Makin’ Memories!

My Mrs. — my Bashert (destiny, as in soul mates), that is some view I had! ❤

As many of you know, we had a bit of tsuris (trouble) this past spring break, when everyone got sick, save for Gatsby and me. Everything was ferkokt (all fucked effed up) Plans were canceled, tears were spilled along with other bodily fluids … Well, we finally got a re-do on that break, and this time, we headed to Boulder, Colorado to see my shvester (sister) and shvager (brother-in-law). I hope you can see how much fun we had! I am so very lucky…

My kinder, my shvester, and my shvager, perched on steps of pride with the kinderlech
Great company, food, music, dancing, and fun! My ballerinas were mesmerized by the break dancers…
Chautauqua Trails — The Flatirons, what a beauty to experience!

The fresh smelling air, the sights, the sounds of nature, all were as glorious as this shot which doesn’t even begin to capture what our senses absorbed. We all need to be good to our planet to preserve such a treasure. A shtik naches (A great joy) for us all to revel and relish.

Climbing… climbing…

As an important note, I think we only stopped 7 or 403 times to utilize our new unicorn bandaids for various blisters and to add a bissel (little) bling!

I spy with my little eye, a wabbit! In this photo, he may be ‘actual size!’

Some of us were Terrified of back bear sightings — we stumbled into this tiny rabbit while hiking. A little later we saw a very big deer, resting in the shade. She was unscathed by our presence. Of course, we were then terrified of ticks and Lyme’s Disease and inspected our kinder like Jane Goodall and her gorillas in the mist. On our way down, we spoke to a couple that saw a few baby black bears (Oy vey!) playing, on their hike, higher up. Luckily my kinder won’t likely read this post for many moons, if at all Feelings of shpilkes (fear, pins, and needles) in our group?  ‘Spot on!’

Living and loving ‘in the moment’
Farmutshet (worn out, exhausted) A little bit tired after that hike…
How lucky am I to catch this shot of Little jumping and Big waiting?

Never too tired to swim, and the water is never too cold when you are kinderlech (young children). Besides, there are two hot tubs to choose from to warm up if you need to! The water was actually quite comfortable in temp. Nothing stimulates the soul, activates the appetite and allows for sweet slumbers, like daily swimming. And the scenery, it couldn’t be more beautiful. 

And my shvester follows suit!
“I told you, only the girls are allowed in here…”  TLM*

If he knew the words, he would have said, “Loz mich tsu ru! (Leave me alone!)” I had to look them up! He is one proud uncle, who gets a kick out of these maideleh’s (sweet little girls), and, he loves his ME time! Nothing wrong with that! ❤ While we swim, he aerobicizes and lifts, solo style. 

We learned how to throw a Frisbee, and catch it too!

With the patience of a saint, and an overwhelming need to play, she taught us again how to throw and catch a Frisbee. I really think we have it now! For me, just running freely, throwing, hiking, swimming and playing, without severe or any repercussions, shows the proof in the pudding from living so close to the dispensaries! Medical or recreational, cannabis works for chronic nerve pain (and so much more)! I see why people up and move to feel better. Mrs.? 

“I wish we could stay longer…”
“I wish we could stay longer…”
We had so much fun! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Aud-o and Steve-o! ❤ ❤ ❤ We love you so much!

We all had a blast. It was good to get away from our daily grind and take in new perspectives and sights. Needless to say, I was verklempt (all choked up, emotional) for the entire bus ride to the airport, and even during the frisking, she didn’t even know me! at the airport check-in … and, for a few more hours too. My shvester, she is a bit on the magical side. She is loads of fun for us all, and together, we laugh, and laugh and laugh until we pee ourselves. No joke! And for me, to have a body that can feel so good, priceless.

Abi gezunt! As long as you’re healthy!

Kvelling, by photos

Kvelling. It’s a verb. It means to be extraordinarily pleased or happy! We have our ups, we have our downs, but this week has been filled with a lot of, much appreciated, extraordinary happiness! I hope the same is true for all of you!

Working hard at what you love comes easy when you love it — I’m kvelling!
Frog and Toad — I love those guys (and she is reading, to me… I’m kvelling!)
“Mommy, can I learn to type on my computer, please!” Yes, I’m kvelling!
Forget Godot, we’re waiting for Barbara! Yes, kvelling! ❤
Watching the E-A-G-L-E-S fly! Kvelling for the underdogs! We moved to the big screen shortly thereafter!
Who’s kvelling more? Me looking at my boychik? Or Gatsby, dozing in the rays of sunshine?

And the Yiddish proverb I leave you with this week is:

Love your neighbor, even if he plays the trombone! Libh deyn khbr, afilu aiob er fyeses di trambone.

      

  

 

 

 

 

2018: Two weeks in

These past couple of weeks have left me verklempt (overcome with emotion). We’ve gone from tsuris (troubles) to nachas (joy) and back and forth a few times over. But hey, all is good. No kvetching (complaining) here… still quite grateful just to be… In my glass-half full world, the temples are gray, yet the mind is still childish (es iz groi di pai’eh un narish di dai’eh). Now look, sit! Enjoy some shots.

Ice crystals on the car window, early morning… sometimes, cold is beautiful. Who knew?
New Years Day T-Bone… not in the plans. And in one second, the car becomes bubkas (worthless, nothing, zero)
My left foot… this boot is made for walking? Oy! I needed this like I need a lochen kup (whole in my head)!
Okay, we can do this! And my bubbaleh’s (little one’s) , they are better than fine ❤
Blech! We had to have one more vermin sighting, right before we left… I was going to put a little chalk outline around him for management, but then I threw up (brechen) a little in my throat before I could do it…
Me and my Mrs., and that smile of hers. Gets me every time! Now that’s a “we have a new home” smile! Shana punim (beautiful face)!
My first cuppa in our new home… Mornin’ joe
Gatsby is the ruler of his domain, and after a squirrel, or a bird, or a piece of sky???

So friends, for today and this week, may you all be a mensch (decent and honorable person) and may you only run into mensches.

     

     

52 Smiles

Look at me! I’m #50 in the project! Photo courtesy of (c) Ben Bowens Photography

Yiddish phrase:

Lichticheh punim. It literally means a big, happy face that is lit up, from smiling!

Those of you who read this space, know how I feel about smiling. I am still in the midst of my experiment (with very good results) in The Chaos of the Smile Theory. Apparently, photographer Ben Bowens felt similarly and set out on a mission to capture 52 Smiles in 2017.

While he was doing his thing, I did a little of my thing, an interview. Here it is:

1. How old were you when you first picked up a camera? I can remember playing with my family’s Polaroid camera when I was very little, maybe 6 or 7. I’ve always been interested in art and photography and my parents were good about letting me explore with paint and drawing, etc. I got my first 35 mm camera when I was in college and used it for my fundamentals of photography class where I learned about the magic and frustration of the dark room. In addition to that camera, all throughout college, I always had a digital camera on me just in case I wanted to take a quick picture. The same is true now, only my camera costs way more and it’s usually accompanied by two additional lenses, a flash, a cleaning kit and extra batteries!
2. What are some of your favorite things to photograph? I love to photograph people in their element. I’m a very hands-off photographer when I do portrait sessions. I like to settle on a location and let my subjects explore it on their own. Kids are great at being authentically expressive in new places. They wander around, pick things up, taste things, etc. I love to get photos of those little moments and I think most parents appreciate it, too.
3. How did 52 Smiles come about? 52 Smiles was a project I thought about during 2016. The presidential election was super depressing and it seemed like every week a major figure from pop culture died (We lost Princess Leia and Prince!). I felt a lot of negative vibes during 2016 and I just wanted a reason to smile again. I figured if I could take a picture of someone different smiling and share it every week (52 weeks in a year, 52 smiles, you get it) I would be doing my part to make 2017 a little bit brighter.
4. What/Who inspires/fascinates you? Why? I draw a lot of inspiration from Instagram. People I don’t even know, but whose accounts I follow and marvel at on a daily basis. There are some really talented photographers in the city of Philadelphia and around the world. I just try to emulate the techniques or visit the locations they’ve been and try to match some of their work or take photos to make something my own. 
5. Five years from now, you’ll be…. Possibly in another city, doing another job, surrounded by different people. Who knows! Looking back to the last 5 years, I don’t think I could’ve predicted that I’d be handling communications for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and running my own photography business. I have some ideas, but I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and see where it all goes.
6. Can you share with us a few of your favorite/most memorable photos? Maybe, a little blurb too?
My girlfriend standing on the beach in Wildwood holding her sandals during sunset. It doesn’t get much better than that. Everything about this picture is my favorite. The lighting, the reflection, the subject. Everything.
I’ve heard and read that Cairns represent many different things to different cultures. They can represent love, or be used to mark the spot where a loved one died, but for me they represent balance. I took this picture during a getaway in Martha’s Vineyard where I was desperately trying to re-balance my life. I think this picture sums up that journey and that time in my life.
I often see things I want to photograph when I’m driving or don’t have my camera and the image will stick with me. Every morning during my commute up I-95 I used to see this smokestack blowing god knows what into the atmosphere from one of the many factories that dot the Philadelphia landscape and just in front of it a tree stood defiant to the toxins. I didn’t quite capture the image from my mind (mainly because that would require me to have a tripod on the middle of a 4-lane highway), but this was the first time that I went out of my way to track down a photograph and I was very proud of myself for following the idea.
It was my 33rd birthday and we hiked around Yosemite. Everyone was clamoring to take the iconic sunset photos of half-dome at glacier point and this girl just walked out beyond the barrier and sat on the edge of the cliff. She looked so peaceful and unfazed by the true majesty laid out before her.
7. With 2017 wrapping up, and 52 smiles coming to an end, what’s next for Ben Bowens? My girlfriend suggested that I take pictures of doors around Philadelphia. I think I might give that a go. It’s probably easier to convince a door to take pictures than my camera-shy coworkers.
8. What’s more important, your equipment, or your eye to the world? I think both go hand in hand. Without one, the other is useless. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “I wish I had my camera” because I saw something I wanted to capture.
9. Where is home? Home is where the heart is. My heart is currently in Philadelphia.
10. Did you study photography? I took fundamentals of photography class my freshman year of college. It was all black and white and required 35mm film. I also took fundamentals of digital photography class in 2010 at Project Basho it was also all black and white, but all digital.
11. How important is Photoshop to your final images? Photoshop is essential to my work. I shoot in RAW and use the program to process my photos. I think “Photoshop” has a negative connotation associated with it when it comes to photography because it implies that an image has been “doctored” or altered in some way, but I think of it as the darkroom for digital photography (see also: Adobe Lightroom). Photographers in darkrooms are constantly altering their photos with burning and dodging, over-exposing or under-exposing techniques. The digital programs of today are basically streamlining that process.
12. Lastly, if you had one wish? It would be to somehow quit my job, risk-free, and travel the world photographing any and everything I could find. Got $1 million laying around I can borrow??? 🙂
Your contact info: Ben Bowens, Instagram @benbowensphoto, benbowens.com, info@benbowens.com, 267-838-0620
So my friends, may you all end this year and start the new one with your very own, lichticheh punim!

Yes, I promise!

My kinder (Big and Little) and me, we went for a nice walk in the ‘hood with our boychik (little boy), Gatsby. It was a gorgeous autumn day, not too cold and filled bright with sunshine. They were hesitant. A bit groggy from the previous nights’ festivities. Yes, I did the dreaded mom-fail move: I bribed them.

“Come with me to walk Gatsby and I’ll get you both vanilla steamers at High Point!”

Before I could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, shoes, socks, coats and a, “We’re ready to go, Mommy! Aren’t you coming?” Here are a few snaps for our jaunt. What a lucky momma I am!

Yiddish proverb:

Never promise something to a child and not give it to them, because in that way they learn to lie.

Keynmol onzog epes tsu a kind aun nisht gebn es tsu zey, vayl in dem veg zey lernen tsu lign.

Dressed and obsessed with chicken bones, he’s ready to walk…
Fun in the autumn leaves heaps
The stop at High Point Cafe, for some Vanilla Steamers with whipped cream, as promised… who’s missing his momma here?
Ahhh… lovely cuppa for kinder! Worth the walk! I wonder why they look so pensive? Nu?
Always, we make friends along the way…
The beauty of nature’s own design — priceless.
      
      
  

Helping Hands

It’s been an ‘all hands on deck‘ kind of week. School is in full swing, dance lessons are back, and as they say in this Yiddish Proverb:

If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.  Aoyb ir alts darfn a helping hant ir vet gefinen eyner in di suf fun deyn orem.

Take a look at my kinder (Sweet kids) and their hantalehs (hands) at work play!

They were so fascinated by the typewriters! They didn’t want to leave! Azoi!

Shana Tovah to all who celebrate! May it be a sweet and happy new year ahead for us all.

    

      

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset!
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears…

Songwriters: Lewis Bock Jerrold / Sheldon Harnick Sunrise / Sunset lyrics © Bock Ip LLC, Imagem Music Inc / Fiddler on the Roof

Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset! zunftang, untergang! zunftang, untergang!

      

      

 

He’s Gone… I got him!

After the run, my Gatsby is tired. Thank you, Benny!

He’s meditating on whether a flea has a bellybutton. Er klert tsi a floy hot a pupik.

      

 

 

Curiosity!

A person should stay alive, if only out of curiosity. A mensch zol blaybn lebedik, aoyb nor aoys fun naygerikayt.

Childhood!

Small children don’t let you rest. Big children don’t let you sleep. Kleyn kinder ton nit lozn ir mnukkh. Groys kinder ton nit lozn gay shlofn.

Childhood!

Thank you to J, Z and E for an amazing time at the Tyler Arboretum. ❤ Many more good times ahead!

 

     

      

 

Looks like summer

Birthplace: EARTH, Race: HUMAN, Politics: FREEDOM, Religion: LOVE

Some things will forever and always smell, taste, hint to the glimpses of summer. Freshly cut grass. Watermelon. The sun on your back. Swings. A skinned knee. The hint of chlorine. Mosquitoes. Bikes. Dirt. Ice Cream. And laughter. There must always be laughter.

Let’s all hope this summer is a good one, a safe one, and a healthy one for us all, filled with more laughter. ❤

Life is like a child’s undershirt–short and soiled. Dos leben iz vi kinderhemdel–kurts un bash.

At least for my Little, above!

      

  

Meet Stumpy

Okay, so my inner Lorax is showing again. This time, I’m sharing my very favorite tree stump. My muses, they are still away on holiday and Gatsby and I are busy, meandering all over the place in an effort to keep him exercised while I’m at work, and me free from worry (huh!) while I am away from him. Where I really wish we were walking is out on the trails of our sort of, back yard, the Wissahickon.

On this particular trail, no matter the season, the kinder (children) have to jump on the stump and imagine, explore and pretend. It never gets old for them or for me. Photo ops abound. Well, okay, I admit, I too would enjoy a climb on, or even through this beauty. For me, stumpy here epitomizes all the good parts of childhood. Stumpy brings up images of bright red radio flyers, flowered banana seat bikes with multi-colored streamers, Keds sneakers and, skimming stones in the creek.

I can even taste the stale gum that comes with the pack of baseball cards. Do you hear the ice cream truck, or is it just me? This stump, it may just be the very best stump in all of the world. And we have it, right here, in our sort of, very big, backyard park.  Nothing to kvetch (whine) about here.

Go out and be with the trees, my friends.

 

      

     

 

Springtime In February

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Constant joy is a great mitzvah (a good deed). Keseyderdik freyd iz a groys mitzvah.

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It’s abundantly clear to me, that the very best parts of this life are unplanned little moments spent with those you love. Make sure you are present so you can catch them.

 

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Presence vs. Presents: A wordless Wednesday

My Bashert (my heart)
My Bashert (my heart)
What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul! And this family can laugh!
What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul! And this family can laugh!
The love of eating goes deep, shows early, and can't be taught. Hymie's whitefish salad!
The love of eating goes deep, shows early, and can’t be taught.
Hymie’s whitefish salad! TDF…
Frayndshaft (friendship), nothing like it!
Frayndshaft (friendship), nothing like it!
Shep naches (get such pleasure from) these faces...
Shep naches (get such pleasure from) these faces…

What a wonderful couple of weeks we have had, this holiday season. We are so rich with love! ❤

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Friendship: Wordless Wednesday

Ver gefinen a getray fraynd, finds a austr. Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.

Wanna ride on the friend train?
Wanna ride on the friend train?
Arts, crafts, friends...a good day indeed
Arts, crafts, friends…a good day indeed
Movie night at the Manor. Now playing, ELF!
Movie night at the Manor. Now playing, ELF!
No mom, I don't think we should read the news anymore. You get too upset...
No mom, I don’t think we should read the news anymore. You get too upset…
Yes! These new dresses have excellent twirlability!
Yes! These new dresses for the shvesters (sisters) have excellent twirlability!
Wasp's up?
Wasp’s up? There’s no place like home…

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Taciturn Thursday? My Explorer Kids

Well, who knows why, but Wordless Wednesday passed me right by. Oy vey… Knowing me, I’m gonna share with you anyway. Enjoy our trip to Valley Forge Park with my Explorer Kinder (kids) and Nona.

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Az me gait gleich, fait men nit. If you walk straight, you will not stumble.

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Let the Sun Shine: wordless wednesday

Di zun shaynt far itlekhn umzist. The sun shines on everyone for free.

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Ven nit di shein, volt kain shoten nit geven. If not for the light, there would be no shadow.

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Keeping Hope Alive: Wordless Wednesday

 

Maybe, the world, it looks better this way?
Maybe, the world, it looks better this way?
"To all the little girls watching...never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world." —Hillary Clinton
“To all the little girls watching…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.” —Hillary Clinton
When they go low, we go high!
When they go low, we go high!
My shvester and bruder-in-law, and a nice cabbage salad
My shvester and bruder-in-law, and a nice cabbage salad
My mishpocheh!
My mishpocheh, and a nice pizza!
"This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it." —Hillary
“This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” —Hillary
I do want to go to U of F!
What do you mean she didn’t win?
Bei mir bist du sheyn. (To me, you are beautiful.)
Bei mir bist du sheyn. (To me, you are beautiful.)
Teach the children well
Always, teach the children well.
Stop, look, listen
Stop, look, listen
A nice walk in the woods
A nice walk in the woods

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Wordless Wednesdays: Life is a Bargain!

Lebn iz de greste metsye. Mir nemen es far gornisht. Life is the greatest bargain. We get it for nothing.

Please, can I come trick or treating with you...Pretty please.
Please, can I come trick or treating with you…Pretty please. Really.
Sleepovers, movies, and friends
Sleep-overs, movies, and friends
Windows update?
Windows update? Or a piece of sky…
Ladies who lunch...or sip?
Ladies who lunch…or sip?
Up we go...
Up we go…
Luka, watch me!
Watch me! I said watch me!
No, it's run, run, skip. Run, run, skip.
No, it’s run, run, skip. Run, run, skip.
Photo-bombed by Gatsby!
Photo-bombed by Gatsby again!

Lebn aun zei gezunt! Live and be well!

 

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The Great Pumpkin: Wordless Wednesday

Linus: “Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.”

The Great Gatsby 'Tail-o-meter' at work
The Great Gatsby ‘Tail-o-meter’ at work
We got 'em Moms
We picked ’em Moms
I think we've been here before
I think we’ve been here before
Potter. Harry Potter.
Potter. Harry Potter.
Is it Hedwig?
Is it Hedwig?
All play an no work make us Miquon Kids!
Even work is play with Little and Big!

Altz iz gut (all is good)!

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Let them Play! Wordless Wednesday

#explorerkids
I can get them, I know I can (floaty bugs in the water)
Split by a rainbow
Split by a rainbow
roar!
Roar!
Mommy, I have to pee
Mommy, I have to pee!
There is something not right here...
There is something not right here…
They cannot get me, they cannot see me
They cannot get me, they cannot see me
Little and Big's world
Little and Big’s world
We found her, Amelia Earhart, she's here
We found her, Amelia Earhart, she’s here

Oib di velt vet verren oisgelaizt, iz es nor in zechus fun kinder. If the world will ever be redeemed, it will be only through the merit of children.

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Good Luck, Bad Luck: Wordless Wednesday

It's a Marvelous night for a moon dance
It’s a Marvelous night for a moon dance
Oops. She found me...
Oops. She found me…
So this is where they live?
So this is where they live?
Flying in a blur...
Flying in a blur…
They deserve so many freedoms -- family equality among them
They deserve so many freedoms — family equality among them
You gotta have heart!
You gotta have heart!
This tree missed me and Gatsby by 6 inches, literally! Good luck! Bring it on.
This tree missed me and Gatsby by 6 inches, literally! Good luck! Bring it on.

In a guter sho tsu reden; in a baizer sho tsu shveigen. In a lucky time it’s good to talk; in an unlucky time, it’s better to be silent. 

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Wordless Wednesday: Play Children, Play!

Dedicated to beloved children's' book writer Anna Dewdney. Read a book to your kids today.
Dedicated to beloved children’s’ book writer, Anna Dewdney. Read a book to your kids today.
Shvesters
Shvesters
Look papa!
Look papa!
oh, I can do this!
Oh, Papa can do this!
Playing at tryouts
Playing at Nutcracker tryouts

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Spinach!

This vision of real life is brought to you by Big. No spinach was injured (or eaten) during this display. Big, oh how I love you my bubbelah (sweet girl)!

Spinach! I don't like spinach!
Spinach! I don’t like spinach!
It's not fair!
It’s not fair!

*Es nisht di khale far a moitse. Don’t eat the challah before you’ve made the blessing. (*McKay and Gabe, this is for you!)

Linky’s:

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Wordless Wednesdays: In the ‘hood

Slowwwww

Moo

clay

Baa

Dont grow up

friends shadow

Pinkberry

My goal...
My goal…I should only be so good!

Far kinder tsereist men a velt. For your children’s sake you would tear the world apart.

Linky’s:

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Wordless Wednesdays: Last bits of Summer

The tire swing

Proud frog Mama

Eva and the Frog

Morning

Neko

Nona's things

Checking

School Shoes :)
School Shoes 🙂

The Mrs. at Work

Morning drive

Oib di velt vet verren oisgelaizt, iz es nor in zechus fun kinder. If the world will ever be redeemed, it will be only through the merit of children.

Linky’s:

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