Monday, November 21, 2016

Create Along With Us: Papertrey Ink November 2016





Hello, Friends!

I hope you were sitting down because

SURPRISE!!!

I made a card!!!

Every month Papertrey Ink has a new release.  Their design team is amazing and never fails to create beautiful cards with the new stamps, dies, card stock and ink that is introduced.  They also offer a challenge each month to go along with that new release.  They challenge their customers to pick something that they saw the design team create that inspired them and recreate it with the products that the customers already own.  It can be a new technique, a color combination, the design of a card- anything that was inspiring.  
Navy-mercy

As soon as I saw Betsy Veldman's card pictured above, I loved everything about it!  I loved the crisp white on the navy blue.  I loved the flowers at the top and the scripture at the bottom.  I loved that it wouldn't take a ton of energy to recreate!  Even if I was perfectly healthy, this would have been the card I would have chosen to recreate because I think it's stunning!

I used Papertrey Ink stamp sets and card stock that I had to recreate Betsy's card.  The stamp set I chose for the flowers is Stitches and Swirls.  It is in the Vault, which means you can still purchase it, but it is no longer kept in their warehouse and must be recreated for you.  Because of this, the price is double.  Luckily, I got it before it went in the Vault!  It was one of the first stamp sets from PTI that I bought.  I'm so glad I have finally gotten to use it!  The sentiment comes from a series of stamps called "Inspired" featuring words that are religious in nature.  Some of them include Inspired: Hope, which I used, but also Inspired: Blessed, Inspired: Prayer, and Inspired: Grace.  Besides using different stamp sets, I left everything else the same because I think the card is perfect the way it is!  (FYI-I made this card on Saturday night which is why I was so tired that I fell asleep writing the post about Frank!)

The hardest part about the card was just lining up all the words so they were straight.  I'm a bit OCD about this!  It took a little bit of time, but the MISTI made that task a whole lot easier than it would have been without it!  While I heat embossed my words, the flowers looked better without it for some reason unknown to me!  It is hard to tell in both pictures, but Betsy and I both traced our white flowers with a dark blue Copic marker.  It definitely gave the images more depth, even though you could barely see it.  This was a new idea to me, but one I will use again.  I've heard that using your Copics with embossing power will ruin them, so the fact that the flowers weren't embossed worked out well.  

Once all the set up done is done on the MISTI, this would be a great card to reproduce multiple times in multiple colors.  Wouldn't it look great on a bright red background with that crisp white ink?  I also think it would be great to make a set of these cards using different sentiments at the bottom, either to have on hand or as a gift.  

The only thing I wish was that my picture was as good as Betsy's!  We live in a house with more than an average number of windows and yet not one single room gets really good natural light!  When I took this picture, I was still tired from making it on Saturday night and had already been up and down the stairs to do Frank's photoshoot, so I was exhausted.  This was the best picture I got with the energy I had left.  :)

Good picture or not so good, I got to stamp!  I got to use my Copics (barely but it still counts!)  I got to make a card!  I was even able to do most of it on my own without destroying what little good health I have!  Hopefully, this will be the first of many more to come!

Happy Stamping, Friends!!


I used the following products to make this card:

Stitches and Swirls Stamp Set by Papertrey Ink
Inspired: Hope Mini Stamp Set by Papertrey Ink
Frost White Pigment Ink by Colorbox
White Zing! Embossing Powder by American Crafts
Copic Marker B99
Dark Indigo Card Stock by Papertrey Ink
Heat Gun
MISTI by Sweet Petunia



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Frankfurter- My Wonderful Wiener Dog!

Hello, Friends!

Today I have a super long post about my favorite wiener dog
 in the whole wide world,
Frankfurter!



I apologize for not getting this out sooner.  I was writing it on Saturday night and fell asleep.  On the bright side, I've got Frank pictures!!  I must tell you that I took Frank's picture during what is normally his morning nap time.  He cooperated because he was way too tired not to!  So, if he doesn't look quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed as usual, he's fine.  He just happened to be falling asleep during our photo session.  :)

Now, I suggest you clear more time in your schedule, fix another cup of your favorite beverage, get another snack, go to the bathroom and then join me for a nice long Frank update.   

As I said in the blog post from last week, Frank is now 15 1/2 years old.  It seems impossible that it's now been more than
15 years since I brought home 
a tiny, sweet little dachshund puppy who was only 
6 weeks old and weighed 2 pounds.  

As much as I never wanted to have to live with my parents again because I wanted to be a healthy, self-sufficient adult, Frank is more than happy with our living situation!   I imagine he wonders why we waited so long to move in with Grandma and Grandpa!

Frank loves my parents and they definitely love him.  I spend a lot of time upstairs laying down.  There nothing exciting up here and the chances of me eating aren't that great.  Frank, on the other hand, likes to be where the action is, so he prefers to be downstairs with my parents most of the time.  They have to take care of him because I can't.  They have been more than willing to do so.  Frank and I are both very blessed by this.  As Frank has gotten older, he requires more actual care but he's still doing really well for 15 1/2.  He does have some health problems, though, which I'll outline below. 

Back problems and the need for surgeries are common in doxies which is why I bought Frank pet insurance starting when he was 1 year old!  It has been worth it!  Because of his back problems in the past, he has trouble walking sometimes.  Dr. Becky, his vet who loves him almost as much as we do, believes that there is scar tissue around his spinal cord from where he had his back surgeries.  That scar tissue is now blocking the messages from getting to his back legs to keep them working right.  His back legs tend to stretch out beside his body, almost like they're doing the splits, instead of holding him up straight.  Frank, ever the little genius, figured out if he has his back half do a little hop, his legs fall back into place straight underneath him.  This helps him get started and then keeps him able to walk.  If his legs start to stretch outwards again, he just hops to get them back into place.  His front legs still work fine.  He walks better in the morning and not as well at night when he is more tired from being up all day.  He also has learned how to look pitiful to get my Dad to pick him up.  He knows my Mom can't pick him up as easily because she is having problems with her wrists.  It is amazing to see the difference, as he seems to suddenly be significantly better when he knows my Dad isn't there to carry him.  It's kind of astounding because you would think the "poor little old wiener dog can barely go" and then he moves out when it's just my Mom and I, especially if there is food or a treat involved!  Frank is a Grandpa's boy and he knows Grandpa is a softie!  :)


We tried setting Frank up because when he lays down, his bloated middle spreads out to the sides making it look a lot worse than when he's standing up.  However, every time we sat him back up, he would slowly slide back down.  Poor little sleepy dog!

Frank also has a bad gallbladder.  It has a lot of sludge in it, which is what happens to people as well.  While people have it surgically removed, dogs take medicine to liquify the sludge and keep it moving through.  Dr. Becky keeps close watch on this.  She uses an ultrasound machine to check on it about once every four to six weeks.  Frank just lays on the table and lets her check it.  He doesn't have to be knocked out or anything.  Sometimes his gallbladder causes him to be bloated, othertimes, he is not.  During today's pictures, he was particularly bloated but it doesn't seem to bother him any.  We've noticed that sometimes this depends on what he eats, so we try to avoid foods that give that response, like broccoli.  Of all of his health problems, this is the only one that could be dangerous.  If it solidifies, that could cause the gallbladder to burst or other problems, like inflammation of his pancreas.

Another health problem Frank has developed is Cushing's Disease.  This is also common in doxies.  It makes him feel hungry and thirsty all the time.  The best news about Cushing's is that it won't shorten his lifespan at all.  Overall, he handles this very well.  During the day, he knows what time he gets fed and he doesn't beg for food other times.  He drinks a lot of water, but he can have as much of it to drink as he wants, so that isn't a problem for him.  The middle of the night tends to be a bigger issue.  Sometimes he can sleep through the night.  Other times, he might be up 3 or 4 times because he wakes up and he's hungry.  My Mom plans ahead and takes little snacks upstairs for him in case he wakes up and needs them.  He did not like the time change when all of a sudden we told him he had to wait an extra hour for his meals!  His internal clock definitely did not fall back an hour!  Thankfully, within a few days he had adjusted to the new time and all is well!





There is one other problem Frank had come up about 3-4 weeks ago.  Besides being concerned about his gallbladder, this one was the hardest for us humans to deal with, although Frank is doing fine!  Frank has lost his sight.  We found out almost 4 years ago that Frank only had sight in one eye.  We don't know if he was born that way or if he lost it sometime through his life.  The doctor who did his back surgery in Arizona was the first one who recognized it.  This never posed an issue.  However a few weeks ago when my Dad took Frank down for his breakfast, Frank was very disoriented.  While Frank is a Grandpa's boy, my Dad is equally a "Frank's boy."  He keeps close watch on Frank all the time and knew something was wrong.  Frank rubbed his eye frequently that day, as if he was trying to get it to work again.  A trip to Dr. Becky the next day confirmed that his retina had come lose and he could no longer see.  Dr. Becky was as disappointed with the news as we were.

Frank has adapted amazingly well, though, especially when his people accepted it and stopped acting like something was terribly wrong and started treating him like normal again!  You would never guess from watching him that he was blind.  He walks through the house like he always did and is able to go right where he wants, like his water bowl or a different room.  When you talk to him, he points his face right at you like he's looking at you.  Sight is actually the third most important sense to a dog, with smelling and hearing coming in first and second place.  His hound dog nose still keeps him informed and you can see him listening and concentrating to figure out who might be coming into a room or what that person might be doing...or eating!  Again, my Mom and Dad both make sure that Frank is okay with this new challenge.  My Dad, who loves Frank dearly, was the most upset with this news.  I made my Dad feel better about Frank's eyesight loss when I told him Frank would be alright because he had a seeing-eye Grandpa and he definitely does.  His seeing-eye Grandma helps all the time, too.  

Frank takes medicine which helps him a lot with the first three issues.  He's very good about taking his medicine most of the time.  Sometimes he gets tired of swallowing pills, but honestly I can relate.  I get tired of having to take medicine all the time, too!  We both do what we have to do, though, and are better because of it!

I know this all sounds depressing.  He really is okay and is doing well.  Thankfully the only real ongoing issue that could cause a big problem is his gallbladder.  When we found out there was a problem, we all began praying for Frank.  At the next check up, Dr. Becky said that she had never seen the sludge improve as quickly as she had in Frank!  I believe God made Frank, loves Frank and takes care of him like He takes care of people.  We all know that every day we have with Frank is a gift and we all treat it that way.  Frank has brought so much joy to our family.  He is so smart and funny.  He has facial expressions that show what he's thinking.  He is sweet and caring.  He loves his family.  He's just a wonderful dog and has been since day one.  I frequently tell him,

"Of all the little wiener dogs in the whole wide world,
God sent me the very best one."

I know all the other doxie owners would disagree with me and I understand that completely.  Frank and I have been through a lot together and he has always made the good times better and the bad times not quite as terrible.

Frank still has a good life, too.  Dr. Becky and all of her staff truly love Frank and takes great care of him  She calls him "miracle dog" because he always overcomes whatever problem comes up.  He has the full attention of three adults who are at his call twenty-four hours a day and who make sure he has everything he needs.  While I often can't help him with what he needs, I can sound the alert and get someone else who can!  He enjoys treats and bones and bites of people food.  He even gets a pass when he barks his head off because we're having pizza, which is his favorite food!


This picture shows Frank's white face, paws and legs.  You can also see white hairs beginning to creep down to his back.  His hair color change began with the black hairs on his chin turning gray and then slowly chagning to white.  Then his face and feet turned white.  Now that white hair goes all the way over his head and up his legs.  We think he looks distinguished!

We all love Frankfurter so much!  He's not just a pet but is the 4th member of our family.  I will keep you updated on Frank and his health.  If you're a pet owner, go tell your pet(s) how much you love those little blessings and give them an extra treat from Frank and I.  Then go enjoy some craft time for me!

Happy Stamping, Friends! 



Friday, November 18, 2016

Longest update EVER!



Hello, Dear Friends!

I have a long update for all of you.  I suggest you clear a couple of hours from your schedule, go to the bathroom, grab a drink and a snack and then dig in to this super long post!

The day I let you know that I had finally been able to create a card all by myself, I left one detail out.  It certainly wasn't to lie to you or mislead you.  It was much more a wishful thinking that everything was going to be fine kind of thing.

I had way overdone it by making that card all by myself.  I had a good idea it was the case by the time I completed the card, but I was determined to ignore those signs and just celebrate my milestone.  I even decided to post my news here so all of you could celebrate with me.  As I was writing to all of you, while laying back in bed, I could feel my muscles begining to tell me, "This was a bad idea.  You will pay."  By morning, no matter how much I wished and prayed that I would be fine, I definitely was not.  My muscles simply weren't strong enough to make a card yet, even the simple card that it was.  You've heard the saying about pride going before the fall?  In my case, pride went with about three months of recovery from being hard headed and having to make one card all by myself.  

Good news, though!  By the end of August, I was finally stronger and doing better.  So, naturally something else went wrong.  (Insert nodding and laughing emoji in your head here.)  After all, that is how my story has gone since all of this started in 2013, right?!  All of a sudden I went from being in pain that I could tolerate and deal with while getting stronger to being in terrible pain that was almost unbearable.  It took us 2 weeks to figure out that I was no longer getting the Fentanyl from the Fentanyl patches I had been using for years.  Instead of working off of it in 3-6 months which is how I would have gone off it if I had gotten better, I had gone cold turkey in a matter of days.  The pain was severe in my lower back, down my legs and into my feet.  Thinking back on it, I can't even really put into words how awful it was.  The closest thing I can say is that it was the type of pain that normal people would go to the emergency room for immediately.  With my history of back problems and being a pain clinic patient, I knew that they wouldn't do anything for me, except release me with a hefty bill though, and that was the only reason I wasn't there begging for help.  

When we figured out the Fentanyl patches were the problem, I believed this was a very big deal.  However, the doctors I dealt with did not share that opinion.  We played phone tag back and forth relaying messages through nurses for over a week while I was prescribed medicines that weren't nearly strong enough to take the place of Fentanyl.  I found that out when I finally got to see a real, live doctor.  It took multiple medicines and different combinations to finally find one that would help me, five weeks after all of this started.  They still don't help quite as much as the Fentanyl did, but these medicines help a whole lot more than everything else we tried.  If medicine had been the only problem, I would have been in the clear.

I am a complex person, however, so my problems must like to be the same!  When I was in that terrible pain, I could barely stand to get out of bed and go to the bathroom.  I lived upstairs for three of those weeks in my bed and only got up to go to the bathroom or to go back to the doctor's office.  Once I finally saw a doctor, I had appointments to go back frequently, as in 3 times in one of the weeks.  All of those trips contributed to my body becoming even more run down.  Right when the meds were really kicking in, I got good and sick with a nasty fever and total exhaustion.  This added another couple of weeks in bed because my body was so exhausted, it just didn't have the strength to fight.  By the end of October, I was finally able to get up and moving again.  

Going down and then back up the stairs for the first time in weeks is not fun.  It is hard!  As great as it was to be free, it did not feel great to start making those muscles work again! Pushing my muscles again is rough, but thankfully, things are getting much better on that front rather quickly.  I've done this part many times before so I know I'll get stronger and moving will get easier.    

So that explains where I've been, what I've been up to and why I haven't been posting.  From a medical standpoint, my prognosis is not good.  There's not another cure for my pain waiting in the wings.  Of course, with all the research going on, something could pop up, but it's not immediatly on the horizon.  The doctors can try and control my pain, but that's about it.  While the spinal fusion surgery did help a little bit, it is officially a "failed" surgery.  That's very common with this type of injury and surgery.  Bummer, right??

I am not depressed or worried though.  God has gotten me this far and I know He will continue to give me the strength to deal with whatever comes in the future.   I don't believe God is just going to leave me in a bedroom in central Illinois for the rest of my life.  I believe someday, sooner or later, He will restore my back and I'll be able to serve Him out in the real world again like before.  Even if He doesn't though, I know that God will continue to provide for me and bless me and I will continue to praise Him for doing those things and so many more!    

While I don't tend to get very religious, for lack of a better term, on this blog, I am a Christian.  Letting you know that God is helping me deal with what would seem to be an unthinkable turn in life is part of my story.  It's part of my life with a wiener dog and how I can go on, joyfully, in spite of everything that has happened.  .

I know that nowadays, many people believe that religion is just a crutch that weak people use to help them deal with their lives.  My story might be a good example for them to prove it.  They are wrong, though.  My God is not a crutch.  He is my Lord and Savior.  I know He exists and is in my life as much as I know the computer I'm writing this on is real.  (This is not all the drugs, either, just in case you were wondering.  LOL!)  I have peace, love, hope and joy and I know those gifts are because of my faith in God and His blessings.  They definitely don't come from my circumstances which seem to be rather hopeless- that's for sure! 

 This definitely wasn't part of my original plan, so I have new little plans for my immediate future.    

One of those goals is to get back to stamping.  I miss it sooo much!  My cards will be clean and super simple, but that's okay.  I'll get to be creative again!  Plus, it's a great way to deal with stress.  Life is still stressful even though God is with me.  Plus, my arms are sooo weak, I'm hoping this will help strengthen them as well!  Stamping as physical therapy!  Can't beat that with a stick!!!

Hopefully, you'll start seeing a card here and there on my blog.  Maybe you'll see some images that I colored just for fun!  If not, you'll know another setback has occurred and I'll be back again, hopefully sooner than later!  I'm not a quitter, no matter how many times I get knocked down!

I must congratulate you if you've read all the way to here.  It's been long, I know.  Now you're all up to speed on me.

SOOOO....what about Frank???

Frank is 15 1/2 now and lives a very good life being spoiled by both of my parents.  He is having health problems as he is getting older, but he is still the same funny, opinionated, smart, sweet and wonderful wiener dog that I've had since he was 6 weeks old.

Because this is already so long, I will post again in a day or two and tell you all about Frank.  Who knows-perhaps I will even include some pictures so you can see that cute little fella!

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers for me that have continued even when I haven't been able to stay in touch.  I know they have been heard and answered by God getting me through so many hard times during all of this.  You are one of my many blessings!  If you would continue to pray that God will help my body get stronger and that I will be able to enjoy my favorite hobby again, I would appreciate it.  I promise this time I will be patient and ask for help until I know I'm able to do everything myself!  I'm not a quitter and I learn from my mistakes!  Until we meet again...

Happy Stamping!



Saturday, June 18, 2016

SALE at Oozak.com You Have To Know About


Hello, Friends!

It's 2 am and I am wide awake.  One of the side effects of my medicine is that it gives you "Daytime Sleepiness."  This means when you are up and about during the day, I can pretty much guarantee that I will be asleep.  When you are sound asleep, like probably right now, I am wide awake.  This is not a fun side effect.

However, it did lead me to think of this.

There is a wonderful stamping store online that is having a huge sale right now. 

  
Oozak currently has 25% off of the stamps and dies that they carry.  The sale is only good through Monday, June 20th at 11 am EST.  

Randy, the owner, carries companies like My Favorite Things (which absolutely are one of my favorite things!), Lawn Fawn, Art Impressions, Avery Elle, Pink and Main, Sunny Studio and a lot more.  

The best part of the sale is that a lot of the companies will let you backorder items if Randy has sold out of them.  Of the four I listed, the only one that doesn't is My Favorite Things.  

He just got new supplies in today.  Have you seen the new piggies from MFT?  Think adorable pigs with sayings like, "Miss You Pig Time" and "I'm in Hog Heaven."

 25% off, folks!  

You can also preorder items from Neat and Tangled, Whipper Snapper, and other companies for...25% off!

Don't forget to check out his Ranger products.  They're 30% off!

Have you seen the new NUVO products by Tonic Studios?  I won some and the crystal drops and glitter in a blog candy giveaway.  They are super great quality and are currently 20% off.

This isn't the world's biggest store, but it is a sweet place to shop.  I highly encourage you to check it out.  Everything I've ever ordered has been in perfect condition and Randy is a great man to work with!  I've ordered things in stock and things that were backordered.  I always received my goodies and have had great experiences with this store.

Randy is a nice man, running this store on his own, to support his family, so I just decided that I wanted to try and help him out by sending this info to all of you.  

Orders over $50 have free shipping, so go as fast as your mouse can click the link to check out Randy's awesome stamping stuff.  

Tell him "Angela" sent you in the comments box.  

Why?  Well, because I'll think it's funny.  Randy doesn't know me well at all.  I'm just a customer he's talked to on the phone twice.  He certainly didn't ask me to promote his store on my blog.  But, wouldn't you think it was funny, and crazy weird, if you suddenly got orders that said, "Angela sent me" when you had no idea who Angela was or why she had sent you???

I also think it would be funny to send Frank's DNA to the doggie DNA people who are supposed to figure out what your mixed breed dogs are from looking at their DNA.  EVERYBODY knows what a wiener dog looks like, especially a 100% wiener dog.  I think it would crack the people up at doggie DNA to think someone was so, let's say...unintelligent, to send in their full bred Dachshund's DNA to have it tested.  If we ever win the lottery, I'm totally doing that just to give those people a good laugh.

This is why I need sleep, People!

Now go check out Oozak!
Tell 'em Angela sent you!
Then come back here and tell me if you found something you couldn't live without!

Happy Stamping
(and sleeping, you lucky dogs!)

Monday, June 13, 2016

I haven't forgotten and a tip!


Hello, friends!

I just thought that I would tell you that I haven't forgotten to post my card to show off.  I was in a lot of pain, even more than usual, when I posted to tell you my good news.  I was trying to think positive and focus on the fact that I had finally gotten to make a card and not the fact that my legs felt like they were on fire from over-using the muscles.  I think going up and down the stairs was okay, but getting up and down to create my card was not.

As it turned out, my "fire legs" lasted well into the middle of last week.  I tried going downstairs anyway, because I didn't want to lost anything I had gained.  I don't know if it made things worse, but it definitely didn't make them better.  It was also enough to let some little bug out there take hold because I haven't felt well ever since.  My system seems to be so worn down that it's easy for me to catch any little thing and then hard to get rid of it.  

On the bright side, the backdrop for my picture is ironed and the camera batteries are charged.  One good day and I'll have a picture for you!

Now for the tip!  Are you familiar with Evernote?  It's a program for your computer which you can also access on your iPhone or iPad.  It seems to have tons of different uses, but I've been using it to catalog my stamps and stamping supplies.  There is a free version and one that costs $25 a year, depending on how many items you want to enter into it each month.  I've been entering my supplies by company and then putting it into one of 3 divisions.  For example, I have

Stampin' Up Stamps and Dies
Stampin' Up Supplies (must haves like card stock and inks)
Stampin' Up Embellishments (like ribbon and buttons).

I've done this for every company of loot that I have.  Some require all three sections, like My Favorite Things and Papertrey Ink.  Others only require one, like Paper Smooches and Sizzix.  You can make as many sections, called notebooks, as you want.  

The best part about Evernote, for me, is that you can tag your items to search for them.  So, after I have entered and tagged all my stamps with wiener dogs, for example, Evernote will pop up with a picture I copied and pasted and information about each stamp set with a wiener dog.  I'll be able to find all my word dies to see if I have one that says "Get Well Soon."  I'll be able to see all of my colors of blue card stock.  I'll be able to find every stamp set with a religious sentiment in it.  I love that as I list patterned paper that matches card stock colors, I can put those colors right in the note.  No more trying to figure out what those colors were, searching through old catalogs, or looking for the information online.  When I'm done, it will be at my fingertips!  I can also search by color, like Real Red, to see all my patterned paper with Real Red in it.  AWESOME!  Anything I took the time to tag, I'll be able to find from my computer, my phone or my iPad.  I can also look to see if I already have a certain item already so I don't ever make duplicate purchases.  That hasn't happened often, but every once in a while I forget (usually when there's a fantastic sale online and things are going quick).  When you've been stamping and collecting stuff for way more than 10 years now, this is an invaluable resource.   I'm finding it's also easier to pick out what I no longer want to keep.  As soon as I'm able, ebay is going to be very busy with some great items that I just don't use or want anymore.  

I will say Evernote takes as much time as you want to put into it.  Since it feels like I have all the time in the world right now, it was a good time for me to do this.  However, if you just wanted to catalog a few things, you could work for 15 minutes a day or do a set number of items a day and make significant progress!  
I know other stampers found this resource long before I did, but I highly recommend it.   I'm also using it for insurance purposes.  Eventually, all these stamps end up costing a lot of money, so making sure I can prove I had all these goodies with Evernote and some pictures is a wise thing to do.  Although we all pray we will never be in a situation to need that information, it is good to have.  Check it out and if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them.  I'm still new, so I'm not a great source of information, but I'll do my best to help.  

Keep watching and very soon I hope to have a card to brighten up your day on my blog for the first time in a long time!

Until then, do some stamping for me and if you have a blog, let me know so I can follow you!

Happy Stamping!

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