7 Quick Takes: Jen Is Not (Really) Cranky Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Owie. I did have to have a tooth extracted last Friday–one of my back molars. I’m on Day 6 since extraction and it’s still achy. I probably have a dry socket, so I’ll have to go soak a black tea bag when I’m done and stuff it back into that spot.

— 2 —

New addiction. There’s a game called Word Collect available on Google Play and it’s pretty addictive. I started playing less than a week ago, and I’m already up to Level 505! I even have a word unscrambler open on my laptop in case I get stuck.

— 3 —

Stormy. We had decent wind and downpours yesterday, which was fun to watch as I was sitting and working at my desk. We are supposed to have a high wind warning tonight, so I’ll probably close the window after my room cools down a bit. There’s weather to the east of us on the Olympic Peninsula and in the San Juan’s, so we might have some decent weather around the time I fall asleep.

— 4 —

Update on the virtual choir piece. We just got the mixed version back, and it turned out incredibly well. It’s not perfect or like it would be in real life, but it’s pretty darn good considering that we’re recording it in 9 different places, one of the people doing so from across the state. It should go over well this weekend when we have the bishop with us for worship. (He will be doing his episcopal visit on Sunday.) There are a few baptisms, two girls being confirmed, the reception of some new members, and the commissioning of a parish health worker for Resurrección. (For those who are new to my blog, my church shares a priest and facilities with La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección, a Spanish-speaking mission congregation. We do bilingual worship together on the 5th Sunday of the month, and we have a big to-do together when the bishop comes to hang out.) It’s going to be the first time the Eucharist has been celebrated inside the sanctuary in months and the number of people allowed to attend in person will be severely restricted. I’m trying to sort out how to do certain things for the live stream because we’ll have the virtual choir anthem as well as the Offertory being played on both Zoom and in the sanctuary simultaneously. I need to have a discussion with our video and sound people and perhaps give out passwords and permissions to be allowed to access the church’s Google Drive. It should be… interesting.

— 5 —

Back to work. Classes started this week. I’m kind of a strange tutor because I can really tutor any humanities class, most human services classes, a lot of social science classes, some basic math classes, and (of course) all the accounting/Microsoft classes in my department. This means I’ve been getting texts from my new boss asking if I can tutor certain niche classes like Business Law because I do a lot of tutoring in the business classes. (My answer, by the way, was “no” because it would require purchasing the book and having to do a lot of unpaid learning in my spare time.) Still, it’s nice to be useful in strange ways.

— 6 —

Remote learning update. We’re continuing with Zoom school for Daniel. His paraprofessional has found some YouTube videos that he likes, including one where a Pete the Cat story is being read. His teacher, therapists, and paraprofessional adore him. After watching what they do, I’m standing pretty firm in the belief that they don’t get paid nearly enough for what they do.

— 7 —

Birthday! Kelly, our hostess with the mostest, has a birthday this weekend. Go wish her a happy birthday and read her list of 42 things about her!

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Morning Tube Feed Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’ve been really busy this week, so I’m grabbing some time this morning while Daniel has his hour-long tube feed this morning before Zoom school There may or may not be Amazon affiliate links because that’s how I roll.

— 1 —

Remote learning update #1. Let me just say that I wish with every fiber of my being that Daniel could go to school and be in a normal classroom environment because that is where he thrives. I wish that coronavirus wasn’t a death sentence for everyone in this house, and I envy all of you who live in a place where COVID is either not deadly, doesn’t exist, or where you can be willfully in denial of its existence. In-person school is an option for Daniel if we want it due to his special needs, but we’ve had cases of COVID spreading in schools in Washington, so we’re having to keep him quarantined. Kiddo is sensory-seeking at the moment, which means he wants to hit me and will make the effort to reach over and do it while working. (Autism is an [expletive] joy.) He’s also in a fake sneezing/coughing and spitting phase at the moment, so I don’t want to be within 10 feet of him, given that I landed in the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis last year from him fake sneezing on me. (Fake sneezing or coughing releases droplets and causes me to douse myself in Germ-X because my isolation room was pretty sucky.) It was so bad yesterday that his paraprofessional told me to move away out of his reach and just let him do what he needed to do. She blessedly sang silly songs and read a story to him so I could get out of arms reach and try to hold myself together so I wouldn’t cry.

Let’s just say that anyone who tells me how wonderful homeschooling is or attempts to tell me how to “fix” things will be dealt with harshly, especially if it’s coming from a parent who has neurotypical kids. My kid is not like yours, and you have no freaking clue what you are talking about. (Comments about an autism/ MMR vaccine link will get you banned because we believe in actual *SCIENCE* on this blog, and we don’t support idiots like Andrew Wakefield or Bob Sears who falsify results or commit gross malfeasance resulting in their medical licenses being pulled.)

— 2 —

Really? I got a survey from the “Trump Make America Great Campaign” yesterday. (I’d like to extend both of my middle fingers to whoever put me on that mailing list. Most people aren’t heinous enough to put someone’s name and address on a political mailing list like that.)

Fear not, y’all! I filled out the survey and gave him lots of “constructive criticism” and suggestions for improvement before letting him and his campaign know that I was making a nice donation to Joe Biden in their honor. I even decorated the envelope! (I usually just recycle the mailings like this that I get from the Democratic campaigns because I get them in email form as well… which I delete because I write enough letters to my Congresscritters.) I even repurposed Trump’s fundraising letter and the outer envelope as charcoal starter. 😀

Envelope 1

Envelope 2

Moral of the story: don’t send me junk mail on a day that is making me want to take up cobra-kissing.

— 3 —

Virtual choir. Our bishop is making an Episcopal visit to us on September 27th for baptisms, confirmations, and stuff like that. We’re putting together a virtual choir video of the anthem below, and I got my video portion of it done last night… after 20 takes because I’m unnerved about singing acapella by myself and I’m a severe perfectionist.

— 4 —

Mammogram. I hit the big 4-0 in May and I’m on birth control pills to help with my menopause, so I had to get my first mammogram this year. (I was going to go on my birthday, but COVID happened.) I’ve had people tell me how horrifically painful they are, so I was a little nervous before they started. Yeah, it was seriously a 1 or 2 on the 1-10 pain scale. (I realize that everyone has a different body and a different pain threshold.) My chest was a little tender afterward, but it was strong>*NOTHING* compared to the pain of a pelvic exam/pap smear/pelvic ultrasound for me. (Those are easily a 7 out of 10 for me for reasons I’d prefer not to share for me, and I am incredibly thankful to be done with them permanently.)

Y’all, do your preventative screenings, even if it’s painful. I still did my well-woman exam at all the appropriate intervals, even though it was excruciating. It beats having cancer for sure!

— 5 —

Remote learning update #2. The little monster came up to me when his feed was done and said “school”. That’s progress, I guess?

— 6 —

Smoke. We’re getting smoke from all the fires in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not as bad today as it has been, but I’m not allowed to be outside for more than a few minutes without a respirator. I did a porch visit with family members on Saturday, and I won a few days of breathing treatments because I’m special like that. Woo. We’re supposed to get some thunderstorms today, and I’m hoping that the lightning doesn’t spark any fires.

— 7 —

Argh. I’m on the phone with Social Security currently (a necessary evil), and I have a dentist appointment today where they’ll likely be removing a tooth. Gotta love inhaler and ice-chewing damage!

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Late to Post Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Fatigue. My meds have been off this week, so I have been nauseated, having mood swings, and am achey all over. I haven’t had a fibro flare-up like this in a while, so it has been unpleasant to say the least.

— 2 —

Duolingo. I finished the Arabic skill tree on Duolingo a month or so ago, and I have been fighting to keep my streak going as I return to learning Spanish and reviewing French. I might have to start reviewing Arabic to get my language-learning mojo back so that I can really improve my Spanish. I have no idea why Arabic had me so gung-ho and Spanish doesn’t. Maybe it’s because Spanish is for work and not for me?

— 3 —

Zoom school. Circle time from 9:00-9:30 over Zoom is chaotic enough that I’ve had to bring other work to do downstairs with me and just make sure Daniel doesn’t run away from his school Chromebook. Otherwise, the chaos makes me ponder taking up rattlesnake-cuddling as a hobby. It’s also hard because Daniel is already apraxic and speaks super softly because I think he’s kind of shell-shocked at the intensity of circle time and all the kids talking.

— 4 —

What is working. One of the teachers got Daniel a BoomLearning account, and it has been wonderful. We can share screen on Zoom and work with his paraprofessional that way. He seems to like it, especially the math stuff, and I think it will work out really well for him as he doesn’t want to do workbook stuff.

— 5 —

Wildfires. The entire freaking West Coast is on fire. Smoke is hitting us in Washington, and I am banned by my family from going outside without a respirator on because of my crappy lungs. Woo. Just in case you’re denying climate change, IT’S WHAT IS CAUSING THESE FIRES TO BE SO BAD.

— 6 —

Election. Is anyone else wishing the election was over? Just me?

— 7 —

What is saving me. I’m re-reading all the Cackleberry Club mysteries by Laura Childs. I guess cozy murder mysteries are my catnip?

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: First Days of School Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

First day of “school”. Daniel’s teacher and a paraprofessional stopped by yesterday to drop off a box of school supplies for him and to make sure I knew how to log into his Chromebook (which was provided by the school). The first day of Zoom class was today. I was unnerved about the possibility of Daniel having a meltdown because he isn’t a fan of Zoom, but he put up with AN HOUR. We still have kinks to work out as far as getting one-on-one to work, but it was impressive for the first day.

— 2 —

Be kind. I just want to remind people that it’s unnecessarily catty and rude to make comments about how teachers don’t want to teach in person because they’re lazy, you aren’t going to vote for the next mill levy because schools aren’t open this fall, and to spread misinformation about how it doesn’t affect kids (it does… BADLY) or that it has a 99% survival rate. Teachers and school districts are facing some really difficult choices, and a lot of my teacher friends are in tears over having to make the decision to protect themselves and their families by doing distance education.

Regarding the statement about the survival rate, there are 56.6 million school kids in the USA (source), and 1% of that is 566,000. That is a lot of dead kids. Even if you want to use Betsy DeVos’s misguided number of 99.99% of kids being OK, that’s still 5,600 kids dying. That is far too many.

— 3 —

Saturday chores. I’ve been meaning to write a post about this, but this week got away from me. Basically, I use Saturday as my day to reset for the week. I wash my sheets/remake my bed, sort pillboxes for Daniel and myself, put together my weekly spread in my bullet journal, and now it’s my weekly grocery shopping day. It makes for a really busy day, but it means that I get clean sheets at least once a week, I vaguely have an idea of my schedule for the week, and I don’t have to think too much in the morning when I’m medicating Daniel and myself. Sorting pillboxes on Saturday also means that I have some advance notice that I need to get certain medications refilled.

— 4 —

New phone. My phone has had black lines obscuring at least some portion of my screen since March, but I had been putting off getting it looked at because of quarantine. I just memorized whatever part of the keyboard or app that the black lines were covering and sucked it up. Well, the black lines all of a sudden jumped from covering 10-20% of my screen to 90% of my screen, so I had to go hang with the nice people at my carrier’s store. They couldn’t help me on Monday because I wasn’t an account manager on my cell phone account (because I’m on my parent’s account), so I had to go home, get added, and come back on Tuesday. The person who helped me on Tuesday ended up replacing my phone with a newer one (I went from a Samsung Galaxy 7 to a Samsung A51), and it is SO nice to actually be able to use my whole screen!

— 5 —

An amusing Facebook page. The Bangor Maine Police Department’s Facebook page was recommended to me as light reading. The reason? Officer Tim Cotton, who writes it, has a wicked sense of humor and manages to make the most mundane events sound amusing.

He also has a lovely send-off phrase: “Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.”

— 6 —

Flu shots. This season’s flu shot is now stocked by local pharmacies, so everyone in my household but Daniel got theirs last week. Because my body never likes to miss an opportunity to have a fibromyalgia flare, I got hit with a sore arm and THEN sore joints the next day. It was freaking lovely. Still, health officials are advising people to get their flu shots this year to lower the odds of getting hit with influenza and taking up hospital beds in the midst of a pandemic.

Also, the “stomach flu” is not a type of influenza–it’s a gastrointestinal virus. Influenza is a RESPIRATORY virus.

— 7 —

Ahem. Kelly, our hostess with the mostest, has her curriculum picks up. Go read them.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

6 Quick Takes: Figuring Out School Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Argh. My wee bairn has a G-I appointment in Everett tomorrow at 8:30… which means we need to leave by 7:30 because of traffic, and that means that I need to be up at 6:15 to hook my wee bairn up for his morning feed. It’s not like I’m a massive insomniac or anything…

Oh yeah… pray REALLY hard that Daniel keeps his mask on and doesn’t touch every freaking surface before touching his face. *packs a 32 oz. bottle of Germ-X in my purse* (Why yes, I *DO* have some bottles that size. Being an alcohol gel nazi prepared me for this pandemic.)

— 2 —

School take #1. I’ve been having conversations with Daniel’s teachers for next year, and he’ll have Zoom groups a few times a day with other kids. My kid hates Zoom. Woooohoooooo!!!! He will have an hour a day of one-on-one time with one of the paraprofessionals, and she can thankfully break that up into chunks.

— 3 —

School take #2. Kids will only have direct learning on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. This means that Wednesday is for indirect learning… and also for me to have as my main workday as I won’t be having to supervise Daniel’s Zoom sessions that day. I’m thankful that I don’t have to set my tutoring schedule for the fall for a few weeks.

— 4 —

School take #3. I picked up Daniel’s Chromebook yesterday. All students are getting one checked out to them for the year as we have no idea how long we’ll be doing remote learning (a.k.a. school at home). For me, this means that I won’t have to have him do school on my laptop. I also just ordered a wireless mouse and headphones off of Amazon for him.

— 5 —

School take #4. Because this is me, I’m flipping out about my kid having a meltdown at having to sit and do stuff on Zoom… forgetting that he’s going to be in a class of kids with autism who also probably don’t want to be on Zoom either, so he won’t be the only kid yelling that he’s “ALL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!”

— 6 —

Update to last week. The CZU Lightning Complex fire is a mile from Upper Campus of my alma mater. My Girl Scout camp and church camp both have fire damage, and part of my Girl Scout camp was used/is being used for staging by CalFire. So far, the redwood trees at Big Basin State Park are OK, but all the infrastructure took damage. (My dad has commented that this means some of the poison oak is hopefully gone.)

Because of the pandemic, the camps didn’t have any kids there, so evacuation needs were minimal. This is, I think, the only good news about this dumpster fire of a year.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Wildfire Edition

7 Quick Takes

Yeah, my home state of California is currently on fire, and two of the fires (which were started by lightning strikes in a place that doesn’t usually have big thunderstorms) are affecting me personally.

The CZU Lightning Complex fire has destroyed and is threatening to destroy places I hold dear like my alma mater UC Santa Cruz, the two Girl Scout camps where I spent time growing up and worked as my first job, areas of redwood forest that hold my heart, and the houses of friends of mine who have had to be evacuated.

The SCU Lightning Complex fire is threatening areas surrounding my hometown of San Jose, and people I love are preparing to be evacuated.

The demented troll in the White House is threatening to make the state pay for the fires themselves because “they don’t listen to [him]“. Apparently, he has never been in a forest for more than a photo-op and doesn’t quite get that YOU DON’T CLEAN THE FOREST FLOOR LIKE YOU DO CONCRETE AND ASPHALT!!!!!

I’m more than a little displeased and upset tonight, so I’ll stop here and just ask y’all to pleasepleaseplease pray for all those affected by the fires. This is breaking my heart.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Weighing in On The Week Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

On Kamala Harris. When Joe Biden announced his vice-presidential pick was Kamala Harris, I was over the moon. She’s a northern California girl like me, she’s brilliant, and she is well-versed in the law. I had the pleasure of voting for her twice as Attorney General of California, and my last act before moving to Washington was to vote for her in the California Primary election in 2016.

I’ve been getting the “who should Biden pick as VP” emails from various focus groups for months, and I can’t say I’m sad that those emails have stopped… though now I’m getting emails from groups on what the Democratic platform should be. It’s probably a good thing that I use a specific email for all my political stuff so I can delete it all when I don’t have the spoons to deal with it.

— 2 —

This is inexcusable. According to the Seattle Times, Trump says he’s blocking postal funding because Democrats want to expand mail-in voting. Seriously, that’s petty as heck! NPR just updated their story on it to say that Trump is opposing it but will sign a bill including it. Still, it creates the impression that he’s trying to prevent people from being able to vote. The postal situation would also affect a few states like mine where the entire state votes by mail.

The irony here is that Trump and his entire family as well as others in his administration vote by mail regularly.

— 3 —

The payroll tax holiday. I’m not gonna lie… the executive order signed by Donald Trump on Saturday put my stomach in knots to the point that I could barely eat. The reason? I know payroll taxes. It creates a really difficult situation for businesses because those payroll taxes are just deferred until next year, and it is highly doubtful that Congress (the ones who ACTUALLY make the decision on this stuff) will forgive the amount owed.

I have a while until it starts affecting me as the quarter ends this month and Fall Quarter doesn’t start until the middle to end of September, but I’ll have to see if the college is actually going to take the amount out of my check and just hold onto it. If not, I’ll have to calculate out 7.65% of my paycheck and put it aside so that I don’t suddenly have to come up with the money next year.

— 4 —

New doctor. My PCP left in June (and I didn’t find out about it until July), so I had to find a new doctor. My parents like their PCP, so I made an appointment and was finally able to get in with her yesterday. I do like her and she seems amenable to things like me staying on omeprazole despite insurance refusing to cover it after a certain point. (It’s an OTC medication, so I just wanted her permission to stay on it. I’m fine with paying for it as it’s cheap through Costco.) She ordered a ton of labs, and I was really happy to see that my iron is actually in the higher levels of normal for women. (Yay hysterectomy!)

— 5 —

Mask take. I thought this was cute.

Masks are comfortable

— 6 —

School update. I got in touch with Daniel’s teacher this week. She hasn’t had the necessary meetings to tell me a whole lot about what will happen, but she was glad I got communication going. School officially starts the first week of September, so I’ll be getting Daniel used to doing stuff on the iPad with me this week so that things aren’t a complete shock in September.

— 7 —

Some music.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.