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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

November 26, 2019

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Sorry it has been a while since I posted.  My energy level is suffering from the months of breathing issues.  Then about 12 days ago I noticed a sort of burning pain in my left thigh.  By Sunday I was broken out on my rear and inside thigh.  I had worn some new pants without washing so I figured it was just a reaction.  After different salves, etc, there was no improvement.  Wednesday I called the doctor, said I suspect a certain problem and was told to come in within 3 hours.  Shingles.  Really.  And with that it felt like the last of my reserves were flushed down the stool.

45905-1A-M #followme Mens Flannel Pajama Pants Mens PajamasI had been working on Christmas PJs for the grandkids.  The tee shirts would have Merry Christmas spelled out on printable fabric.  The trick is only 3 letters appear on each shirt.  The kids have to stand in a specific order to have it spell our correctly.  Material for the PJ bottoms was pre-washed in prep for cutting for the bottoms.  Then shingles, on my bottom to where I could only lay in certain positions.  For. 4. Days.  So much for the bottoms.  Thanks to Amazon we now have bottoms being delivered today. 

Since I could stand I was able to print the letters and bond to the tops.  I needed to overcast the edges of the letters.  There were the shirts for Son, DIL, Hubby, DIL's dad, and me as well as the 5 grandkids.  That was a total of 10 shirts to be overcast.  Night before last the final two shirts were to be overcast and IDs added.  Shirt 9 complete.  Shirt 10 ID stitched.  The overcasting came to a solid stop as the machine would no engage the bobbin.  Different bobbin, well actually 5 different bobbins.  Nothing worked.  The. Last. Shirt.  I gave up because there were still pies and desserts to be made for Thanksgiving and it was 1 AM.

Monday #4 Grandson arrived to help with making pies.  This has become a tradition with since we moved to Round Rock.  He was a huge help making crust for several of the tart size pies.  He made a couple dozen tarts.  By the end of the session we had two full size pumpkin and one apple pie.  About a total 3 dozen apple, apricot and cherry tart size pies.  Grandson left and I spent the next couple of hours cleaning up the mess and wrapping the goodies for transporting 200 miles.  Part of that time was spent gathering additional items to make the yeast breads for Thanksgiving.

It is Tuesday and I need to figure out how to get the last shirt overcast.  Need to pack, make cupcakes and sorghum chewies.  I can do this!  Because the shingles are much improved.  A good night's sleep has relieved my tired legs.

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16 and still needs a cuddle toy.
 After testing last Friday, it was determined there are no significant allergies.  The doctor adjusted my medications adding an inhaler twice daily to help with the not quite asthma breathing issues.  Post nasal drip is still treated with two nasal sprays and a nightly sinus medication.  The doctor removed all allergy medications.  As for the GERD, an upper GI scope is scheduled for Dec 2.  A PH test is scheduled for January.  Once all the information is gathered there will be hiatal hernia surgery.

Our Bonus Grandson had the torn knee issues repaired in surgery last Friday.  His mom said he is grumpy.  Imagine that.  He has had a ruptured appendix and procedures to drain the abscess.  Eventually he had surgery for that.  Just healed and feeling good and the knee was damaged during a football game.  Six weeks to allow parts of the knee to heal then another surgery.  Been a tough year for him.  Little four year old Braxon is recovering physically.  His mental capability has regressed to about one year old level.

So I close today with thanks for health care professionals to guide us damaged folks to health.

Ya'll all stay safe out there.
Love, Janice

Friday, November 1, 2019

November 1, 2019

Heavens to Betsy.  2019 is 5/6 gone.  In the history books.  Of course the history books will not include all the details.  Not even all the significant events.  And in time the events will might be adjusted to accommodate whatever viewpoint someone is wanting to push.  Texas school books were proposed to use the language of 'trading triangle' instead of slave trade.  And it was not the PC police proposing that change either.  It was some of the members of the Texas State Board of Education.  Yes, ma'ams and sirs, when you live in Texas you just don't have to make this stuff up.  Texas is one of the largest purchasers of school books in the US.  So where crazed politicians take us is where education can go awry.

So much for that tangent.

Facebook posts from friends in Missouri are making me long to see the beautiful leaves.  The posts inspired me to drag out the fall decorations.  Those decorations include preserved colored leaves.  While in years past there was a full tub of fall and Halloween decorations it now only contains one tiny witch.  Seeing the colorful leaves along with some of the other familiar gourds, pumpkins, backets and scarecrows sure helped.  Of course the much cooler temperatures made a difference, too.  It was below freezing here last night.  So weird since we had some of the hottest daily records most of September and early October.

Braxon has progressed enough to be transferred home.  He has an NG tube for taking the required medications.  Not sure how long it will stay in as he already pulled it out once.  He fight oral medications, too.  Little Toot.

Hubby is doing his usual fall sneezing.  Not as bad as he once was.  His eyes are not swelling almost shut as they have in the past.  He is having to get up in the night to clear his sinuses.  Just ask him if he had taken any allergy meds.  Give you a guess as to what his answer was.  I told him no sympathy if he is not going to take his meds.  Bad as Braxon.  Is this a male thing?

So much for that tangent.

Tonight we will go to dinner to celebrate Bonus Grandson's 16th birthday.  Well, just got a text he is sick at school.  Grandpa is on the way to retrieve him.  Plans change on a dime around here.  BG has had the appendix issues that eventually required surgery.  The damaged knee issue with surgery scheduled in three weeks.  Now will this be stomach flu?  Poor guy.  His knee injury has not allowed him to get his drivers license which is the much bigger trauma for a 16 year old guy.

And here is one last tangent:

Cell phones and texting are wonderful ways to coordinate between people.  As long as you have cell service.

Put part of the Halloween candy in the freezer for later.

Ya'll all have a nice weekend. 


Thursday, October 31, 2019

October 31, 2019

The local official weather station said they saw one snowflake last night.  Ha!  But it did get unseasonably cold last night, near freezing.  New low temperature records were set.  Add in the stiff wind and it feels like fall finally.

One of the blogs I follow, Ada's Poetry Alcove, had a post about spending time with her grandchildren.  Her grands are still young children.  Adventurous and exploring.  Reading the post sent a nostalgic feeling through me.  All 5 of our grands are teens.  Sure, they still give hugs.  They still say I love you.  Son's #2 will come over before Thanksgiving to help make the desserts.  Truth be told, I have become the helper.  His pie crusts are delightful.  Youngest grandson no longer asks me to help him sew projects. 

"Grandma, you need to get a picture of us hard working men",  Oldest Grandson said.

Just this fall a noticeable change in voices.  And faces.  Even the youngest stares at me at eye level.  Oldest grandson is almost 6 feet tall.  It is still fun to be with all of them.  The time together is different.  No more looking for fossils.  Or catching fish from my water garden or walks with Grandpa. 

We may make food runs for the always hungry boys/young men.  Granddaughter is away at college.  No more little projects for her.

My pie baking buddy.
Of course there are lacrosse games, a tournament this weekend.  Two of the grandsons are on the same team.  Bonus is still on crutches from his knee injury in football.  Otherwise, there would be 3 grandsons on the same lacrosse team.  Youngest has soccer games we have attended.  He, also, is in choir and drama classes.  That means plays and choir performances to attend.

It is fun and rewarding to see them all grow and seek their futures.  Yes, there was a time when Son's three would bathe together.  Do not even suggest they be in the bathroom at the same time.  At times it is unacceptable to them to be in the same general area of each other.  Other times, they bug one another to come play basketball or jump on the trampoline.  Good times, yes.  I do miss that child curling up to read a book before bedtime.

One other reason for nostalgic feelings today is 6 years ago.  This is the last photo of the backyard of our last home in Missouri.  It was, also, the last full day of my MIL's life.

Ya'll all have a spooky day and thanks or dropping by for a chat.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

October 30, 2019

Well.  I am breathing better.  The weather has finally cooled down and I can go outside.  Talk about cabin fever, about 2 months indoors when the sun is shining.  Today was misty and cool.  I was outdoors walking almost 2 miles.  Now I did it under cover in the garage and unheated halls.  Still no coughing.  I cooked and no coughing.  I mean I did food prep and cooking for 2 hours.  And only a couple of coughs.  Homemade chili and a pot of mixed beans with a ham bone.  A month ago I could not cook for 15 minutes without a major coughing fit.  So progress.

As for all the tests and doctor visits to figure out all the coughing and shortness of breath here is the time line:
  1. GP appointment, June 24, prescribed Brio for wheezing and coughing
  2. August 28, GP appointment for first major (as in could hardly breath) episode lasting for 20 or more minutes.  Blood draws, All normal
  3. Lung x ray:  August. 28, nothing found, all looks in normal limits
  4. Sept 1, second major breathing issue with coughing and loss of voice.
  5. Sept 2, GP visit, Added a double dose of Benadryl and a second acid reflux med. Blood draws:  Sept. 3 results, everything normal. Scheduled a CT scan.
  6. CT scan of lungs:  Sept. 6, no clots, no other concerns found
  7. GP Referred to pulmonoligist, appointment set for Sept 19.
  8. Pulmonoligist who ordered CT scan of esophagus, Sept. 26,  results received Oct. 4, no cancer.  Added another allergy type medication and gave sample of Dymista.  Stop the Brio.
  9. Barium swallow test:  Sept 6, partial report on Oct. 4, somewhat extensive damage due to GERD.  Refers to a gastroenterologist.  Nodules on thyroid gland.  Followup with GP on nodules.
  10. GP schedules Sonogram of thyroid gland:  Oct 10, results, 6 nodules, all benign.  No further action required.
  11. Additional info during pulmonoligist visit on Oct. 26, a hiatal hernia.  Referred to a different gastroenterologist than I had used in the past.  He will do more through tests, first appointment on Nov. 14.
  12. Pulmonary function tests, Oct. 16, results received Oct. 26, mostly normal.  Minor airways show some irritation.  Not enough to call it asthma.  Nebulizer treatment showed a 25% increase in the function of the minor airways.  Prescribed a rescue inhaler and two separate(affordable) nasal sprays.  Referred to an allergy specialist.  Appointment pending my remembering to call not during lunch or too late in the day.  Ugh.
  13. BTW, the pulmonoligist says, "your neck joints show significant deterioration."  My response, "Guess that explains some of the headaches."
I started looking for what is the cause of my losing my voice, coughing and breathlessness with some wheezing.  I have GERD damage, a hiatal hernia, nodules and a goiter on my thyroid.  And as a bonus, neck joints that are old and worn out.  And still if it is hot I still cough, lose my voice and can be breathless.  I just wheezed.  It is 60 degrees in our apartment. Guess I'll go take a swig of the inhaler, swallow four pills and go to bed.  I'll catch up with ya'll all on this subject after I visit one of the many new doctors in my life.
On the 23rd we did take a Jeep ride out into the Hill Country looking for Shovel Mountain.  Hubby had heard a Ham Radio person working the net from there.  Hubby was needing to see if we could find it.  DJ was taken with cause we like having her around. 

We grabbed a couple of burgers for us and some chicken nuggets for her and had a Jeep picnic.  It was a beautiful day and below 80° F.  I stayed cool in the Jeep but was able to get a few shots at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.

DIL's dad is huge into birding.  He does bird counts in this park every Christmas (US).  We hope to return and see what else DJ can sniff out for us.

BOOOOOOO!  Did I scare you.  Have a fun Halloween.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

October 29, 2019

Okay, folks, time for a long update.
Oct. 17, visiting Yaya, my sister #2.

Braxon, the four year old great nephew, appears to finally be on the road to recovery.  But the road has been a very tough one.   Numerous twists, turns, ups and downs.

 After my last post about him, Brax went home on October 16 but had to return within 2 days, on October 18.  He was getting worse.  He could no longer walk and could barely sit unassisted.  He was crying in pain.  A check with the doctors and the answer was get him back to the hospital in Oklahoma City.

Oct. 18, 1:05 PM
Upon arrival at the hospital that is 100 miles from his home, he had a lumbar puncture and full spine MRI.  The MRI initially looked clear.  Lumbar puncture showed the white blood cell count rose from 4 to 44 between Wednesday tests to tests on Friday.  Inflammation in spine and brain and the antibodies that his body created to fight the virus were now attacking him.  No longer dealing with the initial post-viral cerebellar ataxia but an autoimmune issue.
Day 3 of steroids IV

The medical staff were leaning toward autoimmune Encephalitis.  Tests were run to confirm the AE.  IV steroids were begun on October 19.

In addition Braxon had continued just staring into space and being unresponsive at times. Doctors wanted an EEG to check for the possibility of seizures.   This is a 4 year old child.  3 attempts were made for the EEG, none successful.  Seizure medications were begun, also.
Day 3 of IVlg, poor baby.

The IV steroids started on the 19th were showing little if any  improvement.  Brax could not walk more than 4 or 5 steps with assistance.  He would be exhausted by the efforts of walking or sitting.  He had to be placed on IVlg therapy for 5 days.  Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVlg) is explained here.
The staff did so much to help with all the pain and confusion for this sweet boy.  His dog at home is Ranger.  He was given a stuffed Little Ranger.  Little Ranger had his own IV cover.  Brax was given equipment to give Little Ranger IVs at the same time he was getting them.  Brax said Little Ranger said it hurts some.  Each of the IVlg's took 2-4 hours.

Mom, Brax and Kenadi on a visit day.
During this time Great Grandparents and Aunt Paige were caring for Braxon's older sister, Kenadi.  She came down with a stomach virus.  A few days later Aunt Paige found head lice on Kenadi!  PE is probably where she contacted them cause none of Aunt Paige's children had them.  Never the less, 3 houses and at least 2 cars had to be treated for lice.  My 79 and 83 year old sisters did a house and 2 cars.

Mean while back in Oklahoma City Braxon is improving is small steps.  Physical therapy is begun.  Brax had another ride in one of the cool little cars.  He rode up to the window, looked out and tears fell from his sweet eyes.  The next day the nurse saw to it he was able to drive the car outside.

After attempts at oral meds on Monday
Nana said, "he is pissed''.
At the end of the 5 days he was to be transferred to a children's' rehab facility.  October 28, 2019 was to be the transfer date.

First  morning at rehad.
That transfer was dependent on Brax taking oral meds.  He fought every attempt and would through up all meds as soon as swallowed.  Yes, they tried hiding in food, bribes, and you name it.  He was determined to be in control of something. 

Finally the doctors and the rehab facility worked out the problem.  The Rehab facility agreed to let him be moved to rehab with the IV from the hospital.  You know, rules and regulations to avoid lawsuits or something.

The following is his mom's latest post:

"Today has been eventful ♥️
Braxon is walking unassisted! 🙌
It is like a one year old that is just learning to walk, but he's walking UNASSISTED and that is a HUGE improvement 💙
His speech therapist said mentally he is testing at a 4 yr level, but that isn't where he was before this happened. He was advanced to 5-6 so he is still regressed from his previous level but knowing he didn't go backwards is amazing 🙌🙌

He is back to refusing meds by mouth. Even disguised. All med orders had been switched to oral. Tomorrow we are trying to disguise them all, which is ALOT. If he doesn't cooperate we will have to move to an NG tube so he can get his medication.

My prayers are for him to cooperate taking the medicine and continue physically improving 🙏"

A later post Brax's Mom said, "He took his second dose tonight in a slush puppy 😂 whatever works 🤷🏼‍♀️"
Braxon painting this evening.
And then this happened back home:

Yes, that is older sister Kenadi in an ER room.  She was on a skateboard and fell on her elbow.    My niece was at the rehab facility to relieve her daughter, Heather, from Braxon care for a few hours.

About 9:30 PM this was posted on FB:

"Leigh Ann Littrell Womack

Well... when it rains it pours.
Left Oklahoma City early to get back to Lawton since kenadi Grace (not so heavy on the Grace) crashed her skateboard and hurt her arm.. waiting on X-ray results.

Update: Fluid and blood in elbow. Can’t see a break but there could be a hairline fracture so they are splinting it and treating it like a break and we follow up with ortho."

And you thought you were having a bad month.  One of my friend's grandson went through a disease that eventually took his life at 10.  So, yes, things could be so much worse.

Take care out there.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October 16, 2019

Last evening was another debate between the Democratic presidential hopefuls.  We listened to the St. Louis Cardinal playoff game.  St. Louis lost.  My favorite player, Yadier Molina  did what he always does, inspired the remainder of the team to work harder.  But for substituting Cartwright for Bader, the NLCS playoffs might have gone for one more game.  If, buts and should haves get a team nothing after the end of the 9th and the end of a season.  At 37 years of age it will be and achievement for Yadi to play another season.  Sure wish he could have gotten a world series championship.

These photos were from trip in 2018.  Yadier is intelligent, caring, inspirational and so talented in the game of baseball. Love me some Yadi!

On a more serious note the little boy, Braxon, I played with during the sister time is in the hospital.  The only sign of anything wrong with him on Oct. 7 was he threw up.  We all figured it was from too much birthday cupcake icing.  By Oct 12 he was occasionally falling for no reason.  By Monday as he put it, "My legs are wobbly".  He was falling often.  He was taken to the local Lawton hospital.  A CT scan was done.  Within hours he was sent by ambulance to Oklahoma City.   He had to wait a day for the MRI due to a backlog on the machine.  This morning, Oct, 16, he had the MRI and a lumbar puncture.  The good news is both were clear.  None of the worst case scenarios.

After the MRI and lumbar puncture came back clear, a diagnosis of Post-viral cerebellar ataxia was given. PVCA is a disease characterized by the sudden onset of ataxia (presence of abnormal, uncoordinated movements) following a viral infection. The disease affects the function cerebellum region in the brain. Most symptoms of people with post-viral cerebellar ataxia deal to a large extent with the movement of the body. Some common symptoms that are seen are clumsy body movements and eye movements, difficulty walking, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

Brax had a viral stomach bug not long ago and then this happened. This could be a long road for Brax to get fully back on his feet.  He has prayers and family support to help him.  Brax is 4 years old.  He is the sort of little person with a heart of gold.  He was holding an ant.  He told my #2 sister, "Yaya, this is my friend."  The ant bit him and he cried, "Yaya, why did my friend hurt me?"  He always asked if I or any one near wanted part of whatever he was eating, even ice cream.  This evening he was able to go home.   BTW, adults get wheel chairs, kiddos get a great set of wheels!

I had a series of breathing tests today.  Will find out the results a week from Thursday.

All ya'll take care out there. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

October 13, 2019

Well.  Let's just take a deep breath.  Hubby and I both arrived back home on Wednesday afternoon from our separate sibling times.  Hubby was with his brother on a road trip.  I was with my 3 sisters at #2's home.  He had flown to Tennessee, met his brother and then they drove to Missouri the next day.  I drove to Dallas then rode with my youngest and oldest sisters to Oklahoma.  Hubby was gone for 8 days, I was gone for 6.
See us sisters with our numbers.  Saturday we attended a fish fry at #2 Sister's church.  Her husband was the pastor of this church for about 25 years.  3 of the 6 days we visited they were still busy with church activities even though retired.
After a windstorm, #4 and I picked up the pears blown to the ground.  After we came home Old BIL made pepper jelly from them.

Sis #2 takes a few minutes to sit down after making 2 pecan pies.  She is  immediately asleep.  Thank goodness the cup was empty!  That apron was made by our Mom in 1984.  They were worn by the servers at Mom and Dad's 50th celebration.

L to R, Me, #4 Sister, #2 Sister and #1 Sister at Mama Mia play.  What fun!
During Sister time we had visits from numerous of #2 Sister's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Here are the youngest of the great-grands that visited:

Brax with is Helicopter wind sock and landing pad.
Laike drawing on Yaya's white board on patio.

Hallee is the youngest of the great-greats.  #1 Sis in background.
Playing is hard work for us old sisters.
The windstorm that blew through brought much cooler weather to Oklahoma.  The morning of our last day in Oklahoma a heavy dew covered the grass.
Sunrise shadows
One last meal of Indian Native American Comanche tacos.  Yes, the owners of the restaurant are of the Comanche tribe.  (Unfortunately possibly descendants of the ones my great great grandfather chased out of Texas into the Indian Territory.  I felt shame at that thought.)  Good food!

Later that day #1, #4 and I climbed back in #4's SUV and headed to Dallas.  I spent the night at #4's then headed to the Austin Airport to get Hubby.  Over the course of the last two days #2 found a bra, mine, and some pills, #1, left in Oklahoma.  #4 found my earbuds I left in Dallas.  If you ever read through one of our text threads you would giggle for sure. 

# 4 Sis is sure the older sisters are getting really forgetful.  I think we are just leaving a trail to find our way back some time.

On my drive back from Dallas a call from Son.  He asked if we could pick up Grandson #2 after school.  Of course we can.  I called Hubby who was still at the gate in Nashville to give him the info about grandson's needs.  Also, I would be about 20 minutes late getting to the airport.  I had piddled too long as Youngest Sister's home before leaving.  Finally, after the drive from Dallas to the Austin airport I saw my love.   

You would think that spending 24/7 together in a 30' x 30' living space we would be ready for time apart.  Of course we had enjoyed the time with our siblings.  Hubby visiting all the places of his childhood with the one person, his brother, that had those shared times and places.  I had enjoyed being with my sisters as we reminisced shared times.  We stayed up past midnight playing cards and made new memories together.  The time with our siblings had been wonderful.  But, Hubby and I were surely glad to be back together.  We stopped for lunch and sat side by side in a booth.  Like a couple of teenagers on a date.  Yes, it was good to be home.

The day was not over and Grandson #2 needed a ride home.  We located him in front of the main building.  Surprise, surprise.  This 15 year old boy was hungry.  A text to Son and DIL confirming we had located him and were picking up food.  Did Bonus Grandson want food?  Surprise, surprise.  The 16 year old wanted food, also.  Food acquired, Grandson deposited at Son's home, and we were back in our easy chairs for the remainder of the evening.   Ahhhhh.  That was good.

While I was with my sisters I had received the report of the CT scan and swallow test.  No cancer detected in the esophagus.  Whoot, whoot!  However, nodules on the thyroid had been detected.  They needed to have a sonogram.  Extensive GERD issues needed further evaluation by a gastroenterologist.   Yeah for cell phones and texting.  An appointment for later in November was made with the gastro doctor.  Also, put my name on the standby list.  My GP ordered the sonogram and I was able to get an appointment for the morning after I returned from my trip for the sonogram. 

By Thursday afternoon I had a message from the GP the nodules were benign.  Again, whoots and a happy dance.  Not even a need for further followup on the thyroid nodules.  I was told to double up on the medication I was already taking for the acid reflux (GERD).  In addition to all this a real cool front moved through our area dropping the daytime high temperatures over 30 degrees.  The temperature change alone had already eased my breathing.

Thursday afternoon was the homecoming parade.  Two of the four grandsons would be on the lacrosse float.  We had planned to attend and film from the same location as last year.  We were to pickup #2 Grandson.  Now this week #2 Grandson has lost his cell phone use.  Finding him would be a challenge.  With the help of #1 Grandson and some luck the mission was accomplished.  Again, food for the Grandson (and us) and deposited at Son's home. 

#2 Grandson with hand in air.  #1 not in sight. 

With a bare cupboard at home and still road weary, Thursday evening I placed a grocery order on line.  Before setting a time for pickup or the groceries I checked with DIL to see if we needed to plan to do the after school pickup of Bonus and #2 Grandsons.  No, she had it covered.  With no doctor appointments nor pickup duties a convenient time was picked.  Not too early but late enough to not be out in the traffic. 

Friday morning arrived.  I would do laundry and Hubby would do the grocery pickup.  A text came in asking us to take #2 Grandson to lacrosse practice at 5:30 then meet for dinner.  Of course we will is the answer.  After all being available to help however we could is why we moved here in 2013.  Helping and attending activities as we did on Saturday.  #3 Grandson's soccer game and #2 and #1 lacrosse tournament.  #1 had his long stick broken across his chest during the first game.  He played the next two games with his ribs taped.

Now it is Sunday.  We slept late.  Moved at a nice slow pace.  Dressed in loose clothing, feet up and a cup off steaming coffee.  Checked to see how #1 Grandson was feeling after having his long lacrosse stick broken across his chest yesterday. He was at the ER checking to see if the ribs were broken.  Report came back "just" bruised.  Still, oh, my.  Bonus Grandson is already facing surgery in November for his knee injuries in football.  Boys and sports.

I guess that pretty well catches me up with activities.  Will just see what the next few days bring.  Just glad we have the ability to do things.  Ya'll all take care, you hear?