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Just A Bit More Looking Back.

This post title is inspired by the song “No More Looking Back” by The Kinks. It’s fantastic.

I’m publishing this tomorrow, on New Year’s Day, but I’m writing it today, on New Year’s Eve. It’s strange to think that in eight hours, it will be a new day, a new month and a new year. I’m ready. I’m waiting right now for several friends to arrive, from eastern MA, Connecticut, and Chicago. We will have the biggest eating fest you could imagine, and we’ll watch live Phish on webcast. I’ll be celebrating with Cassidy’s old friends, who have in time become my old friends, and I love that. I will also be celebrating with two newer friends that I met through Scarlet’s preschool, and it feels right to ring in a new year with them.

I got this “Year in Review” post idea from Melissa at Home on Deranged and I’m happy to reflect with answers to questions.

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(New Year’s 2013! With a Snow Dalek, oh yes.)

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

The first thing that comes to mind is that I photographed a renewal of vows wedding ceremony. My first wedding!

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I also became a published author in a fabulous book, and became friends with many of my co-authors!

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Lastly, I joined a blogging community and met so many of you wonderful people, some even in real life! (and their kids!)

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Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, but I certainly have year-long and lifetime goals. I think my resolution was to make lots of money, and I did make more money than I had in years, so that was nice. It does help keep the constant edge off. For this year, Scarlet made us a resolution – we all have to see a moose together in 2014. Suffice it to say, it will be done in style.

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Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, a few friends had some real beauties this year. And 2014 will be the year that family members give birth. Oh, yes.

Did anyone close to you die?

My mom lost a good friend who I loved very much. My grandfather passed in 2012, rather, but the sadness lives on. I’m so happy to say my 100-year-old grandmother saw all of 2013 and more, in New Jersey and close to my parents. Onto 2014!

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What countries did you visit?

Yeah, about that. I still haven’t been anywhere except for America and Canada. Maybe in the next few years. Certainly someday.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Consistent work. This will happen when I let it, and I’m about to get to that point, if not already there.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory?

July 6th, 2013. That’s when we threw Scarlet an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. We worked together, tirelessly, tracing and painting cardboard cut-outs, and the surprise on our little girl’s face when she took it all in? Well it set the stage for all future surprises. In that, we like building them.

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What was your biggest achievement of the year?

See the first answer! The wedding, the book, the blogging community!

What was your biggest failure?

Oh, it’s probably not best to go too into those! I haven’t been able to let go of bitterness I have for people who make me uncomfortable or annoyed.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Hmm..I think not! I can say that I didn’t even get a cold in 2013! I had mild seasonal allergies in spring.

What was the best thing you bought?

Without a doubt, it was Scarlet’s new bed. To be fair, I paid for half and Cassidy paid for the other half, but it still counts.

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Whose behavior merited celebration?

Both kids for different reasons! Scarlet can be challenging, but wonderful and wise. Des is just…well you have to hang out with him to see. He’s all personality. He’s clever. He’s calm. He sits and plays independently for hours. He’s the reason people have third babies..but…it doesn’t always work out so easily!

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Where did most of your money go?

Food. The Disney trip. Gifts for everyone.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Everything I’ve already mentioned! My book, photography, surprising Scarlet with her Alice party, her bed, and the Disney trip.

What song will always remind you of 2013?

“Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder? Happier.
Thinner or fatter? Probably thinner, but only by a bit. I’ve been within the same ten pounds since high school, except when pregnant.
Richer or poorer? Richer, but not by a lot.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Chilling out. Letting go. Kissing. Exercising.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Freaking out. Holding in. Not kissing. Not exercising.

Did you fall in love in 2013?

Not with someone I wasn’t already in love with.

How many one-night stands?

None last year. None ever.

Who were your best friends?

My sisters. My kids. Cassidy. And many others of you. I can’t narrow you friends down. I just can’t. You’re all best friends.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?

I don’t always have a lot of money, but when I can, I donate photography.

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What were your favorite TV programs?

Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Modern Family, New Girl, Arrested Development, Doctor Who, Parenthood.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

There’s no room in my heart for hate, for people in my life, but when I hear stories on the news about cruelty and abuse and murder..my blood boils with something I’d rather not talk about.

What was the best book you read in 2013?

It wasn’t one of my better reading years, but I just finished “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton, and I was just SO in there.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

So much. I’ll just say that recently I discovered that on a long trip, I can set Pandora to the Disney station and make Scarlet a heck of a lot happier. And if you have that chance to make somone a heck of a lot happier, you take it!

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What did you want and get?

A Uconn Huskies shirt? Camera stuff. Books. Chocolate. More jobs. More love. More friends.

What did you want but did NOT get?

A moose in my yard.

What was your favorite film of this year?

Well I haven’t seen very much, but I saw Silver Linings Playbook in 2013 instead of 2012, so I’ll just go with that.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 33 and spent it with family. Cassidy made me Pinterest-wishlist-inspired dinner and dessert. And we rearranged the house that week.

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What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Money. Boy it sucks to admit that. Boy it sucks to be in that.

What kept you sane?

I have learned to manage my situational anxiety a lot better, and to this day, without ever using medication. (not that there’s anything wrong with that but I was nursing this year!). And I am kept sane by many things – TV, books, music, kids.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Eh. I like a lot of the guys on “Once Upon a Time” and “Revenge”.

What political issue stirred you the most?

I can’t even. I will offend at least half of you. People sometimes…their brains…? Not engaging.

Who did you miss?

Far away and long ago family and friends. Too many to count.

Who was the best new person you met this year?

I could never narrow it down!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Instead of recoiling when faced with a new challenge, and thinking of all the reasons I can’t do it before even doing it…Well.
Now I say “yes” and just fake it until I make it. I make it happen. I learn fast.

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Quote that sums up your year:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

“But lately I’ve been going to
All the places that remind me of you.
And just when I think you’re out of my head
I hear a record you played or see a book that you read.”
— The Kinks “No More Looking Back”

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  1. The Kinks was so perfect for this post and I will say I am truly happy we became close friends through our blogs this year. And am so looking forward to more shared times with you this year. Happy New Year and hope you enjoyed your feast last night!! 🙂

    1. Yes, I’m so happy that 2013 was our year! I should have mentioned that my biggest accomplishment was also hiring you to make me all self-hosted WordPress and proud.

  2. This part: And just when I think you’re out of my head

    I hear a record you played or see a book that you read.

    Especially the songs. Or I'll see someone and the hair, or the way they tilt their head when they smile, or just some other little thing I can not define fast enough and I crumble. Or I'll get those certain mints. So many triggers out there in the world. Some make me smile and others make me cry the ugly cry. Yep. The kinks know what they are talking about, huh?

    Your 2014? I predict all sorts of inspired loveliness and good surprises.

    1. The world is full of triggers, isn’t it? And it’s always so funny how sometimes I won’t notice a single one, and other times, every single one breaks my heart.

      The Kinks are amazing.

  3. I love your quotes. And your answers to the questions.

    I'm glad I got to know you this year (through the screen).

    Here's to an amazing 2014!

    1. I feel the same way! Yay to 2013 for the introductions.

      The screens aren't real life, but they do contain entire worlds of friendships and connections.

      Happy New Year, Tracie!

  4. What a great year! I like that you have admissions about money. I know some people poo poo it. No, it won't buy happiness but it will by opportunities. Opportunities which lead to happiness. Sad but true. Last year was not a good reading year for me either. Unless you count blogs. I have higher hopes for 2014.

    Yeah to no illnesses! 🙂

    1. Yes, it's sad to say that we need it for at least some of our happiness. We have such big dreams and they do require money. The love and friendship and family stuff? That's free and priceless. However…I want to go to Alaska! I can't afford to go to the next town!

      I have read many, many blog posts in 2013. I'm sure I surpassed by personal record by thousands!

  5. Tamara, I love this post! What an awesome reflection of the year's past. "Safe & Sound" was one of my favorite songs of the year. A bit of irony though about it for me, being pregnant most of the year. I was keeping my little guy safe and sound while he grew and developed. 2013 was a big year for me, because I had that little man and he's changed my life forever.

    As always, you pictures are lovely!

    Happy 2014!

    1. I love the way the song held meaning to you! You held him safe and sound for many months, and of course, you still do and always will.

      Happy New Year, Tenns!

  6. Happy New Year Tamara! Love the Alice & Wonderland party!

    I love the show Revenge too, Those guys are hunks!

    Hope you have a great day today! 2014!

    1. Hunks! Yes. That comment made me giggle. Lately I've liked Daniel best, although it used to be Jack. And Nolan will always be my favorite but mostly in that I want to be friends with him. A gazillionaire with a heart of gold.

  7. Love it that Des is THAT baby – that makes you want a third one. Christopher was/is like that – my one and only. But as you said – it's not that easy. I'm going to try to do better at chillaxin this year.

    1. Me too. Oh man. I'm terrible at chillaxin.

      Scarlet was our first baby and she was like a dream as a baby. She's the one who makes you have a second. And then we figured our second would be a terror and he's…totally not.

      So we figure the third one would be the one with colic or something.

  8. That photo of Scarlett – made her day. Made MY day! And reminded me of such a great 2013 memory. Do you know I think of you every time I hear the song Safe and Sound?

    1. Yay for making your day and Scarlett's day! She's just so dang pretty – I had to put that one in.

      It makes me happy that there's a song that always makes you think of me.

  9. Umm, can you plan my next birthday party? Haha, you guys did an amazing job with Alice in Wonderland. You have a very beautiful family & I hope you guys have a great new year from my family to yours!

    1. My husband is such an event planner! I just ride on his coattails, if that's the expression they say.

      Thank you so much for visiting! Have a great New Year's Day!

  10. OH YEAH! Great post and thanks for including Carol. I include her every day as she is part of my heart. Happy New Year, baby!

  11. What a great wrap-up of 2013! I haven’t traveled outside of North America, either. I was just talking to someone last night who went to Antarctica last January. Now she has been to all seven continents! I was jealous, but it was a happy kind of jealousy because it only means there’s so many possibilities in the future. Plus, she is just such a nice person and it was a pleasure to talk with her!

    I sincerely hope there is a moose in Scarlet’s future! A mommy one, with her little leggy calf behind her. 🙂

    1. That’s such a nice thought and I agree. I don’t get jealous when people travel the world. I get excited. I have two young kids right now and it’s just not in my immediate future, but the world is big and I’d like to see a lot more of it.

      A mommy moose with a leggy calf! Perfection.

  12. So many great answers (and great questions) and love how you artfully avoided some topics:-) I hope you had a wonderful New Year with all your friends and family! Happy happy happy….2014!

  13. Love, love, LOVE this look back at 2013. It made my heart warm to read that you had a good year. I hope 2014 brings even more greatness, love and happiness!

    1. Thanks for the well wishes! Truth is, it wasn’t my most challenging year. It was fantastic. And it didn’t really occur to me until after..how smooth is was compared to MANY other years I’ve had.

  14. Wow Melissa really came up with great questions to help reflect on the year! You all and the moose, tickles me! You have had an amazing year Tamara! Your blog is a well rounded inspiration on so many levels. I am proud of you for all that you've been able to accomplish. You are all over the inter webs and you deserve it! Cheers to a prosperous 2014!

  15. Love the questionnaire! Your photography is so beautiful, I'm sure your jobs will increase as much as you want them to. Cheers to a wonderful 2014!

    1. Thank you. As Ilene says, if you make your intentions clear, doors will open for you. I think I hold myself back more than anyone/anything else.

  16. Sounds like a wonderful wonderful year for you and your family! I wish I can say “richer” too by the end of 2014! 😉
    love this recap, I learned more about you and your beautiful family. Wishing you all the best in 2014!

  17. I love this way of looking back over the year!! Through your answers (and always your pictures) I can feel the immense love you have for your family!!! I’m so excited that y’all are going to Disney – can’t wait to “hear” all about it.
    And, I’m beyond happy that somehow with the thousands of blogs in blog world, we have connected because reading your words and looking at your pictures brightens my day!!!
    Happy 2014!!!

    1. Kim, I remember when we “met” and I thought, “How have I not found her before? I’m so glad our not knowing each other was remedied!!”

  18. Happy New Year! I remember a lot of these pictures. I wish I lived near you. I’d pay you to photograph my family! You take such amazing shots.

  19. Disney on Pandora sounds good to me! wow, the alice party looks awesome. also, I just won a copy of the book you are a part of so I’ll be reading it soon!

  20. Your photos are wonderful!

    This year I’d like to focus (pun intended) more on photographing people and getting better at that but my problem is that 1. I am an introvert and 2. I have little patience for people. Might be a great lesson/exercise in getting out of my comfort zone.

    1. Thank you! I’m looking forward to seeing more of yours! I’d like to focus more (pun also intended, and awesome!) on photographing non-people! I struggle sometimes with anything else.

    1. I sure hope he is! Des gives lots of sloppy kisses, but they’re not the kind I’m looking for.
      I am so glad we met!! We’re totally friends.

  21. I remember a lot of this especially the moose! That wedding pic is pure gorgeousness. WOW! I have a feeling your biz is going to explode this year and I will be one of those little people that knew you before celebs started begging you to take their photos 🙂

    1. There is nothing little about you, and there never will be! And I do NOT mean physically! You're a star and I can always say your support helped me get to..wherever I'm headed.

  22. I love the Alice in Wonderland-themed birthday party! It's sooo cool! And I soo love the quote that sums up your year. You had a lot of great things to be thankful for last year. Hope you have a blast on 2014! Enjoyed reading your answers 🙂

  23. What an amazing year for you! and I am green with envy at your creativity with that Alice in Wonderland themed party! i loved your responses, some made me laugh (like the political question), and some nod ("there’s no room in my heart for hate"). I wish you a prosperous 2014!

    (p.s. this is an excellent set of questions, I may answer them myself if I find time this weekend! 🙂 )

    1. It was a lot my husband – he’s quite the event planner. But thank you! We loved working together. That was key. I’m wishing you a wonderful 2014 too!

  24. Awww! These questions were so funny reading your responses! I find that many things that people ask me it is always hard for me to answer as well because my beliefs are extremely rare and could possibly offend my readers. I also don’t want to be that type of blogger. I love blogging about family, life as a mama and other things I’m interested in…just not teaching my faith or talking about politics lol. It’s nice to feel like I might have known how you would answer because I try so hard not to miss a post. 🙂 I was just telling a new friend that it’s so hard not to feel like I know you after having following your blog as long as I have.

    1. Yes, and I’m also afraid to offend! I think it’s nice when you sprinkle in little bits about your history and beliefs. I do that too. I love when you told your friend! And I have met some blogging friends in real life and they did say I came across how they expected, and I felt the same of them!

  25. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these questions! I can relate to so many of your answers for sure. You had a great year and I am wishing you more of the same for 2014. Dream big!

  26. Sounds like a pretty great year to me, Tamara! Seriously – the Alice in Wonderland – amazing. You could start a second business on party planning — but by the look of it, you wouldn’t make any money cause it would just take too long. Blessings in 2014 – fun being in touch through the blogs:)

    1. haha! So true. We would spent a lot of love and time..and not earn any money. It was like this at our wedding too. I think we’d be good event planners, but we’ve never tried that “side business.” We always imagined that one day we’d work together. So maybe.

  27. Happy Happy New Year Tamara!! I love this look back at your year. What an incredible year in so many ways. I love that 2014 will involved a moose sighting. What is it about moose (mooses?)? I was obsessed with seeing one for a while but I don’t think it was until college and I was driving across country. Your lesson of the year resonates a lot with me – not recoiling from a new challenge and automatically thinking I can’t do it. That closes off so much possibility. Fake it will we make it, right?

    1. I am not happy that you feel that way too (the recoiling) but I guess I’m relieved I’m not the only one who can try to stop things from happening, even before giving them a chance.
      These days, that only happens in my head luckily.
      Happy New Year! This is definitely the year of the moose. You just have to know where to look, and when. And sometimes you’ll actually get lucky and just see one.
      That’s all..kinda how my career is unfolding.

  28. Love this! I also love the picture of you at the end of this post. Are you standing in front of a mirror, or did someone else photograph you?

    Sounds like 2013 was a pretty good year. Here’s to hoping that 2014 is even better! Happy new year, Tamara!

    1. Amy, it was a photo at the end of a tunnel! And that tunnel was somewhere strange and unexpected..under the George Washington Bridge, I believe. Or somewhere around there.

  29. Loved all of those answers! While here in Colorado I have been looking for a Moose. We had a VERY close encounter with a deer (but we all made it unscathed with the exception of the Rover’s headlight), and I am still looking for an elk. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what fun and interesting things you write about in 2014!

    1. Ooh, I bet you’ll find an elk, in the least! They are so majestic. Remind me one day to tell about the time I drove into Yellowstone at dusk (a TERRIBLE idea if you need to get all the way across it) and a buck elk stood against the sunset and in our path in the road. It was scary. And awesome.

  30. Will you do something like that for my next birthday party? But instead of Alice in Wonderland, maybe cutouts of Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, and perhaps a few of my NPR and accuweather crushes?


    1. I think it can be done, but it would require photographs instead of crudely traced drawings from a projector showing cartoon characters on our garage wall. Unless..maybe that would be kinda awesome if that’s what we did.

      1. Or I could just watch accuweather on TV with the sound down and NPR on my headphones. it might feel less strange.

        Either way, you carried off that one in spectacular fashion.

  31. i always love to just soak it all in, when I come over here. Your words, and your images… they always pull me in closer to the screen… with full attention, and many sighs, deep breaths, smiles, and gasps at the beauty I see and read.
    I loved this post, Tamara. These kinds of Q%A always add more insight to all that is beyond and behind the blogger. I love learning more, and seeing more of YOU- 🙂

    1. One of these days, I’ll make a video of myself. So far the only ones are my behind-the-camera giggles as Des toddles around.
      Your descriptions of reading my posts are seriously what gets me going again on a bad day.

      1. Ah, I am SO glad to hear that my friend!! Ya know why? Because my words deliberately describe truth about your gifts… and perhaps there are days you simply need a reminder. 🙂

  32. 2013 was definitely your year it seems. I sure hope you get your moose in your back yard this year though and Scarlet’s birthday?!? LOVE IT!! The Snow Dalek – that was priceless.

    1. Thanks! What’s funny is that the people we made the Snow Dalek with are here again, because they come for New Year’s.
      And yet again, it’s snowing! So there will be a new version. Maybe with food coloring.

    1. Thank you! We didn’t move (like 2011) or have a baby (like 2012), and well, you know how it is. Some years are just a lot smoother. Less roller coaster rides. And some are the full monty.

  33. Great reflection post Tamara. I love that Scarlet wants to see a moose. I hope you all get to see one. Safe and Sound keeps playing in my head so it is really cool to see that you included it in your post. Congrats on publishing a book too! 2013 was overall, a happier year for me, except I am fatter, not thinner…but I am ok with that. Happy New Year to you Tamara. I can’t wait to see your moose photo!

    1. Being ok with it is key! And I don’t like the word fatter. Couldn’t the question have said, “more to love” or “just as much to love but less pounds”? Eh, maybe I should write my own.

      Happy New Year to you!

  34. Awesome awesome post! I want a moose in my yard too. Ok maybe not in my yard with all my animals, but I really want to see one! Did I tell you that the one that was passing through town was actually at my son’s bus stop about 5 minutes before he got there and he didn’t see him! And then he was in the hospital parking lot! I fake it till I make it too! Sometimes you just have to believe!

    1. You did tell me and I thought that was nuts! There are so few in CT, but it does happen!
      I love that you fake it until you make it too. No one would ever know!

        1. Well it’s near my favorite city..and on my birthday. (the 25th!) So I told my husband it would make a great birthday gift..should we come into money.

  35. Loving your daughter’s Alice in Wonderland party! Those cutouts you made are amazing!! What a lucky little girl! Well it looks like you had a great year and so much to look forward to in 2014. I’m so happy to follow and read your blog, I feel like I’m along for the ride!

  36. It sounds like 2013 was an awesome year for you, and what a great way to sum it up. Wishing you just as awesome (or even awesomer!) 2014, and perhaps our lives will cross in person 🙂

  37. Oh, Tamara. I love your always-present honesty and vulnerability. So much goodness here. I started watching Once Upon a Time this fall – my 19 year-old discovered it when she went to college and shared it with me.

    Money … sigh. I hope we both make more of it in 2014!

  38. Ah, my gorgeous Sister Wife… I adore. I hear you on the anxiety – here’s to us having less and less, m’kay? Also, how much begging do I need to do for you to drive your sweet self to DC and take some photos of Tucker for me? I’m good at begging. And persistence (can I wear you down???). I love the bed. The party. Your 2013. You.

    1. You can wear me down. Of that, I am sure!!
      Less anxiety would be a blessing. I’ve had a lot less of it lately..for 18 months now, actually. I think Des really carried calm with him when he was born.

  39. I love your answer in reply to what you want in 2014 “…consistent work…this will happen when I let it.” It suggests being confidently in control of your destiny. More Power to you!!!

    1. I still love you! I don’t count how many times you visit or don’t! I just noticed your absence once on a post that I really wanted you to see.

  40. I can see your sense of humor in your favorite tv shows-love Modern Family! A great year end Q&A and here’s to hoping for those moose! Oh, and I love that collage poster!

  41. Happy New Year, Tamara, Cassidy, Scarlet and Des! I hope you have an absolutely amazing time in 2014!! I now need to zoom back through your archives to find the post on the Alice in Wonderland party. BTW, if you’re ever in Philly, you should go to the Please Touch Museum which has a fantastically magical area all about Alice in Wonderland, complete with the Cheshire Cat in the tree. Lucas had to drag me out of it so that I could go and watch him drive the back-hoe again 😛

  42. tamara, i loved reading all your answers. i get to know you more and more, and am always amazed. i know i’ve seen the pictures of the alice in wonderland-themed party before, but i love it so much, i had to show it to my husband. so creative!

  43. I have had this post up to read since the first, and it’s the eighth. I just knew I didn’t want to miss it and I’m glad I didn’t. I loved reading your answers and seeing the pictures. And reading the comments, too. (When you’re this late, you get to see comments and replies!) Anyway, wishing you and your family a very happy new year. So glad I crashed your lunch with Michelle and Ilene – was so great to meet you both and get to know you better. Next stop Philly?

    1. Philly is on my list! And BlogU in Maryland. And..BlogHer. Somehow. It’s on my birthday in my favorite state. I kinda..really..well we’ll see.
      So glad you did come. And I do love coming to a post late and seeing the discussions that arose from comments. Always good to see you on my blog!

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