Making a break for it

Tomorrow morning, the mister and I are getting on a plane and flying westward across Canada into the Rocky Mountains for the wedding of one of Joe’s best friends. I’m pretty unreasonably excited for a couple of reasons.

1. Joe and I haven’t been properly away together – alone, in years and years. Even a few years ago when we were married, we went to a hotel for one evening and reported for brunch the next day.

2. I love British Columbia. It’s a beautiful province, but we are going to the Slocan Valley, which is particularly stunning.

3. The company will be wicked good.

4. I AM GOING TO KNIT ON SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE BLANKET. It’s going in my suitcase, because I really can’t quit on it entirely, but it’s at a size where it’s an unreasonable thing to take on a plane and expect it not to a) take up my entire carry-on and then some, or b) annoy people with its unreasonable measure of wool.

I haven’t decided yet what my plane knitting will be, but I am giddy beyond all reason at being forced to abandon the “all blanket all the time” rule, especially since I didn’t cop out. (Yes. I believe that. I believe that I have no choice but to knit something else. Don’t burst the bubble. I’m being forced. I wouldn’t knit anything else if it wasn’t for the plane. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Maybe I’ll knit a pair of socks. BC is far. Suggestions welcome. (Can you even believe that with all the Sock Summit stuff I still like socks? Stunning.)

For now I’m off to wade through the stash to find a candidate yarn, tidy the house enough to be able to tell if we get broken into while we’re gone, and pack a reasonable set of clothes for a wedding. (I think that the threadbare pair of yoga pants I’ve been wearing for a week aren’t going to cut it. Maybe I’ll hunt up my bra.) Before I go though, I want to say an enormous thank you not just on behalf of Megan and Pato, who are thrilled and grateful that they met their goals (and are continuing to kick arse in that department) but to thank you as a mother. It is the goal of every mum to raise good people. People who like other people, contribute to society, care for those around them and have empathy and understanding for those who need help, and that isn’t a job that parents can do by themselves. I really think that human beings are simple creatures. Largely, although there are a few sainted examples, we do things because it feels good to do them.

If you could have seen Meg and Pato yesterday, when they got back in from fundraising and saw that their efforts combined with yours had earned them both spots as top fundraisers who will be wearing the gold jersey on the ride, then you would have seen what I saw… and you would have been just as moved. Yesterday afternoon, you guys created something that it’s valuable for a society to have. You created people who like to fundraise and help others. They were good kids already, and good kids do good things, mostly… but yesterday you helped me teach these two something that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

You taught them that it feels good to do good, and they were encouraged and supported in a way that will make them do-gooders for the rest of their lives. No question – and as Megans mother, and someone who cares for Patricio, I really want to thank you for it. Changing the world – a couple of teenagers at a time.

107 thoughts on “Making a break for it

  1. Can I come too????????
    Isn’t it just WONDERFUL when you get to cop out and be absolutely FORCED to do something else? Sure you even have room to pack the blanket? It will still be there upon your return.
    Have a wonderful time, and this Bud’s for you!

  2. I looked at their totals yesterday and was thrilled. Your post today left tears in my eyes. Creating good people is hard and the cliche is correct – it takes a village. And the village might not be local.
    Congratulations on good kids and to all who gave.

  3. How excited you must be! Not only do you get a little vacation but you get to be alone with your husband, go somewhere beautiful, knit something that’s not the blanket. Congrats to the kids for being “good”.

  4. Okay, I need to know; is Pato pronounced “Pay-toe” or “Paa-toe”? I’m assuming that Patricio is “Pa-tree-see-o”…
    Petra (Pee-tra)

  5. It was my pleasure to help Megan and Pato reach their goal. Truly an honor.
    And for the plane…socks…the portable project.

  6. Inspirational! Good job, Megan and Pato! Good job, Steph!
    One (okay, more than one) word of advice: LEAVE THE BLANKET AT HOME. It wants a break from you, too. You’ll both like each other a lot more when you get back together. It will just take up pleasant space in your escape vacation. Have a wonderful trip.

  7. I teach high school and am blessed by being surrounded by potential excellent grownups all the time. A very few bad apples ruin the reputation of the rest of the age group–and when we give them good guidance, treat them like humans (notice I didn’t say “like adults,” because of course they aren’t yet) freedom to make and learn from mistakes, and unconditional love and support for the wondrous beings they are…they surprise and move us all the time!
    (At least I really really really hope that is true for my own children, ages 2 and 6)
    Go Meg and Pato!

  8. yeah, ditch the blanket. Anyone over the age of 5 gets told to leave the blankie at home, so I think you should also, guilt free!
    Do a pic of what you decide to bring – I’m dying to see happy colors!

  9. Fundraising is hard work, and I’m abyssmal at it. I’m glad to see that their hard work paid off so well!
    Can you pick something for the plane that is full of shocking color? A break from all neutrals all the time.

  10. You stick to your story. If it helps, I agree with you. Like you needed my permission.
    Have a great time in BC and post some pics when you get home. We’re waiting to be stunned, too.

  11. You are totally forced into knitting something else on the plane. Absolutely. A lacy sock, methinks.
    Congrats to Megan and Pato!

  12. Plane knitting I get. But you’re going away with Joe for your first real getaway *ever* and you’re packing the blanket to work on when you’re not on the plane and not at the wedding?
    Joe might have other ideas about what to do with your downtime.

  13. Yay, Slocan Valley! That’s the region I grew up in. Forests and lakes so gorgeous it’ll make you weep. My father even officiates weddings there.
    PS You don’t need bras in the Slocan Valley, and yoga pants are expected.

  14. Oh, Slocan Valley is heaven on earth. You are effing lucky. (said the girl who’s a 5 hour drive away)

  15. Here, here for your mothering!! Recently I read something about parents whose goals for their children are that they be happy and have high self-esteem. “Many criminals have high self-esteem” it said. “Yeah, and many a**holes are happy!” I thought. You’ve given those kids a real and true foundation for happiness, and I hope to do the same for my kids.

  16. So glad your teens are happy. Teenagers in general get a bad rap. We should all bookmark these posts as exhibit A.

  17. Glad you’re getting a break! Even from the blanket for a few hours. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe it should stay home and take a break too? My Four Seasons is done, stitched together and I’m proud of me for sticking with it!
    Megan and Pato are wonderful young people, and I wish I could see them in their gold jerseys. Will there be a photo!?
    Yes, yoga pants and no bra might be a style to avoid at this wedding. Depends how well you know these people! Me, that’s the way I’d like to dress every day.
    from one sitting here in below the knee jeans, an animal shelter fundraiser t-shirt and my Doc sandals….. Comfy!

  18. And Megan and Pato both came in ahead of Ken. Way to go! (Not that it’s a race, I suppose. ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    As far as plane knitting…the cure for the garter stitch blahs would seem to be lace. Perhaps a lovely scarf?

  19. I’m very proud of those two – please take a picture of them in the gold jerseys. I would love to see them decked out.
    I like the suggestion to leave the blanket at home. Go wild!

  20. You can’t fool us. You’re only going to this wedding so you’ll have an excuse to knit something besides The Blanket. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Definitely lace. Waving lace socks from interweave’ 25 Favorite Socks is my suggestion. Have fun!

  22. Congratulations to the kids. My husband and I are quite involved with a Boy Scout Troop, even though our sons have aged out four and six years ago…for exactly the same reason as you were moved. It is wonderful to show teenagers first-hand that they can do good and that they are valued. And that you can do good while enjoying it…we certainly do. Have a lovely time on your trip.

  23. Good luck on finding something not-The-Blanket to knit! I’ve narrowed down my plane-knitting choices to a pair of socks, and either the Monday Morning Cardigan, or the Anniversary Mystery Shawl Knit-Along (both of which I had to frog last night, for different reasons.)

  24. How does one train for a six-day bike ride anyway? I’m in decent shape but I can still barely manage six minutes across campus!

  25. Yeah! for Megan and Pato. It was so fun to donate, and to watch their numbers climb yesterday.
    Make some Cotty socks. They are so cute and Carrie is such a nice person. (Can you make them in Socks That Rock ST-1? I’d love to see that color knit up.)
    Have a great time.

  26. Congratulations to both Megan and Patricio — and to their mothers who raised great kids.
    Enjoy the trip with Joe! You’ve earned it. And my best to the soon-to-be-marrieds, may they have long and fulfilling lives together.

  27. Slocan Valley – my neck of the woods. No bra required and but you might want new (as opposed to threadbare) yoga pants to wear to the wedding. It’s decided to warm up here so I’m sure you’ll have fun. And you don’t need the blanket. PS you said you are on a deadline for the blanket – what’s the countdown look like? It’s not the wedding gift, is it!?

  28. Leave the blanket at home and take some lace knitting. Socks with a lacy pattern would work. Something to break up the monotony of garter stitch and in a bright color.

    I say knit that. I just started it and it is really easy so far. Beautiful results to.
    Meg and Pato are doing a wonderful thing. Congrats on them for raising money AND reaching their goal.
    I am all weepy today regarding kids and babies and stuff. I just signed my almost 4 year old up for school today. She will be in pre k and I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. I need to get on another baby.

  30. Knit one of the fiendish patterns from Cookie A’s book in ST2. (I have some Backstabber, which is quite similar to ST2, and still I lust for ST2.)
    Or knit something outrageously lacy in an outrageous laceweight.

  31. ok, is anyone else a little misty? As someone who aspires to raise good a good person (and to be a good person) your post almost did me in this afternoon. You should be very proud of the kiddos and yourself!

  32. Lace socks, and in bright colour(s), as someone else suggested. Something from Cookie A’s book would be good.

  33. I’m a knitter in Nelson. Come see us. Look for me, Nicole Purvis and I’ll show you where to browse wool. No knitting store but you must check out Maplerose.

  34. Well, of course you have to have something small to knit on the plane. Transportation knitting is by definition small.
    You know, I have absolutely nothing I could wear to a wedding. I guess it’s a good thing no one ever invites me to weddings. Or maybe that’s the reason no one ever invites me to weddings. Not sure. But I haven’t been to a wedding in years.

  35. I’d be surprised if you didn’t knit socks. Take lots of photos of the trip. Kudos to Megan & Pato! you two ROCK!

  36. I hope you enjoy your trip to our neck of the woods! The weather is hot, dry, sunny and lovely at the moment. Perfect for you Ontarioites. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Congrats to Megan and Pato!

  37. Thank you.
    Thank you for being a good, kind, decent, caring person. Thank you for making raising good, kind, decent, caring kids a priority in your life.
    Thank you to everyone who is going on the ride. Too many lives have been lost already. Thank you for doing something to work towards stopping that.
    Thank you to everyone who donated. This recession is kicking our butts right now, but thank you for doing what I can’t right now.
    Thank you for reminding me what is important in life when I was in despair this morning about our money situation.
    And thanks for a laugh, too, because right now I needed it.

  38. I’ll betcha Meg probably wouldn’t have been planning such an awesome goal if her Mum hadn’t already taught her a great deal about feeling good by doing good!

  39. Congrats to Meg and Pato-and I’m glad to hear that Meg’s hand is healing well. I wish I could have donated, but I already donated to another ride/cause and couldn’t do more than that. It’s great that they did so well, and I’ll be cheering them on.
    Leave the blanket home! Then you can take a smaller bag. Knit something colorful and fun and then pick up the blanket when you return. I love BC–such a lovely place. Have a GREAT time!!

  40. As the extremely proud mother of two delightful (most of the time) daughters who are now in grad school and undergraduate school I commend you on your children and their accomplishments. I remember when I was pregnant with my first and my father wrote me a very poignant letter (my mother had died several years ago) about how with children you must be careful to not blame yourself for all of their failures nor (more importantly) take credit for their successes. You must, instead, celebrate (and ponder) the part you play in both. I also think strongly that the time we put into parenting when children are young and growing is repaid many fold as they grow. You and Joe obviously put in the time and now have every right to be proud. Enjoy the wedding! Can’t wait to see you at SS.

  41. Tears in the eyes this time. Your kids will be awesome adults. How could they be otherwise? I’m glad they kicked ass in the fundraising! I hope the ride is fun.

  42. Dear Suitcase:
    Please don’t let Stephanie leave without giving you a nice negligee to carry. Joe will love it.
    Congrats Megan & Pato, you are symbols of hope for all of us.

  43. Congrats to the kids & congrats to the mom ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have fun on your trip and enjoy the ENFORCED, NOT BY CHOICE break on the blanket. I am in total agreement that at this point, that blanket could cause an, erm…*travel incident* were it to join you inside the plane cabin. I’m taking mine on a road trip, but it has been told it’s staying in it’s (own, personal and non-shared) tote bag till we get to the hotel.

  44. How about you make another one of those gorgeous cowls on the plane? That way, you can test knit your pattern for us, all ready to make loads of pennies for KWB?!!! Have a great trip – enjoy your time together. And you should feel so proud of the kids. Well done to them ( and you too!)

  45. Congratulations to Meg and Pato!
    How about knitting the beautiful lacey socks in the summer Vogue? (pattern #29)
    Have a wonderful trip!

  46. For traveling, I like something colorful, with simple construction, that you can finish during your trip, like a neck down baby hoodie or an EZ BSJ in a really awesome cute colorway and wicked soft. Then maybe you will find just the right buttons in your walkabouts. It’s something that one can knit on in almost any setting.

  47. A pair of Lover’s Mittens (from _Handspun, Handknit_ if the link didn’t work) makes a really sweet wedding gift. And you could use handspun yarn if you happen to have some laying about.

  48. Congrats to the kids, and to you. I had one of those days, too; my seventh-grader earned Student of the Year and two other awards, as well as High Honors for grades. And if you’d experienced last year with us (I keep wishing I could forget it) you would know how amazing and huge this choice and effort of his was. I have never been more proud in all my life. Here’s to the kids, may they set a shining example to the rest of us, of all ages!

  49. Hurrah for Meg and Pato! They will look smashing in gold. This is a grand thing they are doing and they are grand people.
    Now, if you pack The Blanket in a suitcase, you’re just asking the Fates to have you experience of Piece of Lost Luggage.

  50. Stephanie it was a pleasure to donate, as it does my heart good to give also. I am glad to see that Megan’s hand is getting better…and to celebrate I am going to stary my very first shawl…as soon as I get the dishes done.
    I will be on the porch with a beer and my knitting…loving it.

  51. Congrats! My daughter, Annie, is participating in the 300 mile AIDS Support Network ride in Wisconsin, in honor of her step-brother and my step-son who died of AIDS. If any of you would like to donate to support another rider please go to Or, go to and click in the left hand column on “pledge now” and enter the name Annie Kalson. Annie supports herself on two part-time low wage jobs and must take unpaid time off to do the ride. Therefore, it would be GREAT if she could get some knitting support! Thanks.

  52. Ahhhh, the Silvery Slocan. One of my fave. places on earth. I am only a little over an hours drive from the border of BC here in Idaho. We run across to Canada every chance we get. If you have never been there Steph, I promise you are in for such a treat! I vote socks for the plane something light and lacy after all it is summer now.
    Congrats on the kiddo’s and their fundraising. What a proud Mom you deserve to be. I will be looking forward to reading your posts as they embark on their trip.

  53. It’s not your fault they don’t give you enough room to knit a blanket while flying if you so wish. Quite thoughtless of airplane designers.
    Congratulations to Megan and Pato for reaching their goal & Congrats to you for raising a good kid ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Congrats to the young fund raisers. I certainly wasn’t doing anything as lofty when I was that age!
    As for the plane – knit gloves. There are two of them, one to knit on the long trip out and the other for the trip back – and they are equally as fun to knit as socks. Lots of lovely patterns on Ravelry and the best part is, you can use sock yarn for most of the patterns. I suspect you even have some of that in your stash so you don’t have to make a trip to the yarn store… check out this one:

  55. Heading out to my neck of the woods! You can wear ANYTHING out here! If I ask my husband how an outfit looks & he tells me I fit in with the locals, I usually go change ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Congrats on the fundraising. An amazing achievment.

  56. I’m knitting a scarf right now. It’s the Drop Stitch Scarf from the most recent (I think) Vogue Knitting issue. I’m using Saki yarn in the Mojave color. It is absolutely stunning. Take a look at that.

  57. A wedding and a second honeymoon all in one trip. Have a wonderful time! And thank you for how you raised your children and for your description of what a good parent is trying to accomplish; I want to run go share that with my children. Well written. And well lived. Well done!

  58. Wow, I’m impressed that you’re okay with leaving your children all alone in the house with no one to watch them. I know they’re older now, but I wonder what the house will be like when you get and Joe get back….
    Ah well, who cares! Have a fun trip!

  59. your post made ME feel great from start to finish. enjoy the trip more than you think you ever could, be proud of the kids and yourself!
    oh, and heck yeah, a sock. (too bad the battlestar tinsely ones that you brought to sock camp are done, they could have been enough to hold your attention!)

  60. Two words on the plane vs blanket: kirchner stich
    Wonderful about the kids – there’s really no better feeling!

  61. Stephanie, unless the blanket is the wedding present, I would definitely leave it at home. I hate to bring up the spectre of airlines losing luggage, but…do you really want to run the risk of having to repeat all that garter?
    Have fun picking out your travel knitting! (Joan Cusack voice from School of Rock) I find it best to *over*prepare.
    And massive, massive kudos to Megan and Pato! I teared up, reading what you wrote. To raise a responsible, caring child to be a responsible, caring adult–honestly, all other accomplishments pale in comparison. And to grow up to be a responsible, caring adult–another incredible accomplishment! (Okay, Ken’s not bad, either. ๐Ÿ™‚ I lurrrrve you, Ken. Way to be a good example!)
    Okay, I will stop before I cross (too far into) fangirl. Yay all bike riders for the AIDS ride!

  62. Your posts are always enjoyable, but none more so than this one. You are a great Mom ~ and you and your husband deserve a proper get away! Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. If you take a smaller suitcase there will be no room for the blanket. Just sayin’

  64. Lace is always a good choice. Marketing bags have become my new favorite carry-along project.
    Best wishes, have a great trip.

  65. ::SNiff:: For reals. Good people, even in the smaller size.
    (And for the record, was there ever officially a point where you said “Pato, meet the blog.”? Poor lad, doesn’t know what kind of family he’s fallen in with, does he?

  66. Do you think that when they return, they will have risen to the pinnacle of ‘responsible and thoughtful person’, and will be able to wash their own gold jerseys? This is the question.

  67. Congratulations to both Megan and Pato!
    And I really hope that what you choose to knit on the plane is brightly and cheerfully colored.

  68. Oh the Rockies, what fun. Just thinking about them makes me smile. You’ve misled me into starting a blanket with all my leftover wool. It’s not the only thing I’m doing though, I couldn’t bear it…ciao

  69. It’s nice to know kids can grow in to great teenagers. My son is really into biting right now and it’s hard to imagine him as an empathic person. Granted he’s 14 months old and this is what the age does, it’s hard to remember sometimes that he’ll grow out of the phase. Thanks for the hope, and enjoy BC

  70. Parenting like knitting has its just rewards. Bring a book on the plane! On my last flight, the airline did misplace my luggage, it was sent on ahead, while the humans had to wait, so you might not want to risk the blanket in airline limbo.
    Have the best time.

  71. The knitters in the Kootenays welcome you to our little bit of paradise on earth. Even tho you have a wedding to attend, and want some alone time with Joe, if you find yourself in Nelson, stop in to the best used book and music store to be found, ‘Packrat Annie’s’. And I just happen to be an avid knitter, as well. If I don’t get to say hi in person, I hope that you have a great visit, and return some day for a knitting visit…

  72. Have a great time on your trip. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who worries what the crooks/cops/CSI team/firefighters might think of me if they saw the inside of my house while I was away/gravely ill or injured/dead! And congrats again to Megan and Pato. Really lovely that they are doing this with such commitment.

  73. “For now I’m off to wade through the stash”
    You’re kidding me! I’m married to a “knitter”, I know that when you die “she who has the most wins!” You’ll never make the plane!

  74. Oh the Slocan Valley is gorgeous in July!!! But, bring anti-mosquito stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ We have good friends at the top of Lake Kootenai and try to get up there at least once a summer….have the most wonderful, romantic time ever!!!

  75. Appropriate knitting: it IS interior British Columbia in the summer, so think elegant, minimal, sunburn and biting-insect protection = a bolero lace shrug using frog’s-hair fine yarn and the finest possible needles; your objective is mosquito netting with soul.

  76. Enjoy your holiday – you deserve it. My second still resembles a cling-on too much for both parents to take a dash…maybe when she is older.

  77. You are so lucky to be able to knit on the plane. I am going inter-state tomorrow and have to pack my knitting in my suitcase. It seems with knitting needles I could do all sorts of bad things!! What about pens?! Oh well, I’ll just read my book – it’s about knitting! Enjoy your break, take care…

  78. Oooooooh – the Canadian Rockies – I’ve never been but have heard they make the US Rockies look second rate & the US Rockies take my breath away – even when seen from the air – flying over them at 40,000′ – like I did today – flying from Chicago to San Francisco. On this trip, I also learned 2 things – 1) Southwest Airlines – super nice people – friendly & eager to help – we were offered soft drinks & snacks 4 times during a 4 hour trip & 2) O’Hare Airport, which I always though the worst in the country, can’t hold a candle to SFIA. I seemed as though we walked from one end of the airport to the other to get our luggage & then back & outside & on a light rail system that went all the way around the perimeter of the airport in a loop to get to the rental car place. This involved several changes of level also. It was 2 hours from te time we landed to the time we arrived at DD’s house in Palo Alto – a drive tht takes about 25-30 min. Next time we try flying into San Jose.h

  79. Wow! I want to go too. I’ve never been to the Canadian Rockies, or any Rockies come to think of it LOL! I hope you have a great time! My husband and I don’t get a lot of time to ourselves either so I know how much fun it is to get away. I hope you have a great time and really enjoy your knitting. Congratulations to Meg and Pato. That is so very cool. I think that the most wonderful thing about teenagers doing something for a charity is that they realize that they truly can make a difference in the world. Try not to be too giddy about knitting something else while on the plane or you’ll really freak out the Muggles.

  80. It starts small with children, doesn’t it? I am so proud that my 21 month old twins say please and thank you, even if it is in sign language and not everyone recognizes it, and they love to help when they know how. I can only hope and direct them as they grow to turn these simple, little manners into the bigger things that MATTER like Meg and Pato have. Congratulations to both you and them!
    I guess I would look through my stash for something coloured gold to knit up some socks. You can knit up some socks for the riders to match their gold jerseys. Something tangible to show them how proud of them you are. And something they’ll be more likely to wear around after the ride (I’d guess they won’t wear the gold jerseys out much afterwards) to remind them how proud Mum is and how good it feels to do good. Just a thought.
    Enjoy your trip!

  81. Your post moved me to tears.
    Congrats to Meg and Pato. When I was a teen, I too was encouraged to volunteer and participate in meaningful causes by thoughtful adults. It had remained a meaningful part of my life into adulthood. Brava. ~ksp

  82. As a High School teacher it does my heart good to see these 2! But does it make me a bad person to have giggled a little that they both beat Ken’s total?

  83. This might be my favorite of your posts ever. It’s hilarious (clean up the place enough to see if it’s been broken into, lol, I can relate!) and so right about raising kids. My oldest, who’s 10, just earned his first money, $25 for fixing someone’s computer; a day later a volunteer for the League of Conservation Voters came to the door, lobbying to help pass the climate change bill in Congress, and would you believe, he gave her $20. I was so proud I could’ve burst.

  84. You have some pretty cool daughters. I use your knitting books are a parenting guide-esp when it comes to thinking of their traits that will be beneficial as adults.
    Congrats to M and P.
    To knit? I think you need to bring some color, after all those shades of neutral and something with a few purl bumps.

  85. *wheeee* Enjoy the ‘you time’– Weddings can be REALLY fun when they’re not your own! (Enjoy the knitting on something for you time as well.)

  86. tehe, perhaps you’ll run into my mum, who lives in the Slocan Valley. what a coincidence, since it’s tiny! also gorgeous. enjoy!

  87. Stephanie, first time contributer but I have to say what you said about those kids struck something in me. I have a 17 year old & one that is going to be 12 in a few days, My husband & I have tried since these girls were born to teach them about community & helping others. Both are compassionate, loving young ladies. That is all that we asked for. For that we are proud. You almost brought me to tears. To change the world let’s teach our children. (off my soapbox now)
    Michelle in WI

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