News from the Bumpy Road

This is my fourth and newest blog. It is on Blogspot, because Cousin Sweetpea's server will not allow regular blogging. It is a fresh start and hopefully, I will try to keep it up regularly.

They call this
narcissus Billy Graham

Where the Road Leads

To the archive.

Back to the main page at Thadea's Magic Trailer.

Email Thadea.

Music....soon to come.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

By Thadea at 10:22 PM

CALTHA IS SICK. She has tonsilitis. In a way I am glad I caught it. Caltha is a dirty sneak when it comes to being ill. We went up to the big Farmer's Market and gourmet grocery in DesMoines yesterday. Calthas wanted to go swimming. No, Caltha can't swim at the market but the city pool is open six to eight pm, so I said we'd hit the pool for the evening shift. We left early in the morning for the market. I had Caltha up front with me. In the warm weather she looked good and had looked good for days. The sun gives her nice color which can hide the flush of fever and remember it is warm outside.

Well we did fine at the market and even had a great lunch at the buffet, the kind that comes with endless debates over what to put on one's tray. "Look girls. Do lots of looking before you take." Yeah, I can be a patient mom even if I am easily fooled. Caltha had beluga lentils which were hot and anise and apple salad and roast squash which she thought was quite good. We came out of the store and Caltha offered to let Tyhpa ride up front so I moved Typha's child seat. In six months we can ditch this thing. Yay! I did not realize until I was about half way home that Caltha had fallen asleep.

She was still sleeping away when we got home. Caltha is normally a restless sleeper, but there she was dead to the world. I guessed we weren't going swimming. I brought in all the groceries and Tyhpa and then I went to get Caltha. She was groggy, not lethargic, just the ordinary kind of groggy that you get when woken up from a deep sleep. She also did not look right. Her eyes looked heavy and I felt her head which told me nothing. I may be a pathology tech but I've never mastered the art of head feels. I told Caltha I would like to take her temperature.

She asked why. She said she was just a little tired. She wanted to go swimming. She needed to practice because she is behind and wants to get her intermediate card by the end of the summer. That means the end of July in this fmaily. I said she could go swimming if she let me take her temperature. I got out the thermometer and it came back 102F.

Needless to say, we did not go swimming Saturday night. I got Jacob and Ithamar to stay with Typha and I took Caltha to the urgent care for our HMO. She complained about the air conditioner. She sat with her legs hunched up and I wrapped my sweater around her. I saw a mother with a baby come in and I warned her away from Caltha who is probably as contagious as they come.

Finally we got in to see the doctor. Caltha stood huddling and shivering. I did not want to mask the fever with motrin. He got a temperature of 102.2 He also looked at her throat and said her tonsils were infected. He asked Caltha if her neck hurt. She blinked wondering if she could lie her way past the doctor no doubt. She shook her head. He asked if it hurt when she swallowed. "It hurts all the time," she confessed.

We got Caltha back up on the table and the nurse took a throat culture. She was a sweet one all sympathy. The doctor, however, asked the sixty-four thousand dollar question. "How long has this been going on?" Now it was my turn to try and figure out how to lie my way past the doctor. I decided not to. "My daughter is at Spartacus," I explained "She had her heart set on passing her intermediate swim test, so she's been hiding this from me. It's understandable. Put yourself in her place. I sometimes didn't tell my parents I was sick when I was a kid too." All the doctor could do was nod.

He squatted down so Caltha could see his face and told her she is out of the water for at least a week. She has tonsilitis. He was also going to take a white count which could be done faster than a culture so they could start the medicine right away. That meant they were going to draw blood.

Back up on the table Caltha went. The nurse gave me a dirty look because I was not holding my daughter. I said that Caltha behaves better if I don't hold her. Both my girls do. I asked my daughter to sit on her free hand and give the nurse her left arm. The doctor got what looked like way too much blood and marked it stat.

We had to wait twenty minutes but it was confirmed that Caltha's tonsilitis was bacterial. That is good news because that meant she was going to get antibiotics. He asked if she could swallow a pill and she said yes. I backed that up and we picked up the prescription on the way home. This morning we got the phone call that the antibiotic was the right one which is good because Caltha has already had three doses and has perked up a bit.

I made tomato soup with tofu chunks. Red soup is sovereign medicine for tonsilitis and other really bad sore throats. Caltha will also drink hot lemonade. I usually make a cup for each of us.

CALTHA IS MISERABLE! She is sidelined from swimming for a week. It is not her fault. It is an ugly twist of fate, especially since Caltha has worked so hard to overcome her fear of water. This was a child who could not swim at all two years ago.

"Mommy, I even got back up on that horse like you told me. Aunt Kara [the counselor in charge of the horses] asked me if I was afraid and wanted the pony again. I told her 'no, I wanted Yellow One [The horse that bucked when my daughter rode it.] I told them I wasn't scaird, even though I was." I realize that this happened late this week and Caltha probably had her sore throat even then.

By the way, Yellow One did not throw Caltha. When Yellow One tried or went too fast, Caltha grabbed a fist full of the gelding's mane hair. This is what Aunt Kara told Caltha and all the other little girls who are learning to ride to do. Caltha stayed on Yellow One's back except for one fall where she got careless. Kids fall off horses all the time. "Yellow One was good," Caltha said.

I could tell Caltha that getting back on the horse is more important than getting that Red Cross Intermediate swimming card. Most likely she won't believe me. Getting on the horse again was a necessary evil, but sometimes you can't get back on the horse. The reason you get back on the horse, and I wish I could explain this to my daughter, is because you can and there are times when you can't. A bucking horse is scarey, but if you are not hurt and the horse just spooked, you get another try. Tonsilitis doesn't give you a chance to try again. There is nothing to do but wait it out and wait as the antibiotics do their job.

Jacob will watch Caltha most of this week. He is officially not working and can do his writing at home. He told Caltha she will have to read quietly while he works. Ithamar washed off his head phones with alcohol so that Caltha can use them to listen to music and not disturb Jacob. Ithamar has classes and I have work. Typha will continue to go to day care.

At least she is not jealous of Caltha. Typha knows that being sick means being stuck in the house, no camp, no swimming, no horse back riding, no cheering. Typha asked me tonight if she will get sick too. I told her it was possible. We'd all try to wash our hands more often. "Mommy," Typha said. "Caltha really got screwed." That just about sums it up.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

By Thadea at 9:32 AM

Well the Fourth of July weekend has come and gone. Caltha got thrown from a horse at Spartacus Monday. Kids fall off horses all the time, but Caltha was actually thrown. Her horse bucked on her. She landed in straw and unmentionable which left her feeling unimaingably grossed out. I had a long talk with her on why she should continue to ride.

Riding is one of reasons my husband and I pay outrageous camp tuition. Don't ask me how we can afford to have both girls in Spartacus at the same time. We are going to be doing that next summer. In other news, Caltha earned her Advanced Beginner's card and learned how to dive into deep water. She is very proud of this.

I've been working over time this week so the house is a wreack. How did this happen? My "colleague," Bonnie, is the reason. Bonnie had a day care crisis. I am supposed to feel sorry for Bonnie but I don't. The university day care, the one we both use is reliable as the Rock of Gibraltar. It is in some ways more reliable and better than the extended day year round school program both my daughters will be in at the end of next month, but there are advantages to having kids in school as opposed to day care. Still, Bonnie doesn't like it. She worries and frets and now her child is learning that temper tantrums at the day care room door get rewarded. Babies are very fast learners.

To keep the peace in the lab, Dr. Ho, my supervisor and Bonnie's too has forbidden us to discuss the topic of day care. I am the first one to call Bonnie a slacker. Bonnie says: "A mother [Read any mother who is good] should want to spend all her time home with her children." To that I say bull you know what. It is just what you need, being stuck in the house bored with an equally bored toddler or a baby who is sleeping most of the time or a baby who doesn't really care who feeds her, holds her, amuses her or watches her, as long as someone does those things competently. Also first time mothers are not great at taking care of their babies. It is just plain better to have experienced hired help for some of the day.

Another forbidden topic at work is Spartacus. Bonnie thinks it is a hideous place and she can't understand why I am so glad to have Caltha there. A few days ago, I made the mistake of showing up for work wearing my "I Am a Spartacus Mom" t-shirt. Bonnie saw it and stared at me as if I were carrying a communicable disease.

Right now I am trying to get Caltha into scouting for the fall. She'll get a pass out of her after school program to attend a meeting or there will hopefully be a Brownie troop at Lemme. Those are the kind of details that are interesting me at the moment. I haven't done much with the web page or this blog. I keep meaning to, but instead I'm actually using the thing which I guess is a lot right there.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

By Thadea at 2:20 PM

I ought to do something else to this blog. It needs a facelift in the worst way. First, though I want to counsel patience to Halids. You'll get your T-shirt. I suspect the first batch of three were only experimental. There are more on the way. By the way, we ought to get Ithamar to post over at the Run Amuck Board. Thanks Eileen for providing such a cool resource.

Not much doing for the Fourth of July. I am makng curried peanut soup with rice since everybody in this house likes curried rice and making a run for fish is symbolic of bad financial management. We are on the "We are broke again" bandwagon. Camp tuition is one reason why we are into belt tightening. The other reason is that Jacob, my husband, works twelve months a year but only gets paid ten of those months. There is less coming in and more going out.

It looks like a lot of the comps are taking summer breaks. I don't know whose briliant idea it was. Haldis warned me that the Webleagues is NOT collegial. I know I was not asked about scheduling for this summer. June when we made the transition from eight teams to four and I got to do a ton of design work was a very chaotic time. Haldis came home and then she and Ithamar headed to Mississippi for what are very good summer jobs. They are settled at work. We are not going on vacation and Caltha is in camp. There have to be a lot more people out there like us who would love to fight.

We weren't asked. Say that a hundred times fast. That is frustrating. Amaranthine, the owner has a summer house. She goes there and does not have computer access. Jacob and I have one house and I have a job and I'm not going anywhere. No one asked. The staff list at Webleagues is dead quiet.

Our garden is doing well. The squash plants are still making mainly male blossoms but that is to be expected. The tomatoes have some green fruits on them and we picked string beans and chard. The chard is especially welcome. It looks like some of our Florence fennel (anise) made it too. We had snow peas early in the season but we won't have them again unless we can put in a fall crop. Iowa is not really the place to grow fall crops.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

By Thadea at 4:54 PM

Here is what a little knowledge can do. Caltha is again spending her days at Camp Spartacus. Don't ask what we are spending for this. It is worth every penny. I went to day camp when I was her age and it was good for me and it is good for Caltha in the best way. The camp is highly competitive. One of the local TV stations did an expose on it a few summers ago and I got interviewed along with some of the other "Spartacus parents."

At Spartacus Caltha has learned to swim. She is working on her Red Cross Advanced Beginner card and hopefuly will earn her Intermediate card by the end of the summer.

Spartacus is famous, however, for its ultra competitive color war. It's not really a color war any more since each team (There are three to six of these for each sex and age group. The teams are kept small to build esprit de corps) has to have its own color and one quickly runs out of colors or goes to tertiaries. That was last summer's solution. This summer's solution is geography. The teams name themselves after places. Well most of the teams are named after American cities. All of them are except my daughter's team. How did that happen, Jacob and I gave Caltha a lesson in geography and she came to camp dragging her atlas. The girls ended up with a list of five neat sounding names and they voted for them in succession. My daughter's team is called Ravenna, named after the last capital of the Roman Empire in Italy. My husband suggested that. He has an ear for names.

That is a good thing because Typha helps Caltha practice her team cheers all over the house. "Ra-veee-na! Ra-veeee-na! Yes, you got to love them. Nothing stands above them. Yes you adore them. Nothing goes before them. Ra-vee-na is here do you hear. Ra-veee-nah means you better stand clear." Hear your kids scream that one in the nursery, or better yet in the bath tub. Now picture eight seven year olds shouting that one in unison and clapping their hands. The girls at Spartacus cheer in the mornings when they gather on the porch and more formally in the late afternoon on a big stage under the pine trees behind the main house. There are prizes for good, loud, and original cheers. There are also points that go to the team every time a camper learns new skills. The points are kept on a master chart and on the cubby room door.

Caltha's counselor this summer is named Aunt Lydia. The girls adore her. Aunt Lydia is a typical good counselor. She pushes the girls under her charge but is never unkind to them. I do go out to Spartacus if I work second shift to watch the games. Caltha's camp schedule is taped to the break fridge at work. One of the reasons I go to see Caltha's games is I want to make sure the counselors aren't doing anything untoward. They are professional though and allow no bad sportsmanship, no booing, no insults. Kids who do those things or parents who do those things lose their child's team points. Everyone has to have a turn on a team too. Parents also follow a strict etiquette of not doing a lot of yelling and cheering or the team is fined in points. It is considered distracting. With all that it can be painfull competitive. I've seen Caltha worry about the sports she is not good in. She is loyal and feels very responsible if she can't measure up and Caltha is no athlete. She is good at crafts and cheering and we are all good at some things but this is a hard lesson for a seven year old to learn.

I finally did something I swore I would never do. I let Caltha sleep in her team shirt. She wore it to camp the next day. They don't get any point off for smelling like...well the way bedding shouldn't smell but does in the nursery. I had to sniff her before the camp bus came. The Ravenna shirt is light yellow with red letters that say Spartacus on one line and Ravenna on the next line and F2 on the third line. That means female going into grade two.

And I miss Haldis even though we have been in close contact via computer and cell phone. We've had to be. We are truely collaborating on the the New Southern Hemisphere Go Tribe! Go Incredible Wonderful Cassowari Tribe! Desoite our enthusiasm the team had embarassing problems, the worst of which was an email crap out. Thankfully I have paid mail. I think that problem is licked. It's smooth sailing from here. Haldis gets to put the team to bed tonight.

I still miss Haldis. She was another woman even at seventeen. She understood what only the girls and I understand now. She had a female aesthetic sensibiltiy though it often manifested in odd ways. We still have a house full of about half her bedding collection. The other half is either in storage in Hanover, New Hampshire or with Ithamar and her in Mississippi. I love Haldis. I even love her when she makes herself sick on caffeine. I love her when she works herself into the ground and crawls off to the sanctuary to sleep. I love her when she is with her boyfriend and don't feel bad because I lost my virginity a few years later than Haldis did. Haldis got lucky last summer. I did not meet any one so nice at her age. I love Haldis and Haldis is not here.

Don't ask me by the way if I love Haldis like a daughter. I think it is different. Haldis was nearly sixteen when she came into my life. I am an Aunt. Haldis came into my life just short of being an adult in that terrible time where physically and mentally a girl is an adult but not socially. That just takes too much experience. Haldis has not fully made peace with Haldis but that is OK. I think I have made peace with her. Maybe that is all I need.

Monday, June 21, 2004

By Thadea at 6:09 PM

OK, this blog needs a new background but I'm not changing it for the sake of changing it. And yes, I need sig-files and other goodies if I'm going to go board signing at our friend, Eileen's great new enterprise, The Silk Purse I know she calls it her Pretend Brainstorms. Well it has its own name and she ought to call it by its rightful name. It's the Silk Purse. Got that Eileen!

Anyway, it is summer here and that means Camp Sparatcus for Caltha. Camp Spartacus is the only day camp in the United States at least the only one in the midwest with a color war. It is hyper competitive and high pressure and it gets Caltha out there doing things that challenge her natural physical timidity. She has learned to play softball (base tennis but the rules are the same), swim (She is working on her intermediate card this summer though right now she is only up to advanced beginner), and even ride horses. This caosts Jacob and I an arm and a leg but it is worth it. And next summer we will find the money to enroll Typha as well.

Other good news is Typha was accepted for August pre-K at Lemme. That means no more day care bills. I will miss the university day care. I don't know how we could have raised our daughters without it but it is time for the girls to be in a school environment and a good camp in the summer. Caltha still makes signs and she is finally making some for Typha who is slowly getting interested in letters. She is interested in numbers, shapes, and colors. Caltha makes the sign and Typha decorates it. That is what goes on here at night while we adults read or hang out on the computer.

I would lie if I said this house did not feel very sad without either Haldis or Ithamar. Young people are noisey and lively, and our young people worked very hard at whatever interested them and whatever was neccessary. At least Ithamar's truck was insured and it will be good for he and Haldis to be together. I know parents are supposed to get upset about having sexually active young adult daughters, but I'm not. Maybe it is because I am an aunt not a mother. Maybe it is because I know that Ithamar is quite a good influence for Haldis. Maybe it is because I know that this summer will be their only time together for twelve months come September. Haldis will be at Dartmouth next summer as part of her D-Plan.

I also feel that there is nothing wrong with sex between two consenting adults and Haldis and Ithamar are adults. Sex practiced with contraception is far better than getting drunk or stoned or some of the other awful things that young people do. Haldis is unlikely ever to regret a physical relationship with a loving and gentle boyfriend. Ditto for Ithamar.

Friday, April 30, 2004

By Thadea at 1:14 PM

Well, I finally revised the front page of this site. It is bigger, bolder, maybe too bold, and very eye-catching. It is also in a spring-summer design that is crunchy enough to go snap, crackle, pop!

Jacob is thrilled that Caltha can ride a bike without training wheels. It's a small bike and she can put her feet flat on the ground but she is riding it confidently. Typha is also learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Yes, Typha is nearly three years younger than her sister but Typha is physically a very precocioius and daring child. Yes, the weather is finally warm enough to ride bikes instead of cross country ski. Actually it was too cold for the bikes and too warm for the skis for quite some time.

I have realized this site is a mess. It is full of pages that go nowhere or to pages that are obsolete. I gave up LOTH when they asked me to reregister yet there are LOTH links all over this web site. I think there is still a LOTH dedication page somewhere on the site. It was a cute page but I'm not in LOTH. Ithamar's web site has also started working and for some reason there was no link to my most current About Me page. You get the idea. Well one page is fixed. Other pages will follow.

The odd part of all this is that I have no intention of fighting the site. I just get tired of looking at shabby web work. Getting things fixed up is a good feeling.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

By Thadea at 11:31 AM

OK, we are going to try something. This is just another test post. I'll write more when I get a chance.

By Thadea at 11:20 AM

OK, this is a basic test post of a sort. I am trying to get a link to my archives up. The easiest way to do that is to publis, so I am publishing. I'll start blogging again in a bit.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

By Thadea at 9:04 AM

This blog is the last thing to get fixed up. The rest of the web site actually looks pretty good. It is not a radical remake. There is no need for that. It just has the links in the right places and a new logo and stripe. Also the text on the front page was about four months out of date. The text reminds me of something from my site fighting days. I met this no-brain fighter named Bill. He said "You have too much text on your page. You expect me to read all that. I'm a guy." Well sorry if you're not literate Bill. The web is still primarily a text based medium. The images are just for decoration, though it is said that a picture speaks a thousand words.

I'm not sure how I'll redo this blog. I want time to think about it. The template is about ten months old. I think getting the blog active takes priority over redoing it. Yes, I am the first one out. Orelle, you are tagged. Got that. Haldis you can't be far away, and Ithamar, I don't know what we'll do about you being that your web site is down. I guess you sit out this round. The girls went first.

Jacob, my husband, doesnt' have a blog. OK, everyone is back at school except Jacob and Ithamar who is glad to be off and not doing much besides working for pay. I won't say where he is working but he is very happy to have work. His truck is still on vacation so Jacob drives him to the job site.

Ithamar sometimes helps me in the kitchen. He never fully learned to do the shopping. This must require two X chromosomes and female genes.

We all go skiing at night in the park about half a mile from here and sometimes on the golf course if Jacob and I get ambitious enough to tie the skis to the top of the car. I miss Haldis terribly and so too does Caltha. Typha has just decided Haldis is gone and won't talk about her. She calls Ithamar Uncle Ithamar which is fine with me since we have gotten close to him. I am trying to encourage him to improve on and remount his web site. Haldis coded it for him but he thinks he may be able to code another page on his own. We'll see how all this goes.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

By Thadea at 11:14 AM

Well Caltha and Typha's blog is now at Mindsay. What this means is I have to revise not only my family page but my my whole site. Yes, you can see the damage for yourself.

I'd like to write about happier things though. New hyacinth and iris pseudocorus bulbs are in as of the beginning of October. With the hectic Jewish holiday season, Ithamar and I planted the bulbs at night. We shone the big porch light on the bulb garden which looks barren and sad this time of year, but full of promise. I like planting bulbs and Caltha and Typha do help out. Typha asks why the flowers don't come up right away. Caltha knows to wait until spring. Jacob ponders how we always even when we are strapped for cash, find bulb money.

My girls have their winter coats. They have had them for some time. I enjoy buying my daughters winter coats and seeing them head off to school and day care in their winter coats, much more than I enjoy the rush to get Halloween costumes. I do that next weekend and we have a fight over expensive versus cheap ones. I hope they pick out something they can wear for Purim in the spring. Talk about a waste of money. Back to winter coats: Typha's is pink and Caltha's is teal green. When Caltha wears her winter coat she stands a mile high. It is a pleasure to see little ones bundled up so nice and warm.

Jacob has again put a jar of cashew butter in the pantry. This is better than roses because he knows I'll think of him every time I eat lunch. My daughters will eat this too though they won't touch almond butter. Go figure. They also make hazlenut butter and sunflower seed butter. The best nut butter is either honey flavored soynut butter or peanut butter flavored with maple. I haven't seen this last one in years.

I feel I need new sig-files again. The really active graphic one here is Haldis. Here is an example of her work.

see for yourself

I need stuff like this for my MSN groups, but fat chance, I'm going to make any of it any time soon. Well at least I tagged my blog. Your turn..... Haldis......????

Thursday, October 16, 2003

By Thadea at 5:33 PM

I've been tagged and I've been remiss. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless tried to talk me into setting up a Live Journal for Caltha and Typhus. Here is my attempt. The problem with it is that the interface is a total black box. I'm used to doing my own design and I know that is what I want for my daughters.

I am teaching Ithamar, our boarder, to market. He could grow crops, help in the kitchen, etc.. but he can't make head nor tail of a supermarket. This must be a male thing. My husband boggles in the Hyvee the same way. He happily stops by the health food store and coop to pick up something extra but in a big supermarket, he is at a loss. It's get in there, get out, don't look for anything special. He forgets that meals have recipes even when recipes are not written down. I like good food. I work too hard not to eat well. Ditto for Caltha and Typha who are into good food, so with Haldis at school I have no choice but to educate Ithamar.

I pick him up at school and take him shopping with me. He has an older sister who used to help her mother, so the first time we went to the store, he did not even know how to unload the shopping cart. Caltha had to show him. I was so grateful he was a real sport about this. The rest is like teaching a person from a foreign country, the land of Y chromosomes, what foods look like. Fresh dill is different from dried dill. It comes in a plastic package. It has a distinctive odor. You get the idea. Ithamar probably has a good sense of smell. Males just don't use theirs...usually.

Ithamar's truck also went to a winter home. One of my husband's colleagues agreed to garage it for the winter for a modest fee that left poor Ithamar broke.

Caltha's teachers and I had one of those dreaded parent-teacher conferences. It was less dreadful than it seems. She's in a K-1 classroom and would be better off in a 1-2 if they had such a thing. Sticking her with 2-3 (second-third grade together) would be a social disaster because her academic skills just plain outstrip her social ones and I am using a euhpemism. Kids much older would want nothing to do with her and rightly so. The teacher was concerned that Caltha is bored. The teacher wanted to recommend gifted and talented five times a week instead of three. I agreed.

Gifted and talented which Caltha has had, thanks to my arm twisting, since she was four and got into the pre-K program means leaving her home school, Lemme, after lunch time and riding a bus to a different school for the afternoon. At 3pm she is sent back to Lemme for her after school program. Yes, this is your tax payer dollars at work. This schedule started with two times a week when she was in PreK and went to three times a week last year. It is an exhausting schedule, but a tired Caltha beats a bored Caltha. Let Typha run her ragged. Let her conk out and skip dinner.

The fact is when worked to full capacity, Caltha, is much nicer to deal with. She uses her viper tongue far less to insult her sister and the rest of us. This can get wearing. Work abosrbs the ugly energy. Jacob fears for her health. I said we have insurance. If she comes down with something she can't shake, she can go to the doctor. She's not an overly delicate little girl, though she has a mix of timidity that is morphing into good sense.

Yes, Caltha finally did learn to ride a bike without training wheels but only if she can get her feet flat to the ground in an emergency. She absolutely refuses to walk under the couch when Ithamar and Jacob pick it up so they are stuck moving it out of the way. Ever hear a mother breathe a sigh of relief. Caltha drew a lovely set of captioned pictures of chores and her teacher liked them a lot.

Typha is due to move into the three-four year old room from the 2-3 rowdy room after the Christmas holidays. She has advanced verbally enough and clearly is good at quiet activities that interest her. She hasn't shown an interest in learning letters or reading yet but she knows her colors and can count to twenty-five. She makes her bed better and faster than her older sister, helps me fold laundry. The problem is this is a kid who may be able to get through most child proof locks. I have two scarey daughters.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

By Thadea at 1:56 PM

OK, the blog is back! And it's staying back! The deal is this. I update my blog and Haldis updates hers and Orelle updates hers and so on in a circle. I kick off and the others follow. I go first because I am the farthest behind.

This is the first time in my life I have not lived in a "house full of women." We have a male boarder, a college student, named Ithamar who is also my niece, Haldis' boyfriend. He is an English or literature major, still undeclared but wavering contentedly and not making much trouble. He likes to study, but he is no where near as useful about the house as Haldis was. He can not wash his niece' hair. Caltha is too old to be naked in the shower with someone of the opposite sex and Typha is nearly too old. He is good for cleaning the living room and I did have him plant bulbs with me but he found the work tedious instead of pleasant. The living room and study cleaning he did better.

I did send him with my car to have it washed in the do it yourself washing stall on the edge of town. That worked out well. He is useless in the supermarket. He gets overwhelmed by variety and so can't plan interesting meals. He just wants out of there real fast like Jacob. I am trying to teach him how to shop but I haven't had much luck. He is good in the laundromat with his own stuff. His laundry bag never overflows or distends to the bursting point as my niece' did.

He has a truck of his own but can not afford insurance so the plates are surrendered and it is up on blocks and wrapped in a tarp against the winter. He and Jacob put special stuff in the crank case and gas tank to help the truck get through the winter. It is not that cold yet and Jacob and I are both talking to colleagues about renting Ithamar some garage space cheap so the truck can stay indoors all winter. The truck takes up half the yard and it is an eyesore to say the least.

My daughters' web page is again in need of revision. By some lucky miracle, Caltha, got off on the right foot in K-1. Being in a two year class helped out a lot since she did not have new teachers to adjust to. She started school while I was away in Napierville with my sister who finally gave birth to yet another boy. That makes her the mother of three males, and the only males in this generation of Myers kids. My husband says his family believes making males is a sign of infertility. Families with more girl offspring do better. Well, I'm the exception since I had a hard time getting pregnant with Caltha and Typha was a very pleasant surprise though I did not think so at the time.

Caltha had no school clothes to begin the year though I did ask Jacob to take both the girls and himself and Ithamar (Yes, I treated my boarder to a haircut) to the beautician and have their hair trimmed nicely. Everything below the neck was last summer's until I could get home and buy a few fall things. Fortunately the weather is warm the first week or two of school.

What Caltha missed were new school and synagogue shoes. She has them now, bright red patent leather oxfords with two tone laces and big stitchy trim. There will always be shoes like this because there will always be little girls to buy them and understanding mothers who remember their own girlhoods.

I don't miss site fighting and I'm currently not actively administrating. Haldis has a team over at the Webleagues. It's her team. If I start taking care of it, she'll lean all over me. She needs to able to balance school and team before I step in during an emergency and such balancing takes a whole semester. I'm back up but I'm only emergency back up.

Sometimes it just hurts when you speak the truth but with a teen in crisis, what was I to do. I stand by my statements about site fighter demographics, even if it cost me thirteen supporters. Social class means something especially for the young. Older people know where they belong so can go where they please. Younger people have to learn where they belong. This may sound harsh but class is a reality and we sort of all have to face that. I know, I have no class. If you read this and don't like it, well too bad.

Site fighters are also self absorbed and slightly deluded. There I said that too. I'm a bit sick of them still. Haldis is sick of them already but she wanted to administrate and she fights only marginally. I am grateful for that. Campaigning seems not to attract her the way it attracted me. In a way fighting treats her better than it ever treated me.

OK, someone else, tag. It's your turn to blog.

Monday, August 04, 2003

By Thadea at 10:34 AM

I think this may be my last week of fighting. I haven't blogged in ages. When I compete, I pay more attention to managing my supporters than looking after my site. That is a shame.

Also this fall looks to be busy. On August 16th I'll be returning to Iowa City. I am currently in Napierville, Illinois looking after my nieces and nefews for my sister Eurydice. Eurydice is pregnant with her fifth child and on strict bed rest. Why she wanted or let herself have a fifth child is beyond me. Four seems like a horde and the two I have are quite enough. Eurydice, my youngest sister, has always been the inexplicable one.

Her kids are large. Husky might be a better word. They are dirty, as are all children when given their preferences. They also have way too much time on their hands because Eurydice never thought about sending the older ones to a good day camp to keep them out of trouble and teach them valuable skills.

My oldest gilr, Caltha, attends Camp Spartacus to teach her swimming and sports and build her competitive spirit. That is why she is back in Iowa. My youngest is with me and Typha has become surprisingly good company. She is currently sitting on the floor teaching Ceres, her nineteen month old cousin, how to use a dressing doll. She says she will give Ceres the doll but only if she can use it right. Ceres is not particularly interested in snaps, lacings, buckles, and zippers, all of which any self respecting little kid has to know if she wants to disrobe. Typha will tell you that taking off your clothes is much better than having a temper tantrum. Actually, Typha has stopped disrobing in public this summer, though she'll take her shoes off. My newest project is to teach my three year old to tie a bow. Almost any manual skill utterly fascinates Typha.

OK, I'm going to be blogging more often because Aunt Orelle and my niece, Haldis, are both going to blog as well. We figure this is the best place to write about ourselves and keep our web pages fresh with real content. Blogging is part of responsible coding.

I kind of dread what I will find when I go back to Iowa. Jacob and Haldis have taken on a boarder. The boy's name is Ithamar. He is twenty years old and a graduate of Deep Springs College way out in California. He is supposed to be a brilliant original thinker who takes no bullsh-- . I wonder what twenty year old could possibly fit that description. I also fear that Haldis is smitten with him.

Actually falling in love might do Haldis some good. It might relax her nerves and make her think a bit of the image she presents to the world. Haldis as far as I know is still gainfully employed. She says Ithamar is a good influence who keeps her out of trouble at work. I certainly hope so.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

By Thadea at 10:31 PM

This has been a hectic and ugly week and I hope next week, the one starting tonight is better. My plan to tap out the available fighter population is so far an abysmal failure. I tried cold calling but it looks like there is some new and awakened blood on Hey You Sir's vote board. Now it's taken what I'm given which is not the most thrilling thing. I like the fresh exciting feel of exploration, and now...the newness is long gone. I'm not sure how to handle this. I made charms last week. I'm not sure if they're up yet.

In other news, Haldis continues to work. That is good. My work is rough. We had a drowning down in the morgue. He was three years old. Bonnie got him and then raced upstairs saying she couldn't do him. Bonnie had been sent downstairs by Dr. Chan because she misses her daughter who now spends her days in the day care stackies, as my own daughters did at that age. Dr. Chan got tired of Bonnie's pining and put her on morgue rotation. I said I'd handle the autopsy. Bonnie gets on my nerves also. Bonnie had the nerve to call me "unnatural." I felt like telling Bonnie to get a grip.

I worry because we female techs need to stick together. If it's just me, there are things the male doctors who think they are god will not understand and will just do or refuse to do. Clothes are an example. The men wear plain blue or green or sometimes tan scrubs. We women wear print scrub tops and coordinated scrub pants and colored lab coats. The men a few years ago wanted to set up a uniform. We women said "NO!" It's nice to put a look together for work.

Print scrub tops are fun though it's a challenge NOT to find ones that are too cutesey. A pathology lab and a morgue is not pediatrics. The creepiest cute scrub shirt I've seen has kids and teddy bears and the kid is saying "God, I'm ready." Ready for what, I always wonder. I think if I had a kid in pediatrics even for quick surgery and I saw a nurse with a scrub like that I'd feel creeped out. Down where I work such a scrub would be a sick joke.

My favorite scrubs have tropical plants on them, thogh I also like jungle patterns, and camoflague. I'm looking for a nice geometric. Aunt Orelle who sews says she might make me some scrub shirts if she can find patterns for them. I'll just have to send her the material. Another item that is hard to find is either red or black scrub pants. I mean black pants look good with everything so why not make scrub pants in black.

Now, I also had to deal with the school authorities this week. Caltha made a sign that said "End the US Occupation of Iraq!" I think she got the spellings from either Jacob or Haldis. Well this disturbed the teacher who has been quite tolerant of Caltha's refusal to recite the pledge. She just stays in her seat. It's her way of protesting the war. Yes, she gets a lot of this at home, but the political slogan was just a bit much. She could have asked Caltha what the words meant and Caltha probably knew. I know she knows. I know she was serious about what she wrote even if she copied the words which she did so she'd get the spelling right. Anyway, I got one of those phone calls.

I told the teacher pretty much what I am telling all of you. I told her that Caltha hears Haldis and her War Resisters League buddies or my husband and Haldis or my husband and I discuss current events. She knows there is sewage in the streets in Baghdad and the power isn't on yet and in a lot of places the streets aren't safe. She knows we killed a lot of their fighters and civilians. Kids can be brutally logical and reasonably compassionate and quite rational. Caltha did tell the teacher that her sign wasn't hurting any body. I think Caltha deserves the last word on that topic. I told the teacher that my daughter could make any political sign she wants and it was fine with me, but if the teacher was going to ban political signs she ought to out of fairness ban promilitary and prowar signs as well. I have the sign on the refrigerator door at home. I wonder if we will have more trouble with the schools as Caltha gets older.

Monday, June 16, 2003

By Thadea at 1:27 AM

I promise to blog more regularly. It helps keep me centered. What can I say. A lot has been going on around here. Last weekend was Haldis' baccelauriat followed by Prospective day at the Crosbies' house in a suburb of DesMoines. This weekend was Fathers' Day. We don't celebrate either of the greeting card holidays in my family because they are FAKE, but Bechstiens are more traditional than Myers and Goldsteins.

Anyway, there was a joint Father's Day Party at Dr. McDonald's house. Dr. McDonald is the head of my husband, Jacob's, department. It was a family party so that meant I got to bring the girls. I have mixed feelings about asking Haldis to mind them now that she is working and earning money. Haldis came to the party too and got regaled with stories of old line Ivies going co-ed. Dartmouth, Haldis' prospective alma mater, went co-ed traumatically in the 1970's. Women were shut out of campus social life. Males dated "imports." The administration had to intervene. That is all ancient history. Still Haldis got to hear it all and then some.

My alma mater, University of Illinois, was co-ed from day one. Hamilton, where Jacob earned his bachelors, went co-ed by merging with a female sister school and did so fairly gracefully. I am not sure what difference all this ancient history makes.

The party went well. It was a pot luck. I brought a big bucket of potato salad with the skins still on the potatoes (Jacob's favorite or one of his favorites) and a big stew pot of lima bean tomato vegetable soup for the girls who like that kind of stuff. When English professors get together they read plays, often transgressive plays. Everyone takes a part and they try to recruit some of the women to do the reading. Dr. Randi decided to recruit Haldis. I thought this was a joke but he was dead serious. I was supposed to be hanging out with the other mothers of young kids, but Haldis was a free agent. Haldis' opinion of the whole experience was that English faculty are a bunch of bums with dirty minds, but more intelligent and honest than guys who spend their time interested in football. Haldis all in all prefers geeks.

Haldis completed her first week of paid on the books work and looks like she won't get fired. She does not mind doing janitorial work. She's been making the bag lunches so she gets egg and olive sandwiches (We all get egg and olive sandwiches) most days. I've made scrambled eggs and beansprouts twice this week. Jacob started to complain. He says he isn't protected by estrogen and is not a growing small child. Eggs all the time are not good for him. I'll have to figure out some other dinner entrees. I just felt so sorry for Haldis and so concerned she do well at work. I've also been bribing her with her favorite dinner foods to keep her laundry bag from bursting or overflowing.

In other news, Crocus, the cat has become less timid. She is in the computer room now sniffing the bookshelf. She still prefers Typha's bed to Caltha's but that is because my oldest daughter tosses and turns in her sleep. Crocus' favorite hangout is the top of the toilet tank. She hunches up on it and drapes one dainty paw over the edge. Anyone peeing gets nuzzled or sniffed. Sometimes Crocus leaps down and nuzzles knees, shins, and ankles.

Caltha is still in school because her K-1 is a twelve months program. She'll have a month off next month and go to Spartacus Day Camp for Boys and Girls. Jacob is going to try again to teach her to ride her bike without training wheels. Caltha sees no reason not to be physically sedate. One day Jaccob got fed up with her and told her what she needs is a brother. A female raised in a nearly all female household is raised in a household that tolerates physical timidity. Camp helps but they don't teach cycling there.

Caltha doesn't mind being the only one in school. She says she is better off than Haldis is because she is not cleaning toilets. I told Caltha that Haldis gets paid to clean toilets and sweep floors. Jacob still goes to work but mostly he is writing since he does not have a summer class. He is also not being paid.

Jacob and I have argued whether it is time to put Haldis' trunk in the sanctuary so she can start loading it with stuff for school. Due to the D-Plan, Haldis faces an unusually long summer. Jacob thinks it's just not time. If I don't watch Haldis, she will put all her summer earnings into bedding instead of clothes. Haldis hates to shop. I am not sure I want to be seventeen again. I know a lot of where Haldis is coming from. On the other hand, I don't think I was quite as extreme a case.

At least I am no longer short staffed at work. Bonnie, ran out of unpaid maternity leave and I suspect out of cash. She has surrendered her baby to the stackies at the university day care for her working day and is traumatized. I figured the day care did a better job with the girls than I ever could do and was really kind of glad it was there but Bonnie really feels differently. I told her she can put her daughter's profile over her desk. This is surprisingly enjoyable. Bonnie doesn't think so. I taught Bonnie "Bye bye Bunting." Actually I sort of always knew it but didn't think to say it. Jacob still says it when dropping off Typha and he used to say it when dropping off Caltha though he had to say it several times with her and once she could talk it was a duet. Bonnie thought the poem was hideous. Here it is.

Bye bye bunting
Daddy's (or Mommy's) gone a hunting
To get a little rabbit skin
To put the baby Typha [or substitute bunting or your kid's name] in.

I find it comforting, especially since both my girls were small when they born and had to sleep in their buntings for the first few months. Well it's 1:30am and the work week starts tomorrow as well as the fighting cycle. I am back on my team at the Golden Elite. I am trying to tell myself my next goal is to tap out the supply of vote exchanging fighters. We'll see..... Well, I'll be back in a few days.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

By Thadea at 2:46 PM

I should have been here ages ago but real life and a campaign at the Golden Elite has me too busy to blog which is a shame. Blogging leaves one centered. I've just been out trying to scare up recruits. The attrition god is grinning with his rotten teeth at my support list, so I have been campaigning to beat the band.

The trouble is this is Memorial Day weekend. In my house this is a big fat hairy nothing. It's the post finals doldrums and let down for Jacob. Haldis has finished her AP's so she is trying to catch her breath because half her subjects are not over. I work tomorrow. You get the idea.

OK, news: we have a cat. Her name is Crocus. She is a three year old spayed girl who had a litter. She is a handsome torti and white thing who has that natural feline timidity that is good for self preservation. She has finally succeeded in visiting every room in the house and is sleeping on Typha's bed last I looked. She will not sleep on Caltha's bed which perplexes the child no end. I've told Caltha that is because she refuses to make her bed until her toes stick out the other end. More likely it is because Caltha tosses and turns in her sleep which is how the bedding comes loose in the first place. It can take weeks for some people's toes to stick out, but Caltha's stick out rather quickly. I know. Don't lie to your children.

My niece finally moved her page here. This is where you can click to find it. Note: the page has at least one overtly political section on it. Too bad if you don't like it. I actually agree with Haldis. Site fighting makes me keep my mouth shut. Militarists are good for votes and I don't have to jump and cheer with them. I don't even have to say I like their "patriotic" displays. Haldis is under no such restraints, so be warned. Haldis is thinking of doing a Topsite now that school has quieted down. I said if she makes a banner she can go ahead.

Why do I have this feeling all you know what will break loose? Last week, Jacob fixed the couch. Actually he and two colleagues and a grad student did that. They wanted everyone except Haldis who was either studying, napping, or hanging out at the War Resisters office out of the house, so I took the girls to the Farmers' Market in DesMoines and to a couple of other big stores we hit because Iowa City in spite of being a college town is pretty remote. Well we didn't buy enough stuff, and I have that grumbly feeling of dissatisfaction every time I enter the kitchen. Why is it that coming so close to anything good makes you feel more deprived?

Anyway, I'm going out on a shopping and museum trip with the girls. They fortunatley have reached the age where they don't tire. Haldis wants to study. I promised Haldis scrambled eggs and sprouts for dinner if she does her laundry and airs out the Sanctuary. Once school ends Haldis may be minding Caltha for a week. I guess I trust Haldis. Hopefully some menial work will bore her to tears and make her interested in finding work with people her own age. We'll see. Haldis has good instincts as far as work is concerned, but she needs to make some money even if she is a trifle self destructive where caffeinated soda is concerned. Well, that's it for now.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

By Thadea at 6:36 PM

OK, it's been ages since I've been on here so let me recap what is happening. Over the weekend of the 26th Jacob finally got his wish and we cleaned the house. Jacob brought a big graduate student, nearly a foot taller than he was to help lift the couch. No merely pushing it aside, this was to be a real lift. The couch went high up in the air. Jacob who used to row in college and for some time afterwards, is proud of his strength. Up went the couch. The grad student was also proud. Both men instructed Haldis to walk under the couch so it could be really swept.

The men stood like a pair of twin atlases. Then suddenly the graduate student screamed. He had done something to his wrist. Haldis dashed out from under the couch just before it came crashing down on the grad student's side. Jacob gently lowered the couch which now has a broken leg. The couch is propped up by a milk crate. The grad student has an injured nerve in his right wrist, and Jacob who was left holding the couch, at least at his end, pulled a muscle in his back. Poor Jacob. I took him to the Doc in the box and they put him on muscle relaxants. Colleagues ferried him to work so he could teach and he graded papers in bed.

Any one who wants to give me the line about men being babies when they are sick can take it somewhere else. If I get sick, I can get a full day off from work. Jacob can't. He has to give class or it gets canceled and he has to do his grading because he has deadlines. He works lying in bed. If I get sick, I can get a full day off and the girls go to school and day care so I can sleep at least for a few hours. The house can be let go. The only thing I absolutely have to do is cook. Haldis I trust with the shopping. Jacob is another story.

Anyway, after three days on his back and a day or two more of very limited activity, Jacob is pretty much healed so last night he got a crate for our new kitty, and this afternoon, I picked up Typha early from day care and Caltha from her after school program and all of us went to the shelter. This was the one night they were open late so in we went. We told the lady that we wanted an adult female cat, preferably one who has been spayed.

We looked in half a dozen cages. There was a tabby who was all fur and had an attractive round face. Typha looked at her and said "big kitty" "No, CROCUS" answered Caltha who had already named our cat. There was a sleek black cat that was very skittish and two or three others and then there was CROCUS. She kind of looks like a crocus. She is a torti and white with lots of white. She is medium sized and short haired and rather friendly or was in the shelter. She has a nose that is pink with a big black spot on it and two black whiskers and one black eye lash. Her left front paw pads are also black. Her eyes are a rather handsome gold.

We brought Crocus home and she leaped up the stairs and then after glancing around like she was being hunted by invisible beasts, she headed upstairs to the Sanctuary and is now in Haldis' closet. Caltha went to visit her but Haldis who has AP's and who did not come to the shelter with us told her niece "DON'T MOB THE CAT!" Caltha answered that the cat's name was CROCUS.

I told Caltha that Crocus would come down from the Sanctuary when she was hungry or when she was ready. She would just have to be patient. What six year old is patient? Jacob thinks Crocus is a fine name for a cat so she is going to learn her new name, but we can't start training her to her new name until she comes out of Haldis' closet.

What can you say about an animal that finds the smell of human sweat comforting? I haven't had the heart to squeeze Haldis' laundry bags but my guess is they are bulging and redolent with the odor of sweaty feet and under arms. Haldis thinks Crosus is beautiful. Caltha feels cheated. Typha has decided out of sight out of mind. Jacob wants the computer so I've got to scoot. Take care all...more blogging in a few days. I promise.

Friday, April 25, 2003

By Thadea at 1:56 PM

Well I'm steamrolling the opposition at the Golden Elite. You can check that out for yourself. I don't feel bad about it. One gentelman had weeks to do his homework and the other knew what to expect. I need to build myself up for bronze. That is still a long way away.

I finally decided to do more constructive with my web site. I installed an omer counter. I went looking for one ready to put in but unfortunately, there are none available. It is sadly astounding how little good Judaica there is for the web. The Christians and Wiccans have tons of stuff. I have even seen things in Arabic, probably Mostlem things but Judaica.... no way so I'm using a manually loaded illustration which means I have to upload it every night as the omer count changes.

The omer which stands for a measure of barley. is the number of days between Passover and Shavuos, between leaving Egypt and receiving the Torah. Well, you can all see what comes of my attempt to do a bit of religious education on the web page.

Jacob says we are cleaning the house tonight. I pointed out we were due to go to schul. It is the week after Passover and they are going to need bodies. He said that fine, Saturday we are attacking the house. He asked what that stuff on the living room floor was. I told him it was matzoh crumbs. Matzoh are notoriously crumbly, and if Typha and Caltha sneak there's into the living room or study, they leave a little matzoh crumb trail. So too do adults doing the same thing. Anyway, there are matzoh crumbs everywhere.

So Jacob asks what I intend to do about them. I tell him in good time the kitchen will get cleaned. Well he said he could say that about the living room and the study. Caltha and Typha are watching us like hawks. Well Saturday it's getting done. I said Saturday. I'll do my end. Jacob will do his end and we'll recruit Haldis and Caltha. Haldis will complain because it is near to AP time. Caltha will complain because Haldis complains. Typha will hide, and in the end we will have a reasonably clean house.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

By Thadea at 11:42 PM

Happy Passover to all of you. It's about half way through the holiday and quiet enough for me to blog. Yay! Jacob got done grading papers and is in bed so it's very quiet around here. In about half an hour I start competing for real at the Golden Elite. I am surprised that my team gave me points for my outdated spirit page. I am glad they still consider me a member of the charm club. I may join the quilt as well. I'll have to make a square. It's a busy week and Jacob is working on a project, like when doesn't he work on one.

One day he'll realize the living room and the study are a mess and round up Haldis and Caltha and then the fun will really start. He has a voice that can thunder. He stands 5'4" in his stocking feet. I stand 5'0" so don't laugh, but he has shoulder length blond hair and a big beard and when he feels like it, a big voice. He throws that voice like a shot put and complains about the mess. He asks who caused it. He asks who will clean it. Ever hear of rhetorical questions. He and Haldis lift the couch while Caltha and I sweep out whatever has accumulated under there. Jacob almost throws the chairs and the beanbag chair in the hall. He threatens to tear down the book shelf where Caltha keeps her special books. Well the place gets clean.

My area is the kitchen. I usually just go in there, put on the music and drag Haldis and Caltha in there with me. At three Typha is not old enough for the fun. She goes and hides in the nursery if we make enough noise and yell and curse at eachother enough. Yeah the language in the Black Iris manse is often nasty and occasionally foul. Well it looks like the storm is brewing as far as cleaning but tonight it is calm.

Jacob is dreaming of projects. Haldis is up late doing calculus problems. AP's are less than a month away. Already my poor niece's stomah is bothering her. She has told me how dumb and exhibitional all this web site stuff is. I tell her I need the break and so does she. She says she wants a whole new web site except for hre poetry pages. I told her to go get one. I told her Cousin Sweetpea gave us a small slot of web space and she is welcome to some of it. Do you think she is on here coding and making graphics? What do you think? Oh well to each their own I say.

Maybe Haldis will be in a better mood after she survives the BC calculus AP. We are going to get a cat probably the second weekend or week in May. Jacob and I have decided we want a spayed queen. If she isn't spayed when we get her, the vet will take care of it or the shelter will. We decided with two girls and Haldis only a female cat will truely be happy in our manse. I look forward to the four pawed furry one with a long tail and soft ears and a little wet nose. We had a cat when I was growing up and Jacob's family has always had cats. Only my sister, Eurydice, has a dog. Go figure on that. Dogs are slobbering brutes that can't retract their claws. Yes, we both prefer cats. Oh well, enough blogging for tonight. I wonder how my opponents and I will do when the scores go up on Tuesday. I guess I find out then.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

By Thadea at 12:24 PM
Here is someting more.

By Thadea at 12:23 PM
OK, I guess I have to post something here. Testing....

that billy graham
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