Friday, January 8, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again

Thought for the day:  When the tide of life surrounds you and the water upsets your boat, don't waste your time on what might have been... just lie on your back and float. [Ed Norton to Ralph Kramden on the Honeymooners, 1956]

[morguefile]
Okay, so maybe the title of this post is a teensy weensy bit misleading, because my tush hasn't been in a saddle for more years than I'd care to count. But floating on my back, enjoying life while watching the world go by? Now, that's more the real me these days.

So how are y'all doing? Happy New Year, one and all. I hope the Holidays were fantastic for you. After slacking off by posting re-runs the past couple of weeks, here I am, back, live, and none the worse for the wear. We had a blast over the past couple weeks, both figuratively and literally. In line with my whole back-floating approach to life, I'm gonna ease into the new blogging year by sharing some pictures, and a wee bit of info about an upcoming blogfest. (Since I haven't participated in a single one of them this entire year, I figured it was about time for me to be get outta the pool and be more sociable...)

CHRISTMAS IN ALABAMA...

As much fun as I made of inflatable decorations a couple weeks ago, I've gotta admit, I loved these. Especially the Minion. These,  a few other inflatables, and a host of other decorations filled one of the rooms in our son's house. The Christmas room, the grandkids called it. (Not that the rest of the house wasn't decorated, too.)

Of course, I liked the inflatables even more when the kids sat still long enough to pose in front of them for me. From left to right, that's Aaron, Jaiden, their cousin McKenzie, Kymber, and Devyn.


Smarticus and Aaron, just before we all watched the Minions movie together. Gotta be dressed in the proper attire, right? It was Aaron's idea to get those snazzy pants for Smarticus. (and me!) Funniest toy ever? Aaron's new Minion doll, which bends over, breaks wind, and falls to the floor laughing. Hilarious! (Goes very well with the fart gun, which he already owned...)

Devyn is entirely enamored with anything associated with the movie Frozen, so this was one of her favorite gifts. She and Kymber have watched the movie so often, they know every word to every song, and darned near all of the dialogue, too.




Here's our handsome son and whiz kid Aaron. (Junior has a heckuva lot of nerve having gray hair, doesn't he...?)




HA! Our daughter-in-law thought she'd grab a wee little bit of shut-eye. Rots o' ruck with that!

Troy (a Husky/malamute) and Stormy (a blue heeler) had other ideas.












Um, yeah... the dogs won that argument.












NEW YEAR'S IN TENNESSEE

We saw the new year in with our friends in Tennessee. (The header picture is the gorgeous view from their back deck.) As usual, we did a lot of laughing, swapped a few lies, and played a lot of games. In fact, we were so deep into a board game as midnight approached, it's a wonder we even noticed a new year was about to begin.


Smarticus and Cliff in their usual New Year's Eve garb of  tux tee shirts. Isn't that fireplace fabulous? It's so deep, it looks like a big ol' cauldron should be hanging in there.



The fireplace isn't just for looks, either. There was a fire blazing in it most of the time we were there.

(P.S. Smarticus really does own other pants... ☺) Trust me, he didn't wear these when the guys went off to a gun show...



Meet Squeak. What a cutie! He kinda looks like the dog who was in the old movie Benji. The guys were getting ready to take a walk to the mailbox, and Squeak got unbelievably excited when Cliff pulled out his little doggie jacket.



Squeak and Shelby weren't exactly begging when Kati was trying to eat a piece of pizza. Let's just say they were very... attentive.






Here's the newest member of the family, in spite of the fact they were calling him NOC, as in Not Our Cat. Kati found him wandering around a parking lot meowing pitifully a couple days before we got there. He not only made fast friends with all of us people, he also did well with the other two resident cats Kismet and Miss Groucho... and the dogs. He's such a beautiful, well-groomed, and incredibly friendly cat, we're sure someone must be missing him terribly, but so far, in spite of their best efforts to locate his owner, no responses. I'd say they're gonna have to change his name...

Caught him in the act! (Almost) That glass container holds dog treats, which are doled out to the pooches every time they come into the house. (Nope! Not spoiled a bit!) I reckon NOC thought he would just help himself to a little something-something. I managed to snap a quick, albeit blurry, picture before rescuing the glass jar from being knocked to the floor. However, in the middle of the night, NOC was once again successful in getting the lid off and knocked the contents onto the table so he could nibble a few. Very wily!


About the literal blast I mentioned earlier? It... actually, quite a few of them... came courtesy of this nifty cannon Smarticus built. It's meant to go with Cliff's Pinzgauer, which he drives in numerous parades with other members of his military vehicle club. The cannon is based on a single-shot rifle, and the ammo is courtesy of a bunch of empty plastic prescription bottles. (Unfortunately, Smarticus and I have a LOT of them on hand.) The BOOM was very satisfying, and the best-looking smoke was provided by ashes from the fireplace.



Here's another view of the cannon. The guys had a lot of fun test-firing it to see what would work best. Lots of work to go yet to make it aesthetically correct, but I think it'll eventually be a cool tool for various military demo events.





An inside look, for those of you who might be interested. As presently configured, it doesn't function as an actual weapon. Just a fun toy for grown-ups. (The guys even fired some parsnips through it!)

Okay, enough pictures. Now, about that blogfest coming up. It's gonna be held on February first, and it's called Lost and Found, Valentine's Edition. 


It's the brain child of Arlee Bird, who describes it as follows:

Do you remember that special feeling of love found? And who hasn't experienced the emotional experience of love lost? Some of you might have even lost a love only to find that person later for another go around. 

Tell your story about love lost or found in our special Valentine's blogfest. Your post can be a short fiction, an essay, poetry, or even a song-- let your imagination run free. Any genre is fair game, be it romance, historical fiction, memoir, or even science fiction. After all, there are no limitations when it comes to love. 

The fest, which will be co-hosted by Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Elizabeth Seckman, Yolanda Renee, Denise Covey, and Alex Cavanaugh, sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? I've already signed up... how about you? Just click on that handy dandy badge in the sidebar, and it'll whisk you away to more info and a sign-up sheet. Why not go for it??? I'd love to read your story...

And talking about whisking away, I believe it's time for me to whisk away, too. Those Christmas decorations aren't gonna take themselves down...

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

73 comments:

  1. LOVED the pictorial tour of your holidays.
    You have one gorgeous looking family - two and four-legged alike.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. We're kinda partial to all the kids, grandkids, and grandpets, too. :)

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  2. A wonderful assortment of holiday photos, Susan - it's obvious that you had a great time with family & friends.

    Alas, there's no possible way to get any decent shuteye when you share the house with dogs or cats
    (I speak from experience - but you already knew that).

    Did the dogs get any pizza? My cat Scratch likes pepperoni pizza....

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    1. Thanks. We really did have a good time, but it's kinda nice to settle back into our usual routines again, too.

      You silly man. Of COURSE the dogs got some pizza. And after we came home, Kati emailed me to let me know NOC had stolen a piece of pizza from her, and ran off with it. Ate the whole thing. (He didn't get that big by denying himself.)

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  3. Aw, so many sweet pictures! Sounds like you and your family had a fantastic holiday.

    And the Lost & Found blogfest definitely sounds like fun. Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for it!

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    1. We did! And I hope you did, too. :)

      If you wanted to participate in the blogfest, your cartoons would be an outstanding, not to mention unique, addition...

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  4. A farting Minion??? I must have one! my son would love it, but of course it isn't for him.I ,like the Minion pj pants too :)
    I love that big stone fireplace, I'd hang a cauldron in there and use it to cook soups and stews every winter.
    The new cat looks very well cared for, I hope he isn't a runaway who got frightened by New Year fireworks, glad your family found him.

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    1. YES! That farting Minion is the funniest thing you ever saw! Smarticus has a Minion who giggles, and talks, and says things like, "Ba-ba-ba-ba-na-na!" It's really cute, but Aaron's Minion takes the cake. (And cuts the cheese!)

      Yes, the new cat is definitely well-groomed. His hair is long, and it looked as though it was regularly brushed. Not a single tangle. Kati found him wandering around several days before the end of the year, so New Year celebrations didn't have anything to do with it. We're thinking maybe he might have escaped from an RV of someone just passing through town. At any rate, we just know someone is missing him. He's a real sweetie.

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  5. So much to take in but all of it wonderful.
    Love that new cat and surely someone somewhere must be missing him. Anyway he's obviously to be happy with you and that is the main thing.
    Happy New Year to everyone.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and it's great to hear from you. Happy New Year!

      I know. We were all heartbroken on behalf of whoever lost that wonderful kitty. He's SUCH a sweetie.

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  6. Loved the pants! But Christmas is all about the pajamas, it's play time! I bought my hubby Santa pants (PJ's) and he wore the hell out of them. Said they were the most comfortable pants he's ever owned. :) So cute too!
    Love meeting your family and the idea for a Christmas room is ingenious - perfect for the little ones.
    Thanks for the review. I had no idea I liked purple eyes that much. And really, you've never heard of Josh Groban?? He's my fav! His music is my muses fav too!
    Have a great day!

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    1. Yeah, our holidays were a lot about comfort and jammies this year. Used to be, we all got dressed up, but I like the more laid-back approach so much more.

      No, I never heard of Josh Groban, but I'll make a point of looking for something by him on Youtube today. :)

      You have a great day, too!

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  7. Great pics and man, that cat is big! Love Smarticus's jammies :)

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    1. Yes, the kitty is VERY big. And cuddly. Judging by how often he wore them, I think Smarticus likes those jammies, too. :)

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  8. You guys know how to do the holidays right!

    Happy 2916 to you and all of yours. I'm looking forward to reading many more of your posts this year. :)

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    1. We try! (And I'll betcha you do, too!)

      Um, 2916? Oh dear. It seems I've missed a few years somewhere along the way... :)

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    2. Linda G is a time traveller?

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    3. LOL! Why, yes. Time travel is one of my many (imaginary) skills. ;)

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  9. Wish I could hear that cannon go off.

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    1. It sounds pretty cool! But not deafeningly loud.

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  10. You were a busy bee, even if no saddle lol, the dogs sure weren't going to let a nap come due. Sounds like a great cat to fit right in there too.

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    1. More laid-back than busy. :)

      Pets and naps don't always go hand-in-hand. And yes, so far the new kitty is fitting in beautifully.

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  11. Hi Susan - lovely shots to see of the family and friends - that NOC is huge - looks enormous!!! Maybe the other family couldn't feed him/she/it?! I must say the fire looks enticing just now - it's about to get cold here ... cheers and welcome back - Happy New Year to the family and you both .. Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary!

      Yeah, NOC definitely isn't a petite cat. And not a picky eater, either. He seems to be so very well cared for, though, that I find it hard to believe anyone let him go on purpose, but ya never know.

      Happy New Year to you, too! Stay warm.

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  12. I enjoyed reading your post – you had some great time during the holidays. Here, we had no Christmas or New Year as I was in bed for over two weeks with a nasty case of acute bronchitis – ate Chinese noodle soup all that time… I’m going to make some goodies though – I guess for Chinese New Year as it is still up coming. Have a great 2016!

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    1. I'm glad you liked the post, but sorry to hear you were sick over the holidays. That's no fun at all. So here's to a Happy Chinese New Year! (If you had Chinese noodle soup for the regular new year, it's only fair you eat something like sugar cookies for Chinese new year...)

      Thanks for signing on as a new follower. Welcome aboard! And here's (I'm lifting my tea cup in salute) to a terrific 2016!

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  13. whisk away I read as whiskey away...silly me. New Year's is over - back to sober reality. I love the minion's pajamas and pics of those cutie kids (yes, even the older ones with gray hair). Fun times - then again you always seem to enjoy life. No doubt 2016 shall be a "blast"

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    1. HA! No whiskey-ing away for me. Perhaps a wee glass of wine later...

      Let's hope 2016 is a blast for all of us.

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  14. Why do I have the feeling Smarticus' pajamas would fit NOC?

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  15. Smarticus in those Minion Pjs is just the coolest thing!
    Love the pics with the grand-babies. You can see that they're having a wonderful time. And your son is a hottie...lucky daughter-in-law. :)
    Glad you all had a brilliant time, makes me wanna join you all in front of that beautiful open fire. But where's the pictures of you in your minion attire??

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    1. I HATE to have my picture taken. Always have. And now it's even worse, because every time someone points a camera at me, some old fat lady jumps in the way...

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  16. Great family photos! I didn't realize how big the inflatables were until I saw the grandchildren posing with them. What fun! The Minion toy sounds like a real hoot! :D Fun post. Sounds like you had a nice holiday. That's a beautiful view in your header.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the pictures. That toy really is a hoot... or maybe I should say "toot"... :)

      I hope you enjoyed lots of family and fun over the holidays, too. Happy weekend!

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  17. Awe Susan, your grandchildren are so adorable. It's awesome that they enjoyed all their gifts.

    I had a nice quiet New Years with Valentina... it sounds like playing games was a fun thing to do for the New Year xox

    Have a great weekend ♡

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    1. Thanks. We think they're adorable, too. :)

      Playing games and laughing is always one of my favorite ways to spend time, no matter what time of year it is. I hope you and Valentina had a good time together.

      You have a very happy weekend, too.

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  18. That is one huge beautiful cat.
    I love all the various cats, dog, kids, other people and minions.
    When you posted the photo of Devyn and talked about Frozen, all I could see was Sky from Paw Patrol. Then I saw the Frozen doll.
    My granddaughter love Frozen but has moved on to Paw Patrol and Blue Bubble Guppies.
    Little ones are so much fun.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. He really is one huge beautiful cat, but his friendliness is what won us over the most. I can't get over how he comfortable he was with us immediately.

      HA! Yeah, that Paw Patrol picture was a bit dominant, wasn't it? The kids like them, too, but Frozen is still Devyn's favorite. I haven't heard of Blue Bubble Guppies, but then again, I never heard of Shopkins, either, until Kymber asked for something Shopkins. Evidently, that's one of the "big things" these days. At least, a couple of the kids got some Lego kits... THAT I was familiar with.

      Cheers back atcha! Happy weekend.

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  19. I love the photo of Smarticus and Aaron on the sofa - what a great, relaxed photo. And Devyn and my youngest granddaughter would really hit it off - Olive got a Frozen indoor play tent from us for Christmas. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas.

    Happy New Year! And now I've got Gene Autry in my head, singing "Back in the Saddle." Heh.

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    1. I like that picture, too. (Just chillin'...)

      HA! And I also like that you even know Gene Autry's "Back in the Saddle," because not that many people do.

      Happy weekend!

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  20. You guys are nuts, but your grandchildren are adorable.

    Love,
    Janie

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  21. What could be better than celebrating the holidays with children (even with grey hair), beautiful grandchildren, and old friends. That is what makes those days memorable.

    Pjs were the outfit of our choice in my house also.

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    1. Ya know, I don't there IS anything better. :)

      Sounds like most of us have made the pragmatic trip from stylish to comfortable. And it feels great!

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  22. Wonderful pics of family members, cute kiddies, and pets. I also love the inflatables. Since I was off work, I pretty much wore pajamas most days, all day long during my vacation.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the pictures. I also like that so many of us have learned how to "lounge" during our down time. Then again, during YOUR "down time," you probably wrote two or three books. :)

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  23. Wonderful post! Beautiful family. Love the cannon. I'm so glad you included a view of its innards. It's like seeing a donkey's outside then having it bray at you so you can look down his throat and see his works --and invariably think,"well, someone's been clever". Best wishes to all!

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    1. Thanks, dude! I figured someone (like you) might like a peek inside of the cannon. :)

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  24. Looks like you all had a wonderful time over Christmas and New Years. I hope the rest of the year is just as blessed.

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    1. We did, and I hope you did, too. Sending lots of blessings right back atcha.

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  25. Sounds awesome time! Glad you all had fun. Probably had some family drama as well!

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    1. It was awesome, but believe it or not, no drama! It was all one big romantic comedy... :)

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  26. Now that's what I call holidays. Kids for Xmas, adults and exploding things for New Year's!
    Mazel tov.
    x

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    1. Yes! Kids... adults and explosions... now that you put it that way, you're exactly right!

      Mazel tov back atcha.

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  27. Great photos! Looks like you guys had a blast. Plus, yay pets!

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    1. Thanks! We did. Isn't it funny... when we get together with friends, we all talk more about our pets than we ever did about our kids... HA! (I guess pets are our furry four-legged kids...)

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  28. Your grandchildren are beautiful!
    I love Smarticus's minion pants, and I guess he loves them too since he's wearing them in almost every picture!

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    1. Thanks! We think so, too.

      Yeah, I kinda gathered that he liked those pants... much to my surprise.

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  29. Loved these photos, your grandchildren are wonderful!

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  30. Great you had a good time, thanks for sharing these pics.

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    1. Thanks! And thank YOU for stopping by to see them. Happy New Year!

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  31. Thanks for sharing such nice pictures of kids sitting with fun cartoon characters. My kids love them too. Glad that your Holidays were fun and happy.

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    1. Thank you. I hope your holidays were just as fun and happy. :) Happy New Year!

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  32. I'm signed up for the bloghop. Yay!

    Such adorable pictures, and what a fun holiday. You have an adorable family.

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    1. Super! I'll look forward to seeing your entry into the bloghop.

      Thanks. I hope you had an equally fun holiday. With little ones, I'm sure you did. :)

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  33. Susan, your family is awesome! All my co-workers at http://www.paperwriting.xyz/ that saw these picture said that it is obvious a happy family if there are such happy smiling children. Best wishes to all you love and you, too!

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    1. Thanks, Maggie. We think they're pretty doggone awesome,too. Best wished and happy new year back atcha.

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  34. Love the family photos! Archie Bunker, the Cartwrights, and Fred Flintstone only had one pair of pants, so why should Smarticus be any different?! That's what I tell my hubby who practically lives in his new pair of sweatpants! Your grandchildren look adorable, and Junior's in good company with Richard Gere and Steve Martin who were both prematurely silver/white. Your handsome son looks a lot like his momma! Glad you had fabulous holidays! Happy New Year!

    Julie

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    1. HA! You've got a point about guys wearing only one pair of favorite pants, but now that the holidays are over, the Minions pants are tucked safely in his dresser. Go figure.

      I don't know how you can tell from the picture, but our son really does look a lot like me. ('Cept for the gray hair... :) )

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