Tag Archives: love

The (ELLE UK) Interview – #woman

Well folks, here it is.

A few months ago I received a message that a woman wanted to interview me for a magazine about womanhood, identity and femininity. She had heard the story about my mother and specifically sought me out to see how that shaped my views as I grew into my own woman.
That woman was Lou Stoppard and that magazine was @elleuk .

It is interesting, reading the stories of the other women, and then reading my own. My first thoughts are how uninteresting and unaccomplished and uninspiring I am…..WHY do we do that to ourselves?

Then I really sat back and thought about each of my words, and all of the memories and life lessons attached to them. I have made mistakes, I have failed, but I have grown into a very resilient and independent woman with the most sentimental of hearts.
It has taken years, but I can finally say, that on most days, I feel beautiful and proud.
I hope every person is able to find that feeling within themsleves. It is empowering.
Be honest. BE KIND.  Be healthy. Be confident.  BE YOU.
This is true beauty.

#IamWomanHearMeRoar
#loveyourself #truebeauty #noshame
#BeKind

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Days Go By…and still I think about “She”.

Listening To:

Days Go By (Acoustic) – Dirty Vegas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONCY0xnefAE

Sometimes I feel I have exhausted this subject. Other times I feel like it is a subject that is impossible to be exhausted. This is one of those times.

I have written two blogs about my mother. “She” and “She: The Ruby Slipper Version”. I don’t want to use this particular post to once again explain the story…partly because the true story just isn’t known. But also because I know MY story, and while I have thought I have been given chances to share my voice, outsiders “sharing” my story have not correctly portrayed my voice. The only way that can be done is if I do it myself.

A few months ago, a reporter called me to interview me on my knowledge and feelings on my mother’s disappearance. We spent well over an hour on the phone together. She had reached out to me after she found my blog, and I agreed to speak with her. I had the best expectations, and believed she had the best intentions. While I cannot speak for her on her intentions, the way the article turned out left me quite disappointed. I had gone into the interview hoping to bring exposure to the 25th “anniversary” of my mother being a missing person. I did not expect to come across as someone who didn’t care, and apparently, according to the one comment that article received, I wasn’t the only one who read it that way.

Here are the stories, and I do urge you to read them:

http://m.journaltimes.com/news/local/after-years-family-still-wonders-what-happened-to-missing-mother/article_b38a3057-0e98-5b56-8e4a-2a340787456b.html?mobile_touch=true

http://m.journaltimes.com/kerry-and-megan/image_4e270ec0-b6ac-55cc-a137-8105722e9dca.html?mobile_touch=true

It even made the #NBC news “Cold Case Spotlight” : http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/cold-case-spotlight/cold-case-spotlight-kerry-obrien-krueger-n263451

A person by the “name” of “Kay Nine” (which to me, especially after reading the comment posted now reads “Canine” or, “bitch” (you know, female dog)…either way, it seems like a fake name…maybe she just likes dogs…what do I know, I am clearly naïve…) posted this comment on the article:

“Well, the daughter sounds extremely naïve.”

Really??!? This article was supposed to be written to return this cold case to the public eye. My mother is a missing person, and I have grown up knowing she is gone, and not knowing why. And the ONLY thing some OUTSIDER can say is something as insensitive as this??!? Well I will not stand for that.

I am here to say I care. And I always will. Again, I urge you to read the articles that were written, as my whole purpose is to raise awareness and bring exposure to this case, in hopes to one day find out the truth. So, I responded to Miss “Nine” with this:

“I do not believe I am naïve. I spoke with Miss Zambo for over an hour and many of my words were not used. I miss my mother and desperately want to know the truth, which is exactly why I agreed to do the interview. It is understandable to have an outsider read this article and formulate their own opinion, but I must say to assume I am naïve, and have that be the only comment on such a serious story is ignorant and rude. My mother is missing, and it is heartbreaking for myself and many others. This story is supposed to raise awareness and hopefully bring information and answers to the surface, I hope that all who read this can keep that as the main focus.”

This article was written by a journalist, local to the area where the incident happened. She is also an acquaintance of that county’s detective who came up to speak with me nearly two summers ago. The same detective who was in the wedding of my mother’s sister who was also interviewed in this article. If that isn’t a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. If you are a detective, and TRULY want to find an answer to a case, becoming personal friends with someone involved is not the way to do it. A true detective must keep their eyes completely open and remain unbiased. A feat impossible to achieve if one is personally involved. Especially if it is a conflict between two families and that detective is clearly on one family’s side.

I have no answer to what happened. But I also have my own opinions. I also know myself and my life and how I was raised and who I was raised by. I also have read diaries from my mother from when she was between the ages of 13 and 18, as well as each article she wrote when she was the editor of the local paper. I may not know her, but “nature” does play a big role in a person’s life, and while I may have never experienced much “nurture” from her, I KNOW we are very similar. The things I have heard about her, and the things she wrote which I have read, it is eerie how similar her personality and voice sound like mine. We may not have known each other long, but we have a lifelong connection.

To say that I am naïve, or for someone to think that I don’t care is simply ridiculous. But one also has to understand that it has been 25 years. I have experienced YEARS of terrible, rock-bottom depression surrounding this. At some point, I HAVE to move forward, take care of myself and my family, and be the best person that I can be. I want to know the truth, of course, but if she is alive and left on her own, she has had 25 years to reach out. Most likely, if that is the case, she isn’t going to reach out now. If something terrible happened to her, and if someone knew something about it, again, after 25 years, IF they are still alive, they most likely wouldn’t stand up now. I am a human. I have feelings, and I have very strong feelings about this. But I realized that for my health and my sanity and for every other outside aspect of my life, this can control me no longer. I want to know, and I invite the truth, but it cannot be my main focus. I have people who love me, and have taken care of me, and no matter what happened to her, they are here and they always have been, and I will not take them for granted. I spent years feeling she left me. I spent years hating a person I didn’t know. I have grown up, learned more about myself, and through speaking with family and reading her diaries and newspaper articles, I have learned more about her. There is no more hate. No more anger. I, personally, truly believe she left on her own. I believe she wasn’t just unhappy, but I believe she had a mental disorder. Whether that be depression, or if she was manic, or bipolar, or something else, I believe it was something she couldn’t control and that she left to allow those she left behind to have a better life without her. I do hope she is still out there. I do hope she reads this. I do hope she knows she is loved and forgiven by myself and my father.

But I also want her, and everyone else to understand that I was only 3 years old when she went missing. I never really knew her. I was also very, very much loved and taken care of by my father, grandparents and the rest of my dad’s side of the family. I had a happy childhood. That doesn’t mean I don’t care, because I do. It just affected me later in life. What it means is that my family is wonderful, and do not deserve what they have gone through, and still go through because of this.

There are many sides to every story. Listen, but don’t judge. If you know something, do the right thing and speak out. Everything done in this world affects someone. We as humans need to take care of each other. Do good, be good…and have an open mind, with room for understanding and love.

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Welcome to the Real World, Sugar Cookie.

Listening to:
“Impossible” → Lyla Foy
“Stay Alive” → Jose Gonzalez

Several months ago, I had an “I am Woman, hear me roar!” moment. I finally landed a “big girl” job (which to me, personally means that I was finally out of the Customer Service/Sales circuit and into something within my future career field – English Education). I was hired at an organization as a Support Specialist, which I was initially told is essentially a Teaching Assistant for kids with disabilities and behavioral issues.
I. WAS. ECSTATIC. I was so proud of myself, which is a rare feeling for me. I felt like I was worth something, and other people noticed. I felt accomplished.

After a couple months I began mainly working in the Adult Program, mostly in building and mostly with people with Autism, but also a few community clients with Depression and PTSD. I quickly began to realize this was not the job that was initially described to me.

One client is Non-Verbal and can get instantly upset seemingly out of nowhere. I have been screamed at and slapped in the face several times. It is sometimes hard to remember she is upset and can’t communicate what she wants or needs, which surely causes more frustration, and that the lashing out is not personal, even though it stings physically and emotionally.

Another client has anger issues and in order to work with him one on one, you have to be CPI trained (trained to put him in holds, not if, but when he becomes violent).

Another client, a community person, is homeless and jobless and it is my job to essentially be his life coach and keep him moving forward and on track. Which is very difficult when he wants to drink himself to death.

Several other clients, over the age of 18, some with Autism or MS or both, are quite cognitive and verbal, but cannot toilet themselves. Which is….well….yeah…

And yet another, a young girl entering her Senior year in High School suffering from ADD, PTSD and Anxiety, so naïve, so vulnerable, so sweet.

All I ever wanted to do when applying for and accepting this position, was to teach someone something. To make a difference in at least one person’s life. To be a constant. A mentor. To help shape a life and see it grow and succeed. To learn something myself.

There have been ups and downs, progress and backtracking for all. But after one particular week of several slaps in the face from one, another receiving death threats and needing to be reported for possible suicide watch, another soiling herself at the park and then having to get into my car, and yet another, needing me to report to Child Protective Services for possible in home abuse, I began to go into mental breakdown mode. Was this the rough and tough real world my parents always told me about but I never believed existed?

I felt lost. Like I was a failure. I felt heartbroken for not being able to help and save everyone. I let them all down, I let my supervisor and fellow employees down, and I let myself down.

The stress continued to build and after weeks of debilitating anxiety attacks, severe depression, feeling as if I can’t do a thing right and I am not helping anyone, today that changed.

Upon leaving I had a client (the homeless, jobless, “drink himself to death” client) tell me I “have been a Godsend” and that he “wouldn’t have been able to go on had I not been there to help the way I have.”

Never miss an opportunity to tell someone how you appreciate them. Even the tiniest of compliments can pull someone back to a happy reality. And even if you feel like you aren’t making a difference, if you truly care, then you are.

Do good. Be good. Spread the love.

And that folks, is my lesson of the day.
🙂

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Do Good, Be Good.

Reblog, because it’s necessary.

It shouldn’t be so hard to be kind and do the right thing.
Do Good. Be Good. Spread the love. Pay it forward.

LettersToADove's Blog

“Boy With Autism victim of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Prank”

I read the above article today, and short of eating bad food, nothing has caused such an instantly negative, physical reaction within me. I started crying, I wanted to vomit, and then I wanted to hug the boy and his family. The fact that there are still such cruel and ignorant people out there (when they are imperfect themselves) breaks my heart.

My brother is 13. He is also Autistic. And to me, he is perfect. I wouldn’t have him any other way. We were all blessed to have him grow to be very high-functioning, but there were many days during his childhood where we as a family struggled with him. We did fear that he wouldn’t eventually go to school, make friends, get a job, drive, or have any other part in the “American dream”. But even with all of…

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Goodbyes Are Easy…Said No One Ever.

When I think of my grandmother I still see her as she was years ago: true red lipstick, short black hair with perfect waves of curls pinned back, clip-on costume earrings, and black pumps. So classic.

She is 91 years old now and no color other than natural has been on her lips in years. Her curls have turned gray, earrings are only worn on very special occasions, and pumps have been replaced by flats for nearly a decade. But to me, she is still beautiful. She is timeless.

A few days ago (Wednesday) my father called me to inform me that she had fallen and broke her leg…as many elderly do. She was to have surgery the next day. As she lives a few hours away, and I am nearly overwhelmed with work and school, I wouldn’t be making a trip. The expected outcome of the situation was overall positive.

Last year, around the holidays, over a period of a month or so, she suffered 4 strokes. 4! Many people don’t even survive one but this woman is unlike any other. She had been living on her own, but in order to be released after the 4th stroke the Doctor stated she had to live in either Assisted Living or a Nursing Home. So, we as a family spent the next 3 weekends in a row finding a new home for her, packing, cleaning, moving and unpacking her life. Those 2 months were terrible. As a child growing up in a single parent home, it was my grandparents who raised me much of the time while my father worked overtime each week and returned to school. The thought of losing the woman who raised me, my true mother figure, was devastating. I understand reality and the worst part about life is that it always ends in death. Yet I think nothing can truly prepare you. Well we made it through that and soon she returned to her quirky, perfect self.

So her surgery and initial recovery went as well as possible, and we were informed she would have to stay in the rehab section of a nursing home for at least a month, with the possibility the nursing home could become a permanent residence, but still, a near-full recovery was expected. So I went on with my next day and a half as usual, finally sleeping again and the anxiety attacks subsided.

Until the other evening (Friday), my father calls as I am driving home from work and says, “Grandma’s checking out”. WHAT. THE. HELL??!? With all the pain and weakness and remembrance of her health issues over the past year, she was somewhere in between acceptance and giving up. So she had called my father to say goodbye, and he told me to call her.

So I instantly did. While still driving. Which I don’t remember, and DO NOT recommend (seriously, while crying and saying your supposed last words to a loved one, pull over.). We had a 15 minute conversation which I will never forget and will mostly keep sacred to myself. But it was the most heartbreakingly beautiful conversation I could ever ask for. Being told she loved me, she was proud of me, was lucky to have had me…it almost took the pain away for a moment. Not many people get the opportunity to have that moment with a dying loved one. A treasure more priceless than any physical object or any experience. I had flashbacks of her putting on her red lipstick and chunky earrings. Flashbacks of her making macaroni and cheese. Flashbacks of her playing “Go Fish” with me. We said “I love you” for the 50th time that conversation, and then “Goodbye” for the seemingly last time. Cue hyperventilation and more sobbing. While still driving home. Cue a night with zero sleep and a never-ending anxiety attack. Cue nausea. Cue returning to prayer since…I don’t know when. Cue a piece of my heart dying, and wishing that it could be my heart instead of hers.

The next morning my father called and said she had made it through the night and was considered stable. Move forward one more day and she is finally starting to eat and sit up. She is asking for visitors and hasn’t talked about death in awhile. Move forward one more day and she is determined to get better and make it through this. To go to rehab and return to her assisted living afterwards. This beautifully strong woman seems to have pulled through again. But this time, we really do realize we won’t get many, if any, more opportunities like this.

You may not get the chance to say “goodbye” or “I love you” to or hear it from someone who is dying, and you someday will be the one falling asleep. So, so cliché yet so true, say it whenever possible. And if it is truly meant and shown, there is no such thing as saying it too much. Give as much love as you can to those you love. You truly do not know when the last moment is.

My beautiful Grandmother on her wedding day. To this day she is just as perfect.

My beautiful Grandmother on her wedding day. To this day she is just as perfect.

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Plain Jane meets the World

My life experiences thus far have shown me that humans, while so different, in many ways are quite alike, and all very interesting. The chance to connect with anyone, even a stranger, for only a minute holds the possibility of being life changing.

Between the years of 2007 and 2011, I followed my boyfriend at the time from Small Town, WI to Sanford, Florida. The beginning of our relationship was a whirlwind. Not too long before we started dating he had broken up with his girlfriend of 3+ years, and I had finally ended a very abusive relationship. We met through my cousin and within a couple weeks of first meeting, around Christmas, we began dating. 

We had only been together a few weeks when he told me that it had been his life-long dream (he was 25, I was 20) to be an airline pilot, but never felt the support of his girlfriend at the time, and had never had enough confidence to just go for it. But now, he was going to do it. I supported it. I was quite excited for him, and while I liked him a lot, our relationship was so new, neither of us were too seriously invested. Our own lives were our priorities. He told me he’d be moving to Florida within a month or so.

About a week or 2 after him breaking the news, we went for a walk around his neighborhood. He asked me to move to Florida with him. He was wonderful, I was young and had never lived outside of Wisconsin, or done anything so….big! So, I said “Why not?!” and we both said if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. By the time we had been dating for 6 weeks, he moved. I stayed behind to work and save money for another 6 weeks. 

While Florida may not seem too far or very different, it was a bit of a culture shock for me. I was used to the small town life, knowing everyone, keeping my doors unlocked…our first night together there he took me for a ride on his motorcycle. My first time. He was one of those men with a compass built into his nose. Navigating his way by the sun and the stars. We were riding along on some back roads in the Ocala National Forest when we saw something amazing in the sky. A shiny metallic object flying higher and higher into the sky. Fire and a huge line of white smoke attached as a tail. We stopped in the parking lot of a gas station to watch our first (of many) Space Shuttle leave our atmosphere. A breathtaking sight. 

As we sat there, taking it all in, smiling and so excited, we are interrupted by a car suddenly pulling up to the front door of the gas station, a guy runs out leaving it running, runs into the store, runs back out with a 6pack of beer, drives off with tires squealing, and the owner running out, yelling, scissors in one hand, a portable phone in the other. This was our first (also of many) time we ever saw a robbery, let alone any crime in general. (We stayed long enough where a retail store I worked for was robbed of clothes on a near-daily basis, where we locked the doors during the day while we were at home without even thinking about it, and when Casey Anthony “lost” her daughter….Florida soon became a place like no other.)

One day, one of my favorite experiences not only of living in Florida but of my entire life thus far, took place at a Publix. Now if you know me, you know I have a severe distaste for grocery shopping. I just don’t like it. But one day, after hearing how great the Publix stores are (seriously, how “great” can a grocery store be??!?! …well….they need those stores everywhere because they. are. wonderful. !! (Although Woodman’s and Festival Foods here in Wisconsin are pretty great too)) we decided to do our shopping there. Now, another thing to know about me is that I rarely have any sense of “stranger danger”. I’m quite comfortable with striking up a conversation with any random person in the vicinity. While we were in the checkout line, I noticed the older gentleman behind me was wearing a Green Bay Packers hat. HELL YES! I am not only PROUD to be from WISCONSIN, I am PROUD to be a PACKER-backer CHEESEHEAD through and through. So, of course, like a giddy little girl I turn to him and say, “Awesome hat! I’m from Wisconsin!” And do you know how that man replied??!? He said to me, “Thanks, I used to play for the Packers”. 

Well my jaw dropped and I somehow became even more giddy (and goofy) than before. “OH MY GOD who are you?!?” I asked while extending my hand for a shake. “Gene Breen” he said, “I played in ’64 with Bart Starr”. After telling him how amazing that was, as if he didn’t know, he told me he’d always consider himself a Packer, and them to be his team. “It’s a great organization and a great state.” It was then that I realized this was THE ONE TIME I had left my camera and phone at home. But even without the physical proof of this memory, this is one I will never forget. I walked out of that store just beaming. The coolest person I had met, hands down. So nice, so humble, so proud of this great thing he was once a part of that he will always feel part of it. ((Later I concluded that due to “A+B=B+C means A=C” transitive property or something (I hate math.), since I shook his hand, he on many occasions shook/high-fived Bart Starr’s hand, I have, therefore, touched Bart Starr’s hand (just let a girl dream her dream).))   And we had a connection. Something so seemingly simple as a logo on a hat turned out to be something so big for both of us. Two strangers, one love. And then we both turned and walked along and moved on with our lives. 

What I am trying to convey with this story, is that other people come in and out of our lives. Sometimes their presence is fleeting, sometimes it becomes permanent. Never be afraid to reach out. Always be kind. Make a connection, be it with a smile, a compliment, or even a proposal for a first date. The world is full of a lot of people. All different, and all alike. You never know the impact a personal encounter can hold…where in the world it can take you, what of the world it can teach you. Humans, can be, beautiful creatures. Let’s not let each other forget it.

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Life is a Stage….of many Stages

Remember when you were 13 and everything about you was just…awkward? Full of puberty and emotions and acne? It is known as the awkward stage in life. Well, let me tell you what:

There comes another point in our lives, for most people at least, called the “quarter life crisis”. It happens around the ages of 24-27, when we realize we have lost ourselves and must go on the soul-searching journey to find ourselves. The thing is, we don’t reconnect with or find the person we used to be, we find the person we ultimately will become.

There are many stages of life, and we can become many different people during those stages. I am 27 and am still in this quarter life crisis stage (I think it may be lasting a bit longer than “normal”) and I have never felt so awkward. Uncomfortable. A bit lost. And yet, quite excited! Big things are happening! I am embarking on the path that will lead me down to the rest of my life. Just as everyone else does every single day. No matter the stage in life.

A few years ago, as I was first entering this “quarter life crisis” stage, I thought, even in my awkwardness, that I had figured it all out. I had solved the mathematical equation to life. Recently, I have learned a few more things, one of them being that you never really do figure it ALL out. But here are a few more tidbits, pieces of wisdom that would be wonderful to be born knowing, but seem to be only learned through living.

Choose your living quarters wisely: a ceiling fan in the bedroom and living room is a must!(There is little worse than stagnant air). And wood floors are beautiful, but they don’t hide dust bunnies. It may feel great to live in a house, but you must first decide if it is worth shoveling, and mowing, and paying to have your fridge repaired. Speaking of repairs, make sure the heat/AC/stove, etc. work. Trust me, they rarely get repaired in a timely manner and you’re stuck for weeks sweating/freezing/microwave cooking.

Be honest. Not only with others, but especially yourself. Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Don’t hide or avoid your emotions. Confront the tough times head on with a confident and positive-as-possible attitude and you can do anything. Being open with others allows them to help you through it if they can. Accept the help.

Not everything works out the way we hope. There will be loss and letdowns and heartbreaks. But there will also be love, and happiness, and sweet surprises. Don’t give up. Keep on moving forward. Believe in life. Believe in yourself.

Try new things. It’s ok to be afraid, but it’s even better to conquer your fears. Eat sushi. Go skydiving. Say “hello” to someone new. Go back to school. Move away from home. Wear a different color. Whatever it is, big or small, step out of your comfort zone and experience an unknown part of the world around you. Your eyes will open. Your life will change.

Do good. Be good. It’s as simple as that. Be kind. Don’t assume. Don’t judge. Don’t hate someone’s differences, embrace them. Embrace your own. Or accept them and move along civilly. Smile. Say hello. And “please”. And “thank you”. The world will become a much better place.

Take care of yourself. Drink water. Eat your vegetables. Get enough sleep. Move around. Brush (and floss!) your teeth. And don’t completely deny yourself of every indulgent happiness; grab a beer, eat some chocolate.

Budget. Save. Don’t be frivolous. Again, don’t deny yourself everything you want, but make sure you’re still able to have all you need.

We are born into this life tiny and helpless, surviving only by the love and care of our parents. After years of growing in wisdom and gaining strength, we eventually get to the point where we return the favor.

Keep calm and have patience. The most difficult virtue to attain. But it keeps you calm. Keeps your levels in check. You cant control everything. Sometimes things are just the way they are. Sometimes you just have to wait. Deal with it.

You cant choose love. It chooses for you. Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have. And even though they may love you with all they have doesn’t mean it’s right.

Communicate.  Keep in touch. Friends, family, neighbors, whoever. Don’t let someone  important to you slip through your fingers. While time alone is sometimes needed, loneliness is so cold and dark. Communication can also be the key to preventing or resolving conflict. Talk. Be open. Uncork the bottle of your thoughts and emotions.

Don’t leave anything behind. You never know where life may take you. Feelings change. That shirt you left on the bed? The toothbrush in the drawer? The movie in the dvd player? It’s much more difficult to get back after someone has become a regret. Just take it with you unless you are sure you can live without it, or you can’t live without them.

Make a bucket list. Big dreams, little dreams, simple things, impossible things. Write it down and one thing at a time, do whatever you can in your life to get a step closer to making at least one dream come true. And when it does, work towards another. Some of the best feelings are those of accomplishment and self-pride.

Wear sunscreen.  The temporary tan or burn isn’t worth it. And every few years or so, porcelain skin is in!

Get to know yourself. Find your passions and strengths. Embrace them. Let them shine. “To thine own self be true”. Follow your dreams, not someone else’s.  Go where you want to go, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for being “selfish”…this is after all, YOUR life.

And lastly (for now), don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As my hero Bob Ross said, “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.” How true, how true. Chin up. And if by chance embarrassment creeps up on you, just think of me today…It is my 1st day back at college (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse), after taking a break for a few years. 1st day, 1st class, I was in the wrong room. Right next door to the correct room. I might as well have been living that “naked in front of an audience” nightmare. Talk about awkward. I’m 27 and maybe returning to college was too lofty of a goal….I should have returned to Sesame Street first to review my numbers.

Ahhh life.

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