Random Thoughts Thursday 60

By , April 24, 2014 6:09 am
  • I am finally reading Born to Run! Gina really liked it, and thought I would to, so she gave me a copy! I’ve heard so many rave reviews of this book! Have you read it? What did you think?


  • We started watching Saving Mr Banks last night. I am really enjoying it! The difficulty of the main character reminds me a bit of some people I know in real life, ha ha. Now Steven and I need to watch Mary Poppins. Neither of us have ever seen it - have you seen Mary Poppins?
  • Data has been so darn cuddly and sweet since we came back from Dallas late Tuesday night! Normally, he is that way for about 20+ minutes after we walk in the door, but he is still acting like that this morning! Aww!


  • This weekend, I noticed my purse had an attached strap inside of it, with a clasp at the end. I decided to attach my wallet to it, and wow, it’s now super easy to get my wallet out of my purse! Don’t have to dig around anymore. Ahh, the simple things. Ha ha. 


  • Awhile ago (gosh, it was the last time I did a RTT!), I mentioned I hadn’t been sleeping well for a few months. I hope I am not jinxing it, but I am finally starting to sleep for longer periods of time at night! A few sleep related questions - if I have a crazy nightmare with someone in it, should I let them know? Ha ha. I had a tornado dream Wednesday morning, with someone from my past in it. And, what do you do when you can’t shut your mind off to fall asleep? The #1 thing that usually works for me is to think about something I have to plan/figure out, and don’t want to. My brain is so good at shutting those things out of my mind that it puts me to sleep (I know, not so much a good thing when it comes to planning/problem solving). 
  • Speaking of dreams, yesterday I wasn’t sure if I had a discussion with Steven in real life, or in a dream I had on the train ride to work. It must have been in real life, because when he picked me up from the train that evening, we went grocery shopping, which is what I wanted to ask him about. Um… let’s just say I was a bit tired yesterday morning. 
  • Tonight is our first meeting with our softball team, and our first game should be May 15th! I didn’t realize how much planning and organization would go in to it (duh, right?) but I know the games will be a lot of fun. I wonder what position I will end up playing!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 59

Then there were two

By , April 23, 2014 6:19 am

Typically when a visit with Gina and family ends, I feel super down because it will be so long before I see them again, or worse – I don’t even know when I will see them next!

But not this time! We know we will see them in LESS THAN A MONTH(!!!!!!!) when they come to Chicago for the Soldier Field 10 Miler. And after that, we will see them in two and a half weeks at my snister’s wedding! Okay, don’t even ask me how I will feel when we part in June. I will probably be a basket case. 

Our trip this past weekend to Dallas was perfect. It coincided with many celebrations – Gina’s birthday on Friday, Easter on Sunday, the Boston Marathon/Śmigus-Dyngus on Monday, and an early birthday for Luca on Tuesday! Oh yeah, the title of the post:


Raffie needed a friend! Raffie, meet Guntherrrrrrrrrrrr* (said with rolling Rs and purring noises). Ha ha. 


Guntherrrrrrrrrrrr showed up at the doorstep late Saturday night and it was too hard to just leave him in the box until we gave him to Luca on Tuesday, so we had a bit of fun hiding him in places to scare Gina and Steve. 

I think the bathroom may have been the most successful hiding spot, based on the scream I heard from downstairs when Gina saw him in there, and, um, based on Guntherrrrrrrrrrrr’s rapid decent from the second level to the first level. Ha ha ha!


The sad thing is that he’s too big to come to Chicago in May. I am sure we will find something else to be goofy about – we always manage to!

And that is one of the things I love about spending time with Gina, Steve and Luca – all the jokes and goofiness. Our time together is so upbeat, care-free and stress-free! I always feel so relaxed around them. Then it’s back to the grind… but only for a bit!


I love sharing nap time with Luca! I hope he never grows out of naps…

*5 out of 5 moms interviewed said getting Luca another giant stuffed animal was a good idea. Or, at least, that I should do it. 

Training Week 235

By , April 21, 2014 8:53 am

Highlight of the Week: That I started the week with a run with my dad in Iowa, and finished it with a run with my bestie in Texas!


Monday | April 14, 2014: 5 m run (w/Dad) + teaching strength class
Loc: Young Arena, Waterloo, Time: 53:30, Pace: 10:41 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: Kettlebells/body bars mixed mode, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Tuesday | April 15, 2014: rest
Wednesday | April 16, 2014: 3+ m walk around Chicago
Thursday | April 17, 2014: 6.3 m run (w/Adam) + 3 m run (w/Christina)
Loc: Around Grayslake, Temp: 42°/41°, Time: 59:13, Pace: 9:24 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: worn out and tired
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 60°/61°, Time: 30:35, Pace: 10:12 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good/excited to run with someone new

Friday | April 18, 2014: teaching strength class + 5.2 m run (w/Kelly)
Strength: Kettlebells/bod bars mixed mode, Difficulty: medium, Felt: decent
Loc: Grrayslake, Temp: 37°/36°, Time: 51:44, Pace: 9:57, Difficulty: good, Felt: happy I got to run with Kelly!
Saturday | April 19, 2014: Trek the Trails Half Marathon (w/Gina)
Loc: McKinney, Temp: 51°/68°, Time: 2:13:17, Pace: 10:09 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: happy (until the hills… just kidding!)
Sunday | April 20, 2014: rest (including some walking)


  • Looking at my training logs, I have not done a solo run since March 17th! That is nutso! I sure feel lucky to have so many people to run with, at many different times (and sometimes, paces)!
  • I can’t decide if I want to include walking in my recaps or not. Sometimes I end up walking a lot if I am downtown, but don’t include it, but would if I was walking that amount around my neighborhood. If that makes any sense. This week I did track how much I walked downtown Chicago and it was over 3 miles (non typical day – my walking commute isn’t always like that). I am sure it will be back and forth from week to week.
  • I’m coming up on potentially 6 weekends in a row of races (not signed up for all of them yet), and most of them are with friends! Fun, fun, fun! 

Link to Training Week 233 and 234

Trek the Trails Half Marathon Race Report

By , April 20, 2014 8:18 am

Time to brag on my girl, Gina! She ran her first (almost) half marathon this year in February, a redemption one two weeks later, and a third half marathon yesterday. I don’t know about you guys, but after my first half marathon, I didn’t run another for a full year*! Go, Gina, go! I am super proud of her! 

Oh! And the awesome thing about this half marathon is that it was the full half distance (ha ha, unlike the first one) and that we got to run it together. New couple personal distance record (CPDR?)! Awww!


The Trek the Trails Half Marathon was in the town she lives in – McKinney, Texas. It started at a high school, followed a road, then quickly got on a paved trail. 




The trail was gorgeous! And I really liked the parts of the trail that were shaded, as there was hardly any cloud coverage from the sun, and surprise, surprise, Texas is a bit warmer than Illinois right now!


I was actually a bit concerned about getting overheated and feeling lousy, like I have on a few recent “hot” (not really) runs. But we kept the pace easy and I took some electrolyte tabs, which seemed to help a bit! I was still hot and dripping in sweat (and it only got up to 68°F), but I felt fine and we were able to run the whole thing…

EVEN when we went through this tortuous hilly neighborhood loop that had hardly any shade.  Ha ha. We weren’t really sure what the course was like. I thought it was a straight out and back, but it was actually an out, a little loop, then a BIG loop, off of the trail, through a hilly residential area. Then back on the trail. 


Needless to say, we were happy to get back on the trail! The course marshals and race volunteers were fantastic, and we were getting lots of “go bunnies!” and “I like your ears” when went through the residential area, but it was a bit mentally challenging. It was a smaller half marathon, and sometimes, it was just us, with no one else in sight! At one point I told Gina it just felt like a training run through a neighborhood (ha, which is really what it was, since we weren’t going for a time goal). I was fine with that, but happy when we got back on the trail and we knew we were headed back.  

Since part of it was out and back we got to see the boys twice, which was a surprise! 


Our pace dropped the last few miles, but I was really proud of us for running the entire thing and dealing with the hot sun (Gina usually does her long run earlier in the day to avoid the heat!)! We saw a lot of people walking, and the fact that they were mostly local** and still struggling with the heat, made me feel better that I thought it was challenging, too. 

We crossed the finish line in 2:13:18 (2:13:17 for Gina, ha ha) and were very happy when we saw they didn’t make us run a hill right by the finish, and when we found out that the course was an accurate distance. Woo hoo!


What a fun race! I enjoy doing longer distance events with friends, so we can chat and have a good time, and love that I can do that with Gina (well, you know, chatting until the last few miles when I am all “hot. brain no work.”). I think it’s so awesome she has kept her distance up (and even run over the half marathon distance!!!) since her first “half,” and that she is continually challenging herself! And that she finds this fun – we actually signed up as a celebration of her birthday the day before. Woo hoo!


And I was very happy that we got to see our boys a few times on course! Ha ha – every time I saw them I thought, “they look so hot, in long sleeves!” But actually, it was really nice out, if you weren’t running! Hee hee. 


One last story. At the beginning of the race, this guy told us that his dog liked to chase bunnies (after seeing us in our bunny ears), which made us laugh. He passed us right away in the beginning, and I was like, “Gina! We can’t let that dog beat us!” Ha ha. We only passed him, a little over half way through, because the dog stopped for a potty break. After the race, that guy told us he was trying to catch up with us the whole time after we passed him. I asked him a bit about training his dog to run longer distances, and he said the dog had actually done two 50 milers recently and this half was an “easy” run! Color me impressed!


*oh, that is because I immediately signed up for a full marathon then got a stress fracture… that kind of set me back for awhile
**Looking at the race results, there were three people from out of state – me, someone from Nevada, and someone from Louisiana

Why I don’t like to be the first to answer when the waiter asks “how is everything?”

By , April 17, 2014 6:21 am

If we’ve eaten in a restaurant together before, you’ve likely heard this story.

Years ago, I was eating out with three other people who ordered a similar meat dish while I ordered some pasta veggie dish. The waiter came by to ask the typical “how is everything?” and I responded with “good.” My dish was good.

Apparently, though, everyone else at my table was really displeased with their food, and had wanted to say something (which I did not know). But then didn’t, since I said “good.” Then they proceeded to be cranky (somewhat with me) the rest of the night, while eating their bad (?) food.

For whatever reason, this experience really stuck with me. I was made to feel shamed for that “good” response. Since then (and it was, what, oh… maybe 10 years ago?!) I’ve always paused a bit when a waiter asks how everything is. If I look around the table and it looks like no one is going to answer, then I will. Or if someone is displeased and I know it, I’ll let them speak. Or speak for them, if they don’t want to say anything. Ha!

Really though, that is what the issue was – for some reason, me saying my food was good make the others feel like they couldn’t say what was “wrong” with theirs. Why are people so shy about that?

Maybe it’s because I am always asking for modifications with a vegan diet, and sometimes sending food back, that I just don’t think it’s a big deal. Smile, be polite when you ask… and again – don’t make it in to a big deal. It’s just food! You’ll be fine (unless you have some crazy serious allergy, of course). I feel like, as a paying customer, it’s okay to ask to have something “fixed,” if it didn’t come out how you asked. And hopefully, people don’t abuse that!


Post Bachelorette Party Red Robin! From L to R: Ashleigh, Jason, Kelsey, Jacquie, me, Christinklebot, Mamba and Will.

Oh gosh, this is making me think back to my days as a McDonald’s manager, and how this huge multi-generational family came in every Sunday, and always came up with issues to try to get free food. We non-lovingly called them “the Family.” As in “Kim, the Family’s here!” Which was my signal to go assist my cashier and whomever was putting the order together to make sure it was perfect. Then I would save the order receipt so when the Family came back claiming they didn’t get something, I’d show them they didn’t order it/pay for it. OJ is expensive, y’all! Ha ha.

Do you have any hesitation asking a waiter to fix something that’s “wrong” with your dish? Do you get annoyed when they ask “how is everything?” when your mouth is full of food?

That’s not my name!

By , April 16, 2014 6:47 am

Growing up, did your parents ever call you someone else’s name (probably a sibling’s) by accident? What was that name? Do you do it now to your kids, or pets (as that is the discussion that actually inspired this post), or anyone else?

This probably doesn’t happen to only children? You guys tell me! But growing up (and now), my mom and other family members sure did call us by the wrong names quite often from time to time. Our names are Nicholas, Kimberly, Anthony and Christina. But sometimes you were called by another sibling’s name. Sometimes names were combined – Ant Kim, Ant Nick, Ant Chris (not sure why Anthony always came to mind first). Ha ha, even this weekend, my mom was looking right at me, and called me Christina! I ignored her of course, just to be a brat. 


This came up at work, after I asked my coworkers if people ever call their pets by the wrong sex (Data is not a “she” or “her,” dammit!). They said no, but one person said they do get their own pets’ names mixed up, the same way their parents used to mix up their sibling’s name with theirs. Ha ha. Maybe that trait is hereditary!

I sometimes get people’s names mixed up and call them by a different student’s name when I am teaching class. Hey, lack of oxygen to the brain, give me a break! And, very oddly, when Steven and Nick (my brother) are together, I sometimes swap their names by accident. Weiiiiiiiiiird. 

Christina’s bridal weekend

By , April 15, 2014 4:33 pm

Saturday was my snister’s big day!


Christina and her bridesmaids (L to R: Kelsey, Amber, Kim, Christina, Jacquie, Ashleigh)

Okay, not the big BIG day, but a big LITTLE day – her bridal shower and (first*) bachelorette party!

I didn’t think about it until Monday, but this was actually the first bachelorette party I’ve ever been to! Is that crazy… or not?! Either way, it was so much fun! But let’s start at the beginning!

We held the bridal shower and the bachelorette party on the same day to make it easier for people who had to travel (ha ha… that would be me!). The party was in a city hall close to our hometown. I planned the party with my mom, and came to learn how much I love to delegate tasks. Ha ha! I asked my mom to do the decorations (because I am so NOT crafty) and she did a spectacular job!


Mom also brought game prizes and put together some goodie bags. 


Well, geesh, did I do anything?! Ha ha. Yes. I brought cookies from Maria’s Oven to help fill the goodie bags:


And organized all the food and games with help from the bridesmaids and my grandmas, and hosted the party!

Confession: I don’t enjoy cheesy shower games, so I tried to come up with some that were the least painful… for the attendees anyway (not for Christina, muah ha ha)! I was really pleased with how they turned out! We did a game each between eating (appetizers and main course) and presents/cake and I thought that went well. The games were:

1. Sharing a favorite memory with the bride – I had everyone write a favorite memory with Christina, without their name on it. Then when I had them all, I passed them out and people had to figure out whose memory they got, then read it and introduce that person and memory to the group. I know, it sounds painful, but it was a fun way to get everyone to know one another. I thought it was fun. 
2. Draw the bride a dream wedding dress (Mom’s idea) – Wow. This turned out to be so much fun. I didn’t realize I was sitting with a bunch of artists! Everyone came up with amazing designs for Christina!


3. The (almost) Newlywed Game – I sent Christina’s fiancé, Will, a list of fifteen questions and he answered them via video! So we’d ask Christina the question, then watch the video to see what Will’s response was. Some of the questions were: “What is Wills favorite movie?” “What is Will’s most annoying habit?” “What is Will’s favorite thing about Christina?” For every question Christina got wrong, we made her chew another piece of gum. Muah ha ha! She did really well and it was so fun to watch!



4. How Well Do You Know the Bride Quiz (from Christina) – Christina had these tear-out sheets with a fun questionnaire about her and Will. I learned that she thinks her first kiss was to a guy named Robert. Ha ha. And that she doesn’t have a favorite perfume or band!

After the party we cleaned up, packed up, and headed to Des Moines for a painting at Pinot’s Palette and hotel slumber party! I have to give a shout out to Erin at Pinot’s Palette. She was helpful and responded quickly to emails. She made setting up the painting party easy and stress-free! And I thought it was super cool that Christina got to choose which painting we would all do from a huge list. She chose (via bridesmaid vote) “Tree of Life.”


None of painting party attendees had ever done one of these BYOB(&food) painting classes before! So it was fun for me to see everyone be excited about it, and especially to see how their paintings all turned out!




I had made a previous deal with my mom that we would trade paintings at the end of the night since I am a horrible artist and she is not. So we made jokes with each other (as we had back-to-back easels) during class about “Oh man, you should see how your painting looks now!” Hee hee. But! I ended up liking mine and keeping it!


Someone said my yellow spots looked like hashtags which got my mom to ask what a hashtag was. Apparently, Mom was at a work meeting where hashtags were referenced and everyone laughed and she missed the joke! Now she is in the know. 

After the painting party we went to our hotel. I found a hotel suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a full kitchen and living room! It was perfecto!


And I was super excited we ended up getting the hotel hot tub all to ourselves. I had been looking forward to soaking in it for weeks!


The hot tub closed at midnight but we stayed up much later than that, just chatting and goofing around (we now have a Śmigus-Dyngus inside joke… who would’ve thunk it?!). It was so fun to get to know Christina’s bridesmaids and friends! It really made me even more excited for her wedding on June 14th! But man, I just hope that day does not go by as fast as the parties did (what am I talking about? of course it will!).

We actually hung out a bit the day after the party too – bummed around the hotel in the morning, then hit up a few shops before having lunch together and splitting our separate ways. The next time I see Christina will probably be at her wedding. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Exciting!

*She is having another with her local friends in May. 

Training Week 233 & 234

By , April 15, 2014 6:46 am

Highlight of the Week(s): Getting a few longer distance runs in with friends!


Monday | March 31, 2014: teaching strength class
Strength: one dumbbell and resistance bands, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Tuesday | April 1, 2014: 3.2 m run (w/Kelly) + 3 m run (w/Emily)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 44°/39°, Time: 31:03, Pace: 9:44 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good! Surprisingly not too annoyed with the 20+mph winds
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 46°/44°, Time: 32:13, Pace: 10:44 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: winded
Wednesday | April 2, 2014: rest
Thursday | April 3, 2014: 4.6 m run (w/Kelly, incl 6 hill repeats)
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 39°, Time: 48:13, Pace: 10:29 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: like I need to do more hill work!
Friday | April 4, 2014: teaching strength class
Strength: one dumbbell and resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: challenged
Saturday | April 5, 2014: 15.1 m run (2 m run + South Shore Half Marathon w/Rachel)
Loc: Milwaukee, Temp: 33°, Time: 19:55, Pace: 9:57 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: okay
Loc: Milwaukee, Temp: 33°/43°, Time: 2:13:56, Pace: 10:13 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good at first / out of it at the end
Sunday | April 6, 2014: 3.6 m run (w/Efiters)
Loc: Rollins Savanna, Temp: 41°/45°, Time: 38:40, Pace: 10:46 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay

Monday | April 7, 2014: 11 m run (w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: Around Grayslake, Temp: 35°/34°, Time: 1:51:07, Pace: 10:06 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good! So nice out!
Strength: one dumbbell and resistance bands, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good/hyper
Tuesday | April 8, 2014: rest
Wednesday | April 9, 2014: rest
Thursday | April 10, 2014: 6.5 m run (w/Adam)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 49°/49°, Time: 1:01:17, Pace: 9:26 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: fast! (when the wind was at my back for 2 miles)
Friday | April 11, 2014: teaching strength class + 10.1 m run (w/Valerie)
Strength: kettlebells/body bars mixed mode, Difficulty: medium, Felt: the workout needs tweaking
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 48°/58°, Time: 1:40:44, Pace: 9:59, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: too sunny
Saturday | April 12, 2014: rest
Sunday | April 13, 2014: rest


  • Yikes! I am behind on my training recaps! Life’s a little busy for me right now (with good stuff), so I haven’t been spending that much time on my computer. Anyway…
  • The only big note worth mentioning is how much I am struggling with the warmth and full sun. I am sweating out a ton of salt, which is highly unusual for me. This last Sunday morning I was really sick, I think due to dehydration (and stress, odd eating, high temps (85°F wtf), a hot tub and a few glasses of wine)… and woke up today feeling a bit blah as well, so a visit to the doctor might be in my future. Although! It looks like the cold and snow is back, so that should help. Ha ha ha. 


Link to Training Week 232

Preferred work pace

By , April 10, 2014 6:18 am

Does anyone else have a mostly project based work setting, with (somewhat) definite beginnings and ends to each project?

For some odd reason, I was thinking about work this morning as I drove to meet a friend for a run, and how one project, which was supposed to be a 5K effort project, had turned in to a marathon. Or maybe an ultramarathon. A poorly executed one.

In the running world, I prefer the comfortable steady pace of longer distances, over the sprint of a 5K, or even a 10K.


In the work world, I do well under pressure, and enjoy a “sprint” 5K effort from time to time. But I prefer* to stay around half marathon effort most of the time – going along at a decent pace, still having time (or enough glucose in my system) to think things through.

What I apparently don’t like at work, is the longer distances. Getting lost on the course. Losing my timing chip and starting over. Deciding to run the course twice. Dragging things out. That would be fun doing it with a friend… but I didn’t sign up for an adventure race. It just feels inefficient. 

And maybe that is where I am getting off track. Comparing charted courses to something un-charted. Bad metaphor, bad! Oops! I have no excuses for the connections my brain makes in the early morning. Or why I decide to share them here. It looks like I just wanted to get a little frustration off my chest. 

What’s your preferred work pace? Or life pace?

As I was thinking about this more, I started to think about the things that hit us in life at such a fast pace there is nothing we can do about it. Ugh. But I won’t get all morbid.

*My preferences don’t mean anything, I realize, just dreaming, here.

This does not bother me

By , April 8, 2014 3:30 pm

Dang, someone with iOS 7.0, help a sister out!

Ha ha. So I stumbled across this Shape Magazine opinion article in my newsfeed – Worst App Ever Makes You Look Skinnier in Selfies (pdf here), and had to laugh, for several reasons:

  1. It’s a bit hypocritical. Um… I realize this is an opinion piece, and I see why the author said “an app that serves to make you look thinner just reinforces the ages-old idea that you should be striving to live up to an idealized version of women that doesn’t exist.” But really – the next article in my feed from Shape was called “7 Foolproof Fitness Tips to Reshape your Figure” with a picture of a fitness model that I doubt many of us will ever look like and… was probably touched up. Come on. Be yourself! Wait, change your body! Ha ha. I know, it’s not the same, but, like I said, it made me laugh. 
  2. That seriously can’t be the worst app ever. How about this one?
  3. The article shames women who post selfies. “A recent British study shows that people who post a lot of photos on social media networks like Facebook have less supportive bonds with friends and family than those who don’t.” How much is a lot? Should I be worried?! Is there a BuzzFeed test I can take to see if I have more or less supportive bonds with family and friends than other people in my Facebook circle. Seriously. I am worried. Okay, not really. 
  4. If anything, doesn’t this give us more of an even playing field with those “idealized” pictures?! 

The sad thing about this app, is that I cannot even download it to try it out. I have to have iOS 7.0, and my phone just isn’t letting that happen. Sigh. In the meantime, I looked at these pictures from the app that show what this nice looking woman could look like, 10 pounds lighter. I made this gif to show you where they are making the changes. 


What the heck. If I am paying 99 cents for an app to make me look skinnier, you better make my body smaller, too! Grrr. Guess I will just stick with my old tricks:


Ha ha. I don’t alter my body. The #1 thing I change on pictures before sharing them?! Removing zits! Someone tell me their favorite app for that! It would be great if I didn’t have to edit photos like this before sending them to friends:


Oh, or I could just put makeup on over it? Hmm, that’s a novel idea. 

As you can tell, I am not one to do much with my make-up, hair, or clothes, and am pretty happy with myself the way I am. But all joking aside (yes, this entire post is a joke, except me saying I am happy with how I am – that is true) I do see how someone who has self-image issues might further them in using this app, but to me… it’s just another silly app to play with (if you have iOS 7.0). Another time waster!

Do you have any image altering apps on your phone? I just have a bunch of photo editing ones, none specific for people, but I have altered lighting to help photos look better!

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