Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Self-Care

The weight of the world

roast chicken, melted cheeze, and a bagel? yes, please!
Nothing like a bagel sandwich to brighten my day.

I am still thinking about how I might have ADD. Or not. Another symptom is the inability to get things done no matter how sincere the desire. I have this. For example, in preparing for my parents’ yearly month-long visit, I had a whole list of things I wanted to do, and I vowed to get started a month before they were to arrive (which is today). I make the same vow every year, and I fail every year. Why did I think it would be different this year? I have no idea. It didn’t happen, and even the things I did, I had to scale down form what I had planned on doing. There are several reasons for that. One, I’ve been dealing with gastrological issues for the past few weeks, and it’s made me have even less energy that usual. Which is close to none, anyway. TMI for anyone who doesn’t like to think about bodily functions. I had to deal with diarrhea on and off for a week. The first time, it wasn’t related to food because I know what that’s like. I eat something and a few seconds later, I’m running for the bathroom. That came later in the week, and it was because of tomato spaghetti sauce. At least that was my best guess. The first time, though, ti had nothing to do with food because I hadn’t eaten in eight or so hours. I was already feeling the effects of a migraine, and then I shitted my brains out. I was sitting on the toilet for half an hour, then I had to run back about an hour later for another half-hour round. That lasted for about three hours, and then I went to bed. I had to get up a few hours later to repeat the cycle, and it was the worst.

Now, the diarrhea is mostly gone, but I’m still having issues now and again, and also the opposite problem–blockage. Before I continue, I’d like to say that I love all kinds of foods. I will basically try anything once, and I used to live for spicy food.

Side note: I watch Hot Ones online, and Da Bomb is the sauce that makes everyone gag. It’s not their hottest, but it’s the one the guests are least able to handle. Why? Because it tastes like battery acid. I know because I’ve tried it. My brother and I had a years-long competition to see who could give each other the hottest of hot sauces. Da Bomb was from me to my brother one year, and I used four drops in a pot of chili that was too hot to eat. My brother called off the competition after trying this sauce. It’s made strictly to be hot and nothing else, and it’s doesn’t have any of the complexities of a good hot sauce. Anyway, I have to smile whenever it comes out on Hot Ones.

Now, however, my diet is very bland. The last few days, I’ve mostly been eating gluten-free crackers, rice, roasted chicken, and corn on the cob. I also am eating gluten-free bagels with either a meatless patty on it, corned beef, or roasted chicken–and melted Monterey Jack cheeze (Daiya). Citrus is still treating me right, so I eat an orange or two a day, and I squeeze lemon into my honey lemon ginger tea. Or plain gluten-free pasta with melted Monterey Jack cheeze and roasted chicken. I’ve cut out the sauce which is usually some kind of spicy mayo/mustard situation. I’ve also been eating spring greens with a mango chipotle dressing, but I’ve mostly cut out the dressing as well. I’ve had some soy yogurt with no issue. One night, I had the squirts, and I was terrified it was the rice. It can’t be the rice! I love rice, and as an Asian person, you will pry my jasmine rice from my cold, dead fingers. Yes, I know brown rice is better for you, but I don’t like brown rice. I may try to like it better, but for now, I’m sticking with what I know and like.

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Dealing with my shit as best I can

My parents are coming for their annual visit in a week, and I am not ready. I am never ready, but I hate that I put off doing the shit I need to do before they get here until the last minute. I need to clean, which is an intensive thing, and I always vow to start early. I never do. It ends up with me cleaning the fridge at three in the morning the night before they come, contemplating going inside the fridge and shutting the door. I also have some chores outside the house I have to do before they get back which include the car.

Amusing anecdote: I called a garage to set up an appointment, and I asked for the times they had available. The guy said, “1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock.” Then he stopped and my brain immediately shouted, “ROCK!” I managed to stop myself from yelling it out loud, and I answered him with a half-laugh. I am An Old.

It’s a funny story, but it took me forever to make the phone call. Rationally, I know it’s not a big deal to make the call and go to the appointment (for a bad tire), but my brain is wired incorrectly, and it takes everything I have just to make the goddamn phone call. Going to the appointment won’t be an issue, but making that phone call? Took me weeks to force myself to do it. I know it’s not rational. I know it’s silly on my part. I know that the mental energy I use to avoid calling would be better sent doing literally anything else. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I remind myself that it’s not a big deal. A weird side effect is that once I decide to do the difficult thing, I become obsessed with it. I have to make a cancellation of a trip for my mother, and there is a glitch on Orbitz that won’t allow me to cancel that way. I’ve tried several times, and now I’m on hold while waiting to talk to an actual person. By the way, I hate when you’re on hold, and they interrupt the music in order to have the automated voice assure you that you are valuable to them before returning back to the music. Don’t get my hopes up like that! Also, when one song is twice as loud as the one before it, that’s irritating as well.

Sigh. Moving to health issues. I think I’ve figured out what set off my stomach the night before last–the tomato-based spaghetti sauce I had with my gluten-free elbow macaroni. The minute I ate it, my stomach clenched, and I was racing to the bathroom. The biggest problem for me with diarrhea–there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d be writing–is that it’s never a one and done. It wouldn’t be so bad if I eliminated everything in one go–but, no. It’s me sitting on the toilet for ten to fifteen minutes, several times in a few hours. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, and it’s the first thing I have to do when I get up the next morning. Since I eat basically the same thing every day with slight variations, I can usually pinpoint the problem to a certain degree. I’m fairly certain the tomato-based sauce is the trigger this time. But, I’m also wary of peaches and cherries. I know the right way to test is to eliminate a bunch of things and then slowly add them back in, but that seems tedious as well as time consuming. Also, I’m not particularly wedded to tomato-based spaghetti sauce, so cutting it out is not a problem for me. I’m pretty sure it’s the tomato-based sauce because I had the same meal minus the sauce last night, and it was fine. I added a spicy mayo-based dipping sauce instead of the tomato-based sauce, and it was fine. Gluten-free elbow macaroni, dairy-free pepper jack cheeze, roasted chicken, and the spicy dipping sauce. Oh, and spring greens thrown on top, which I ate separately. It’s a quirk of mine that I eat veggies separately, even if they are incorporated into a dish, unless it’s something small like slices of mushrooms.


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Migraine? No. Mini-graine? Yes.

I’m fighting off a migraine. I hesitate to use that word because it’s so loaded. Also, I know in hearing from other people that it can lay them out flat for days. For me, if I catch it in time with two Migraine Excedrin (generic), I can keep the worst of it at bay. That’s why I think mini-graine is a better name for what I go through because it’s not just a headache, but it’s not a full-blown migraine. Yes, I still have to deal with sensory issues, which I have already. Lights hurt and sounds can be too much. They can be literally painful. I had to run to Cubs because I had ran out of food. I should have went yesterday or the day before, but I had no energy to do it. I didn’t have the mini-graine then–just no fucking energy. I can’t even blame the weather because it’s not been outlandishly hot. I’ve just hated life, and when I hate life, I have no desire to do anything.

A few days ago, I had the sinus prickling that I described in the last post. Yesterday, I had absolutely no energy. Today, I woke up with the feeling that a migraine was imminent. How do I know? It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try. I woke up, and my head was…tingling. Again, it sounds stupid, I know. It’s the same as when my nose was starting to hurt due to sinus issues. I felt as if a thousand tiny needles were jabbed into my brain. In the case of my nose, it made it feel as if it were open and porous, but not exactly painful. As for my brain, it definitely is a negative feeling. Also, when I was in Cubs, I was profoundly sweating, nauseated, and a bit dizzy. The last two are common for me when I have a mini-graine, but the first isn’t. Maybe that’s part of peri-menopause, or maybe it’s a new symptom to my migraines. Which is not great.

I have to say that the pills aren’t doing the job they normally do. Full confession: I’m not sure I took the right pills this time. I had ran out, but I have bags of pills from when I traveled. I usually take my migraine pills with me because I never know when I’m going to need them.¬† I grabbed two pills that I thought were the migraine pills and Googled the letter/numbers combo on them. The internet told me they were migraine pills so I popped two of them. The other issue is that I don’t know if migraine pills have shelf lives. Anyway, normally once I take my pills, I only have the barest of a headache, nausea, dizziness, sensory issues, and fatigue. This time, it’s low level, but more noticeable. It was especially debilitating at the store, and I had a really hard time keeping it together before racing (metaphorically) home.


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Preparing to go out is harder than actually leaving

My niece’s bridal shower is this Saturday, and I am freaking out. Why? Let me count the ways. One, I’m no good at girl shit, and I know this is going to be girl shit. There are no men/non-binary people invited, and there’s going to be a game involving purses. We were told not to look it up, so I didn’t, but I can imagine what the game might be having been to a baby shower.

I get really weird about gifts. I was going to give money for the bridal shower gift and her birthday gift (which is the next day), but then I read that this is NOT DONE.

Side note: It’s a very American thing as money is frequently given as wedding gifts in other countries. I read on a wedding gift thread that giving gifts was pushed by the shopping industry, which makes sense. And I do understand the joy in receiving a well-thought gift, and I used to give them. I still do with some people, but in general, it’s easier to give money. In addition, for adults who have lived together for a while, money can be more welcome than some needless bric-a-brac.

Back to the topic at hand. I know I put a lot of the pressure on myself, and it’s my anxiety. If I don’t find the perfect gift, I’m going to be cast out of polite society. At least that’s what my mind tells me. I’m already aware that I’m a freak, and it’s difficult for me to act like a normie. It doesn’t help that the last time I went to a thing at my brother’s house, it didn’t end well because of a rude comment by a friend of my brother’s towards me, and me storming out in response. My brother got mad at me for storming out, even though he had heard the rude comment and didn’t say anything about it to his friend.

Part of depression is knowing I have to get a bridal shower gift and putting it off until the last moment. It doesn’t help that the shower itself was very short notice, but this is on me. When I don’t want to deal with something, I put it off until the very last moment, stewing and fuming about it the entire time. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was worrying about it. Even now, I’m putting off going to Target while I write this post.

Why am I going? Because I love my niece, and I want to support her. I know all this shit that comes up is not on her or the party or the other people. It’s on me, but it can feel insurmountable. All the insecurities I have are set off by events such as this, and I just want to bury myself under a blanket and never come out again.


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Health on my mind

leave me alone.
Go away.

I’m better. I’m worse. I’m both at the same time. I don’t have a cold any longer. How do I know? Because I’m sleeping six hours a night again if that. When I’m sick, I sleep seven to eight hours, and when I’m really sick, nine. That’s extremely rare, however, and it’s not something I want. Why? Because when I sleep that much, I feel like absolute shit. Or rather, I sleep that much because I feel like absolute shit. It’s the bare minimum my body can do to remain somewhat upright. The fact that I’m back to six hours a night means that I’m no longer sick.

Side note: I fucking hate that being better means less sleep. There is so much evidence that getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is optimal, nay, necessary, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s taken me twenty years to build up my sleep from four hours a night to six hours, and I don’t know if I have twenty more years in me to add another two. In addition, there is some evidence that we sleep better in chunks rather than one full slate of eight hours. Much like eating. It’s better to eat several times throughout the day than to have three big meals. Sometimes, I think of how different my life would be if I could actually be refreshed upon waking up. Alas, it is not meant to be.

My left ear has cleared up as well, so that’s good. Just yesterday, I was wondering if I was ever going to be able to hear in my left ear again, and now I can. It’s not fully cleared, but it’s about 90%, which I’ll gladly take. Those are the two positives, which I’m recounting in part to remind myself that my health isn’t all shit. It’s just mostly shit.

Side note II: I had a hankering for a burger last week. There’s a Culver’s near me, and they have a gluten-free bun. It’s ten minutes away. It’s not difficult to go and grab a burger and fries. At least that’s what I told myself, but minutes passed by, and I wasn’t actually getting off the couch. I was just sitting there like a dumbass, bitching on Twitter about how I wanted a burger. This has been a problem for me since I was much younger. Even when I wanted to do something, the effort to actually get up and do it was immense. I knew I would enjoy the event once I got there (or enjoy the burger in this case), but it still seemed too much for my brain to force myself to do it without arguing for twenty minutes. I know it’s a part of my depression, but it’s one of the most irritating parts.

I finally hauled myself off the couch, changed into something presentable, and hopped in my car. Just as I was about two blocks from the Culver’s, the road was closed. Shit. I forgot it was construction season in Minnesota. I had to detour, and it’s not something I’m good at. Even though it’s my neighborhood, I never go on the side roads. I probably could have looked it up on my phone, but I adhere to the ‘keep driving around it with the destination in mind, and you’ll get there some day’ mentality, which probably isn’t helpful. Why? Because I have spatial issues, and I’m horrible at directions.

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The magic of pants that fit

the room of doom.
Striking fear in my heart.

Today was errand day. My new progressive glasses were ready, and I had to pick up my meds, too. On my way to Target, I heard the beginning of a discussion on sleep on MPR. I sighed because every other time MPR did something on sleep, it was how important it was to get seven to nine hours.

I FUCKING KNOW THAT. STOP TELLING ME THAT. TELL ME HOW TO DO THAT INSTEAD.

Apparently, this show was going to include that pertinent information, but I missed it because I was in Target. I’ll have to look it up later and listen to it to get the pearls of wisdom. I did catch the tail end, and the advice was to put an ice pack on your eyes. It does something to slow the heartbeat (probably ‘coz you think you’re about to die and everything shuts down) that makes it easier to sleep. I did wonder if you’re just supposed to leave the ice pack on your eyes as you fall asleep, and I wear a sleep mask, so what about that? But the doctor said you could use a frozen pack of veggies, which I have. I may have to try it. I’ve tried everything else, so why not?

Anyway, I got my new progressives, which the doc warned me would take time to get used to. He was a month into his first pair, and he was still adjusting. He said the trick was to really focus on whatever it is you’re doing, which is not easy for me to do. I have a tendency to multitask and scan things rapidly, so this will be an exercise in getting me to slow the fuck down.

It’s strange because if I move my head too quickly, the object I’m looking at sort of bends in the middle. I imagine it’s similar to what being on hallucinogenics is like. In general, though, everything is crisp and clear. It’s actually strange because it’s been ten years since I’ve had my eyes checked, and my left one has gotten really bad, apparently.

I also love that there is no line on my glasses. I remember the days when if you needed bifocals, you got that nice line on the glasses. Yes, I’m that old. I chose lenses that were a bit bigger this time with a black half-frame. I like them, but it’ll take getting used to as well.

I like them, though, and I take it as a sign that I’ve done something to take care of myself. It’s a big deal for me because I tend to put these things off for forever. See not getting my eyes checked in ten years. I probably would have left it off even more but one of the nose pieces fell off and one of the handles was broken. I had taped it together, but come on. I’m a grown woman. I should not be jury-rigging my glasses, damn it. I also had toothpaste around my mouth when I went to pick up my glasses. Mortifying! It’s from not looking in the mirror, and I need to start doing it because it was the second time it happened this week.

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With age, hopefully, comes wisdom

 

but not when i first wake up.
All of this looks soooooo good.

I’ve been thinking lately about all the things I learned as a kid that are not relevant to me now. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to stick with the ideas related to health, mental and physical.

1. When and how I eat. If you’re around my age (late forties), I’m sure you were taught the four food groups, how much you should eat of each, that you should eat three square meals a day, and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that all of this is different now. Some of it is just science. There are now five groups (fruits and veggies got split up), and in the old days it was 4-4-3-2, that’s the way to eat for you (or something like that). I don’t remember which number goes with what group, but that was taught to me as a kid. Now, it’s ounces/cups per day, and the amount of each group has changed. I don’t have an issue with that. Things change over time.

When I should eat has always been a struggle for me. I don’t like to eat when I first awake, and usually it’s more than an hour after I get up before I’m even remotely hungry. In addition, I take a medication that requires that you don’t eat for an hour after you take it.

Side note: It would have been nice for my first doctor to tell me that when I was fourteen–which was when I first started having to take this med. He didn’t, though, and he was a bad doctor all around. Then again, he might have said it and I didn’t listen because I was overwhelmed with the new information and was exceedingly depressed at the time. Either way, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that my (new and great) doctor told me that I wasn’t supposed to take the medication with an hour of eating.

Anyway, I sometimes don’t eat for hours after I awake. It just depends. I have a history of eating disorders, so I’m trying to honor my body by eating only when I’m hungry. It doesn’t work all the time (or even most), but I’m working on it. As for the three square meals thing, I’ve found that I feel better if I eat a little bit several times a day rather than a lot three times a day. I think it makes more sense, too, to keep my hunger at a reasonable level, rather than have a feast or famine mentality. When I go out to eat, I never eat more than half, especially if I order an appetizer and/or dessert. I don’t like feeling stuffed, so it’s easier for me to eat many times a day.

I also have to take into account all my sensitivities. I’ve been gluten-free/dairy-free for almost two years, and I’m currently troubleshooting what else is wrong with me. Food-wise, I mean. I thought it was nuts, but now I’m finding it’s not. It might be hydrogenated oil? I’m not sure. I haven’t had a serious stomach issue in a week or two, which is nice, but I would like to pinpoint what made it happen.

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I need a doctor

I’ve been feeling pretty shitty lately, and I’ve been open about it–here. Not in my real life because I keep that shit to myself. I wish I could talk about it, but it goes against everything I was taught. My mom has been calling me more often lately, and it’s mostly to complain about my father. Sometimes, she will perfunctorily ask me how I’m doing, but even when I answer with anything other than ‘ok’, she’ll move it right along to whatever is on her mind.

Side Note: My father is a raging narcissist, and I’ve known this since I was a little girl. I might not have had the term for it, but I knew he was a self-centered man to the extreme. What I didn’t realize until very much later, maybe my thirties, is that my mother is self-absorbed as well. I wouldn’t say she’s as extreme as my father as she has some self-awareness, but she can’t see other people’s points of view very well, either, even if she keeps it to herself more. One time, she asked how I was doing. I said I had a cold, and after a minute of sympathy, she segued into how she had had a cold as well. Then, she was off and running about her travails with my father.

Side Note to the Side Note: I’ve gotten sucked back into being her confidante. I’d done better at setting boundaries, back when we had a more fractured relationship, but now that I’ve moved past much of the turmoil of our earlier relationship and let go of a lot of my resentment (which translates in me snapping much less at her), she’s taken to dumping all her problems on me again. It’s frustrating for more than one reason. One, I’m her child. Yes, I’m an adult and an Old, but I’m still her kid. I don’t necessarily want or need to hear about her problems at length, especially with my father.

Two, she has no intention of doing the hard work that would actually make her marriage better for her without sacrificing more and more of herself. She said something about her ‘not being allowed’ to do something or the other in her marriage, and I pointed out that she *could* do it, but it would just make my father extremely unpleasant to deal with. He’s learned that if he throws a big enough temper tantrum, he’ll get his way. He’s can be very cruel and downright mean when he wants to, and my mother is extremely conflict-avoidant as am I. She knows she’s enabling him. She knows that she’s rewarding his bad behavior when she does what he wants when he throws a tantrum, but she’s been doing it for fifty years.

Three, I know way too much about my parents’ marriage now, and there’s the added fact that there’s an elephant in the room as my mother pisses and moans about my father. His mistress. Who might or might not be his mistress any longer but who is still heavily involved in his project and therefore, they talk for hours every day. Yeah, they’re still involved, even if it’s not physical. I know about it because of his hubris (as I’ve explained in past posts), and my mother knows about it because she’s not stupid. She won’t actually say it, however, and when I’ve sideways confronted her about it, she’s both deflected and talked about it (without actually naming it) in equal amounts.


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My body hates me–and the feeling is mutual

I hate my body right now. This is not unusual for me as I’ve hated it for most of my life. I was a chubby kid starting when I was seven for many reasons, and my mother put me on my first diet. One of the things I remember her saying from that time was, “You have such a beautiful face if only you weren’t so chubby.” She was a big believer in vegetables and fruits, and she didn’t allow much junk in the house. All of this started me down the road of body shame to the point of body dysmorphia, It also gave me a food hoarder mentality, and I still don’t like to share my food.

Side Note: My mother has had body issues my whole life as well (yes, my life. I don’t know about life before me, obviously, but I suspect it was there from the start). She’s tiny–roughly 5’3″ and petite. She’s been heavier in the past, and she’s always obsessed with losing five pounds. It doesn’t help that she comes from a culture that is even more oppressive about women being fat (Taiwan) than America’s, so it’s something she unthinkingly handed down to me.

It shows up in small ways as well as big ones. Such as her talking about her diet whenever she was on one (which was basically thirty years). It was her policing my food to the point that I didn’t eat fruits and/or vegetables for years in my thirties because I was so pissed off about it. It was tricksy as her adopting the tone of ‘I’m only concerned about your health’ when I confronted her about it. Fortunately, I knew that was bullshit because she never said a word when I was anorexic/bulimic other than to comment jealously how my waist was smaller than hers.

It got so bad, I had to explicitly tell her that she couldn’t talk about my weight (this was when I was at my heaviest). Predictably, that’s when she wanted to make it about my health. Hell, she probably even believed it, but as I noted, she never had a problem with me being dangerously skinny other than to envy me, so it’s never been about my health. It’s been about how she hates having a big fat galoot of a woman for a daughter–except, she can’t handle having a too-small woman as her daughter, either. I don’t know what ‘just right’ would have been, but I suspect she didn’t know, either. It wasn’t about me, you see–it was about her.


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My health is on my mind, and my mind is on my health

all the dumplings.
Oh, how I miss dumplings!

I am an idiot.

I recently read the ingredients in a veggie burger I commonly buy. I don’t know why I hadn’t read it at the time as normally I am very rigid about that, but for some reason, veggie burger in my mind equaled GF/DF. Which is ridiculous because I am the first to point out that vegan is not the same as GF. Anyway, it had both wheat and dairy (most likely traces), which is one thing that has been causing me problems. I am not going to eat it again, obviously, but it underscored how I need to be hypervigilant about what I eat. Which I definitely am not.

In the last week, I’ve had two episodes of eating something that previously had not caused any problems and then immediately having to run to the bathroom. Then, it was a half hour of communing with the commode while cursing out my stomach. It happened once before this a few weeks ago, which I wrote about. That time it happened, I woke in the middle of the night and had to run to the bathroom again. I barely made it in time because I was dazed with sleep, and I nearly fell asleep¬† while I was on the toilet. That was a surreal experience, and it’s one I don’t want to repeat again.

I thought it might be the peanut butter (all natural) that had caused the reaction, so I switched to cashew butter which has a milder flavor. I prefer peanut butter, but the cashew butter was a good substitute. It was fine the first few times I used it, but the third or fourth time, I had the same reaction and raced to the bathroom.

I’ve used that brand of GF bread with no issues for several months, so unless they changed their ingredients (which, you never know), it’s not that. I don’t think it’s the jam, but again, who knows? That’s the most frustrating things with food allergies–it’s a bunch of ‘who knows?’. The second incident happened after I made an egg salad sandwich with the same bread, lactose-free cream cheese, and egg salad from the co-op. There is no ingredient in the egg salad that I recognize as something I can’t have, but I’ve had a bad reaction to the egg salad before. I also thought it might be the lactose-free cream cheese because it still has < 1% lactose, which is greater than 0%. I’ve had the lactose-free sour cream (made by the same company), and I haven’t had any intense reaction to it, but I’ve had a squidgy stomach in general for the past few weeks.

It’s really depressing because it makes me not want to eat at all. If every time I eat I have to worry about racing to the bathroom and staying there, well, that’s a disincentive. My asshole has been sore and my digestive system has been grumpy. I know I have to figure out what exactly is fucking me up, but I don’t have the energy to do that.

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