Category Archives: Tuesday Travels

a white house with green shutters-Ernest Hemingway's Key West house

Hemingway’s study- chaos and creativity

Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his popular novels, including To Have and Have Not, in the study of his Key West Florida home.

The house, on the National Register of Historic Places, has been preserved as it was when he and his wife Pauline lived there and is open to visitors, like myself, when I visited there a couple of years ago.

the study of Ernest Hemingway, with a cat sleeping on the floor

Chaos

This entire house, and especially the narrative of his life (as related to us by our verbose tour guide) is itself a study of a man whose life and career was largely shaped by mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway displayed mood swings and abused drugs and alcohol. Despite numerous psychiatric hospital stays where he was treated with ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, he struggled with chronic depression.

He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head in 1961.

CATWALK

Creativity

While dealing with mental illness and traumatic brain injuries, he continued to write prolifically and successfully, winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954 for The Old Man and the Sea.

photos of Ernest Hemingway displayed at his Key West home

He wrote acclaimed novels, several of which became major movies. His personal life was not so successful; three of his four marriages ended in divorce.

Ernest Hemingway’s novels and movies 

(an affiliate link, if you use it, at no additional cost, this blog will earn funding.)

The challenge of mental illness

Mental illness often runs in families. Ernest’s father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, a gynecologist, suffered from manic-depression and died by suicide.  Ernest and his siblings likely inherited it from their father.

2016-06-16 10.05.16

Sadly, it did not end with him. His granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway, a fashion model and actress, dealt with depression, alcoholism, and bulimia.

She died from an apparent intentional drug overdose at age 42.

Her sister Mariel reflected on her family’s troubled history in

Finding My Balance 

Finding My Balance

 

 

 

“A lonely life”

Ernest Hemingway could not attend the ceremony to receive his Nobel Prize. He wrote a short speech which was read by John C. Cabot, the Ambassador to Sweden. In that speech he wrote, SOLITARYWRITER

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”

HEMINGWAY'S STUDY-CHAOS AND CREATIVITY

Hemingway’s cats

At least 40 to 50 cats live on the grounds of the Hemingway House;  many of them are descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s cats. They live peaceful, serene lives, far different from the people who lived there long ago.

What you should know about suicide from the NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

  • Suicide is the tenth most common cause of death in the United States.
  • People may consider suicide when they are hopeless and can’t see any other solution to their problems.
  • Suicide may occur with  serious depression, alcohol or substance abuse, or a major stressful event.
  • People who have the highest risk of suicide are white men.
  • Women  and teens report more suicide attempts.
  • Therapy and medicines can help most people who have suicidal thoughts. Treating mental illnesses and substance abuse can reduce the risk of suicide.
  • If someone talks about suicide, you should take it seriously.
  • Urge them to get help from their doctor or the emergency room, or call the

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at

1-800-273-TALK (8255).

It is available 24/7.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby says this about managing bipolar disorder(a form of chronic depression).

“A key to managing bipolar disorder is to recognize early relapse warning signs. Medication will minimize, but not eliminate, mood swings for many people coping with bipolar disorder. “

On her blog she offers offers these Keys to Coping with Bipolar Disorder

Understanding mental illness

I hope you will use the following links to resources to help you, your family, or anyone you know who does or may suffer from mental illness. There is help and most importantly, there is hope.

Warning signs of mental illness

“Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear “out of the blue.” Most often family, friends, teachers or individuals themselves begin to recognize small changes or a feeling that “something is not quite right” about their thinking, feelings or behavior before one of these illnesses appears in its full-blown form.”

Technology and the future of mental health treatment

“Excitement about the huge range of opportunities has led to a burst of app development. There are thousands of mental health apps available in iTunes and Android app stores, and the number is growing every year. However, this new technology frontier includes a lot of uncertainty. There is very little industry regulation and very little information on app effectiveness, which can lead consumers to wonder which apps they should trust.” (affiliate link used)

Suicide prevention

“The most important thing to remember about suicidal thoughts is that they are symptoms of a treatable illness associated with fluctuations in the body’s and brain’s chemistry. They are not character flaws or signs of personal weakness, nor are they conditions that will just go away on their own. “

Thanks for joining me to tour the unique home of Ernest Hemingway, using photos I took myself.

Please consider helping support this blog by using my affiliates. You’ll find links in the side bars, on the home page, and on the resource page.

Thank you for following  and sharing Watercress Words.

always exploring the HEART of health ,  Dr. Aletha 

man and woman with Key West visitor sign

My husband and I upon arriving in Key West, Florida the farthest south city in the U.S.A.

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Mother Teresa’s life and legacy

Although she was not medically trained, the nun Mother Teresa is remembered for her compassion and care for  sick and suffering people. I had an unexpected chance “encounter” with Mother Teresa .

A few years ago I went to Peoria Illinois for medical training for a new job. I had never been there before so one afternoon I did some exploring.

I came across this magnificent church ,the

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.an ornate church

I stopped  to get a better look and while exploring the grounds

found this statue of Mother Teresa.  statue of the nun Mother Teresa

 

Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, the current capital of the Republic of Macedonia. She was baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Her father died suddenly and under mysterious circumstances when she was only 8 years old.  Her mother taught her to care about all people, especially the destitute, although they were far from well off themselves.

She  felt a call to religious life as a young girl, and after becoming a nun, Sister Teresa first worked as a teacher. Later, she felt a second call, this time to work among the poor and sick in Calcutta India. Now known as Mother Teresa, it took her a year to get permission to leave the convent for the slums of Calcutta.

With some of her former students, she founded the Missionaries of Charity. Their projects included founding a leper colony, an orphanage, a nursing home, a family clinic and a string of mobile health clinics. She also opened Gift of Love, a home to care for those infected with HIV/AIDS.

For her work, Mother Teresa was awarded many honors and awards, including the  1979 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work “in bringing help to suffering humanity.”

Despite her acclaim, Mother Teresa remained  modest and humble. After her death, some of her private writings became public, revealing she often doubted her faith and felt lost and alone. Although people criticized her for this, others see it as a reflection of her true faith in God, remaining devout even when she didn’t feel certain, something many of us can understand.

She died in September 1997 and was beatified in October 2003. In December 2015, Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized as a saint in 2016. (source biography.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015-01-23 12.24.18

I was curious about why this church in Illinois had a statue of Mother Teresa, so when I returned home I researched the story. I found a story about the church at  Peoria Public Library . Mother Teresa visited Peoria twice because some nuns from the Missionaries of Charity worked there at St. Mary’s. On one occasion she spoke to a group of women saying,

 

 “I am a poor woman that prays.

 

God has not called us to be successful, but to be helpful.”

A local artist, Lonnie Stewart, travelled to India to sketch Mother Teresa, then completed the 6 foot tall statue of her, unveiling it at the church in 1998.

 

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No Greater Love is the essential wisdom of Mother Teresa — the most accessible, intimate, and inspiring book of her teachings.

Thematically arranged to present her revolutionary vision of Christianity in its graceful simplicity, the book features her thoughts on love, generosity, forgiveness, prayer, service, and what it means to be a Christian.

A passionate testament to deep hope and abiding faith in God, No Greater Love celebrates the life and work of one of the world’s most revered spiritual teachers.”

(There are affiliate links in this post  provided for your convenience and to  allow this blog to earn a commission from sales at no extra cost to you. )

glass building with words TEAM USA

Life lessons from Team USA

This month on my social media sites I’ve focussed on health and medical agencies of the United States government, in honor of  our July 4th Independence Day celebration . In this post I want to highlight Team USA, the Olympic and Paralympic athletic organization.

Did you know Team USA is not  a government organization or agency? According to the United States Olympic Committee  (USOC) website, Team USA is

“a federally chartered nonprofit corporation and does not receive federal financial support (other than for select Paralympic military programs). Unlike most other nations, the United States does not have a sports ministry.”

“The USOC has two primary responsibilities in its oversight of Olympic and Paralympic sport in the United States.

  1. to generate resources in support of its mission, which is to help American athletes achieve sustained competitive excellence.
  2. to ensure organizational resources are wisely and effectively used to that end.”

I toured the United States Olympic Training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both Olympic and Paralympic athletes train and live here.The facilities are state of the art, modern and open to the public for visits and tours.

In this post I’m sharing my tour with you.

The Ancient Olympic GAmes sign

brief history of the Olympic Games

 

 

As much as I admire the elite athletes who comprise the Olympic team, the Paralympic athletes captivate my imagination.

 

These athletes  compete with, not  despite, significant physical impairments. Many of them play and compete in physically demanding sports without full use of their arms and legs; some don’t even have all of their arms and legs.

As we walked around the complex on a guided tour, I was reminded of the importance of physical activity for our physical and mental health.  Although there is a lot of conflicting advice on preventive health, all experts agree that physical activity is vital to achieving and maintaining optimal health and well being.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans call for

moderate-intensive physical activity for 150 minutes or more per week,

vigorous-intensity activity for at least 75 minutes per week, or

an equivalent combination of the 2, and

engaging in muscle strengthening activity at least twice per week.

 

  • Medical studies show that exercise can prevent or improve many chronic health conditions and lack of exercise contributes to many diseases.
  • Physical activity may reduce the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, prostate and pancreas.
  • Regular exercise may help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
  • Exercise relieves joint and back pain due to arthritis.
  • Depression is improved with physical activity .

 

As we walked through the  USA Shooting area I picked up a flyer titled “Winning Attitudes”, which I’m using as captions for  my photos. I hope they will encourage you to develop a “winning attitude” in all areas of your life.

Enjoy this brief tour through the Olympic Complex and if you go to Colorado Springs, be sure and visit; the cost is reasonable and worth the price.

Become excited, confident, and enthusiastic about your goals.

 

statue of four athletes jumping

 

 

True confidence is based on the thoroughness of preparation. 

Olympic work out room

 

 

 

 

 

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winners focus on solutions, not problems.

wheelchairs

wheelchairs adapted for playing

 

 

 

Winners have positive attitudes in all elements of their lives. The more you think about, talk about, and write about a thing happening, the greater the certainty of that thing happening.

vehicle

on display in the Hall of Fame

 

 

 

Goals should identify minimum performance levels. They should never limit your performance.

swimming pool

a real “olympic sized” swimming pool

 

 

 

Real winners are champions in life, not just in sports.

two champion athletes

Runner Tyson Gay and gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the Hall of Fame

 

 

 

Missing a goal means setting another goal to strive for.

gym

multi use gymnasium

 

 

A champion constantly learns and improves.

practice

words to train by and live by

C

 

 

Champions are willing to risk a little in the short run to gain an advantage in the long run.

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream. 

 

 

Excellence is achieved only through constant pursuit. 

DSCN1135

passing the torch

 

A champion constantly learns and improves .

housing.

The athletes live, eat, and sleep here.

 

 

Real winners are champions in life, not just sports. 

statue of four athletes raising arms

 

Don’t just achieve your goals; strive to exceed your goals. 

 

bronze statue, ice skater

 Are YOU a CHAMPION? 

Which of these “winning attitudes” do you live by? Which do you need to adopt?

The Survivor Tree

In Oklahoma, a time to mourn and a time to dance-Tuesday Travels

With  other students from a local  ballroom dance school, I   competed in a dance sport competition in Oklahoma City. An annual event, the Oklahoma Challenge Ballroom Dance competition draws dancers from Oklahoma, surrounding states and as far away as Toronto, Ontario. Many return every year to compete against dancers who have now become dance friends.

The competition occurs at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City and we stay at an adjacent hotel. Nearby is the Bricktown historic district with trendy restaurants, hotels,clubs, shops and the Chesapeake Arena, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team.

Also not far away is the site of the biggest “challenge” the city and our state has ever faced- the 1995 domestic terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building. On a spring morning in April, a terrorist parked  a rental truck on the street in front of the building; the truck contained a  5000 pound bomb made of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.

A morning of terror

At 9:02 am April 19, 1995 the bomb exploded, destroying one side of the federal building, damaging several adjacent buildings, injuring 680 people and killing 168 people, including 19 children. Until September 11, 2001, it was the deadliest terrorist attack on United States soil; it remains the worst domestic terrorist attack.

 

A day of remembrance

On April 19, 2000 ,the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated ; the Museum opened a year later.  I have visited several times, and always come away having seen and learned something new. If you ever travel through Oklahoma, I recommend you put this on your must-see list. When you come,  here are some of the images you will see and experience. 

 

OKC memorial and federal building in the distance

the West Gate of the memorial looking northwest toward the new federal building

 

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum entrance

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum entrance

 

 

 

 

 

window at the museum

window from the museum overlooking outdoor memorial

Memorial pool and chairs

168 lighted chairs sit on the south lawn of the Memorial.

gold statue shaped like a chair

There is a gold chair for each person who died from the bombing that day.

 

In the days ,weeks and months following the attack ,we learned all the details about the bombing- the perpetrators, the victims, the rescuers, the survivors.

168 Oklahomans lost their lives there that day, including 19 children.

 

My husband and I visited the site after the wreckage was imploded and  the site was fenced off. The fence became a makeshift memorial, as people left mementos of all kinds- dolls, stuffed animals, photos, pictures, flowers, crafts, flags, shirts, letters.  We have visited again since the official memorial  and the museum were established on April 19, 2000. Sections of the fence were left intact, and people still leave mementos; others became part of the museum collection.

 

 

 

 

2016-03-07 12.05.50 2016-03-07 12.08.17 2016-03-07 12.12.19 2016-03-07 12.11.04

 

A long section of the original fence has been left intact, as well as parts of the original federal building wall.

 

sections of damaged wall

sections of damaged wall

 

 

 

Until 9/11, it was the deadliest act of terrorism on United States soil.

"We search for the Truth" written on a wall.

On the wall of the Journal Record Building which was also damaged by the blast; the museum now occupies part of it.

The perpetrators were caught and brought to justice. The driver of the truck was convicted, sentenced to death, and died by execution. The another remains in prison for life.

 

That day in Oklahoma City showed the best  in our state and our country as people, some with no training , risked their lives to help rescue people who were injured and trapped inside. Firefighters and police came from all over the United States to help. People donated food and first aid supplies.

 

children and adults visiting a wall decorated with handprints

Schools regularly bring students to visit the memorial and museum

 

colorful hand painted tiles from children

Tiles hand painted by children were sent to the city as a show of support and sympathy.

bright colored flowers along a wall

Pansies are popular in Oklahoma in the fall and spring.

 

 

 

 

 

I was proud to be an Oklahoman then and now, and still grieve for the lives we lost that day.

The Survivor Tree

The Survivor Tree, an American elm, survived the blast and is part of the Memorial.

 

 

 

 

statue of Christ with head bowed

statue of a grieving Christ, in the courtyard of a church across the street from the memorial

 

 

There is

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:4, ESV 

 

 

 

 

 

Remarks made by Governor Frank Keating at the Memorial Dedication , April 19, 2000

“We remember that moment that is framed forever by these twin gates. Our place of remembrance is filled with those symbols (ribbons, angels, flags) and also filled with love-the love of countless Americans whose ideas and support and contributions helped create this beautiful memorial.

On April 19 five years ago the flag of our nation was flying over the Murrah building. It is flying over our memorial today, and flies proudly in our hearts.

For those who perpetrated this act, we have one message:

In America you can speak and vote and complain, but there is no right to maim and bomb and kill…and if you think you’ll bring that flag down, there is your answer.

We are all Oklahomans today, and we are all Americans. May God continue to bless our beloved land. “

quote from The Official Record of the Oklahoma City Bombing, published by Oklahoma Today Magazine 

 

 

 

In a previous post, I shared how that day unfolded for me.

I will never forget the Oklahoma City bombing.

"faith, hope, love"

Love is- 1 Corinthians 13 ,The Message

 

 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, The Message 

“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Eugene H. Peterson by NavPress Publishing

 

photos from humanitarian aid trips to Vietnam with Vets with a Mission 

 

Children's Heart Surgery Project

Children needing heart surgery are identified on exam during mission trip clinics.

Learn about VWAM’s Children’s Heart Surgery Program and how you can help provide life saving heart surgery to a Vietnamese child.

an ekg tracing shaped like a heart

 

 

A veteran who “dishes out” love 

 

Raymond with Montegard Children

Raymond making friends with children during his first trip back to Vietnam

 

 

 

 

Please follow this blog for more  posts that 

inform and inspire you to explore the HEART of HEALTH 

                        Dr. Aletha 

 

 

 

 

statues of runners passing a torch

From Colorado Springs to Rio -the Olympic Games in Tuesday Travels

 

 

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games occur in Rio de Janeiro,  Brazil next month.

This reminds me of my visit to the United States Olympic Training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Both Olympic and Paralympic athletes train and live here.The facilities are state of the art, modern and open to the public for visits and tours.

I told you about my visit last year, so here is a recap of that post with some additional photos .

The Ancient Olympic GAmes sign

brief history of the Olympic Games

 

As much as I admire the elite athletes who comprise the Olympic team, the Paralympic athletes captivate my imagination.

These are athletes who compete with, not necessarily despite, significant physical impairments; but to call them “disabled” does them an injustice. Many of them play and compete in physically demanding sports without full use of their arms and legs; some don’t even have all of their arms and legs.

As we walked around the complex on a guided tour, I was reminded of the importance of physical activity for our physical and mental health, and made a note to remind you too.  Almost no one will disagree with the recommendation to include and increase physical activity in our daily lives.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans call for

moderate-intensive physical activity for 150 minutes or more per week,

vigorous-intensity activity for at least 75 minutes per week, or

an equivalent combination of the 2, and

engaging in muscle strengthening activity at least twice per week.

 

  • Medical studies show that exercise can prevent or improve many chronic health conditions and lack of exercise contributes to many diseases.
  • Physical activity may reduce the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, prostate and pancreas.
  • Regular exercise may help prevent diabetes and heart disease.
  • Exercise can relieve joint and back pain due to arthritis.
  • Depression is treated with physical activity successfully

 

As we walked through the  USA Shooting area I picked up a flyer titled “Winning Attitudes”. I liked what it said so I am using some of the ideas to illustrate my photos. I hope they will encourage you to develop a “winning attitude” in all areas of your life.

Enjoy this brief tour through the Olympic Complex and if you go to Colorado Springs, be sure and visit; the cost is reasonable and worth the price.

Become excited, confident, and enthusiastic about your goals.

 

statue of four athletes jumping

 

 

True confidence is based on the thoroughness of preparation. 

Olympic work out room

 

 

 

 

 

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream.

“Olympic Strength” statue- four athletes supporting the world with a figure skater beside them

 

Winners focus on solutions, not problems.

wheelchairs

wheelchairs adapted for playing

 

 

Winners have positive attitudes in all elements of their lives. The more you think about, talk about, and write about a thing happening, the greater the certainty of that thing happening.

vehicle

on display in the Hall of Fame

 

 

Goals should identify minimum performance levels. They should never limit your performance.

swimming pool

a real “olympic sized” swimming pool

 

 

Real winners are champions in life, not just in sports.

two champion athletes

Runner Tyson Gay and gymnast Mary Lou Retton in the Hall of Fame

 

 

Missing a goal means setting another goal to strive for.

gym

multi use gymnasium

 

A champion constantly learns and improves.

practice

words to train by and live by

C

 

 

Champions are willing to risk a little in the short run to gain an advantage in the long run.

2 athletes

2 athletes hard at work

Winners have the ability to look inside themselves and find that special dream. 

be a champion.

I may not be a competitive athlete, but I will stay as active as possible as long as possible.

man standing next to hockey players

Look out Raymond!

 

A champion constantly learns and improves .

DSCN1135

passing the torch

Excellence is achieved only through constant pursuit. 

housing.

The athletes live, eat, and sleep here.

 

Real winners are champions in life, not just sports. 

statue of four athletes raising arms

 

 

 

 

Are YOU a CHAMPION? 

a rainbow and a volcano- watercresswords.com

Finding the rainbow and a volcano- visiting Hawaii in Tuesday Travels

 

israel kamakawiwo’ole somewhere over the rainbow

The first time I listened to this song, I had never heard of the artist. I was captivated by his melodious voice, as well as this unique version of an iconic song.

In case you’re not old enough to remember (I’m not either), the song Over the Rainbow was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz in 1939. As Dorothy from Kansas who became stranded in Oz, the late actress Judy Garland sang the song which won an Academy Award and is “one of the greatest movie songs of all times.”

 

(This post includes affiliate links, from which a purchase might pay a commission to this blog, but cost you nothing extra. thank you. )

 

 

IZ- THE SINGER

 

Unlike Dorothy, Israel kamakawiwo’ole was not from Kansas, far from it. He was a native and life-long resident of Hawaii. (I have been to both places ;they could not be more different.)

He was a popular and beloved citizen and celebrity there and his music represented and extolled the island geography and culture.

Unfortunately, he developed morbid obesity. At a reported height of 6’2” (1.88 m) and weighing 757 pounds (343 kilos), his body mass index (BMI) was 97. (BMI over 30 is defined as obese). I have discussed BMI and obesity  in a previous post  What is obesity and why does it matter?

As a result, his health suffered from lung and heart problems which eventually caused his untimely death at only 38 years old. All of Hawaii mourned his passing.

Fortunately, he left to Hawaii and the world a wealth of music to enjoy.

HAWAII- THE BIG ISLAND 

Several years ago my husband accompanied me to Hawaii to attend a medical conference. (If you have to sit and listen to medical lectures all day, that is definitely the place to do it)

Hawaii, the 50th state added to the United States of America,  is made up of 6 major islands.  The conference was on the Big Island, which is also called Hawaii. One of the largest and most active volcanoes in the world is there at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park  ,  so it is a must see . And we did.

 

couple , flowers, waterfall

leis (flowers) around our neck upon arrival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring the volcano

 

 

 

 

 

boats, dock, water

On an island you’re never far from water and boats

 

 

beach, palm trees, hammock

Hawaii is often called a paradise for good reason

 

 

 

Here’s another post about a tropical vacation Cancun-IMG_2196

sharing grief, love and memories at the beach in Cancun, Mexico- Tuesday Travels

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading this post. Learn more about me and this blog at these links-

 

exploring the heart of health

Dr. Aletha

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