Posts Tagged With: Sickness

Pope Benedict’s Announcement

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This morning, when I woke up, I had a text message waiting from my sister asking why Pope Benedict XVI was resigning.  It was the first I had heard of it, and I was upset, but not horribly surprised. The last few years, Midnight Mass at the Vatican has been held a few hours early due to his poor health. Apparently, the last few months, his health has become considerably worse, and after much prayer, he feels he is no longer able to lead us as he should.

Scott and I converted to Catholicism April 7, 2007, about 2 years after Benedict became Pope. He’s truly the only Pope we’ve ever had as Catholics, and he’s led us through the most remarkable journey. A few months ago, Pope Benedict rang in the Year of Faith, a time for us to renew our Baptismal promises, to return to the sacraments, to reignite our faith. Though our leader may be changing, let’s stay on the path he started for us, and continue to immerse ourselves in our faith.

It’s no coincidence that this announcement was made for Lourdes day, which is also the World Day of the Sick. Let us pray for Pope Benedict and all those who are suffering in sickness.

The full text of Pope Benedict’s announcement:

Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

–February 10, 2013 BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Categories: Chasing After God, Year of Faith | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gluten Free Challenge Pt 2: Days 5-7

These are events that transpired about 2 weeks ago, but I’ve just not gotten around to posting. I went gluten free for about 2.5 weeks, at which point, my pain and numbness continued to get worse, so I decided it wasn’t doing me any good. It was worth ruling out, though!

Day 5: Gluten free on the road

I worked at a store in Oklahoma City for the day to help out with coverage. It’s tempting to just “wing it” when you’re working out of town, but I try to pack a lunch and stick to my routine as much as I can. I packed a bowl of beef & cabbage soup, a gluten free biscuit, an applesauce and a yogurt. Since I wasn’t sure when I would be able to eat my lunch, I packed a Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness smoothie for the ride up. I think I’m starting to get the hang of this!

The guys I worked with decided to order wings and they offered to order me some as well. As sweet as the offer was, I said no. I didn’t have any idea what kind of gluten content I’d be getting myself into, so I decided to play it safe. Oh, it was tempting, though, especially when the wings arrived!

Day 6: PIZZA!!!

I’ve been on approximately 1,000,000,000 diets in my life. My goal for as long as I can remember has been perfect moderation. To know when to say yes to the deliciousness of pizza and when to say no. To be able to eat two slices and stop there.

This is where gluten fasting is wildly different from dieting. The time to say yes is never. The time to stop is at 0 slices of pizza.

I had a work meeting at our business office in OKC Sunday evening. The main focus was getting more business accounts at The CellPhone store, and blah blah blah, statistics on our business customers, blah blah, strategies for gaining new businesses, blah blah blah, dinner will be provided.

In case you hadn’t guessed, it was pizza.

Smarty-pants here assumed eating dinner at the meeting would be out of the question. Since I had to drive to the meeting immediately after my shift that day, I packed another Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness smoothie. I’ve got to figure out how to make those myself or this habit could get a bit spendy! Having a belly full of smoothie sure was helpful when I arrived.

There was pizza as far as the eye could see.

Now, my vision is awful, so for me, maybe it wasn’t that far, but still. It was devastating. There were a few baskets of snacks scattered about, but I couldn’t have any of that either, and no one else was interested in anything but PIZZA. There’s just something particularly horrifying about the prospect of saying “no” to that greasy, cheesy goodness. Not just for now. FOREVER.

Meanwhile, my coworkers are reveling in their new-found pizza heaven. Plates were piled 4 and 5 slices high, no one was chewing, just steadily cramming the gooey goodness into their faces. The guy sitting next to me flipped one slice over on top of another and made a pizza sandwich. The wild gorging was like some Babylonian feast and I, I alone resisted the siren call of PIZZA!!!

I had a bottle of water.

On the way home, I started planning the hash brown quiche I would make when I got home. The 45 minute drive seemed to last forever, until finally, I was home! Out of courtesy, I asked Scott what he wanted for dinner before I got to cooking. His response ignited a fury in me the likes of which I could have never imagined.

“Don’t worry about me, I already ate. I had a pizza.”

ISN’T THAT JUST WONDERFUL FOR YOU?!?!?! AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD?!?!?!? EVERYBODY GETS PIZZA TONIGHT BUT ME!!!!!!!

My favorite place in the world to eat pizza is Mazzio’s. I know Mazzio’s isn’t available everywhere, but it’s the best, hands down, as far as I’m concerned. There is no chain, no mom & pop brick oven pizzeria that can top Mazzio’s as far as I’m concerned.

After my considerable hissy fit, Scott insisted on going to Mazzios, where they are now serving gluten free pizza.

Even without the gluten, it’s still better than any other pizza place.

It’s so beautiful!

*Single tear rolls down my face….*

Day 7: You have donuts, I have a smoothie…

Tuesday means early morning meeting at The CellPhone Store. I fixed my breakfast in advance. I was quite proud.

Introducing Rebecca’s Blue Awesomeness! Why, yes, you may have the recipe!

1 banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1 cup apple juice

1/2 cup milk

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smoothie. Enjoy!

 

I’ve decided to try to transition from 2 cups of coffee a day to 1 and then just have a smoothie to go instead of a coffee to go. This was an experiment in mixing the day before, and it was a mad success.

Then I got to work.

There was a box of donuts sitting on the table. Staring at me. Literally

Okay, so I took this picture at the end of the day. It looked much yummier and less plaugey at the beginning of the day.

I stayed strong. I’m jealous of their donuts, yes. But certainly they’re jealous of my delicious smoothie.

Throughout the day, The donuts continued to stare at me. But I had my soup for lunch and my chicken salad roll-up. I tried to throw the last donut away to avoid temptation completely but one of my coworkers stopped me. “Someone might want it!” she said. I WANT IT!!!!

But I didn’t have it.

A much better option, in fact, the number one option for sandwiches is the roll-up. Corn tortillas are much less expensive than specialty tortillas or even regular flour ones. It is, however, very difficult to make a sandwich wrap out of them because of their size and texture. So, what I did was warm the tortillas up on my countertop grill, spread the sandwich mix on them, and roll them up! To increase speadability, I threw everything I wanted in my chicken salad or tuna salad in my mini food chopper and mixed it up like that. Very yummy! Two roll-ups and a bowl of soup make a wonderful lunch!

The Results

By the end of week 1, I was pretty much in the habit. By the end of week 2, it was a no-brainer. However, a few days after the 2 week mark, I started having trouble getting out of bed due to the numbness and pain in my arms and legs. So, it obviously isn’t a gluten intolerance. But, it was an eye-opening experience, that’s for sure!

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Gluten Free Challenge Pt 1: Days 1-4

*Eye roll* Why are you jumping on the gluten free bandwagon?

Back in August, I started having trouble with my left leg going numb when I laid down to sleep at night. Within a few weeks, it started happening at odd intervals throughout the day as well. After about a month, it spread to my left arm, then my right arm. About a week and a half ago, my arms stopped going numb and I started having constant, searing pain. I’ve quit smoking, started seeing a doctor, started seeing a neurologist, had 3 MRIs in 4 weeks (I should have the results on the last one soon!), and still don’t know anything.

Another blogger suggested that it may be gluten ataxia, which you can read more about here, or just go Google crazy–there’s a lot of information out there to sort through.

I started out what I thought would be a one-week challenge, however, based on my research, it can take months to get gluten out of your system and heal enough to feel any kind of relief.  So, I’m probably going to be eating like this for a while, depending on what the doctor says. I’ve decided to document the first week of this insanity here.

Day 1: This can’t be that difficult, right?

I tried browsing recipes on Allrecipes.com, my go to site for food….but filtering for gluten-free foods was a bit tricky. It was much easier on eatingwell.com. This is the part of the show where I started to obsess over cake and bread and crackers. Good grief, when did crackers become the enemy? I finally decided that coming up with a full week’s worth of dinners was too hard when I really didn’t know very much about gluten, so I just came up with two meals: Quiche and Enchiladas.

After work, I hopped over to WalMart to grab a few supplies. Cue the nightmare music.

Hummus is universally safe apparently and there were lots to choose from. Just try finding a cracker to have it on. I googled “gluten free crackers walmart” on my phone and came up with a brand, but couldn’t find it in the store.

I very easily found a gluten-free cake mix. For $4.64. I can get a regular cake mix for $1 at Aldi! I seemed to recall an episode of The Biggest Loser where Chef Rocco Dispirito made something with chickpea flour. That’s what I need! Alternative flour! I went up and down the baking aisle 4 times before I finally found a tiny little bag of soy flour. For $2.08. It was the only alternative flour I could find. I grabbed it, complaining all the way. At least there was a bread recipe on the back. Easy peasy.

When I got home, I saw that the bread recipe called for wheat flour. This is going to be a long week, isn’t it?

Day 2: Brought to you by the number “5!”

I sat down and made out a week-long gluten free meal plan and Scott and I went to Aldi to pick up a few additional provisions for the week. Aldi has gotten some good reviews for their prominent labeling of gluten free foods, so that helped a lot, but it was still confusing. Why is a can of pinto beans gluten free but refried beans aren’t? Why did someone have to put wheat in the beans just to mash them?

We got just about everything we needed there, and then we decided to check out the west side WalMart (I went to the store on the east side of town the night before) and see what kind of gluten free products we could find. I bought a bag of cookies and a box of cookie mix. The already-made cookies weren’t bad.

After WalMart, we headed to Natural Grocers, a store Scott has wanted to check out for a while, but not I. I can’t go to Natural Grocers! I don’t do yoga, I don’t drive a Prius, and I don’t hate chemicals. I love chemicals. Ammonia and bleach are some of my favorites.

Despite not wearing skinny jeans or a peasant skirt, I found Natural Grocers to be quite accessible. I was able to find gluten free everything. Noodles, bread, flour, condensed soups. I picked out a loaf of tapioca bread to try out, partially because Scott thought tapioca would be the yummiest, but mostly because it was the cheapest.

Here’s the financial impact: everywhere we went, there was a common theme: A gluten free item was right about 5 times what I would pay for the same item with gluten.

That evening, I made truly homemade enchiladas. I even made the sauce from scratch. The corn tortillas were store bought, but I was still proud. After 2+ hours in the kitchen, I had prepared a feast of enchiladas, mexican rice and refried beans–all homemade, all gluten free. I greatly prefer flour tortillas to corn, but I can adjust. The beans were great and the rice was magnificent!

Day 3: No Problem

I skipped breakfast and ate leftover enchiladas for lunch and supper. Man, I love going on autopilot.

Day 4: Adventures in Bread

I can eat my potato soup!

A few weeks ago, I started making my own soups and freezing them in individual bowls rather than buying canned soup for lunch every day.

Unfortunately, I have an affection for noodles and dumplings that is just uncanny. (Hehe, un-can-ny! Get it?)

Fortunately, I started using instant potato flakes as a thickener for soups instead of flour, so my potato soup is safe!

I packed a bowl of potato soup in my lunch and a sandwich made with the Tapioca loaf I purchased at Natural Grocer. The slices are tiny, but whatevs. I need to eat lighter anyway. It’s a little dry, but so what? Well, it’s kinda rubbery. It’s kind of…

EXACTLY LIKE EATING A DIRTY OLD SPONGE FROM THE KITCHEN!!!

I tried to dip it in the soup and let it soak, but it was no good. I was eating a dirty old kitchen sponge sandwich. Tiny as it was, I couldn’t finish it. It was too horrible. So, I ended up spending 3$ on a tiny loaf of bread I can’t even eat. I guess I’ll never get the ol’ budget under control.

On the way home, I stopped at WalMart to do some more hunting and found gluten free Bisquick! Finally, a lucky break! It just costs more than twice as much as regular Bisquick for a box half the size (I’m sure it’s meant to even out to 5x the price per biscuit) but it’s Bisquick! I can have biscuits and dumplings and pancakes and waffles and pot pies!!! Woot!

Had it really only been 4 days since I had bread? It seemed like it had been much longer. The mix looked legit, but the directions were a tad bit different. It called for shortening to be mixed in with it. Wha??? Whatever, I did it. For good measure, I also mixed in some cheddar cheese, parsley and garlic powder. Mmmmmm, garlic cheddar biscuits! I love it!

They looked amazing! Amazing! But the true test is taste, right? The taste was…different. The texture was perfect, but all I could taste was the shortening. Maybe margarine next time? (I detest butter–margarine all the way!!!) When I dipped the biscuit in the broth from my soup, it tasted just like a biscuit!

So, in the battle of the bread, we have one major failure and one victory. I’m excited to experiment more with the biscuits, but as much as they cost, they may be only an occasional treat. Based on my research, that may be the rule for all breads.

So Far…

I learned a lot in just a few days. Maybe 2 days after I bought that bag of soy flour, I realized what a ridiculous thing it was to do. So far, I haven’t starved, but we’ll see. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion of my gluten free week. If there is a conclusion.

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Being a Wife: Sometimes You Don’t Have to be “Right”

About 6 years ago or so, Scott and I went to a bridal shower. It was supposed to be men and women but, as these things usually turn out, there were mostly women at the event. Come to think of it, the groom-to-be wasn’t even there. The hostess’s boyfriend was present, and he and Scott hid in the corner for most of the event. I sat on the couch, wishing I could hide in the corner, too.

Most of the ladies in attendance were single or divorced, which made the “advice” game a bit idiotic interesting. It wasn’t really a game, per say, but everyone anonymously wrote down a piece of marriage advice on a little card, placed it in a basket, and the bride-to-be read all the advice aloud. I smiled to myself when I wrote down my advice. Scott and I weren’t married yet, and we’d only been dating for about a year, but I’d already learned a lot about the impact of the little things. “Surprise him with a romantic dinner…especially if you’ve been fighting!”

After Scott and I had our first argument, I was horribly upset. I hated the tension it put between us, and I wanted to take an eraser to that fight so we could be happy again. My previous relationships never made it past the first fight, and I just knew this one wouldn’t either. We’d only been together a few months at that point, but I couldn’t bear to lose the happiness we had together. After the fight was settled, the tension still hung in the air between us. I needed to make a gesture, take him on a romantic date–something! But I didn’t have any money to do anything.

So, I invited him over after work. I lit candles. I made Hamburger Helper. Hey, it’s what I had! He was probably dreading coming over to see me after our fight, but when he walked in and saw the candles, the dinner, and me in my fanciest dress, all of the tension was gone. I felt the anxiety melt away as we sat down together, happy again, no longer worried about that stupid fight. It was perfect.

I was confident when I put my advice card in the basket that it was a gem. Let’s just say I was the only one who thought so.

I don’t remember the exact advice on the other cards, but I remember the gist of it. “Tell him to do as you say. You are the boss.” When my advice was read aloud, it was ridiculed. “Who wrote that down?!?!” someone shouted. “Yeah right! Have him cook for you! I’m not cooking for my husband! Especially when we’ve been fighting!” The general consensus was that he’s always wrong, you’re always right, and make sure you get your way. Or else! And make sure he knows you’re not his maid and you’re not his cook!

It’s in our human nature to be selfish, to want to be dominant. When I look around at failed relationships, the most common themes I see are a complete lack of willingness to do anything for the other person, and an unshakable determination to be right and have your own way. How can we say we love someone with all our hearts, forever, but refuse to do anything in the relationship? How can we be so unyielding and so domineering that we put being right and having our way in front of our relationships? Just making a gesture to show your love doesn’t make you a slave, and neither does letting the person you love have their way.

Just ask Scott: I like to have my way and I like being right. We can’t drive to the grocery store without me correcting him on which lane to get into and when to change lanes. Doing laundry is a challenge because clothes have to be folded the right way–aka my way. And I cannot tell you how hard it is to hold back from going into gross detail as to why you have to get into a certain lane at a certain time and why shirts should be folded a certain way.

The last few months, I haven’t been feeling like myself. I’ve been back and forth to the doctor, poked, prodded and scanned, and there’s still more to come. I don’t know if it’s just from anxiety, but my energy level is zero. I feel exhausted constantly, and I’ve fallen behind on the housework. Without complaining or waiting to be asked, Scott started doing the laundry. He’s even made an effort to fold things the way I like them to be folded. He hasn’t mastered it by any means, but he’s put forth a real effort. It’s the little things, after all, that make you feel loved and protected.

I recently started following Hallie Lord, aka Moxie Wife on Facebook, and she’s been doing a marriage challenge with a different task for each day. Here are a few samples:

Happy Sunday, pretty ladies! I just love today’s marriage challenge! Are you ready for it? Simply “leave him a sweet note.” What fun!

Tomorrow’s task is another sweet one, my fellow marriage challenge participants! “Kiss your husband the first time you see him in the morning.” Well, that shouldn’t be too hard. 😉

Sounds easy, you say? Brace yourself for the toughie:

Oh, girls. We should probably start praying for one another right now. Tomorrow’s marriage challenge? “Go a whole day without correcting your husband.” Good luck! 😉

Now, I just started following, so I haven’t been doing the challenge….yet. When I saw that last one, I knew immediately that I needed to follow along, even if I’m a few weeks behind. Somewhere along the line, I turned into the stereotypical nagging wife and left the eager to please, young girlfriend behind in the dust. In a way, our relationship has matured. I’m far more willing to stand up to Scott than I was back then, and if something he does bothers me, I need to let him know–to a point! But while I’m just as likely to admit fault when I do something to hurt him, I’m less likely to make a romantic gesture in an attempt to erase the hurt. At some point, I allowed my want to control things get in the way of making his happiness my priority. Is our marriage failing? Absolutely not. But I do everything I can to make sure Scott knows at every turn that he is loved and the he is my top priority? No, I’m afraid not.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as it behoveth in the Lord. –Colossians 3:18

Probably the most hated verse in the Bible. However, you have to keep in mind:

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter towards them. –Colossians 3:19

It’s about serving and loving each other to build each other up, not trying to beat each other into shape. It’s easy to forget that in our me-me-me culture. But we’re supposed to be separate from the culture. I’m not talking about any radical changes, just making an effort to do a little something for him every day, to put his needs before mine.  I think it’s time for a 30 day challenge; to make myself a little sweeter, and maybe rediscover the woman who cared more about being in love than being right.

Categories: Everything Else, Marriage, On a personal note... | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol 1

I finally decided to join the fun at Conversion Diary and do a 7 Quick Takes Friday! Which is hosted at Camp Patton today since Jen is too busy becoming a reality star this week.

-1-

My sister started RCIA classes this Sunday. She is officially “just learning,” but I have high hopes. I started RCIA 6 years ago this month, and at the time, she threw a fit about me even considering joining the Catholic Church. Needless to say, I’m delighted at how times have changed. How does one go from emphatically anti-Catholic to RCIA in 6 years? Is this a sign of my ability to articulate the deeper meanings of Catholicism in my daily life? My quiet demonstration of the sacraments? I think that once again, we have no explanation other than the grace of God.

-2-

My sister-in-law and I joined the St. Joseph’s Women’s Club this week. Somehow, I signed up to work the concession stand at Bingo and we both joined St. Veronica’s guild. Afterwards, we went to Walmart to pick up a few things. In the car, we were discussing following the church’s teachings in regards to marriage. I remarked that not only is gay marriage a sin, remarriage is also. If my darling husband leaves me, I would be alone (and celibate!) until one of us dies. We both agreed that if (God forbid) such a thing were to happen, we would prefer to join a convent. No surprises there, we’ve discussed our nun-envy before. We were a little gray, however, on whether or not a divorced (in this case, abandoned) woman would be able to take holy orders or even stay on at the convent. My sister-in-law decided the best course of action would be to ask her mother-in-law, a former nun, who is our personal Catholic encyclopedia. We were both satisfied with that decision….for a moment. Until I suggested that she might not ask her mother-in-law about the protocols for Catholic divorce. Might spark the imagination.

-3-

Here’s another in-law tale for you. My mother-in-law stayed at our house while we were in Hawaii and looked after our cats. It was such a blessing for us. I worry constantly that some ill will fall upon our home or our cats when we’re not there, so a week without anyone there would have been a nightmare for me. The first few days, as it turned out, were a nightmare for my poor mother-in-law.

My mother-in-law was quite spooked by our chiming clock. She didn’t realize we had one, and upon searching the house, she couldn’t find it. But every hour, on the hour, the chimes went off. Now, I do have quite a few clocks. In fact, I used to collect them, but they’re small and most of them have no batteries because the ticking drives me insane. This is why I stopped collecting them. Batteries or no, none of the clocks chime. So, being the rational creature my mother-in-law is, she decides it’s most certainly a ghost. Certainly some angry spirit has penetrated the veil between dimensions to announce the time. Every hour, my mother-in-law is plagued by the chiming of the ghost clock. Once, she was sitting at the kitchen table on her laptop when the chimes went off and it was as if they were coming from right above her!

One night, the chimes began and my mother-in-law raced to her laptop (I don’t remember why. Maybe to email Ghostbusters?) and saw her new widget she had downloaded to her desktop. It’s the Big Ben clock. What does it do? Why, it displays the time. And chimes. Every hour. On the hour.

-4-

Since I quit smoking, my sense of smell has returned. In Hawaii, this was amazing. All the beautiful flowers, the smell of the ocean, the wonderful concessions at the International Marketplace. It made every moment even more beautiful.

Here on the mainland, having my sense of smell back,well, it stinks. Some examples:

  • I was blown away at 7-Eleven by a vile bathroom. I could smell it from anywhere in the store. I could probably smell it from outside the store.
  • When I opened the bag of dry cat food today, I thought there was a dead, whole fish inside. I thought it had gone bad. It reeked something awful!
  • People who smoke. IS THAT WHAT I USED TO SMELL LIKE?!?!?!?!?!?
  • Poop. Poop seems to be everywhere.

-5-

I have been jet-lagged all week! My self discipline has not been strong enough to go to bed at a decent hour, so I’ve been up until 4am nightly and sleeping in until noon. I look at the clock at around 11pm and say to myself, “This would be a perfect time to have a sleeping pill and nod off.” Since I lack the self respect to give myself a proper response, I simply shrug, and continue whatever it is I’m doing until 4am.

-6-

In the hopes of ruining my last few days before returning to work, I decided to go and get sick. Fine. Instead of deep-cleaning the house, or finishing my quilting project and starting on another, I’ll just wander around the house, sniffling, over-drugged, miserable…and catch myself staring at the wall for the last 2 hours.

-7-

I’m ready to head back to work…but not to my job. I think I’m ready for a change. It’s been difficult to find a new job because I make commission so it’s really hard to get a job in the same pay range, but I think it may be time to start looking. I’ve been wanting to get my Real Estate certification. I’m praying we can save up the money to pay for the classes so I can get it done soon!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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