Saturday, October 12, 2013

Three Sorts of People

"Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people,
those who find comfort in literature,
those who find comfort in personal adornment,
and those who find comfort in food..."
Elizabeth Goudge in The Little White Horse

It's that time again to give you a report. Today I have been two months on this diet--I know, I was not going to call it a diet but rather an eating plan for the rest of my life where I did not eat sugar, white flour, white rice, diet sodas. But it feels like a diet, looks like a diet, so why haven't I lost those four pounds more needed to have a 15 pound weight loss so I can buy a lampshade? Not to mention more weight the doctor wants me to lose?


The lamp is still without a bonnet.

I have stuck faithfully to this new diet for two months and still have only lost 11 pounds. Oh, I got close  to my second goal several times, two pounds away from my second reward of a lampshade for my new fish lamp. I focused on meals comprised of fish and vegetables.


And these became my surefire drop two pounds standbys because the plan I'm following says that dried beans are a diabetic's best friend, my homemade five bean salad and Cedar Lane's Quinoa Tabouli.


My bean salad tastes nothing like the horrible stuff that comes in a can or even what is sold at Whole Foods' counter. 



It is delicious, whether you're dieting or not, full of fiber and packed with fresh vegetables.


I made Laurie Colwin's black bean soup. It sounded sophisticated when she wrote about it:

"I had my first taste of black bean soup on a cold winter Saturday
when I was sixteen years old.


"A friend, home for the holidays from a very glamourous college,
gave a lunch party and invited me.
Seated at her table, I felt that I--
mired in high school and barely passing geometry--
had died and entered a heaven in which people played the cello,
stayed up at night discussing Virginia Woolf,
saw plays by Jean-Paul Sartre,
and went to Paris for their junior years abroad."
Laurie Colwin


These meals were tasty, I admit. But then I got to missing spaghetti. I missed my yummy recipe where I use Alessi's Fra Diavolo Arrabbiata Sauce. Yes, I know it's for pasta with seafood but I happen to love it in my spaghetti sauce. So I purchased the whole wheat pasta that I am, after all, allowed on this healthy eating plan/aka diet, and happily set the pot on to simmer all afternoon.


Why have I avoided using whole wheat pasta all my life? It was wonderful!


And still legal, according to the "plan," even with the dressing I made for the salad with no-sugar mayonnaise and red wine vinegar.


But guess what? Those two pounds were b-a-c-k. And it was so worth it.

Dear Miss Goudge, you are one of my favorite authors, but I am not one but two of your "three sorts of people." I would hazard a guess that few people find more comfort in literature than I do. Books, at different times of my life, have been my...

             escape, salvation, joy, addiction, reward, comfort, motivation, encouragement,
                       friend, family, lover, challenge, consolation, means of armchair travel,
                               reason to get up in the morning and go to bed at night.

But there's no escaping the fact that I also find comfort in food. Will I ever see food as merely a means to stoke the body? Do I even want to feel that way? Shudders run up and down my spine at the very thought. No, when it comes time to stand up and be counted, I'll stand with two sorts of people.

With Miss Heliotrope, the governess who found comfort in literature, and with Wiggins, the dog--and I'm glad he was considered "people" by Miss Goudge--who found comfort in his food.

The third sort of people was Maria, Miss Heliotrope's young charge, who found comfort in personal adornment. I like pretty clothes as well as the next female, but, hey, they don't hold a candle compared with books and food to me.



Losing weight may take longer than I had planned but I do hope by the time the 12th of November rolls around that my fish lamp will have a lampshade. That is when I'll also go to my doctor to see if three months on this diet has helped my glucose report, which is more important than a lampshade.

Would you feel like telling me what sort of people you are? Are you a Miss Heliotrope, taking comfort in literature? Maybe you're a Maria, taking comfort in personal adornment? Or do you bark with Wiggins, taking comfort in your kibbles like our Brown Eyes and Katie Belle do? Or purr with pleasure like our Sammi Gayle does when her very expensive cat food gets topped off in her bowl?


I know that Elizabeth Goudge left out lots of categories, but if you had to fall into one or more of hers, which would it be?


42 comments:

  1. Oh, I think about food all the time...I'm on a weight-loss eating plan (for the rest of my life, it seems) and in order to lose the weight, I have to eat no more than 1,000 cal. a day (low carbs are no fun...only meat and veggies)...that's called starvation. In three months, I've lost 3 pounds and have 10 to go. It will be an eternity before the job gets done.:( Exercise is the only way to get it off...exercise every day.)

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    1. Ah, exercise! I know, I know. My son Zack, the workout fiend, keeps telling me that's the secret. Housework just doesn't seem to be the exercise he's talking about.

      I'm listening, Becky!

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  2. I am the one whe finds comfort in food and it started with my Mother. When anything went bad she solved it with cooking food. I am 59 and you would think by now I would know better. Losing weight when you are older is much harder I have found out. Our body works in different ways. It could be menopause, thyroid, allergy to certain foods, no exercise, and what I have learned recently is medicine can make you gain or stay the same. We just have to find the right way for our bodies now to lose the weight. Easier said than done. Just keep trying is what I say and you will find a way to lose those pounds.

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    1. It honestly is harder at my age, Betty. And I don't expect to lose as much as I could when I was younger. This time around I mainly want to keep off whatever I lose. And have a modicum of joy in life while I do it!

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  3. Dewena, that is a very healthy eating plan. You sound like my wife...she eats so carefully and well, but finds it very difficult to lose any weight at all. She can maintain what I consider to be a healthy weight but cannot get those 10-15 pounds off that she wants to lose.
    I have lost 30 pounds in 2013...mostly by increasing fiber intake and sweating in the summer sun doing my outside work. Seemed like it was too easy but doctor says I'm healthy, so....
    Anything special you can share about your 5 bean salad? I love beans.
    I definitely find comfort in food! But seems to me there would be more than 3 types of comfort. I find comfort in my faith; also in my "hobbies".....gardening and livestock, etc.

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    1. Hi Ray, 30 lbs in 2013 is marvelous! Way to go! And you did it the healthiest way with all that outdoor, fresh air, activity. And yes, I agree that there really are many more "sorts of people." Faith and family, of course.

      My bean recipe is simple: Chop 1 each of green, yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, 1 red or sweet onion. Slivers of as many jalapeƱos as wanted. Slice 1-2 cups of green olive. Add 1 can each of good garbanzos, red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black beans and green beans (with dill in the green beans if you can find them, I find them at Harris-Teeters). Mix all and add a dressing of 1/2 cup good red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, add salt and fresh ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons dried oregano. Add dried dill if the green beans aren't filled. I also add a large handful of chopped fresh parsley. Stir all and refrigerate. (Note: I drain all the beans before adding.)

      Thanks for asking!
      Dewena

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  4. Good for you, Dewena. You are really working at your plan and I know that lampshade will be coming your way soon. If I had to
    Ick one type..and it is hard since I love food and books so much it would have to be adornment. But not for me....for my house. Decorating has to be the thing I love the best of the three. There is a sense of delight that I get when staging a vignette for a season. I know people that keep there house the same way for decades, never changing anything. In fact they repaint in the exact same color they had before. Where is their sense of adventure? I'll never be completely redecorating my house because I'm constantly changing my decor.

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    1. Peggy, that was the first extra category I thought of when doing this post because it is so much fun, so rewarding instantaneously. Now if I could only get that to completely take the place of food! Usually I tell myself to Get Out of Dodge when I need to leave the table a little bit hungry. And I go and write. So if I could do those two things, go write or go putter with the decor, maybe I'd forget about being hungry. Of course, there would be a little bit more exercise accomplished in one than the other, neither as much as actually exercising!

      I agree with you, and I tell R.H. that when I stop changing stuff around the house, then he'll know to book a room at a nursing home for me! Although, there are times I like something so much that I keep it that way a long time.

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  5. You are determined and doing well. You will loose the rest . Wish I had your will power.

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    1. Thank you so much, Debby! But it's not willpower, it's fear of doing otherwise and desire to be here every day I can for this wonderful life!

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  6. Hi Dewena,

    Firstly, kudos to your talented photographer, (aka RH), and his savvy stylist/set decorator/caterer/producer ! I really appreciate the pics that precede their corresponding paragraphs, (although, I admit, it was sometimes a little difficult trying to concentrate on the written word, with such appetizing accompaniments!).

    My dear friend, you are doing so well! Please stay on track and the pounds will leave you once and for all. Mind you, they may tiptoe away, slowly and quietly, and you may not notice the change in your figure, (but more importantly, in your overall health), right away, yet it is better to lose them slowly rather than quickly, as we all know, if done in the latter mode, they will probably CREEP back on, MUCH faster than when they tiptoed away!! Thus, keep doing what you are doing; I commend you on your energy and effort and determination! The only thing I would do differently is to take Zack's advice: he is RIGHT! I can attest to the powers of aerobic exercise, as I have managed to lose 15 pounds this summer, mostly credited to swimming for 1 hour EVERY DAY. Now, I am no Michael Phelps; basically, I improvise and try to stay afloat! Are you LOL yet? Good! Laughing also burns calories, so chuckle away, (plus it helps you live longer!). Anyway, I've tried to take the shortcut to slimness, just by cutting down on calories, but they 'sewed' themselves to my skin! Only when I added exercise did I manage, (albeit, it took me 3 months), to see the foggy beginnings of a figure I had forgotten I had!

    Thanks for this very entertaining and delicious account of your progress! I can't wait to try your homemade, five bean salad as I need to incorporate more fibre in my own nutritional strategy!

    Hope you cook up a lovely weekend!

    xo
    Poppy
    PS: I am a variable of Miss Goudge's personalities: I'm a fervent foodie, (the Wiggins in me), who loves the taste of French and English decor, (a take on Maria's personal adornment), and ravenously reads literature, (blog- bound, that is), on both, and more, (a modern day Miss Heliotrope)! :-D

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    1. Poppy, my goodness, 15 pounds this summer! I hope Zack reads this and sees that you agreed with him. I don't suppose I could watch a funny movie every day and laugh those pounds off instead? No, I din't think so. Okay, a combination of the two and keep on keeping on, and that dirty little secret--portion control!

      I do know you're right. And perhaps the healthiest sort of people are a balanced all 3 sorts!

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  7. I love this post!
    it made me laugh.
    and drool. spaghetti one of my all time favorites.
    you are such a wonderful cook. i am not. never was.
    and yet I dearly love to read cookbooks and watch those 'cooking' shows. go figure!
    i think i've solved your problem.
    muscle weighs more than fat.
    you are simply putting on more muscle. SO.
    you can get your lampshade!!!! XOXOXO

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    1. Hello dear Tammy! So great to read your comment. You must be feeling better, I fervently hope? And I do love your theory; maybe I have just developed lots of muscle over the years!

      But don't tempt me to buy the lampshade; I really want to earn it.

      Now to go cook supper even though it would be lots more fun to just read a cookbook.

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  8. LOL I must be hedonistic because I find comfort in all three.....does that make me a bad person? ;P

    But I do find more comfort in books and a great story.

    I love this post, BTW. And have you posted your bean salad recipe? I would like it because it looks great.

    xo,
    RJ

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    1. Ricki Jill, I think you're just a very well-balanced hedonist! I did include the recipe above when Ray asked for it but I'll email it to you. It's so simple!

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  9. Dear Dewena, I find comfort in scripture, which secularly speaking would fit under the literature category, but it is much, much more than that to me. It's God's inerrant word, His voice to me. I couldn't survive without it. Food is a comfort, but it's only so when I can share it with another, and preferably if I can act as the cook. Blessings, Nancy

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    1. Yes, of course, Nancy! And you are right, as literature it is beautiful. I don't know if the novelist Eugenia Price was way before your time but she first fell in love with scripture as poetry and prose and then went on to find a personal relationship with Christ. And turned out beautiful historical novels of the Carolina coast. So of course scripture is much more than mere literature. And it is when I get too busy to read my Bible that everything else suffers. I have to keep learning that, no matter how old I grow. Thank you, Nancy.

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  10. I'm definitely a Heliotrope-Wiggins, Dewena. I seem to have been dieting for half my adult life. I am an expert calorie counter and diet planner and I have a whole shelf of diet cookbooks. It is all there in the head but it just doesn't reach the hips! I worked really hard last year and lost 22 pounds but this year I put 7 of those back on. I know (like everyone else) that exercise is the answer but somehow there is always too much to do around the house and garden and there are so many other excuses I can come up with.

    It's great that you have kept those 11 pounds off and you've inspired me to lose some more by Christmas. I hope you get your lampshade soon and that your doctor gives you a glowing report.


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    1. Wouldn't you think that our love of reading alone would keep us from becoming too much of a Wiggins? But then the very best books include luscious meals and creative cooking so what's a body to do? As you said, exercise must be the answer but like you my to-do list looms large and becomes an excuse when deep down I know that in the long run regular exercise would help me tackle that to-do list! And yes, got the shelf of diet books too and many that have ended up in the trash can over the years. The best diet I was ever on was the Mediterranean diet but all it took was holiday desserts to start me down the slippery slope. I think sugar must be poison to me.

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  11. Mom always says there are 2 kinds of people in the world...givers or takers. Takers are, almost always, takers...like the energizer bunny, they just keep on taking with ner a thought to give. Givers sometimes take but find it more difficult and, even when disgruntled with giving, can't find it within themselves to change...thankfully!
    I use books, mostly, and, sometimes, food to give comfort. Since Dave died, I find myself crying out to God more and more and more for comfort, help, wisdom, whatever. I'm still adrift but not feeling, perhaps, so rocky...bless His name forever!
    I've lost about 25 pounds since he died and have started losing more. I'd like to lose another 25 but am in no hurry.

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    1. Sandra, you must get so much exercise with all the farm work that helps, and I'm sure much more of that since your Dave died, but we both know the temptation would have been to eat as comfort and you did not do that, which is a very good thing. We all know that it could not be God's will for us to abuse our bodies through overeating and yet I have cringed for years when I see that so many of us do just that. I have hid from God in the past when I felt that I was failing him in this area of my life and when I began this new diet I knew that I could not beat myself up over failing, if I did, because by 70 years of age I have learned that his love for me encompasses all that I am and all that I fail to be.

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  12. phooey. forgot to tell you, Debbie, at Artful Aspirations, has been quoting Elizabeth Goudge a lot lately and I adore Laurie Colwin.
    http://artfulaspirations.blogspot.com/

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    1. Oh, I'll check her out! Pilgrim Inn has always been my favorite book and I only recently learned that it is the middle of a trilogy. So I am reading and loving Bird in the Tree and have ordered the 3rd one. Also I've been reading her autobiography. And learned that she many years lived in Devon, which is where Monix, above, lives!

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  13. You shall have the shade, Dewena. I know!

    I've been eating to live since the end of June and completely understand. I veered off course with the trip to Cedar Lake Cellars, but it was worth it. I will probably veer off course during our two days at Big Cedar. Because, food is comfort for me, along with literature and personal adornment.

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    1. You are one of my heroes, Pat! A woman of a certain age, like me, but you are beautiful and creative and very much up-to-date in your house and life. And so marvelously handle the challenges of life without ever whining!

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  14. What if I am all 3 types of people. I love clothes and dressing up even while reading and munching on yummies.

    When I gave up bread/starch I lost 40 pounds over 1 year. I kept it off for 5 years and then I started eating bread more. I have put on 10 pounds and it doesn't want to come off. I realize now, it wasn't just eliminating bread, but swimming every other day. I haven't been swimming lately and I need to get back to it. Swimming exercises the entire body. I walk a lot so my legs have stayed in shape, but the upper body and the arms need the swimming. I promise I will swim tomorrow- dinner party tonight and unfortunately there will be delicious bread.

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    1. Wow, bread and starch! Potatoes too? That would be harder for me than giving up desserts.

      It doesn't surprise me that you are a balanced 3 sorts of people!

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  15. You're doing great Dewena! Don't give up! If only it were as easy to lose weight as it is to gain it. Wouldn't that be heaven?

    I guess I'm all three types, so I guess you could say I'm well rounded. Or maybe it's my hips that are rounded.

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    1. I'm smiling here! Yes a well rounded person is a balanced person! Yes, why is it that it takes a week to lose 2 pounds and yet overnight spaghetti will put 2 pounds back on?

      Thanks, Doreen. I won't give up!

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  16. I am sure you are going to lose more weight very soon. Possibly you are just at one of those plateaus. Your five bean salad looks delicious, and you have me craving dilled green beans - now.
    For me, trying to lose weight is the most frustrating thing in the world. Sometimes I can figure out what caused me to stop losing or even gain, and sometimes I just don't know what happened. I seem to lose easier in the spring and summer, but now it is fall and for the past few days I have been battling a ferocious appetite. That being said, I suspect that I am in the food person category, but then again books and books about food are a good category for me, too.
    I am visualizing that new lampshade on your cute lamp right now!

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    1. Thank you, Susie! And I got out my Fall file of recipes the other day only to find that 99% of the recipes for fall were desserts! Except for Brussels sprouts. Why can't Brussels sprouts taste as good as Caramel Cake?

      I keep telling myself that eventually I could trust myself to bake again and only serve it to guests, or have one bite because that is the best bite of anything. That time is not yet so I'll see if I can develop a love for Brussels sprouts.

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  17. Hi Dewena...I am popping back over to tell you, we just used a light weight sandpaper to sand off the finish on the table. We didn't use the sander and did not move the table outside. We put down a drop cloth and wiped down the table with a damp cloth to free it of sanding dust before adding the stain. We just ragged the stain on and off, rather than brush it on. Worked quickly so it would not dry before we could remove stain we did not want. There wasn't a lot of poly on the legs and apron, so it was easy. I may put another coat of walnut on the top. We wanted a distressed pine look to the table without the orange. Not too bad for a couple of old characters. Just go slow and easy. That's what we did.

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    1. Thanks so much, Pat! When I read what you did to get rid of the orangey look to your long farm table it was the answer to a decorating prayer. We don't want to go to the trouble or expense of refinishing ours and yet I hate the orangey look it's developed over the years. This is doable. Yours is beautiful!

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  18. I'm probably a bit of all three! I definitely take comfort in food, too. It's hard to give up the things you love for good, so I think the only way to handle it is to indulge in them every now and then, like you did with the pasta. I've had to give up cheese, red meat and most bad fats to bring my cholesterol down, so I know how you feel. I just don't want to have to go on medication, so I am trying the diet and exercise route. I may have to promise myself a lamp shade -- or something -- for inspiration!

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    1. Oh, I would hate to give up cheese! I'd rather not eat desserts than not eat cheese! And yes, promise yourself a new lampshade or something!

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  19. I am all three also....and I indulge in shoes as well. I do believe sugar is the evil culprit. Weight is just a number, just keep doing the right thing. Said the lady who is putting off working out by reading blogs this afternoon............

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    1. Ah, a shoeaholic! Yep, I think sugar is poisonous to my system. And I feel better after getting off artificial sweeteners too, although I did have a diet ginger ale the other night and loved every drop of it!

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  20. I am one to definitely find comfort in food! Sometimes when you try to eat healthy, you can't help but eat too much when you have cooked a great tasting meal! Stay with it!

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  21. Ages ago, when I was a young wisp of a woman, I went on diets to put on weight. Sigh. Maybe I only dreamed it.

    I find pleasure in so many, many things but take some comfort from writing. When both of my parents died earlier this year I spent weeks tap, tap, tapping at my computer. And music, too, lifts my heart heavenward.

    I found a copy of Pilgrim's Inn in a used bookstore last month. I haven't read it yet. Should I wait and try to find a copy of Bird in the Tree to read first or does it stand on its own? When I bought the book, I thought of you. I just had a feeling that you would be a fan of Elizabeth Goudge.

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  22. I just discovered your blog last night. And yet ou are gone. How can that be? You mentioned Dee Hardie. Nobody mentions Dee Hardie!!! I love her. So I started reading your blog backwards and then ou mention Lee Bailey. (even though you didn't like his recipe). Still. There he was. So deserving of a mention. And now? You do the unthinkable. In this post you are talking about Laure Colwin.
    Ok. I give up!!!
    How can a blogger mention these three people and I just discovered her only to find out she won't be blogging anymore?
    That's just not right.
    Just tought I'd tell you ....that's just not right.

    Ok. I have to go now and read the rest of your entries.

    Most sincerely,
    Debra

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    1. Debra, I just could not resist trying to reach you to thank you for this comment. Wish I knew how to email you to thank you. Just in case you do happen to look back here at your comment I hope you found my Dee Hardie posts in December of 2013. She has been such an influence on my life. I'm so happy to find someone who likes Lee Bailey's cookbooks. I think I have 4 of his and that particular recipe is the only one I did not like. His soup recipes are a mainstay here at our house. And Laurie Colwin was such a great writer. I love cookbooks that just read like a good memoir.

      You may never look back and find this but it made my day! Perhaps some day I will find a way of blogging again in a less time consuming way but for now (January of 2014), it seems to be too much to handle.

      Thank you again,
      Dewena

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