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A Vision

Sunsest

Sunsest

It’s Friday evening.  My body and mind slow down in preparation for Sabbath.  It used to surprise me that this happened ~ the calmness that occurs as Sabbath draws near. I look forward in anticipation to this rest and can’t imagine life any other way.

Settling into bed as the evening draws on, I choose a Christian playlist on my iPod and wirelessly play the songs on the Bose speaker. Ahhh ~ the sounds of nature.  No words only music.

Turning off the light, I kiss my husband goodnight and wait the 5 minutes it takes for him to fall asleep.

Lying back in bed, I close my eyes and start to silently pray. Everything is dark.

Then it happens. As if I’m watching the beginning of a Star Wars movie, I feel myself being propelled through space. Darkness and movement. I’m moving quickly but I don’t feel afraid.

I see light. Suddenly a man sitting on a throne with a crown on His head is directly in front of me. I can’t make out His features.

Silently I tell myself “This can’t be God for no man has seen God and lived.”

Quickly realization strikes: “It’s Jesus!” my mind says.

And just as quickly as it appeared, the vision disappears.

I close my eyes tighter to see if I can make it reappear but it doesn’t. Then I fall asleep.

The next day I remember what I saw, what I felt.

Oh Jesus ~ the things you do to remind me to keep my eyes on You.

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The Zuhl Museum in Las Cruces

The Zuhl Museum, Table

The Zuhl Museum, Table

The Zuhl Museum is one museum you should not miss if you’re visiting Las Cruces, New Mexico.  This museum is part art gallery and part natural history.

The TripAdvisor reviews gave it high marks but said it was small so I was afraid that my friends would not be interested but I was wrong.

The picture below is of an amethyst quartz.  Quite impressive, no?

Amethyst Quartz, The Zuhl Museum

Amethyst Quartz, The Zuhl Museum

The rock on the left in this next picture is called Smoky Quartz.

Smoky Quartz, The Zuhl Museum

Smoky Quartz, The Zuhl Museum

The large beautiful log below shows a polished fossil conifer Araucaria that was cut in half.  Pretty colors, no?

Araucaria log, The Zuhl Museum

Araucaria log, The Zuhl Museum

Here’s a picture of Ichthyosaurs ~ a fast swimming reptile.

Ichthyosaurs, The Zuhl Museum

Ichthyosaurs, The Zuhl Museum

Lastly, we have a Crinoid which is an animal that belonged to the Phylum Echinoderms and lived attached to the seafloor.

Crinoid

Crinoid

Okay, I changed my mind ~ I feel compelled to share this next picture with you which is of banded iron formations ~ the colors would go very well on a quilt, no?

Banded Iron Formations, The Zuhl Museum

Banded Iron Formations, The Zuhl Museum

That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed the pictures and, if you’re debating whether to visit the museum, I encourage you to visit as there’s a lot more to see.

 

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Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Mushrooms

Here’s a nice side dish of Roasted Mushrooms that I found over at Closet Cooking.  And, they’re paleo ~ woohoo!

Of course, you have to like mushrooms ~ did I ever tell you that I don’t like mushrooms?  But, husband loves mushrooms so occasionally I buy them and later figure out what to do with them.

This recipe is simple and uses few ingredients but you won’t go wrong with it ~

First there’s the mushrooms ~ whichever kind you like …

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

You’ll be tossing them in oil, salt & pepper then roasting them in an oven.

While all that is happening you’ll be preparing the butter mixture ~

Prepare Butter Mixture

Prepare Butter Mixture

Then you’ll be tossing the roasted mushrooms in the butter mixture with salt and pepper.

And this is how they’ll come out … (except they won’t taste fuzzy ~ laughing)

Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Mushrooms

Want to see the whole recipe?  Head on over to Closet Cooking.  He’s got lots of good recipes so check out his website.

(For additional paleo recipes, click here.)

 

 

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Paleo Baked Cod and Scallions with Spiced Potatoes

Paleo Roasted Cod and Scallions with Spiced Potatoes

Paleo Baked Cod and Scallions with Spiced Potatoes

This paleo Baked Cod and Scallions with Spiced Potatoes recipe came out really really good.  I was a little surprised because cod usually tastes so bland to me and needs lots of help.  But don’t we all?  (laughing)

It’s a fairly easy recipe though ~ my favorite kind ~ and the only change I made from the original recipe was to use sweet potatoes instead of red potatoes.

I purchased the cod at Trader Joe’s and used all the pieces that came prepackaged.

The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare the cod by cleaning it under cold water and drying it using paper towels.  Next I sprayed the casserole dish that I was going to put the cod in with Olive Oil Spray to coat the bottom of my pan so the cod will not stick.

Clean and dry the cod

Clean and dry the cod

Next I added the scallions ~ trimmed yet whole ~ then drizzled a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper on top of it all.

Add scallions to the cod

Add scallions to the cod

I sliced the unpeeled sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch pieces.

Slice sweet potatoes

Slice sweet potatoes

Then I sliced them in half.

Slice sweet potatoes into quarters

Slice sweet potatoes into quarters

The sweet potatoes will be put in a casserole dish, tossed with 1 tablespoon of olive, the chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Then they will be baked in a 425° degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until they are golden brown and tender.

Prepare sweet potatoes then bake

Prepare sweet potatoes then bake

While the potatoes are baking, prepare the lemon by using a peeler and peeling strips from it.  Then slice the peel pieces thinly and sprinkle it over the cod before it’s baked.  Reserve the lemon to use once everything is cooked.

Grate chunks of lemon then slice thinly

Grate chunks of lemon then slice thinly

At the 10 minute mark of the potatoes being in the oven, you’ll be putting the cod in and cooking it until it’s opaque approximately 15 minutes (but follow the package directions if you have any).

And here’s the recipe ~

Paleo Roasted Cod and Scallions with Spiced Potatoes

Paleo Roasted Cod and Scallions with Spiced Potatoes

Paleo Baked Cod and Scallions with Spiced Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, clean and sliced 1/4 inch thick then halved again
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3-4 pieces of cod, cleaned in cold water then towel dried
  • 2 bunches scallions, trimmed
  • 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 425° F.
  2. In a casserole dish, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bake the potato, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Next, place the cod and scallions in a second casserole dish then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Using a vegetable peeler, peel strips of zest from the lemon then thinly slice them and sprinkle over the cod. Reserve the lemon.
  6. After the potato has cooked for 10 minutes, place the cod in the oven and bake it until it is opaque throughout and the scallions are tender, approximately 15 minutes (or follow package directions).
  7. Cut the reserved lemon in half and squeeze over the fish.
  8. Serve the fish and scallions with the potatoes.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.simplynorma.com/2016/04/28/paleo-baked-cod-and-scallions-with-spiced-potatoes/

Enjoy!

For additional paleo recipes, click here.

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The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

We visited this church when we were in Santa Fe, New Mexico recently.

Although this church is free to enter, a priest was standing near the front door to answer questions and had a “donation” box next to him.

We were able to walk around the church freely, but local people were there to pray near the front of the church so going through quietly is recommended.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

I enjoy looking at the architecture of these old churches as they have so much colorful detail.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

Ceiling at The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

“Construction of this Cathedral began in 1869 and continued until 1887. The new Cathedral was built around the former adobe church and, when the new walls were complete, the old church was torn down and removed through the front door.”  The Cathedral Basilica

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

Stained Glass Window, The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

Stained Glass Window, The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

I’m not sure why I was surprised to see cameras in the church, but I was.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

The church has a large baptismal that I found interesting as the Catholic churches I’ve visited don’t baptize by immersion but by sprinkling water on a person’s head.  The priest told me that the people who are going to be baptized walk into this baptismal but they are not “immersed” all the way.  Interesting.  I wonder why not …

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

Baptismal, The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe

We had stopped inside this church because it was cold and windy outside but we left with an appreciation for the architecture of this building.

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Japanese Garden, MN
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Prayer

A few months ago (yes, I’m a slow reader), I picked up a book called Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey.

I have to say, this book has a LOT of golden nuggets and I thought that every now and again, I’d share some of them with you.

I’ve often had people ask me “Will you pray for …….?”  I always say yes as I feel prayer is powerful. And yet, in the pit of my stomach, I’ve sometimes wondered if some of my prayers are lost in the air above my head.

It’s not that I don’t believe in God ~ no, not at all. He has expressed Himself to me in so many ways. But sometimes, when prayers don’t appear to be answered, I wonder what happened. Did I lose the connection somehow?

And so … this book was/is quite appropriate for those types of moments in my life.

One of the very first golden nuggets I ran into was something I had never thought of:

There were no closets in Jesus’ day. So ~ why did Jesus (in the King James version of the Bible) instruct us to pray in our closets?

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6

Different versions of the Bible use “go to your room and close the door” or “go away by yourself and close the door behind you.”

The original Hebrew word for closet here means a storage chamber or a secret room. So, the KJV is not quite as accurate as it should be.

Jesus’ main concern here was that people were praying in public to show off. And people can have a tendency to do that when asked to pray publicly. Perhaps they feel pressured to say the “right” words or not to forget to say something.

Sometimes when I’m at church and I hear really long prayers I wonder why they have to be so long and my thoughts trail off into something else.  Has that ever happened to you?

Our prayers should express the relationship we have with God so that it can free us to pray with people and for people. More often than not though, we need to have more one-on-one intimate conversations (prayers) with God as those are the times when our relationship with Him can grow the best.

I find that when I have the radio on in the background, I can’t “hear” God as well as if it’s quiet with absolutely no distractions. What works best for you?

So ~ have you had all of your prayers answered? I know I have even though sometimes it doesn’t “feel” that way.  Yet I’ve learned that we can’t trust our feelings all the time. Sometimes the answer will be no, other times yes and still other times God asks us to wait. But each time, if I’m patient, I know He has made the best decision for me.

So, find your “closet” and pray. He’s definitely listening.

Japanese Garden, MN

Japanese Garden, MN

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The Spoon and Stable Restaurant

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

For Christmas last year, we received a very large gift certificate for the Spoon and Stable Restaurant in Minneapolis.

We decided to go for brunch one very cold winter Sunday. Reservations HAVE to be made online and they are normally booked a couple of months out.  Brunch was amazing!  Everything was fresh and they try to accommodate any special requests such as a side scrambled egg that I wanted.

Since brunch was so wonderful and didn’t use anywhere near the amount of the gift certificate, we reserved a couple of spots for dinner.

The inside of Spoon and Stable is very open and has high ceilings which can make for a noisy dinner.  Fortunately, our reservation was for when the restaurant opened, so they sat us in a nice quiet corner near the cooking station where we could see the chefs at work.

I didn’t get pictures of everything we ate but here are three.

Belgian Endive Salad, Spoon and Stable

Belgian Endive Salad, Spoon and Stable

The Wild Mushroom Soup below was superb, and I don’t like mushrooms (my friend ordered this).

Wild Mushroom Soup, Spoon and Stable

Wild Mushroom Soup, Spoon and Stable

Everything was simply superb!  From the service to the food ~

Sweet Potato Agnolotti, Spoon and Stable

Sweet Potato Agnolotti, Spoon and Stable

Dinner is a LOT more expensive than brunch.  The $150 gift certificate we received would have paid for dinner and a tip but since we used part of it for brunch we wound up having to pay a little out of pocket (mainly the tip).

This is definitely a place we would like to return to ~ IF we can get a reservation.  Hmmm … maybe I’ll reserve now for my birthday this summer.

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Paleo Braised Chicken with Potatoes and Tarragon

Paleo Braised Chicken With Potatoes and Tarragon

Paleo Braised Chicken With Potatoes and Tarragon

Although I had different pieces of chicken in my freezer, I decided to purchase a whole chicken for recipe ~ Paleo Braised Chicken with Potatoes and Tarragon ~ so I didn’t have to thaw a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I found this recipe on the TV show called The Chew and adapted it just a tad.  I don’t watch the show very often but every now and then as I’m surfing through channels with the TV remote, I land upon this station.

The chicken pieces will be browned in a cast iron skillet (if you have one).

Brown Chicken Pieces

Brown Chicken Pieces

Once that step is completed, you be taking the chicken of the skillet and setting it aside.  Then you’ll be adding the rest of the ingredients to the skillet.

Add Remaining Ingredients

Add Remaining Ingredients

The original recipe has you trying to squeeze the chicken pieces back in the skillet.  Trust me, it won’t work (unless you have a huge cast iron skillet). I used a separate casserole dish to toss everything together and bake it in. It’s one more dish but it’s worth it.

Once the ingredients are all combined you’ll be baking this for approximately 40 minutes.  The recipe is below and I truly hope you enjoy it.

Put All Ingredients In A Large Casserole Dish to Bake

Put All Ingredients In A Large Casserole Dish to Bake

 

Paleo Braised Chicken With Potatoes and Tarragon

Paleo Braised Chicken With Potatoes and Tarragon

Paleo Braised Chicken With Potatoes and Tarragon

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion - sliced
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic - thinly sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato - cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Rinse and dry the chicken then season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet, over medium heat, add the oil.
  4. Add the chicken to the skillet, skin-side-down, and cook until it's well browned on both sides,
  5. Remove the chicken to a plate and set it aside.
  6. Add the onion, garlic, potatoes, tarragon and tomato paste to the skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Season the ingredients in the skillet with salt and pepper (to your taste).
  8. In an oiled casserole dish, add the chicken then layer the ingredients from the cast iron skillet over the chicken, including any juices that are in the pan.
  9. Add enough water around the chicken so that the skin is still exposed.
  10. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through, approximately 40 minutes.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.simplynorma.com/2016/04/18/paleo-braised-chicken-with-potatoes-and-tarragon/

 

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Of iPhoto, Photos and A Hard Drive

Back in April of 2015, I transferred all of my iPhoto pictures to the new Apple Photos.  It took awhile but the process went pretty smoothly.

A week or so back, my Apple MacBook Pro gave me a pop up box that said that the hard disk was just about full.  I thought “yeah, yeah, yeah it’s probably nothing.”  Then I tried transferring photos from my Panasonic Lumix camera over to Photos and they would not transfer over.

When I checked the storage on the hard drive, it said I had 18 GB left out of 246.  I noticed that I had not deleted the iPhoto libraries (I had two),  so I checked to see how much was being used there.  The first library showed 108 GB and the second library showed 1.9 GB.

I used logic (anyone who knows me probably questions this) and determined that if I deleted both of the iPhoto files that that would automatically give me approximately 109 GB of additional storage space.  That is logical, isn’t it?  

Not being a computer “techie,” I checked with all the computer gurus I knew and they told me it was okay to delete the iPhoto files since those pictures were transferred over to Photos and were basically duplicates.

Trepeditously, I deleted the two libraries from iPhoto, made sure the Photos files weren’t affected and then removed them from the trash.

What a piece of cake, I thought.  Then I went to see how much my hard drive storage had increased.  Uh, nothing.  The hard drive had increased zilch-o.  Nada.  Nothing.  Can I say it any other way?  Does anyone know why this would be the case?

And thus began the journey of going through every picture I have in Photos since 2008 to determine whether to delete it or keep it.  Talk about time consuming.  Haven’t seen hardly any new posts on my blog recently?  This explains why.

Looking back, it’s amazing how many ugly pictures I took.  Then there are the fuzzy ones, the ones I took from different angles 15 times to make sure the lighting was just right, the overexposed, the underexposed and even ones that I had to ask myself “who really cares?” (that’s a whole ‘nother topic …)

I never ~ and I mean never ~ thought about deleting the pictures that weren’t good.  Never had the words “storage space or hard drive” crossed my mind.  Blah.

Sure, I could just put them on a disk and when I die let some poor soul decide what to do with them all … but I’ve been that poor soul in the past, and I have to say “What’s most important to me will probably not be important to someone else.”

Good news though!  I’ve finally made it to the year 2013.  Clap, clap, clap.  Aren’t you happy for me?  Not even a wee bit?

And do you know how much storage space I have freed up?  An additional 49GB for a total of 67 free GB.   That sounds like such a pittance ~ but then, I’m not a tech guru.

Once finished, I’ll put my Photos library 1 on a disk and just work with my second library.

Lesson learned?  Get rid of the unwanted photos shortly after you download them. It will save you a lot of time and heartache in the long run.

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The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Old Town Albuquerque Entrance

Old Town Albuquerque Entrance

Not all museums are created equal and, although small, the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History was a very nice place to visit.

The museum is right next to the historic old downtown.  Parking is free ~ you just need to give your parking spot number at the admissions desk.  We were also able to gain free admission to the museum since we arrived on a Sunday morning and there is free admission from 9 a.m. til 1 p.m.  Free, free and free.  We were really liking that everything was free and later went on a 1 hour free guided tour of the old downtown that was given by a volunteer.

Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, Outdoor Sculpture

Albuquerque Museum of Art & History, Outdoor Sculpture

I was allowed to take pictures inside the Museum with my iPhone as long as I did not use the flash.  So ~ I took pictures of some of the artwork that I felt drawn to.  I find that art is very much personal preference and sometimes I’m not sure why I’m drawn to certain pieces.

From afar, this first piece of art doesn’t look like much outside of some brilliant colors …

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

But up close there is a lot of detail work that was done.  I wish I had been able to ask how long it took the artist to do this because it’s quite amazing.  I have trouble working on my quilts on a small scale.  This artist had to visualize a larger picture which is something that my brain has not mastered.

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

This was woven together and is really quite masterfully done.

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

I had to take my glasses off and stand very close to see all the detail.  Wow! and Wow! again.

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Artwork, Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

For all the time I spent looking at this piece, I totally forgot to look to see who the artist was.  I’m disappointed in myself.  Sigh.

The next piece of artwork that intrigued me is by Jorge Lizarazo from Columbia.  It was a tribute/interpretation of the work by Venezuelan geometric artist Carlos Cruz-Diez.  It simply stood out boldly from the other pieces of art around it.

Artwork, Jorge Lizarazo, Colombia

Artwork, Jorge Lizarazo, Colombia

This next piece of art was made using PET bottles by artist Alvaro Catalan De Ocon who “recruited the indigenous Guambiano and Esperara-Siapidara communities in Colombia to recreate lamps by applying traditional weaving techniques to vertical strips of plastic PET bottles.”

PET Lamp, PET Bottles, Paja Tetera

PET Lamp, PET Bottles, Alvaro Catalan De Ocon

The Cactus Light below was made from pine cutoffs, bottle bulbs, RGBW LED strip lights, brass fittings and fabric cable.  I’m not sure why it caught my attention except that it looked very weird.  (laughing)

Cactus Light

Cactus Light

The art displays in the first room were from Latin America and had mostly items that were “repurposed.”

This next piece of artwork is really cool.  You have to pay close attention to the details.

It’s a guitar ~

Guitarra, Artist Pedro Reyes, Mexico

Guitarra, Artist Pedro Reyes, Mexico

But look what it’s made of ~

Guitarra, Artist Pedro Reyes, Mexico

Guitarra, Artist Pedro Reyes, Mexico

Cool, right?  The artist, Pedro Reyes, collaborates with the police department in Mexico City and refashions confiscated guns and makes them into musical instruments.

This next piece of art by artist Elmer Schooley looks abstract from afar …

Hot Country by Artist Elmer Schooley

Hot Country by Artist Elmer Schooley

But look at this Hot Country close up ~ “the artist exaggerates the heat of the dry earth and contrasts the bright salmon warmth of the soil with the cool green and sage colors of the mounded shrubs.”  I couldn’t have said that better.

Hot Country by Artist Elmer Schooley

Hot Country by Artist Elmer Schooley

This next piece of art evokes emotion ~ anger? frustration?  It’s called Woe Man I by Judy Chicago who lives in Belen, New Mexico. Woe Man I is a cast paper sculpture that “combines the angst of modern life with outrage at the denigration of fundamental principles of equality, creativity and emotional sensitivity.”  I have to say, I didn’t get all of that from this sculpture.  I saw pain and a sense of anticipation of when it will cease.

Woe Man I by Artist Judy Chicago

Woe Man I by Artist Judy Chicago

The next two pictures I mainly photographed because I liked the colors and am considering them for quilts.  I didn’t jot down the artists’ names ~

Painting at the The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Painting at the The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Really ~ they are nice colors for quilts, aren’t they?

Painting at the The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Painting at the The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

I really enjoyed this museum even though our visit was cut short because an announcement over the speakers stated that they were giving a one hour free guided tour of old downtown Albuquerque so we hurried out for that.

So much history here.

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