My Choice

I like to think I’d have made a great Boy Scout, because I have based so much of my life on their motto, “Be prepared.”  I have an emergency kit in my house at all times because I live in an area that is overdue for an earthquake.  And having been through a few blizzards and enduring a five-day power outage in the middle of a very hot and humid July, I know first-hand that advance preparation can make a huge difference in the quality of life following a natural disaster.  As I said, I’m a firm believer in being prepared.

So it should come as no surprise that I have enough supplies in my house to get us through a two-week quarantine if that should become necessary.  I’m also washing my hands regularly, avoiding large crowds, and in general following CDC recommendations.  I’ll miss the annual March Madness tournament this year because that’s one of the few sporting events I actually look forward to, but I understand why it was necessary to cancel it and most other large gatherings.  Following safe-practice protocols in the face of a global pandemic requires a certain amount of sacrifice from each of us, and I’m okay with that.

What I’m not okay with is how quickly we are judging those whose emotional reaction to the Corona virus is different from ours.  Even in the best of times, people are going to react to bad news differently, and this is uncharted territory for us all.  Some people are in full-on panic mode, while others are calm and confident that this will pass soon.  Some people are making jokes about the situation, some are tired of talking about it at all, and some can’t seem to talk about anything else.  And all of that is okay.

Each of us responds to crises in our own way, and we have the right to do that.  The problem is that we sometimes assume we also have the right to tell other people exactly how they should be feeling, but we don’t.  We just get to control our own thoughts and feelings, and we are absolutely not in charge of anyone else’s emotions.

Personally, I don’t do panic mode well.  I’m concerned about the Corona virus, but I’m choosing not to be in a panic because when I panic, I can’t do the things that I need to do to stay healthy and sane.  I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I can’t take care of those who are depending on me.  So my choice is to check the CDC site regularly to make sure I’m following the government guidelines, to be prepared for a possible home quarantine, and then….to just live my life as normally as I can.  And yes, I sometimes joke about the situation because humor is, and always has been, one of my coping mechanisms.

I believe that we will get through this pandemic, and that we will also get through the economic downturn that will most surely follow.  I believe that the best way to get through this is to realize we’re all in it together, and that taking pot-shots at one another is a sure-fire way to make the situation even worse.  In other words, I choose to be as realistic as I must be and as positive as I can be in the upcoming weeks.   Because personally, that’s the only choice I can live with.

79 thoughts on “My Choice

  1. This is a great reminder, Ann. I have to admit I feel some of the precautions are over-blown and the incessant talk about this is starting to raise my anxiety levels a bit. I worry particularly about elderly people who may feel particularly isolated during this pandemic and may stay home from social events that would otherwise contribute to a healthy life. Getting out for a yoga class or an exercise class, while taking precautions and only if you are healthy, is probably okay to do, and could have positive health benefits.

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    • I agree! I do think we’re being encouraged to panic by the media, and that’s not good at all. It’s increasing anxiety and that hurts people who are vulnerable. Of course some people can’t help but panic, and that’s okay. I think the most important thing is that we respect each other’s difference and choices as much as possible. I don’t think we all need to stay at home all the time unless we’re in a quarantine situation. Just take proper precautions and use common sense. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. well said Ann, I can’t panic … what will be will be!

    Just fervently praying that as it’s impacting personally on so many pollies that they might get a dose of reality. Their attitudes need a huge turn around and maybe this could be the catalyst needed …

    I’m on a road trip and wondering if I should stay where I’d prefer to be if quarantined … but as I’ve done many closed retreats the process is quite the norm for me 🙂

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    • Thanks, Kate! Some of us really don’t benefit from panicking. And you know, you are one to something about staying where you’d like to be quarantines. We only have one case in our area at the moment, but even so, I thought, “If I was going to be quarantined, I’d much rather be in a cabin in the woods somewhere….”

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  3. I won’t fret over this, but I am aware of it. I am diligent in how I do things, but I realize that I cannot control other people who may infect me. I agree I am concerned about how this will this affect our financial futures, but am at the same helpless. Ain’t it a great time to be alive? 🤨

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    • Yes, honestly the long-lasting effects of this are what is truly scary. I feel so sorry for the retirees who count on their investments to live on, because they just took a nose-dive. But all we can do is move forward, and help each other as much as we can.

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  4. Great reminders, Ann. You are wise to understand your limited capabilities while in panic mode, and for preparing in advance for the probable scenarios. Monitoring the CDC website, and following its recommendations is a very smart idea. With all the incomplete and conflicting information, it’s not surprising that we are so quick to criticize the judgement and actions of others. Stay healthy, my friend!

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    • Thanks, Joe! And you’re right, the conflicting information and advice we’re getting is making the situation so much more stressful. That probably does account for how quick we are to judge others. We all need to just take a deep breath and let our common sense kick in.

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  5. Bravo, Ann! You have a way of talking about difficult matters with just the right tone of voice and just the right balance. You include us all without scolding any of us, and you speak good, common sense. Thank you for saying all of this so well.

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad this post didn’t come across as scolding, as I would never want to scold anyone. I think we’re all in the same boat in this adventure, and we have no choice but to help each other through it. I know I find posts where people are honest about their own doubts helpful, so that is what I try to do with my blog.

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  6. Well said, Ann. Right now people are in panic mode because they feel they’ve lost control of their lives. I think that’s natural and should be understood by everyone instead of pointing fingers. When we lose control over our lives we do unnatural things, at times, like buying 25 rolls of toilet paper or sticking the shelves with two months of food. I think doing these types of things makes us feel as if we have some control, that we can do something to make this all better. I hope that once the panic subsides and people settle down they will do what we’ve always done in this country during difficult times….stick together and come the other side better than when we began. Stay well.

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    • Thanks, George! You are so right, the panic makes us do things that aren’t even in our character. I also hope that when things settle down a bit, we will learn that placing blame isn’t nearly as important as working together to find solutions. Because I do think that there’s nothing we can’t overcome if we work together. I hope you and your family stay well, too!

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  7. My husband and I are kind-of inbetweeners. We aren’t panicked, but we are prepared. We haven’t quarantined ourselves, but we are limiting exposure. I think we will learn more in the coming weeks and can make better decisions as time goes on. I like that you encouraged understanding of different reactions. I’m not a worrier, but I don’t disparage those who are.

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    • That’s exactly what I’m thinking too, Janis! Some of us are more prone to worry than others, and none of us really know how this will play out. So far, the information that we’ve been getting is confusing to say the least. So I think we all just need to remember that we’re going to react to this situation differently, and learn to be tolerant of that. As long as our response doesn’t hurt someone else (like hoarding, price-gouging, or going out in public when we’re sick, which is not okay at all) then we get to choose our own!

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  8. Good advice. So, since Sam Page has said that people at high risk shouldn’t gather in groups larger than 10, let’s have a home happy hour at my house.

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  9. I am in total agreement, Ann. My way is to analyse and prepare. It was my job for 30 years. I also came from a family that went a bit hungry for three or four days until next pay day. So many people only have enough money for a few days supplies, Stocking up is not something they can do. It’s selfish to steal things, but maybe they are desperate. Everyone is different, and while selfishness will no doubt be a factor in the response to the crisis (eg. some governments have dealt with this crisis better than others), as individuals we have a whole personal history that shapes us. Thank you for your post. It is the place I come to for common sense, kindness and a reality check.
    Take care, Ann, and good luck.

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    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Tracy! I completely agree that how we react depends so very much on our histories and our personalities, and that those who don’t have the ability to stock supplies or stay home from work are the ones who are going to suffer the most from this. A friend told me she’s planning to make a big donation to the local food bank, because she thinks the demand is going to go up, and I think she’s right. Personally, I think we will get through this best if we just keep ourselves informed from a reliable source, use common sense, and remember to help others as much as we possibly can. I hope you and yours stay healthy!!!

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  10. I agree with you Ann. To see the paranoia and fear is unsettling but we really can’t control the reactions of others, can we. Here in Australia it’s just a matter of time before we’re in lockdown too. I worry for my son who has to commute on crowded trains every day going to Uni and wonder how long it’ll be before they’re all closed down. I think our leaders are being too slow to make important decisions and there’s been lots of contradictory info these past few weeks. The media has a lot to answer for. So whilst I’m worried I’m not in a panic. All we can do is be prepared as much as we can, use common sense, stay informed and then, well, what will be will be. Stay well.

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    • My guess is that very soon your son’s school will move to on-line classes for a few weeks, as that’s what we’re seeing here in the States. I agree that the media has so much to answer for in helping to create the panic and the resulting hoarding and odd behavior that is unsettling everyone. Facts have been thin on the ground, but speculation has been abundant, and that has caused people either to panic or to simply dismiss the whole thing as an overblown attempt to raise ratings…and neither response is helpful at all. Like you, I worry, but I refuse to panic. This particular situation is new for us, but people have faced far worse in this world and managed to soldier on. And I honestly believe we will too! I hope you and your family stay well, Miriam!!!

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    • I know, Alan! I was saying just the other night that the Corona Virus doesn’t scare me nearly as much as seeing some of the reaction to it, as I think we need to do much better in facing a public crisis than we have. But that being said, I also believe that it’s not my place to tell others how they should feel about this either. All we can do is try to set a good example! God’s grip on you and your family too!

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    • I completely agree! There are some people who just live for trouble, and seem to enjoy creating it for others. It is sad, and I don’t begin to understand the motivation. Thanks for your kind words…and the same to you!

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    • Yes, my husband and I decided to support our favorite restaurant last night and it was only a third full as well. We felt safe going there because we know they clean thoroughly between customers and the tables are spaced well apart. But our waiter told us they usually have around 200 people on a Friday night, and they only had 70. The only good news was that they were doing a brisk carry-out business. That doesn’t help the waiters, though.

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  11. Thanks for pointing out that it does absolutely no good to sit and criticize. Our family’s approach has been evolving as the situation unfolds. I appreciate your level-headed approach, Ann. Wishing the best for you and yours!

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    • Same here, Des! The early reports of this were so vague about anything other than “Panic! Worry! Stay tuned for more!” that I admit I was very dismissive. Now I see the reason to respond, so we’ve made the necessary adjustments, and will continue to do so as this unfolds. (But I get my info from the CDC website, not the evening news.) And I know that we’ll get through it, a whole lot faster if we work together and stop the bickering and finger-pointing. This is an excellent example of what affects one of us, affects all of us (effects?), so common sense says it’s time for a little unity!

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  12. I think you’re handling this well, Ann, and I so agree with you – we are ultimately responsible for ourselves and while we can try to help others, we cannot and should not force them to do anything they don’t want to.
    By the same token, I don’t want anyone to force me to handle this crisis in their way. For instance, I don’t want people telling me all I need to do to be safe is to say a specific prayer and leave the rest in God’s hands – because that is a demonstration of faith. And then sneering at the seeming smallness of my faith because I refuse to rely on prayer alone. This isn’t helpful at all. It’s downright irresponsible, if you ask me!

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    • I agree, Caitlynn! I’ve seen so many memes on social media that is scolding others for not reacting the “right” way to this pandemic, which is so arrogant. It is not my place to tell others what to feel, and it’s not their place to tell me what to feel. Personally, I pray for strength and wisdom in dealing with this, and then follow the CDC guidelines on how to keep myself and others safe. And I don’t see that as a lack of faith at all. It’s annoying that someone else would accuse you of lack of faith just because you aren’t trusting in prayer alone, and hurtful too!

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  13. I agree with you 100% with your calm approach to the pandemic. To panic in this challenging crisis is doing ourselves and our fellow human beings a disservice. My wife and I, both quite advanced in age, were looking forward to going to a world-class spa, which I had described in one of my posts last year. But realizing the danger of being together with a large crowd coming from many places we decided calmly to cancel our reservation. I also, like you, understand that people react differently to the current crisis. But I disapprove of people buying up precious commodities which they plan to resell online for a big profit. Have a great weekend, Ann!

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    • I think you’re being very sensible, Peter! Making the necessary adjustments without panicking is what I’m trying to do as well. (Although I’m so sorry you had to cancel your trip to the spa, and hope you can go once this is over.) And I also disapprove of the hoarding, and, even worse, buying in mass to resell at a profit…that is so wrong. Hurting others and acting on greedy impulses is never okay!

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  14. You’re absolutely right that none of us has a right to criticize anyone’s emotional reaction to what’s happening. Emotions are shaped by so many things: natural predisposition, prior experience, and so on. What counts is how we deal with those emotions, and how we allow them to shape our behavior.

    I do think that some people are hoarding because of simple fear, and I also think that the media, for reasons of their own, are increasing the fear level for many. The local station that uses dramatic music (akin to the theme from Jaws!) to introduce their news reports is only one example. They’re playing on people’s emotions, and then saying, “Keep tuned right here!” A daily diet of the news is one thing. A twice-an-hour update is something else, but the more clicks they get, the more money they make. Along with social isolation, a little isolation from purveyors of gloom and doom will help. An hour in the yard or a nice long walk can go a long way toward lowering the blood pressure.

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    • Well said!! How we react to a crisis is a personal thing, shaped by all the things that shape our individual personalities. And I also agree that a lot of the hoarding comes from a fear that there won’t be adequate supplies in the coming weeks (my daughter said the grocery stores were all out of bread and eggs last night, just like they are before a blizzard hits), and that fear comes from irresponsible reporting. We do need to remember that news media outlets are driven by ratings, and that creating fear drives ratings up. So yes, pay attention just long enough to get the facts, ignore all the opinions, and then get on with our lives. And spend as much time as possible doing the things that keep us calm and bring us joy!

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  15. Ann, I enjoyed reading this post very much. Everyone reacts to the pandemic differently. I could relate so well what you share here. People react to the coronavirus and also to other’s reaction. I remember someone criticized others of wearing masks not because having any sickness nor the symptoms. She shared it in a WhatsApp Group. It made some people uncomfortable. I think it is OK if some react in fear or worry. Let them do it. Each one has different level of emotion.

    You are such a wise lady, Ann.

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    • Thank you! I’m so sorry that people are not only criticizing others for their choices, but sharing it on social media as well. It is okay to be very worried about this, and it’s also okay not to be. All we have to do is our best not to spread the virus (and the guidelines are readily available), but we can follow those without being overly worried. As you say, we all react to this pandemic differently…it’s all about tolerance and common sense! I think you are the wise one!

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  16. It is enlightening reading blogs and comments from around the world because every country is in the same situation, perhaps some handling Coronavirus (COVID-19) better or worse than others, but we are indeed all part of the global village.

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    • One of the things I like best about blogging is the way we can communicate with people from all around the world. It is interesting to get the perspectives from those who live in other countries, but it is especially interesting now that so many of us are facing the same thing. It does drive home the point of our world being a global village..I can only hope some good comes out of that!

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    • It is very strange, and I confess I don’t quite understand why the world is reacting to this virus in such a bigger way than they have the viruses that came before it, but I can only trust they have a good reason. And so I follow the guidelines and stay away from the fear as much as possible. For me, it’s the only way to cope!

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  17. Bless you, Ann. Call for the world to be a nicer place, and keep on being pleasant to people to show them it’s possible. Just because it’s simple doesn’t always mean it’s easy. And I want you to know that I admire you for doing it. Stay safe, my friend. : )

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    • Thank you so much, Cathleen! It isn’t always easy to be pleasant in the face of all this stress, but all we can do is try. And forgive ourselves when we backslide, as I find myself doing occasionally. The important thing is that we try to get through this with as much patience, consideration and compassion as possible. I hope you stay safe as well!

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  18. I agree, Ann. Our lives have been upended but I’m not in a panic. But I am worried that when I go to the grocery store tomorrow, I won’t be able to get what I need. I figure, though, that if there are temporary shortages, we will just have to improvise, as we will with a great many things right now. Great post.

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    • Yes, I know the government and the grocery store chains are doing everything they can to keep us in the supplies we need (I heard this morning that one of the big fragrance manufacturers is suspending production of perfume and going to make hand sanitizer instead…how cool is that?), but we may not be able to get everything we want when we want it. But as you say, we can deal with temporary shortages. I find myself getting stressed if I listen to too much news, so I’m going to limit my exposure that way. Together, we will get through this!

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      • Oh yes, there is entirely too much news on the subject, so much so that it’s hard to filter things out. I went out shopping today and I had to substitute a lot of things, but, except for no toilet paper and paper towels, I was able to get most of what I need. We have to be flexible!

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  19. Ann, I really like your attitude toward the current situation. Like you, I’m a big believer in being prepared. We lived in Africa for a while and learned preparedness from experiencing government coups, closed borders, and disease outbreaks. Now, back in the US, it all seems vaguely familiar … but very different for America. Thanks so much for your keen insight and calm advice. All the best, Terri

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    • Thank you Terri! I imagine if you have lived through government coups, closed borders and major disease outbreaks, the restrictions from the corona virus must seem like no big deal! But as you say, the average American has very little experience with this sort of thing, and the information we get isn’t always clear and is often contradictory, so that’s where the panic and hoarding come in. I do hope cooler heads will prevail, sooner rather than later. Until then, we can just do our part to stay calm and be patient with those who deal with this stress differently than we do. Thanks again for your comment!

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  20. Great post! I agree with you that whatever the circumstance a positive attitude goes a long way. Being prepared is the first step, but when we have done all we can do, we have to let go of our control. I believe that God expects us to prepare if we can; then, we must trust that it is literally out of our hands. Many things in life are beyond our personal control. As you have said, all people react differently in a crisis. It is not our job to judge them. It is our job to be as kind and compassionate as we can. With compassion, we see people simply trying to cope as best they can. Supporting one another should be the focus in all of this.

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    • I couldn’t agree more that the key is to support each other through this and to recognize that once we done all we can, then it’s time to “let go and let God.” Just because we can’t control a situation doesn’t mean we can’t cope with it! Thank you for your sweet and wise comment, Linda!

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  21. Your post perfectly mirrors my thoughts and my attitude, Ann. I’m also no use when panicking so I refuse to do so. That doesn’t mean that I do have some sleepless nights now what with my brain refusing to shut down for the night and let me rest. I guess it’s trying to figure out how to solve this mess!😂

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    • I know! I was so tired of seeing posts of social media basically saying that if we’re not panicking, we’re not taking this seriously. And that got me to thinking about how we think we have the right to tell others what to feel, and we don’t. Like you, I don’t want to panic…that’s not how I live my life! Of course I have my moments of doubt and fear, and of course I’m a bit stressed. But I’m also remembering that humans are resilient, that we’re facing a virus, not a nuclear war, and that we’ll get through this. It’s the fear of the unknown that is hard, but as someone said, the future is always unknown. We just fool ourselves into thinking we can know what’s going to happen most of the time. And then something like this comes along and that veil is ripped away…..

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      • Exactly! Nothing much has changed in that respect, the future is just as unknown as it always was. I do get that people are afraid, but what I don’t get is how they think screaming their heads off and running in circles is going to help any of them. One of my mottos is: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. The rest will simply happen.
        Take care, Ann!

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  22. I’m choosing to find as much humor in this situation as I can. Toilet paper jokes make me smile. I am so thankful to be retired at this time and feel for all the working parents who are trying to make the best of the situation for their family. I also work about an economic downturn and how all of those who are not able to earn a living right now. It is a mess and I hope for the best for everyone out there.

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    • Honestly, I’m more worried about the economic turn down than I am the virus itself, because that will last much longer and effect many, many more people. But like you, I cope with humor. We’ve lived through hard times before, and we’ll do it again. For now, I think it’s important to just try to help each other as much as we can, and to keep a healthy perspective to retain our own emotional health. Thanks for the comment, Barbara! I think the more we “talk each other through this,” the better off we’ll all be!

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  23. I’m afraid that thus who think solipsistically (they are the only ones who matter), those are the ones who suffer the most through a crisis. They can’t see beyond their own (overrated) needs. I think we could (and some have) learn so much from “the Greatest Generation.” I think perhaps we humans will realize what really matters: family/love/kindness/ being there for others.

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    • I know! The last thing we need at times like these are judgements. Now is the time to support each other, not play the “my response is better than your response” game. That doesn’t help, and it actually hurts. Thanks for the comment, Kathy!

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