NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the category “Family”

NaBloPoMo 2015

…one day late (and “a dollar short”, no doubt).

But you know what?  That’s what life is like when one has a chronic illness, so I’m just gonna have to get over my perfection-seeking self and be ok with that.

NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month.  30 posts in 30 days.  It’s a commitment.  It’s scary.  But I’ve been wanting to get back to blogging for quite a while and this is the perfect motivator.

…One day at a time…

I can’t believe my last post was in 2009.  And I even find it a bit difficult to recognize myself in some of my way-back-when musings.  Life is so different now.

After leaving NomDebPlume by the wayside, I began another blog where I wrote honestly and anonymously about how chronic illness changes things – for me, yes… but also for my whole family.  And then, almost 4 years ago, I stopped writing altogether.  I barely even write in my journal anymore (a compilation of the last 38 years of my life and, needless to say, a joy to read :-/ ).

Why?  Because on the morning after Easter, 2012, my daughter was rushed to the hospital with what I would soon learn was called Severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis… which was especially weird because she had not been diabetic her whole 10 years of life. How does a child go from “healthy/not diabetic” to “keep asking her questions so she doesn’t fall asleep… we don’t want her to slip into a coma”.

Coma?? What the WHAT?!?

Life Lion Helicopter

It was in those hospital moments, those ambulance moments, those watch-my-daughter-fly-to-a-better-hospital-in-a-helicopter moments, the watching her cry and being unable to soothe her – those moments – that MY chronic illness(es) suddenly melted into the background and I began my constant and laser focus on learning everything I could about Type 1 Diabetes and how to best care for my beloved child whose life had been turned upside down by its diagnoses.  And I learned to step out – way out – of my comfort zone and actually give my daughter injections.  (To know me is to know how very, VERY difficult this was for me to overcome.)

But Sunday will be 3 years and 7 months since that terrifying day, and things are less terrifying now.  And I guess I’ve [finally] given myself permission to do something I have always loved – write.  I can’t promise it won’t be without some accompanying guilt, but I think the accountability aspect of NaBloPoMo will help me get past that.
I hope :-)

Coincidentally, November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month.  I shouldn’t have any trouble finding something to write about for the next 29 days.

National Diabetes Month


An Open Letter to Senator Specter




Senator Specter,

I am writing again to ask you to PLEASE not put your name on this insulting “stimulus” bill until we can say that all the items contained within it will actually stimulate our economy and not just put us deeper in debt while we fulfill the numerous spending projects that are now also filling its pages.

I have four children, one of whom is 16-years-old and [seriously] wants to know if he should start buying gold NOW because the new President and Congress are in the process of ruining his future with this bill. I can’t make him feel any better, because he’s right – that’s what you’re doing. I can’t offer him any “hope”.

Please don’t be one of the people responsible for destroying the futures of so many young people. Yes, we need to do something and we need to do something [relatively] soon, but we DON’T need to meet Mr. Obama’s ‘deadline’ of 2/16.  “Haste makes waste”!!   We don’t want to screw this up. Like Mr. Obama, you are supposed to represent US… we are not a group of idiots, we are registered voters, and we don’t want our money spent like this:

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film

• $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship)

• $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $248 million for furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees

• $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD’s

• $1.4 billion for a rural waste disposal programs

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion

• $75 million for “smoking cessation activities”

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI

• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction

• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings

• $500 million for state and local fire stations

• $650 million for wildland fire management on Forest Service lands

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs

• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property

• $500 million for building and repairing NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD

• $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service

• $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the VA “National Cemetery Administration”

• $850 million for Amtrak

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint

• $75M to construct a new “security training” facility for State Dept Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

• State Medicaid Bailout: $87.7 billion Through 3 different mechanisms, the bill would provide additional federal funds to state Medicaid programs over the next 3 years. This is nearly $70 billion more than the governors asked President Obama for in December, and should be a loan to be repaid by the states.

Source: Website of Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn 
Someone who votes for you only because the alternative is voting for a liberal Democrat

Nice Guys Finish Last


It has been reported that John McCain considered certain aspects of Obama’s life and behavior to be “off-limits” during the campaign, even though they would make Obama look bad – and, conversely, make McCain look good.  Everyone has heard that McCain had passed a “No Jeremiah Wright” edict, considering this absurd long-term association of Obama and his family with this hate-preaching ‘pastor’ something he didn’t want to help illuminate for the American people.  I’m guessing it was because it had to do with church, but… Come on!

In addition, some of the other firm boundaries set by Mr. McCain were:

  • No Michelle Obama attacks
  • No attacking Obama for his lack of service in the Military
  • No using children to depict Obama being soft on crime
  • And absolutely no ad of a black man busting a move with a lesbian!


    The idea is that this last one would be too provocative, but it’s more likely that it would have led to liberals belly-aching and whining about how McCain and conservatives are intolerant racists and bigots (see “The View” for an example of said belly-aching and whining).  So, perhaps it was a shrewd mood in such a malicious and hyper-critical environment.

Obviously, I agree with leaving Mrs. Obama alone, just as the Obama campaign should have left Mrs. McCain alone. But we are talking about two totally different standards here; which man was it who put out an ad that accused the other of being so old and out of touch that he can’t even use the internet? But in reality, it is a war injury that keeps Senator McCain from using his arms comfortably enough to utilize the internet regularly. Yes, two different standards, indeed… or perhaps it’s a lack of standards at times.

By the way, what do you suppose Ellen thinks of the vocal and violent opponents of Prop 8 who are defacing churches, harassing church-goers, hurting dissenting grandmothers, stomping on crosses, intimidating those who voted against them by threatening their jobs (or eliminating them) and wreaking havoc as they take to the streets in an effort to get California’s Supreme Court to reverse this entirely fair VOTE of the people (that they agreed to abide by beforehand)? 

Woman in yellow is grandmother being harrassed - after having her cross trampled.

We know she donated money in an effort to defeat the proposition, has she – or any of the other highly visible/celebrity opponents – denounced this horrendous behavior or the religious persecution taking place in our very own country? 
All I’ve seen is the likes of Drew Barrymore fighting back a flood of tears as she yelled her support into a bullhorn for a battle that is not hers. 


Actors just love being the center of attention…

But I digress…  Or perhaps not.  Why must “nice guys finish last”?  And will they again in this whole Prop 8 debacle?  Will the tantrums of a raucous, disorderly and disobedient ultra-minority force activist judges to undo the will of the people as demonstrated by an election?
Is this how we want to herald the history of Mr. Obama’s arrival?

What Would Make an Educator Do This to a Student?

A Man referred to as “Principal”, no less?

ZV Injuries 1

This is a picture of my son, Zachary… 16-years-old (at the time), 120 pounds soaking wet, and all of about 5 feet 6 inches tall.  The picture was taken the day he was assaulted by a principal in his high school, who looks to be at least 250 pounds, as Zachary tried to leave the building after the bell rang.  Apparently, this principal decided Zachary should wait, go sit in another principal’s office and miss his ride home.  Why?  The principal was under the impression that Zachary did not have permission to be in the hallway 5 minutes prior to the bell ringing, which he DID (indisputable). 

Even though Zachary had permission to be in the hall, he had begun his walk to the office as instructed prior to the bell ringing, but once the dismissal bell rang, he turned around and headed toward a classroom to meet a friend on his way out, and this time, was cornered by the teacher who put him in a choke-hold and wrestled him to the ground because Zachary was “disobedient”.  Once on the ground, the teacher put ALL his weight on my son, preventing him from breathing and causing him to struggle to break free just to try to get some air.  Ultimately, Zachary’s body went limp (lack of oxygen) and the principal released his grip.

Zachary Injuries 2

As evidenced in the above picture, petechial hemorrhaging is visible beneath Zachary’s eye, indicative of asphyxia, or strangulation.  A visit to our doctor immediately after being detained by the police (where Zachary was charged with Disorderly Conduct), showed that Zachary had, indeed, been deprived of oxygen to his brain.  The doctors, nurses and everyone who saw him for the next week were appalled by the marks on him, and that they had been caused by a teacher/principal at his school.  Everyone except the faculty at the school and the police, that is. 

Whatever story the faculty was offering – and they had offered me 3 different versions to prepare me for what I was about to see before allowing me in the room with my son – none of them sounded anything like, “Zachary came into school with a shotgun and was about to kill innocent people”.  To me, that certainly would have warranted such a violent take down.  No, ultimately, they put their heads together and agreed on a version that sounded like: “Zachary was in the hallway and when told to go to the office (after the dismissal bell rang and everyone else is allowed to go home), he pushed Mr. Principal, began flailing his arms and needed to be restrained.” 

Now, while my son is no angel and not an ‘A’ student, he has never had an incidence of violence against a student, and definitely never against a teacher.  His flailing began when he was being choked and that was in an effort to breathe, but, unfortunately, Mr. Principal was standing out in the hallway with a friend of his, Mr. Teacher (conversing outside of a classroom, instead of teaching), and his friend parroted every word he said in the “official” report.  As a result, the police wouldn’t even allow me to file assault charges against this man.  Neither Mr. Principal, nor his friend had any bruising, petechial hemorrhaging – not even a scratch – on them as a result of all the pushing and flailing Zachary did that needed such violent measures of restraint, coincidentally.

ZV Injuries 3

These are not scratches on my son’s shoulder in this picture – they are crease marks from his clothing, indented into his skin from the principal’s full weight and pressure on top of him after he pushed him to the ground and while he held his neck in a choke-hold, preventing him from breathing. 

[Reminder: Zachary was charged with a crime, not Mr. Principal.]


Why am I writing all of this?  Out of sheer frustration.  I can accomplish nothing toward achieving any semblance of justice and it just eats away at me.  Nearly 10 months have passed since this incident took place and my son is a ‘marked man’ at the school, being picked on by those in power because I dared to hire an attorney and not just silently accept our punishment.  Although my son is now in a trade school for his senior year of high school in order to avoid contact with the original principal who assaulted him, I am about 5 months behind in paying the attorney who made this arrangement possible for him – and still, we must continue to deal with the same school district, where our infamy precedes us.  

But beyond contending with the issues of the school, the disrespect shown to me and to my son, the fabrications invented by one member of the faculty – then sworn to by another – that continue to cause trouble for him and great stress for me, I am haunted by bigger problems.  Where does forgiveness come into the picture?  I believe I have forgiven this man for what he did to my son, to the extent I am humanly able.  But my question is this: Is seeking justice a sign of unforgiveness?  Ten months have passed with little action on my part for two reasons, 1-because I have wrestled with this moral dilemma, and 2-because I have learned that most people get as much justice as they can afford… and I can’t afford all that much. 

So I share this story via my blog, accepting opinions from wherever they may come.  It will probably come as no surprise that the story has been somewhat condensed, but the pertinent facts are most definitely included… except for one.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will add that Zachary did have a knife in his pocket during this entire episode, yet this was not known to anyone and he voluntarily offered it to a different principal after being assaulted.  Naturally, I was appalled to find this out, but his excuse is, and has always been, “fear”.  He has been bullied since grade school, since right after his father died when he was in fourth grade and began showing his emotions in school.  Combined with his slight build, he was an easy target.  Although the school district was no help to me in that situation, either (“Isn’t he over his father’s death YET?”), and he never used the knife, to me, this is still no excuse for carrying it… regardless of how much “safer” it made him feel.

 Please feel free to share your opinion or offer advice.  The stress from this situation is literally making me sick by exacerbating the illnesses I suffer from (Fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease) and I need to figure out what to do.  It has been suggested to me that I just let it go and forget about the whole thing, to accept the injustice and go on with my life.  But it’s not just my life, it is my son who was victimized and it is I who must stand up for him and show that I am his advocate.  When he’s wrong, I throw the book at him, but when something like this happens, well….

Thanks for reading,


Chicago – Not MY Kind of Town

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events Nixes “The Nativity Story” Movie Display at Chicago’s Annual Christmas Celebration for Fear of offending non-Christians.

Yes, read it again… that’s what it says.  It brings absurdity to an entirely new level and provides an even more ridiculous category for political correctness. And the name of this annual Christmas celebration?  It’s the German Christkindlmarket – yet the movie chronicling the birth of Christ is not welcome. 

Somehow, though, the grand Nativity display that has been a part of the Celebration since its inception is perfectly o.k. and not considered “insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts,” in the words of Jim Law of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.  By the way, among the “unique gifts” is a vendor advertised as follows on the official Christkindlmarket website:

Bethlehem Nativity Products – From the Holy Land –
Nativity scenes, praying hands & religious symbols

Christkindlmarket Nativity

According to Natalie Martinez of NBC5 in Chicago, the movie was listed on the city Web site as a sponsor of the city’s largest Christmas celebration at Daley Plaza until recently.  Even though the city claims they “never threatened to withdraw their support” of New Line Cinema’s movie, a statement by New Line expresses their frustration: “We don’t understand why our sponsorship would be rejected for religious reasons, particularly considering the fact that our film details the story that inspired the holiday season that Christkindlmarket was created to celebrate.”

Only after this story drew national attention did the City of Chicago amend their stance to include any mention of advertising standards.  Apparently, the City’s problem with New Line Cinema is now under the heading of “aggressive marketing tactics”.  Interesting.  What heading, pray tell, would this fall under:

2Travel Show

*I* found it advertised on the official Christkindlmarket website under 2006 Program Highlights… right after “Grand Opening”. 

I’m sorry, but I’m getting mixed messages here, people.  If the underwriters of the Christmas festival participate in blatant commercialism, it’s o.k., but if a company produces a movie about the birth of Christ, they can’t pay to display the trailer for that movie?

As long as I understand… :-/

How about everyone just gets used to the idea that Christmas actually IS Christ’s birthday?  It IS a Federal Holiday… we all have a day off to honor Christ’s birth and for no other reason. Why not stop the bickering, political hair-splitting, ACLU-ing and try to find out what the day actually means?

Gay and Lesbian History Month Acknowledged in Philadelphia Schools

Why do we even have a Gay and Lesbian History Month?  It never ceases to amaze me how groups who claim to want equality constantly behave in such a way to separate themselves from the rest.  Is theirs a history that is different from that of the heterosexual community and in need of being recognized as such?  “Look what a Lesbian can do!”  Ok, ok… you can host talk shows and tell jokes and write books and become doctors and lawyers… JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.  What’s your point?  Why must we give you a month to exploit that?  Personally, I don’t care if the person who invented penicillin was heterosexual or homosexual … I’m just glad it’s available when I need it.

And beyond taking advantage of and annoying the majority of the adult population by constantly overcompensating for your insecurities in this way, why involve the children?  No, I think I know the answer to that.  If you get the next generation at a young and tender age, under the guise of PC words like “tolerance” and “diversity”, you have paved the way for YOUR next generation’s agenda to sail more smoothly.  It’s an insidious plan that just slithers in barely detected by most and embraced by many, since how can anyone proclaim to be intolerant or against diversity? 

Tolerance and diversity are a two-way street.  There should be room for a lot more than select acceptable groups du jour honored by months and events to celebrate their history.  By being so selective, those left out are now the groups feeling the disdain of intolerance.  It is, in fact, reverse discrimination, helping to promote the prejudice that opposes the goals of groups like Philadelphia’s Lesbian and Gay Task Force or the Philadelphia based Equality Forum, who support the City’s decision to honor their month-long self-appreciation on their school calendar.   In honor of Gay History Month, The Equality Forum has launched a project self-described this way: “The group has designed the project as a curriculum that can be used by teachers at any education level, as well as an awareness and visibility campaign.”   (Curriculum??)

As a mother who receives school calendars each year, I can hardly describe the shock I would feel if I were to receive such a calendar.  I suppose I would flip past October and see if any of the other months were being used to acknowledge “Heterosexual History Month”… but what sense would that make?  Why would young elementary school students care, or need to know, about the sexual preferences of their history makers??  When did this become an imperative?  Is there a “Polygamist History Month”?  An “I-cheated-on-my-wife History Month”?  An “I-need-to-watch-smut-videos-before-sex History Month”?  Of course not, it’s ridiculous!  And so is acknowledging the sexual identity of those history makers who are “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender”.  For those (like me) who aren’t sure what is meant by “Transgender”, according to
“appearing or attempting to be a member of the opposite sex, as a transsexual or habitual cross-dresser”.

To add to the madness, the children who attend Philadelphia schools are also supposed to “understand” why there are boys or men who habitually dress as girls/women?  Is this so children can better understand the annual Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, or is there an overabundance of cross-dressers in Philadelphia?  It boggles the mind that there are tax dollars being spent on this when city schools could be spending those funds on something more useful. 

This is according to Philadelphia Board of Education Policy 102, drafted in 1994, titled: “Multiracial-Multicultural-Gender Education”.

The definition of this policy is as follows:
“Multiracial-Multicultural-Gender Education is an education process designed to foster knowledge about and respect for those of all races, ethnic groups, social classes, genders, religions, disabilities and sexual orientations.  Its purpose is to ensure equity and justice for all members of the school community, and society as a whole, and to give those members the skills and knowledge they need to understand and overcome individual biases and institutional barriers to full equity.”

Toward that end, outlined are several ways to implement the goals of the policy, which include:

4.1 Make an institutional commitment to teach to all children in every school, a curriculum informed by the principles of gender-equity, multi-racial and multi-cultural knowledge and perspectives, included but not limited to the history and experiences of women, racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, as well as lesbian and gay people and disabled people. 

4.2 Seek equitable allotments for this activity from the District’s resources for the ongoing development of appropriate curriculum, instruction and assessment, as well as the ongoing evaluation of administrative policies, procedures and performance standards.

The logical next question is this: Why has the Philadelphia School District deemed it wise and beneficial for its students, “all children in every school”, to be made aware of Lesbian and Gay History Month, yet if someone were to attempt to try to make the students aware of the history of the life of Christ, for example, the ACLU would be all over it, claiming some backwards, twisted version of The Constitution and how the Establishment Clause is being broken?  Is this not in keeping with the definition to “foster knowledge and respect for all religions”?  It would seem their Policy – as written, breaks the law – as interpreted.

A spokeswoman for the District, Cecilia Cummings, stated that recognizing Gay History Month on the District Calendar is no different from recognizing months devoted to the history or heritage of African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians, though I believe there are a great many who would disagree with her.

The gay/lesbian community represents about 6% of the population, yet they are extremely vocal and well organized.  Until the silent majority stands up and makes some noise, these injustices will continue to take place and assault our children.  These “policies” will continue to be written by bullied administrators behind closed doors with far-reaching repercussions.  Today, Philadelphia (and who knows where else?)… tomorrow, your hometown? 

What’s Bugging Me About American Healthcare Today…

Maybe I’m just in a cranky mood because I’m sick today and feel like picking on things, but there may actually be some truth to the claims I am about to make.  As always, it is for you to decide.

Two nights ago, my 5-year-old daughter began to run a fever out of nowhere.  One minute, she’s jumping around on a trampoline at a place called Tumbletown with boundless energy, and by the time she gets home, she’s got the chills and is feverish.  Apparently, the stuffy nose she’d had for several days was not due to allergies, but was actually a warning of something a little more sinister brewing.  So I give her some fever-reducing medicine and dress her warmly for bed, thinking (hoping) she will feel better by morning.  But, no.

A few hours later, I am greeted by an upset little girl who has just vomited all over her bed and herself.  She is feeling much worse and when I read the thermometer, I am alarmed.  Giving her more anti-fever medication only makes the vomiting start again, so I am at a loss as to what to do.  A call to the doctor sends us to the emergency room.

Despite the fact that the emergency room is empty, we are forced to wait.  I fill out a bunch of forms, and we wait some more.  I stand in front of the empty registration desk so someone way in the back might see me, and wait even longer.  Finally, we are taken back and the process begins.  A nurse takes vital signs at the registration desk, along with asking me for all the information I just filled out on the forms.  It’s after 1am and my daughter is crying and uncomfortable. 

When finished with this step, we are taken to a small room in the back and wait some more until another nurse comes in and asks what has brought us to the emergency room (for the third time).  I again explain the details of what my daughter has experienced and how we are there because our family doctor told us to come, and then she leaves.  And we wait some more.  She returns, finally, with a doctor and says, “Can you tell the doctor why you brought your daughter here tonight?”  I could hardly believe it!

The doctor examines my daughter and tells the nurse to give her a medication to combat the nausea.  During the examination, my daughter winces when her ear is touched and I comment that she made no mention of her ear hurting at home.  This is the only thing said by anyone about my daughter’s ear.

Over an hour later, the doctor comes back and says she will be prescribing an antibiotic before we leave.  Her father and I ask her what it will be for, what’s wrong with her?  “For her ear infection, of course.”  We look at each other in disbelief and nearly in unison say to the doctor, “You never told us she had an ear infection,” at which point, a polite disagreement ensues.  Ultimately, the doctor admitted she didn’t actually say it, she thought I already knew because of my comment. 

Puh-leeze… I’m lucky I understood any of her comments!  I’m sure her credentials are fine, or else she would not be allowed to practice in my local hospital with a fine reputation, and she was very pleasant to my daughter, but both her father and I had to struggle to understand her version of English.  We’re talking health issues here, I’d like to be able to understand the instructions she was giving me regarding the two different medications she prescribed and the timing, dosing, etc.  And knowing she had another ear infection was important because of my daughter’s history with ear infections and the possibility that she may have to have her adenoids removed if they continue.  No, she couldn’t have known this, but it seems like Doctor-Common-Sense 101 to make sure to tell the parents the diagnosis.

It took a total of 2½ hours on a quiet night in an emergency room to take care of something relatively minor (I think).  Every time I poked my head out of the room we were in, I could see the staff (including the doctor) congregating around the main desk, casually talking, moving around slowly. 

I know… Moms are biased when it comes to the treatment of their children and this whole story could be written with a slant.  But tell me this: why are prescription drugs so expensive?  Could it be because drug companies constantly advertise products that we cannot purchase without a doctor-written prescription?  Does this make any sense?  Don’t you think this promotes self-diagnosis?  Think about it – you watch the commercial, you decide, “Hey, I think I need that product and will ask my doctor about it like the commercial advises.”  Now, instead of your doctor deciding what is best for you, you have succumbed to marketing tactics just like every other product uses.  You can pick up your prescription right after that burger or new pair of shoes that the preceding commercials convinced you you needed, too.

And while we’re talking “Healthcare”, why isn’t Dental Care considered healthcare?  (Don’t stop me, the crank-o-meter is in high gear now :-)  It has always astounded me why teeth are not considered a part of the body like everything else.  They have their own separate system of care, one that is difficult for some to get – and a lot who actually have coverage don’t have enough.  Do you realize that chewing is the first stage of digestion?  And we chew with our……. TEETH.  If our teeth fail us, the entire digestive system is compromised, which now crosses over into the real healthcare world.  It’s not just cosmetic, it’s not a luxury.  In some cases, an infection in a tooth that is not cared for can spread to the brain, killing a person.  Under what system does that fall?  Mortuary?

Makes me crazy.  But it makes me feel a tad better writing about it. 

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