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Friday, October 30, 2009

Faux Twitter: Road Trip , Yesterday, Day 2

Thursday, October 29

8:00 am  Left Stephenville and drove to Dublin

8:30 am  Husband’s friends not at home. He was disappointed. We left note.

9:00 am  Drove to Glen Rose, which is an unbelievably beautiful small town.  We actually saw evidence of a change in color/ season in some beautiful Texas trees.

9:15 am Discussed the fact that Glen Rose is known for its  dinosaur history.

and… fried pies…

Fried Pie Intervention Needed.

10:00 am Explored downtown Glen Rose in the rain while husband sat in car, read  paper ,and ate morning fried pie (apricot). I had pineapple.

12:00 pm Returned for lunch fried pies- Tex Mex version with taco meat, cheese, refried beans, and jalapenos. Proprietors laughed knowingly when we walked in. One said she fights eating them everyday.

Picture the old black and white movie The Days of Wine and Roses.  Now substitute fried pies.

We have indeed been on the Gluttony Trail.  Please tell me that someone else eats like this when they travel???

3:00 pm  Arrived in Dallas. 

4:00 pm  Drove to Daughter #3’s school (where she teaches high school English) to watch a freshman football game.  She is the cheerleading sponsor.

5:00 pm Game started. Husband bought popcorn, drinks, and later hot chocolate.  It was 56 degrees.

5:15 pm  Watched Daughter #3, as she stood the entire game,  watching over her girls.

5:16 pm  Thought they (the girls’ parents and the school) were lucky to have her. 

5:18 pm  Thought anyone should want all of my girls on a sinking ship, if ever on one. They have the “let’s line up, you can do it, watch out’ gene.

5:20 pm Thought of what my husband said, when friends asked him if we were trying for a boy when Daughter #3 was born.

“___ no. We were just having kids!”

5:30 pm  Went into mild thermal shock in stands. Not used to 24 hour temperature drop of 30 degrees.

5:35 pm Felt all of that hot summer, New Normal tension release ,sitting in the stands with a fierce cold wind blowing.

5:45 pm  Got involved in game. Started clapping and saying ‘Good job’, as I did a million times when I was teaching. Didn’t know a single player.

6:00 pm  Reminded me of my first few years of teaching, when the high school was 3 A- the perfect size. I too was a cheerleading sponsor.

6:30 pm Left game. Drove back To Dallas to The Porch. Texted Daughter #2.  Talked to Daughter #1 on the phone. Waited for Daughter #3 to arrive. Had dinner. Watched the World Series in the restaurant. 

All is right with my world. Thank you God.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Faux Twitter From Road Trip

6:15 am  Made Starbucks coffee at home

7:30 am  Left house on car trip

7:40 am   Returned to house to collect forgotten shoes

7:57 am   Stopped at McDonald’s for more coffee

8:00 am   Drove and talked to husband about World Series while he shouted “Watch out!”

9:15 am   Stopped at Dairy Queen in Premont to get more coffee and breakfast tacos (potato and egg and bacon and egg)

10:00 am Still driving and spouting off professional sports theories (too much caffeine?)

10:01 am  Husband rolls eyes

1:00 pm   Stopped in Blanco for BBQ sandwich

1:20 pm  Husband now driving-YEA! Took a little nap

2:30 pm  Stopped and explored square in Llano

3:30 pm  Explored Knot Hole Flea Market in Burnet

4:15 pm  Drove through Hamilton headed to…

5:30 pm  Hico.  Walked through a few shops. Wanted to eat a hamburger , as listed in Texas Monthly in their Top 50 , at the Coffee Cup Cafe- husband said we needed to get down the road.

6:30 pm Spending night in Stephenville.  Tomorrow I want to explore Glen Rose. Husband wants to visit friend in Dublin.

LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pitchers

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     My relationship with pitchers, of all shapes and sizes, started when I was a little girl. 

     One of my earliest memories of pitchers was completely imaginary.  As a child we, my cousins and I, played outside most of the time, and I loved to draw houses in the dirt with a strong stick dividing my house into rooms.

     In our imagination ,we poured and poured , in our empty-handed fantasy. I was simply mimicking my mother, the most gracious hostess of all.

     The early pitchers in my adult house were used for brewed ice tea, frozen orange juice, fruity concoctions for my girls, and the occasional margarita for a teacher or two or twenty.

     My collecting of milk glass began a search for creamers , and although I have more than my share, I gravitate to the stability of a paired set- the ultimate two by two. 

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     There is something hopeful about a sugar bowl and a matching creamer.  What other problems can one have in the world, if they are able to share their home and their lives serving coffee to friends and family?

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     I would trade every solitary drive-thru window in the world, paper cups warning HOT, trash cans waiting at the exit, for the chance to sit in my living room serving coffee to friends.

     Everyday I enjoy the pleasure of making iced tea and serving it out of this old grocery store pitcher.

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Note to daughters: this pitcher holds our history.

      I pour milk into my coffee out of this hob nail creamer, when I am not rotating it with other small pitchers I have.

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     Again I say, it is not ever about stuff. That term should be reserved for drive-thrus.

     It is about simple, unique, shared pleasures.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daybook October 26

FOR Monday, October 26 
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Outside my window... I can see the new crotons I will be planting this morning .
I am thinking... about new projects( there is always work to be done) and about starting a walking routine this week. 
I am thankful for... the new online Bible study I have joined through Debra at ‘a day in the life’.
I am learning to not control- to remember that I am powerless-I may never graduate- yikes!
From the kitchen... I plan to make White Chili this week from an HEB recipe. (see my sidebar)
I am wearing... my usual.
I am creating... a new space in my potting shed.
I am going... to see Daughter #3 this week.
I am reading... All Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg – thanks to Carol from The Writer’s Porch.
I am hoping... that hummingbirds will come to our feeder.
I am hearing... quiet. Bliss.
Around the house...I continue to return things to their rightful home and to throw away/give away what is not needed. (Another area where I may not ever graduate.)
One of my favorite things... digging in boxes at the flea market while watching the expressions of others doing the same thing.


A few plans for the rest of the week: planting, cleaning, working with my teacher interns.

To read other Daybook entries, go to the following link. http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Giveaway Winners

     The winners of the giveaway are:

Gardening Prize: Carole & Chewy of 365 Days in the Moonshine Capitol of the World

Amazon Gift Card: Marguerite at Cajun Delights

Christmas PrizeRebecca of A Gathering of Thoughts

Thank you to everyone for participating.  This was all about you and your kind support of my blog. If you are a winner, please email me your mailing address at:

lmh136@yahoo.com

Thanks again,

Laura

PS. I did not use a random whatever. Check it out!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Giveaway Extravaganza

     Here is the giveaway folks . I am offering three separate prizes. Why?  Because blogging has given me the pleasure of writing and instant self-publishing at no cost. 

     What can top that? Good-hearted people who stop by and read .

Guidelines:

* To enter simply comment on this post.

*  To gain another entry, become a follower.

*  The winners will receive one of the 3 prizes assigned randomly.

I will announce the winners (there will be 3 because there are 3 prizes) Sunday evening after 8:00 pm CST.

Prize #1   Garden Apron and Kneeling Pad

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Prize #2  $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

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#3  Christmas Rug, Tea Towels, and Snowflake Cookie Cutters

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Good Luck!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

These Items Will Not Be in My Giveaway

     A White Spray Paint giveaway , to honor all of you wonderful, smart, creative, people who stop by my house, who seem to get it/get me, is in the works.

     I am currently working on the logistics. I have 10 fingers and if more than 10 people participate , how will I ever manage?

     I could use the scary sounding random number generator/energizer , or I could do what ladies ‘of a certain age’ (my age) seem to do which is cut strips of paper , write names on them, put them in a hat and draw.

      What I would love to do is have the drawing take place this Friday at a high school football game (at the high school where I used to teach), and have the winning names announced on the PA system. The winners would then receive the applause they so deserve.

     These items WILL NOT be in the giveaway.

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Macrame Zebra Mother and Baby

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Box # 4 in the far left corner.

     As soon as I know what I am giving away, I will let you know.

PS.  Anyone who has stopped by and does not have a Google account ,which enables commenting, now is the time to set one up.

PSS. Boogie Shoes- which has been on my mind all week is playing. Some of us may not be able to random number generate, but I bet you’re moving to the music right now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It is Done

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     The afternoon of moving and shuffling treasures from one place to another was successful- well , at least until I realized I had a couch left on the truck that needed to go back to my house. Oops.

     My daughters’ newly upholstered pieces are amazing, and I hope she will post her –re-done finds on her blog Three Hermanas.

     Here are some of the passengers on our journey today- all found at flea markets, garage sales, and my mother’s garage closet.

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     The coffee table in the background and the kneeler were from a flea market. The two rockers belonged to my mother.

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     The chaise is from a flea market in Houston.

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     And my mother’s trunk- I have had plans for it for so long.  Maybe the time is near.

     I am off to take a muscle relaxer. This was quite a day.  Sigh.

     Join other flea market shoppers at the wonderful Flea Market Style.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Does Any of This Sound Crazy to You?

     Tuesday , at 4:45 pm ,I will meet Chapa’s Moving at an upholstery shop to load Daughter #2’s couch and 2 chairs that she recently had recovered.

     We will then ‘lead’ the movers to her apartment where the new upholstered pieces will be moved into her living room , after a blue couch is moved out and into the truck.

     We will then stop at the storage unit and empty it into Chapa’s truck.  After that is done, the truck will stop at my house ,and I will open the inner sanctum of craziness known as my GARAGE.

     The blue couch from the apartment and the patio furniture from storage will be unloaded at my house.  The blue couch will be moved into the little house if it fits- after moving its companion love seat out of the little house to make room for the couch.

     The patio furniture will be placed in the new area that borders the little house.

     From the garage , a sofa sleeper, a chaise, a chair and ottoman, an older television, about 8 crates from my mother’s stash in my father’s garage, a desk, and various end tables will be loaded into Chapa’s truck- unless they disappear,  running and screaming down the driveway.

     In the meantime, my husband- alias Ricky Ricardo- will be suitably distracted by various television /sports programs and will not notice a large yellow truck in the driveway that says CHAPA’s MOVING. This is my plan.  This plan never works.

     Then the moving truck will take this final load to a new storage unit .

     What is my rationale for all of this?

*  Chapa’s Moving is affordable and above all AGREEABLE.  I have discovered that asking a stranger to move something several times to see how it looks is actually quite pleasant- as opposed to asking Ricky Ricardo.

*Chapa’s Moving is less expensive than a visit to the emergency room. I can simply raise one arm and point and get a crick in my neck. The indiscretions of my youth, when I could move a piano with my left hip, are long gone.

* I am in the process of getting rid of things (really), but I liken this process to an archaeological dig.  First I have to sort , give away,  throw away, and re-do. I am now in the all important sorting and shifting stage.

*When we remodeled the little house, after almost twenty years of saying , “Go put that in the little house,” these family treasures needed a new home.

* I plan to have this storage unit for a short period of time.  Why are you laughing? Famous last words…

*Finally, I want to be able to walk from one end of my garage to another without stepping into the jaws of a bear trap.

      

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Daybook December 7

 

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                                         My Den Wall

FOR TODAY  
Outside my window... my patio is covered with leaves.


I am thinking... about jury duty Monday . I never get picked.  Once I took a copy of Runaway Jury into the auditorium.  Was that why?

 


I am thankful for... my husband. He makes me laugh every day.

 
From the kitchen... I will be making chocolate candy this week and a chicken and wild rice casserole. I will also be planning my next food treat to take to my nephew’s basketball game.  Saturday I took 2 dozen tamales and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  He was the MVP of the tournament.  For the next game, I may take him a pot roast. I want to continue to outdo myself just to see my brother laugh. I might take the roast into the game in my red crockpot.

 
I am wearing... one of my crazy silk caftans.

 
I am creating... a red crocheted ripple afghan, once I find 10 skeins of brick red yarn in the same dye lot.  I have been to 3 Wal Marts with no luck.  How about a red baby blanket?

 
I am going...to call my Aunt Mary in Phoenix to thank her for the wonderful pumpkin bread she mailed us.

 
I am reading... Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and A Matter of Taste, a cookbook I bought at Goodwill in Dallas.  It is from the Junior League of New Jersey.  Taste travels.


I am hoping... that cold weather will return.

I am hearing… Christmas music.

 
Around the house...I am arranging and re-arranging.


One of my favorite things... being in my home.


A few plans for the rest of the week… have a health test, wrap gifts, laugh.
 

 
http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Simple Pound Cake in My Mother’s Pan

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     In searching for cake ingredients in my pantry cabinet today, to bake my husband a simple birthday cake, I remembered I had my mother’s bundt pan.  It had been in the ‘closet’ of my father’s garage.

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     It has seen better days ,which makes it even more endearing to me.  I especially love it because its scale is smaller than the usual size bundt pan. It is the perfect size.

     That perfect storm of searching, feelings, the desire to bake a simple birthday cake with what I had on hand , a pan of my mother’s that is just the right size, all mixed up and thrown into my 20 year old oven , made today perfect.

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   Simple Pound Cake Baked in Mother’s Pan

2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Mix the softened butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Once blended, add the flour. Mix well. Add vanilla , and I also added 1/2 tsp of almond extract and an extra tsp of vanilla.

Bake at 350 until done.

     Is this the best pound cake I have ever tasted? No, that award would have to go to my Aunt Jody.

     This is the easiest, and it would make a wonderful base for fruit and whipped cream (or a scoop of blue bell) because it has such a mild flavor.

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Enjoy this and other recipes at Designs by Gollum’s Foodie Friday.

Welcome

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     I may be ‘tardy for the party’, but I wanted to participate in Karen’s Doors of Welcome at her wonderful blog Some Days are Diamonds

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     I have always loved the combination of red brick , a black front door and brass accessories.

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     Although my front door may be simple, due to the fact that our current daily temperatures are in the 90’s, I feel like fall is here.

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     And- while out in the front yard, I spotted these.

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     Pecans on our pecan tree.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday

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     This special garden statue now rests in the new area I have created for my husband behind what we call ‘the little house’.

     Remember how it started with loads of this?

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     And so the progress that I have made has created a new, rustic space for his outdoor cooking.

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     I am going to move the creche up high onto the brick wall. I think it will look better there. In fact all of these outside items- the churches from Mexico and the cobalt gazing ball will look much better surrounded by plants. All in due time-

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     My dear friend Anna gave me the terracotta statue of St. Francis for my birthday this year. I just love it. Look at the birds!

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     I propped this iron grate against the wall of the little house. IMGP0554

     This is the area bordering the back of the little house.

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     I have so much to do, but the foundation is in place. I would like this area to look lush and tropical, but that will have to wait until next spring-

     Unless of course I find some more plants on the side of the road.

What’s next? A trip to Laredo to get wrought iron benches.

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     Thank you to Susan for another wonderful Outdoor Wednesday.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Birthday Celebration , Ebay, and a Steel Trap Mind

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     Have you ever won an item on Ebay, trusted the description, opened the box to discover that one person’s pink (me) is another person’s peach (them)?

     So after muttering and carrying on, have you ever forgotten to return the peach alias pink goblets- all 12 of them- and then tried to sell them at a booth you had in an antique mall to no avail?

     After hauling these 12 PEACH colored goblets home, have you ever stored items like these in a cabinet and forgotten about them for a very long time…?

     And then one weekend it is your father’s 83rd birthday, and you are using certain dishes because you are now fixated on birds and…

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     You remember the glasses that you now LOVE because they are the perfect color , and in fact your new perfect colors are not necessarily pink but fall colors, plus you have your burnt orange $1.50 damask-like placemats from Big Lots, so you immediately change the color name of your goblets to Fabulous Falling Foliage, and isn’t it wonderful they have been stored in the perfect cabinet all of this time?

     Please, please tell me you can identify with this story.

    

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Boarding School : Freshman Year Part I

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When I was 14, the family that owned the ranch my father managed, offered to send me to an all girls boarding school, specifically Saint Mary’s Hall , in San Antonio, Texas.

I had just finished eighth grade, and after a year of getting on the school bus at 6:15 am and getting home at 7:30 pm, this seemed like a good solution. The bus trip was 90 miles round trip.

Because I was in extracurricular activities in 8th grade, I rode the late bus every evening with the high school football players and band members who also lived as far away from school as I did.

The ranch was 45 miles from town, approximately 45,000 acres, and geographically was in 4 south Texas counties: Brooks, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, and Starr.

I had a choice, but I can’t say that at age 14 I was mature enough to understand what that choice meant. It must have seemed like a great adventure, and indeed it was.

Boarding School

I attended Saint Mary’s Hall for 4 years, graduated in 1969, and every summer my father said: “You don’t have to go back to that place if you don’t want to.”

My mother’s sage advice that first day I moved into my dorm, right before she drove away was, “There will always be somebody more homesick than you are. Find that person and help them.”

And so the 4 year adventure began, the history of which is far too long to recount.

In looking back today, I remembered some particularly important details.

We wore uniforms and saddle oxfords every day.

New students were only allowed to go home twice a semester, in addition to regular holidays.

My only way home was on a Continental Trailways bus. Someone from the school drove me to the bus station downtown San Antonio , ensured I had my ticket and had boarded safely.

I can still hear the sound of the air breaks of the bus , as it pulled off the side of 281, onto the shoulder , rocks flying, in Rachel, Texas.

There they stood: my parents and little brother , smiling and waiting, standing outside my mother’s gold Toronado.

They looked wonderful and so happy to see me. After getting my red and black plaid luggage, including my round weekender from underneath the bus, we would then cross the highway and eat at the Delicias Cafe. There I could order my favorite Two and Two: two enchiladas and two tacos.

Every Friday afternoon , boarding students lined up to write a check for their weekly allowance. We then walked to the nearest drugstore, looked at Revlon makeup, sprayed ourselves with Fame and Chantilly, ate pimento cheese sandwiches on toasted bread , ate potato chips, drank a fountain coke, and walked back to our dorm.

I wrote letters everyday to family and friends in large , loopy handwriting, used sealing wax, listened to the Four Tops, the Temptations, and anything else Motown and learned about people and how money doesn’t equal kindness or manners.

Money is not the universal language, courtesy and kindness are.

Our dorms my freshman year were older mansions on French Place near downtown San Antonio. They were beautiful. Each grade level dorm had a house mother and a very strict lights out at 10:00 pm.

I attended study hall after dinner every evening (except for Friday and Saturday) from 6:30-8:00 pm, and ate all of my meals family style with the other boarders in the school dining hall.

I’ll never forget seeing that large study hall room for the first time, with at least 200 wooden desks all in rows .Our names were on our desks, and each desk (the first day of school) had enormous ice house sacks on top of them.

I had no idea what they held. Then I realized, in shock that they held books- stacks and stacks of books- and not just one per subject area. Every course had a set of at least 3-5 books with English winning (of course) with what seemed millions.

It was the hardest academic rigor I have ever faced, college and graduate school combined. There was no coercion, no you can do it. It was on the edge of your seat thinking and reading and writing and discussing all day long.

More memories later on Joskes, white chocolate, my cursing History of Art teacher, wearing a mantilla and a trench coat to hide my pajamas to Christ Episcopal Church, and synchronized swimming.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vegetable Soup

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The temperature finally dropped yesterday- and even though it is rising steadily today- I am making vegetable soup for football Saturday.

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My self-taught recipe is simple.

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Brown a package of stew meat in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Season with Nature’s Seasoning. Add one coarsely chopped onion and a teaspoon of minced garlic.

Add 1 large can of whole tomatoes and 2 small cans of tomato sauce.

Pour in enough water to fill the pot 3/4 of the way. Add any vegetables you have on hand. Today I added carrots, potatoes , corn, yellow squash, and green beans.

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The last step is adding cilantro.

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Simple food for a simple Saturday.

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