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Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Call of the Wild . . . Fires

It has been anything BUT a quiet week around these parts and it is not over yet! We have received numerous automated evacuate-now calls and fortunately, they have not been for the part of Healdsburg in which we reside.

But we are on alert. Mostly for any increase in the winds that could happen this evening. Last evening the winds did not increase as they did last Sunday night.

Sadly we have two close friends who have lost their homes and all their possessions earlier this week. The good news is that they themselves made it out okay. They are now left to begin their lives anew.

In the map above showing the fires and their locations, Healdsburg can be seen right in the middle of the danger zone -- the air here is heavy with the aroma and the sight of smoke. This evening if we see any embers drifting around or any red glow from Fitch Mountain (which is close to us, a mile or so) we are "down the road".

We have been semi-packed for a couple of days and need only about 10-15 minutes to finish and clear out. The major dilemma is "what to take" and what to leave . . . and that is perplexing. We know that we just could not take all that we would like to take.

We did have a nice visit from Lisa & Bob who flew in from Seattle for a week. Lisa won the airline tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. and they chose to visit us here in Northern California. We are happy that they did but feel bad that we were under stress about the fire conditions.

Above are a few of the moments that we shared captured digitally. We had several nice dinners and even celebrated birthdays for all as our neighbor left us a wonderful lemon cake already decorated for a teacher at their son's school and because of the fire could not give to her -- so we benefited.

Lisa & Bob made a side trip to Grass Valley to visit Bob's son's family and they were there when the firestorm hit. They originally were going to just spend one day there -- last Saturday, and return on Sunday night, and it is a good thing that they decided to spend one more night as they would have been right in the path of the fire. They stayed three nights.

The fire curtailed a lot of the plans for how they were going to spend their time and they are now back home in Arlington, Washinton recuperating from the vacation before heading back to work on Monday.

And NOW amidst the chaos of fire warnings and breathing smoke and just not knowing what was about to happen -- another call came in that was earth-shattering to me.

Since the early days of doing the HILES family tree research (the 1970s) I quickly had come to the end of the trail regarding the HILES line. In other words, a giant brick wall was something I faced when it came to knowing any details past my 4th great grandfather John Hiles Sr.

John Sr was reportedly born in Pennsylvania but I had NO idea of who his father and mother were and from where or what country they had come . . . every time I thought that I was close to discovering the answer I was thwarted. And it seemed that no other HILES researcher knew either.

Until now . . . thank you, Lora Hiles, our cousin to whom I spoke to on the phone a few days ago and she shared with me the news that we all have been wanting to find. She told me about a Mickey Hile who had written a book (non-public) that detailed the answers to the HILES line.

Not only did I not know the name of John Sr's father, I did not know the country of origin. I always thought it was either England or Germany, but had no proof that it was either one for sure. But now if Mickey's facts are correct -- our family came from Germany.

So, I am hoping to be able to divulge the names and other details just as soon as we feel more comfortable with their veracity -- we Lora, is trying to obtain a copy of the book and then we'll be able to be more confident in what we see.

If all goes well, we will know the names of my 5th gr grandfather and maybe my 6th gr grandfather and their spouses and offspring. I had thought that that was something I should just get used to not-knowing.

I have started preliminarily plugging some of the information into my family tree without the connections as yet. Once we get confirmation I'll make the appropriate connections.

What a week . . .

And here is a little-known fact from Gail's side of the tree -- Millard Powers Fillmore, the 13th POTUS, is her 3rd Half-Cousin, 4 times removed . . .he served 1850 - 1853.

Gail's father, Millard Calhoun Bouldron, was known as "Jimmy" throughout his life was surely named after the former president, though I never heard him say that.

And lastly:

We have DNA to thank for helping to figure out the next step in the HILES line. Apparently Mickey Hile, who is at or near 80 years old, tested as a 100% DNA match to those of us who have had their DNA tested.

I have to say that I had seen some of the names that were possible Hiles connections, but because of the varied spellings, I was put off. Heyl, Heil & many other variations caused me to not consider them.

Several years ago I communicated with a young woman who said that her father and I were a DNA match -- their name was HEIL -- and their line was from Germany. But because we could not ever determine the link we did not continue the search.

Now, it appears that we do have the link and the research will go on past that brick wall -- most likely there will be another brick wall soon begging for another DNA solution.

And that's a bit of our week -- you can google Healdsburg to see fire status -- Hope to see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Day Late . . . $ $ $' s Short

Okay, so I'm a day later than usual, but I have good excuses reasons . . . first of all, this has been an unusual week in that almost all of our appliances and electronic devices (it feels like) have acted up in one way or the other.  On the other hand, it is still "harvest time around our town":

Apparently, the high heat that we experienced has caused a huge reaction in the wine industry and their efforts to pick the fruit before it becomes like raisins.

And certainly, a few glasses of vino would have helped us to better deal with the equipment malfunctions except that we are precluded from wine and spirits replaced with other medications -- what a dilemma . . .

First -- as you recall from a mention last week, our wash machine was screaming like a jet engine. Then the ice maker in the freezer compartment stopped producing ice which is critical to the happiness of Dino and then the filter went out and needed replacing. To complete the kitchen woes, the dishwasher needed attention after once depositing water in the cabinet next to it . . .

Further frustration came when the plug-in charger for our Dyson portable vacuum bent and would no longer produce a charge . . . we have other vacuum options but the portable is so nice when needing a quick sweep . . .

Then, for no known reason the plug-in "chime" for our "Ring" doorbell quit after we moved it to another location requiring (after a couple of tech calls) a replacement to be sent.

But the clincher of the week was what did us "in" . . . the router needed a firmware update and in the middle of doing that our cable modem malfunctioned -- which effectively disconnected us from the outside world -- no telephones, no Wi-Fi service, and no tech until "sometime" Saturday.

And, we have out-of-town visitors again this week -- Lisa & Bob are here from Arlington, Washington for the week. It is really nice to see them after almost two years when they visited last.

But, back to our tech mess. After I canceled our service repair appointment with Sears (and I am so glad that I did) I had made an appointment with a small business appliance repair from our town that had really high ratings on the Yelp website (including mine now too).

Ron, the appliance repair genius came late Thursday and in less than an hour, fixed the washer, the ice maker, the fridge and the dishwasher -- absolutely astonishing. He even scouted around to see if there were other appliances that he could tend to . . . his contact info is vital now.

On Saturday, mid-morning, Xfinity came by and after a couple of hours and replacing the malfunctioning modem we think that we are back in business for now. I never felt so "out-of-it" when we had the service disruption and it points out how horrible it must be for the folks in the hurricane-ravaged areas. We at least have electricity and some of our appliances working -- those folks have nothing working including the basics like water and heat or a/c.

So, back to some of the "regular" things that happened this week:

In one of my searches in old newspapers, I spotted the above story and it was of interest for a variety of reasons. 1) it was about HILES people  2) it takes place in a town very near where we lived in Illinois & 3) just because.

I am sure that there are countless stories that are similar due to war times and conditions. I do not know yet if our branch of Hiles is related, but I'm checking into that. The above article was published in the Decatur, Illinois newspaper in 1990. It sounds like movie material to me . . .

And then it is always fascinating to me when I spot something in a newspaper about one of our relatives that is "news" to me.

Stewart Nelson Bumgardner is my Uncle, my mother's brother.  I knew of many of his career changes over the years but this one mentioned here -- "Diabolt", they must have meant "Diebold", is one that I do not recall ever hearing about -- maybe it was short-term.  (Chicago Trib, 1962)

And speaking of Stewart . . . and "Jimmy" Bouldron:

There is a new museum being created in honor of WWII veterans and to remember the huge impact of that war.

Millard Calhoun "Jimmy" Bouldron, Gail's father along with Stewart will have recognition displayed in that museum for their service during the war.

The interesting thing for me is that while I know of Jim's service and have some photos of him in the military during the war, I never really knew of Uncle Stew's service, nor do I have any photos of him at that time. But there are several records mentioning Stewart's service.

In 1945 Jim Bouldron was 31 years old and he served in Japan. That same year Stewart was 19 and while he served in the Navy, I do not know where he was serving.

And lastly,

On the Nightstand Actually on the iPad in the Audible app, we have listened to this book being read by the author -- and have enjoyed it very much.

It is an amazing story of someone rising way above their initial place in life and how all of that took place.

It was a combination of just plain hard work, the support of many others and some good old-fashioned luck.

We look forward to reading possible future writings by this author.
He is still a young man and has such a great potential to enthrall us more in his captivating way of describing his life.

One interesting thing about the success of this person is that he was born and raised in this country when so often we read about the success of someone "coming" to this country and taking advantage of the "American" dream.

That is a bit of our week, see you all "in a few" !

Saturday, September 30, 2017

All in Fall

Again we are enjoying a variety of weather days. Some days are really warm, some are cool and many are in between and quite fallish. We actually had two or three days when we did not put on the a/c and still felt comfortable.

The news of this week is that Dino turned six years old. He is still like a pup to us in many ways and we enjoy that. For his birthday we made a big deal of the day including numerous guests and of course more gifts than we could count -- NOT. We actually wished him well and made sure that the day fell into his normal routine, which is what he really enjoys as well.

The far left photo is the most recent, the remainders are at various times. One of his favorite activities is, of course, napping during the day.  At one point he looks like he woke from a daymare and was bracing himself for impact. Later that evening he crawled well into his nighttime bed and just his nose and one paw were showing.

Usually, I have a huge amount of research progress to report, but this week, while I did do some researching, unfortunately, my time got used up elsewhere.

Our washer (of the washer/dryer duo) was acting up so I made an urgent call to the Sears repair department. During the wash cycle, the machine goes into what sounds like a failing jet engine and nothing stops the noise until it winds down after unplugging.

We made a date of Thursday, the 28th between the hours of 8 -- Noon. I was not happy about a 4-hour window, but went ahead and bit the bullet.

I confirmed the appointment on Tuesday and was told that all was set for Thursday. On Thursday I called again at 9:30 am just to see if I could narrow down the time when I could expect to see the repair folks. I was told that unfortunately there was a "scheduling error" and they would not be coming out today . . .

I was then told that they made a new appointment for us on the coming Monday from 1-5. I could not believe what I was hearing after I had made every attempt to be sure that all was on time. I asked to have the situation escalated and after many transfers and delays was essentially given the same information that I already had -- I asked to speak with the manager in charge and was told that "he doesn't take phone calls".

I went online and got the email address of Sears "Corporate" to register a complaint. While online I read countless complaints about essentially the same issues that  I had. I did get a note back from a corporate group asking that I give them another chance to do their job and to live up to their commitment.

Bottomline -- I arranged for another company to come repair the washer and I canceled the Monday Sears appointment -- "never again" . . .

Now, the other encounter that used up so much of my research time came about from adding a new router extender to my existing home network. I know from past experiences that anytime I mess with the router, that it is going to be a nosebleed -- and was it ever.

I was confident that "this" time it would all go smoothly and all be up and running in a relatively short time.

At first, I thought that I succeeded but then I started getting an indication that the new extender was not being recognized and then the devices supposedly relying on it were not connecting to the web.

Several hours later, after going through the plugging and unplugging of equipment and trying to decipher the accent of the technician, I think it is working although I am not totally sure yet.

There were many statements that I never did understand for sure but got very tired of asking them to repeat what they just had said. So for parts of three days, I was exhausted from being so frustrated.
I am not sure what the answer is, but giving up "tech" should not be a solution, instead something should be done to fix the communication problems that exist in almost every tech support call or request.

I do have to say though that I had to call two other companies for tech support and I received absolutely great support and was exactly what I needed to fix the problem -- those two companies were Apple and Ring. Both were outstanding.

Our "poor" Giants -- at least one thing good happened due to their win last night over the Padres -- they are not in jeopardy to lose 100 games this season.

With the win, they at most can only lose 99 games this year. There is a game going on right now -- Matt Cain, is pitching his final game before retiring and we'll watch it a bit later.

With the way Matt Cain is performing lately, it would not be out of the realm for loss number 98 to be there . . . just saying.

Something to look forward to . . .!

This is one of the best genealogical programs ever. While I am not thrilled with some of the folks being featured, I know that a thorough job will be done detailing their family trees.

Often too, I change my opinion of folks once I see them on the show and learn a lot about their family and circumstances.

So, I look forward to Tuesday evening when PBS runs this program.

And lastly,

I hope to catch up on some of the time that I had to spend dealing with unresponsive companies and with way over complex products -- just to make things work the way that they should anyway.

I'm putting off the housework this weekend, but I'll still do some cooking, cause we enjoy eating. But once that is over, I hope that it'll be back to genealogical researching . . .

That is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

♪ Everything is Bluetiful . . . ♫

Of course in its own way . . . but this is definitely the start of fall. While today is the second day of fall, it is the first day that we actually put the heater on early in the morning. We will just take "the chill off" and then probably convert to the a/c because it is slated to be in the mid-80s starting today and coming next week again is the mid-90s . . .

The above collage is somewhat how things looked this morning out back. There are still some blooms to be enjoyed but they are getting sparse.

Why "Bluetiful"?

This is newsworthy, right?  Crayola finally named their new crayon for the "new blue" and it is Bluetiful.

I happen to really like this new color and enjoy seeing it in all its forms.

If only they had discovered this color years ago -- what a difference we would be seeing all around nowadays.

The fun news for us this week started on Wednesday, mid-morning when "out of the blue" we received a call from Gail's sister, Laurii and her husband Gary.

They wanted to know if we were open to a visit from them the next day, Thursday.

Of course, we were open to a visit and were excited to see them after several years -- the last time was in Stanley, Idaho.

Another fun thing was that Dino too was treated to a visitor as well -- their dog, Shadow. Shadow is an 11-year-old black lab and the very same dog that visited us in our previous home and played so well with our then dog, Auggie.

Even though the visit lasted less than 24 hours, we managed to have a very nice time. We had two meals together and Shadow even demonstrated to Dino that swimming in the pool could be fun.

But Laurii & Gary don't stay put for very long. So they continued their road trip hoping to go through parts of Oregon and other Northwest locales before returning to the snowy Stanley, Idaho home.

It had already been snowing in Stanley when they left on this trip. According to a check with "Alexa" the next day the temperature in Stanley was in the mid-30s while we here in Healdsburg were in the mid-70s.

I still managed to do some work on the family tree. This time I happened to focus on my 4th G Grandfather, John.

John married a woman named Mary Kenady. And we believe had the three children shown in the upper right.

Mary had been married before John to a man named Timothy Kelsey and they had the five children shown on the lower right. Timothy died in battle during the big war of the time.

So my attention this week was on the Kelsey descendants and the following are a couple of charts illustrating just some of them that I'm beginning to find:

As usually happens when I go climbing through a different branch of the family tree, I find amazing people and stories that encourage me to keep looking. Because Mary Kenady was married to Timothy those descendants are all "half" relatives to me. In other words, half Uncles and Aunts and half cousins and so on -- but never-the-less -- wholly interesting.

There was a brief intermission from visiting and researching to watch at least some of the TNF game between the 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams . . .

Football may not have the "deflategate" situation this year, but football so far for us in the San Francisco Bay Area is somewhat "deflated".

There have been three games and three losses. Winning isn't everything, but it would be nice to see a win at some point.

For me, it doesn't really matter what season that it is -- because any season is a good season to work on family history.

However, Fall does have so many features that are inspiring like just seeing the leaves collecting on the ground -- preferably on the neighbor's lawns . . . but even when we used to have to deal with "all those oaks" it was fine.

We'll spend some time on the benches in the downtown plaza and enjoy leaf fall, but we will also look forward to getting back to the "search".

We've got work to do . . .

That is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chili Chill . . . Almost

Okay, so the chill is still infrequent, but it IS there at times -- like this morning. To me, that means one thing -- time to make a pot of "red".  Which I plan to do this afternoon.  I guess it means many other things as well. There's is a lot of "harvest" activity going on in our neck-of-the-woods.

The lightning and thunder (which we did not see or hear) apparently went on a great deal this week. The wineries are scrambling to get the job of collecting all the ripe grapes as fast as possible.

The sights and sounds of this particular time of year are all around and the aroma of chili will soon be apparent. It is so nice to have portion sized bowls of chili in the freezer ready for the table in just a few moments (and in time for the game).

If we look at the 18th Great-Grandparents row there are over One Million ancestors . . .

I haven't been able to look that far back, but on some lines, we have gone back to the 12th or 13th Great-Grandparents range and that still means a high amount of folks.

The graphics on the right shows a few of the ancestors in my paternal line -- I hope to uncover more and to be able to learn more about them as well.

Going just one level up on my maternal line -- to my mother -- from her photo shoebox to the left are a couple of random photos from her life.

To the far left it looks to be when she must have been about 6 or so being held by an unidentified woman, who is most likely a relative.

In the center is a picture of mom with three friends and they are identified on the back of the photo. The person taking the photo, Pauley, can be seen as a silhouette at the bottom of the photo.

On the bottom left are some photos of mom and her brother Stewart, mostly with unidentified folks.

Well, it is that time of the year when planning for the "holidays" begins anew:

There are less than 100 days until Christmas, 2017 -- 99 to be specific.

That means the truck traffic on our street will be increasing as the UPS, FedEx, and other delivery companies gear into their prime season.

We already have a fair amount of delivery services throughout the day but from here on out it will only get intense. Nothin' says Christmas like the sounds of a UPS truck -- how the times have changed . . .

Or, we could shop locally as the picture to the right indicates. There are a ton of attractive gifting items displayed in the storefronts in downtown Healdsburg.

Usually, we wind up spending some time in the local stores just to get the flavor of the old-time Christmas "rush".

I still remember very well walking on cold snowy sidewalks heading from Montgomery Wards to Sears to several other of the local stores in La Grange, Illinois during the Christmas shopping season.

As baseball season gears up for the final games in the coming weeks (Giants only need 8 more losses to make 100) football, on the other hand, is just beginning their season.

The first game for the "new" 49ers was last weekend -- it looked eerily like the way the 2016 season played out -- losing . . .

The attendance as well looked a bit light -- as shown in the photo to the left.

We'll see how the season progresses or doesn't in the coming few weeks. So far, the usual magic draw of the NFL is not there yet -- hopefully that will change.

On the other hand, our attention to puzzles have increased and we continually find a great deal of satisfaction out of struggling with putting "just one more piece together" . . .

That's a flavor of our week, see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Earth, Wind & Fires . . .

. . . and SF Giants, four current disasters. I suppose there are more possibilities and I do not even want to think about those. The news is almost not watchable these days. We record two late night shows, Jimmy Fallon & Jimmy Kimmel and we usually watch them in the morning to avoid all the disastrous news going on.

The problem is that the opening monologues of both shows incorporate a lot of the days' events that are taking place -- the very things we are trying to not think about . . . oh well, we can fast forward through some of it . . . and get to the entertainment portion.

The earthquake in Mexico is so close to home and we just know "it could be us" at any given time. The hurricanes are another matter, we don't have them to worry about for us personally, but we have folks that we care about that are in harms way from these storms.

The fires, while all over the west and in California and Oregon and Washington, we do worry about. We do smell smoke on occasion but so far the fires are taking place in other locales.

The Giants, well, they did manage to beat the "snot" out of the second lowest team in baseball last night, the Chicago White Sox (the Giants are the third lowest team in baseball). The Phillies are currently the lowest team in the MLB and each of these three teams is looking to avoid losing 100 games this season -- we'll see if they can manage that.

Today is the ninth of September. This would be the 110th birthday of my father. He's been gone now for 27 years and the last time I saw him was in Florida -- Kissimmee.

The left photo is most likely taken when he was about 20 years old and maybe on Lake Michigan near Racine, Wisconsin.

On the right, probably close to 80 years old and on one of the very beaches in peril today from Hurricane Irma.

Time seems to "fly" by as I recall the visit of those many years ago. And I remember being on the Fort Lauderdale beaches almost 60 years ago and some of that seems like "yesterday" as well.

Of course, these days to shut out the world so-to-speak we often work on the puzzle of the day:

On the left is a picture of the complete puzzle and on the right is a photo of the current status of work completed on the puzzle.

Since I am somewhat familiar with Chicago and environs, it is fun to see the areas come into view that I have been to and even lived in.

We have completed most of the blue water area and are about to tackle the mapping of the streets and other highlights of the city -- we expect to finish within the coming week.

As is true with almost every puzzle that we have worked -- as we go about looking for individual pieces we are almost "sure" that they are missing and have not been included in the box . . . most of the time we are wrong.

And lastly, maybe a peek into the "carefree" looking boating activities on Pine Lake by Hiles, Wisconsin is in order:

The scene looks to be taking place in the late 50s or early 60s and as peaceful and casual as anyone would want. Paradise possibly, depending on your viewpoint.

I wonder how it is today at Pine Lake, Hiles, Wisconsin. It is getting close to "Indian Summer" and there probably is a coolness in the air when the sun is going down.

We'll try to keep the above image in our minds this week in place of what we see on TV.

And that is a bit of our week, see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Once again just when we think it can't get hotter, guess what -- it does and continues. Yesterday our town in Healdsburg, Sauna County, was 112° and today it is predicted to be about the same or even hotter as the day started out warmer than yesterday.

Our hope is that the a/c keeps working. Last night's sleeping environment was not pleasant. We kept the a/c running until about 10 pm and the house stayed at about 80° throughout the night.

This morning the air was warm early and will heat up as the day continues. We don't have the right really to complain about the weather when we see the horrible conditions in Texas and other states.

So the thermometer currently looks like the above and is expected to peak in two or three hours. We are staying "put" at the moment i.e. inside . . .

One of the things that we will do today is to work on our new puzzle. It is an "Illustrated Map of Chicago" puzzle. We finished our other puzzle earlier in the week and we felt that that one was a real challenge -- this one is 1 1/2 as big and looks even more challenging, but fun . . .

Having grown up in the Chicago area I recognize a lot of the map and look forward to getting into the details.

On the left, is the previous finished "masterpiece" and then Gail excitedly opening the new one.  We started working the puzzle in the traditional manner -- by trying to connect all the edge pieces first.

We've sorted a lot of the 600+ pieces into categories of some kind and now will take our time to work piece by piece. Recently we have had two "puzzle-lovers" stop by and they loved the look and feel of the Liberty Wooden puzzle and are planning on having a puzzle up to work on when they feel inclined.

Who would have thought that such a low-tech activity would generate so much interest these days.   
I remember that my mother loved working puzzles and we would work on them and for some reason, I remember usually having a bowl of raisins to snack on -- the things that stick in our minds . . .

Off to the right represents a major portion of my "search" work this week.

A "Hiles" person contacted me and wanted to compare notes on a "Hiles" line that he was a part of and I did recognize most of the names but because I never connected them to our line, I had not done much detail work.

These Hiles folks all lived in the same area as our known relatives in Ohio and so you'd think that they must all be related, but after tracing the details of some seven generations of folks -- I still can not connect them to us.

I suggested to my correspondent that maybe he should take a DNA test to compare with the ones that I have already taken to see if we ARE related.

I have not heard back as yet . . . One of the cloudy issues of all these folks are the huge numbers of "Johns" as is so often the case. And when you get back into the 1700s and 1800s, the records are not as precise and spelling is an issue as well.

It would be nice to connect this huge branch of Hiles folks -- in the meantime, I'll keep trying . . .

And who would have thought that the two brothers who started the huge Kellogg cereal corporation did not get along with each other for most of their lives?

We are reading this book and find it very fascinating. I had no idea that the history of a cereal company and the founders could be so different yet accomplish so much.

I did not realize that the Kellogg family were Seventh-Day Adventists and that they ate no meat -- but now that I think about it -- that makes sense.

We are just at the beginning of the book so we look forward to what's next in their story -- we are reading it on the iPad using Kindle . . .

Sports?  The wheels keep coming off for the Giants. Last night's game for example -- we had to go to bed at the bottom of the 8th inning and the Cardinals had just tied the game at 5 - 5.

When we got up this morning and read the paper -- the Cards had scored 6 runs in their part of the ninth inning . . .

So, while the Giants had led 5-2 at one point they lost 11-5 when it was all over -- and it is . . .

Football -- has not captured our interest yet and may not this year. We'll see. We have watched bits and pieces of several games but have not been able to enjoy it like the "days of old" . . .

And lastly, to the left are photos of two of the many folks who attended a celebration some 59 years ago this coming week.

They are as they looked at that time and I remember the event quite well myself.

Congrats to my sister, Marilee and her husband Bill on their unbelievable anniversary number 59! Wow!

And that is a bit of our week! See you all "in a few"!