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I Attracted This

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These past few days have seen me nursing a migraine undoubtedly triggered by stress. Instead of trying to work through the pain, I just went to bed and slept it off. When I woke up this morning, I realized that everything that happened was really a good thing, and it is time to explain why.

At the hospital Katie was given a thorough battery of tests. Those tests revealed that Katie is perfectly healthy; she is suffering from emotional issues that are manifesting in physical discomfort.

This is a good thing. It means that with a bit of counseling my kid will be just fine. I no longer have to worry that she has some dreaded ailment that is going to kill her or render her disabled. I don’t have to worry about surgeries or anything else.

I also realized that I attracted this.

Over these past few weeks I’ve focused on Katie being well. I’ve looked at the good things and done my best to not pay attention to the bad. While the hospital visit seemed like a horrible thing, I know now that it was just the LoA granting my request, for now I know that she is okay, at least physically. The rest will come.

I also see that I attracted what I needed when I needed it. I attracted rides, money, and the information needed to put my concerns to rest.

I’ve had more than enough of what was needed to get through this, and experienced the pleasure of watching the LoA at work in my life once again.

I’ve had both good and bad come to my life through Attraction. I detailed my experiences in the book “How I Designed My Life Using the Law of Attraction and You Can Too”, and now I’ve seen how the LoA can use seemingly negative events to bring about good in your life. You just have to believe that everything will be okay even when it doesn’t appear that way.

Related Posts:
Katie is in the Hospital
Car Free: The Adventure Getting Home

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Car Free: The Adventure Getting Home

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Katie is out of the hospital and we are now back home so I have a story to tell.

My middle daughter decided to come up by herself to visit us, despite not knowing anything about Lexington. Since she was on the way when the doctor said he could release Katie, I asked that he go ahead and do so since I had a ride on the way.

My daughter got lost in Lexington. I tried to get her to pull over and give me the address so that I could walk to her but she would give me an address and then make another turn. After a couple of hours of this, she decided to give up and go home.

As a result I was left in an hour away from home in Lexington with a discharged kid and no ride. Fortunately, a few phone calls later a friend of mine borrowed her son’s car (Sherrie, my friend who does our hair) and saved the day.

We didn’t get home until after midnight, and for the first time since this car-free experiment started I found myself regretting the fact that I no longer have a vehicle.

But, I DID manage to get us home, so all is well. Her next appointments are all local so I won’t have any problems taking her to and from those, but at times like these I wish I lived in a larger city with a better transportation system, because if we lived in Lexington, all we would have needed to do was hop the bus home.

In a few days I will share what is going on with Katie but for now I’m still taking it all in. She’s going to be fine, however, so don’t worry.

I am SOO glad to be home!

Related Post: Katie is in the Hospital

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Katie is in the Hospital

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The other day Katie started having pain again so I made an appointment to meet with her specialist. When she started getting dizzy I thought it was related to the medication so I waited until today to discuss it with him.

He took one look at her and sent us up to her regular doctor because he wanted her to be treated by someone with more knowledge of treating symptoms like hers than he did.

They took us over there, and after some tests and what seemed to be a bunch of running around, insisted that I bring her to the UK Children’s Hospital.

I’ve loaded up my pets with food and water (I will clean their mess when I get back home), grabbed some clothes and am now camped out in the foldaway bed in her hospital room.

My bunk at the hospital tonight.

My bunk at the hospital tonight.

We’re not sure what is wrong with her yet, but they seem rather concerned.

I’m a bit stressed out at the moment but my Auntie has me covered. She insisted on loaning me some money so that I wouldn’t have to worry about anything while I’m here and could pay for rides back and forth to check on the animals until my book royalties hit in a few days.

I will keep you updated as I know more information. Right now she is stable and they are trying to figure things out.

I’m just glad that I am here.

Wish us luck!

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The Raggedy Quilt

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I haven’t sewn a quilt in almost a decade. Chances are, I may never make another. They are pretty, but they require so much equipment and so much time – and I have other things that I would prefer to do these days.

While I was pregnant with Katie I created a Lone Star quilt in memory of the one my mother made many years ago. I used fabrics I purchased on clearance and assembled it on my mother’s old sewing machine. It was hard and I cried a lot because I didn’t think I would ever get it right.

Lone Star Quilt in it's heyday

Lone Star Quilt in it’s heyday

Another view of the quilt.

Another view of the quilt.

Not only did I finish that quilt, I used it almost every single day. It has been a bed covering, wall hanging, couch cover, picnic blanket, children’s tent and sleeping bag over the years since I made it.

When I pulled it out of the washer today I noticed that the fabric was failing. Big chunks have vanished in the pattern and so the center is threatening to fall out.

The raggedy quilt today.

The raggedy quilt today.

At first I was angry. I worked hard to make that quilt – I haven’t had it for that long! But then I realized that Katie is almost 15 so yes, I have used that quilt for a very long time.

As much as I love this item, we are too beautiful to own rags. I snapped a few pictures, pulled it down from the drying-place and dropped it in the trash.

I’m gonna miss that quilt.

To replace it I will invest in a couple of inexpensive blankets from WalMart. They are cheap, long lasting and just as warm.

Everything wears out. When that happens we need to accept it and move on. What have you worn out lately? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Fighting With Myself

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mistakes into lessons

For my last writer’s group meeting I submitted the rewritten draft of one of my novel chapters.

They hated it.

They not only hated it, they confessed that they liked the original draft much better!

I went home to puzzle over this. I had worked my butt off to make that piece just perfect and ended up mangling the thing but then it finally hit me:

I was trying too hard.

I want to write this novel so bad that I have been letting my inner perfectionist run wild instead of ignoring her and letting my creativity just flow.

It took an evening of deep thought for me to realize what I was doing, and a group of my friends to call me out on it. Now I sit here thinking about what do next.

It explains a lot. I’ve drafted a number of scenes that, try as I may, that I can never seem to get right. Thanks to the criticism in my writer’s group I now believe the problem isn’t with the scenes themselves, but with me.

I’m going to kick back and stop trying so hard. As soon as I can catch up with my inner perfectionist (she’s put on her running shoes tonight) I plan to gag her, stick her in a box and shove her in my closet so that I can get this thing done.

While I’m at it I may try to trap my self-esteem and shove her into the box as well. I’m tired of her telling me that I suck at fiction.

Do you ever fight with your inner voice? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Benefits of Being Offline

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I have a confession to make: when I go online I find it hard to leave. A quick trip to Facebook to check on my friends can suck several hours of my day if I’m not careful – and I’m frequently not.

As an experiment I decided to minimize the time I spent online during the workday. Instead of checking my emails, Facebook, website and the news first thing in the morning as I drink my coffee I decided to not check it until after I had accomplished whatever goals I had set myself for the day.

The first few days were horrible. I caught myself over and over clicking on the Facebook link or cruising over to my inbox. “It will just take a minute,” I would try to reason.

It never did so I made myself stop.

And when I stopped, my productivity skyrocketed.

If I haven’t achieved my goals for the day I refuse to let myself go online. When I decide to take a break I make myself read a book, take a nap, listen to music – anything but go online.

Not only have I accomplished more than I imagined, I feel more refreshed. I barely ever visit news sites anymore. My friends send me links to the important stuff so I don’t even bother.

And no one has died because I stopped checking my email every five minutes.

I rather like the feeling that I have when I stay offline. It reminds me of the days when I left Facebook. While I ended up bowing to familial pressure to return to the site it feels a bit overwhelming when I go there and get mobbed with messages.

And I definitely like how much cleaner my house is staying – as well as how much more writing I am getting done.

Do you limit how much time you spend online? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Life After the First Great Depression

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Originally published on the Yahoo Contributor Network.

My parents grew up during the first Great Depression. They grew up knowing how to use things up and avoid waste, and the difference between a want and a need.

“Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do
Or do without.”

That was the motto of my parent’s day, and they never forgot. Here are some of the things they did when I was a kid.

Credit was a no-no, unless they were purchasing a house. If they didn’t have the money for it, they didn’t buy it. It did NOT matter if the TV died and it was x amount of time before they would get the money – we just didn’t have a television. The same went for washers, refrigerators – everything.

Once when our washing machine died I recall my father locating a used one from somewhere, knowing that it leaked – just to get us by. He set it out on the back porch (the porch was concrete) and ran a water hose to the cold water inlet and an extension cord to power it. As soon as he got the money to replace our washer however, that leaky monstrosity disappeared!

When money decreased, bills were cut back. Period. Nothing was sacred. As a result, for many years we did not have “essentials” like cable television or telephone service unless money was coming in good. To conserve on other bills, air conditioning and the electric furnace were forbidden, instead we used fans and wood heat. I remember many a morning waking up to frost climbing my bedroom walls, rushing to cozy up to the stove my dad was nursing to life!

In the summer my father would get permission from various friends to harvest wood from their land. We would go together, taking a frozen gallon jug of water, and he would saw up the trees and I would pile up the branches. By the time we were thirsty the jug would be thawed just enough to give us a drink. During the years we did not have a truck, we used the trunk of the car, piled full with the lid strapped down to haul our firewood home.

We were on well water so conservation was a necessity, especially in the summer. As other country folks can tell you, in the bathroom toilet paper was placed in a trash can, and that commode was NOT flushed after a single urination. Instead, the lid was kept down and it was flushed either when a bowel movement was made or the smell got bad. If you think that strange, consider that we were actually much more advanced then most of the neighbors – they still had outhouses!

Showers and baths were taken maybe once a week, and hair was washed then. Instead of daily showers, you took a daily sponge bath in the sink to wash off the grime. If it was really hot, sometimes you took two “whore baths” a day as they were called back then. When you did shower, the water was used to get wet with, then shut off while you lathered up. It was then turned back on to rinse, and you were done. When you took a bath, it was forbidden to use more than a couple of inches of water, and in summer that water was saved to water the garden.

Commercial flowerpots were unheard-of unless you were considered “rich.” If you wanted to raise potted plants, you used what containers you had available. Most often those were coffee cans, gallon milk jugs, bleach jugs – just whatever you could find. Bottoms for drainage were the lid of an even bigger container, and dirt was just that – dirt from a rich place in the yard, perhaps mixed with the remains of a rotting tree or some manure. Plants were cuttings and gifts from family and friends.

If you needed it, you made it. My father lost a leg in an accident, and still managed to drive a stick-shift truck. His secret? He took a hacksaw to an “ape hanger” bicycle handlebar (we called them “sissy bars”), took one half and clamped it to the clutch to shift that sucker by hand! Once he copied a automatic tarp spreader on a dump truck after seeing it once! When the transmission went out on our old car, Father acquired a junked car identical to it, grabbed the Chilton manual, and sat on the shed porch calmly rebuilding that transmission with pieces from both cars!

When I wanted a desk, I converted a shelf with duct-tape using sticks for legs. When the gas pedal on a go-cart my father acquired refused to work, we rigged up a pull-cord to regulate the speed, and I learned to trap and observe the local wildlife using an old rusted birdcage, a board, a stick, and some string!

Can lids were the Frisbees of the day. We would cut varying holes out of the center to see if they flew better, and test them out by letting the dog chase them! When we went fishing, bait was dug up, not bought from a store. Instead of a store-bought whistle, we learned how to whistle with a blade of grass. For Christmas most of my aunties would make their gifts of dolls, scarves, hats and toys, and if Grandmother gifted you with a quilt or an afghan, you were special indeed!

New clothes were a treat one did not see very often. Right before start of school every fall, my parents would take me out and give me a budget for all my clothing and school supplies, and if I went over I had to put something back. I would try to buy five shirts, a couple pairs of pants, shoes, socks, underwear, and school supplies. Very rarely did I get more new clothes before the start of the next year, so I got in the habit of buying things oversized – which I still catch myself doing to this day, especially with my own daughter. In fact, the only time I recall getting clothes before a school year was over was after a growth spurt in the first grade. My father picked me up from school and realized that my pants had turned into capris, so he actually took me shopping that spring afternoon!

Occasionally there were handmedowns, and those were treasured, for they were the only real source for things like sweaters and other expensive items until I became older and could earn some money of my own! I once recall growing too large for a pair of tennis shoes, only to have my father cut the toes out and call them sandals. I was delighted at the gift!

As for my parents, I remember my mother once buying a cute little summer short set. My father would buy her new nightgowns and stuff as gifts, and other than that I do not recall her buying another piece of clothing until after my father died. I can look through the photographs and see her through the years wearing the exact same clothing! As for my father – I think once I recall him buying new underwear cause he had to go to the hospital for surgery. Other than that he made do with what he had and what he was given. He wore the same old pair of Army boots he had gotten from who-knows-where long before I was old enough to remember. When the soles became thin and he could not find a repair shop in the area, he cut cardboard and lined the sole. He did buy a pair of florsheim shoes after a doctor insisted (something about his injury) – but they cost so much he very rarely wore them!

Laundry may have been done once a week, and only when there was a full load of clothes, so we tried to make our wardrobes last as long as possible. That meant rotating our two or three pairs of pants, letting them air out between wearings, and trying to squeeze as many wearings as possible out of them and the shirts. If you were out of something to wear and it wasn’t laundry day, you washed it out in the sink and hung it up to dry!

Eating out was virtually unheard-of. Instead, when I wanted something special I would beg my father to fix some homemade biscuits and gravy, or plead until my mother fixed some peanut-butter fudge! Once in a while my father would surprise us with a pizza or a milkshake from a restaurant, but those times were very rare! When we had to stay in a hotel once, we packed a large cooler with lunch meat, pickles, drinks and stuff – that was our breakfast, lunch, and dinner for almost a week! I still recall how delicious the grape Nehi tasted that my dad allowed me to run across the street to purchase that week! The bottle deposit was a dime, so I sat on the stool and savored every drop, because I wanted to return that dime to my father and thank him again for the treat!

We felt as if we were rich! In fact, at one time we even had three full-time security guards: Max, Tippy, and Candy. A german shepherd, a cocker spaniel mix, and a poodle! If anyone tried to sneak up on us they got a really rude awakening! As backup, my father kept a 38 caliber snubnose around the place! We may not have had alarm bells or direct lines to the police department, but we were never robbed!

We kept some money in the bank, and Father always kept a hundred-dollar bill stashed in his wallet. One of his first lessons to me was to always have money in my pocket, no matter what. He said it may be hard to build up, but a small stash was invaluable, cause it would be there if you were lost or broke down and needed a little cash to get home or food to fill your belly. Another lesson was to keep my school lunch money stuffed in my sock so no one could see it and take it away! The best way, he told me, was to fold the bills as flat as possible and put them under the sole of your foot. That way even if your sock rolls down you are safe! I learned the hard way not to try that with change!

If a gate or door needed a latch, it was made using a piece of wood and a nail for a pivot. Hinges were made out of old strips of leather. Ladders were constructed out of lumber, and lasted forever! Funnels were made out of the tops of plastic jugs, and wood ash was used instead of insect powder in the garden. To spread the ash, holes were punched in the bottom of a coffee can, and that can was attached to a stick at a height above the plants. One firm tap on the ground and the plants were covered! Calendars were collected from every business offering them, and the pictures used to decorate the home.

Instead of band-aids, we used a piece of cotton ball and some tape. Grandfather had some ancient strips of cloth (they reminded me of mummy bandages) he would wash and re-use on his sores. Antibacterial soap was unheard-of, as was liquid soap in the home. If you wanted something sanitized, you dipped it in alcohol or peroxide. Skins and scrapes were treated the same way. Once I recall my father having to practically drench me in rubbing alcohol after an especially bad bicycle accident – boy, that hurt worse than the wreck! It happened to be just my luck that we were out of peroxide during that particular time! Instead of coating sores with antibacterial ointment you used things like Bag Balm – if you used anything at all.

Instead of cigarettes, Grandfather had Prince Albert in a can, and would sit on the front porch and roll a cigarette whenever he wanted to smoke. It was almost a meditative exercise for him, I believe. He would take pieces of wood and weave small baskets as he sat on the front porch to give to us grandkids. When I graduated high school, he presented me with a gag gift – a lightning bug! I still recall the heh-heh-heh of his laugh that evening!

My grandparents saved even more than my parents did. I honestly do not believe they ever threw away a single jar or bleach jug – instead these were rinsed out and saved in the garage. They were used as containers, funnels, scoops – you name it. If a jar had a mouth on it that would accept a canning lid, it would be used the next time my grandparents would can. Otherwise, it was used to hold whatever needed corralling around the house, be it nails, screws, bobby pins, or paperclips!

Leftovers were not thrown away. They were reheated at the next meal. Leftover mashed potatoes were always a treat – they were transformed into potato pancakes! Stale bread? Yippee – we could have french toast or bread pudding! Bones were sometimes used to season stews, but as my parents considered themselves quite well off they mainly got fed to the dogs!

Over the years we raised various farm animals for food. Chickens, pigs – even a bull one year – all raised to go in our freezer. When we had a productive sow, we bred her and sold the piglets for extra money. Father received a good offer on the sow one day so he ended up selling her as well, but we kept a couple pigs regardless!

Gardens were raised when we had the land, and that was where I learned that real food does not have to come from a grocery store – it can be eaten straight from a field! A favored springtime treat was cheeseburgers fried with home-grown green onions, and my father loved wilted lettuce. Carrots rarely made it to the dinner table – I was too impatient!

Today I think I will hang my laundry out to dry, make a loaf of homemade bread, and be thankful for the simple life my parents gave me. They showed me beyond a doubt that one can live on a whole lot less than what the Joneses make.

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Is Liquid Soap Expensive?

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One of the things I have done in the past is make my own liquid soap to save money. I got lazy after a while and just went back to using the bar however.

Katie prefers liquid soap over the bar type so she has been campaigning for us to start buying actual liquid soap again. Since I was concerned about the price I decided to find out just how much it cost us to use store-bought liquid soap over making our own or just using a bar.

For this I purchased two small (7.5 oz) pump containers of liquid soap and placed one in the kitchen and the other in the bathroom. Each container cost $1 each, or 13 cents an ounce.

The container in the bathroom lasted a month while the one in the kitchen lasted two. This means that if we were to switch to liquid soap it would cost us $18 a year if we purchased it in the pump container every time.

If we purchase a large refill container our cost drops significantly. A 56-oz bottle costs $4 or seven cents an ounce. We would use 120 ounces a year or slightly over two refill bottles. At seven cents an ounce, that would drop our annual cost down to $8.40, almost half the cost.

I have never calculated the cost of using bar soap before but we go through about a bar a month in the bathroom. Judging by that we probably go through a bar in the kitchen every two months (I’ve not paid much attention so this is an educated guess). A two pack of bar soap costs $1 so that means we typically spend $9 a year on bar soap (not including the soap we use in the bathtub).

This means that using liquid soap bought in the larger containers would actually be a bit cheaper than bar soap. It also means that if we were to purchase the individual pump containers each time that we would spend considerably more.

I’m not even going to try to run the numbers on a family pack of bar soap since we rarely buy it that way these days. I’m going to assume for the sake of this post that it would be cheaper than even buying liquid soap in the larger container.

Now that I’ve ran the numbers I have to ask myself is it feasible for us to switch to liquid soap to make Katie happy? Fortunately for her the answer is yes. I will actually save a few pennies if I purchase the large refill bottles, especially if I water it down a bit to stretch it :).

If I wanted to I could really go cheap and just whip up a gallon of liquid soap from scratch like I used to. A gallon would cost about 50 cents to make and last a year. Katie wouldn’t be as happy with it as she would with the store bought type (she’s getting picky in her teenage years) so is it worth eight bucks a year to make her happy1?

Yeah, she’s worth it!

  1. Also, since it takes about an hour for me to whip up a batch with all of that grating (I grate by hand), does the time vs. savings ratio justify the extra work? 

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The Failed Financial Experiment

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After rereading my copy of Unautomate Your Finances I decided to take the suggestion of writing every single purchase down so that I could see exactly where my money goes. I thought it would be enlightening and reveal ways for me to save even more money than I already do.

I kept it up for a month. To my dismay, I did worse financially when I tracked my spending than I ever did when I didn’t. I became stressed out at every purchase, worried that I would forget to write something down and obsessed with the balance in my bank account.

Minimalism is about simplifying life, about being able to relax and enjoy your time and do what you love. I didn’t enjoy tracking my money and soon realized that it was a waste of my time. I always have more than enough, don’t use credit and am able to tuck a few dollars away into my savings every month, so I have decided to be content with that.

If I was stressed out over money or watching my debt climb every day my experience may have been different but frankly, I don’t spend that much money and when I do I want to enjoy every darn penny I spend, not beat myself up over every purchase I make.

Normally I spend as I see fit and only look at my bank balance a couple of times a month. I don’t balance my checkbook, though I look over my purchases to make sure that they match my mental tally. Even with that I am always pleasantly surprised with how much money I have available. I guess that thanks to minimalism I spend so little that it really doesn’t matter – especially since I always have money to spare.

As a result I am filing this experience in the “failed experiment” category and moving on. I’m doing good enough already.

Have you ever tried something that is supposed to be beneficial only to discover that it really wasn’t? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Minimalism is a Life Hack

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Most of the attention minimalism receives is on the stuff you don’t have or don’t buy. As a result many people miss the fact that minimalism is a beneficial life hack.

For me, minimalism allows me to live life on my own terms. It allows me to be a stay at home single mother and to live well on my book royalties – an amount that many people would consider ridiculously small.

Minimalism gives us a wonderful life. Instead of spending money on things we don’t need, we are able to spend our money thoughtfully on the things that we really enjoy.

For instance, it gives both of us immense pleasure to visit an old school mate of mine who is a hair stylist. We enjoy being able to get our hair done professionally without having to worry about the bill. Minimalism allows us the extra money so that we can afford to do just that.

Yes, we could go cheap and do our hair ourselves. We could go even cheaper (and more minimalist) by just letting our hair grow out and not having it done at all, but minimalism is about eliminating the unimportant to make room for what is important on a personal level – and having our hair done is important to us right now because of the pleasure we receive from the experience and the ego boost we get from having the hairstyles of our choice.

I enjoy being able to stimulate our local economy. I love being able to financially support the business of a friend, but I would not be able to have that pleasure if it were not for minimalism.

For some people, minimalism may allow them to pursue their love of traveling. For others, it may enable them to live in an area that they otherwise could not afford. For some, it may give them the freedom to work less, retire early or even switch careers. I have one friend who minimized his expenses so that he could start a pit bull rescue to save the lives of his favorite breed of dogs, while others I know have used minimalism to retire, go back to school, start businesses, escape unpleasant relationships or pursue careers in music and art.

By removing the unnecessary and unimportant you make room for the things that are important to you personally. This is why minimalism if different for everyone. It allows you to customize – hack your life if you will – so that you can make room or money available for the things that you love by eliminating the things that you don’t.

When we try to have it all and do it all we spend so much time flitting about that we aren’t able to focus on what we enjoy. Minimalism fixes that.

What has minimalism allowed you to do? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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