Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Chicago Bound!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Courtesy of my wonderful husband (and despite a very hard blow to my left knee from a fall during PT on April 2nd) , I am presently on the way to checking a large item off of my bucket list! We’re bound for Chicago, Illinois, to attend the renowned annual Tom Bishop International Miniatures Show & Sale! (Google Tom Bishop for more info.) To lessen the hassle of travel (long security lines at the airport with too much baggage, or really long hours of driving ) and to add to the adventure, we decided to reserve space on the Amtrak Texas Eagle from San Antonio to Chicago. Said train left the Sunset/Amtrak Station, San Antonio at precisely 7AM this morning for the 30 hour trip.

Assuring that our cats and plants were properly readied for care by others, completing the last minute packing of electronics/meds/snacks (and wine!) was accomplished and confirming that both of us were appropriately clothed at our designated departure time from Casa Blackburn required setting the alarm for 4:30 AM. (Why can’t you board in your pajamas?! It would be so much easier!) 4:30 AM is not “morning”; not in my lexicon! 6AM is morning, 7 AM is an even better translation. 4:30 AM is “0-dark 30″, and arrives much too soon after 11:30 PM! Still, we got everything accomplished and were comfortably settled into our roomette ‘nest’ on the Eagle; necessities close at hand and the rest of our luggage easily accessible as it pulled out of the station. Tom had to handle all of our luggage & gadget transfers; I’m hobbled by two Ace-bandage wrapped knees and my cane!

First call for breakfast was at 7:35 AM. If you travel by Coach, the diner car is definitely going to eat into your budget;  the food is very good,  but expensive. If you are ticketed in Roomette or above, all meals are included in your fare – it is well worth the difference between Coach and Room rate! Bluebonnets, wild mustard, rose mallows (and other wildflowers which I shall have to identify later) carpeted many of the fields we passed. Around 11:30 AM, we made a “brief” stop to pick up new train personnel. The replacement crew was MIA for an hour, so ‘brief’ became 60 minutes That’s alright; ensconced in our own private roomette with no scheduled connections to be concerned about, it was a comfy non-problem. Between Buffalo and Palestine, TX the view changed considerably. In amongst tall pine trees, marsh grasses and many leafy green ‘unknowns’, large stretches of our view began filling with a wealth of small trees totally covered in small white blossoms. The flowers were more separate (and larger) than crepe myrtle blooms; Tom described them (mind you, the scenery is passing by at roughly 60-80 mph) as “almost like a small dogwood”. Somewhat later, a fellow passenger of Car 2220 identified them as exactly that; they are, indeed, dogwoods, and they are welcoming spring with a fine display!

2:51PM. . . . .Our trusty steed (um, bird?) has suddenly stopped in the middle of a attractively green, leafy, totally unidentifiable area (with a lush pasture outside the opposite window). Having checked the color of the sky outside both the east & west windows (trust me; it’s important – it’s nearing tornado season), we assume that our earlier delay means that we now need to avoid sharing tracks with other trains which are still running on schedule.  We were rolling again a bit after 4PM and back to enjoying the scenery. Apparently, “there was an incident in Ft. Worth” early this morning. Whatever happened, It probably was the cause of our delayed replacement crew; it definitely is the reason we will be skipping several of the scheduled stops (Temple, Fort Worth and Dallas, among them) and heading straight for Longview. It was a surprisingly slow journey to Longview; I’m not complaining, as we had much more time to watch the varied scenery pass by. We were enjoying our dinner when the train pulled into the Longview station; several chartered buses and a hoard of somewhat disgruntled, luggage laden travelers on the station platform explained our slow pace. . . the conductor obviously had been biding his time, allowing all of the missed passengers to catch up with us! We got ready for bed fairly early; when it gets dark outside, the porter appears to make up your beds. Everything (except the train horn!) gets very quiet. . . and we’d been up since 4:30AM! Goodnight, all!

RA Triumphs and an OMG “Grandma Moment”

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Some of the medications I take in an effort to slow the damage Rheumatoid Arthritis causes (not just to joints, but also the internal organs) have side effects.  Actually, all of them do, even the various cocktails of vitamins; that’s why the close supervision of a physician is necessary.  One of the side effects is the leaching of inordinate amounts of calcium from the bones – not good ever, but even more problematic for a gal in her 60’s, when osteoporosis is a normal part of the ageing process.

This morning, I had one of those pass-or-fail appointments with my Rheumatologist. Before I met with him, I had another Dexa-Scan (bone density test) to see if two years of nightly Forteo ™ injections had strengthened my skeletal structure. My “best guess” was that the results would come back aces, as I don’t break when I fall, I bounce.  Yes, usually minus some strips of flesh, but nothing more than that.  I was still more than a little nervous when my doctor entered the examination room, though . . . . because I had three photographs of me during the trail-ride in July arranged on his desk-top!  He was going to go ballistic if my Dexa-Scan numbers were low!

I received an A+ grade on the bone density test, and will finish my course of Forteo™ in about one week!  I also got “permission” (as if I ever wait for that!) to ride as much as I wish.  I’m also on a different schedule for my Cimzia™ self-injections.  The usual (400 mg once a month)  dosage has left me with good weeks & bad weeks, so the new schedule (200mg every two weeks) should help to keep the serum level more constant.  Great news, as I simply don’t have time to feel bad!

This evening, 5 year-old Sara was helping me prepare dinner as we discussed the various wildlife she has viewed through our patio door. She listed the raccoons, possums, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, finches, red-headed woodpeckers, cow-birds and the squirrels. Suddenly, she turned her bright blue eyes towards me and asked, “Grandma, how do squirrels get baby squirrels?”  I froze in place – for a moment, I simply froze and attempted to look thoughtful.  What I was really thinking was that I had absolutely no idea how much basic biology had already been explained by my daughter and son-in-law! What’s a grandmother supposed to do?!  After “looking thoughtful”, I answered “Hm. I’ve never really studied squirrels, Sara. Your mommy probably knows”.  Later in the evening, when she was engaged in activity with her grandpa and uncle, I told my daughter about the question. With that deer-in-the-headlights look that all parents wear at some point (and which probably more correctly describes the look I wore earlier this evening), she said that the subject hadn’t come up at home yet. “Well, brace yourself, it’s going to come up soon!”  I can picture it now: Sara asks and her parents give her the short-text, age-appropriate answer. Sara mulls over this new information for a moment, then solemnly announces “You need to tell grandma about all of this, because she doesn’t know!”  LOL!


Long Dresses & Tall Grass

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

With Stage 2 water restrictions in place and a humid high of 93 degrees predicted, I hauled my stiff and unwilling joints out the door at 7am, planning to water all three lawns, the sun & shade gardens, and the ever-expanding collection of potted flowers, foliage and herbs. (I have never met a gardening center I didn’t like – LOL!)  Stage 2 allows sprinkler use one day each week, beginning and ending in the pre-dawn hours; that might be doable with a in-ground sprinkler system, but we don’t have one. Hand-held (hose) watering is allowed at any hour, and I try to finish the task before the mercury climbs too high. This morning’s watering costume was a colorful floor-length (ergo grass-length) halter dress; totally unsuitable for a 64 year-old, but then I do not expect to wear it beyond the boundaries of my yard 😀

I gave the back lawn, sun garden, pots and shade/tropical bed (along with the hem of my dress!) a thorough soaking , and then took leave of whatever good sense I claim to have!  What I should have done is move to the front lawns. . . they were thirsty, too.  What I did do was put away the hose and grasp the pruning shears. We have a 40- 50 foot long wall of red-tipped photinias against our back fence; it provides shelter for white-wing & Inca doves, cardinals, blue jays, wrens, house sparrows, finches, pileated woodpeckers,  black-capped chickadees, titmice and starlings, momma squirrel and her two juvenile offspring  plus the odd grackle and mockingbird  –  a secure place to await their turn at the three feeders or birdbath or make up their minds to forage around the base of the feeders. However, the “bushes” are over two storeys high now, and many of the branches were extending well out beyond the feeders. into the yard.  As well fed as our adopted managerie is, they don’t need branch-bridges to reach the seed!  With pruning shears in hand, I set about trimming everything I could reach back to the boundary line.

The arbitrary boundary is the edging which our landscaper installed last year to separate the bushes & river rock from the lawn; apparently, there has been quite a lot of forward growth since Jesse and his team put that edging in place!  Crouching down repeatedly to tame the bottom branches quickly became a problem; my kneess and hips  announced that they would make me pay dearly if I did not stop immediately, and the water-line on my skirt climbed to knee level. The lower part of the dress was actually becoming quite heavy.  Bend down, prune branches, grab dress bodice, stand up – repeat for length of “hedge”.  Then I made a pass at everything from knee-level to eye-level. . . certainly less challenging (and painful), though I had to keep pulling my bodice up avoid ‘flashing’ the avian & rodent audience!  Tired, sore and with the temperature now in the high 8o’s, I went totally daft! “Everything from eye-level to full upward arm extension must be cut back.”  Do you have a picture of this idiocy in your mind?

This evening, I am confined to the sofa with a heating pad on my upper back and shoulders and an ice pack being shifted between right knee and left knee. It hurts when I try to reach my keyboard , even though it is sitting on my lap. However,  the bushes have been tamed (they look quite nice, actually) and the higher, out-of-reach branches form a very pleasing canopy. Will I try this again?  Not until I completely forget how much of me hurts right now!  Oh, the soggy & heavy dress coupled with over-the-head pruning?  Yes, the menagerie got flashed. . . . . several times!

Tomorrow. . . . the lawns need watering. Sigh!


The Subject is Shoes!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012


Finally - size 5 shoes which stay on my feet!


Yes, I know. . . after letting the Blackburn Digest languish for nearly nine months, I reappear with shoes as a subject?!  No, I haven’t lost any (more) of my marbles, and I promise to do an actual  catch-up post in the near future 😉  But today, I Found Shoes!

(Back Story) Being trapped in over-sized (8) &  heavy orthopedic shoes w/thick custom inserts for many years has put any somewhat attractive footwear rather high on my interest list, frankly.  Until my mid-thirties, my shoe size was 5 AA. – somewhat small for balancing  my 5′ 7 1/2″ height and very difficult to find at a reasonable price, but a lot of hunting and a sense of adventure  provided the needed items.  Because  Rheumatoid Arthritis caused severe dislocation of my toes , any pretty/stylish/sassy/sporty shoes have been off-limits for a couple of (a few?) decades – I’ve lost track. A few of those years were spent with braces attached to the shoes and velcroed just below my knees; they helped keep me upright, but did zero as a fashion statement!  I’m not vain, but dressing to the standards my job required (before I retired in 2005) was made very difficult by the no-choice footwear.

In 2008, I was blessed in finding an orthopedic surgeon who’s opinion matched the one I had held for several years; all ten toes needed to be amputated. I walked with far less pain during the early recovery period from that surgery than I had experienced daily for many years!  However, my dreams of ‘attractive shoes’ were dashed when the surgeon informed me I would still need my size 8 clod-hoppers with a toe-cap attached to the custom-made insert :(   I have been zipping around our house & yard (and a few over-long conventions) barefoot since then. . . . NOT surgeon approved behavior, but virtually pain free .something pretty.  I’ve found some slippers/moccasins which were amenable to remaining attached to my feet (as opposed to my walking right out of them) . . . apparently, the dislocated little monsters had been serving  some useful purpose after all!  Shoes to leave my house in were more elusive, until today :)

I had wine, cat treats and butter on my shopping list and decided to brave the brand new and incredibly  h-u-g-e HEB Plus supermarket which recently opened about 3 miles from Casa Blackburn.  (I think 180,000 sq. ft. was the space quoted in the grand opening announcement!)  Quite an adventure; sparkling clean (of course), lovely wide aisles, a full butcher’s shop and fresh fish market. . . . “specialty shops” (electronics, outdoor furniture, very large plant nursery, toddler-to-adult clothing section, etc.) around the side walls.  Altogether, a very dangerous place to visit; you could walk in looking for Salem bleu cheese and a quart of milk and return to your car with a flat-screen TV and a service for eight of china or enough sun/shade loving trees & plants to completely re- landscape your yard!  It’s a rather overwhelming,  upscale version of a Target or Walmart.

Locating the items on my short shopping list provided lots of walking exercise (and a lantana plant and a potted parsley found their way into my cart), but best of all, they had cute shoes in one of the Seasonal aisles!  Size 5 and laced far enough up the foot to keep them in place – Yay!!!  It’s so cool to look down at my feet and see just a bit of the shoe peeking out beyond the hem of my slacks instead of my usual view of bulky black “boats”.  Hmm – I may need to go back to the ‘mega-market’ tomorrow. . . . . they have this style in blue, too!

They Faxed What To You?!

Friday, April 1st, 2011


This could be a funny entry, but I think I have lost my sense of medical humor after many years of erroneously trusting doctors staff to use old-fashioned common sense, basic powers of deduction and/or simple reasoning skills. Yes, I know. Trust me, I know it’s a silly (and sometimes dangerous) assumption; I just continue to expect intelligent file handling and proper sharing of the correct information when my physician refers me to another specialist! To be fair, most of the staff get it right most of the time, but??????

At my last appointment with my RA doc (the follow-up appointment which had originally been scheduled for November 2010 and cancelled/rescheduled so often that it took place March 29, 2011!), the in-house lab did an extensive panel of blood tests. Several hours later, one of the nurses called to explain that some of the results were back – my ALP (Alkaline Phosphatase) was sky-high & Doctor W wanted me to see a Gastroenterologist soon. (Hmmm – same story about 12 months ago.)

I’ve put off contacting the Gastro’s office as I am still fighting a nasty bout of IBS. (Actually, I am betting that is why the lab work came back wonky.) Someone at Dr. W’s office sent my lab results and contact info to the Gastro; his nurse called me today to set up an appointment. A hint of puzzlement in her voice tipped me off – – – -something wasn’t adding up for her. Not sure why, but I asked “What is the date on the lab-work you are referencing?” “Uh, erm, it seems to be July of 2010!” No wonder she was confused!

I immediately called Dr. W’s office, went through the customary dance with the automated phone service and managed to snag a real, live person. (Pressing “0” sometimes over-rides the system and lets you contact a person instead of a “leave a message, we’ll get back to you” recording.) As briefly as possible, I explained that someone at their office had contacted Dr. G’s office and supplied them with July 2010 lab results instead of the relevant March 2011 lab results! I expected some embarrassment and an apology – what I received was a blithe explanation along the lines of “Oh yes, that happens often. The lab results do not reach a patients file for a couple of days ~ if our staff contacts another physician right after we’ve seen you here, the current results aren’t available to them yet.” OK. . . .so this seems to be common knowledge throughout the practice? With that in mind, it doesn’t occur to the staff to seek out up-to-date lab results before contacting another physician? Groan! Somebody, anybody, please tell me this sort of error doesn’t occur with predictable regularity with this clinic!!! (Except, obviously, it does!)

I Kid You Not!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

I Kid You Not!

I did the two-week shopping alone a few days ago. That is an activity normally shared with Tom, as it doesn’t take long for the cart to gain enough weight to start pushing me around the store, instead of me pushing it. However, the weekend sort of got away from me. Tom agreed to pick up the “Christy Cripplers” (aka 20 lb. bags of birdseed for the outdoor flock, 27 lb. tubs of cat litter for the indoor herd and multiple 12-packs of Dr. Pepper) on his way home from work so that I could tackle the rest of the list solo.

Along with the usual milk, butter (well. . . .almost butter), paper products and ingredients for 14 meals, there were the finally-ran-out-of items such as horseradish sauce, lemon juice. . . .and Tom’s deodorant. I knew what aisle it was on (they haven’t shuffled the store recently – I hate it when the market decides it is time for that selling gimmick!), I knew what it looked like……. or did I? I stopped the cart at the appropriate location, reached for the item, and – Oh, wonderful! Someone thought it would be a great idea to change the packaging design of the entire Old Spice line! Instead of grab-and-go, I found myself staring at a sea of unfamiliar labels, attempting to locate Old Spice High Endurance Fresh Scent! Finally found the item in its new ‘uniform’, and proceeded to the other items and aisles on my list.

Today, Tom pulled out the new dispenser and paused to study the label; I assume his first thought was “this isn’t right” :) Then he started laughing and showed me the reason why: on the front label, in very small letters, are the words “Same Stuff: Different Label”. Cute, but it pales in comparison to the new verbiage on the back label! I can only assume that Proctor & Gamble hired the writers at to “spice up” the text: “Contains odor-fighting “atomic robots” that “shoot lasers” at your “stench monsters” and replaces them with fresh, clean, masculine “scent elves”. I kid you not! Wonder if the powers-that-be at Old Spice/Procter & Gamble are sitting at their desks waiting for the first commentaries to arrive? LOL – at least someone on the team has a sense of humor :)

Welcoming 2011 in the ER

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

We planned a quiet, laid-back New Year’s Eve; a home-cooked meal, a DVD and “maybe” staying up until midnight. Thomas (IV) had been fighting a migraine for two days, and truly only wanted peace, quiet & reduced pain; he retreated to his space after dinner, hoping sleep would help, and we decamped to our bedroom.

By 10:15 or 10:30pm, I had opted for sleep while Tom (III) was ready to watch the rest of the movie we’d started. I may have been asleep for 10 minutes when Tom woke me up. Thomas had made his way downstairs for help; he was cold and clammy to the touch, extremely pale and heaving up lunch/dinner/ et al. We arrived at the local ER around 11:45 pm and it took several exams and two doses of a medicine “cocktail” to make the nausea subside and the headache recede (not disappear). By 2 am on New Year’s Day, we were on our way home. Thomas was surely “seeing stars” through most of this, but it wasn’t the traditional (and illegal) fireworks being set off to celebrate the begining of 2011!

All is well now, except that his headache is still lurking like a beast ready to pounce. I’m hoping he got the last of 2010 out of his system and 2012 will be healthier for him! (Note:I must have still been tired when I wrote this! As Shannon pointed out, I’m hoping 2011 will be a better year for him!)

Off with her head (erm, hand)!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

O.K., confession time. With the guys off at work all day and “The Hand” sending out post-surgical messages I cannot repeat in polite (or even semi-polite) society , my “plan” was to escape boredom and pain by napping as much as possible.   However,  my self-appointed ‘nurse cats’  have decided  it would be a good idea (and very helpful, of course) to keep the injured hand warm if I  happen to doze off!  This ‘good deed’ consists of either Diva or Cassidy draping their considerable weight over the elevated hand , centering themselves over the bandage, and falling into a deep, virtuous sleep! 

I’ve started fiddling around with the bandage. Hey! The surgeon did say we could move to a smaller bandage after 3 days!  I’ve  re-wrapped the Ace bandage several times and in several unorthodox ways , as well as cutting away a few parts of the ‘cotton batting’ which had become rather frayed and disreputable. None of this activity has produced much in the way of comfort or improvement :(   The biggest problem is that some subconscious portion of my brain has decided that the main discomfort is a result of having the ring finger firmly bound to the little finger by layers I’ve been way-too- chicken to delve into. (Actually, I had worked my way down to three layers of ‘cotton batting’, all of which are firmly attached to me by post-operative bleeding. Nope – no way am I fooling around with that!   By the time Tom arrived home from work, I had latched onto a much better plan; catch my delightful neighbor/Ace Nurse at home, if I could, and have her redo this whole mess, hopefully leaving only the ring finger bandaged!

I’m thrilled to report that the Ace bandage is now banished, best neighbor/nurse freed me from the layers of felt/batting/whatever and released the trapped little finger!  There’s a strip of “magical gauze with mystical healing  & anti-bacterial properties”  (that’s an extremely loose quote from Nurse Kathy) that she left in place directly over the incisions . . . . .I was rather relieved, as said strip seems to be firmly attached to me by the aforementioned bleeding!  Still, with a fresh gauze wrap and bright pink cohesive tape wrap, I’m feeling freer and somewhat stylish. LOL!

Good morning – rough evening!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Tom  and I had to report in at the surgical suite of The Hand Center of San Antonio at 6:00 this morning.  Ugh!  Granted, it didn’t give me a long time (thirsty and hungry) to wait or become nervous, but we were sure doing a lot of yawning!

Everything went like clock-work, and I’ve seldom met a warmer, friendlier group of clerks, nurses & technicians.  The in-take clerk (usually the worst of the “just-the-facts-ma’am, sign…here, and there, “go sit and wait to be called” crew) was warm, welcoming, and even shunted some of the lengthy paper-work towards Tom to be filled out once she noticed that the pen & I were engaged in a small battle of wills.  (I try to have a Christy – friendly pen with me at all times, but I didn’t even bother to take a purse with me; just my ID, insurance card and med list.)

Pre-Op was fairly empty when I was taken back to be prepped. All of the nurses were sweet and “un-rushed” (If it isn’t a real word, it ought to be) and I drew Christy (yep!) as my prep-nurse. Went through the standard litany of questions (designed to avoid errors, so I don’t mind them at all!), but Christy didn’t employ the usual Drill Sargent approach :)  Got “comfortable” in my surgical gown (yeah, riiiiiight) and another nurse came along to start the requisite IV; lucked out again, as she slid the needle in and taped everything down without a twinge!  I was handed a marker and initialed the area Dr. Rust would be working on – LOL!  Met my anesthesiologist, who was a tad surprised to hear that all he’d be using the IV line for (aside from the standard Ringer’s Lactate) was a light bit of sedation; Dr. Rust & I had agreed on local injections at the base of the 2nd and 3rd fingers.

One of the pluses of avoiding general anesthesia is that I went straight from the OR to Level 2 Recovery, where I spent a very short time being monitored for wonky blood pressure (it does it every time!) and a little longer sipping dark roast coffee and sitting in a recliner before Tom came in to take me home! I was settled on our bed by 9:30 am.

That’s a good thing, because my surgeon encountered more than she expected.  After she removed the cyst, she found a large rheumatoid bony growth that had to be cut away (remember my “things can hide in x-rays” note a couple of posts back? Bingo!) . Hence, I apparently have a V – shaped incision instead of the small, straight cut she’d planned to make. It also means that the pain level is several notches higher than I expected; when bone-cutting is involved, it definitely ramps up the Ouch Factor!

I won’t be making miniatures for a couple of weeks, but I’ll feel better in a couple of days :)

Run up to surgery # . . . whatever!

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Back on September 1st, I met with Dr. Stace’ Rust about the knot/lump/whatever which has been forming on my left hand ring finger, palm-side and just below the first knuckle.  It has been growing for several months……..not actually sure how long, as I have a bad habit of trying to ignore “little things”, even when they get in the way of normal mobility or make tasks harder. (It’s called Surviving RA!)  I finally quit ignoring this one when it occurred to me that I might not be able to remove my wedding ring or engagement band without having them cut off  by a jeweler!  Tom accomplished the removal with liquid dish soap, a great deal of pulling and some mashing of the knuckle; that was enough to convince me I needed to find a hand surgeon!  ( The wizard who performed three reconstructive surgeries on my right hand, the last one several years ago, has since switched to the more lucrative field of plastic surgery!! )

During my mid- August appointment with my rheumatologist, I asked him who his favorite hand surgeon was.  I was lucky on several counts; her practice is located close-by, she was accepting new patients, and I could get an appointment with her relatively quickly!  At the first visit (Sept. 1st) , she had several x-rays taken to rule out a bone chip or other solid mass. Nothing there, except a rather crooked finger. (Take note . . . .things can hide from an x-ray!)  Examining the finger, she posited three possibilities; rheumatoid nodule, benign tumor or cyst.  We could confirm or rule out door number three by having her attempt to use the typical, rather large needle & syringe to drain it.  Yes, I let her – yes, it is a fairly uncomfortable procedure – yes, it was a cyst.  Caveat: it could still return, at which point we would need to discuss surgery.

September 2nd, when I removed the band aid, the cyst had refilled and enlarged a bit!  Rats!   Back to Dr. R’s ~ time to get me on the surgical schedule. I saw her on Sept. 13th and my calendar turned out to be much more of a problem then hers!  Sept. 17th-19th was the Society of American Miniaturists (SAM’s) Wonderful  Workshop Weekend. I was signed up for two workshops, haven’t been to a real Miniatures Show in over a year, this was the firs Workshop Weekend at the new Temple, Texas venue  and I  Was Going!  Sept.21st & 22nd were appointments I had already booked with medical appointments and  Sept. 24th was our last round-trip to Houston & Baylor University for follow-up on Tom’s injured left eye (we’re rotating him back to the excellent medical team here in San Antonio, and I was not going to make that drive in surgical bandages)!  Finally settled on October 21st, which sent me into an energy-draining quest to complete everything on my “You need two hands” list before the chosen date. I almost finished everything on the list, too!