Working Wednesday, December 30, 2020

It’s New Year’s Eve Eve and I’m thinking about rearranging my entire house. That’s my work for this week, reconfiguring a small cottage. At first I thought, “That’s insane,” but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a brilliant idea. Last year was such a mess that I really don’t think tidying up the place is the answer. Burn it down may be going to far, but rip it all up and look at it in new way seems like a tangible metaphor for the rest of my life. That’s my plan anyway.

What did you do this week?

74 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, December 30, 2020

  1. My creative outlet has been annoying my quilt guild’s facebook group with a version of 12 days of Quilt Show – trying to encourage folks to register to show their quilts. Our show last year was cancelled just a week before it was scheduled, so we are trying again this year with a cap on the number of people who can come in the big airy building (with the doors slightly ajar to facilitate air flow). It’s currently scheduled for March, so a fair number of vulnerable people should be vaccinated by then. I figured that doing something every day would keep the idea of the quilt show in their minds. Today is day 12 – so it will be 12 volunteers.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been eyeing my sewing/dining table. It was buried under wrapping paper and Christmas cards, but that’s been put away. Now I just had to get some uninterrupted time to work on fun stuff.

    But at this moment, I need to go to a friends house and hang with the polydactyl cat Paws. My friend is spending the holiday out of state, so Paws needs some company and tending. If I get a good picture of him, I’ll post.

    1. The cat is adorable. And I don’t want to ruin your plans, but not nearly enough people will be vaccinated by March to make a difference in how things are done. For one thing, remember that each person has to get two shots, either 3 or 4 weeks apart. And the process is going way more slowly than they thought it would. I was at my doctor’s office this afternoon, getting my monthly B12 shot, and the nurse was telling me that they were still trying to find out when they (a doctor with primarily elderly patients, his nurse, and the receptionist) could get vaccinated. The nurse told me that the County Health people said they didn’t expect to get vaccines for most of the regular population until June or after. My area is smaller and rural, so that probably makes a difference, but still.

      1. I agree. March is way too soon for the general public to have been vaccinated at anything approaching herd immunity rates. And the vaccine isn’t perfect, so you need to reduce exposure even for folks who have already been vaccinated.

        Malice Domestic is still trying to decide whether to have the event in-person (first weekend of May), and I think that is still too early, especially given that a lot of attendees are older or disabled or both.

        At the current rate of vaccination, it will take multiple years to get a reasonable number of people vaxed! I do expect that to improve soon (but possibly not until February), with increased funding in the latest legislation, but I doubt the general public will start the process until after March. More like June-July. I don’t think we’ll even get to the over-65s until April (the ones without co-morbidities). My best guess is health workers and first responders through January. Then whatever the next group is (essential workers? Over 75? Over 65 PLUS co-morbidity?) will take at least the month of February, if not longer. We’re talking some 200 million people (out of 300 million in the U.S. and not including the youngest kids), and we’ve done maybe 5 million (assuming the reports are lagging by half) in two weeks. And that’s just the first shot, so they’ll need to be done again.

        We’re still a long way away from the new normal. I wish more experts were saying that more clearly. It’s getting fuzzy with “second or third quarter of the year” and “dark winter” (without saying still an overcast spring and early summer). It’s setting up unrealistic expectations that may lead to rebellion (increased refusal to follow safety precautions, not armed rebellion). We’ve got a lot more than just the winter to get through.

        Aren’t I a ray of sunshine today?

        1. I’m really mad that a play my friends were in has been rescheduled…for March 2021! Because clearly someone’s heart is just set on March a year later. So I won’t be seeing it.

          I don’t think anyone my age–I am dead last demographically–probably will get to start shots before September at the earliest. Sigh.

      2. My employers (multi-continental law firm) have retained an epidemiologist to help shape policy. They have not even mentioned the possibility of ‘when we’re all vaccinated’ and haven’t said ‘when we go back to the office’ for months.

  2. I finished the (hopefully) final edit of my epic-been-stuck-in-my-head-for-twenty-years-now fanfic. I love these characters and this story, but it feels good to start to let them go and make space for other things. I’m also enjoying this moment before I start to post it and go through the panicked waiting for response from readers.

    1. This makes me so happy for you b/c I know that feeling. I have a couple of stories like that. They kind of come and go in my head like unexpected company. There are few I’d really like to wrap up, we’ll see how next year goes. I feel positive at the moment. 😉

      The great thing about putting fanfic out into the universe is that readers are usually very appreciative. I’ve written for smaller fandoms and bigger ones and I may get fewer comments in smaller fandoms, but those readers are often so appreciative that it feels really special.

  3. Not a lot. Walked most days. Took my camera on three of them, but haven’t got round to editing what I took. Mended three pairs of earrings and made three more, bar buying a pair of hooks for the third lot – so I’ve finally cleared my jewellery-making stuff off my desk, where it’s been since a rainy afternoon on my staycation in September. (I was expecting much more rain than I got.) I’m enjoying the new earrings.

    Yesterday I finally got back to sorting out my notes for the fiction project – again, stalled since the summer. I now have a plan, and have printed the notes out, since I realized it’d be much easier to edit them that way. Well, I think it will be; I seemed to keep getting myself raffled up in Scrivener. But am feeling dopey again today, so have switched to researching vegetarian recipes that look delicious and easy to make: I want to expand my repertoire in that direction.

    I’m enjoying the turning point from one year into the next, as I usually do. Must phone some more friends.

  4. Yesterday I waded into my rather neglected office and began sorting through papers. First a load of financial stuff from years back, then my writing files from even more years back (yeah, pre-PC). Amazing how much went into the recycling bin. Yes, even fruits of my imagination (though I kept a lot more than I pitched).

    And I’m just getting started….

  5. Thank you letters done, floor mopped. Some loads of laundry done, but honestly I’ve only been doing what I have to get back to “Benvinguts a La Familia/Welcome to the Family” on Netflix. Outrageous, dumb farce (think Weekend at Bernie’s), great female characters, and a romantic plot thread about ordinary middle aged people. It is my catnip, as they say. I binge-watched the first season which is not regular work, but it is practicing my Catalan. 🙂 That’s my excuse for very little getting done this week and I’m sticking to it.

    Good thing I did it the hard way (in Catalan with Catalan closed captioning as my help) b/c I’m determined to watch the 2nd season and that’s not available in English at all. No training wheels to fall back on. I may have even started writing some fanfiction (in English, b/c I know my limits!)

    I’m saving the Bridgerton series for when I’m done with this one. That one will take less concentration and I can save it for laundry folding days.

    1. I’m saving Bridgertons until I finish watching the Postables marathon on Hallmark…and run out of Hallmark Christmas movies, most likely. God knows I will have nothing to live for in January!

  6. I took my new air-fryer attachment to the instant pot for a spin last night. I made brussels sprouts and gnocchi with veggie italian sausage. The sprouts were pretty amazing. I love them, but often do not get them to the right consistency when roasting, etc.

    Did I need another gadget? No. Am I happy I have it? Yes.

    I used the excuse of Christmas decorating to clean up some things that had been languishing. I am completely able to ignore messes for long periods of time, though I’m always happier when I actually do something about them. Sometime in the next two months I’ll use the excuse of packing things away to do even more.

    If I did resolutions, I’d do them at the true beginning of the year, September. But I don’t. However, I do think there’s value in thinking about things that I know would improve my outlook if I did them. This coming year it’s going through my closet and drawers and getting rid of things I don’t wear and never will again. (Like most of my intentions this has been on the list for a while.) Inevitably I will find things I forgot I had and like, so there’s a doubly good reason for doing it. I think if I got down to something closer to a capsule wardrobe, I might wear a few more things. (In normal times–I mostly wear jammies right now!) But really, I think Steve Jobs had it right. Find a look and wear it all the time.

    1. I’ve decided that the new year starts on my birthday. However, September is also another good time to start the year: I’m going to be 60 in about a month, but my mind still defaults to the beginning of the (US) school year. Amazing how habits and programming from our early years can just hang on for the rest of our life!

      1. My birthday is January 22, so birthday really *is* the start of the new year for me! No point in starting diets/resolutions/etc when I know I’m going to blow it all up on the 22nd anyway. 🙂

  7. Having mastered time travel last week, I took a trip. But since it hasn’t happened yet, I can’t tell you about it. Perhaps I will yesterday.

  8. I’m finishing up projects! I finished knitting squares for my patchwork sweater and appliques to sew on another sweater and they are blocking now. I made a 1000 piece Baby Yoda Lego. Now I am making a dumpster fire…of course.

    1. It is a stunning concert, and the fact that it comes from Notre Dame is lovely. I love the touch of the hardhats too. Sadly, 2020 seems to have ruined this for me too. I couldn’t help thinking that even though they were clearly distancing more than usual, they were singing and not wearing masks, and singing is known to spread the virus further. I am telling myself that maybe they were all tested first, or something, but I couldn’t watch it without thinking it looked dangerous, hardhats or no. Screw you, 2020.

  9. Last week I tried to get out of a doctor’s appointment – no luck. Called too late to change it to a phone call. Anyway what I went in for was not what I left with. My blood pressure is always high when I see my primary but not this high. 190 over 80 something. So now it is double the atenolol.
    This morning looking around the living room with the then sun poring in I noticed the lamp shades covered with dust. Normally I just do the basics and wait for that cob web to drop on my head to do the rest. Good thing nobody has been coming over lately except the grandkids. Time to get out the vacuum.
    For evening viewing my husband has discovered Ozark with Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Laura sometime hostess of Masterpiece Theater on PBS. Laura how could you. They play a couple in bad with the cartel trying to launder money for them. It seems every person they meet also has an agenda. I try to find something after an episode to clear my head sometimes it is The Crown if it is not too late or something benign like House Hunters. I tried Bridgerton but it just plain doesn’t work. Way off the mark. Another time.
    Tonight for dinner I’m going to make a sheperds’s pie with leftover pot roast. Something simple.

  10. Have ignored the warnings against travel during the holidays and am spending the week at DD, SIL and GD’s house three hours from ours. DD’s family isolated for two weeks before we arrived and got (negative) Covid tests before we arrived (GD had been exposed third-hand at her pre-K). Of course we isolated pre-travel too.

    In addition to trying to keep 3+ year old GD amused this week while her parents try to work (GD has classic case of Covid grouchiness) I have been doing mosaic crochet like crazy. Finished a couple of doll-sized blankets as Christmas gifts for GD on Christmas Eve. Now working on the border of the LARGE blanket I started at the end of September. Don’t see myself finishing before the end of next week.

    I’ve pretty much been hunkering down and not doing much but reading, You-tube binging and crocheting since I retired in August. Last week I started noticing that my knees are starting to feel MUCH better than they have since I completely destroyed them by tripping and falling on a stone church floor at the beginning of March 2018 (one required surgery) and that I might actually be at the point where I am on the way to having the energy I had prior to being diagnosed with Breast Cancer in Feb 2017.

    Looking forward to a much better 2021. We will be heading home on Friday and I will be getting rapid Covid test on Saturday if I can scheduled it, as I have an appointment on January 5th to renew my driver’s incense. License will have elapsed by one day but I could not find a appointment on my side of the state any earlier after I got the renewal notice. There are some other projects waiting for us at home related to wind-damage from the Christmas Eve Nor’easter, but it could be worse.

    Happy New Year’s to all, and praying that all we introverts have the opportunity to practice coming out of our shells in coming months.

    1. That time frame for feeling better after breast cancer seems about right, especially if you’re being affected by whatever med they’ve told you to take for five years after finishing the more intense stuff — chemo, radiation, whatever.


      1. I was triple negative, so no long term post treatment drugs for me – just lots of chemo (pre and post surgery) and radiation. I don’t think my feet will ever completely recover from the chemo induced neuropathy. But it’s all good.

      1. My husband’s driver’s license expired in mid-October. He had until tomorrow to get it renewed. Mine expires next Monday. No extension published on the web-site as of mid-December. Maybe they will let get away without paying the the late fee, after all the DMV is closed on Mondays.

  11. Oooh, I like the rearranging!

    My husband got me a book about artist Mary Nohl, who spent most of her life turning her house into art.

    I have warned DH that now our ceilings look plain…

  12. Um, it’s not New Year’s Eve. That’s tomorrow. The 31st. Just sayin’.

    Yesterday, I went out to my usual property management gig with my manager a day early (bc we knew it was forecast to rain the next couple of days, and it is). Only she wanted to show me a couple of other properties, take me to see her office (empty, bc everyone is working from home), and do some errands. I have not been out of the house for that long — 7 hours — since before Covid took over! I didn’t get too anxious, but my back and neck started hurting that last hour.

    I crocheted a basket! I’ve been wanting to and finally got the yarn, then let that sit for a couple of weeks, but I crocheted it over xmas. It’s lovely! The next one will be bigger, but this can hold a lot of yarn or a smaller project, plus my teddy bear! (That’s a lot of !!s.) I have to keep crocheting because working on that basket made me the most content and happy I’ve been in ages. I’m trying to convince my roommates that they want baskets: if they buy the yarn, I will crochet. No luck yet. And it’s such a great and pretty basket.

    Next: clear out my room so I can move my dresser and a couple of other things into my room, which I can do when I finally arrange for movers to move stuff from storage to other storage.

    It’s dark and rainy out. I am hoping for thunderstorms.

      1. Do you have my email? I could send you a pic of the basket to see if it’s something you would like and we can talk. I’ve started a different basket with my remaining yarn; it is so relaxing! Especially crocheting while in front of my YouTube fireplace with a roaring, real fire, including all the snaps and pops as the wood burns. Silly, but it works for me.

  13. I made three lap quilts (just the tops, quilting will happen later) out of scraps from a large quilt I made last year. It was more of a decluttering project than a creative one, but it felt good to have the scraps used up and three projects finished. Two are red and white, and the third has some green bits, making them all sort of Christmas quilts without overtly Christmas prints.

    You can see them here:

  14. I went for/to therapy yesterday. It was excellent. I came home and felt so much more effective that I started work on the document hoard.

    The rest of my time was spent playing with me dog and working on plans for work. Not much I want to show.

    For the dehoard, I kinda want to do the thing The Minimalists did, which was to pack everything up, take items to use as needed and only keep what you use in a month. But alas, that’s a job for bodies and I am taking things seriously, so, nobody in the house.

  15. I am on the tale end of Covid-19 quarantine, thank goodness. I had a mild case so didn’t feel too bad for most of it but being housebound isn’t one of my favorite things. I did get some extra housework done but not as much as I had originally planned. Maybe I will get ambitious and finish polishing the furniture upstairs before my quarantine is done in a couple of days.

    1. Good to hear! I was hoping you were okay, but didn’t want to accost you with questions on how you were doing on the blog. Glad you’re through the thing.

  16. I have mostly finished setting up my art room.

    I find rearranging the house can make a big difference. Even small changes. My bed used to face the bedroom door. I moved it last year to face the window and it’s much nicer. I can lie back, see a tree, and pretend I’m not in a city.

  17. I’ve been hunting — so far unsuccessfully — for a three-ring binder with my old recipe collection in it. That’s probably the only place where the family recipe for chocolate meringue cookies is hiding. It was my aunt’s recipe, said to have been obtained from a Norwegian friend back in the 1930’s, but she died in 2000 and her daughter doesn’t have her card file and asked if I could put my hands on that particular recipe. I have resolved that if I find it, I will have it engraved on a kitchen cutting board and send it to Mary for her birthday. A cutting board should be impossible to lose . . . .

    1. Well, it will be harder to lose, but as my sister says at the bottom of every email, “Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently motivated fool.”

  18. My holiday company left an hour ago. They offered to take Dmitri home with them to give us a break from kitten watching. He was cute and playful and friendly (“you think I look adorable falling on my head over the new toy you gave me? Wait until you see how I look hanging off the seat of your chair and peering over the edge. Then I will drop to the floor, run hysterically around the room then peer at you around the corner of the doorway, then I will mince into the room while arching my back then I will throw myself at you while purring loudly.”) Lindy, the older cat stayed in hiding and had to be fed in a room by himself. If we had company, they obviously had come to the house to murder him.

    It was a really great break having them but I can hardly wait to get my vaccine so I am no longer hesitant about going out and about and having people to stay.

  19. I bought what is basically a giant electric toothbrush and used it to scrub the grout on my bathroom floor. Life and cats meant that it was in kind of awful shape. Now it’s white, and every time I walk into the bathroom I smile.

  20. I’ve just been doing the usual cleaning and cooking. Nothing special.

    Oh, and, just to annoy myself, following my UPS delivery on a live map. So close and yet so far. The route just sort of spirals around to my street. It’s currently 2 blocks away as one walks the dog but about 10 blocks by UPS route. Ah, anticipation.

  21. I’m off work between Christmas and New Year’s and I’ve been binge listening to books and doing crafty things. Finished the Christmas presents and then made a large number of flannel hankies for my runny nose.

    May start on some more fun projects with dogs tomorrow. The dogs are the models, they don’t actually do any crafting. – That WOULD be a disaster.

  22. I’m waiting until New Years to take over the dining room table with paint stuff again. I’ve figured out some big design ideas for a page on my website that features the Song of the Day, and now I have to figure out how to make that happen. All grist for my mill, but I hate studying on a screen. I need a book to mark up and make notes and get my body involved, it helps me concentrate.

    It’s a windy, cold night. Somewhere a door slammed, the maid screamed. But we don’t have a maid, I guess it’s just the cat. Anyway, it’s a cold night, and I bought beef shanks to cook for New Years Eve dinner.

  23. I was feeling ambitious the other day so I started tidying up the storage room and going through the boxes and boxes of miscellaneous random bits and pieces of hardware and tools that were cluttering things up. Seriously, how many small bags of nails and screws does someone need when Someone has a very large storage/organizing bin for just such fasteners? I got a dirty look when I took a large box of stuff out to the garage but I warned him and even tried to get him to go through stuff on his own but he left me to it so…

    To be fair, I prefer to organize on my own and he did help me with some stuff that I needed help deciding about.

    I’m hoping to watch Bridgerton tomorrow if there isn’t much work and then on Saturday I’m going to start putting the new back on Mom’s quilt. It’s a tied quilt my grandmother made many years ago and the back had just fallen apart. There’s no border so I’m just going to put the backing fabric on wrong side of the quilt, sew it down, attach the batting with some spray glue then flip it all right side out and top stitch around the whole thing. I’m describing it because probably the avid and excellent quilters of Argh could see a flaw in my plan and help me avoid it. Please.

    1. Are you going to tie it as well or quilt the blocks? Just sewing around the edges isn’t enough to keep the batting from shifting, even with the basting spray. And make sure it’s a batt that can be tied (or quilted) the distance apart that you’re planning to separate the ties (or quilting). Many cotton batts these days can go about 6″, maybe 8″, but that’s pushing it.

      I’ve done that kind of turned-under edges for a quilt, and didn’t particularly like the results. Binding adds a bit of stability to the edges, which you don’t notice how much you like until it’s not there.

      If you stick with that turning-inside-out plan, one suggestion for quilting around the edges — make sure you use a walking foot, or you’ll end up with lots of pleats (or one big one when you return to the starting point), while the top stretches and the back doesn’t. If you don’t have a walking foot, a zigzag might work, allowing some of the excess to sort of adjust between the zigs and the zags. And make sure the foot tension (not the thread tension, but how heavily the foot presses against the dogs) isn’t too much pressure (which would add to the stretching).

      Generally, when stitching a regular seam, the bottom fabric gets gathered a tiny bit by the feed dogs, so if you ever want to gather something a tiny bit, you can just pin the ends and a few equal spots between there and make sure the larger length is on the bottom, and the natural action will absorb the extra bottom length. But that works against you when you need the top and bottom to be the same length, as when top-stitching the edge of a quilt. And the longer of a straight line you go, the worse it gets. Which is why you need the walking foot to prevent that bunching up.

      You may well already know all this. Just offering it in case you don’t. I never know what people do and don’t know about sewing/quilting because I’ve been doing it for so long, and I take stuff for granted that others have never heard of. And other times, I lecture about basics to pros.

      1. I know what you mean about not knowing a person’s literacy in a subject. When I worked at libraries, I always assumed that people understood alphabetical and numeric order but I was wrong. So wrong. I didn’t discover how wrong I was until I had to train people how to shelve books.

        Presume I know nothing, that’s always a good start. Thanks for your advice. The blocks will be tied, I was just thinking that if I sprayed it, it would help hold the batting while I was flipping it right side out. I should have said that. My fault. It never did have a border, I think my grandma might have been a little pressed for time because a lot of her other quilts did. She used a zigzag stitch to edge it, it wasn’t pretty but it had held since, oh, the 80s. I’m not sure how to even add the binding. I have a smaller tied quilt that my great-aunt made for Paul and I for our wedding (long after my grandmother had retired from quilting) and it has a border but I don’t want to open it up to see how she did it.

        I’m a total newbie.

        1. What Gin wrote.


          I would also say that (for me) fixing the edges together with binding sounds like it would be more straightforward than the glue-baste-and-turn-inside-out method. Binding is one of those things that (again, to me) sounds fancy/hard, but in reality isn’t. A lot of quilters say they don’t like doing it, but usually that is more that they find it boring than difficult. You can do it by hand, or by machine (special feet not needed), or a mixture of both.

          From the sound of it, I personally would tackle your project by glue-basting the backing, batting, and front into the quilt “sandwich” (no turning inside out, just set out as you want it when finished), tie the quilt, then do a simple binding (no need for bias if it is just straight edges – this can be a controversial subject in quilting circles, but really often just personal preference).

          Or you could glue-baste the sandwich, bind, and then tie. I’d do it in the order stated previously, but not sure if that is habit/routine more than anything else!

          Youtube may be your friend if you decide you want to explore this further.

          I do have one Youtube video I love for joining the two ends of the binding together (which is the trickiest bit – leave yourself lots of ‘tail’ to play with at both ends, you trim it down after it is joined)

          In finding that link, I’ve realised it is actually part of a series explaining how to do binding from beginning to end – 4 mini ‘episodes’ – so it could be useful for you. I like how she explains things, although again, personal preference.

          I do hope some of this waffle is useful!! 🙂

  24. I’m currently fighting with the New York State of Health who insists they don’t have enough financial information to decide how much help I get with health insurance, despite having talked to someone and uploading all the info she said they’d need. (The writing income complicates things, and is up and down every year, which complicates things more.) Now they are insisting they need a copy of the ENTIRE tax return from last year…20+ pages…and that I have to write my name, birth date, account 3, and NYSoH ID # on every single page before I send it out. Dear gods.

    Trying to catch up on massive amounts of paperwork for the shop which didn’t get done in December because well, customers (yay).

    Mostly just relieved to mostly have this year behind us, and hoping that nothing else dreadful happens before it is over. Praying that 2021 is much better, although even somewhat better would be something. I don’t have any plans for New Year’s Eve, except to breath a sign of relief.

    Thanks for spending 2020 with me, Jenny and the Arghers. Your company made it bearable.

    1. Thank you for talking about your insurance. You reminded me that is why I am still at my job. Well that and all 3 of our kids are living at home. And my husband is working from home. It’s cozy.

  25. I bought a new vacuum. That’s a start, right? Now I am contemplating using it. But it’s hard with an 11-month-old and a five-year-old leaving trails of stuff everywhere.
    I think about a newsletter . . .
    I emptied the drawer of last years financial files and rebox 2018 and 2019 to go to the attic.
    Now I am thinking about a walk.
    Or a nap.
    or . . .

  26. Yesterday was all worky work. Got a couple of things filed, got my in-box cleaned out, and the whole world seemed to go silent around 3:00 so the last couple hours were nice and quiet. No idea whether today will be like that or if it will be like Christmas Eve Eve, which was not quiet. I work in patent law and most of the world is closed this week, so I’m crossing my fingers for a day of peace.

    Over the past week I accomplished some more tidying-up in the yard, finished alpha draft of novel-in-progress, arranged a FaceTime call with a friend for New Years Day, did laundry, and did bits of writer business. Hoping to get a lot of that done over this four-day weekend (taking Monday off, yay).

    I also have a Project to do outside. The husband’s outdoor cameras have caught random people walking up the driveway and into the back late at night/early in the morning. Our neighborhood is generally safe, but it adjoins neighborhoods that aren’t. So he’s put a padlock on our driveway gate, which means any time I need to go into the front yard I have to go through this whole rigmarole. And my bird feeders are in the front yard. Well, I’m moving them to the back because I don’t need that kind of rigmarole every morning. But it’s going to be a Process because they hang from one of those double-shepherd-hook things, which has to be moved. And I have to de-weed its new home. Estimating 2.5 – 3 hrs to get it all done. Today the birds are on their own, tomorrow I’ll simply relocate the feeders to my arbor in back, but the shepherd hook must move.

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