Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Are ready for it?


I'll be hiding in the house this year.  I didn't buy any candy(the first time since 1989!)and this is the second year I have no kids to dress up and send out foraging for treats.
I'll be trying to list some things on eBay tonight and let me just say, that THAT will be scary enough for me!lol

Have a happy one!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 2013 Budget Results.....Food & Toiletries Spending

It's not the end of October yet but I am posting my month end totals since I am finished grocery shopping for this month.

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for OCTOBER 2013.

I have posted October's totals on the Total Grocery Savings for 2013 Page located HERE and have updated the Yearly Totals there.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in October.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Summary.

My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Pet Supplies, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable. We are a family of 5(3 at home this month)& 2 dogs. No kids under 17.

OOP  $40.17
Qs/Ads  $13.26
Value  $53.43
Savings  24.82%
SHURSAVE STORES(small local independent affiliated stores)
OOP  $203.89
Qs/Ads  $106.04
Value  $309.93
Savings  34.21%

OOP  $25.04
Qs/Ads  $25.09
Value  $50.13
Savings  50%

OOP  $7.97
Qs/Ads/+Ups  $49.61
Value  $57.58
Savings  86.16%

OOP  $142.57
Qs/Ads  $80.04
Value  $222.61
Savings  36%

I am no longer adding my rebates received into my food budget directly. I will use them on food on occasion and will note that when used.  I will keep track of rebates/gift cards/certs received here as before however.

TOTAL Value of Cash/Store Checks/Gift Card Rebates Received...$8.00


My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 86.16%, Price Chopper at 50% and Weis at 36 %.  I shopped at 5 different stores this past month.

TOTAL Out of Pocket........$419.64
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$274.04
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$693.68
TOTAL Savings of...................................39.50%

This closes out the October food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....

I went into October with my usual $400 budgeted for food/toiletries purchases.
I went over by $19.64. 
Not too bad really and I'm not upset over it.  If I hadn't hurt my foot(and didn't have to send family to the store who don't worry about getting the best deal), who knows if I would have been able to stay under $400.
I did restart the Rite-Aid shopping this month and that spending is included in my totals.  I'll probably spend a bit more at Rite-Aid as we get closer to Christmas.
Looking ahead to November---Other than Thanksgiving, there are no special occasions coming up that require extra food spending this month for us.  Not sure about Thanksgiving at this point as #2 Son will be working that day(a restaurant), so it will just be me and Hubs at home.  Our Thanksgiving meal might be a tad unusual and it will definitely be a lot smaller than the norm for us.
As I buckle down and follow the pre-surgery eating plan this month, we may have less food spending.  But I'll keep the food budget for November at $400.
And here is the run down of my Food & Toiletries Spending for 2013 so far this year--
2013 Total Saved $2,523.40

2013 Yearly Total Value of Items  $6,216.33

2013 Yearly Total Spent $3,692.93

2013 Yearly Savings Total of  40.60%
In October, total savings percentage for the year has gone DOWN .13% over September's year-to-date total of 40.73%, to 40.60%. 
But we are holding steady in the 40%s.
I'd love to get to the end of the year with a 40% savings percentage for all of 2013.
We shall see if it happens. ;-)
The average monthly food/toiletries spending so far this year stands at $369.30.
How much did you spend on food in October?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Go Win!

Sonya Ann is having a giveaway.  Not sure how long it's running....until she gets back from Vegas maybe?

Go enter it HERE.

And tell her I sent ya!


Oh Goody! Problems Already....LOL

It never fails.
I try to sell somewhere and the "problem folks" find me immediately.

I was/am a magnet for crazy buyers and scammers on eBay so why did I think Etsy would be any different? lolz

The first email I get a few hours after opening my store yesterday was someone wanting my phone number and mailing address so she could buy something over the phone or by mail from me.

I take Paypal, Etsy gift cards, Debit and Credi cards.
Sorry, no personal checks/mail orders and I can't take/process credit cards directly over the phone, just through Etsy.


Second up is a potential buyer in Japan who wants a shipping quote.
Though I DO ship most anywhere in the world, I doubt she is going to actually buy a $4 piece of fabric that costs $23.95 to ship to Japan.
It isn't spun gold or anything.....


Monday, October 28, 2013

This Week on The Dining Table

The "Back Home Now & It's Cold as Heck Here!" Edition.......
This is a Caprese Salad I made a couple of weeks before we went to Ocean City, when we still had fresh tomatoes from our garden.
I can honestly say now.....I am not a fan.  Don't know what all the fuss over it is about.
Do you like this dish?

Here are the meals that were planned last week--sort of--
Sunday--pizza out
Monday--steak, fries out
Tuesday--1/2 fish sandwich, 1/2 sweet potato fries, cup of crab soup out
Wednesday--other half of Tuesday's dinner ate in the room
Thursday--turkey sandwich at home
Friday--bratwurst on roll, strawberries at home
Saturday--whatever I can find at the house if Judy doesn't come over, otherwise a roast chicken or eating out

Everything was eaten as planned except Friday I had leftover Broccoli Soup and Strawberries and Saturday was Roast Chicken, Carrots and Potatoes.

As for food spending last week.....there was one trip to the store on Saturday, I spent $48.41 on $65.39 worth of groceries at 1 store.
I had $36.74 left in the food budget so I went over by a bit this month.

I didn't include the little out of pocket spent this month at Rite-Aid yet for October and that will add another $7.97 spent out of the food/toiletries budget.

No food waste while we were gone.

Leftovers going into this week--1 bratwurst, leftover roast chicken with carrots and potatoes.

Here's this week's meal plan---

Sunday--Clam Chowder
Monday--Tacos(I'll probably have a chicken sandwich and a part of a bag of frozen veggies.)
Wednesday--Lasagna, Salad
Friday--London Broil, Asparagus
Saturday--leftovers or something scrounged around the house

I'll be posting my final October food spending post in the next day or two since I won't be going grocery shopping again this month.

What got fixed and served at your house this week?


I Finally Did It!

I got my Etsy store opened today.

If you are in need of fabric, go take a look HERE.
I can do combined shipping to save some on mailing costs so just email me for a shipping quote.

Now to get the eBay stuff up and running.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Danged Feet or How I Spent My Weekend

We had a real nice time on our mini vacation last week.
Sadly, we had to return Thursday night.
I did well walking a bit on the vacation but on Tuesday I did a no-no while at the beach.
I couldn't get over the sand dune to get to the beach or even SEE the beach on Tuesday's outing so I walked with my cane up a sand dune to view the ocean.

Well what seemed like a good idea at the time ended up notsomuch by the next morning.
I awoke with new pain in my right foot and was confined to the wheelchair all day except for getting in and out of the car.
All the activities on Wednesday were done from the confines of a wheelchair for me.
And then on Thursday on the trip home when Hubs stopped 2 places I stayed in the car. 
That night when we got home I was hurting so bad I couldn't climb the stairs to bed so the sofa bed was unfurled for me for the evening.
Oh goody. lol
By Friday evening I was able to get up the stairs but that's about all the walking I have been doing this weekend.....up and down the stairs to and from bed.

I'm able to put weight on it again but have been taking it easy over the weekend since I have 3 appointments on Monday.....1 to have blood drawn up the road, to check my INR levels for the anti-coagulant, 1 with the Pulmonary Doc(I can imagine the conversation now.....doc, "How is your breathing?"--me, "It's fine since I can't hardly walk at all so I can't exert myself." lolz), and last 1 to have a CAT scan of my lung to make sure the teeny tiny spot hasn't grown in the last 6 months since it was discovered.
If not for medical personnel, I'd have NO social life!

I will be taking the wheelchair with me to the last 2 appointments as I doubt I can make it from the car to doc #1 to the CAT scan machine at the other end of the hospital and back to the car.

I also missed #2 Son's Senior Night on Friday because of the cold, rain and not being able to walk.  Before the last football game of the year, they honor the seniors among the football jocks, the cheerleader bitches and the marching band nerds by parading them in front of the stands and announcing their names. sigh.

The only good thing to come out of the last few days is that I am getting good at controlling a wheelchair and have stopped bashing into doors, doorways, cabinets and furniture.  I could use a pair of those fingerless leather palmed gloves though for my poor hands.  They sure take a beating!

Hubs helped me go through my closet this morning and we got the Summer clothes change out for the Winter stuff so that I can reach it all with my current limited mobility.
He's helped me make dinner this weekend(getting stuff I can't reach mostly and fetching things from the garage)and did some grocery shopping Saturday so we have adequate food in the house.
My big accomplishment was getting 100 Etsy listings completed and ready to launch this evening while he watched the World Series.

Now I just need Hubs to help me get the shipping boxes and packing materials(bubble wrap, tape, scale, scissors, etc.)out of the garage and into the dining room so once I open the Etsy store and hopefully SELL something, I can then pack and ship it out without any help.

If he can also get the eBay tubs out of the garage for me I can also get that stuff listed in time for Holiday sales.
He's a great Hubs......

We decided on the medical plan for next year this past week and enrolled.  In between going to my appointments Monday, I need to find a podiatrist Monday with my referral, that is convenient who takes our current insurance AND takes the plan we signed up for in 2014.  It's such a bitch because if I can't find one who participates in both plans, I have to start with one and then changed on Jan. 1 to another doc, OR just wait until Jan. 1 and then find a doc-which means I will basically be wheelchair/house bound until Jan.  Not liking that reality much.

I also saw a nutritionist on Friday.  It was suppose to be one from their "pre gastric surgery" department but they sent me to a reg. nutritionist so THAT was a colossal waste of time because I now have to wait until the 3rd week in November to get into see the correct type of nutritionist to start the surgery process going.  I've been down this part of the process before(that last dr. decided to no longer perform the surgery on anyone, even his patients who were in process like me so all those appts. and money paid OOP were for naught), so I am hoping I can "fast track" ahead to the psychological examination part of the process this time.  I know the ropes in this phase of things and have restarted the eating routine already.
And then in Jan. I have to hope that the new insurance covers enough of this procedure/process to make this doable for our budget.

That's about it for me this weekend.  It's gotten danged cold here suddenly and I have lots to do but not able physically to get to some things right now.
Trying to be patient.....but patience is NOT my middle name! ;-)


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Go Enter this Giveaway!

Run over to The Dollar Hollering Homemaker's Blog to sign up for her Green Giant Giveaway.
The link is HERE.


Friday, October 25, 2013

On The Dining Table This Week

The "Sluggy was Away all Week & Just Got to This" Edition.......

Here are the meals that were planned last week--
Sunday--Broccoli Soup, Hubs had some meatloaf too
Monday--freezer leftover chicken and stuffing, baked Butternut Squash
Tuesday--Lobster Rolls and/or leftovers, Beets
Wednesday--Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, Coconut Rice, Mixed Veggies
Thursday--leftover Meat loaf, Roasted Taters, Brussel Sprouts
Friday--London Broil, Baked Potatoes w/Broccoli Soup

And here's what actually got eaten--

Sunday--Broccoli Soup, Hubs had some meatloaf too
Monday--freezer leftover chicken and stuffing, baked Butternut Squash
Tuesday--Lobster Rolls, Beets & leftover Squash
Wednesday--Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, Coconut Rice, Mixed Veggies
Thursday--leftover Meat loaf, Roasted Taters, Brussel Sprouts
Friday--leftover Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, Coconut Rice, Mixed Veggies, leftover Beets
Saturday--leftover Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Everything as planned except leftovers on Friday instead of London Broil and Baked Taters with the leftover soup.

As for food spending last week.....between 10/14 and 10/21, I spent $97.63 on $157.53 worth of groceries at 3 stores in 4 trips.
I have $36.74 left of my $400 food budget, and as of today, 6 days left in my month.

As for food waste, we used it all up except for a cup of leftover stuffing.  Too much for the amount of chicken we had to use up.

Leftovers going into this week--not a thing.

Here's this week's meal plan---it's in hindsight since today is

Sunday--pizza out
Monday--steak, fries out
Tuesday--1/2 fish sandwich, 1/2 sweet potato fries, cup of crab soup out
Wednesday--other half of Tuesday's dinner ate in the room
Thursday--turkey sandwich at home
Friday--bratwurst on roll, strawberries at home
Saturday--whatever I can find at the house if Judy doesn't come over, otherwise a roast chicken or eating out

We hit the Food Lion this week while on vacation for foods for breakfast and for dinner the night before we came home, plus some fruit and milk.  We tried to eat at local places and avoid fast food.
We did have an Arby's sandwich for lunch on Wed. and KFC chicken yesterday during the trip home for Lunch.  All other meals were eaten/prepared in the hotel room or local restaurants to keep costs down and to stay away from processed foods.  We brought home some of the Food Lion groceries and will eat those the next 2 days, then hit the grocery store for a few things and spend the rest of my Oct. food budget.

 What got fixed and served at your house this week?


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway....Week Two!

What time is it?!

Well it's time for another BORING BLOG BOX GIVEAWAY!!

Here's how it works if you are new here.......
I put things in the box(mostly what I have gotten for free or almost free)each week and when the box is filled we draw a winner from all the entries received.

Here is what went into the Box today......

1. 1 Airwick Room Refreshener
2. 1 bottle of NYC Makeup Foundation
3. 1 tube of Sarah Michaels Bath Gel
4. 2 tubes of glitter Eye Liner
5.  1 tube of Nivea Lip Balm
6.  1 Purina Dog Frisbee
This week's prizes have a value of about $20.
If this is your first time, please go read all the rules for these Giveaways HERE.  *As always, if you are located outside the US, you CAN enter and win but weight restrictions/shipping costs may mean your prize box will contain less items.*

***Time to enter.....You can enter on this Giveaway post until I close this post to entries.

1 entry per person per day on THIS POST.
Leave your name/email address and a COMMENT on this post.  

This week I want to hear about how you celebrate Thanksgiving.  Do you host a big gathering and is it family only or do you gather with friends as well?  Do you cook anything and if so, what?  Do you have a traditional item you make each year other than turkey and pumpkin pie?
You can come directly to this blog post or find it through the link on the right side bar to leave 1 comment per day.  The current Giveaway Post will be linked right at the top of the side bar.

Please NOTE--You MUST be a follower to enter the Giveaway.  If you aren't one, just click on the "Follow" button on the right hand side of my blog to become a follower.

Any questions?  Just email me.

Happy Entering!! 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guess What We Did Today?

Something exciting I bet you are thinking, right?

Well it WAS exciting.

We went to......


I had $5 in +Up Rewards to spend.

I got....
2 x Speed Stick(on sale $2.99 but my 20% discount made it $2.87 ea.)=$5.74
1 x Finesse Shampoo on sale=$2.00

I had coupons....
1 x $1/1 Finesse ManQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Speed Stick ManQ=$1.00


I used my $5 in +Ups....

$5.74-$5.00=$.74 OOP

And I received back $5 in +Up Rewards back(2 x $2 Speed Stick, 1 x $1 Finesse)

Do I know how to have fun on vacation or what?!!

So what has everyone else been up to this week?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

We started the day off with this......

Then we had some of this.....

And finished off the day sitting across from this person.....

I am so glad my day started with horse shit but ended with Tanner, rather than the other way around!

Aw, don't be mad at me "T", you know what I mean and I always enjoy being around you. 8-)

A much better way to finish off another fine low key vacation day here by the ocean!


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Good Day Today.....

Here's something I saw today.....

And here is a little video of what happened later.......being in a wheelchair gets you into places the regular people never see on brewery tours.......

and here is what we did even later this evening.....

Going to bed now......



More hints....

Ok, maybe not more hints about where I am, but better DAYTIME photos of hints. lol

More later if I am still sober......


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Where's Waldo.....Er.....Sluggy?

Guess where I am?
Here's a hint.......

A bottle of hard cider is calling my name.
Signing off for the night.

Til later,


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rite-Aid Again? Yep!

I dragged my hiney into Rite-Aid while I was up at the bank yesterday.
I had a $1 +UP burning a hole in my pocket so here is what I got.....

1 x Colgate toothpaste(on sale $3.50 but my 20% discount was lower)=$3.43

I used 1 x .75¢ IPQ

I used my $1 +Ups.......
$2.68-$1+UP=$1.68 Out of Pocket

And I received a $3+UP Reward for buying the toothpaste.

Then I went back to Rite-Aid today while I was out gassing up my minivan and got this.....

1 x Colgate toothpaste(on sale $3.50 but my 20% discount was lower)=$3.43
2 x Dove deodorants(on sale $3.00)=$6.00

I used--
1 x .75¢ Colgate IPQ
1 x $3/2 Dove products ManQ
Coupon total......$3.75
Then a $1/2 Load2card Q for Dove came off too!


I used my $3 +Ups from yesterday--
$4.68-$3+Ups=$1.68 OOP

And I received $5 in +Ups for buying those 3 products($3 toothpaste, $2 wyb 2 Dove items).

I have spend $3.36 and have 2 tubes of toothpaste & 2 deodorant sticks with a retail value of $19.16 if not bought during this sale.
And I have $5 in +Ups to spend/roll in the next 2 weeks.

If we get the Speed Stick and Finesse Qs in our paper Sunday I know exactly how I am going to roll these +Ups.
Crossing my fingers..... ;-)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Medical Folderol & Wishes My Foot was Better so I Could Kick Some A$$

Well a bill came from Geisinger so I now know what my little excursion to the ER(then Urgent Card, then back to the ER)cost us.

We have an automatic $150 Copay every time we walk into an ER for treatment with our insurance plan.
And the bill for "Diagnostic Radiology"(2 ex-rays of my foot)was $548, "Pharmacy"(1 shot of Lovenox and 1 Coumadin pill)was $11.94 and "Emergency Services"(maybe the sonogram of my leg/ankle was included in this?..the ER staff's wages?.....the use of a gurney sitting in the hallway in the ER?...goodness only knows what this included!)was $1,420.

All totaled that bill came to $1,979.94 for my 9 ish hr. visit to the hospital.

Insurance paid $1,829.94 of the bill, leaving our payment at $150.
So with the copay we paid a total of $300 OOP for my ER/Urgent Care/ER Visit.

I thought our benefit was 90% for in hospital services but $150 isn't even 8% of the total charged on the bill.

Well the check is written and it's paid and done.  If they want an extra $50 +/- from me they can come after me.  lolz

And this all leads into talking about that this week and next are the "Open Enrollment" at Hubs works for next year's insurance plan.
I like to refer to it as "Open Season on Consumers" instead because I feel like Elmer Fudd when this time rolls around every year.

We've already started analyzing the costs/benefits of each of 5 plans we can choose from.
Oh what fun!! 8-))

Luckily for us, Hubs employer provides part of the cost of his healthcare so that is why we are limited to 5 choices.

I can't imagine having to pay the full shift of the coverage yourself and having to pick from all those supposed options on a state's mandated HealthCare Exchange.
That is, IF there are any options in your state, which doesn't seem to be the case in some states....not that anyone can get through the system yet because the websites are a clusterf*ck, but I digress......

We won't be going with our current plan, which is a local to this area of PA HMO, next year.
Mainly because we have a daughter in Louisiana who can't utilize any of the benefits where she lives as none of the practitioners or services are outside of Pennsylvania.  When she left home in May we had to purchase an additional insurance policy just to cover her.  It's an additional healthcare cost in our budget, and a bare bones policy and basically you can only use it if you are in dire medical need(and it has very high deductibles).  So luckily she has stayed relatively healthy the last 6 months, but she needs a policy that she can use for day to day problems or if she gets an infection and needs meds.

And thanks to our wonderful government and the ACA if we continue to keep her on the plan she is on(which her carrier WILL continue to provide for at least through 2014)she will be fined because it's not expensive/expansive enough.
Thank you Mr. Obama and those pinheads in Congress who passed this mess without reading it!!

I'd like to personally kick each and every one of you in the ass right now....but then again, I'd need medical again for my foot.

So now, even if the insurance we pay for currently is great for me(who is by far the largest consumer of healthcare presently in our family)we have to change our coverage, our doctors, and increase how much we pay out of pocket for our healthcare.  (If we were able to keep our same policy it would still go up a little bit but at least I wouldn't have to find all new healthcare providers.)

So option 5(our current policy)is out and we are left with 3 Consumer Directed plans offered by the same company(Cigna)and 1 HMO offered by Aetna.
I like the idea of going from our HMO to another HMO(this one is nationwide so daughter can actually use it!)but upon closer inspection it doesn't seem to be the best fit for us.

We'll run the numbers(benefits vs. OOP costs, co-pays, co-insurance and premiums)later this week using what we have spent this year on health issues to test which is the best financial option for us.

The 3 other choices, the Consumer Directeds, have in-network and out-of-network benefits, with the in-network benefits being higher of course.  So we have to sit down and list all the doctors, drugs and services I/we use and see what costs would be in-network and what is out-of-network.....then weight the possible costs against the costs to us in the national HMO for the same services and goods.

I swear you have to be an Einstein to get the best deal for yourself......



The Good & Bad About Sharing Genealogy

If you don't remember my post HERE about my purported 10 x Great Grandparents, you may want to refresh yourself on that, as it comes into play during this multipart saga I am beginning here.  8-)

Being an amateur genealogist is akin to being a masochist at times.
You work and work and work and finally find a connection to someone or some line and just when you are all happy and excited, you hit a brick wall.
Which makes you work and work and work and hope to make another connection, which in turn gets your face slammed into yet another brick wall.

This is how genealogy works for the most part for most people.
Unless you had nerdy ancestors who loved doing genealogy before you and left you a clear, documented paper trail of all your generations of family.
That my folks is a genealogist's wet dream.  8-)
But that is very rarely the case in the genealogical life. 

As I have said before most amateurs at this will use Ancestry dotcom at some point as it's an easy source for finding records without leaving the comfort of your home.
It's great this age of technology!

But all the sharing on Ancestry dotcom also has it's ugly side.
Being able to share and see other family trees can aid you in your own search but it's a double edged sword.

Mainly because you don't know how or where the other people have gotten their information from to assemble their tree.  Other trees can be riddled with mistakes and down right lies. 

Sluggy's axiom of wisdom--"If the tree you are copying leads to famous, notorious or royal people in history, view it with an extra dose of suspicion.  Everyone wants to be related to famous/infamous and royalty and will baldface LIE to make it appear that they do."

It is never good to just blindly copy information off of someone else's family tree and then leave it at that and walk away.  But sometimes a less than professional genealogist may resort to this, lacking their own resources or knowledge or time or money to do the job.

I am guilty of having "lifted" family members info. from other family trees.  Given my resources and level of skill, plus add in the fact that frankly I don't have 20-30 years to hunt down clues at this age in my life, I do use information off of other family trees at times. 

Usually I will use them as a last resort or take the information and then try to document it, so it's using that information/person in the tree as a "hint" around which I try to substantiate their place in MY tree.
What I don't do is blindly just lift a person and cut & paste them into my family puzzle, even when the corners aren't even close to fitting.

If I am not within my core at least 50% sure that a particular person finds into my puzzle I will keep them there for the time being, with a notation that this person could possibly be a mistake so that other's looking at my tree(and I can't keep others on the site from seeing my tree unless I make it private)know that I know that some links I have forged in the family chain aren't 100% accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Sharing information in this way can be a good thing as it may give another genealogist an idea or a hint, but it can also be very damaging as it can lead to people spreading around erroneous information or innocent mistakes in the recording of facts.
So I am on the fence over this practice.

Now this sharing information comes into play in regard to my Packer/Isgar line.
I initially used other family tree's information to build parts of this line. 
I started at the known end.....the generations closest to me and worked via documents I could find online back.

I got to a point where I could find no public documents readily(as I don't have access to any European records at this point...too much $$$ to access) so I made some "leaps of faith" by following the people trail via other's family trees that jived up to that point with mine.  That brought me back to England and Ireland and Phillip Packer and his parents and Sarah Isgar and her parents.

Then I went about digging up documentation to substantiate the claims of dates and people which I had lifted from other trees.

And I hit an obvious error.
And it's an error that every public tree on ancestry dotcom seems to have, so I am thinking either someone made an honest mistake at one point with a date and then everyone else has lifted that erroneous information into their trees OR worse, that the person in question does not fit into this tree at this juncture and someone just lied about it.

Here is how the Packer Line I am on, descends from Phillip Packer/Sarah Isgar as is purported on hundreds of family trees on Ancestry dotcom.........see if you can find the error.......

Phillip Packer 1618-1686
Sarah Isgar   1625/26-1677
who begat--

Phillip Packer immigrant 1656-1739
who married--
Hannah Sessions  1665-1689
who begat--

James Phillip Packer  1686-1764
who married--
Ann Coates  1699-?
who begat--

Susannah Packer  1664-1728
who married--
Robert James Baker  1660-1728
who begat--

Douglas Baker  1688-1764
who married--
Jean Jane Thompson  1717-1762
who begat--

Douglas Baker, Jr.  1743-1778
who married--
Mary Elliot  1743-
who begat--

Elliot Baker  1775-1836
At which point I could find written records.

I have since substantiated up to Robert James Baker on the Baker line and their wive's line and the Sessions and Coate's lines as well.  Plus I have been able to document the Packer line down to James Phillip Packer.

Which leaves us at James Packer and Ann Coates' daughter-Susannah Packer.....the square peg in my round hole as it were. ;-)

You will notice that this line, as does EVERY single family tree on Ancestry dotcom has Susannah Packer being born the YEAR BEFORE HER GRANDMOTHER!
Go look, I'll wait.......

The few folks I have contacted who have this family tree with this obvious error have either ignored my email or said they just copied the information from another tree but then they never did any research or questioned the obvious error here.

As Susannah's supposed mother, Ann Coates was not born until 1699, this Susannah couldn't possibly have been born in 1664.
Upon further research I have found that Susannah's father had a sister named Susannah as well, which means there could be confusion between the Susannahs here.  My Susannah Packer may be in reality the Aunt of the Susannah that has been place in my direct line.
This would change the line of descent from James Packer to Susannah Packer-his sister and down to my generation.

This would change my line of descent to this.....

Phillip Packer 1618-1686
Sarah Isgar   1625/26-1677
who begat--

Phillip Packer immigrant 1656-1739
who married--
Hannah Sessions  1665-1689
who begat--

Susannah Packer(sister of James Pillip Packer rather than his daughter)  1664-1728
who married--
Robert James Baker  1660-1728
who begat--

Douglas Baker  1688-1764
who married--
Jean Jane Thompson  1717-1762
who begat--

Douglas Baker, Jr.  1743-1778
who married--
Mary Elliot  1743-
who begat--

Elliot Baker  1775-1836

This change basically takes out one of the generations but the birth date for Susannah is still incorrect if Hannah Sessions is now her mother rather than her grandmother.

Then I found 1 tree with Susannah being born in 1728 rather than dying in that year, which is impossible because the marriage to Robert Baker is documented as occurring in 1709!

And then I found another tree with Susannah Packer with dates of 1688-1764 and this Susannah being James Phillip's sister.  It is looking at the moment like THIS is MY Susannah Packer but there are still questions and inconsistencies.

I tell you my head is about to explode sometimes from all this! lol

So this line, as laid out, is still not "firm" with factual documentable evidence that my line goes back to Phillip Packer/Sarah Isgar in this descent.
There are still questions(and it's possible My Susannah Packer may not even be blood related to this Packer line now) and until I find the missing links, or the right person to ask or someone comes forward to connect with me on this issue, the voracity of this family tree will have concerns for me.

And then this week another window opened in this brick wall.
To Be Continued.....



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yah, We are Now Covered All Right.....But In What?

If this wasn't so close to the truth it would be funnier rather than frightening......



Giveaway is Now Open.....Week One, Come Enter!

What time is it?!

Well it's time for another BORING BLOG BOX GIVEAWAY!!

Here's how it works if you are new here.......
I put things in the box(mostly what I have gotten for free or almost free)each week and when the box is filled we draw a winner from all the entries received.

Here is what went into the Box today............

1.  1 bottle of Dove Shampoo 
2.  1 bottle of Olay Body Wash
3.  1 Tube of Dove Deodorant
4.  1 Computer shaped Trinket Box
Here's a close up of the trinket box.....
When you open up the box, there is a tiny computer mouse with a tail inside....too cute!
Keep it for yourself or gift it to that computer crazy friend in your life.
This week's prizes have a value of about $20.
If this is your first time, please go read all the rules for these Giveaways HERE.  *As always, if you are located outside the US, you CAN enter and win but weight restrictions/shipping costs may mean your prize box will contain less items.*

***Time to enter.....You can enter on this Giveaway post until I close this post to entries.

1 entry per person per day on THIS POST.
Leave your name/email address and a COMMENT on this post.  

This week I want to hear about any good recipes you have for using pumpkin.  Please no pumpkin bread or plain old pumpkin pie.  I REALLY need a good pumpkin doughnut recipe....well, my waistline doesn't need it, but my mouth does. lolz
Give me your unusual pumpkin or savory pumpkin recipes.
You can come directly to this blog post or find it through the link on the right side bar to leave 1 comment per day.  The current Giveaway Post will be linked right at the top of the side bar.

Please NOTE--You MUST be a follower to enter the Giveaway.  If you aren't one, just click on the "Follow" button on the right hand side of my blog to become a follower.

Any questions?  Just email me.

Happy Entering!! 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hunting Down My Elusive Ancestry

*Let me start this genealogy post by prefacing it with this.....

When I was a very young child, I remember hearing something about there being Native American blood on my mother's side of the family lines.  I can't tell you exactly who said this(though it was my mother or someone related to me on her side of the family)but I have a recollection of "something".
Of course, now that I'm interested in all these things, my mother and her parents are long dead so there is no one in my life currently to get any more information on this to either prove or disprove this idea.

As I've been going through the paper records on my ancestors I've uncovered a few "interesting" things in regard to our ancestry and having native peoples in our family tree.

First off, here's a little background information on World War I US Draft Registration Cards.

There were 3 stages of the draft process, so your ancestor's card could be from one of these three time periods:

1. 5 June 1917 all men between the ages of 21 and 31 were registered.
2. 5 June 1918 those men who turned 21 AFTER 5 June 1917, with supplemental registration on 24 Augusts 1918 for those who turned 21 after 5 June 1918.
3. 12 September 1918 for those men aged from 18 to 45 inclusive who had not previously been required to register.

Each registration period used a slightly different registration card.
These are just random persons cards from the era, not family members. You can click and 'embiggen them if you are interested in seeing the differences between each registration period's form.

Someone's card from 5 June 1917.....on this one they asked you Which race? and you filled in a race.....

 A 5 June 1918 card.....on this one, under number 5, they put each possible answer for race and you crossed off the ones that didn't apply to you, leaving 1 answer uncrossed......

And a 21 September 1918 card.......this one has 5 possible race/boxes(the native box had 2 sub-boxes)and you checked which applied to you......


Each one is arranged slightly differently, but ask the same basic information.

The first "interesting" thing concerns two of the brothers of my maternal great grandmother and their World War I draft registration cards.

Russell Paris Baker(the son of Wesley Baxter Baker and Luretta Foster)registered during the 3rd draft period and his information appears on the third version of the Registration Card.......

 If you look closely, Under RACE, you can check the box for "White", "Negro", "Oriental" or "Indian".....and under "Indian" there is a choice between "Citizen" and "Non-citizen"(Which probably meant if you lived on a reservation, and thus within the Indian Nation, you checked Non-Citizen and if you lived outside of the reservation you checked off Citizen).

Russell Baker, who lived in Randolph, Charlotte County, Virginia in 1918, checked off "White" AND "Indian-Citizen".

And his brother, Richard Baxter Baker's draft card....

And their cousin, Bruce Prudent Foster(the son of my great grandmother's Uncle William Dillon Foster), who registered while living in Wilmington DE, also has the White and Citizen-Indian boxes checked as well.......

This information either means that my great grandmother Baker's mother's Foster line had a known to this generation Native American ancestor(s) OR that my great grandmother's brothers and cousin didn't understand how to fill out these cards fully and thought the "citizen" box meant a US Citizen and not a reservation vs. non-reservation recognized Native American person of that time.

So this does nothing to answer my NA ancestry questions one way or another.

Earlier this year, when I had my autosomal DNA tested(it tests random areas on your DNA strands and your matches can come from any of your 4 ancestral lines at the grandparent level) one of my closer matches was to a gentleman who is a known 5th generation descendant of William Taptico.

William Taptico(which was later shortened to Tapp)was the last Chief of the Wicocomico Nation.  The Wicocomico were an Algonquin speaking tribe of Native Americans who were living in what is now the Northumberland County area of Virginia(The northern neck of Virginia).   They were among the confederacy of tribes lead by Powhatan and were first encountered by Capt. John Smith in 1608 as he explored beyond where Jamestown was founded.  They were one of the first Native nations "given" reservation lands(land that had belonged to them to begin with)by the first English who settled in Virginia.  Over time the English used the courts to swindle the tribe out of some of those acreage, leaving them with about 1700 acres by the early 1700's from the original 4400 acres granted them in a treaty in the 1650's.

After the death of Chief William Taptico, the last weroance of the Wicocomico, in 1719, the English confiscated what was left of the lands of the Wicocomico nation and forcibly disbanded the tribe and officially brought the tribe to extinction in the eyes of the English legal system and society.
You can read some more on the Wicocomico HERE and HERE.

Anyway, I am related to this known descendant of the leader of the Wicocomico nation through my DNA but I don't know which of the 4 lines.  I suspect however that I am probably related to him via one of the European Northern ancestors that intermarried into his family tree(which I am assuming there are)as his Y-DNA(paternal) Haplogroup is Q1a3 but he has not listed his mtDNA(maternal).  My mtDNA is obviously NOT native American since it's a J Haplogroup(Northern European) and my Y-DNA, when it comes back, will most probably be a R1b or R1a(also European)given the paper trail I have compiled so far.
At any rate, there is still a chance we are related via his native line since I don't know nearly enough about how all this dna stuff works.
I've written the gentleman to look into doing some joint research with him to see how we ARE related(through which lines), but he elected to ignore my email.
Oh well.....

So I am still left with open questions and no answers.

And of course because my people on this side of the families are from Virginia going back many centuries I also have to deal with the "Plecker Factor" when trying to root out any information in regard to race.

Yes, Mr. Plecker......the bane of every genealogist doing research into Virginia records of the early 20th century.

The Plecker Factor refers to Walter Plecker, who was the head of the Bureau of Vital Statistics for the state of Virginia from 1912 to 1946.  He drafted and lobbied for the passage of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 which instituted the "one drop" rule in the state.  He was a white supremacist who the Nazis consulted in regard to his views on race mixing and eugenics.
Plecker used his position to have anyone with any non-white blood to be classified as a Negro, even Native Americans, as he held the belief that the Virginian Native population had intermarried so often with the Negro population that no one at that point in history in Virginia was pure enough to be considered Native.  He had official records changed so that anyone with non-white blood was recorded in society as Negro.  Many Native or mixed blood Native people fled Virgina during this time to other states.  His manipulating of the records adds another layer of difficulty to trace anyone's Native ancestry in Virginia from that period on.

I had hoped to ask some at the family reunion last month but fewer of the old timers elected to come this year and I didn't get a chance to ask any of the ones who might know something.  I have connected with the wife of my mother's cousin who is their family's historian so I am hoping to get a dialogue going soon on this native American issue with her, if she is aware of it.
Stay tuned......



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thoughts on The Government, Self-Reliance and Dubious Morals

* Just Sluggy rambling and ranting on and on about stuff......*

We have on the whole become a society dependent on government.
Since the massive relief and welfare programs begun during the Depression by FDR and continued and expanded through the years by various congressional sessions and presidents, our society is now more dependent on the government to survive than on our own self-reliance.

You can quote the Bible or any of a number of wise non-religious persons over the centuries but being dependent on a system of government is never a good thing.
Why?  Because government is not a warm blooded caring entity.  It is a cold unfeeling entity driven by power and the accumulation of wealth by those in power.

Charity should begin at home, not be held alone in the arms of government.
Charity should be personal and direct and driven by humans volunteering to help their fellow man out of their own pockets(or through their own donation of time and energy in lieu of money).
Charity should NOT be driven by a government taking money from it's citizens by force(in the form of some taxes)and giving this money to others.  The government decides for me who should be supported and by how much and then forces me to hand over cash for these people.
This is NOT what a free people's republic looks like.

Charity belongs in the hands of the private sector.  Not in the hands of lobbyists and congress.

As for the current Government shutdown.
I don't want to get into a blame game of who is at fault.
Frankly, as far as political parties goes, they are ALL at fault.  The entire political system we currently have is at fault and a vast failure.

I want to talk instead about your own self-reliance and how you should interact with government if you are dependent on the government for your livelihood via a paycheck.

This is far from the first time the government has had a shutdown and people in government jobs have had to go without pay for periods of time.
A large shutdown happened in the 1980's and smaller ones have occurred since then.
Just earlier this year, with the sequester, there were disruptions in people's pay and delays.
Does everyone have such a short memory that they forgot already about that episode?!

So since the government is not totally reliable if you are being paid from the entity, then why do so many people not HAVE A PLAN on how to stay solvent during these shutdowns?
If you have worked for government for any length of time, you KNOW your paycheck is susceptible to sequestering or shutdown!
It's just asinine not to realize this so take steps to help yourself NOW!
While people who have irregular incomes(self-employed or seasonal workers)must have a plan in place to cover their expenses, anyone who works for a government supplied paycheck should also think of themselves as having an irregular income and have a plan in place to avoid a financial disaster.

Yes, I do feel sorry for those on the government's payroll who are experiencing a loss or delay in being paid but my sympathies only go so far.  YOU are responsible for your family's well being so step up and have a plan in life for these times.

Folks on the Government Payroll need to have a plan in place to deal with a disruption in your pay!
So dish yourself up a big helping of self-reliance and make this shutdown the one where you take action and safeguard your family's well being by starting a Fund for this type of emergency.
Call it what you will.....a Shutdown Fund, a Govt. Emergency Fund, etc.
But have money put aside in case you experience a length of time without a paycheck.

And the topic of self-reliance was again brought home this past weekend to me by another news story......

The Government federal food stamp program went down on Saturday for a length of time.  They were updating their system so the Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards(EBTs)wouldn't work.  There were reports of mass hysteria in some states in various stores when word got out that nobody could use their EBT cards to purchase groceries. 

Then 2 Walmart stores in Louisiana decided to let people use their EBT cards during the glitch period anyway.  But they didn't limit purchases to $50 as is the Louisiana state Welfare Programs guideline for emergency situations like this.  They were trying to head off a riot in the store so they just let everyone use their card with no limits and trusted that people would act morally.

During this time, no EBT card showed the purchase limit that was on a particular card so basically these EBT cards could be used to purchase well beyond whatever your monetary limit was.  Store shelves were cleared in those 2 Walmarts, with folks trying to buy 8 carts or more filled to the brim with food.  Far more food than most of them could have fit into their fridges or kitchens in their homes.
And Walmart will have to eat all these overages, which means prices will go up in the long run for all the honest shoppers out there.
Read about it HERE.

These people exhibited dubious morals by taking advantage of the situation and overspending by hundreds of dollars what they are entitled to on those EBT cards.  They were basically stealing from the system, which in turn means they were stealing from everyone who pays payroll taxes in this country.

        Cleared shelves at Walmart in Louisiana.
                   Abandoned carts of food left after EBT glitch was fixed.

I saw this same behavior when I was a student in Baltimore during college when that city experienced a massive snowstorm.  There was a power failure and people broke into stores and there was massive looting during the storm.  People taking advantage of the break down of the system trying to get something for nothing illegally.

If a short few hours worth of computer glitches with EBT cards can cause this kind of situation, imagine what will happen when the government goes bankrupt(and it will happen!)and all those people reliant on the government for their personal welfare are left with nothing.  It will get ugly very quickly in our city's streets.

This is what this country has come to.......filled with a segment of society who feels they are entitled to anything they want, no matter if they have earned it or it is due them.

Stealing from the system(and thus your fellow citizen)is not self-reliance.
It is despicable.

With all the talk about a "moral compass" I feel many people in our society could use one.
Perhaps the government could give one out to each citizen, after it gives one out to every government bureaucrat first. ;-)


Some Days I Wonder Why I Even Bother Getting the Mail

Like the other day, here is what I got in the mail.....

I guess I am of a "certain age" and have gotten onto the old folks mailing lists.  I got an offer for a hearing test and a special price for hearing aids.

Hearing aids......really?
I am only 54 years old folks.

And this one will make you laugh.
Actually this is the SECOND one of these I have received in the mail.....

It's a letter from Whirlpool.
Remember back in the middle of June when I bought an Upright Freezer and it Died within 3 weeks of getting it?
Yes, it was a Whirlpool if you didn't recall.

And now the fine folks at Whirlpool are offering me an EXTENDED SERVICE PLAN for the freezer I returned to the store!

Well, thanks but NO THANKS on the service plan, since you couldn't even deliver me a freezer that would work longer than 3 weeks.
And then you wouldn't replace it and would only pay for it to be repaired!!
No one should have to repair an appliance in the first month they own it.


I will NEVER buy another Whirlpool branded anything for the rest of my life.
Got that Whirlpool?!?

I am off now to take my blood pressure meds(really need them after this post!lol), then try to sweep the new hardwood floors while sitting in my desk chair with wheels so I can put the rug down in the living room area.

Before I go let me tell y'all that I had the weirdest dream last night.

I dreamed that I was a cooking helper for that Pioneer Woman person(who's show I don't care for).....but she was a cross between that woman and that Duggar woman(of the "1 billion kids and counting" show).....but she was also Fundamentalist Mormon with 20 kids.  I had to cook for them all and the only food they wanted me to make was crap, processed stuff or full of butter and beef and other high fat foods. 
It was a very strange dream......
I guess that's what happens when you can't climb the stairs and have to sleep on a sofabed.  8-)


Monday, October 14, 2013

On the Dining Table This Week

The "Will the Health Issues Ever End?" Edition.......
It's a month now since the blood clot was discovered and I am so OVER it and all this testing and pills I need to take.
Now the dr. thinks I have podiatry problems that have nothing to do with the clot so I am off to a referral to a foot dr. as soon as they can fit me in.
Fun times!
For now I am off my feet so meals will be a bit weird, since Hubs has to pitch in......

Anyway, here's a funny photo to lighten my mood......

The Chihuahua has turned her bed upside down but is still laying in it peacefully.  That little thing sticking out on the lower right side is her leg.
She is a nut....

Here are the meals that were planned last week-- 

Sunday--Leftovers-Hubs had Spaghetti and I had a roast beef sandwich
Monday--Hamburgers, mixed veggies, Cantaloupe
Tuesday--Baked Fish, Corn Pudding, leftover Green Beans
Wednesday--Out to eat, using a coupon
Thursday--Lobster, Rutabaga Casserole
Friday--Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes, Beets
Saturday--Leftovers and Broccoli Cheddar Soup

And here's what actually got eaten--

Here's this week's meal plan---
Sunday--Leftovers-Hubs had Spaghetti and I had a roast beef sandwich
Monday--Hamburgers, mixed veggies, Cantaloupe
Tuesday--Baked Fish, Corn Pudding, leftover Green Beans
Wednesday--Out to eat, using a coupon(I had a salad and JD Chicken Strips appetizer.)
Thursday--Lobster, Rutabaga Casserole
Friday--Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas
Saturday--Pizza and leftovers

Everything as planned except no Beets on Friday(Sugar Snaps instead) and I didn't make the Broccoli Soup until Sunday afternoon, so we had leftovers and a frozen pizza.

As for food spending last week.....I spent $89.78 on $145.11 worth of groceries at 3 stores in 4 trips.
I spent $49.69 at one store and stocked up last week on boxed pie crust, frozen veggies, taco shells(bought 10 items and got a $5 off OYNO Coupon), reduced sodium spaghetti sauce, canned tomato puree, some jello boxes, sour cream, diet soda and some frozen fries for #2 Son.  Another $11.56 was 2 frozen pizzas and some chicken deli meat, $3.49 on some cooking oil, and the last $25.04 was for 4 lobsters.  Lobster is an extravagance yet I only buy it on sale at $4.99 lb. which is less than most steaks around here.

As for food waste, we had to throw out a bit of halushki that didn't get eaten in time. 8-(

Leftovers going into this week--meatloaf, roasted potatoes, rutabaga casserole and lobster(which I will make lobster rolls with).

Here's this week's meal plan---
Sunday--Broccoli Soup, Hubs had some meatloaf too
Monday--freezer leftover chicken and stuffing, baked Butternut Squash
Tuesday--Lobster Rolls and/or leftovers, Beets
Wednesday--Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, Coconut Rice, Mixed Veggies
Thursday--leftover Meat loaf, Roasted Taters, Brussel Sprouts
Friday--London Broil, Baked Potatoes w/Broccoli Soup

On the shopping list......I have everything I need to make these meals.  Not sure if my foot will be well enough for me to make them all, but I will try.  I'll need fruit, lettuce, veggies, milk, lunch meat plus will buy a few things ahead that count toward the Thanksgiving Certificate at one store.
$50 should get me what I need/want to buy.

That's what's appearing on the kitchen table this week here at Chez Sluggy.

 What's getting fixed and served at your house this week?


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekend Hijinks....Not Very Hijinky

Is hijinky even a word? lol

My weekend has been low key and not fully what I had planned it to be.
Saturday was filled and we had ourselves an adventure, Hubs and I.

First off, we went to the Annual Church Auction down the road from us.  We go to this every year.
Besides the items you see(well you can see about 75% of the items)that people donate for this event, they auction off business donated gift certificates.  The gift certs. are mostly what I go for.  I bid on(and hopefully win!)certs. for local eateries & entertainment we go to, and services we use anyway(like car oil changes, pet boarding, etc.).  Spending some money now on gift certificates at less than full price, instead of paying full retail when we obtain the goods and services later, saves us a big chunk of change in the long run.

Here's a little video I made with all the certificates I won on Saturday.  I got quite a lot more certs this year than I usually win the bids on.
And forgive me when I keep saying this was FREE in the video.....I KNOW they weren't free as I did pay for them.  I just paid less now than I would have to pay otherwise at the store/business.
And the money goes to the church which makes me feel good.

I had a savings rate of 43% overall on what I spent vs. what I got.

*I really wanted that lamp in the photo for my new living room, but it went for something like $50(still less than retail at that)which was way over what I was willing to shell out of my pocket. ;-)

Then we headed over to KMart.
I had bought a folding camping table Saturday morning online before we left for the auction.
I need one for my shipping HQ(my online packages for eBay/Etsy) and for sewing(to cut fabric on)
since I no longer have a dining room table to do these things on.  And once I get a dining room table, we can always use a good portable banquet type table.
So I waited to get one that didn't fold in the middle at a sale price.

It was $39.99, $10 off.
I bought it online because I had a Get $5 off a $40 order coupon code so if I bought $45 in goods I got $5 off.
So I needed to add $5.01 in goods, which ended up being FREE with the coupon code.
I got diet fruity sodas for me and grape sodas for #2 Son.

Then we hit Weis PMITA Markets for some chicken deli meat for lunch sandwiches for me for the coming week and 2 Di Giorno's pizzas on sale for $5 and I had a $2/2 IPQ, making the pies $4 each.
Hubs made one for dinner Saturday and the other is for #2 Son to have some time this coming week for dinner or lunch, depending on his schedule.

Sunday isn't going nearly as well or as planned.
Judy and I were suppose to meet for lunch but she is too sick to make the trip to her sister's this weekend.
I guess it's all for the best since I woke up to my foot.....the good foot that didn't have the blood clot....very sore and not being able to put much weight on it.
If it isn't one thing, it's another, isn't it? 8-(

So we'll do the meet up/lunch date in a couple of weeks.
And no Judy, I am not bringing the giant zebra's ass with me to Denny's, just my own giant ass......

I think I strained a muscle on the right side of my foot because while the pizza was heating up Saturday evening, I went out into the yard to pick broccoli so I could make more Broccoli Soup.  The yard is sloped where I had to stand to cut the broccoli and I must have hurt my foot standing on that uneven ground.
Ugh again.
So there was no way I was getting into the car and driving to meet Judy today.
I've been hobbling around the house today trying to make that blasted Broccoli Soup and straighten things up a bit.  I've got to be well enough tomorrow since I have a 4 month checkup with my primary doctor Monday morning.  So after the soup is finished I am off the foot for the rest of the day.

So that's my thrilling weekend.
How has yours been?