I’m Tired

Apologies that this is all over the place. I’m dealing with an allergy migraine and Daniel is having a hard night.

I was all prepared to do some blogging this weekend on an article a friend sent about Betsy DeVos vowing to make sure that public schools shared any funds they go for COVID-19 relief with private schools.

Then, the riots started happening. There was only so much I could read about what was going on before I had to shut down Facebook and Twitter to go watch bullet-journaling videos on YouTube because all of this is making me tired.

Why am I so tired?

[+] Because yet again, police officers violated someone’s civil rights and the person died in the process. Before anyone starts going off on how I should be supporting law enforcement, my family members who have actually WORKED in law enforcement have all condemned what happened to George Floyd as excessive use of force. All the statements I’ve read of those at the scene state that he wasn’t resisting. Off-duty medical professionals tried to get the police officer with his knee on George’s neck to remove it because he was showing all the signs of asphyxiation such as his nose bleeding and him losing control of his bodily functions. I’m sure that the officer’s lawyer is going to say that it was a lapse in judgment, and I’d argue that it was an egregious one, considering that the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide.

How many times does this have to happen before things DO actually change and law enforcement officers stop this crap?

BECAUSE BLACK LIVES MATTER.

[+] Because there are idiots claiming that “if you can talk, you can breathe.” Apparently, they’ve never had someone sitting on their chest and refusing to get off or crushing their larynx. I have. You can beg them to get off of you for so long. (There was a kid that used to push me down and sit on my chest when I was in preschool. I still remember the feeling more than 35 years later and I’m still pissed that the teacher just told him to get off and made no effort to actually HELP me.) I’m also asthmatic and have spent time in the ER in respiratory distress. You can still talk up to a point.

[+] Because I’m sick of the double standard that exists in our society where white men can walk into state capital buildings armed to the teeth, but African-American protestors are pepper-sprayed, shot with rubber bullets, and tear gassed. I’m a heck of a lot more unnerved by the protestors with automatic weapons walking around a few weeks ago than the peaceful protestors this weekend. The people smashing windows and looting stores were not part of the groups marching and protesting. If you look at close pictures, they’re decked all in black with gas masks, goggles, and their skin is the same color as mine. Were there African-American people who participated in looting? Yes, and the organizers of the protests can be seen pulling them aside and telling them to stop.

The reaction of police in many major cities this weekend shows that not much has changed since the Civil Rights Movement 50 years ago.

BECAUSE BLACK LIVES MATTER.

[+] Because I’m feeling so much pain for friends of mine who legitimately have to worry about their sons encountering police officers. While Daniel’s autism could mean an adverse police experience, it’s unlikely that he’ll encounter a police officer who will assume that he’s a robbery suspect or that he is in a place to cause trouble. Journalist Robin Roberts spoke of her fear about her son being mistaken for a criminal if he wears a black surgical mask in public instead of one with a colorful pattern on it some weeks ago on one of the morning shows, and it was striking to me as it’s not something I even think about. Ahmaud Arbery was murdered for just jogging in a white neighborhood while being black. Breonna Taylor was swatted by police. None of those things are even remotely on my mind as something that could happen to me.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

[+] Because I’m sick of having a president who incites racism. The jerks protesting in Charlottesville and marching with tiki torches to incite fear are not “fine people”. There were not “good people on both sides” of that protest. His tweet about “thugs” in Minneapolis and how “the shooting starts when the looting starts” a few days ago was taken down by Twitter as a violation of their community policies. He hires people with ties to white nationalism as his advisors and his current press secretary. The sad thing is that this is just scratching the surface.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

[+] Because I’m sick of feeling so helpless when this happens. I’m speaking out, signing petitions, calling my legislators, reading news from sources like The Root and The Grio, and calling out racism when I see it. I encourage my students to tell their stories because we need to hear the perspectives of people from different cultures. I read books with diverse characters, and take that into consideration when buying books for the children of my friends and for my nephews. I’m cognizant of what companies I support, and I am aware of my privilege as a white woman. I ask questions, and I listen to my friends when they tell me that what I said innocently actually has other connotations when said about someone who happens to be African-American. (I’m also not saying any of this to trumpet my virtue and prove that I’m not a racist.) I’m really trying to do what I can to understand the world of my friends from different cultures than my own.

Yet, I’m aware that there has to be a cultural change, and that every piece of this change is going to involve people losing their lives. I hate this. I really do. I can scream that BLACK LIVES MATTER until I’m blue in the face, and people are going to keep dying until we start listening to Colin Kaepernick and others who have been taking a knee and protesting the horrible treatment of blacks in this country.

BECAUSE ALL LIFE IS SACRED AND BLACK LIVES MATTER.

7 Quick Takes: Lessons from Live PD Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’ve been dealing with utter stupidity on the part of various people on Facebook today (so much so that I finally started reporting posts and photos for hate speech, anti-vaxx information, and COVID-19 misinformation) as well as a child who woke up in an exceedingly vile mood, so I’m foregoing posting about politics this week for my Quick Takes. Fear not! The political posts will probably happen this weekend, and I’m sufficiently irritated enough to need to work my nerves.

And for my trolls, I have a new policy for this election year. Every time you troll me, I will make a donation to various political campaigns in order to make sure your House districts are controlled by Democrats, flip the Senate, and elect Joe Biden. So please, keep being horrible human beings and help me to kick out the Republican swamp creatures in DC that you so love! (It’s even better right now because there are 450% matches going on for various Democrat campaigns.) Don’t worry–I’ll email homemade honor cards to all the email addresses y’all are using to try and push comments through. 😀

Because my life involves a lot of focus and concentration these days, I’ve been watching “Live PD” to give my brain a break. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from bingeing it on YouTube.

— 1 —

If you’re going to traffic in illegal substances, you shouldn’t commit any traffic infractions. Seriously, it seems like one of the police officers pulls someone over for an illegal turn/speeding/broken tail light, and whoever they pull over has a meth pipe or their car smells like marijuana. Had the person not sped or made that illegal turn, they never would have gotten caught.

— 2 —

If you’re drunk, the officer will be able to tell. I don’t care how well you think you do at looking sober–you WILL fail the nystagmus test among the other “sobriety” tests. People invariably also seem to reek of alcohol in all of those cases.

I have nystagmus and balance issues from two bad ankles and some other medical issues, which is one of the reasons I don’t ever drink alcohol–it exacerbates them. (Any of you who have ever seen me on Zoom can tell this immediately. My sleep medicine specialist picked up on it within a second of meeting me.) If it is ever called into question, not drinking means that I can probably pass those tests with flying colors, which would *NOT* be the case after even a small glass of wine in my case.

— 3 —

Nobody ever does the walk-and-turn test as well as they think they did in the above situation. It would be comical if it wasn’t so infuriating that they were putting others at risk by driving drunk or high. People either stumble like mad, don’t take the correct number of heel-to-toe steps, fail to turn 180 degrees (usually just 90 degrees), or they fall while turning. Then, they act completely shocked when the officer tells them to put their hands behind their back and arrests them for DUI/DWI (depending on the jurisdiction).

— 4 —

You are responsible for whatever is in your car. This means that you probably shouldn’t be dating a heroin addict because any heroin in the car is your problem unless your addict partner fesses up. It is kind of interesting how many people express complete shock that they have heroin or weed in their car, especially in their glove compartment or in their back seat. Ditto with people riding with you drinking open cans/bottles of beer. You can’t have any open containers in the car, even if you aren’t the one drinking them.

Also? It’s a bad idea to dump your crack into your open soda can because it means that instead of just being liable for the weight of the actual crack, you are now liable for the weight of the crack AND the weight of the soda can (can + liquid). What was only a jail felony is now prison-worthy.

— 5 —

Narcan does not feel good to receive. Of the 500+ YouTube videos I’ve seen of “Live PD” on YouTube as well as the episodes I’ve watched live on TV, a couple of them have incidents where someone overdoses on heroin and has to be given Narcan to reverse it. It doesn’t seem pleasant, and I looked up what it feels like. Apparently, it’s true. It makes people feel really agitated, which is something they are using opiates to prevent.

— 6 —

There are people dumb enough to believe there is a difference between “driving” and “traveling”. Sovereign citizens are funny to watch because they are so convinced that they are above any U.S. laws… kind of like those idiots who stormed state capital buildings with AR-15’s to protest for their “rights”… which are more their rights to be stupid twits. (Also, those idiots with guns on their backs are not funny to watch–they make me want to reach through the computer screen and slap them upside the head a few times because their stupidity knows no bounds.)

Anyway, it’s fun to watch SovCits because you can just imagine them with aluminum foil wrapped around their heads to prevent the government from reading their thoughts.

— 7 —

K-9 officers are the coolest. It’s fun watching them work their dogs, and it’s always fun to watch how fast people give up once the dog appears. I have learned some cool German dog-handling commands, and the best episodes are when the dogs are let loose to go find the people.

Also? Dogs are trained to sniff out your contraband, so just give it up to the nice police officer already. It astounds me when I see people who are *SHOCKED* that the dog alerted to the weed in the glove compartment. I mean, dogs have hypersensitive senses of smell–it’s why they use them instead of cats!

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

On Mask-Wearing…

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook, and it was too good not to share here.

From the Saints at Holy Comforter, Charlotte.
A reading from 1 Covidians 12:1-11

Now concerning the wearing of masks, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that in the time before Covid, we were enticed and led astray thinking that we were not responsible for one another’s health. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the spirit of love ever says ‘masks be cursed!’; and no one can say ‘masks are a really good idea for everybody!’ except through a spirit of love.

Now there are varieties of masks, but the same spirit of wearing them; and there are varieties of mask wearers, but the same virus; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same precautions that must be shown to everyone.

To each is given a manifestation of a mask for the common good. To one a mask is given through our mask makers, and to another a purchased one online, or in a store according to the same spirit of protection. Some fashion one after watching a video on YouTube, to another… they already had some. The knowledge of needing to wear one according to the same spirit, to another faith that the same spirit will improve health and save lives.

Another receives the gifts of healing by this generous spirit, to another this seems no less than the working of a miracle, another prophesies that we’ll get through all of this sooner by observing these loving precautions, to another the discernment of figuring out how all can get one, to another the knowledge that a mask hides all kinds of mouths and tongues, to another the understanding that those mouths and tongues are still there, behind those masks.

All these are activated by one and the same spirit, and we hope to allot to each one individually just as they choose.

In other words, wear a mask!…

Because loving our neighbor as ourselves is the crux of it. When we wear a mask we are saying that we love and care for ourselves, and that we love and care for our neighbors. If our neighbor is sick (and perhaps doesn’t even know it yet) our masks help protect US. If WE are sick (and perhaps don’t even know it yet) our masks help protect OUR NEIGHBOR…

… it is a tangible and visible manifestation and practice of our LOVE.

Thanks to the Rev. Greg and the Rev. Gene, Deacon of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church Charlotte, NC

–Rob Voyle

7 Quick Takes: Mount St. Helens Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

The source of these Quick Takes. On Saturday afternoon, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across this picture:

The Mount St. Helens eruption had idiots too!

I generally don’t share stuff from Occupy Democrats because while I agree with them a lot of the time and they are mostly accurate, they get really mean-spirited about things. (I will admit that my first thought when I saw the wording was that the way they worded it was a bit catty.)

However, this piqued my interest enough to fact-check it. I mean, did people *REALLY* want to do something as stupid as go near an active volcano?

— 2 —

Did it check out? Surprisingly, it actually did! I found a newspaper article talking about cabin owners being salty about the ban on people coming near the mountain. There was also this one reflecting on it 40 years later. I found a Twitter thread from Washington Emergency Management (basically the Washington National Guard) that provided a basis for the text in the Occupy Democrats picture and another one from USGS Volcanoes that provided information that backed up the text in the image with the name of a book containing eyewitness accounts of this.

This episode of the old A&E series “Minute by Minute” even has interviews with at least one person who professes anger at not being allowed into the area:

— 3 —

Fabulous webinar. This is the webinar that I watched on the night of May 18th that I *REALLY* recommend watching. They have professors from Oregon and Washington talking about volcanoes, Mount St. Helens, and the Cascade range, including the seismologist who was tracking Mount St. Helens at the time as well as the current seismologist/scientist-in-charge of the Cascades Volcano Observatory.

— 4 —

A couple of important things to take away from the webinar. Steve Malone (the seismologist tracking Mount St. Helens at the time) made some points that were worth sharing.

Parallels with today.

He also made an interesting analogy with this picture here:

Malone's analogy

Scientists tend to have a lot of models and data types and inputs that they are using to try to figure out what is going on. Civil authorities who are having to make these decisions want a yes/no answer. It’s why governors who are putting their trust in scientists and medical authorities are not able to give a specific answer as to when things will go back to “normal”… especially since we are looking at an entirely new normal now!

— 5 —

Where I am seeing a parallel. Governor Dixy Lee Ray did sign an order to keep people out of the “red” and “blue” zones around the mountain, but she allowed Weyerhauser trucks in for logging purposes because logging was a big part of the economy. Among those killed in the eruption were members of at least one logging crew. Had it not been a Sunday when the mountain erupted, more logging crews would have been in the area, and the death toll would have been much higher. There was a volcanologist named David A. Johnston who was killed in one of the pyroclastic flows, and that was a bitter pill for the person for whom he was standing in and the UW researchers monitoring the volcano. (Johnston Ridge Observatory is named after him.)

There’s also kind of a sad story about a man named Harry R. Truman who refused to leave the lodge he owned on Spirit Lake. He became a folk hero of sorts because of it, and his body was never found. They think that he was killed in a pyroclastic flow and that his lodge and his body and his cats are all buried under something like 150 feet of ash. His attitude reminds me of some of the people protesting in states to get the economy reopened. I look at them and ask myself “why???” because what they’re doing is endangering themselves, but it’s their decision to put themselves in danger.

This kind of thing is why I’m getting so salty about those who are more concerned about the economy than actual human lives. We can take steps to put the economy back together, but we can’t bring people back from the dead. I’m hearing on my local news about states that have “reopened” reporting the highest COVID-19 case count ever for that specific day while I’m watching the curve flatten out in Washington and in my own county where we’re still sheltering-in-place. It’s a balancing act for sure, and it irritates me that some people are trying to make it into a simplistic issue because their situation is merely one of inconvenience.

— 6 —

A really cool story. There’s a photographer who goes to Goodwill and finds exposed film from old cameras to develop. She ended up finding some that had pictures of the Mount St. Helens eruption. Even cooler is that the grandson of the person who owned the camera now has pictures of himself with his parents and grandmother that he didn’t know existed.

Seriously, this is a happy story.

— 7 —

Why I have this fascination. Well…

1.) Both sides of my family are geology junkies. My maternal grandfather was a geology major before he had to leave college due to illness and World War II, and my paternal grandfather enjoyed the geology classes he took as general education credits. I have a cousin who majored in Geology and did graduate work in it (digging dinosaur bones in Montana and working with Jack Horner), and my parents both grew up getting roadside geology lectures from their fathers. As a result, we’re full of amateur geologists, especially on my mom’s side. (I think my mom’s family keeps the Roadside Geology publishers in business.)

2.) My entire family is from Oregon and Washington originally. This was a big deal.

3.) My mom went into labor with my twin brother and me as Mount St. Helens erupted. We were born 24 hours later. Twin births are often complicated, and mine was no exception. My brother was almost twice my size, and my heart stopped mid-birth. I required resuscitation and spent my first week of life at Stanford Children’s Hospital, 45 minutes away from my parents in San Jose, before being transferred back to Los Gatos Community Hospital for another two weeks to get bigger. My brother came home after three days. I came home after three weeks.

My family always makes jokes about Mount St. Helens and our birth. We have newspapers from Yakima from the day of our birth talking about all the ash falling. When we were 25 years old, my dad got some ash from the volcano and sent it to my brother and me. (Mine is sitting on the bookcase next to my desk.) My parents visited the volcanic monument that year and took a picture of themselves at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. My brother and I were photoshopped into the picture (along with their cats), and it was used as the Christmas picture that year. 🙂 Because of my connection to the mountain, I tend to geek out on documentaries on it at this time of year.

And yes, I did just turn 40 years old this week. 🙂 I had a quiet day, my dad made me one of my favorite meals, and my parents got me a carrot cake. We did candles and presents with my evil twin over Facebook messenger. It wasn’t what we usually do, but it was pretty fabulous.

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

7 Quick Takes: Odds and Ends Edition

7 Quick Takes

Head’s up: any Amazon links are affiliate ones.

— 1 —

Called it. A friend shared this news story with me after seeing me be cranky about protestors who weren’t wearing masks and were eschewing guidelines about social distancing…

72 COVID Positive After Attending Large Event

I know I’m a horrible person for saying this, but… CALLED IT!

— 2 —

Update on the broken tooth. Some of you might remember that I broke a tooth about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Well, word of it got to a parishioner who manages a dental office, and she offered to get me seen PDQ. I went in today, and the tooth was apparently not worth saving by root canal or crown, so I let them extract it. Getting my mouth numbed wasn’t pleasant, but the extraction process wasn’t too bad. They were able to get it out in one piece, and I got to see what an adult tooth looks like, root and all. I have to wait five weeks before they put in a bridge because my jaw needs to heal properly first.

— 3 —

COVID-19 close to home. I’m glad that my local community choir’s tragedy can do some good.

— 4 —

Some beauty for today. This is amazing.

— 5 —

New hobby? I got a Mother’s Day gift card from Daniel, and I used it to get this book and this pen set. I can’t wait to start practicing hand-lettering.

— 6 —

Lessons from “Live PD” #1. If you have anything in your car and the police ask if they can search it, just confess it. The dog WILL find it, and your car WILL get torn apart. I have yet to see anyone get away with having stuff on them and the dog not finding it.

— 7 —

Lessons from “Live PD” #2. If a police officer turns their lights on behind you, just pull over where you (or where it is safe to do so). Do not just continue on home. They WILL take you to jail for fleeing, and the reason they were pulling you over was probably for something minor. Stopping in your driveway does not mean you are “safe”.

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

7 Quick Takes: Things Keeping Me Going Edition

7 Quick Takes

Washington’s stay-at-home order is being extended until the 31st, which is reasonable as we were the first hotspot and we’ve seen our curve flattening in the right direction as a result of the order. I thought I would share what is keeping me functional right now because maybe it might help someone else who is having a hard time?

— 1 —

Putting my bullet journal together. I put my May bullet journal layout together last week, and I am officially hopelessly addicted to making my layouts artsy. 😀 The post about it is here.

— 2 —

Posting mask selfies. I was originally doing it to snark about Mike Pence not wearing one at the Mayo Clinic, but it has gotten to just be fun now. Having had a COVID-19 test last weekend, I will *JOYFULLY* wear masks in public for the rest of my life to not have to go through that again. Yeah, my glasses fog up, but that is so much easier than being stuck in an isolation room or being intubated, not knowing if I would wake up from sedation alive. I also am happy to do it if it has even a remote shot of protecting others from getting infected. It’s not an imposition if it contributes to public health, and I fail to understand why people are being so pissy about companies like Costco requiring masks. There are a bunch of patterns online for even us who can’t sew, and it’s a craft you can make with kids, or you can google “masks for sale in [your area]” and give money to someone who might be using this to make ends meet right now.

Kitty mask selfie!

There’s also this opinion piece that just has an interesting title.

— 3 —

Volunteering for my church. Even once the state is opened up again, I will probably still have to wait a few weeks to be able to join the folks at St. Paul’s again. This is why I’m really happy that I can help make Sunday worship happen for us on Zoom, and also help make our postponed “Lenten” book study possible.

— 4 —

Watching YouTube. My guilty pleasure is “Live PD”. I’m sorry to admit that I really do enjoy watching being tracked by K9 officers or tased. (My cousin, who is an ex-sheriff’s deputy up here, would be rolling his eyes at me.)

— 5 —

Working. I am thankfully blessed with a job I can do online, so I’m working with students ~12 hours a week. I don’t have any Accounting students for a change (it’s one of my specialties), but I have gotten lent out to the entire campus, so I am working in departments as diverse as Human Services (basically, social work) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The reason: I’m a Microsoft specialist, and I’m apparently good at working with English Language Learners. (I love my English learners fiercely. I’ve only had two students among them who haven’t been people I want as coworkers someday, and I’m continually blown away at how well they’re doing their classes in their second or third language.)

I also have an amazing boss and really fun co-tutors. Tutor-training meetings are actually pretty fun, even on Zoom.

— 6 —

Reading. I was trying to bring my Target cart up to $25 so an order of cleaning wipes would ship, and I added a mass-market paperback murder mystery that looked kind of nice to it to bump my order to the right amount. I ended up reading the book in one sitting and ordered the other seven in the series. I think that what I need to get me reading again is something brainless because my daily life requires a huge amount of serious thought.

— 7 —

Writing letters. I’m making a dent in my correspondence pile. Woo.

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