69 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 1-1-21

  1. Years ago, I aspired to become a preacher, I preached a New Year sermon I called, “A New Year, or Just Another?”
    There comes a time in your life when you don’t make the decision.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy New Year again.

    A member of the Eldest family has their birthday today, so that is what we would usually be celebrating with them. We would also usually have a family friend also joining us, who has helped us celebrate the New Year since we were children, but of course, that is also not possible.

    But, since I was not able to be there for Christmas, I will be making the traditional tortiere I usually make on Christmas Eve, so we will still have a little celebration.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. As you may remember, my laptop died in March. As a cheap alternative to buying a new laptop, I bought a Surface Pro. I have hated it from the beginning and last me it died on me. I went to Best Buy and they determined the power cord was bad and sold me a new one. Yesterday it died again. Off to Best Buy at 2:30 on a New Year’s Eve. They determined that it wasn’t the power cord and told me I would have to go online and chat with Microsoft (How do I do that if my Surface Pro is DEAD? I have to show property tomorrow! I need to get into MLS.
    I took a deep breath and bought a MacBook. I know people with Macs that have had them for 10 YEARS!!!! Now the learning curve and the FUN of signing into all of my accounts again.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. On yesterday’s thread, RKessler noted she had not seen any influenza cases this year. That makes sense, since the precautions being used against COVID-19 are also the precautions that were used against influenza in 1918-1919 since the two diseases have the same mode of transmission. The entire world has some partial immunity to influenza, since we have been exposed to it so many times, making us less likely to catch it if we observe precautions – for far too long, people have been working sick, sending their children to school sick, and so on, which is why flu season has become a recurring phenomenon. So, influenza has been stopped this year by the precautions, leaving COVID, which is a brand new disease to which few have any kind of long term immunity, to become the disease of the respiratory virus season. The phenomenon of decreased influenza while COVID cases rose was already reported in Australia, which of course, has its seasons in reverse to ours.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Happy New Year…we went to bed at 9:30 so I suppose 2021 snuck in whist we were sleeping!
    That is a most lovely photo up there Cheryl!
    Today I will walk, read, stitch and spiff up the place. I told friend I would work with her other friend at the shoppe tomorrow…please no screaming children! 😂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “You cannot train a cat”

    Sure you can, you just need to shake the right treat bag. I recommend the catnip flavored Temptations. I can get all 3 to come, stay, speak, and Mouse even shakes hands. Well, grabs your hand anyway…. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. “CDC Currently Reports a Record-Low for Positive Flu Tests”

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2020/12/cdc-currently-reports-a-record-low-for-positive-flu-tests/

    “As Americans begin noticing there is no “flu season” this year, there is a call for the audit of cases being reported.”

    “As coronavirus cases surge nationwide, the flu has seen a remarkable dip. Reported cases of influenza reached record lows last week, with fewer than 40 diagnoses recorded during Dec. 13-19.

    In week 51 of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “FluView” data monitoring system, 36 positive flu tests were documented. This marks a steep decrease from last year’s total of 7,703 cases during the same time frame. The positivity rate has sharply declined this calendar year as only 0.10% of tests taken this year came back positive. The five-year average is 15.80% positive.

    The data comes in defiance of the “twindemic” concerns perpetuated by medical experts, or the idea that the raging coronavirus pandemic and the seasonal increase in reported flu cases would converge with catastrophic results. Dr. Brian Garibaldi, the medical director of Johns Hopkins University’s Biocontainment Unit, told the Washington Examiner that “we have to be concerned about the possibility of having a surge in flu at the same time as we’re seeing a surge in COVID.”

    Americans are beginning to notice there is no “flu season.”

    Flu cases both locally and across Pennsylvania have remained low compared to the record-breaking case counts seen in the 2019-20 flu season. But doctors cautioned Tuesday it’s still early in the season, and the usual January uptick could coincide with a holiday-driven surge in covid-19 cases.

    As of Dec. 19, there have been 767 lab-confirmed cases of influenza reported across Pennsylvania. The official surveillance season for influenza begins the 40th week of the year — this season, Sept. 27 — and ends the 20th week of the following year. This season will end May 22.

    Across the state, just under 130,000 cases of the flu were confirmed in the 2019-20 season, which ended just as the covid-19 pandemic began taking hold. The influenza count did not include covid-19 cases.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Since COVID-19 has a higher fatality rate than seasonal influenza did, the drop in flu cases is not going to lead to a drop in overall deaths. In fact, there is likely to be an increase. Influenza seasonally might cause a handful of deaths, two to three, in a given nursing home in a given year, but COVID-19 has, in some homes, already wiped out a third to a half of residents. The terrible outbreak last spring in the nursing home in my region, killed 28 out of 65 residents, plus the spouse of one of the residents.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The puzzle is not finished, but it should have been last night. The reason it is not finished is that one of the pieces is missing, and it is an edge piece. The little ones of course, deny all knowledge of its whereabouts. Tiny is credible, and Sixth probably just doesn’t remember, though he is the likeliest culprit.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. My husband loves doing Sudoku and is busy putting puzzles together this Covid period. He is currently working on a 2,000 piece and refuses to do any less than a thousand piece. He got several for Christmas presents that are of scenic places near and dear to us. The one we both did of family photos has been glued and is on display in the hallway amongst all the other family photos. He always does edge pieces first and yes, the picture is always on display.

    I am in the quilting stage of a second paper doll quilt. Still not sure when we will be able to give these to the little ones, since I will not mail them. I know of too many being lost in the mail.

    The younger sibling of those who died in that horrific car crash was released from the hospital. The cousin has one more surgery today. My granddaughter was able to Facetime with her yesterday. I have found as a grandparent, that your heart hurts for your child, your grandchildren and then you have your own grief to also go through. My heart hurts for the either grandparents. They were very close to the grandchildren who died.

    Nice photo today!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I found a puzzle piece on the kitchen counter recently. Husband had no idea how it got there. I suspected his belly; he suspected his sleeve. Blame the sweatshirt. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Happy New Year to All!
    We went to the recycling center fairly early in the gentle rain. It is suppose to be quite stormy later. I knew I would not melt in the gentle rain. I did not. We could even have tornadoes later. My imagination, in overdrive, wonders about if the weather knocks out power for a span of time, what about the election on Tuesday?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I always checked my brother’s pockets.

    He was notorious for casually walking off with one piece, only to return while I scrambled around to put it into place and announce, “Last piece. Done!”

    Liked by 2 people

  14. And here I thought cats trained their humans 🐈 Dogs do the same 😊
    It is 23 degrees here and should reach 33 by this afternoon. I’m trying to decide when it will be warmest with no wind so I can take my walk. No sun shining around here yet…I’ll wait until it makes an appearance!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I was having a quiet evening last night, just reading a book. Around 11pm I got invited to a group facetime with three of my four children. It was hilarious. The family in Colorado called to wish us a happy new year and then stayed talking until midnight while we all watched two of the grands take a polar bear plunge in their pool. Oldest daughter had a problem with her phone so could not get off the call when we all left.
    Then on our group chat came a new years picture from my son in Portland. The girls responded by saying join the group chat above. So we all got on for another hour to chat with them. A very late night.

    Liked by 5 people

  16. When my sister got married, a friend recommended that part of “decorating” the house for the newlyweds should be getting some army men and hiding them around the house. We bought two bags and hid them in every creative place we could find. I personally inserted one into the mayonnaise in their mayonnaise jar in the fridge and put one into the greenery of flowers of one of her hats. (Apparently that one fell off, since I asked her about it and she’d never seen that one.)

    When Mom married my stepfather, someone suggested that we tweak that idea a little and hide the pieces of a 100-piece puzzle so that they could put it together as they found pieces. To make it a little more obvious, we put the box (with the picture) on a chair facing the door. Unfortunately one of my brothers thought it was his kids’ puzzle and grabbed the box on his way out the door, but we tried. 🙂 It was a puppy and a kitten in the picture. Well, my mom reported that they kept finding puzzle pieces, and at first she just thought they must be something the grandkids left, and she threw the pieces away, so by the time they “completed” the puzzle, they naturally had two or three missing pieces. (In my mind, if the grandkids left a puzzle piece, they might actually need that piece, so keep it for them. But whatever.) But they enjoyed finding more pieces and adding them.

    Interesting about the flu truly not going around this year. I know people have been saying it sarcastically for months, and I knew it wasn’t a conspiracy (pretend that cases of the flu are really Covid-19), but I figured the flu season just hadn’t gotten going yet. But indeed, I do remember people coming to church and mentioning that several people in their family have the flu, and one particularly notorious co-worker who would come into my office with red eyes, a soggy Kleenex in one hand that she kept using to wipe her nose, and a cough. Several years I was the only person in the office who didn’t get the flu, and I think she was the primary reason. She worked in the toddlers department at her church, so she’d get sick, and come to work visibly sick. If someone did that today, it wouldn’t be tolerated!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Tychicus, your 12:00, you might not have seen that it was actually already answered on this thread. This man is making assumptions that aren’t true.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The photo: that was the photo I used on the front of my Christmas letter this year. I took it a couple weeks or so before Christmas, but I liked the Christmas colors in it, and the frost particles, and the repetition of the same colors and pattern in an out-of-focus leaf behind it. I’ve had several good chances to photograph frost this winter, and some icicles, but very few chances at snow (just individual flakes).

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Tych, nowhere, it just stopped being transmitted so easily as it normally would be because people had to stop being careless about going into public areas while sick and start being more careful about sanitization, hand washing, and keeping one’s hands away from one’s face, and covering one’s nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, all methods by which influenza spreads – see my posts above. Viruses are not alive, they need a host to spread, and if a host does not spread the virus to other hosts, the virus goes nowhere.

    I actually did that last year at Christmas, when I got the flu (with fever, muscle aches and chills) and was in a house with 13 other people staying there. I stayed in my room for two days until my fever had gone, had trays left outside the room, and sanitized the dishes I used and the bathroom surfaces after using, and no one else got sick. It is possible to stop influenza using such methods, but most seasons, people cannot be bothered to take the precautions to do so – they simply have to do this or that. Used to drive us crazy in the clinic when a patient came in saying they felt sick with flu-like symptoms but “they came anyway”. That is how I got sick last Christmas. As a community nursing service, none of what we do for patient’s couldn’t have waited until they felt better, and we actually did have written rules them to stay home if they felt ill with respiratory or gastric symptoms, but had no way of making them do so. Now, we screen for COVID-19 symptoms before each visit, and nobody comes in sick, so nobody is spreading influenza to us.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Ah, I see Tych had a link – cannot see that video links are present in the WordPress reader App, only on the webpage. Something to do with data limitations on the phone, I think. Just as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Roscuro, besides that, some jobs actually used to penalize employees for NOT coming in sick. My first job was McDonald’s, and the employee handbook said that if you were sick, you were to call in sick at least two hours before your shift if possible. And remember we worked with food and worked with the public . . . good idea to call in sick if you’re sick.

    I worked there for eight months before I ever called in sick, but one Saturday morning I woke up with horrible cramps. I rarely had cramps, and Midol had never worked for my sister, so I didn’t try to take anything, I just called in sick, three hours before my shift. McDonald’s had no idea what I had (whether I was contagious), they knew only that it was Saturday and that a lot of high school kids called in sick on Saturday when they got a better invitation than work. Well, I wasn’t a high school student and I’d worked there eight months without ever calling in sick (which I told them), at a job where three months was the average turnover rate. But I was told I had to come in or I’d be suspended for a week. Two different managers told me that. I tried to reason with the first manager, telling him I was in pain and that I’d worked there for eight months without calling in sick, and so he handed me off to a different manager, who backed up the first one. It occurred to me at the time that customers would be horrified if they knew that sick employees were told they had to come in or be suspended.

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  22. Chas, funny guy (11:47)

    Thanks for the info on the flu, roscuro, I’d heard something similar a while back. Makes perfect sense.

    Interesting how I’m not seeing all the “Covid=flu” comparisons right now on the internet or hearing it from some folks who harped incessantly about that early on.

    Can’t argue with the hospitalization numbers right now.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/31/entertainment/dr-drew-pinsky-coronavirus-trnd/index.html

    ~ Dr. Drew Pinsky, who apologized for downplaying coronavirus, says he has Covid-19 … “Covid is no fun. I don’t recommend it.” Previously, the doctor had called the pandemic “press-induced” but later apologized. ~

    I’m on my 2nd MacBook pro (this one is a 2013 model). I did have to upgrade it to keep it current so last year I had our former photo editor install a new hard drive so now it’s almost like new, runs all the latest software again. A couple of the keys are worn on the top so the letters are just ‘blobs’ but it’s still going strong, and now it’s got its original speed back.

    Apple computers are expensive, but a computer repair guy in town told me years ago they’re the best you can buy. And, yes they do tend to last a long time. My photo ed says this one with the new hard drive will last easily for another 5 years but I’m hoping to probably replace it at some point before then. This one gets a areal workout, and I tend to use it now also for work (we also have work laptops, PCs, but this Mac is so much more comfortable for me to work on — though I’m causing wear and tear on my equipment instead of the company’s, I realize.

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  23. Flu: agreed, and what I assumed was the reason we don’t have a bunch of colds running through the family this season. Though we do have a cold now, and unfortunately, it appears little guy has it as well. I have informed his daddy. The donor of the cold, twenty four year old, does not seem able to put others first. When I realized she was ill and told her to stay away from the little folk, she took a drive with her baby and visited several folk. She also went to work after vomiting and with the nose and other issues. And they let her because all of the staff is sick. What happened to all those sanitation rules I kept hearing about? The shower on arrival at work and the shower at home before picking up her child?

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  24. I remember in the early days (of covid) when Real Estate Guy (an early Covid denier) came over to do some house repair for me, he greets me at the back gate with: “DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE OF THE REGULAR FLU EVERY YEAR? I’m a numbers guy, and I’ll tell you …. ” …. continuing a discussion we’d already had off and on for weeks.

    I finally had to tell him to just stop already.

    My neighbor also is prone to entertaining conspiracy theories, mainly about the government and its designs on us, possibly involving the vaccine. (However she is getting the shot.)

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  25. Our home computer is a MacBook Pro which we purchased in 2010. My work laptop is also a Macbook, 2013. While we’ve had this laptop, my sister has gone through 3 or 4 of the ‘other’ kind. We’re thinking that we may invest in another MacBook this coming year. We’re starting to get worried that this one might not be able to update one day, but it is over 10 years old now…

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  26. Happy New Year, btw.

    I was (barely) up early doing battle with the cat who thought we absolutely had to get up at 4 a.m. Brat. I lost, but after feeding her I went right back to bed.

    It’s a beautiful day out, cool, crisp — but bright and sunny. A perfect Jan. 1 day for the Rose Parade … Oh, wait.

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  27. I did, however, lie awake for a while and read though the latest World Magazine online which came in my email overnight. Some very good articles this month, though some may not be much appreciated on the political thread.

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  28. Cheryl, that too. Still rember my violin teacher telling us about her daughter’s first job at Tim Hortons, the iconic Canadian coffee franchise. Her daughter quit her job because she called in sick due to a bad cold for two days and was told if she called in sick again she would be fired. Now any company trying to pull that stunt would get tarred and feathered in the media.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Some companies also don’t offer sick pay, it’s considered a “benefit.” Hopefully that’s changing. But yes, “calling in sick” used to be avoided by most workers — as it was frowned upon by employers.

    Just talked to my friend Shirley for about 30 minutes, so good to touch base with her but she is in some pain. Pray for her and for her cats who are being fed and cared for at her place by family, but she really misses them and starts to cry when she talks about them. I hate that this has happened to her.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. When I worked at the preschool we had slim benefits and slim pay. It was part time work. But when the church board was discussing cutting our sick leave because of budget issues I said “No!” I thought they were crazy. Remember all the people who send sick kids to school? One mom sent her flu sick daughter on the last day before Thanksgiving break because she was having painting done in her home. Thanksgiving with my family did not get celebrated because I got the bug. I never understood how parents could be so very selfish, uncaring for the children and the teachers, in such situations.

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  31. The PC we replaced a year ago was 10 years old. It still runs, but was getting cranky.

    It replaced a MAC. I tried for two years to work with it–again, that was 12 years ago–and simply wasn’t intuitive enough and Mr. Computer didn’t approve anyway.

    Then again, PCs are much cheaper. 🙂 And my guy can fix any problems I have very easily.

    Whatever works best for you is what I think people should use.

    Can’t you buy some replacement keys, DJ?

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  32. I probably can get new keys, have thought about that but just haven’t looked into it.

    Yes, Macs are horribly expensive, which is why I haven’t completely replaced this one yet. But they seem to be worth it, for the most part, according to those who work with computers.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Janice, I remember a friend telling me her new job didn’t offer sick pay. I said surely that’s a requirement, isn’t it?

    Turned out no, it’s considered a benefit that companies are free to offer — or not.

    That was several years ago, there may be a state requirement in place now?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Janice, mother’s send their sick kids to school because if they stay home with them, they risk losing their jobs. It is a vicious circle, and it started during the Industrial Revolution, when productivity was king. That mentality has not changed. My father remarked the other week he had been reading how the worker of the Middle Ages got more holidays than modern workers do, something I had also read before. The non-industrial work that went on in the West African village was often hard, but they also took longer rest periods than are allowed in my job, for example. The endless drive to produce of the modern Western world has really been inhumane and merciless, and the pandemic is showing up the nasty custom of threatening to fire people for being sick for what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. My husband never had a sick day until a few years before he retired. He also could not break up his vacation time, except into a week at a time and that had to be decided in November for the whole next year. There were to be no changes, even if two workers were agreeable to a change. That was why I was mostly alone in the hospital and when I came home with a new infant. At least those were the days they let you recuperate in the hospital. Now they send you home and expect someone there to help you with what only nurses used to do.

    I do know, though, that workers who have sick time off sometimes don’t stay home anyway. They don’t want to ‘waste’ the days.

    Many jobs are very flexible today, which is nice. Sometimes that type of job comes with a lesser salary, but it is often worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I wonder if calling out “sick” — when you work from home anyway — isn’t going to happen as often?

    Not too many years ago, our former editors would insist on speaking personally to you on the phone — don’t send an email — if you were calling in sick. One colleague got into trouble when he left a voicemail before the work day started saying he was calling in sick. The editor later called him and there was no answer (colleague says he was in the shower, I tended to believe him, he was a pretty straight-arrow guy, Mormon).

    But editor didn’t buy it, he was always pretty suspicious of all his employees who dared to stay out sick. lol

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  37. Only about 50% of the population gets the flu shot, I heard recently on a news show discussion. I didn’t get it for many years, or maybe I’d get it here or there, but not usually. After catching the flu twice in the past decade, though, I decided it was time to start getting it every year. Last time I had the flu was just a few years ago when my cute bathroom was getting finished up by the tile guy, he came over just to seal everything — I was on the downside of the illness (so perhaps wasn’t contagious at that stage) and I did warn him, but he didn’t care, said he’d only be here for an hour or so and I stayed clear of him.

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  38. I rarely use the sick days I get. I’ve built up ~230, with 6 more coming. When I retire, that gets converted into my pension at 80% of what the salary would be for those days. Plus, Illinois guarantees a 3% col raise every year for retirees on state pension plans. No wonder Illinois is broke. That policy changed after I was hired, but I get it since it was part of my contract.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Peter in 35 years my dad missed 8 days of work except for 6 weeks when he had back surgery in 1982.
    He was not happy about being forced into early retirement. So from the first week in January until we went to his retirement party sometime mid-March he for up every day and called in sick.
    My stepmother tried to get him to work part time at Home Depot when they opened a store near them. He went on the interview. At the end the guy said let’s face it Mr Black. You really don’t want this job. He went home 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Our allowed sick day accumulation is generous (one of the only “generous” things about our employer/owner), which is great, but it never converts to money if you leave or retire, it just goes away. So most of us are sitting on a bunch of it. But good to know it’s there if you do get slammed with something and have to be out for a week or so.

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  41. I had to dip into mine occasionally this year to accommodate physical therapy appointments, so a few hours here and there when i wasn’t able to schedule appts at the very end of the day or before work started. That’s the other very nice aspect about our plan, we can use our sick time for dr and dental appts.

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  42. I’ve never worked anywhere I didn’t get sick days of some sort, though at one company there was no distinction between sick and personal time, we only got six days a year, and you got some kind of negative “points” on your record for taking unpaid time after using those up. I was the payroll clerk, so I always knew who had to take unpaid time off, and I kind of resented them getting points on their record just because they got sick, or their kids got sick. I never did, but it was close some years. I’ve never worked anywhere that I was actually encouraged to come in sick, though. When I did (go in sick) it was because I felt uncomfortable using sick time unless I really really needed to, knowing I might use it up and then not have any. (Plus I had been brought up to go to school unless I was too sick to get out of bed.)
    At my current job, I get lots of sick time and it accumulates from year to year, which I never had at any previous job. (It’s a community college, so we get good health benefits in place of more money.) I got sick my first month on the job and had no sick time at all yet, but they let me “borrow” time I hadn’t accrued yet. Since then I have hardly ever needed to use sick time except for regular dentist visits, yearly eye checkups, etc. Last time I checked, I think I had around 85 sick days built up. I managed to use 10 hours the week leading up to Christmas, when I actually was too sick to get out of bed one day. The next day my supervisor told me to do just the bare minimum and take the rest of the day off, but I kept finding things I wanted to get done first, and I didn’t feel all that bad, and next thing I knew it was 3 in the afternoon. So I decided it was time to log off. If I’d had to go into the office, I might have taken the whole day off. But since my bedroom was just across the hall and I knew I could head back to bed anytime I wanted to, I didn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Ours rolls over year to year, too, we only used get maybe 5-10 days a year? Can’t remember, that was so long ago and when we were under a more traditional employer.

    I rarely took mine either, but it didn’t roll over back then. I just remember being out once for a full week with the flu, back in the late 1980s — my boss, the same guy who called the employee at home, said I had to see a doctor to get a note by mid-week. I did, and he said I needed to be out the whole rest of the week (I probably would have dragged back by Thursday). It was a bad flu year, I was hoarse for at least a month afterward. I was covering LAUSD back then and they were angling for a strike, so when I covered a big union rally downtown (after I’d been back to work for only a week or so), the union president, a real firebrand, got up with his megaphone to speak and I immediately recognized the hoarse voice, he told me after the rally he’d been hit with the flu too.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. One of my daughters just called to share her concerns about me returning to PNG. I finally ended up telling here that I would look into getting the vaccine. Something I was not planning on doing, but now am.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Kevin hasn’t been around for a while, I don’t think. He has said that sometimes he gets very busy with work, so maybe that’s why.

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  46. MRI results are in. His brain has remained the same size, but the cyst at the back of his brain has increased in size. They will want to put in another shunt but he has to be totally healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

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