Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

You know that frustration you feel when your computer is behaving badly but you’re so in love, you can’t bear to break up with it? Turns out that relationships, including the ones we have with our computers, are very complicated.

Tha’s how I”m feeling right now about my Mac. It’s a MacBook Air and I’ve had it for about 8 years which is like 70 human years. Computer years are even tougher than dog years.

If my computer was a PC, I would have been through two more by now, but not with Mac.

So, while I’m still trying to hang onto my “best” computer companion, I’ve reached out to Apple Tech Support and any geek/nerd I can find.

One of my problems is that my MacBook is not “going to sleep” when I want it to. Which makes it really tough to get updates. Yup, you heard me, Mac will not go to bed! I have to hold down that little button on the top right until it finally goes to sleep. Then after I count ten seconds, I push that button down again, Mac turns on, but not before it flashes a notice at me, The computer shut down because of a problem, it will continue starting up in sixty seconds. Don’t touch any buttons the tech guy said. I touch nothing, and it boots up. Then the next day there’s a message waiting for me on my computer that says, Mac could not install updates, if you want to, blah, blah, blah, the routine starts over again.

Mac is operating, but it has 23,000 emails that I am having difficulty deleting. I’ve taken off most of my photos, and that’s tough for the artwork I do. I guess I have to visit the Apple Store or call Apple Tech Support tomorrow. I want my computer to be nice to me and treat me the way I expect to be treated. I do some pretty important stuff on it, and I don’t want to worry it will have a Mac attack on me while I’m on the last chapter of my book.

So, should I break up with my Mac or keep getting “counseling” from Apple Tech Support? I’ll keep you posted . . .

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

Valentine’s Day Fun

Valentine’s Day Fun

Happy Valentine’s Day from our hearts to yours.

Tom and I have been married for many years, so we don’t need to do the “typical” thing to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This year, our special present to ourselves was a trip to the furniture store for a new sofa. Yep! It’s time for our 24-year-old sofa to move out. We’ll be donating it to charity along with a few other things around the house. So on the advice of my dear friend Lorraine Davis, a talented interior designer who is still working at the age of 90, we went to Jordan’s Furniture. And boy did we have fun! Not only did we get terrific service, we bought a beautiful sectional with built-in recliners. Those recliners will come in handy for watching our favorite Hallmark movies and when I need to put my feet up while I’m writing. So Happy Valentine’s Day and remember it’s the time you spend with your sweetheart that matters most.

 

I ordered this gorgeous sectional in “Classic Sahara”.

And here is my “Valentine” to Jordan’s Furniture:

The experience purchasing our new sofa from you was awesome. It’s obvious that you have a handle on the market, the product, delivery and warranties and philosophy of Jordan’s Furniture. We are confident that the sectional four recliner leather sofa and console table is the expected fine quality and will serve our lifestyle perfectly. The leather upholstery has an amazing hand (Feels soft, pliable, stable and aniline dyed). The pricing fair and expected for our purchase.

Of course, this first time visit was a most pleasant experience, walking in from the handsome exterior to the welcome music at the entrance, (Felt like Disney/Epcot) to the visuals stepping into the showroom, and the salespeople’s smiling faces and greetings, both coming and going, we can’t wait to visit again, maybe make another purchase. I must add that the unexpected brief treat of the pizza snack and ice cream was tops. It was a smidge late to snack at the hour of 8:30 pm, but by the time we left, we could not wipe the smiles off our faces, but we did get that ice cream sundae caramel syrup off. Thank you Cary B, and thank you Jordan’s Furniture.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

 

Colorful and Cozy by Gail Ingis

Colorful and Cozy by Gail Ingis

Cozy!

Baby it’s cold outside. Boy is it ever! But Tom and I are all snug as two bugs in a rug with our wood stove and our stack of fresh logs for the fire. The wood will keep our heating costs down and our toes all warm and toasty! While I’m recuperating from foot surgery I am under house arrest as I work on my next book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. It’s set in the Gilded Age of New York. Everything about this book makes me smile and laugh. Lots of funny bits, so It’s keeping me warm. A good chuckle will do that for you.

Winter birds

And when I want a break from editing, I can peek out the window and watch the winter birds who call our backyard home. I do love our winter birds, they have the most brilliant colors — like the cardinal who doesn’t migrate, but molts into a gorgeous shade of red. It’s my favorite shade of red. Even  the female’s winter brown feathery coat is perkier than her summer variation of brown.

Holly bushes in our yard

We have one or two male hollies on our property, and lots of females producing those red berries that pop out around Christmas time. Here’s one for the books, in order for the holly bushes to make those beautiful little red berries, you must have at least one male holly on your property, or even in your neighbor’s yard. Our landscape shows off holly in the front yard, backyard and side yard. Red berries everywhere, poking through the white snow.

Flowers for special touch of love and color

But mostly the color is inside our home. Tom makes sure that I have plenty of fresh flowers around me. I also have color on the walls to gaze at. Paintings that I worked on over the years. They mean a lot to me and reflect special times in my life. I’ve been getting back into painting over the last few months. Coney Island was my last painting project. I’m focusing on nature’s landscapes this time around, I’ve even started showing my work again. And making them available for sale. I’ve sold many a painting in my time and it feels good to dip my brushes into the oils and watercolors and swish them onto the canvas. The heroine’s sister in my next book is an artist and she’ll be getting her own book too. Can’t wait for that one!

The most colorful surprise was a carousel that I bought over the holidays. Now I have my Coney Island carousel painting and a toy carousel. I bought it online from Bed, Bath and Beyond, (in case you’re wondering). And best of all, it was on sale.  It looked rather small online and the listing didn’t say what size it was. But I didn’t care.

Reindeer and Santa go round and round

I just wanted it to be pretty and go round and round. So I ordered the little thing. Well, not only wasn’t it little, it turned out to be pretty big! It’s about twelve inches wide and twelve high, it lights up and has mirrors on the center core, a gorgeous red and white canopy, Santa on the chair and reindeer instead of horses. One more unexpected feature: Music. It plays all of our favorite Christmas carols, then with a flick of a switch, it plays Swannee River, Blue Danube, and other classics. Maybe I’ll keep it out until Valentine’s Day.

 

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A Christmas Concert To Remember by Gail Ingis

A Christmas Concert To Remember by Gail Ingis

West Point Cadet Chapel

Chapel looking back to the Narthex

This past Sunday, December 3, Tom and I took the 90 minute drive up the Palisades, across the Bear Mountain Bridge, around the bending roads and up the hills, to the West Point Cadet Chapel in West Point, NY.

West Point is actually the name of the town, the home of the United States Military Academy where Handel’s Messiah was being performed. Our daughter-in-law, Joanne Ingis, was one of the voices in the visiting chorals. The voices echoed like angels in this beautiful chapel. A standing ovation followed the 90 minute concert. Well deserved, I must add.

Joanne, part of a New Jersey choral group, practiced numerous hours over many weeks for two performances: #1 Hawthorne Bible Church in New Jersey, #2 here at the Chapel. On December 19th, Joanne will sing with the choral group at Rockefeller center.and then the next evening, she will be singing Getty Irish Christmas in Carnegie Hall.

A few of the voices, Cadets joined the chorals and featured a female Cadet soloist.

A gracious Cadet who permitted this photo

This was not the first time I visited West Point. My son Rick’s friend got married in this Chapel, and oh my, it was beautiful. The services were followed by a reception at the Thayer Hotel in close proximity to the Academy.

That’s Joanne Ingis and her step-dad, Tom Claus (my hubby)

Son Paul Ingis & me (Gail)

Chapel night shot. It took on the orange moon color

For dinner, of course we headed over to the nearby, Thayer Hotel. Built in 1926, the lobby and dining areas charmed me with their antiquity. Not so much the furbishing, but rather the ambiance. I imagined former presidents, and great military leaders, walking the halls. The hotel has entertained many of the United States Military and other distinguished visitors. Oh, and by the way, the food was delicious, five star. Onion soup, the best yet, barbecued short ribs in gravy, with a medley of vegetables that included squash & zucchini.

 

West Point view from the Chapel

That’s the Hudson River. The views are spectacular

The five of us shared one amazing dessert – fresh apple-pear pie with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. WOW!

This little blurb from the hotel talks about how delightful it would be to visit the town of West Point. You can stay at the hotel, or find the offerings through the visitor center. The area offers a grand gateway to Hudson Valley area attractions, historic sites and outdoor recreation. Tee off on the West Point Golf Course, hike through the Black Rock Forest or go horseback riding in Bear Mountain State Park. Visit one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world, or sample a local vintage at a Hudson Valley winery. During your visit  you can go from West Point tours to Hudson River cruises and shopping sprees.

While you are waiting for my new book coming in the spring of 2018, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, would you like some fun? Take the adventure in New York City, and over the prairies and hills across America, from the Catskills to Yosemite, with Leila and Rork in my book, Indigo Sky.

 
Reaching for your own star by Gail Ingis

Reaching for your own star by Gail Ingis

Brite Brilliance Acrylic/Canvas | 16×20″

As a kid, my creativity took the form of re-creating. I took clothes apart and remade them into something different. I turned my mother’s gown into a dress. Mom was horrified. I also took apart radios and clocks and put them back together. Dad was supportive. I sometimes needed his help. I also began drawing when I was a kid. I drew faces and comic book characters, like Wonder Woman. Everything around me was an inspiration – to create.

Music has always been a joy. I love to play piano and guitar. If only there was more time in a day to create new things, including all the ones in my dreams. Then there’s my professional life as an interior designer where I photographed the spaces I created. The interior design school I founded gave others a way to expand their horizons. Currently, my  passion is writing and painting. Painting landscapes has been a way of connecting to nature and to explore the beauty of a sky, a sunset, sunrise, a body of water, a wave. I see a painting in everything, even a building, a portrait of my grandchildren, and a snowy Christmas tree. Everyone loves the creativity Christmas offers. Just look around you, it’s all there for you to enjoy and participate in. There are so many ways of creating beauty. Many of us have past times that give us peace of mind and help us to reconnect to our inner lives. Some of us love to garden, others love to cook, but what we all have in common is a desire to create. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Reach for your star and you will find your own truth path.

I love vibrant colors. And if there is one common element in my work, it’s color. Outdoors, I look for the sun’s rays of pink and amber creeping across the meadow, catching the magic hour when lights are warm and reflected light is bouncing in the cool shadows. Sunrise and sunset sweep the rainbow colors across the skies. Atmospheric landscapes have a beauty that often goes unrealized. Rich purples, yellows and blues on a rainy, foggy day are subtle, but magnificent. God’s heaven on earth.

Portofino Charm Acrylic/Canvas 18×24″

Indoors, I have a myriad of subjects to paint. I have photos from my photography then and now. I record people, places and things that are inspirational. It is thrilling to watch a blank canvas evolve into work-of-art.

Next week, I’ll be taking part in a special art show where I’ll be featuring two of my paintings: Maine Boats and Coney Island Bumper Cars. If you want to see more of my work you can visit my website.

Maine Boats (formerly boat bunches)
Watercolor | 10×14″

Coney Island Bumper Cars
Pastel & Watercolor| 10×14

 

 

 

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore House by Gail Ingis

Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore House by Gail Ingis

Candlelight Christmas at Biltmore

Christmas at Biltmore House is unlike any other. When you are there it’s like you have traveled back in time to the Gilded Age. Tom and I visited Biltmore House a few years ago while I was researching my first book, Indigo Sky.  Biltmore House, was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II, the youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt, near Asheville, North Carolina in 1889-1895. At 178,926 square feet, it is considered the largest privately owned home in the United States, It is still owned by Vanderbilt family.

Biltmore House has become famous for its celebration of Candlelight Christmas, which is celebrated  every evening throughout the holiday season, starting just before Thanksgiving, presented as though the Vanderbilt family are your hosts. Tom and I spent three nights at the Inn at Biltmore on the grounds of the estate and enjoyed tea in the afternoon, lunch at the Bistro, dinner in the dining room. Five star accommodations, five star food and five star grounds.

The Vanderbilt rail empire was created by Biltmore’s George Vanderbilt’s grandfather, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who died in 1877. It was Commodore that bought out LeGrand Lockwood after Black Friday gold panic in July 1869 when Lockwood lost his empire. The same Lockwood who built the Lockwood Mansion (now the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum) in Norwalk, Connecticut. The same Lockwood who commissioned Albert Bierstadt to paint “Domes of the Yosemite.”

Most of my readers know about my journey writing about the life of painter Albert Bierstadt. My visit to Biltmore Estate was inspired by my research while I was painting a copy of Domes of the Yosemite and henceforth, inspired a fictional historical romance novel.

If you ever get the chance to travel to Biltmore House, you will never forget it. It has become one of the most popular destinations for weddings and other special events and for Tom and me, it was a truly memorable and special Holiday visit.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released on Valentine’s Day. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

A Daring Red Dress and a Dancing Queen

A Daring Red Dress and a Dancing Queen

I love to get dressed up and go out on the town. Even, now at my age (I just turned 82 years young!) I love to go out with my husband Tom. Just last weekend we went to a party at the ballroom dance studio where we practice our  fox-trot, waltz, salsa and so many more. Our talented instructors, Monika and Henry just celebrated their fourth-year anniversary of Dance Fairfield. Part of the Fred Astaire Dance Franchise.

History has shown us that women have always loved to get dressed up. And yes, even be a little daring in their fashion choices. Being daring is different depending on the woman. For some women it means wearing a stunning gown with a deep décolletage or décolleté. Décolletage is the area of the neck, shoulders, back and upper chest exposed by the neckline of a woman’s clothing, low-cut necklines of ball gowns, evening gowns, leotards, lingerie and swimsuits, among other fashions. Even today, décolletage is seen as an expression of femininity, and in some parts of the world any décolletage is considered provocative and shocking.

During the Victorian period, social attitudes required women to cover their bosom in public. For day dresses, high collars were the norm. Later, towards the end of the Victorian period the full collar was the fashion, though some décolleté dresses were worn on formal occasions.

Madame X

In 1884, the Portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sargent of American-born Paris socialite, Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, was criticized when she was depicted in a sleek black dress displaying what was considered scandalous cleavage. Even more shocking, the painting depicted the strap of her dress falling off her right shoulder. The controversy was so great that Sargent reworked the painting so that the shoulder strap was no longer “off her shoulder”.  But that wasn’t enough to save Sargent’s reputation. The artist was forced to leave Paris for London in 1884 because of the scandal that ensued.

Gail’s portrait by Diane Aeschliman

My friend and talented portrait artist, Diane Aeschliman, of Killingworth, CT, painted my portrait a few years back, and coincidentally the shoulder strap of my elegant, red gown, kept slipping off. Here’s that painting for your perusal.

Perhaps if I had lived in the Victorian era I would have caused a great scandal as well!

Historical romance novels are a perfect way to indulge in the daring (and sometimes scandalous) love stories of fictional heroes and heroines. My novel Indigo Sky was inspired by the true-life love story of artist Albert Bierstadt and his love affair with the beautiful wife of his best friend. My story has a happy ending of course. As do all the historical romances that we love to read!

And speaking of historical romances and happy endings – I want to let you all know about a wonderful new giveaway that I’m part of with Booksweeps. You could win more than 45 Regency and Victorian romance novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Joan Jonston, Lauren Royal, Lauren Smith and many more including me! Along with a brand new e-reader device. Just in time for the Holidays. I hope you will sign up for this amazing giveaway. It’s free and it’s fun! Click here to enter. Until next time! Keep on dancing! Love Gail.

 

Fancy a Cup of Tea?

Fancy a Cup of Tea?

Lobby

Many blue moons ago I had the great pleasure of having High Tea at the Helmsley Palace in New York City. Or so I thought! Much to my surprise, I was mistaken in my assumption that it was called High Tea. In fact, the proper name is: Afternoon Tea. Fascinated with the ritual of “tea time”, I explored the history and found that Afternoon Tea, aka High Tea, originated among the wealthy social classes in England in the 1840s. By the end of the nineteenth century, Afternoon Tea developed into its current form and was observed by both the upper and middle classes. Teatime for the working population was always much later in the day, usually after 6 pm, and accompanied by a pot of good, strong stimulating tea.

Wrap around balcony, where afternoon tea was served

Food service for afternoon tea

At the Helmsley Palace, Afternoon Tea consisted of delicate savory cucumber or egg and cress sandwiches, bread and butter, scones with clotted cream and jam, and occasionally cakes and pastries along with a bracing pot of tea.

Sandwiches always had the crusts removed, and were cut into small segments, either as triangles or fingers, aka tea sandwiches. The waiters dressed in formal attire, starched collars, black vests and black pressed trousers. The Harpist playing,The Blue Danube, by Johann Strauss II, with the delicacy of an angel, which not only pleased the ear but aided digestion.

Harpo Marx, a talented harpist

Hotel entrance flanked by the Villard Houses

Reservations were the only way you could have Afternoon Tea at the Helmsley. Today, the Helmsley Palace Hotel is  known as Lotte New York Palace Hotel and is one of many fine hotels in NY that offer Afternoon Tea. And of course, by today’s standards, Afternoon Tea takes place in late afternoon to early evening, 3:30-5 pm.

Afternoon Tea figures prominently in my next book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. The Baldwin sisters and their mother arrange a special Afternoon Tea and invite some of the most well-to-do ladies in New York society. I had great fun working on this scene, especially the menu! I can’t wait for you to read it.

Sample of tea accompaniment

 

NYC’s 5 Great Places For Afternoon Tea In 2014 « CBS News

Thanks to Wikipedia Tea (Meal)

 

New York: The Ephemeral City

New York: The Ephemeral City

Windsor Letterhead

New York is one of the few cities in the world that’s rich enough and diverse enough to be anything it wants to be, The Dutch first settled along the Hudson in 1624 and two years later they established the colony of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island. In 1664, the English took control of the area and renamed it New York.

This same New York is my hometown, a place for immigrants, barons, and in short, middle America. I’ve combed the city as a kid, as a student, and as a designer.

Automat at 818-820 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1904 postcard, Wikipedia

Long ago, I loved the Automat (Horn and Hardart). A whole lunch for a nickel. Nickel in, lunch out, on a vertical turnstile, Hot soup and apple pie, yum. Whatever happened to those days? Naturally any place in New York is home to me, even the Catskills, where I spent many a summer and where my first historic romance couple, Rork and Leila, met in Indigo Sky.

My new and latest story The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, (Book 1, The Baldwin Family Series) takes place in none other than my hometown, In fact, the Baldwins’ live across the street from Central Park. What was it like to take a walk in the park in 1886? You’ll find out in my book.

An early stereoscope view of the Main Dining Room shows the frescoed ceiling and sumptuous chandelier.

Baggage entered the 46th Street side (right) and guests entered on Fifth Avenue. The arrangement avoided “cluttering.” — photo Library of Congress

Sadly, New York has been an ephemeral city. Many buildings were demolished or burned, one of which was the Windsor Hotel on 46th Street and 5th Avenue, conveniently located close to the Grand Central Depot, a short walk to the Windsor for those who traveled by train. The Hotel welcomed the wealthy, from Barons to Dukes, and according to the New York Times, the Windsor was “most luxurious and aristocratic hostelry in New York.”

Inside the hotel were the barber’s shop, grocery and general storerooms, vegetable kitchen, dining rooms, a separate one for children, and more. The hotel was considered a marvel in modern convenience. Every suite had a private bath and every room had a fireplace, according to The Times.

You’ll get an exclusive invitation to visit the Windsor Hotel in my book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin, out on Valentine’s Day 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barcelona beauty to Disney Magic

Barcelona beauty to Disney Magic

Barcelona welcome

The Birds . . .

Hey, if you love to travel then have some fun while I take you on the start of our recent two-week trip of amazing sightseeing and cruising.

Our first stop was Barcelona, Spain. What a glorious city. It was good to be back. We spent three days there. Everywhere we went, there was beauty and delicious food. Especially the tapas! If you go to Barcelona, you have to eat tapas-style. It’s a fun way to eat with plenty to choose from. We all enjoyed the selection. My hubby, Tom, our son Paul, daughter-in-law, Joanne, and I did a pretty good job of trying many different tapas dishes.

Tapas are on every counter in every café and restaurant. And don’t ask how we got seated, because you can’t get served unless you are sitting down or taking it away. Every tapas place we visited was packed. We always wanted to sit at the counter, those were favored spots because then you could pick from the tapas close up. But it was tough to get those seats. The four of us ate our way through the most popular and delicious tapas. By the end of the three days, we were ‘tapased’ out.

Las Ramblas, the famous street that appealed to tourists and locals is the most popular, busiest street in Barcelona. A tree-lined pedestrian mall, it stretched for less than a mile connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Wikipedia.

Thoughtful memorial

Monument

Tom and I remembered the street performers from our 2010 trip. We wished they were there so we could all see them do their thing, maybe next trip. Flowers dedicated to those who lost their lives a few weeks before we arrived, were spread over the base of the Christopher Columbus Monument, at the entrance of the wide avenue. A beautiful and fit memorial.

Casa Batlló roof

We were surrounded by the designs of Antonio Gaudi,19th century architect who thought out-of-the-box. Nowhere else in the world will you see his designs as in Barcelona. His church, the most famous anywhere, the Sagrada Familia, which began construction in 1882/1883, is still under construction. Really!

If you like dragons, you’ll love the Gaudi apartments and rooftops. On Las Ramblas all streetlights and benches are Gaudi designed. His Art Nouveau creations are all over the city.

Barcelona’s main means of travel

Our accommodations were divine at the AC Marriott on the north side of the city. They had their own restaurant with great food and tapas, of course. Designs were contemporary and sleek in steel, glass and leather. Transportation was easy by taxi, metro or bus and walking. So many walked or motorbiked and sometimes you see manual biking.

Getting around Barcelona is easy on the metro. Clean and sparkling!

I have to tell you about the bathrooms and the subway. Everywhere we went, every one of them were sparkling clean. We can learn a thing or two from these Europeans, don’t you think?

Joanne finding polished glass in the sand, fun to look.

We loved our little jaunt to the beach. Joanne waded in the Mediterranean as we cheered her on, we picked polished glass from the sand, enjoyed the sand castles with fireplaces, and danced in the plaza with all the dancing couples. We didn’t want the dream to end.

 

Sand fireplaces

I forgot to mention the VIP greeting that we received when we arrived in Barcelona. Thank you to son Paul’s client. She took us through the airport and out to taxi service. Imagine VIP status, even temporarily?

Pluto greeting on Disney Magic

After our three-day whirlwind stay in Barcelona we boarded the Disney Cruise Ship for a ten-day cruise across the Atlantic. I’ll tell you more about that amazing “boat trip” next week.

 

Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

 

 

 

 

 

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