Monthly Archives: January 2014

  • The Magic of My Hugs

    Earlier this week, I reported that Remy was having those strange heavy panting-collapse episodes. I had spoken to the vet tech and explained the scenario. To me, it seemed like behavior that was following down the path towards seizure, but somehow things would only get to phase 1 rather than like phase 3 (convulsions). The vet tech didn’t really know what it could be, but she said it would be most helpful to them if I could video the incident. Also, if her episodes don’t increase in severity or frequency, we can just continue status quo. I did notice, however, that her walking was a little bit stiffer, so I upped the Tramadol to three times a day from two. So the vet had been out of town, but this evening she gave me a buzz back. Remy is doing pretty well again. She still isn’t at the level from two weeks ago where she was doing amazing, but she’s getting herself up regularly and she’s returned to her habit of sniffing around the house in search of snacks, so honestly, I think that’s as good as we can get. When I explained the most recent incidents, I said it was weird that they were less intense and passed more quickly than before when there was wailing and convulsing. I suggested it was related to me hugging Remy tightly during the onset. The doctor said if those symptoms are triggered by pain, the experiences are probably less severe now, because she’s on anti-inflammatory and painkilling meds. Haha, here I was thinking that it was the magic of my hugs and massages in the moment that saved my Remy from something more traumatic. I’m such a dork.

    In other news, John stayed home again tonight. I slept better last night because 1) Bubbey slept on the couch so his snoring wouldn’t bug me 2) Remy zonked out most of the night from that third dose of Tramadol. I still woke up automatically at 2 a.m. though. For some reason, I use the bathroom every night at that time. Thankfully, I feel back asleep. But by morning, when I had a 9 a.m. conference webinar, I was still tired. Then I had an 11 a.m. webinar. Plus more calls dealing with my dad’s DC condo. I think the second repair tech finally diagnosed the problem. A part is on order and hopefully, next week, we will have a  long term fix. But yeah, the rest of the day, I was just so tired. Stayed in my yoga pants… I need to get my shit together!! Tomorrow I have a morning info interview with a lady at Coursera, followed by lunch with my career coach. Yup, I’m doing it. Time to get this shit going.

    This evening, while I was prepping questions and topics for my info interview, I did all this reading on Coursera. What an amazing concept. I just signed up for another class on logic/reasoning/arguments through Duke. I really wish and hope that my next job will energize me about learning.

    What else. Tomorrow is Chinese New Year! I have a big party on Saturday… there is so much I need to prep, but damn, at this point, I just need to make sure Bubbey is over his sickness and I have most of the ingredients. Ugh, I don’t feel ready. Oh well.

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  • Dragon Ass

    Dayum, I started this week off with big dreams. On Sunday, I was back in the saddle  for the first time in a month. I had a decent ride, but John accompanied and afterwards he made some kind of comment to the effect of: After 2 1/2 years of lessons, I dunno where I expected your skill level to be, but it was supposed to be higher than what I’m seeing.

    Ugh… I know, it sounds worse than he had intended. But he’s also kinda right. Maybe I had even envisioned myself roping cattle by now. I don’t honestly remember what 2.5-year milestone I had set when I started. I probably did expect myself to feel more confident and comfortable when riding out in the fields and on the trails. But these days I spend most of my time in the arena, because I like to work on the technical aspect of riding. I’m a bit perfectionist that way. I feel like being out in the fields is too distracting, and I can’t focus/obsess on the horse’s feet and steps and cadence. I’m such a lune.

    Anyway, whatever. Riding was a nice way to kick off the week, but then that evening, Bubbey got sick, as I mentioned yesterday. Sunday night I slept like crap again. Remy was restless at night. I’m telling you, this sleep problem is going to be the death of me! On Monday, John stayed home sick. I was on nurse patrol, checking his temp every few hours, going to the grocery for nourishment, cooking up meats that had been out of the freezer a tad too long. I upped the dosage for Remy but then I ran out of meds, so it was only upped for like a random day. Back to the vet. You get the story: tedium, tedium. Suddenly, the day’s over.

    Today, I was to start anew. Bubbey was sick in the morning but decided to go in later. I was going to do job apps, proceed with the coaching, do my virtual storytelling conference, and do my class, etc. Then my dad’s email account (which he has me check, esp while he’s away) gets an email that the heat is out in the rental condo, and the tenant is freezing. Well believe it or not, that shot my whole day, because it’s fucking 10 degrees in Washington these days. So I was on the phone nearly all day back and forth with like six people trying to coordinate a repair appointment and trying to get this issue resolved. Repair man said one thing. Building manager said another. Then for some reason, everyone had a middle man, so rather than speak directly to the repair tech, I had to go through his dispatcher. Rather than talk to the tenant, I had to speak with her boss who actually signed the lease on behalf of the company. And seriously, the tech and building manager had totally opposite takes on what was wrong. Tech said it’s a building issue. Building manager insisted it’s specific to the heater inside the unit. Round and round and round. Now the tech has turned on the emergency heat so the tenant is happy, but there are still questions on what the culprit is. I had to call my dad overseas twice to see whether any parts had been replaced, blah, blah. To be continued tomorrow. The webinar I was trying to take today as part of the Virtual Storytelling Conference this week? Shot to hell.

    Ah well, the good news today is that I randomly contacted someone for an informational interview, and she said yes! Now I have two interviews for Friday. Interestingly, late last night I watched/read a bunch of postings by the Human Workplace. I love the lady Liz’s spunk and sass. But as much as I agree with everything she says, I have a hard time believing there are actually companies out there really, truly ok with deviating from the established recruitment process. Seriously. Just this week, I called Yahoo to inquire the hiring manager’s name for their division, Yahoo for Good. I had spent all this time scouring for the contact online but to no avail. When I called to ask, they said they don’t give out that info. Really? You can’t tell me the director of one of your divisions? Then I also asked about reaching out directly to the hiring manager for another position I applied for. I was advised from an internal source to let the normal process play out a bit. I mean, maybe to Liz’s point, some rules are just meant to be broken. I dunno. Job hunting really is a weird ball game.

    In other news, John and I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile two Sundays ago. Unfortunately, reception at home is now worse than ever. John was stressing about his mistake to switch over, so I called T-mobile and spoke with a bunch of reps to get a signal booster sent out to us. Blah, blah, the unit was supposed to be expedited, but someone fucked up and the UPS Ground was irreversible and no more units could get shipped to me. Yeah, unbelievably complicated. Well tomorrow is finally the day of delivery. I sure hope this signal booster works, because I am not about to take on yet another logistical task to suck all my fucking time.

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  • Not Again!

    Remy has been kinda restless these last several nights. She gets up and walks out of the bedroom only to turn around and come back. She can’t quite seem to get comfortable in any of the pillows or even on the floor. When I got up this morning around 7 to feed the pups, she seemed especially unsteady. She didn’t finish her food like she normally does, and then she stumbled down the hall into the bedroom. She suddenly started panting heavily, and then she just lied down. The last time this happened (a week ago), she threw onto her side, and I felt like that weird heavy-body-whimpering combo was about to start. I immediately got on the ground and squeezed her and just started massaging her whole body. Then, the moment passed in about 10 seconds, and she came back. She slept like a baby afterwards. This morning, as soon as she lied down with the heavy panting, I started to hug her tightly, and then the moment passed again in a few seconds.

    I don’t know what the hell is going on, but it does seem like holding her tightly somehow short-circuits the onset of something worse. I looked all of this up online (and also called the vet tech), and whether these episodes are seizures or acute collapse (aka fainting or syncope), the causes can be issues with: 1) The nervous system 2) The musculoskeletal system 3) The circulatory system or 4) The respiratory system. Well that narrows it down, right?! Next time, I’m supposed to have the wherewithal to video that shit. :( I guess the good news is that she seems ok afterwards, and all else seems normal: eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing. I have also added a third daily dose of Tramadol, because her legs have appeared stiffer the last week. Hopefully, it will also help her sleep better at night and not be so damn restless. Ugh. I’m really tired from all of this. Aging sucks.

    In other news, Bubbey got sick last night. He started getting a sore throat, and today he also had burning eyes and headaches. No fever though (After my whole bout, I was extra vigilant about taking his temp). He’s taken DayQuil and Advil, but he doesn’t seem to be getting better. I’m worried he’ll have to stay home again tomorrow. Geez, our whole house is an infirmary. Martin is the only one who’s healthy. Too bad he’s too damn oblivious to help take care of us!


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  • Newfound Clarity

    I came out of the personal development workshop Saturday with some new affirmations and clarity. Last week, I submitted two applications for communications officer positions at some area family foundations. My former District board member is actually a long-time operations manager at one of the organizations, so I hope that boosts my chances. Fingers crossed.

    But among my epiphanies last week, I realized that I really am the kind of person who has to have meaning in the content of my work. That’s what drives me every day. So while some people can have work provide the resources for their lifestyle so they can derive meaning/purpose from outside activities, that scenario just wouldn’t work for me. My identity is too tied to my work.

    I also feel more strongly now that my next job has to be in communications– written, oral, online, etc. I just come alive when I communicate information that is compelling, influential, and/or entertaining. So this week I hope to find some relevant associations/institutes/training where I can attend communications workshops and seminars and such.

    Third, I want to start incorporating better habits into my life. I want to keep blogging and meditating. I’m going to try the Zen meditation center in Redwood City again. John and I only went once years ago. And then I want to get back to exercising regularly and eating better. My long sickness really reminded me that I need to take better care of myself and try to get quality, solid sleep.

    I started reading a book last night on leadership by John Maxwell. I never thought of myself as someone interested in being a leader, because I never wanted to manage people. But turns out, I had the definition of leadership all wrong!!! It’s about influence through relationships that are built on character and trust. That’s why the GM is a manager but an awful leader. One chapter I read last night just made so much sense connecting all the dots!!

    And then moving forward, I want to stay focused on my priorities and criteria for my next gig. There really are some non-negotiable parameters, and I need to stand strong on them. Previously, I’d been so damn wishy washy about what work environments could work. But essentially, I figured I would make whatever adjustments necessary. Now, I see that I don’t have to settle! I have to work with top notch people who are as obsessed with learning and improving as I am. The culture has to be collaborative and supportive and nimble, and the content/mission of the organization has resonate with me. That’s just the way it has to be!

    I’m considering giving one-on-one coaching a try. I think I would get a lot out of it. I hope to decide on that this week.

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  • The Phoenix Rises

    I made considerable progress this week staying in and sleeping a shitload. The infection is gone now (at least it feels gone), and I’m just battling remnant congestion. Whew! Today I am finally feeling near normal… three weeks later, of course!

    Now I gotta get back to normalcy, because shit, I was forced to wipe my calendar clean for three weeks!! I missed out on all kinds of fun (I know, it was killing me!). This weekend I’m doing an all-day “dare to reinvent yourself” workshop tomorrow, and then I’ll probably just lay low the rest of the weekend. My strength is still sub-par. I’m considering climbing back into the saddle on Sunday while the rest of the town watches football, but I don’t know. We’ll see. All I know is, next week all my social activities are coming back online. Enough is enough, I tell ya!

    In other news, I’ve got my next Coursera class lined up. Also, I’m getting back on the job application wagon. Yup, I sent out two apps this week, including one for an area family foundation seeking a digital communications officer. I spent all week crafting my letters and fine-tuning my CV and portfolio. I shipped the second app out this afternoon, so I could stop obsessing over the holiday weekend. Fingers crossed!!

    Ok, well I had a pretty packed day. My buds T and M came over for lunch today, and I made pork chops with mushroom sauce. They turned out ok; then again, those two are easy to please when it comes to food. I’m just about hitting a wall now, which works out since I’ll need to be up early tomorrow for my workshop. I’m going in with an open mind!

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  • Fix Me!

    Today was my last day on the Z-Pak, the super duper antibiotic treatment. Oddly, after the drugs had me feeling AMAZING on Sunday, I felt a downturn starting on Monday and Tuesday. I was just getting wiped out every three hours, and my throat started getting scratchy. Also, the nasal congestion started up… When I awoke this morning, I felt like shit, so I went back to the doctor.

    I saw a different doctor this time. He was super peppy for 9 a.m., but I liked his vibe. And he sorta used language that I like to hear. Like he said, “Ok, let’s take a look to see how we’re gonna fix you!” Yes! I have been completely broken for two weeks, and goddamnit, this shit is getting old. Get me back up and running!! The good news is that he thinks my infection is gone, and all of this crap is just remnant sinus congestion. So, he recommended Allegra D + Flonase for five days. At night, Benadry if I need to sleep. Then, switch over to Allegra normal for five days after that. Bam, I ought to be back in action in 3-5 days. Freaking awesome.

    So today I popped the Allegra D. I felt better quickly after; although he warned that I might be bouncing off the walls from the caffeine. I was really looking forward to a brief return of “power mode,” but that didn’t happen. Instead, I watched yet another relationship movie on Amazon Prime and then took a nap. When I got up, I took the dogs to the park. Incidentally, I ran into the dog sitter, and she was shocked by how awful I looked. Really, it was actually kind of amusing to see the disbelief in her face. She just kept saying, “Oh my goodness, I have never seen you look so terrible EVER!!” Gotta love the radical honesty. Well, two plus weeks lying around in bed wearing yoga pants will zap the glam right out. Sigh. When will I wear my pretty clothes again? Haha, so vain.

    Well, I did maybe three things today, so my energy is just about depleted. Back to bed! Hoping for some magic tomorrow.

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  • Doctor’s Orders

    Well, the doctor squeezed me in for an appointment on Saturday morning. Here I had been telling everyone (namely, my father) that I just had a scratchy throat and head congestion. No fever, no fever. He was like, you need to see a doctor. So I did, and as it turned out, I DID have a fever! A substantial 102 degrees even! Which means, if a 102-degree fever doesn’t even register with me, when I DID feel I had a fever, it must have been much higher. I’m a dumbass, and you know, looking back, even as a child, I ran crazy high fevers: 104-105 every time I got sick. Maybe that explains my brain damage.

    Anyway, the doctor was concerned. She said, normally, a fever isn’t a big deal except that I was already two weeks into this sickness. I said I had a lot of head congestion so maybe it was just a sinus infection, but she said usually sinus infections don’t really cause fevers that high. I was really kinda taken aback, because seriously, I didn’t think I was running a temperature. And you know what? During the whole two weeks, I never once busted out the thermometer. Why? I dunno, because I’m stupid! I’m embarrassed to say that I’m the daughter of a physician. So fucking oblivious with my health, right?

    Long story short, the doctor kinda wanted to do a chest x-ray, because she was suspecting walking pneumonia. Yup. I mean, I really should have expected something bad. After all, this is the same damn body that had shingles (a few times) and H1N1. I was a little reluctant about the x-ray though, because well, that shit is pricey. She said the treatment would be the same (antibiotics), but in case if I didn’t get better, the x-ray would give more information on what was going on. Something like that. I didn’t grasp it completely. I was a little zoned out.

    She said something about me being sick for a long time (since December 29), and I think she was silently asking why the hell I had waited so damn long to see her. I didn’t really know what to say. I mean, when the symptoms got really bad, I took DayQuil and NyQuil, and then that made me feel good enough to leave the house and run errands, cook, do laundry. I guess I have the foolish thinking of a teenager: I’m invincible. I explained that I don’t really pay attention to my body. When it doesn’t feel well, I get impatient with it, and then I just power through because I don’t want to be inconvenienced. Even as I was telling her all this, I was still planning on going out that night on a double date dinner and concert in Santa Cruz. See? I’m incorrigible! Fortunately, I had enough brain cells left to ask if I was contagious, and she said, well yes, technically you are contagious until 24 hours after being fever free. And you have a fever now. Fuck. That was the only thing that made me cancel my plans.

    Anyway, I’m now on that Zithromax, super antibiotics 4-day plan. On Sunday, I felt the best I’d felt in over two weeks. It had been so long ago, I had almost forgotten what that felt like. Naturally, I then wanted to get out and do all kinds of things. But I was trying to learn my lesson. I mean seriously. Walking pneumonia. Calm the fuck down. So I stayed home and in bed ALL WEEKEND LONG: watched some movies, did some meditation, sat around in yoga pants. It nearly drove me crazy, but this is what I have to do. In the new year, I really need to focus on getting rest.

    For example, why do I wake up as soon as Remy walks to my side of the bed: 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 6 a.m. It doesn’t matter what hour of the night or morning. She doesn’t even whimper or paw at the bed or anything (like she used to). She just walks over quietly, and I wake up. Seems like I should be slumbering much more deeply… like she should have to DO something to wake me, right? So this is my new challenge for the new year. I have to start sleeping deeply, and I’m pretty sure deep rest is going to change my life! ;)

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  • Pattern of Sickness

    So it’s now been almost TWO WEEKS, and I am still sick. Sure, in the span of twelve days, I’ve gotten better then not, better then not a few times. For now, I believe the sweat-my-brains out fevers are behind me, but I just can’t seem to shake this head congestion and scratchy throat. I have been drinking TONS of water too. What the hell is wrong with me? John suggested I see the doctor this morning, and of course, all the family practice and internal med docs are completely booked. Is this flu epidemic for real?

    The thing is, I even got the flu shot! Yes, I was late to the game and got it in early December, but still. Wth? I suppose my main problem is rest. I have a hard time getting good rest. Even when I’m well, I can’t sleep. John says I’m on the same up and down pattern as Remy. You see, Rems was doing amazing after her bout with lameness over Thanksgiving. Pop a few pills and bam, she was up walking to the park again. She was even starting to use the doggie door again, and so John and I thought we’d try to boost her quality of life a bit more by trying out the chiropractor. So on Tuesday, I took Remy to the chiro. The lady was so nice, and she had this portable laser machine that she described like a miracle device. Seriously. She said it had all these different settings including wound healing, which she uses on her hubby whenever he has any scrapes/lesions from bicycling. To be honest, as she described how it decreased inflammation for arthritis and joint pain and facilitated cell regeneration for skin damage, I was about ready to go research this device to buy for my own personal use. It was like an “As Seen on TV” moment for me. And Remy was so calm while the lady applied the cold laser to her hips and shoulder blades. Remy is hardly ever that calm at the vet’s office. When we got home, even John commented that Remy was moving around more sprightly. This was going to be her fountain of youth!!

    Then, the next day, she regressed substantially. Her back end kept tucking under. What the heck? Then… she had a seizure aura. I think that’s the term for the pre-seizure moment where Remy just suddenly falls to her side and starts wailing continuously. Holy crap. Her whole body goes completely limp, super heavy, and she just gets in this weird zone. Something similar had happened back in September, but the wailing was followed by a grand mal seizure where the body just started thrusting uncontrollably.  That shit was so fucking scary. I had talked to my vet friend about it, and she said if it just happened one time, I shouldn’t worry too much, but I should just pay attention to everything that changes: new food, new treats, different cleaning solvents, anything. Since then, I have kept things super consistent. She rarely gets scraps, and I stick with the same kibble and treats. She doesn’t really go anywhere beyond home and the park. And yeah, she was doing so amazing since her lameness bout. What the heck happened? So with this aura, the next day, it happened again! She was eating breakfast; she abruptly went to the living room and lied down. She started breathing kinda heavy, and then suddenly, she threw onto her side and the wailing began again. This episode was shorter and again, no convulsions. So then I was super freaked out. Two days in a row. I emailed the chiro like, this happened after her appointment. Maybe you pinched a nerve or something? Is it a coincidence? Poor chiro. She said it’s unlikely she pinched anything thing… as I saw, the adjustments were super gentle.

    The weird thing is, after the episode, Remy was wiped. But by the afternoon, she was better again and walking around. The chiro: she was so kind and sweet. She offered another cold laser treatment to see if it would make Remy more comfortable. Remy is so amazingly calm with the chiro. I then called the vet to inquire about the pain and anti-inflammatory meds. Could seizures be some kind of side effect from those? She’d been taking them for over a month. The vet assistant kinda dismissed what I said, saying she’d never heard of the meds doing that, so then I googled it. Weird thing: Meloxicam and Tramadol both list seizures as side effects (seizures in humans taking Tramadol; may raise pet’s risk of seizure) . Gabapentin is listed as a anti-seizure med and pain killer. So then I called the vet. The vet says she has never seen those meds cause seizures and in her books, seizures are not listed as a side effect. Are we not looking at the same information?? That’s not to say, Remy isn’t responding to the meds differently than most other dogs… She said usually, seizures in older dogs are caused by brain disorders or tumors. So is this where experience vs. books are supposed to come into play? She said she really didn’t think the meds were causing these episodes, so she suggested I continue with treatment, or if I wanted, I could take something out. I explained that I ran out of Tramadol, so she said ok, try the meds without Tramadol. Then I looked online, and it said not to suddenly discontinue taking Tramadol or you could get vomiting, diarrhea, chills. Ugghhh, so much conflicting infomration!! I’m going to the vet now to pick up the Tramadol and talk to the pharmacist.

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  • Guitarist

    With the chilly winter nights, John and I decided to look into getting a fireplace insert. So the other day, I emailed a local vendor asking about options. I didn’t hear back, so that afternoon I headed into the showroom. It was just down the street. When I met the lady, she said, “Oh yes, I got your email. You’re the guitarist.”

    Um, what? “Yes, you play the guitar or something. Are you a musician?” Um… I think you have the wrong person. After a few more seconds of back and forth, she said, “You have a picture on your Gmail where you’re playing a guitar.” Oooohhhh. that!!! Haha. Mystery solved. Um, you mean my picture from last Halloween where I’m trying to be all bad-ass rockstar?? Interesting. Maybe I ought to update my photo, so job inquiries and such aren’t pulling up that picture. It kinda suggests character though, right? And, at this point, I have the gothy, pitch black hair (the deep purple dye didn’t quite take) to go with…

    By the way, in case you’re curious, a gas fireplace insert is crazy expensive!! In my head, I had a number of about $3k. Turns out, we’re talking close to $6k! Because I’m so goddamned cheap, I think we’re going to just continue status quo. Uggghh.

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  • New Year, New Life

    How arbitrary to use the new calendar year as a marker for making changes. Oh well, whatever works, right? So, to celebrate the new year (belatedly due to illness), I re-arranged the living room. John’s been wanting some kind of nice leather reading chair for the living room, so we tried a couple of configurations to imagine a monster chair. I finally settled on this layout: the couch is in front of the tv, my orange patterned chair is against the window,  and the leather placeholder chair is next to that, separated by end tables. I also moved the floor lamps around. Anyway, I’m happy with it. Now, we just have a find a small form factor chair. I also added a “headboard” to my bed. It’s kinda funny, because I spent an afternoon surfing online for a tufted, taupe headboard. During the winter, John and I have been noticing that our heads get cold overnight. Our bed is placed along an exterior wall, and since the house has zero insulation, we can really feel the temperature gradient along the wall. So I researched headboards to death, and then, in the most random moment, a genius idea came to me! I had removed the back pillows to our living room sofa, because John complained that the seat wasn’t deep enough. Well, my sofa is taupe and tufted. Voila. So the width is a bit longer than the mattress, but what the heck? I’m pretty frickin’ pleased! Totally passable!

    Other changes. I’m getting an office chair for my home office. Previously, I was sitting on an inflatable ball– great for the ball but awful for decor. I’m getting a rolling masseuse’s saddle stool. It’ll tuck conveniently under the desk when my daybed has to roll out, and it kinda goes with the cowgirl theme in there… being kinda saddle-shaped and all. :)

    I had dyed my hair out of the box when I visited P in Long Beach last November. The deep red turned out beautifully, but I figured this time I’d go deep purple. This morning, I did it myself and let the dye set in really good– a full 35 minutes. Rinse, condition, blow-dry… and it’s fucking jet black. Now I look all goth and shit. Ugh. My friend insists that in the sun, you can see the violet, but what the hell? I can’t be walking around with a lamp on my head. I guess the changes can’t all be winners. I’ll let it sit a few days and revisit the issue.

    Ok, now I’m off to do a home mani/pedi. My buddy G got me Birchbox for Xmas, so I’m dying to try out this new shimmery charcoal gray.

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