Brabec Bulletin Archives, 2021–2022

Brabec Bulletin Archives, 2021–2022

(Some posts have been moved into the ARTICLES archives.)

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April 4, 2022: How Cats & Dogs Track Their Owner's Whereabouts
March 21, 2022: Reader Feedback on Three Earlier Blog Topics
March 11, 2022: My 85th Birthday, Baptism and Celebration
February 18, 2022: Time Flies—But How Did We Get This Old So Fast?

February 10, 2022: Eating Wisely to Improve and Maintain Good Health
January 26, 2022: Dealing with the Hand We’ve Been Deal
January 10, 2022: Create a New Future for Yourself this Year!
December 20, 2021: Dealing with Holiday Stress and Year-End Burnout
December 9, 2021: Plan to Make 2022 a Blessed Year
November 30, 2021: Welcome to the All-New Barbara Brabec's World

March 21, 2022
Reader Feedback on Three Earlier Blog Topics

How to fix auto-correction errors,
how healthy eating can negate the need for meds,
and how we are driven to create chaos in our lives.

Auto Correction Errors and Proofreading

In my Jan, 26 post, I spoke about my typing and proofreading problems, which prompted several responses. Designer Joan Green summed them up nicely:

“Now that we type on the computer I find I have to be more diligent in proofreading because the computer automatically changes some of my words. I type them correctly, but the computer will change the word to something similar. I’ve also had this problem when texting on my phone. I know I’ve typed it correctly, but it thinks it’s smarter than I am and changes it. I’ve actually seen my word come up correctly and watched as the computer or phone instantly changes it for me! I find this very annoying, and I’m guessing some of your ‘errors’ may be due to the same issue.”

I found two articles that may help you fix this problem: (1) “How to turn off autocorrect on your Android”; and (2) “Too Many Autocorrect Fails? How to Tweak Your Keyboard Settings on iPhone and iPad.”

How One Man with Diabetes Healed Himself
with Diet and Determination

My Feb. 10 “Eating Wisely” post prompted several reader responses, but my communication with Ed B. was amazing. A Native American who grew up on three reservations, Ed had a heart attack in 2006 and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2011 (which runs in his family). He was prescribed the usual drugs, but by doing extensive research and then changing his diet and lifestyle to a healthier one, over a period of years he was able to stop taking all his heart and diabetes medications.

He explained, “In early 2012, a nurse friend got me started me on a course that began to change my life. She introduced me to a book, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, which led me to watch the documentary, Forks over Knives. That book and film helped me realize just how much food affects our health.” 

Ed was doing great until he got Covid right after Thanksgiving 2020. “I got hit hard and had to go into one of the local hospitals for treatment over a three-day period, Thought I was going to die that first night, said many prayers. What really helped me was the blood plasma I was given from someone who had Covid and survived. Was never told who that person was, but I am forever thankful for their donation.”

It took Ed a while to get past what Covid did to his willpower and health, but he’s back in control once again and off the medication he was given during recovery. In our last email exchange he recommended another film, Eating You Alive, that helped him and may help you too.

On a lighter note, after reading my eating wisely post, one of my dearest friends emailed, “I have a box of Godivas and I’m not sharing, so you can thank me for saving you calories and a trip to the dentist!” – Love, not-so-pleasingly-plump Sylvia

How Time Flies and the “Chaos Theory”

Prior to writing my February 18 post on “Time Flies,” I didn’t know there were millions of web pages discussing the “chaos theory.” One of the three questions I asked myself in this post was whether I could stay happy and content in a world I saw crumbling into “cultural, political, and social chaos.” Searching to see if those keywords were being used together on the web, I stumbled upon a fascinating article titled “The Culture of Chaos.”

My post prompted author George Berger to share his thoughts on time and chaos. “I’m not far behind you in age and have come to some related observations, We are programmed to collapse the past and expand the future. Events of the past seem to have come and gone in the blink of an eye, but when we look forward to a future event, the time for it to arrive seems exceedingly long. That’s true for a five-year-old and an eighty-year-old.

“Social media have created a greater chaos now than in the past. But that’s not all. The First World standard of living is exceedingly high compared to all time past—think health care, food, transportation, drugs, tattoos, smart phones, televisions, planes, welfare programs. Humans have not adjusted.

“In times past, all our energy had to be applied to subsistence—finding food, shelter, safety, our tribe to help us. No longer. Yet our very essence needs, must have, constant life stress to thrive. So, when the real word does not surround us with real challenges, real chaos, we are driven to create it, make it up.  Here’s a glimpse from people who have thought about this:

“7 Surprising Reasons You Keep Creating Chaos—Live a Life You Love” (Individuals will create chaos out of modern sheer boredom.) 

 “Human Dimensions of Chaos Theory— Consciousness, Physiology, Perception, and Psychology.”

The above outdated article had a paragraph that rang my bell:

“Throughout history many innovative discoveries have come through the process of reverie, daydreaming, or inspiration.  Research has also shown that the greater the mental challenge, the more chaotic the activity of the subject’s brain (Rapp). After incubating a solution in the chaotic state, we seem to ‘get a brainstorm.’”

Brainstorms sometimes lead us in crazy directions. That quote and George’s comments reminded me of a T-Shirt graphic I related to that may “ring your bell” too. It read:

“My mind is like someone emptied the
kitchen junk drawer onto a trampoline.”

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January 26, 2022
Dealing with the Hand We’ve Been Dealt 

Is it a cold, or Omicron in disguise?
Barbara’s Christmas surprise;
plus her proofreading challenges and
the benign brain tumor causing them.

Life is full of surprises. Here are three of mine.

Is it a Just a cold or Omicron in Disguise?

I haven’t had a cold in a long time, but I was surprised by the one that hit me on Christmas day. Besides the usual runny nose, my voice dropped an octave because I was so congested. I didn’t think much of this until concerned friends warned me this could turn into pneumonia. When I called my doctor, she insisted I get a Covid test to prove I hadn’t caught the omicron strain, which presents itself as a cold. Since I hadn’t been around anyone with Covid, I was told I could get a test at the medical building where I normally get blood tests. A simple Q-tip swish in my nose and it was over—and negative, as I knew it would be.

NEW! Shortly after doing this test, I learned the government is now offering four free Covid test kits to every home in the U.S. Get yours here.

Covid is worse now in my city than ever before, and it’s disconcerting to know that one more thing has changed to upset our lives. Never again can we be sure that what we have is “just a cold.” We’ll have to get tested to make sure we’re not spreading the omicron strain of Covid. I can only wonder how many other strains are coming.

The first of January, my local hospital reported it was treating its highest number of Covid patients since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, and that their findings reflected the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide. Of the 113 patients then being treated, 60 were not vaccinated, 33 were, and three only partially vaccinated. The good news was that over the previous four days, 72 patients who had been treated were discharged.

For more info, see this article on how Omicron affects “the Boosted, Vaxxed and Unvaccinated.”

Proofreading Challenges

As my long-time readers know, I have been known to sometimes publish a Bulletin with the wrong date, giving one the impression that I don’t know what day or month it is (a debatable topic). I was surprised to find I’d done it once again because I try so hard to be perfect.

How could I NOT have seen that I dated that first post of this year “December 10, 2022” instead of January, even after proofing the post several times? Perhaps because my head was still in the month of December and the year-end work I was doing when I wrote the draft after New Year’s day. Each time I proofed the post, I wasn’t looking at the heading but the main content, where I usually find the kind of errors that are caused by the meningioma in my brain.

I corrected the date on my website, but once a Bulletin is mailed, I can’t correct an error like this, so thanks to those who noticed it but were too kind to mention it to me. As for trying to write perfectly, I console myself with Vince Lombardi’s take on this topic: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase it, we can catch excellence.”

FYI: About my Benign Brain Tumor

I do have a medical reason for my inability to always publish everything without errors. I learned I had a meningioma in 2010 when I took a hard fall on black ice and ended up at the hospital. The emergency room doctor said hitting the back of my head like I did had shaken my brain and I should never fall like that again or I might end up like a brain-damaged football player. I made it a rule then to never leave the house if conditions were icy.

This stat on the web might surprise you: “Meningioma accounts for 38% of primary brain tumors. An estimated 34,840 people will be diagnosed with meningioma this year.” Many, like me, never know they have one until it's accidentally discovered.

My fall and concussion changed my life by giving me serious balance issues that have required physical therapy three times so far. But the worst thing was how it affected my ability to type as accurately as I’d been doing prior to 2010. Suddenly I could no longer type a sentence without typos.

EX: When proofing, I’d see that “real” was “read.” “Learn” was “lean,” “plan” was “play,” “not” was “now.” Words needing a plural ending often ended up without the “ed” or “s,” and a missing letter in the middle of a word changed “things” to “"thngs.” I figure it now takes me four times as long to write, edit, and proofread anything for publication than it did before my brain concussion.  Add to this the lesson I learned when I was a good typist:

If you’ve written and typed all the words, you’ll find it nearly impossible to see all your errors because your mind knows what you meant to say, and when you read what you’ve written, your eyes will see only what your mind tells them to see.

Thus, everyone who writes will make typos, as explained in this fine article by Nick Stockton on why it’s so hard to catch your own typos. “We can become blind to details because our brain is operating on instinct,” he says. “By the time you proofread your own work, your brain already knows the destination.”

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January 10, 2022 Brabec Bulletin
Create a New Future for Yourself this Year!

Want to change your life?
Consider “reinventing yourself” to
make a dream come true this year.
And don’t let your age stop you.

“The best way to know your future is to create it yourself,” someone once said. While it’s true that we have a lot of control over the direction our life’s journey will take, many things beyond our control will naturally impact our daily life and decisions.

I like this perspective from Dr. David Jeremiah, a favorite pastor and author. In a New Year’s message titled “Writing Your Story,” he said:

“Journeys have a beginning and an end, but we can’t always predict what comes in between. And that’s where our faith comes in. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”

Since each year opens another chapter in our life’s journey, I hope you still have unrealized dreams and goals that will spur you onward in the months ahead—in spite of all the disturbing things happening in the world around you. I believe our focus needs to be on things we can control, such as our attitude.

Thanks to how I was raised, I’ve always had a hopeful and optimistic attitude about life, which makes it easy for me to relate to Helen Keller’s philosophy:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.”

If you’re unhappy with your life, or perhaps simply older—or retired from your life’s work and feeling aimless—maybe it’s time to try something new and exciting to you. Perhaps my experience, documented in “How to Be a Fearless Dreamer and Reinvent Yourself at Any Age,” will give you some perspective on the benefits of being open to change.

Some people live one day at a time doing what they’ve always done—merely waiting to see what happens next—but I think most of us tend to make plans for specific things we want to do in each new God-given year. Living like this has always given me a reason to get up each morning with a positive attitude and hope for the future. And as all my writing indicates, my hope for the future is grounded in my faith.

Making God my CEO in 1994 was the smartest thing I ever did. As I’ve said in another article, “Found: A New Source of Strength,” given half a chance, God will help us achieve our special dreams and be all we can be in both our personal and professional lives. Our greatest strength may well lie in our brains and talent, but let’s never forget who gave them to us in the first place.”

"There are times in our lives when we have to realize that the past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it. And by doing that, we can change the future." – Eleanor Brown, American novelist, anthologist, editor, teacher, and speaker

Goal Setting Tips

As I’ve done throughout my home-business life, I still follow the “Smart Tip” I gave in the first edition of my Homemade Money book:

“Put all your goals in written form since they will automatically become a plan. Keep them large enough to motivate you to go forward, yet small enough to be easily achieved.”

Sometimes the best goals are simply to finish things we weren’t able to complete the year before. One of my major goals this year is to finish writing Call of the Heart: A Rescue Dog’s Dream, which I began in 2019 and had to put on the back burner in 2020 in order to achieve my goal of building this new website.

Simplify, Simplify!

Another major goal revolves around my new word for the year, which is SIMPLIFY. I’ve started to look at everything in my personal and professional life that’s stealing my time and energy or causing me mental grief or concern. One by one, I’ll take steps to deal with each of these issues.

I feel even more bogged down than usual this year by all the “stuff” I no longer want and need to get rid of while I still have the physical energy and mental desire to tackle this job.  Feeling as though I’m drowning in paper, I’ve begun to look through the twelve drawers of my office filing cabinets in search of everything that’s no longer relevant to my life, my work on the web, and the books I plan to write and publish. The first big shopping bag of paper is in this week’s trash.

As Joshua Becker, author of four books on minimalism and intentional living, says, “The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” He adds that “Time spent on minimalizing possessions is never wasted.”

So here’s to all of us spending some time this year on decluttering our life, reaching for new dreams, and reinventing ourselves to make our life all we want it to be.

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December 20, 2021 Brabec Bulletin

Dealing with Holiday Stress and Year-End Burnout

Barb’s cure for both—with tips on
planning a “staycation,” a story about Houska,
and a reminder of the reason for the season.

December and its holidays always bring extra stress as we make to-do lists for everything related to our Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. I think we all feel we have more to do now than time to do it in, so it's no wonder holiday stress and year-end burnout are so common.

But I know the cure for both.  At year's end, I always refresh my spirit with a restful staycation. Mine will begin on Christmas Eve day, but I imagine some of you may have to delay your break from stress till after Christmas.

For a stay-at-home vacation to work, you must break the pattern that’s causing you stress or worry, which means stop what you've been doing. And disconnect from mainstream news and the internet as long as possible. Forget about email, and stay off your social media outlets and your blog, if you have one. You may think you’re connecting to the world by doing these things, but you’re actually distancing yourself from both your family and the real world—the one God created for your pleasure and enjoyment. (When did you last "commune with nature?" This can be a great stress reliever and emotional healer.)

Carve Out Time for Yourself

Whether you’re burned out or not, plan some special time at the end of the year for things you didn’t have time to do before. In days ahead, I plan to reorganize my writing files, get back to stitching, call old friends, and fix special meals that take extra time to prepare (or have too many calories to enjoy more than once a year). I’ve already baked dozens of cookies and loaves of Houska, the Czech bread Harry loved so much.

When we married in 1961, his aunts said I needed to learn how to bake this bread if I wanted to keep him happy. (This sweet, braided bread with golden raisins is best served warm with a generous spread of butter and some hot cocoa on the side.)

Whenever Harry and I were “on the outs” and I wanted to get back in his good graces, I just said, “I’ll bake Houska for you today, honey,” and all was forgiven. I made that bread for him right up to the end of his life; now I make it for myself and as a gift for others who have shown me special kindnesses during the year.

At Christmas, I also escape by binging on Hallmark Christmas movies, which bring back memories of my romantic days with Harry and growing up in a small town with a mother who always made this holiday so memorable for the whole family.

Leaning on the Lord

I hope all of you have happy Christmas memories to fall back on, especially if your life isn’t as happy now as it was in the past. Many people have good reason to be sad this Christmas with the country now more divided than ever and Covid still claiming the lives of loved ones. For some, faith in God may be the only thing they have to hang onto.

If you aren’t leaning on the Lord now when it’s His birth we’re celebrating, I hope you will read the story of how I finally connected personally to God at the late age of 58 after taking Him for granted all my life. A simple prayer changed my life overnight, and I’ve now turned my Testimony for Christ into a PDF document you can download for later reading and perhaps sharing with someone who’s feeling lost and discouraged this Christmas.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16; NIV).

My Christmas Wish for You

In this most special season of the year, I pray you can see the wonder of God in your life and the world at large, and that you have family or friends who give you peace and joy. Merry Christmas, everyone, and may your New Year be bright with surprising opportunities, small miracles, and success in your chosen endeavors!

As always, I look forward to another year with hope, expectation, and thanksgiving for all I’ve been given, and I hope the same is true with you. I leave you with a joyful video of Frank & Zack Hyde playing their original piano arrangement, “Sleigh Ride Fantasy.” This is my favorite Christmas song and I listen to these remarkable young pianists and songwriters every year. They deserve your attention. Enjoy!

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December 9, 2021 Brabec Bulletin
Plan to Make 2022 a Blessed Year!

Barbara’s Rules on how to live in God’s will for your life
& new “Do You Know” feature. This month,
Medical Records & Knee Joint Surgery

As the end of another year approaches, many of us tend to look back and ask ourselves where the year went as we ponder our accomplishments and lessons learned. But I like to focus on the new goals I hope to achieve in the New Year, and I no longer make “resolutions” that are so easily broken.

Covid-19 smashed many of our dreams and goals, forcing us to accept it as part of our daily reality, not only next year but perhaps forever, much like the flu. (The scary rising infection and death stats in my city pushed me to get the booster shot this week.)

Like you, I've found it hard to accept that decisions once simple to make must now be weighed against the danger we face if we associate with people who can make us sick, and even kill us if we have a weakened immune system. I’ll never again feel safe to step foot into an auditorium with thousands of people, and wonder if I’ll ever feel safe in attending a small theatre to see a play or musical performance. This is not a joyful way for anyone to live, and yet peace and joy is ours for the taking if we simply know how to find it.

Barbara’s Rules for
Living in God’s Will for Your Life

Many are searching for an answer to this question, but how to find it? As Jonathan Cahn, pastor at Beth Israel Worship Center summarized it last Sunday, “Seek God’s will for your life by beginning with what you already know. As your relationship with the Lord deepens, you’ll begin to understand exactly how He wants you to live” (James 1:5).

Here are some of my rules for joyful living: 

Do what you say you’re going to do. This is the foundation of your personal and professional integrity. (You’ll also like yourself better if you keep your promises to others.)

Do what needs to be done. If you can’t do it alone, ask others for help to accomplish specific tasks. (I would not be here today if not for the help of many business friends and associates.)

Be careful what you let into your mind. Stop listening to ungodly people. These days it doesn’t take much to kill one’s inner joy and peace of mind.

Ask God for wisdom about everything you need to do (James 1:5-6). Pray that He will bless you by working all things together for your good and for His purposes for your life (Rom. 8:28).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and also love your neighbor as yourself. These first two commandments actually summarize the Ten Commandments God gave to the Israelites—which Jesus confirms in Matthew 22-37 that we must obey today to be in God’s will for our life.

In summary, a featured article on the HOME page explains one reason why I count 2021 as one of my most blessed years. By leaving a church I’d long attended and joining another one God miraculously led me to in June, I found a new extended and loving Christian family five minutes from my door.

Treasure your happy memories, my friends. Be grateful for today’s blessings, and above all, pray for God’s guidance in all your tomorrows.

Do You Know …?

Do You Know . . . that doctors now keep your medical records for only five to 10 years? So you either need to keep very detailed records of your own or some day will have to request them from your hospital.

STORY: Before one of my sisters had knee joint replacement surgery, she asked me what kind of prosthesis I’d gotten for my surgeries in 2005 and 2006. Although I’d documented details about them, I didn’t note this info. I soon learned when I called my surgeon that, like my other doctors, he no longer has access to my records. But he said he has used Zimmer implants for years and considers them the best available today.

How long will a replacement joint last? I last saw my surgeon in 2019 after I’d banged up one knee after a fall. After X-raying both knees, he said, “If I didn't know better I'd think I'd done your surgery last month.” He again confirmed that I'd never need to have these joints replaced, no matter how long I lived. And my younger sister was told the same thing. (But I wonder if younger adults or runners would get the same answer.)

FACTS: More than 6oo,000 knee joint replacements are done each year in the US. If you need knee surgery, I suggest you find a specialist in this field who will answer every question you have. Get personal references if possible. I simply used the same surgeon my husband had success with. Discuss the type of prosthesis to be used. (For details on your options, Google “4 types of knee joint implants.”) Good luck to you!

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COMMENT: Printing your Rules for Joyful Living to keep framed at my desk, Barbara! Love & joy to you from, 'Your Forever Fan,' ” Martha in Iowa

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November 30, 2021
Welcome to the All New Barbara Brabec’s World

FIRST . . . a big thank-you to my subscribers for sticking with me through the thick-and-thin times in the past two years when I couldn’t publish Bulletins on any kind of schedule. I hope you read my last Bulletin, which notified you that your subscription to my Brabec Bulletin was being moved over to this new site and you didn’t have to do anything to stay on my list.

This post is merely an introductory message. As soon as I take care of closing out my old domain and handling other details related to this site’s opening, I’ll write again. Note that my sending email address has changed. If you have my old Wowway email in your address book, you should delete it now.

First-time Visitors: I hope to soon see your address on my mailing list. Why subscribe? Read these “Comments from Happy Subscribers” to decide. Some of my readers have been with me since 2000 when I first began to publish the Brabec Bulletin.

 About the New Brabec Bulletin Posts

 I relate now to Forest Gump, who saw life like a box of chocolates. Because I have an interest in writing about many different life-related topics, you’ll never know what you’re going to get in the next Brabec Bulletin until it arrives in your Inbox as a mid-week surprise (with “surprise” being defined as “an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing”). If one of my Bulletins is not of interest, perhaps the next one will be. We must all be selective in the number of emails we can read each day,

I used to write lengthy monthly Bulletins, but my new Bulletin posts will be much shorter and on one to three topics at most. Expect no more than two or three Bulletins a month since I have more articles to load to this site and a new book-in-progress I want to get back to in January.

A New Life Perspective

Have you noticed how your perspective on life has changed with the passing years? Researchers tell us that aging—and all that comes with it—changes the way we see the world, but I still see my life as an adventure waiting to happen. Of course my deep Christian faith has everything to do with my positive outlook on life.

I still have many dreams and goals, am still acquiring new skills, developing new friendships, and embracing everything about life that is positive and uplifting (which means I don’t watch much news these days). I liked Ingrid Bergman’s take on this topic:

“Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!” (The fifth wife of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Ingrid died of cancer at 65.)

In my younger years, I wrote to make a living. Today, all I really want to do in my older age is write about LIFE in direct response to the call of my heart, with money being a sideline blessing. I hope that the professional services I offer will help and encourage other writers to publish what they write. I relate strongly to this quote from a favorite blogger:

“Life's not all about money. It's about doing what you were born to do, what you feel called to do. It's about people—about shaping and changing them and giving them pleasure and forcing them to think.” – John Matthew Fox, Bookfox

Long ago I said I wanted to be one of the oldest women on the web when I died. Until then, I want to be a role model for those who say they can’t do this or that because they’re too old. If you need encouragement to keep on “keeping on,” follow me, because I’ve become something of an expert on this topic.

“In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber.  So long as it receives a message of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage – so long are you young.  When the wires are all down and our heart is covered with the snow of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, are you grown old.” – Douglas MacArthur

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P.S. Be sure to check my ARTICLES archives, where you’ll find links to fourteen categories of articles discussing twenty life-related topics. I’ll be blogging about some of those topics as well as others in which I have an interest, including cooking/baking, collecting, home management, perennial gardening, technology, nature, biblical archaeology, and simply growing old gracefully and productively.

I believe my favorite topics are likely to be of interest to readers of any age. After all, aren’t we all aging and in a race with the clock to get the most out of every day of our life?

COMMENTS: "Congratulations Barbara! You always amaze me with your energy and drive. I’m so happy to see you accomplished your goal with getting your website started. You’re my inspiration." – Beth Glisson, Fishers, IN

“Congratulations, my dear friend! I’m so happy for you, and so proud of you! And you opened right when you said you wanted to! Wishing you much success, Barbara! You have so much insight to offer on so many topics, something for everyone!” – Rita Werner

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