I’M STILL ALIVE

FINALLY, SOME SPARE TIME !

Wow wee, a lot has happened over the last few weeks.  I just don’t seem to have had much spare time at all to do a post on my blog.  It is frustrating, it is not from a lack of not wanting to.   I have still been busy looking for an ideal job.  It is so hard, there is not much about at all. I am getting kind of desperate and would do anything, as long as I had a decent boss and worked with nice people.

Over the last couple of months I have been doing some cleaning work, but it seems to have dwindled to about 5 -7 hours a week.  This is obviously not enough money to pay the bills and mortgage.  I was in full time work (40 hours) prior to leaving my office position.  

A few weeks back I applied for a job on Mondays and Fridays, as a courier driver.  There was lots of applicants, but I got it, yay … finally I thought I had 20 hrs guaranteed on these two days.  I did 3 weeks training working 10 hour days starting at 6am.  Then I had 2 days on my own.  I was getting use to the running around, driving all over North Dunedin, but then the Owner Driver who employed me cut my hours back from 2 to 1, as she couldn’t afford to pay me!!!!   Then she decided that I wouldn’t be paid for the 4 & 1/2 days training.   I was in shock, these were 6am starts and 10 hour days.  😦  I am really sad that she is unreliable, selfish and obviously dodgy.  Why would she even advertise in the newspaper for someone if she couldn’t afford it? It is highly illegal to not pay someone for training, especially for days rather than hours, also not to give me a contract when I kept asking.  Such a shame, but I had to tell her to forget about her ‘so called job’.   I also told her to pay me what is due before the end of the month.  I probably won’t get my money, but will try.   There are some selfish, dishonest people out there.  I could never, ever do that to someone.

So here we are again, looking for another job to add to the cleaning work.  I have applied for so many now. I will keep trying. 

On a happier note, my Brother Steven and I run the half marathon race that we have been training for.   It was a week ago.   I don’t really care about finishing times, but I did surprise myself with crossing that finish line 10 seconds under 2 hours.   Yay, I think I am still on a high from completing it.  It was just over 15 years ago that I run the 21 kms distance.   Steven came in before me, around 6 mins.    Next year if we do it, I will try and beat him.  😛  Everyone also received a medal for the first time, as it was 30 years that the sponsor – Cadburys had sponsored the event.  It is our Harriers Club that runs this event annually.  We had great numbers of entries this year.

Over the weekend we have had two baby lambs born, they are very cute.  The second one was born yesterday and is smaller than the first baby.  I have been worried about them today as we have had heavy rain for most of the day.  I am sure Mummy sheep will look after them and try to protect them from the elements.   

I can’t wait until Winter/Autumn is over.  We have had so much rain this year.  Roll on spring.  

 

 

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CHICKEN GOES ROGUE

CHICKEN GOES WALKABOUT

Hi all, firstly apologies for no blog post for a while.   I have still been trying to find a good job, although I have been doing the odd few hours of cleaning in the meantime.  Hours are only a few, and I have to sometimes go out 3 x times a day to the odd 1hr cleaning job…and work at night for the odd hour job also.  The petrol in my car is costing a fortune, not to mention disrupting my whole day and night with minimal money coming in.  I was use to (and needed) receiving 40 hours pay, now I am only getting 10 to 14 hours a week on minimum wage.  I have applied for over 35 jobs now and also have rung lots of business’s and also gone in to some.

I came close to getting a nice Cafe job in a little suburb, a lovely vintage looking Cafe that does high teas and uses vintage china tea cups and plates etc for their customers.  It was between two of us, the Manager ended up taking the young girl that already has Barista experience.  I understand where she is coming from, but I was still disappointed.  I will keep on trying though.

On a happier note, I have been trying to build up my running/training for a couple of events, one being a half marathon in 5 or so weeks.  Also I have competed in a couple of Walking events with my Harriers Club recently.  

One was a 10 km race last Saturday, it is a great popular event that is handicapped. I received a huge handicap again of 16 minutes (drat), it is horrible having to wait that long after the first walker leaves on zero minutes.   There was no way I could reach the front ones, although I tried and ended up being the Fastest Female time and also 2nd Fastest overall.  There is no certificate or anything for that though.   I was second last to leave the start line and a ‘race’ walker left behind me. He is so fast and in a different league.   The idea of the handicaps is to give everyone a chance of winning the event, I think this is ideal for all and in good fair spirits.  But sometimes the Handicapper (I hate that word, but that is what they are called) gets it a little wrong, I think myself and the other young 17 year old Race walker behind me were given handicaps a little too large.  

The idea is everyone should be coming up to the finish line at a similar time, that is if the handicaps are worked out correctly.  They were a little off, but I don’t really care, as I did a good time overall for me for the 10 kms and I am happy as I tried my best as I do, and I finished upright.  I loved the event on a nice day. I was chuffed the lady that won is recovering from a brain tumour, she so deserves it and is a good wee walker.  The win and trophy will give her a boost. 🙂

Yesterday I marshaled at a Running Road Race down the Peninsula, it was so damn cold, the Marshall’s were there for over 3 hours in high winds and bitter coldness.  I loved seeing the runners and my Club did well, but I froze and couldn’t wait to get home.   I want to run the event next year.

This coming weekend is another Running and Walking Road Race from Clyde to Alexandra in Central Otago.  My Athletics Club goes up every year, it is a big day out, getting home on the bus quite late at night.  I will walk it this year, it’s 10 kms, but next year I want to run it.  It will be a fun club day out.  Also in 5 weeks time I am competing in a Half Marathon, 21 kms of Running (yes not walking this year).  I have trying to pick up a few training runs in preparation as it has been around 15 years since I run one.  And I am a lot older now a days.  Think I might be a tad faster, (although still a plodder :P) than years ago when I did it.

I have trying to fit these little training runs in between the hour long cleaning jobs and applying for jobs.

Colin and our Daughter are full of the nasty flu/cough going around.  I have never seen them so sick, it is awful.  The coughing affects the whole household too, not sleeping etc.  All they can do is try to sit it out, drink fluids, rest etc and wait for it to buggar off.  It is going around Dunedin really badly at the moment….I don’t want it.

Today I feel happy, although tired now zzzzz.  I got lots achieved around home.  It has been so wet this winter and hard to get outside.

This morning I:

  • went for a 12 km run with my Brother Steven , doing road and off road running and hills
  • washed Colin’s and my car
  • did heaps of washing
  • pulled a few weeds out the garden
  • then tackled cleaning the guttering on the house, I have only done half the house, climbing high up the ladder.

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We have been a bit slack, the guttering should be cleaned out prior to winter, every year, but hasn’t been done for about 2 years. You can imagine the sludge in there.  Yuck.  Hard standing on a ladder and holding your arms up trying to get your hands into a narrow space.   At least I have started it, half done 🙂  Colin had a 2 hour sleep while I started it as he is so knackered with this flu.

While I was up the ladder I noticed lots of eggs under a plant in front of the house.  We have one chicken (hen ) that wanders around the paddocks every day, we clip her wing but she still gets out of the coop somehow everyday.   We now know where she lays her eggs.  I thought our dogs must be finding them and eating them as they love the eggs, and it makes their coats so shiny.

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Couldn’t believe it.   Colin laid them out on the driveway.   We gave the two top eggs to the dogs to eat, I think there is around 36 of them.  We all found it funny.   Such a waste though.  At least now we know where to look daily.   We left one marked egg still there in the same place so she still lays there and hopefully not a new place.

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Last, but not least, I will add a few pics of my first woodworking project I made.  Out of recycled timber we had.  A crate for our potatoes to live in in our pantry/scullery.  I painted it mint green and even did an old vintage look stencil on it.  I reworked some skateboard wheels onto the bottom of it too rather than castors.  Apart from not been able to tighten all the gaps/screws etc properly, it turns out ok for my first attempt.  

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Bye for now.   Donna

 

 

 

SATURDAY WALK

SATURDAY WALK

It is cold today, and wet, but it didn’t stop me running the 5km at The Park Run early this morning.  Then this afternoon I walked with my Harriers Athletics Club in the rain, we walked a steady pace and did 10 kms with lots of nattering. 🙂

Last night I also went for a run and did 15 kms, probably one of my longer runs.  I was pretty slow in the end when tired.  Actually I am pretty slow fullstop but that doesn’t matter.  My Brother and I are going to put our names down to do a Half Marathon in September, I haven’t done one since 2002!  I was a LOT younger then, so I have to pick up the kms/distance to achieve getting to the finish line.  🙂

It was good doing this last night as I had a ho-hum day.  It was cold and miserable outside and I was feeling low after not being able to find a job.  The run/jog and fresh air lifted my spirits a bit.  I did feel the extra run and tiredness this morning though at the Park Run.  It is so fun running and walking with other people, it pushes you along and you get to meet other people. The Park Run people are so friendly and encouraging to each other. 🙂

I have applied for around 19 jobs so far, about 15 of them are not the best jobs that I really would want, but ‘beggars can’t be choosers’. I will take anything and work hard, even if it in an ‘in between’ job. There is not much out there in little old Dunedin.  I have heard back from 2 of the 19 so far, telling me that I won’t be getting an interview.  I appreciate them letting me know as often business’s don’t and it is a fair bit of work sending a CV through and applying for a job.  I have also done a bit of door knocking and ringing firms on the off chance they may have some work… this is extremely hard to do.

I am determined to get work, I just have to keep on trying.  I know I am a hard worker.  I hate not working, I don’t even know what day it is anymore. Because I am married and Colin is working, I get no unemployment benefit or help from the Government.  I have gone from earning $600 in my hand a week to nothing 😦   Things were going ok and we were finally catching up and achieving, and I was hoping to get that holiday to Bali one day, but this will set us back again.  I can still hold on to the dream of one day us both having a nice holiday again. 

It is my Brother’s Birthday today, he is two years older than me.  I am pleased I am seeing more of him these days and running with him.  We both did a Cross Country running & walking race last weekend with our club.  It was hilly, but great getting dirty and doing it and pushing ourselves hard.  Steven did well in his run and I was 1st female over the line and 2nd overall out of all the Walkers.   Unfortunately there is no prizes for the Walkers 😦   Next year I think I will be changing over from being a Walker to being a Runner (plodder) as the Walkers don’t get a lot of recognition with Harriers when it is a race. I think I can walk up a hill faster than I can run it though ha ha.

Tomorrow, Sunday is going to be a rest day, no exercise and I am going to eat chocolate.  🙂 

Keep warm if you are in Winter like us here in New Zealand. 

JOB HUNTING

WORK REQUIRED

Today I went to my art class and started a piece of mosaic art with broken tiles, then I attended a pottery class.  I was taught how to make a pinch pot, it now needs to be fired in the kilm.  I then had a go on the potter’s wheel.  That was a bit of fun and a disaster all in one.

I attempted to throw a bowl, it started off well after receiving instructions on my first attempt. I centered it well on the potter’s wheel, I was getting a good height on it and thinning out the sides.  All of a sudden I did something to the inside base with my thumb. 😦  It all turned to custard after that.  My clay got the wobbles, then the sides came of the base.  Drat, that was the end of that.  It was fun getting messy and feeling the clay and watching it change from just a gentle push/squeezing with my hands.  I will have another go at sometime soon. I must remember it was my first attempt.

The reason I was at Art Class today is because I am out of work …again!  I had to give up my office job a week ago as the owners (Husband and Wife) are not nice to their employees.  I put up with the constant negativeness and ripping off the workers, including myself.  Even down to simple stuff like the Wife (names omitted) not even speaking to us office girls in the mornings.  7 people have left in the 10 months I have been there, the last office girl left a day after me, she managed 8 weeks, the one prior to her 1 & 1/2 weeks.

The Wife is a bully, a nasty lady. We worked very hard and we  (all  the people that have left) loved the job, the work, the other staff. Such a shame.  And I, like the others need the money, for the mortgage and to live etc, but I had enough of the Wife’s bullying.  It is a buggar in New Zealand if you lose your job or have no work when you are married, as you get no help from the government, no unemployment benefit at all.  Colin isn’t on a big wage, so I need to get work. 😦

The Wife had me in tears just over a week ago because of a simple error, she made a fool of me yelling  in front of the other workers, as usual.  I decided that night was the final straw.  I have never, ever walked out of a job, especially without giving notice.  I was adamant that I won’t be treated with her ways and moodiness any more, especially when I know I am a good hard worker and a nice person who doesn’t deserve it.  Niether did I like the put downs of the others in the office and workplace.  

The most important thing is I have reported them, so it is noted and hopefully may change things so others don’t get treated like shit. I have my doubts though.  I HATE bullies.  I miss my work colleagues there and the work.  Wouldn’t you think they would get the message why people leave?  It is very hard to say , your wife is a B**** to the Husband without getting a back lash.  I was just so happy to finally get an office job 10 months ago…and to get back on track with money etc after Colin was sick and out of work for so long.  I knew the place was not a good atmosphere  from day 1 but I tried to shut it out.

So now, I am desperate to get a happy job/workplace, actually just any job and money would be good in the short term.  There is not much about in Dunedin.  I have applied for 6 jobs online but 4 of them, I really don’t even expect an interview.  The other 2 are only 20 hours a week, when I have been doing and getting paid for 40. But I figger than some money is better than no money. Fingers crossed something promising happens for me soon. I do enjoy office work, but will do anything.  I am finding it difficult to remember what day it is, let alone the date with not having any direction and focus on day to day working life.  My parents always brought us kids (adults) up to be hard workers, like they were.

On a positive note at least I made the most of Art Class today as I had to give it up when I started working full time, 10 months ago.

Today in Dunedin it was so so cold, we had a few snow flurries. The ‘Lions’ rugby team are playing our mighty ‘Highlanders’ tonight at our under-cover stadium in town.  There is lots of people, supporters in town.  The atmosphere and buzz will be good for Dunedin.  Hope they all wrap up warm tonight.

I have been doing lots of running (jogging) with my Harriers Club and at a Saturday morning early run for a while now.  I am a plodder and will never be a speedster but I enjoy the challenge.  I still love walking and have entered a few walking events/races with my club but I have been enjoying the aspect of trying new things and pushing myself to run a bit. I have enjoyed meeting new people and it has been nice that my Brother has joined my Club too this year and I see him a lot more now.  We ran 10 or so kms last Friday night and plan on doing the same this Friday coming.  He is looking out for a job for me too. 

Bye for now, keep warm if you are experiencing winter in your country, and enjoy the sunny days if you are living on the other side of the world.   

Regards  Donna  🙂

BIRTHDAY TIME

WINTERY DUNEDIN

I write this blog post with a bit of guilt as I haven’t had the time to get on here for so so long.  I don’t know where the days, nights and weekends go.

So much as happened over the last couple of months, good and bad.

It certainly is not from a lack of not wanting to write on my blog, I just have not had a spare moment to do so. 

First things first, it is our Daughter’s Birthday today, she has just scooted off to her work for the night, she also worked this morning. It is a shame that she couldn’t have at least got the night off her job, but her work said ‘no more leave in May’ available when she thought about putting in for it. 😦   

I volunteered at The Hospice this morning, my regular Sunday shift for the month, I thought I might as well work as the young 23 year old was working too.  Colin and I gave her her pressies at 1pm today.  Lots of bits and pieces, new and second hand vintage pieces.  And some nice warm sheets and PJ’s as the days are so cold now, coming in to winter.  Snow has hit the South Island over the weekend.  It hasn’t settled here yet but you can feel it in the air.  It was  only 5 degrees yesterday.  

Back to the birthday girl, the main pressie was a vintage Cake Mixer, a Kenwood one.  I managed to buy one on an auction a few weeks ago and had it freighted to my work in Dunedin so we could hide it.  The young lass still lives at home 🙂 and uses my Kenwood mixer all the time and has always wanted one.  It also has an extra piece on it – a blender, and also the original handbook.  Her one has baby blue on it, being one of her favourite pastel vintagey colours.   Is vintagey actually a word?

Anyway, she was chuffed and so surprised.   I am so pleased as it arrived very dirty, with years of cake crumbs and gunk everywhere. It took me around 3 hours to clean up.  The old Kenwood brand heavy mixers are so much better than the new type.  They still go for a good price, we paid $200 for it which was a great deal.   I am sure she will put it away back in the cardboard box and keep it for when she gets her own place one day.

When she arrives home from work today, we have one last surprise for her, a nice Gluten Free Chocolate Gateaux for her that we had made by a local bakery.    

Natyler-Jae's Pressie (5)

Natyler-Jae's Pressie (6)

The flowers below are a small bunch that I managed to find in our garden to take to the cemetary for Mum for Mothers Day last weekend.  I am sure she liked them.  I got a nice green vintage glass bud vase and a cute pink rose for my Mother’s Day present off our young girl. She also took me out to a cafe for a coffee in between her split shift.   I was spoilt.  Incase you are wondering I am not allowed to give her name on my blog as it is a unique name that we made up when she was born.  I understand that and promised to respect her privacy.  

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Colin has been doing well in remission.  He now gets checked and has an appointment by his Oncologist every 6 months (rather than 3 monthly). He still has blood tests every 3 months.  He does often feel tired, but manages to hold down a busy job working in the cold.  He never moans, but I know he gets sore legs and back.. it is suspected his sore legs are nerve damage from all of the chemotherapy.  He likes working and takes things in his stride.  

My health has been semi-ok lately, I have been having problems again with my iron and also low white blood cells.  The Doctors don’t seem to know why they are low all of the time now and don’t seem to want to do much about it, just to monitor me.   I know the low iron and vitamins are from having Coeliac Disease, but it does worry me about the low white cells.  I can’t afford to get sick or an infection or anything as I have been classed as neutopenic.  That is what Colin was like when he was fighting the luekiemia.  That will explain why even small cuts don’t heal.   I also have been having a few bowel issues.  I hate it and it does get me down a bit, I lose a bit of confidence, but then try to remember that we have both been given another chance at life, and that there are way worse people off than us.  

Apart from that I am in a happy place with my running and walking. I have been seeing a lot more of my Brother.  🙂   He has joined my Harriers Athletics Club.  We have done lots of running together in and out of club when time allows.  He is a way better runner than me, I am a slow plodder.  A photo of Steven is below in one of our Club races, he was on a roll and over taking the girls. 🙂

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 My bowel problems are always a worry, not so much with Walking but when I run. I will NOT let it stop me from trying to do things.  I am slowly getting a little faster, beating my own time on the same distance.  I am still a walker in my club but also like running too and have only picked it up a year or so ago. I try to go running on a Monday night after work, it is always fun going with others, they are mostly from my Club but a few extras.  We normally do around 10kms, I am always at the back of the pack, but it doesn’t matter.  They are a great crowd and it pushes me more. 

Below is an event my friend Vanessa (in yellow) and I run in.  It was such an awful day, cold and wet, but we did it, we completed 10kms 🙂 

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Oh well, I better sign off, I think I have written a book. ha ha.

Hi to my Sister Brenda in Australia and also to my Niece Gina in the North Island.  xxx 

One of our dogs, Chevy and Turbo looking from inside out.  The dogs do not like the winter either.

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I won’t leave the next post so long next time.  If you have winter at the moment as well as us Kiwi’s in New Zealand, then keep warm. 

Donna x

TUESDAY HOLIDAY

EASTER LONG WEEKEND

I hope you all had a nice Easter, I didn’t pig out too much on chocolate.   I have been running (jogging) a bit lately so have run off what I did eat. 🙂

I’ve had a bit of a holiday this Easter weekend, yawwwn.

Just as well, as I think I needed the two days extra that I had away from work. It is the first time in almost 8 months since I started my new office job that I have had any time off.  We have been short staffed for four weeks as one of the girls was away sick.  I was also at the same time trying to teach a new girl the job, it has been tiring.

I asked for Thursday and today, Tuesday off work.  It has given me six days off in a row.  🙂

The Easter weekend has been a bit of a cold, wet one.  We didn’t go away out of town or really far from home, but it was still great to know that I didn’t have to go to work for a few days. 

Today I made a basket from flax (harakeke).  Flax weaving is very therapeutic.  I have only made small bags (keke) and some flowers (puti- puti)  and a small four-sided basket in the past.  I have never made one this big.  It was fun, I wove a different top on this basket, a straight one.

Many years ago the Maori in New Zealand used Flax to make a variety of items, they use to cultivate the plants for many uses.  These included ropes, fishing lines and nets, bags, baskets, plates, mats and clothing amongst many other things.   

I am pleased with the way it turned out, it will open up a bit when it drys and also will lose it’s lovely green colour.  It should still look good and will be quite strong.  I think I might put an indoor plant in a pot inside it? or maybe use it to hold toilet rolls, ha ha.

Flax basket (2)

Flax basket

These two photos below were taken tonight of our old cat Sasha.  He was actually my Sister Brenda’s cat, but has been living on our little farm for many years now.  He is a nice natured old boy. Sasha is becoming a little muddled lately and is getting skinny/boney in his old age, but he still eats a lot.  Over the last 6 months he has become addicted to Cat Milk.  Every time we open the fridge he finds the energy to run fast and meow for some.  I often give in to him as he is a senior puddy cat now so he is spoilt. 

Sasha is getting a bit of dementia, he often just stands there staring into mid air or looks at himself in the reflection of our stainless steel oven and thinks it is another cat.  He gets very muddled.  He is a cute cat.  

I’m finishing this post with a photo of some earings made out of the handles of old fashioned cutlery.  

Geez, I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, I would be quite happy staying home with the animals and doing my knitting. 😛

Sasha 18-4-17 (2)

Sasha 18-4-17 (3)

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MOUNTAIN RUN AND WALK

SUNDAY FUN

This morning at 8 30am my Brother Steven and I did a Mountain Walking Race.  It is called The Three Peaks and is bascially 11kms of straight up a mountain on an off road track.

The day was great, no wind, no rain, sunny, but not too hot. The views are beautiful over Dunedin City.

Steven is a runner and has just joined my Harriers Club. I talked him in to walking this event with me this year.  It is my third time doing it and Steven’s first time.  It is a tough event.   Steven was quicker than me on the hills, I was dragging the chain a bit, but I was faster on the flat and downhill.  I think his years of being in the Army and doing their training for hours running and walking with full  uniforms on, boots and heavy back packs helped him on the hills. He was stronger than me.

We complemented each other well, I normally do most races by myself, so it was nice to have company, to yap and have a laugh along the way..

We started off at the front and stayed there.  We are not sure of our times yet as they haven’t been posted, but I was the 1st Female to finish, same as last year.  Steven was 2nd Male, there was only one Walker in front of us.   We couldn’t see any other Walkers for miles when looking back, so we are both chuffed with our results.  

We also ran part the way down to the start line, so possibly did around 16 kms today.

It was great to see the impressive runners and other competitors.

Steven and I have another big event coming up in two weeks time, an off-road Running event,  lately I have been doing a little bit of jogging, I’m slow but always determined not to let things beat me and all I want is to cross the finish line.  I am a little scared though, as there are more hills and it is 18.5kms long…eeek what have I done. 😛

At least today was good practice for this upcoming event.  I also did a 10 km walk with my Club yesterday.  

I think Steven now appreciates what the Walkers do and that it is still tough for us and not just a ‘walk in the park’ and we are out there longer than the Runners doing it hard.

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Along the way Steven said Mum (up there in heaven) would be proud of us….and I think she would.  So would our Sissy in Aussie.. Love you Brenda xx

Steven and I took a selfie after the event when we had a coffee in a cafe, it was funny, we looked terrible and I spilt my coffee all over his leg and mine when laughing.   I will still post it below though. 

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I hope we aren’t going to be too sore tomorrow.  🙂

I’m finishing this post off with a nice photo of a Staffy I found on Mr Google, it is very cute.

Have a good week coming everyone.  Not long until Easter….  = chocolate. 🙂

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