Third day in Prague ended up being a long and wonderful one

Holy smokes, where is the time going?

The time is just running by and it seems to me that all I’m doing is walking round from place to place, cross town and back.

Mornings in Prague are the loveliest. Just as the sun begins to warm the ochre walls and light up all the golden decorations.

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That’s also the best time to peek into every church and thru every doorway without the summer tourists getting in the way.

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Then I got on the metro and tram system…

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…and made my way to Vyšehrad, a 10th Century fort and cemetery.

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Came to find Neruda, Dvorak and Smetana.

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Also came to see the view over Prague. Do you see Prague Castle over there in the distance? That’s how far I’ve come,

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It’s a bit less city here, more garden.

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And then I went to the other side to find my grandparents.

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Here they are. The block marble plaque on the crypt translates as “members of the Alemann family”, and in the crypt are my great grandparents (grandfather’s side), my grandparents Karel and Anna, both of his sisters Maria and Ella, his brother Emil, and his sister’s companion Zora.

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Here is the church below the cemetery. This is the church my great grandparents were married in.

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And now for something completely different, a combined photo titled V and the magpie feather because…

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I’ve made my way back to Prague to the Dali Exhibit!

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I so love Dali. Everything about surrealism, expressionism. crazy, zany-ism. Love it.

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Left: self portrait with cod piece… :D

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Rows and rows and rooms full of Dali.

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And on a floor right above Dali is Alphonse Mucha.
You must know this Czech painter and illustrator, or at least know his style. It’s so iconic.

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And, how lucky are we? On the floor above is a Warhol exhibit! Our cup of soup runneth over. :D

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Yeah, me too.

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And, in the evening, I went to the top of the tallest Gothic bell tower in Prague, called Jindrisska, up those little stairs, to sit under three ancient bells named Maria (1518 and 500 kg), Jindrich, (1680, and 3350 kg), and Dominic, (1850 and 1000 kg), and watch a dramatic performance featuring a friend of mine, the son of my cousin.

It was the most unforgettable experience.

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One more full day in Prague and off to E on Sunday. :)

Here I am in Prague

Letadlo!

Letadlo, letadlo letadlo!

I just spent 16 hours in it and can’t for the life of me think of the word when talking to the taxi driver! Airplane! A-e-ro-plan! I have to pseudo-Czech spell it out…Letadlo…duh.

…and what’s more I just came from the Letište…Airport! I can’t believe how hard I have to search for the simple, everyday words!
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But nevermind, here I am at last. In my hometown. With my people. Even if apparently I can’t speak the language any more…lol. No, don’t worry, I can.

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Oh it was hard to wake up this morning. Jet-lag’s a bitch, but the Hilton is central and after a morning of running round various government offices, I made it down to old town square for a little lunch.

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And watched the Orloj, the 15C anatomical clock, strike 2 pm. Watched as Vanity, the Miser and the Turk shook their heads as the skeleton rang the bell. Death comes to all in the end and nothing can save us. Not beauty, not money, not power. And then the cock crowed and tears filled my eyes.

It must be the jet-lag…ahem.

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I marched across St Charles bridge, listening to the bands, looking at the little stalls of paintings and handicrafts on my way to climb up to the Hradcany (Castle Prague).

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Bent over the edge of the bridge and spent a long time gazing at the Vltava.

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Looked down at the mill wheel on the canal under the other end of the bridge. I painted this scene years ago. Where did I put the painting? It’s probably in storage in the loft of my garage. Now I want to have it in the house when I get back.
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And I touched everything. Felt everything. Looked everywhere. Am one with the city.

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I walked up a street called Neruda. After Jan Neruda, the famous poet who so inspired Pablo Neruda that the later changed his last name to the same. Walked up that street for my late aunt. He was her favourite poet. Came to St Nicholas Church and walked inside. And I stayed for a while inside the vast and holy, pink, Baroque building, full of prayers, and paintings and postulates.

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And then climbed higher, up the the castle and looked down over the red roofs.

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In the castle is the most glorious Gothic cathedral of St Vitus.

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Then down the castle stairs, down thru the town, down to the river and touched the water. Rinsed my hands in it. Like a baptism of sorts. I’ve come home.

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You know, whenever I get here, I’m always here in the summer, and that means road works. I always steal expropriate gently borrow alright steal a cobblestone to take home. I hope I’m forgiven by anyone who sees me doing this. I hope they understand that I need to take a piece of Prague home. A real piece, something that holds the pink light and warm glow of Prague and not some commercial meaninglessness expressed in a mug or tea towel. I need this home to be with me.

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It’s late now, and I just came back the National Theatre to see a unique Carmen this evening. With music played by members of the Prague Symphony, danced by the Prague Royal Ballet, and sung by members of the Prague Opera. All on stage at the same time! I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it was.

I stopped at the open farmers market…

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…and bought some supper.

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Sweet dreams everyone. More of the same…heaven… tomorrow. :D Please forgive me if I don’t answer everyone right away. Time is short and the internet is a bit dodgy. But please know that I feel so grateful to all of you who stop by and look. Big hugs.

Your tired friend in Prague. X

Another announcement! A summer blog tour

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I’ve been invited to take part is an exciting summer at home blog tour featuring some wonderful gals.

It was the brainchild of my friend Kelly and her friend Julie and the line up is as follows:

Wednesday,  June 18th

 On Sutton Place

Stone Gable

My Soulful Home

Thursday,  June 19th

 Country Design Style

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Lilacs & Longhorns

Friday,  June 20th

 Thistlewood Farms

At The Picket Fence

Jennifer Rizzo 

Saturday,  June 21st

Our Southern Home

Southern Hospitality

Debbie Doos

And ME! Right here, Saturday!

And if you come have a peek on Saturday, I will give away this little announcing Towhee on Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet , (after I finish him up.)

And now, as a thank you for sticking around, here is something I spied today:

This guy has been left double parked.

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Oh, wait…that’s better. :D

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Etsy shop

OMG, my heart’s a flutter.

I finally took the plunge and published that Etsy shop I keep going on about after sitting on my writing desk and staring out of the skylight at the city for about an hour.

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Finally I said to myself, “As soon as a seaplane takes off the water I’ll get to work on the shop.” Then one took off straight away. So I reasoned that that was way too soon and now it has to be a different sea plane to count. Then a second one took off followed by a third one. Boy, I can procrastinate for Canada!

So I made myself get off the desk and open my drawers full of paintings and chose three and photographed them with shaking hands, rushed off to a Dr.’s appointment, came home, sorted out the photos and published the shop!

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So with butterflies and trepidation, I’m going to proudly say, “Lots more paintings on ephemera to come. :D
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Thanks for hanging in there with me. XXXXXXXX……..O

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Hello from Sunday night…which is turning into a Monday morning post again!

Boy oh boy what a glorious, heart-warming, soul affirming weekend I’ve had.

I must say that I’m on top of the world! :D

And wish to send out a great big THANK YOU to the almost 500 visitors to my garden.

After this weekend, each and every one of the 500 wonderful, gentle, garden and art loving souls I chatted with, my fellow artist assigned to show in my garden – the talented Jackie Miller, the incredibly talented musicians – The Land Of Deborah (Saturday) and Justin O’Donohue’s Jazz Trio (Sunday) – who entertained, the volunteers who sat curbside for five hours each day and explained the lay of the garden, my wonderful neighbours who not only showed up early to help me set up and lent me tables and chairs, but also came by both days to chat and support me, and of course, The North Vancouver Community Arts Council who judged my garden and then my art worthy of being seen, will stay in my heart for ever.

And an extremely warm and grateful THANK YOU to all the people who bought my paintings and my photo greeting cards. Thank you for claiming the paintings as your own thru heartfelt memories and experiences. I hope they continue to bring you joy and brighten your lives for many years, and I hope my greeting cards bring smiles to everyone they are sent to.

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My natural predisposition is to be nervous about my artistic talent and my mood spectrum is usually full of misty skies and churning seas, but having strangers…now friends…exploring the garden, marvelling at my crazy planting schemes, laughing at the corkscrew hazel branches as cat deterrent and seedling protectors, asking for eventual cuttings, taking hundreds of photographs, exploring my paintings, asking for painting technique related tips and how-tos, saying such lovely things about my art, stopping with cups of green tea and amaretto or coconut cookie in hand and, in one case, sitting cross legged on the brick circle under the saved apple tree and meditating for 30 minutes, was the greatest personal gift for my heart, which stayed sunny and warm all weekend.

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I met so many like-minded people. I was paired with two other artists, (one of whom couldn’t show at the last minute), so the weekend became a two woman show! But the lovely Jackie Miller, who I only just met but am sure to adore forever, brought a great amount of paintings and colourful flags to the show and we were just fine. I also feel in love with Deborah, who was slated to entertain on Saturday. I took a video of her performing Skyfall for me as a request. (Linking you up at the end of the post). You must have a listen to her soft, perfect voice, and she has some downloadable music on her website!!

Go grab it…I’ll wait.

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You all know how lucky I am to have Chloe by now, but I have to tell you that that sweet child of mine stuck with me for the whole weekend, being cup washer and cookie plate refiller, banker, manager, supporter, promoter and, in two cases, publicity spokesperson for a taped interview and the local newspaper.

How much do we love her?

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She did get a second or two to smell the roses too.

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I couldn’t believe when I looked over the garden on Sunday morning and found a new saved iris had opened and it was completely different from the other five saved varieties. This one is pure, clear amethyst!

Oh, and I have to tell you that game after game of tic tac toe was played. That game board was a big hit.

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Here’s C posing for the newspaper photographer.

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Sunday’s entertainer was Justin O’Donohue and his jazz trio. They were absolutely wonderful.

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I found out that Morgan, while she loved being underfoot or stretching out in the garden, absolutely hates the sound of the big base. What’s up with that?

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But when the band took a break and went into the garden for some tea and cookies, Morgan skulked around the instruments and devised a plan to take back her patio!

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But finally she settled on the warm pebbles behind the chives and went to sleep.

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So then, by 8pm, after treating ourselves to a sushi supper and after washing the tea cups and tea pots, I walked into my silent garden, thanked all my plants, watered the poor, hardworking lawn, and cut a fragrant rose bloom for my bedside table.

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And Morgan curled up on the patio basket and went to sleep in the last of the evening sun.

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Here is a link to Deborah singing “Skyfall” for me, (which I was dying to hear again because I was engaged with some people when she sang it first). I put it on YouTube and Vimeo to make sure you there are plenty of options for you to hear her lovely voice:

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No point saying TGIF right about now

I love to check in with everyone in the morning. Usually I get the rounds in my email inbox and just click on everyone and see what you’re up to. If I can’t subscribe by email, then it takes me forever to click around, so I love the email option.
Where was I going with this?
Oh yeah. Daryl wrote TGIF on her post this morning and it got me thinking that I didn’t really care if it is Friday or not…except that there are only two days of my vacation left, but apart form that, life is pretty much just lovely here in the sun.

And isn’t that the point of vacations? Complete freedom from the work week.

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Speaking of freedom, Chloe wore her freedom dress today. She calls it that because under the dress size on the label it says “freedom”.

So I watched her float around in this lovely hand-painted dress and all the little children were looking at her and thinking, “she’s an angel!”. (Some of the teen boys were actually thinking that too…lol)

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She also re-chained my bracelet with the beads the sea didn’t want and some new ones. I love my new bracelet.

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Today we felt really tired, but it’s probably the sun.
I did the beach yoga class in the morning and wasn’t really feeling the aqua-cise afternoon class.

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Do we really look that silly splashing around to LMFAO’s I’m Sexy and I Know It! Lol :D

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Down on the beach the peddlers are trying it on with absolutely everyone.

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And then, after a while, they run out of people to tempt and take a break. (big relief)

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C found a friend. The wildlife rescue society came round with a young female banana boa offering photos for a 50 pesos donation. We happily donated and C tried the boa on for size. She loved every minute of it. She positively beamed as she felt the snake contract muscles in her powerful little body. (No, we’re not keeping her!)

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Later on in the day we met up with Fernando the craft expert and some resort friends, including the two beautiful poppets, Alexandra and Adeline, for a little crepe paper flower making.

Did we stop at flowers? I don’t think so. Pretty soon there were butterflies as well.

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At the beach, under glorious blue

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love logs

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C mix

beach find

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Such a beautiful day. Such a beautiful part of my town. Wishing you all this kind of sunshine, peace and happiness to last you throughout the whole week.

Sharing with Mary. :D

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world…

…You’ve walked into mine. :D

me!

Hi everyone, welcome to my crazy life.
I’m Veronica…as you can probably still tell from the name of my blog. This hasn’t changed since last year’s party.

I live with these two, in two countries (Canada and Britain), in two houses, in one cabin, with three cats.
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He’s Robert, mad scientist, designer, inventor and builder of brilliant machines which race at 200mph, and she’s Chloe, fourth year Communications student, saver of the world, of sharks and of small, squeaky things.

I take photos…a lot of photos. Some are proprietary and for sale with stock agencies or for use in magazines but all the photos here are for you. Feel free to share, use, have fun with, find inspiration in them…anything you like.

work

I tend to draw on just about anything. Mostly I love discarded bits of ephemera…torn papers, old letters, bits of unwanted cardboard. I love to take something which someone has thrown away and give it value with my paints. And then I tend to send the little paintings off to who ever wants them.

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Along with all the stuff I drew on last year…book jackets, bits of maps, the sawn-off end of the Christmas tree…this year I’ve branched off to such things as luggage tags…

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…and the eggs in the fridge…lol.

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But my main focus this year has been on old maps.

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I’m here most days, so please say “Hello” so I can come visit you.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. ;)

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Special, true moments

I was thinking that the last year of my father’s life we drove to his cabin on as many weekends as we could. He loved it there.
Up there on East Twin Lake, six hours out of the city, up there with the loons, the morning moose, the northern lights and the millions of stars making up the milky way, up there he was at peace.

One time we left Vancouver quite late and got there after dark. I remember driving along the dirt road and the headlights illuminating the bone-white birch trees on either side and I remember seeing a cameo reflection of those birch trees in a puddle in the pitted path. It may have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and, combined with the harsh winter settling in, and not knowing if my father would be able to visit again, I captured that image in my memory.

This painting was born from that memory. I like it here, in the hallway outside my bedroom. I haven’t hung it on the wall because I like the way the lamp light puddles the image. I’m not sure I’ll ever hang it up.

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Do you have a visual memory of a special, extraordinary moment? I don’t really know why, but seeds from the garden always remind me of my grandfather.

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I suppose that, growing up in Europe where things are treasured and shared more than they are here in the North American built-in obsolescence consumerism culture, I remember my grandfather folding little paper envelopes to store his garden seeds in.

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I remember doing that with him while he wrote the botanical names of the plants on the outside of the paper. That’s something I’m always compelled to do…to collect and store the seeds form the garden flowers, (and paint puddle paintings…lol) But what does one do with millions of white Japanese anemone seedlings, or a grove of maples?

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Mind you, as I was carrying the trumpet vine seed heads thru the house, seven seeds fell to the floor and I scooped them up in my hand. I put them on the mantle. I think they’ll stay there for a while.

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Snow puddle painting: Oil on canvas
Fox: Oil on the cut-off end of last year’s Christmas tree

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Friday I broke my heart. It’s a very private matter and nothing I want to talk about and, anyway, I’m not in the right frame of mind to spill everything in here and then try to pick up the pieces and I’m afraid that everything I would say about the matter wouldn’t help and would never bring about any kind of resolution.

But the end result of this Friday night in floods of tears is that I woke up Saturday morning with barely 5 hours of sleep and the Dixie Chicks concert in the evening after a full day of work and running around. Still, we must be brave and gather our best Dunkirk Spirit and carry on.

So, after supper, I put on my cowboy boots and some red lipstick and Chloe and I headed downtown, via seabus and sky train, to the concert. We walked into Roger’s arena and felt the Girl Power!

There were grandmas with their tween granddaughters, mothers and daughters of all ages, girlfriends, husbands and wives, couples and friends of every description. We loved it.

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(photos gently borrowed and collaged from photos in this morning’s news paper)

The Dixie Chicks came on stage to absolute thunder. I haven’t seen our arena so packed and, with over 18K seats, I think maybe three seats were empty, and that was probably because the people who bought those tickets were abducted by aliens. It was that full.

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C and I loved being there to pieces and, especially loved the power of the folks around us. We sang along to every song that we knew, and although it’s damn near impossible to drown out Natalie Maines’ beautiful, powerful voice, the audience did give it a good try!

Here are a couple of photos of C in the stage light. (no special effects on my part) :)
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But the thing that made the evening special is that I managed to calm myself down and get to a place of Zen tranquility, despite a broken heart. And do you know how? It was all to do with mine and Robert’s phone calls Friday night and Saturday morning. He’s so patient with me. He’s so loving and kind and understanding and brings me such peace and clarity. I’m such a lucky girl to have him beside me in my life.

I was waiting for this song to be played. I especially love it because it came straight into my head just after our conversation.

Thank you Robbie; love you.

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My ears are still ringing and I can hear the music in my head!