladies room and perch my rump under the hand dryer/blower thingy. I took his advice, went into the bathroom, bent over from the waist and stuck my rear end up toward the nozzle of the hand dryer. It's one of those motion activiated things, so i just hung my head, and wiggled my rump every 30 seconds or so to keep it running. (the air. Not the rump..)

With the loud noise of the machine and the warm air blowing on my ass i was so totally relaxed that I didnt hear two older women come into the room. But I did sort of sense that i was being stared at. I raised my head just enough to take in their faces... they were staring at me, and they were totally drop jawed with their eyes popping out of their sockets.

I straightened uo and turned around to show them the still damp rump of my pink pants. They came to their own conclusion as to how i wet my pants. I quickly explained that, no, i didnt have THAT kind of accident, that i had sat on a wet ledge outside. They hesitantly laughed...sort of...went into separate stalls and i left the rooom, with pants still wet. I figured it was better than situating my ass back under that dryer with those two women rright there in the same room.

I didnt know if i wanted to laugh or cry. I think a little of both. But now I am laughing out loud.
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