Saturday, April 03, 2021

happy nine years day, littlest ågot















Nine years ago today, the last of Luddkolt’s British Shorthair litter were born. It wasn’t a concious choice at that time. It just became a fact. Been there, done that, everything in life has its time. And admittedly, breeding quality never quantity brits may be filled with both joy and sorrow, and lots of oxytocin filled cuddles, but it doesn’t exactly save the world.























So after 20 years, countless of cat shows, weekend hours on the roads all over Sweden and Norway, and seven generations of teddybearish kitties the decision grew that it was enough.

Today the littlest of the beloved bunch of tykes turns 9. She doesn’t look a day older than 2.

If my memory serves me right (and who knows after this corona-year) I have a couple of oldies turning 16-17 this month too. 

And then they were seven, left. I’m not sure how to live, or even cope, without brits in my life. All kitties are created equal, but after spending decades in the company of these plush characters, the love story is solid and forever. So I’ll just not think about the bleak prospect of old age taking its toll.

Anyway, it may be Easter Eve today, but it’s also Caturday and most of all it’s Ågot-day, the happiest of birthdays to you, darling fluffster, may we have many more lovely years together, me, you and everyone else in the Luddkolt’s family of very special kitties! 

EDIT: Bad Meowmy with brain fog or a case of April’s fool, I thought Easter Eve was April 4, Ågot’s birthday. So technically I posted this a day early. Oops. 



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

bye bye march, hello hi easter and welcome april




The blood test results are available online, but not the covid one. Not that I think it’ll be positive in any way, 11 months later. The tests look normal, apart from a few that shows slightly elevated blood values. Still haven’t heard back from the clinic on that. Almost a month later. I’ve tried to be patient since these are indeed extraordinary times, but I find it somewhat... unprofessional with the lack of feedback. 

Even if I can see the results I’m obviously not versed in how to interpret them correctly. So I guess I have to call and sort this out. After Easter.













On the last shivering hours of March, and the last shivering hours before Easter 2021, I’ll sum up March as a pretty decent month after all, given the circumstances. I’ve cooked and eaten some great vegan meals, had some great walks, read a lot, watched some really good TV-series (and some less than good ones).

I was contacted by an old client (five years) who asked if I was interested in doing some freelance jobs for them. And as I remember them as being a good client, may not be the most exciting of tasks but working with people/organisation you already know for a good cause, not getting a hassle for your fees and pay the bills, those are darn good pros in my book too. So we’ll sort out the arrangement next week.

Also had a job interview last week, they said they’d get back this week already. Not sure it’s for me, and really not sure I’m for them. So I have low expectations on that one.

Yesterday I had the most bizarre experience with the Coop grocery delivery man. I order groceries online about 4 times per year, the basic stuff and the heavy stuff that’s really inconvenient to lug home with a shopping trolley. The provess has been pretty much flawless these past few years. They’re suppose to deliver to the customers’ door and that’s pretty basic of course. Until yesterday.

The delivery guy chose to drive in at the parking lot farthest from my address. Called me to say there was a building site in his way so he couldn’t get here and I had to come out and do the heavy lifting. The delivery guys usually put all the grocery bags in big plastic boxes on a big trolley and roll those right up to my doorstep. This guy came walking and fuming with a big box of toilet paper only *all that I can carry*, threw those on my door steps and went bag to the lorry. 

I was forced to hurry out after him with my shopping trolley only to find he’d thrown out a lot of cat food tins on the streets and put all my grocery bags out there for me to carry. Much to heavy for me to do after my broken arm (that hasn’t worked to its prior capacity since 2018) but I took as much with me as possible and went back home. Expecting for him to actually doing his job and following me with the rest of the goods.

When he didn’t turn up I went back only to realize he had actually just left my bags unguarded on the street and droven away already. 

I’m still absolutely gobsmacked about the incident, what a complete bastard. Rude, lazy and obviously not fit for the job. On top of that the frozen food items were quite thawed already when I picked them up from the bags. And some items where crushed at the bottom of a bag. I have emailed Coop’s customer service and left a complaint of course. The worst thing delivery-wise I’ve ever experienced.

Had he just used the correct parking lot and not least the boxes and trolley, as all the previous delivery guys, this had been a breeze. The epithome of badwill.













I also attended a little online book club event yesterday, with the guest being the actual writer, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic etc) on her book ’City of girls’. I’ve only read 30% of it so far, and I’m not very interested in dissecting books with other readers anyway. But I thought it would be great to hear Gilbert alive like that. She was very nice (and had awesome glasses) and her kitty cute in front of the computer. But I don’t think those 40 minutes on Zoom was really worth the money in the end. 

For the Easter weekend I’m planning to cleanse my wardrobe a bit and put up some fine pieces for sale online finally. My new goal is to sell of more clothes than I buy. And as I have my eye set on a lovely, quirky Marimekko dress for summer I need to sell things to pay for it, as well as get a much needed airier wardrobe. 

As well as do my tax returns. Party, party.

I wish I could potter a bit in the garden and plant pansies in pots too. But I never got around to get those home delivered with big bags of vegan soil before Easter, so that’ll have to wait.

Reading, cuddling cats, cooking, baking, eating and walking isn’t bad either. Even if it’s pretty much what this whole year has been about.

Hey April, I do hope and desperately wish you will bring totally awesome and magical happy happenings this way, you are very very very welcome to do so. 

Yours, 

Eagerly P.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

five years later














Today it’s been five (5) years (!) already since the final goodbye. And as much as I can’t say I live in the past per se, and I have cultivated resilience https://piaks.blogspot.com/2016/05/to-cultivate-resilience.html?m=1 this time of the year has been rather heavy since 2016. 

And this past year, with pandemic life, the lack of new input, inspiring meetings and quality conversations, the mind has dwelled a lot over the past.

I’ve grown, I’ve changed, I’ve reinvented myself and at the same time I feel incredibly stuck and somewhat lost. Standing at the sideline in my own life. I’m not all where I’d like to be at this time in life. And yet I acknowledge that this is where I’m suppose to be. 

So much to be grateful for, so much had work, but stuck nevertheless. How do I unstuck myself now? And how to I trust the process? Because honestly I’ve done that for so long now, yet the goal of unstuckedness, the feeling of continous momentum remains illusive and never really within reach. 

Is this all there is? All it’s suppose to be? Short term problem solving infinitum, never long term solutions? Life as a Sisyphean task?













One of the neighbourhood’s dog ladies, friends with little mum, tipped me about this book, genre feelgood. Klubben för lyckliga slut (The Club for happy endings) by Swedish author Caroline Säfstrand. Had never read anything by her before. But I enjoyed it a lot. Easy relatable characters. A store of sorrow and new beginnings. The book was set during this time of the year, the main character lost her husband this time of the year and I got the book in my hand (library reservation) this time of the year. The right read at the right time. 

I also watched Finding Alice https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11127412/ a while back. It has gotten very mixed reviews. But clearly, the main character’s, Alice (lost her husband to a freak accident), behaviour, erratic, impulsive, all over the place, can mostly (or only?) be understood by someone who have lost a partner. And even more so when it happened unexpectedly. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, constantly, and you never know when, where or what will appear. 













Today, a few days after Spring Equinox, we had the first really warm, global warming style, day of spring, +12 degrees C. Long walk, sunshine, good coffee, outdoors seating. 

Tried my best thinking good thoughts only and just be in the here and now. It was a pleasant day. Even if Wistful is my constant companion since that fateful day, March 23, 2016. Then on Ash Wednesday, now a week prior.

I’ll continue problem solving tomorrow. Promise. But for now, just be. Me.




Tuesday, March 16, 2021

my one year of corona anniversary

 






















Today March 16, 2021 marks exactly ONE (1) year since I last was in Stockholm city - a sad (and decent) oat latte cheers to that! Life in the time of corona, in limbo, has been hard, draining, sad, disappointing, worrying, uncertain, inspiring, full of lessons, books, growth, tears, gratitude, Weltschmerz and not nearly enough laughter and happiness.






















And in these troublesome times, just a reminder, if everyone were vegan and didn’t treat this planet and its non-human animals as disposables we wouldn’t be in this pandemic mess in the first place.

Sometimes the answer IS very simple. Educate yourself. Be kind. Be compassionate.



Wednesday, March 10, 2021

so march, so far





 











Spoke to hastily about warm temperatures in the last post me thinks. There were only a few days of them. And though the days with shoes and socks have been very enjoyable, and a welcome relief after months of IceBugs, the winds have been relentlessly chilly and unpleasant so far this month. Tomorrow it’s suppose to be a heavy snowfall followed by heavy rain the next day. 

With a small, restricted pandemic world also comes obsessing about the current weather. Which days a good for long walks, which are best for cuddling upp with books and cats. Those very impawtant things in life as is.

I’m not sure the doctor’s appointment last week will lead to any enlightened insights on the hows and whys of my health status. I forgot to mention half of my weird symptoms (and I noticed he had just written down ’symptoms of illness’ in my e-journal anyway...) and I doubt the blood tests will show anything useful. 

Ended up with three (painful) tries to get the blood samples, and of course it had to be the hand that worked in the end. It’s a bad bad combo to really hate needles AND be so notoriously difficult to get them working. At least it was only three times now, the worst thing was when three different nurses had to try 15 times to find a vein in 2012. 

My mum is getting her first covid vaccination next week. No information which brand it will be yet. But as far as I can tell from the reading, of what I think are reliable sources, the Pfizer or Moderna offers much better protection than Astra Zeneca. 

But I’m also well aware that the vaccination is a short term bandaid on a huge boil, that will never heal until we radically change the way we eat and interact with non-human animals and nature. It’s still the elephant in the room, the obvious answer to the pandemic we’ve unleashed on the world - go vegan and stop using, abusing, torture and kill sentient beings for food and clothes we do not need. The glaring blindspot most everyone ignore. 

I hate seeing people I know, and concider smart people in most other aspects than their obvious faulty food habits, continue to post icky photos of gross, unhealthy meat and dairy meals in their social media accounts. Seriously. The sorry La la la, I’m free to chose my own habits-excuse doesn’t work anymore (if it ever has). It’s a thing of the long and completely obsolete past. Step up and be the change, the world so desperately need, please. Everyone has the responsibility to do so.

























Now to some slightly old news, Fat (Shrove) Tuesday. The season, the day, us Swedes hold sacred because we get to feast on our beloved semla pastry. 

I’ve written about it several times over the years, the perfect semla, the baking of your own buns, how to make your own almond paste, best vegan semla etc - search old posts as I can’t link via the blogwriting on the iPhone - but this year I was afraid there would be no semla at all for me.

My old food processor broke down some years ago (a Kitchen Aid is obviously very high on my wishlist now) and I sadly haven’t baked breads and buns since 2018. And with very limited options for vegans in my hoods, a vegan semla would most likely be impossible to find.

But I asked the local bakery - you know, the place where they lied and said that almond pastry was vegan, when it in fact contained egg white, last year? But then offered some really good vegan options in their new cafe, which has been one weekly highlight visit that has given a much needed sense of normalcy since last August? - if they could bake vegan buns, so I could make my own semla? And they said yes!

So a month ago I picked up 20 beauties in the bakery, swung by the cafe so the could make two plantbased semla for our fika (which was SO good) and have since assembled my own semlor (plur.) and also simply dunked the buns in hot chocolate, which also is a treat.

Not as fancy and perfect consistency buns as the vegan semla at Bageri Passion (out of reach in these time of corona) I’ve loved since 2019, but more on the dry side. Which isn’t uncommon in semla buns in general. Still a decent bun.

The overall experience was lovely. 











When they opened up the cafe in August last year, it was still outdoors season. When crisp autumn came, it was okay to move indoors because the guests who sat down for food and fika, and didn’t go for take away, were still few and far apart. Making sure to follow the covid guidelines. I think we used to be about 5-6 people max in the cafe.

Unfortunately that has changed, the last time we visited a few weeks ago, at our usual time 9.30-10, the cafe quickly filled up and when we left (after not feeling comfortable at all, but wanted to finish the coffee we’d paid for) there were over 15 guests + staff there. Covidiots. 

It’s crazy enough that the visitors don’t react but think it’s quite alright to sit down so close to eachother, but that the proprietors don’t take proper precautions, follow guidelines, and remove chairs and tables, limit the amount of guests allowed, is actually infuriating. 

I know they, like the rest of us, need their revenues. But at what cost? If people don’t follow the guidelines (which are called recommendations in Sweden but are concidered mandatory in many places, and are for food businesses strict rules) the virus will just continue to spread forever. 

The weekly cafe visit, and the thai take aways, have been two of the much needed highlights in this past year’s surreal limbo life. And just because of ignorance and stupidity one of those highlights are no longer available. At least not until we can sit outdoors again. 

Maybe if we get there when they open at 9 am, there’s less people, and we could have a safe fika visit. But the fact still remains, you really only want to support local businesses that act responsibly.

















I don’t think I’ve written something more substantial about the sheep heard that have a large all-year-round enclosure in my hoods. They’ve been a joy to visit this winter. So many individuals with different characters. Spending time with them always brings out a wide set of emotions. 

Clearly they’re doomed for a sad and violent fate. And I really don’t want to live in a world where it’s considered normal to tag sentient beings as commodities and things. They are clearly so much more that that, they have the right to their own long lives, on their own natural terms. 

But I’m so grateful I get to spend at least some time regularly  with them, enjoying their different personalities and friendly quirks. Animals really are THE best. They deserve SO much more than we humans put them through, for no good reason at all.













Another thing I’m grateful for is that I decided to upgrade to the iPhone 12 ProMax last year. Because the camera’s portrait feature is awesome. Granted the camera doesn’t function flawlessly, the Bokeh effect is somewhat overwhelming at times. Which is a pity, but also something of a common issue it seems, so hopefully it’ll be fixed in some software update in a not too distant future. 

Also, not a fan of the ridiculously bright night time photo effect, when you want a decent dark dramatic photo with a contrasting moonlight you get the opposite. And I still haven’t found a way to opt out of that. Then the Notes go all blank at times, but reappears after a day or two. And the timer doesn’t work properly. 

But I’m so happy with the kitty photos, and other animals too plus selfies kind of take and adjust themselves, which is miraculously convenient. 

It’s even possible to get decent captures of a black cat! Viola will turn 14 in some months, and good photos of her (and her black cousin Waldemar who unexpectedly sadly passed away last summer) as a grown up have been few and far apart. Now  I finally have some. 

On March 8 I attended a great Zoom talk on gender equality with Katrine Marçal, a Swedish journalist and writer, arranged by KTH Innovation here in Stockholm. Read her brilliant book ’Att uppfinna världen’ (published in English under the name ’Mother of Invention’) this winter. 

On how basically 100 years of potential technological innovation have been lost due to the fact that women have been effectively locked out of the system. That the whole warped view that things, needs and behaviours are deemed male or female, have cost humanity and the world so much progress. And in 2021 it still needlessly continue to do so. Absolutely crazy and infuriating. 

We have a climate emergency to deal with, high time to stop being this incredibly ignorant and stupid. The problem concern everyone, so does the solutions.

And to all the religious, fantatically backwards misogynist countries that still do exist in 2021 - just stop being such complete ass hats. Frankly. Really.


No happy update on the job front quest yet alas. Instead of concentrating all my efforts on The Dream Job, I’ve branched out to looking at paying the bills-jobs that still offer good things to do and learn, albeit not really being the challenge in line with my seniority level and acquired skills, I’d really want. 

I’ve spruced my CV a bit, but honestly, I can’t really see what I could/should remove from it, at this stage in life. With age and experience it does get naturally longer and certain things must show. Maybe I can try a different, creative layout approach for fun. Or maybe I need someone to look at it with fresh eyes. 














So the only fun I’ve updated to for now is my hair colour. 2020 I went pink for New Year’s day, little did one know it would be such an uphill struggle to remain sane and reasonably fun and hopeful for the rest of the year then.

This year I saved my vegan Pink Pop colour refresh (Maria Nila Stockholm) upgrade until International Women’s Day. As usual  it’s suppose to last about 10 washes, but I find that the shimmer can last much longer. Let’s hope it sprinkles pink magic and brings much needed happy new beginnings in my life, work an otherwise.

I continue to put my trust in your process, March, so what awesomeness will you come up with with 2/3 of you left to experience?

Monday, March 01, 2021

hello march 2021, welcome hope springs














March, the first month of spring has finally sprung on these latitudes! 

Though it’s just global warming madness that it was -10 degrees C one week and close to +10 C one week later. And we are so far away from reaching the 2030 sustainability goals. And too few people are willing to change their behaviour on their own, their own convenience trumps everything - and the world remains on fire. Every day is climate angst.

But in the here and personal now I have to admit I’m grateful for not having to deal with the freezing indoors situation we’ve been struggling with for nearly two months now. My electricity has been faulty for so long now, and the old heat pump is basically my only source of heat. It has not been pleasant. And my little furry posse deserves better in their old age too. 

But the catch 22 is, we’re in the middle of a pandemic hence I would never ever let some handyman in to look at whatever problems need fixing right now. And if the pandemic wasn’t an issue finances still are. 

I’m so looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to finally get things looked after on my little red house again. To be able to worry less, and feel more joy. Surely that’s not an awful lot to ask for, Universe?






















I’m trying to be as kind as possible to myself now, I desperately need that after finishing the project managing of Vegoforum in mid February, stressing about money, being dispirited by the fact that my search for the dream job still remains in vain. And on top of that, not feeling like my usual self and strongly suspecting that what I thought was a heavy cold/flu in March/April 2020 was in fact Covid-19.

As I never took a covid-test when it was first made available last year, it will probably not show any signs of antibodies 11 months later if I take a test now. Still, gotta start somewhere, and I have a doctor’s appointment this week. A new health center within walking distance, so I have no idea about the doctors or the quality of health care. But at least it’s close and that kind of trumps everything these days, in a restricted pandemic life.


















Being kind to myself also means reading as much as possible. I’m so grateful that despite suffering from brain fog and memory issues I’m able to read and enjoy books. This heap is library books only. At the moment I try to go there once a week to return and borrow books. In our current limited life that’s one little regular outing that brings me joy.

I’m attending a live online book club with Elizabeth Gilbert on March 30, so I need to finish my own copy of ’City of girls’ before that date too. 

Another thing I’ve noticed during this pandemic life is that my dreams are very vivid, intricate and laboursome. With an extremly limited life every little detail in books, TV, social media, chats, tiny interactions with people are brought into crazy life in my dreams. 

I’ve read about pandemic dreams (nightmares) and that we are many suffering from them. Though I can’t say I find them terrifying, but very exhausting as it feels there’s a whole other life that demands a lof of energy and gusto in my head while I sleep. I’m never really thoroughly rested when I wake up in the morning. 






















Another thing I enjoy a lot now too, is the fact that I’m finally able to wear shoes and perky socks again. After months of icebug boots only, it’s such a relief! 

I’m thinking I should set up a little weekly shoe plan so I make sure I use my shoedrobe much better. And challenge myself to wear more heels regularly. Also a way to exercise different muscle groups. 

These days the littlest things matter more than ever I think.


 















I force myself to smile more, fake it til you nake it style, but it doesn’t come naturally as it used to. I’m planning to colour rinse my hair pink again for spring. As I feel tired and grey inside out now, I felt that could be a little welcome moodlifter. 

I’m continuing to search for that illusive dream job where passion meets purpose (communications manager for preferably a plantbased brand, but as long as it’s a company dedicated to sustainability I’m happy).

As freelancing via my own business really doesn’t give me the joy, growth and positive challenge it used to (never did I feel I would grow weary and tired of it, I mean, being your own boss, awesome, right?) I don’t feel it’s the viable option it should be in these times.

But as that dream quest is dispiritingly difficult (and it really really shouldn’t be!), I’m also looking at other reasonable jobs in line with my skills and experience. We all need to pay the bills, without completely selling our souls. 

Please, March, I’ve been asking your monthly family the same thing for a long time now, mostly in vain alas, but could you please bring positive vibes, joyous news and much needed new beginnings?! One year in limbo is quite enough me thinks. Thanks ever so much in hopeful advance. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

vegan hot cocoa with whipped cream and mallows

 












As my brain fog status limits my energy as well as my ability to write the way I’d like to, am used to, let’s talk about the joy of a really good cup of hot cocoa, okey?

Of all the combos I’ve used to create the perfect vegan cup of hot cocoa heaven, over the years, I do believe I stumbled over perfection yesterday.













Up until recently, my favourite vegan whipped cream has been coconut cream, alas not this one in pic but from the brand Garant which has THE perfect coconut cream for whipping. Sadly only available at Hemköp grocery stores, of which there is none in my hoods. And for it to make financial sense ordering online I need to place a substantial order. Which I’m not keen to do. 

Anyhow, the new-ish iMat whipping cream by Oatly is absolutely brilliant. Whips well and have a more neutral flavour, but oh so creamy. And no palm oil, hooray. 











Planti oat cream is decent too, but it contains palm oil alas. So does the Alpro soy (and for hot cocoa it’s nasty as it gives a very unpleasant tang). So again, Oatly iMat whip it is.













As for marshmallows, I’ve never really been a fan, I’ve always gound them too soft and icky in texture. And the vegan ones have also failed to impress. Until now. Stumbled over these from Spanish brand Vidal (never heard of before, but it’s apparently an old, well-known brand) at a local tobacco shop of all places.

Love them! Much nicer texture and quite addictive. 

So in order to create THE most delicious big cup of hot cocoa with extra oumph I used 

3-4 dl Oatly iKaffe oat milk - let to boil

1 tsp, roughly, organic cocoa + 2 tsp, roughly, coconut sugar - whisk together in your big cup with a splosh of oat milk

Pour the boiling oat milk over the mixture and stir until blended properly.

Add a generous amount of whipped oat cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Top with a few mallows. 

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy a cruelty-free, kind, amazing cup of delicious hot cocoa!





Wednesday, February 03, 2021

hello, february 2021












You know what, today was the first day in about ten months that I woke up in the morning (late morning) feeling I had had eigth-ish hours of interrupted sleep and had the energy to actually feel inclined to do things without forcing myself to do them just because I should.

I had forgotten how life could/should feel. And how miserable is that?

 

I cooked, I took photos, ate some and then I took a long walk with little mum in our current winter wonderland. There were actually un-forced spring in my steps. Again, 10 months lost.

Since we went past the local church and I’d never been inside and it happened to be open, we stepped in and sat in the warmth for a while. I’m an atheist of course, but I can enjoy quietly contemplating in my own bubble in churches. However the organist was playing rather unpleasant music so there wasn’t any quiet time available alas. 











But I always like to light candles and remember beings lost and missed. And for things I wish to change.

No line thrown my way, yet, alas. But for now I’m grateful for a beautiful day with energy and without brain fog. And the fact that I’ve planned and put together a third Vegoforum (theme being Vego and animal rights in media this time) to be held on February 13th (two talks will be in English, speakers from The Vegan Society and Sentient Media, three in Swedish and then we’ll have a panel in Swedish). It’ll be held on Zoom and it’s free, but you need to book a spot for it. Or watch in on YouTube after. Where you also find last year's digital forums.

And with that I’ve tied together the tasks there wasn’t time to complete on my gig last autumn. It feels great to finally tick that box. The project has been fun, frustrating, exhausting, infuriating, inspiring and I've learnt oodles. Now I need to rest from that, and let someone else take the rein again. I must focus on finding my purpose, my people, my job. Simple (and difficult apparently) as that.

As this is quite an urgent situation now I also work a lot on my ability to really trust that the Universe has my back and attracting my goals. I think I've been very clear with what I want (ehat I really really want) for years now. But still it has been illusive and evasive. Come on 2021, I need your help!

Apart from continuing on my purpose finding quest, I’m planning to read more books now again. I’ve only finished three (of my 52 books goal of 2021), so I want to step that process up.

Next week I’ll be able to pick up vegan buns at my local bakery and assemble my own semla at home. Was afraid there wouldn’t be any semla at all this year, but I’m so happy to report that I asked and they said yes. It’ll be fun to make my own almond paste again. If I had a kitchen aid I'd bake my own vegan semla buns, but that's not an option now.

I hope this good day will not be a rare exception to the previous brain fog months. But for now I’m ever so grateful for one truly happy day. Let’s keep this post light and short for a change. Life’s rough enough in these times.

In the next posts I’d like to write about Two Fluffy Tykes art, baking vegan cakes and the miracle of aquafaba, more organic vegan food inspiration, philosophy, sheep, good books and the not so happy current things like my indoor heating that leaves a lot to be desired. Oh how I’m looking forward to the day I’m able to sort that out properly...

February, welcome, be kind and inspiring, and very helpful pretty please. 

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