CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Friday, June 30, 2006
good bye sweet maggie
Our dear Maggie went over the rainbow bridge at around 12:30pm today. She had suddenly passed out while at the vet hospital. They were there to react immediately. They tried oxygen and everything they could to revive her. But in the end she didn't make it. He said it was peaceful and she was in no pain. I feel horrible I wasn't there when she left. We are wrecked with sadness, just this time last week she was her normal playful self. Thank you for all your kind and wonderful comments it really does help.

2002-2006

we miss you already our baby girl.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006
getting back to work
I managed to dip my toe back into getting a little work done today. So that is good.

It is so hard to concentrate, but I need to get back in the saddle so work doesn't pile up. It's hard to work in the studio because Maggie usually lays on my desk with me while I am working, so I keep looking up expecting to see her. I did manage to finish up this commission of this sweet couple and am sending it off tomorrow.

Maggie is still about the same, but her temp is now normal (yay!) and not way below normal like it was yesterday, the Vet says he's encouraged by that. Right now he thinks she has a good chance at recovery so that is GREAT news! We are waiting on a test letting us know if her anemia is getting worse, better or staying the same. Then we'll know more.

Earlier today I went to the vet and held her for an hour. I cried a lot but then felt like I shouldn't because maybe it would be bad to be sad around her, so I tried to be fake happy which probably didn't convince her. I did hold her in my lap so she could look out the window and see some birds and bugs and I think she liked that.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
get well wishes!
Just got off the phone with Dr. Doug (Maggie's vet) and he got some of the new test results in. Because her anemia is getting worse and based on the numbers in the lab results and tests he thinks it could be one or more auto-immune diseases. These are basically causing her body to eat her red blood cells faster than she can make new ones. He started treatment for them right away because even if it's not them the treatment isn't harmful. So better to treat while we wait for more test results than to not treat.

Here are the links he gave me. It could be
this one or this one or both.

What could have caused this? She could have been holding the disease in her system since she was a wild kitten, then it could have been brought on by a whole laundry list of things: basically anything that can cause her immune system to go into overdrive.

So at this point we are still waiting for more tests, but at least we are on the road to figuring out what it is. I am freaked out but also glad we are figuring it out and there is treatment for these diseases, if caught early enough. She is still in very serious condition. At this point she doesn't need anything like a blood transfusion so that is good and Dr. Doug says he's cautiously optimistic.

Above is a photo
my agent sent me, it's of her kitties sending a get well wish to Maggie! Isn't that sweet! How she got that piece of paper to rest on their backs without them waking up is beyond me! They must be hard sleepers!

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update on maggie
I spoke with the animal hospital this morning and they said she is more stable. The Dr is going to call me early this afternoon. They are doing a more comprehensive blood panel to check for toxins as well as other possibilities.

I talked to two different pet communicators.
Lydia and a local woman who is also amazing Kimberly Sannello (407.927.9363). They both said (without knowing about each other) that Maggie says she ate something she shouldn't have. Something alive or recently dead possibly with pest control on it. Our cats are indoor only but the odd roach and lizard does get into our screened in porch so this very possibly could have happened. In a Twilight Zone moment Maggie even described in detail the pest control lady we use. There is no way the animal communicator could have known this information.

We only pest control once a QT, and it's been two months since our last treatment, but you can imagine how GUILTY I feel for even doing that if it could have put her health at risk. So I am researching pet friendly pest control services (which are almost impossible to find) but
I did find this one, and they are coming out to do a consult. You have to do some sort of pest control in FL, otherwise we'd be over-run with roaches which would be another health risk. I am so glad I found this natural pest control, it wasn't easy to find.

So basically I spent all of last night on roach watch, we did have two come in the house and I was worried
Mabel would get to them, she likes to munch on a little insect now and then. So of course I barely slept. I guess at some point I'm going to have to let go, I can't sit and watch for bugs or hazards 24/7 but this has made me really paranoid.

Thank you for your prayers and healing thoughts for Maggie! The animal communicators both said it helps her heal and that she can feel it.
So thank you!

UPDATE - 2:15pm:
Just talked to the vet and I relayed the info from the animal communicators. He didn't think I was crazy for talking to them and is taking it into serious consideration and doing a liver and kidney screen to double check. However he says right now her symptoms don't show a pesticide reaction as she is not having any neurologial effects. So I guess that is good news. We'll have more test reults in this afternoon. Thank you for all your good thoughts!
xxox

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
more maggie news
Well by this afternoon Maggie still wouldn't eat. She turned her back to me when I tried to offer her every enticing food I had bought. Her breathing was short and shallow and she was not getting better.

My gut told me that we needed to do something else other than just "wait and see" and that we needed to do it fast.

So I changed her over to the vet that we use for Toby at another vet practice. I needed to get another opinion. Of course I came to this realization at 4:45pm and they normally close at 5pm, so I called Toby's vet in hysterics and they stayed open and waited for me to rush her over while they had our other vet fax over the records.

Toby's vet examined Maggie, looked at her test results and came to the conclusion that this is much more dire than a "wait and see", that something is happening to her that needs immediate attention. Her temperature is falling below normal, from where is was yesterday and then even this morning. So they admitted her and she is staying there now with an IV and monitors. It was so hard to leave her there but I know she is in capable hands.

In my vow to leave no stone unturned I am having a consult with an animal communicator as well.

I am sorry my blog has turned into a pet medical blog. As soon as Maggie gets better I'll get back to art!

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Monday, June 26, 2006
maggie update
Well she has every test known to man, blood work, X-ray, EKG all came back normal. They gave her some antibiotics and some sub cue fluids because she won't eat or drink and I brought her home around noon.

At around 3:00pm she became almost completely unresponsive so we rushed her back to the vet where she then had an EKG. That's normal too. So it's still a big question mark what is making her feel so awful. She is a little more alert now. We'll have the full blood panel back tomorrow so if there's anything left it'll show up there.


I spent the afternoon crying and laying next to her. I am so worried and distraught. It was exactly a year ago that we lost our
wonderful kitty Melvis, under similar conditions. One day she was fine, the next she wasn't. However I have to remind myself that Melvis was an older kitty (12) and she wound up having cancer, where as Maggie is young (3) and so far they can't find anything. Still I am traumatized by the similar look in Melvis' last days and the way Maggie looks now.

I hope that this time tomorrow Maggie is back to her normal self and running around like crazy and then we can laugh and tell her what a scare she gave us.


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edited Tuesday, June 27th, 11:22am
TEST RESULT UPDATE :
I took Maggie in for more sub cue fluids this morning. She is no better but no worse. They got the full blood panel test results in and she is low in red and white blood cell counts. They re-tested her for FIV and Feline LUK and those were negative -- thank god!!

So they think she might have some sort of other virus and all they can say right now is wait and see and to keep bringing her in for fluids and antibiotic to prevent a secondary infection and that she should be able to fight the virus herself.

She is licking small amounts of food off my finger, so that is encouraging. I'm going out now to buy tuna, baby food and anything else that could tempt her to eat.

Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments! It really helps! It's just me, Paul and my family here, so you guys are all like my friends and it makes me feel good to know you care! Much appreciated!

P.S. Good news! Toby is doing much better and actually wanted to play this morning. Whew!

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oh no! poor Maggie!
Sweet little Maggie is not well. Yesterday we noticed she was sleeping a lot in her little snuggle bed. At first in the morning we didn't think anything of it (cats sleep a lot anyway) but then last night when she was still sleeping we started to worry. We tried coaxing her with freshly cooked chicken, she didn't want any, then I started to really worry! She just goes limp when we pick her up so something is not right.

This morning I rushed her to the vet as soon as they opened. She's a little dehydrated, but no fever. I had to leave her there so they could do blood work and x-rays and they will call me later. I am a nervous wreck about it. I went over the whole house with a fine tooth comb to see if I could find anything she had eaten. She is famous for eating inanimate objects despite our best efforts to rid the house of anything that could tempt her.

I am so worried for my Maggie! Waiting for the vet to call is agony!

PS. Toby seems to be feeling better today, thankfully!

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Sunday, June 25, 2006
quick collage podcast #5
The fifth "quick collage podcast" is here!

The "quick collage podcast" is art challenge in which I make a collage in 20 minutes around a theme that Paul reveals to me moments before we start the clock. The theme for this episode is "machine."

Ready to listen? Click here now!
Or use the player below:

powered by ODEO

After you've listened to the podcast, click here to see the finished artwork.

We thought it would fun to invite other artists to join in to see how many variations on the same theme could be created. Click here to see a Flickr photo set of their submissions.

Thank you to all who participated this time, it was so much fun to see what you made! If you'd like to play along in the next podcast, stay tuned to my blog, we'll post directions here.

Click here to learn how subscribe and you'll get updates when new podcasts come along.
Enjoy!

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Saturday, June 24, 2006
poor toby!
Toby's in such a state! His stitches are starting to itch and he is so worked up about it.

Last night he started pacing around the house. He paced so much that he started panting. He'd sit down for a second and leap back up and then turn around to look at his back where his stitches are.


Paul and I were so worried about him we called the Emergency Vet and explained what was going on and they said we couldn't really do anything because it was just itching. It was horrible! It went on for 3 hours until he finally exhausted himself and fell asleep.

Today he seems a tad calmer. I spoke to
Bernie on the phone while she's driving to WI, and she suggested getting a little Bach's Rescue Remedy that it might calm him down if we put a drop in his water. So Paul ran out this morning to get some, if nothing else we can take it and it'll calm us down! Poor guy! I just hate it that we can't do anything to make him feel better.

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Friday, June 23, 2006
illustration friday: rain
When I saw the theme of rain for IF, I was excited! Little rain clouds and umbrellas are a constant theme in my artwork.


(click image to enlarge)

This is an image that I created a few months ago in an old pop up book that I altered. I've always wanted to do illustrate a children's book, so I decided to create a little book for fun and work directly in an old pop-up book. You can see me here with George, my childhood dog. In the book you can pull various tabs to move the heads and other elements.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006
my hero of the year
Bernie Berlin is a very close friend of mine and I want to help her help the animals.

Animal Planet is having a Hero of the Year contest, the winner will receive $10k which could go a long way to helping Bernie's animal rescue. So I thought if we could get as many people as possible to nominate her, she might have a chance!

So will you help me, help her?

OK!

Here is the link to the contest entry form.

There's a few steps to entering, you'll need:


Her birthday: 9 -17-65
her phone number: 414-732-3211

her email: aplace2bark@aol.com

and her address:
Bernie Berlin

"A Place To Bark"
375 N. Jones Road
Portland, TN 37148

You'll also need a 250 word or under write up about Bernie, I am including mine below so that way if you would like to simply copy and paste it you can. Feel free to write your own though!

-------------------------------

Bernie Berlin is a hero to all the unwanted and uncared for animals in this world. She works tirelessly out of her own pocket to save every creature she can while educating the public about animal care, spaying, and the plight of rescue animals through her blog: http://aplacetobark.blogspot.com/.

Bernie has been running her non-profit grass roots animal rescue, called A Place to Bark for the last 6 years and has found "forever homes" for over 300 dogs and cats and even a couple chickens and one peacock! She has been profiled twice by WITI FOX News in Milwaukee.

About once a month, she makes a 16 hour one way drive from her home in Tennessee with a van full of death-row puppies to Humane Societies in Wisconsin and Chicago, where the puppies will quickly find homes in the more urban areas.

She works closely with Tennessee and Kentucky animal control volunteers to help them learn proper health care to avoid diseases like Parvo, Mange and parasite infestations etc.

If Bernie were to win Hero of the Year, it would be a tremendous help to her rescue and in turn she would be better able to save countless cats and dogs from a needless death.

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thank you for your help!!
xxxox

PS. Our podcast has been delayed with the craziness this week. We'll be airing it this weekend! thanks for your patience!

P.P.S. Here's the photo I promised of Toby wearing his sock!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
this and that
Spent today toggling between laundry, commissions, and care taking of Toby.

Toby is having a really hard time.


He's so annoyed that when his tail curls up, it touches the part where they shaved him for surgery. It tickles and then he turns around and growls at his tail. Not much I can do. I trimmed his tail fur as low as it can go. So this means he doesn't want to walk anywhere because it tickles so he has to be carried from pee-pee spot to pee-pee spot outside so he can do his business.

When our Vet called today to see how he was doing, he recommended buying some
Neosporin Plus, because it has a numbing effect and might help. I hope it comes in a spray because right now I can't see him letting me spread it on his skin. The baby sock is staying on, thanks to all your suggestions!

Tonight we are off to see
Dave Chappelle! Should be fun! I am reluctant to leave Toby, but I think he'll be OK for a couple hours.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
home from the vet
Yay! Toby is back from the vet and from his dental cleaning + lump removal!

The lumps that were removed didn't look serious (re: no cancer) so that is great and his teeth are super white.

Poor little guy is exhausted and uncomfortable from the sutures. Paul just ran out to get little baby socks, because he is already scratching one of the sutures with his hind leg. So we thought a sock on that paw would at least help stop his nails from tearing out the stitches. I know he's not going to like wearing a sock! But hey at least he doesn't have to wear one of those lampshade collars.

I am so glad it's over and I bet Toby is too! Now I can get back to work, it was so difficult to concentrate all day!

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Monday, June 19, 2006
catching up
I had a busy day getting caught up from the busy weekend. I finished a few commissions and they are all ready to send off tomorrow!

Here's one that I finished up! What a cute couple and their doggie!


They live in NYC so I also included their street sign. I love how this one turned out. And again, there's that amazing fabric that Tiffani sent me from her wonderful stash. I have been using it up like crazy.

Tomorrow Toby has to go to the vet to have a dental cleaning and also a small lump removed from his back. I know it'll be so hard to leave him there. I am sure I'll have a little cry when I say goodbye.


I have to drop him off at 9am and then he should be ready to go home in the afternoon. I can't wait for it to be over, I get so nervous when he has to have the anesthetic. But our vet is wonderful so I am sure he'll be fine!
Sunday, June 18, 2006
what a weekend
Thank you for all the well wishes for my Mom, she is home from the hospital and feeling much better! We spent Saturday watching the World Cup, USA play Italy from the hospital TV. Too bad we didn't win, but at least it was tie!
Saturday, June 17, 2006
illustration friday - dance
When I first read the IF theme of "dance" I thought of Napoleon Dynamite and the practicing of his dance moves in his bedroom. Once I thought of that everything else fell into place. I had fun working on this piece!


"Stan practiced every night to be ready for the prom...."

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Friday, June 16, 2006
healing thoughts
Early this afternoon, I ran out to drop my car off for an oil change. Paul and I were on our way home when we got a call from my dad that my mom was in the hospital. Akkk! So we raced down there. She's staying the night for observation, it's nothing serious, but they want to be careful. She hopes to get out tomorrow at noon but we know how hospitals are, they take forever doing the paperwork to let you out. We're sending my mom lots of good thoughts tonight!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
time flies!
Today just flew away, one minute I was starting to work on things and the next the day was over.

I worked on an ad for my
commissions that I will be placing in Best Friends Magazine, it won't be until the Sept. issue, but the due date for the ad is the first of July so no time like the present to get it done!

Even though the ad is a little pricey (for me -- probably not as advertising rates go) I am trying to go with the adage of "you have to spend money to make money" and I feel good about spending my advertising dollar with them because I know the money is going to help the animals at their rescue.

Tomorrow is Friday! I don't know why but the week seems to go faster with Paul working Monday - Friday. He probably doesn't think so, but it seems faster for me!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
on my desk
I was invited to share photos of what's on my studio desk at onmydesk.com. Check it out!

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oh boy! oh boy!
I have been working on artwork for Fiskars new program called the Fisk-a-teers and it is now live! You can see what the amazing design company, Brains on Fire, did with my artwork. Click here to take a look! Very exciting!

In other interesting news,
a friend of my mom and I, said that she saw my prints (artwork circa 1998) on a Law and Order episode!

Here's her exact quote "it was a rerun of L&O: Criminal Intent, and they were pursuing a master thief, I think, and were in a hotel room, and Claudine's prints of the balloon and the swan ship were on the walls. How cool is that!"

Pretty cool indeed! Now I need to see it!!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
another rainy day
As predicted today started off rainy. Tropical Storm Alberto never did make it to hurricane status (thankfully) but he still dumped lots of rain. Toby is so bored. I have taken him out for multiple walks but he doesn't like to walk as far in the rain. We even had a long play session, but he's still sulky. Poor little guy!

I increased the pricing on my Poppet®
commissions, just a little bit. But for my blog readers I have an exciting discount offer!

If you place a commission order between now and the end of June, you can get it at the old pricing! You'll just need to give me the secret code. The secret code is "maggie the mess maker." Just write that in your email when placing your order.

I signed up for a workshop with
Steve Aimone next month in New Smyrna Beach July 14-15th.

I am excited!

Speaking of workshops,
my classes in Phoenix still have spaces available. I'll only be in AZ and OR for the rest of this year, so I hope you can come out to play!
Monday, June 12, 2006
mopey monday
Ugh this rainy weather is making me so sleepy. I had to practically prop my eye lids open to get anything done today.

Alberto is expected to become a hurricane at some point tonight, it's going further North than here so we won't get the brunt of it, but we'll definitely be getting more rain all day tomorrow. Toby thinks the storms are so very boring, he doesn't like the rain interfering with his daily walks.

Here's a scan of a
commission that I just finished up.

I plan to dash out in the rain tomorrow to send it off. It's a wedding present for the happy couple and it needs to get my client in time! I sure hope the wedding couple isn't reading my blog!

Fellow blogger Tiffani, sent me a wonderful stash of fabric and I have been using it up like crazy. I used a piece of it as this cute girl's skirt here.

Thanks Tiffani!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
rainy sunday
Tropical Storm Alberto is on his way so we are getting lots of rain. Our yard needs it so bad, so we are very happy!

This weather is making it hard for me to get work done all I want to do is nap or read a good book. Speaking of good books, my friend Missy is reading the new Julia Cameron book.

Anyone else reading it? It looks good.

I did manage to do my 2nd quarter taxes which then gave me a migraine. I also packed up some
commissions to be shipped out tomorrow and did banking paperwork. So I guess that's enough for a Sunday.

On Saturday, Paul and I met up with his twin and the rest of the Lester family to celebrate their birthdays at the Cheesecake Factory. We had peanut butter cheesecake for dessert. yum!


Speaking of yummy... Paul just made bananna pancakes for dinner!
come play along!
Paul and I just taped a new Quick Collage Podcast and just like before, we'd like you to play along too!

The Theme for this Podcast is: "machine"

Here's how to play:
Make an artwork around the theme of "machine." Create a JPG of your finished piece and a write a little sentence or two about your thoughts while working on the piece, send it all to us at quickcollage@aol.com by Monday June 19th and we'll post them up when we air the podcast on Tuesday the 20th!

Remember to keep the focus on working fast and having fun!

The Quick Collage Podcasts are all about the process, not the final product! See if you can do it in 20 minutes - if it takes you longer we'll never know!
Friday, June 09, 2006
illustration friday - jungle
At first I wasn't very inspired by this week's IF theme of jungle, but then as I was working the idea grew. I did this piece quickly as a warm up and ended up having a lot of fun with it.

If this piece had a quote to go with it, it would be "Maude and Milly couldn't believe their luck"

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Thursday, June 08, 2006
this and that
Random thoughts:

1) I was busy today working on commissions. Here's one that I just shipped out. This client is a midwife and she wanted something that depicted her with babies, but not in a hospital setting, so here she is in the baby garden!

2) I got a
portfolio of my artwork started on the iSpot. The iSpot is a site where companies looking for illustrators can find them searching by various terms etc. There are so many illustrators listed there, it's a wonder that anyone will find my work, but I'll try it out to see. The first 90 days are free and you can check stats to see if it's working for you. I'm curious to see how it goes!

3) This time last year Paul and I were in Rome about to head to Cortona for my first workshop in Italy. We were reminiscing about it last night. I can't wait to go back in April to
teach another class. It was such a magical trip. sigh.

4) I have now gone two days without drinking diet coke. We'll see if I can wean myself off it completely. It's tough! Just thinking about it now is making my mouth water.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
happy birthday paul!
Happy birthday to my wonderful and amazing husband Paul! I am so lucky to have you in my life. I love you!!!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
it's tuesday
Today was full of errands. I went and got my hair trimmed and then met my friend Donna up for lunch afterwards. It was nice to catch up with her, I know her from my web design days when we both worked for Cox Interactive together, she now has her own business designing web sites.

Then I ran by Lynn's studio to drop off a package for her and then I was supposed to go to the bank but I was tired by then so I headed home.

I did actually get some work done this afternoon after getting home!


My new rep is going to the Licensing International Show which is in just a couple weeks. We are rushing to get materials together so I can be in her booth, well not me, but my artwork. I am super excited!

Then tonight I worked on new PoppetTM Scrapbooking stuff to add to the collection while I watched, the new
Kathy Griffin Show on Bravo. I really liked it, I think it'll be my new Tuesday night show.
Monday, June 05, 2006
i'm a busy girl
I was up early working on stuff by 9am today! Which is unusual because normally I don't get going until around 11am.

I kept working until just now when I stopped to post this. I have been super busy! I have about 10 things going at once. But I wanted to get as much done as I could today because tomorrow I have to run some errands for most of the day and usually when I go out to run errands it is so hard for me to get any significant work done afterwards.

So this way I won't feel guilty tomorrow if I flake out, or at least I'll try not to feel guilty, we'll see how that goes.


Thank you all for your wonderful comments of support and congratulations! I appreciate it!!
Sunday, June 04, 2006
big news!
I have BIG EXCITING news! I have officially signed on with Jennifer Vaughn, for licensing and illustration representation. I am thrilled beyond words to be a part of her team!
Friday, June 02, 2006
illustration friday - portrait
This is a piece that I created for an article in Mary Engelbreit Home Companion Magazine, last year. It's a portrait of myself and my mom. Enjoy!


(The pocket on my dress has a mini journal in it about our trips to England)

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Thursday, June 01, 2006
hurricane season here we come!
I had a busy day today, working on commissions and illustration projects. It was rainy, which made me sleepy. But we really needed it, our poor little plants are just crying out for water.

Speaking of rain, today is the first day of hurricane season. All the local news stations are making sure we don't forget about it. You can feel the excitement of the weathermen, they are thrilled when hurricane season comes around.

Paul and I bought some basic supplies because they had a tax holiday so you got the items tax free if you bought them in a certain time period. We tried to find battery powered fans (small ones) but couldn't. I think I'll have to look online for those.

I am holding out against the generator. I think they are dangerous, it freaks me out having a giant gas powered motor so near the house. Plus you can only power one thing at a time with them, it's not like we'd be running the fridge and the a/c all on one generator, so I don't really see how useful they are anyway. Here's hoping we don't have any hurricanes at all!!

Toby is feeling better, thanks for all the well wishes!

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