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.

May Bullet Journal

I was going to do this for my Quick Takes last week, but I blanked on it at the time.

Full disclosure: There are as many ways to do a bullet journal as there are people who use bullet journals. This is how I have set mine up for one specific month, and it is not the only correct way to do it.)

I wanted to show people how I put my bullet journal together. I have only been doing it this particular way since the beginning of the year, so I am learning a little at a time about what works and what doesn’t work for me. My inspirations in this style of design are Amanda Rach Lee and Mary Beth of maryberrystudio. (I am not great at drawing or calligraphy, so I tend toward Mary Beth’s scrapbooking approach, but without the washi tape and stickers.)

(Also, I am an Amazon affiliate, so any Amazon links to products are affiliate links.)

The month doesn’t always start off on a Sunday, so sometimes you just need to have daily pages done ahead of time so that you can buy yourself time until you can do monthly layout things. I knew ahead of time how many pages I needed for monthly layout stuff, so I went ahead and drew a few pages for May 1st and 2nd. (The one shown is for May 2nd, and it has my Saturday chores on it. My weekday pages have the same layout, but my students’ names are present in the time slots where I work with them. The layout is adapted from one in this book.)

One of my daily pages.

Here is what I start with for the calendar pages. It’s hard to see in this picture, but the pages have a dot grid and the dots are 5 mm apart.

My blank notebook.

I find an image I like on Unsplash.Com and print out a few full-page copies, depending on if I’m using something patterned or if it’s a regular picture where I need to print out accent pieces. This is the one I used for May. (It’s a picture of Iranian noble art taken by photographer Mohammad Ali Berenji. According to a fellow parishioner who spent a few years teaching in Iran before the Revolution and whose heart is still there, the architectural embellishments are called “muqarnas”.)

On the back of the images, I print some 5 mm graph paper from this site. (Homeschooling parents might want to look into this site as you can print out specialty graph paper for free. A fellow tutor loves the hexagonal paper for her organic chemistry notes.) I can’t cut a straight line to save my life, so this is really helpful to have as I can cut specific sizes based on the number of squares.

My graph paper.

Once I have everything printed, I cut a few square accent pieces (the dot you see on the paper in the picture above is from that process), to see what color sharpie looks the best on it. Silver was the winner.

Testing my Sharpies.

Once I have my accent pieces cut, I turn to the actual drawing portion. Using my bigger ruler, I draw the rectangles for what will be my calendar grid. I have learned the measurements I need in centimeters, so this is helpful. Once I have the outer borders drawn, I move to draw the horizontal lines for weeks. I then draw the vertical lines to divide everything into days (not shown).

The basics of my calendar grid.
Setting up my weeks.

Once my grid is drawn, I start placing the accent pieces with the month’s name and then a piece with an interesting quotation. While I am doing all the gluing down with the glue tape, I put the pieces on pages from old magazines or catalogs that I recycle. (It keeps my desk from getting covered in adhesive.)

Accent piece #1
Putting on the glue tape.

Once the accent pieces are in place, I cut strips to serve as the labels for the days of the week. The one on the righthand calendar page tends to be a bit longer than the ones I use for daily pages.

Putting the date strips on.

Boom! Calendar layout is done!

The finished calendar layout.

The next part is my page of habit trackers. I use silicone stamping pieces that I peel off a sheet of plastic and place on transparent stamping blocks. (I need to get some blocks that have 5 mm squares, but these work well for the moment.) My inkpad is a cheap one from Michael’s. I am only tracking two things this month, so I make a large accent piece for the rest of the page. A lot of people have multiple special pages for mood trackers, the month’s playlist, quote pages, etc., but I generally stick to just the page of habit trackers for right now.

Habit trackers.

After this, I just have my daily pages to finish. I cut strips from the leftover picture that I used to make the accent piece for the tracker page and use those for the date labels. The strips are two squares tall, and I can write the date on them before cutting them to the length I need and glue taping them onto the page.

Daily page labels.

My finished daily page is here:

A finished daily page.

This a weekly layout page. The black things are my feeble attempts to make students’ names unreadable in MS Paint because I’m trying to avoid committing a FERPA violation.

My weekly layout.

Here’s the picture of almost everything I used:

My tools.

Journal: Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook. There are less expensive ones that are just as good, such as this one. I like the dot grid, but some people really like having a square grid or just plain pages. You do you. The sticker on the front is from MoveOn.Org (in case anyone in my readership didn’t know that my politics are progressive). Again, you do you.

Pens: silver Sharpie, gold Sharpie, blue metallic Sharpie, and the Pilot Frixion black erasable gel pen that is my BFF. (The blue, red, and purple pens are also Pilot Frixion erasable gel pens. I just get them three at a time at my college’s bookstore because I don’t go through them as quickly as my black ones.)

Rulers: two cheap plastic ones from Office Depot

Stamps: black ink pad, silicone calendar stamp, and stamping blocks.

Miscellaneous: glue tape.

And finally, a picture of my supervisor:

My minion of sleepiness.

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments and I may do a Quick Takes post with them.

I Was Tested for COVID-19 Today

**UPDATE** I got my test results back yesterday morning, and they were NEGATIVE for COVID-19. I saw the dentist today and she gave me a referral for an endodontist. Now to find one that takes my Medicaid and who is actually performing root canals!

Background: I broke a tooth this past week and planned to just suck it up until things calmed down with the pandemic or until my filling appointment came in July. (Yes, I know I’m an idiot and that I don’t have the sense God gave geese.) It got so painful on Thursday that I called the community health clinic to see if they could get me in emergently. I checked their website and saw that they were only seeing emergency cases… which I was. They couldn’t get me in on Friday, but they made an appointment for me this morning at 10:15. I was unnerved about going in because

I arrived at 10:00 wearing my medical-grade mask and one of the receptionists stepped outside to do the screening. (There was nobody in the waiting room, which I was heartened to see because the clinic usually serves a part of the population who doesn’t believe in COVID-19.) I made the mistake of being honest and told them that I was having allergy symptoms… because I am and someone was cutting grass near me, so I was getting a bit sniffly. That set off their red flags, and the dental part of the clinic refused to see me until I could be medically-cleared. The medical staff told me that in order to see me, I would have to become their patient and transfer all my care to them. (The big hospital system in town takes my Medicaid, so I’m their patient. They just don’t have a dentist associated with them.) My alternatives were to wait until Monday and go to the drive-thru testing at the college or to go to the Acute Respiratory Clinic run by the hospital system. I opted for the Acute Respiratory Clinic, so I grabbed coffee (because I hadn’t had any in a few days) and headed there.

When I got there, a nurse in a face shield, Tyvek suit, mask, and booties was screening people in the parking lot. When I told her the situation, she cleared me to enter the clinic and commented that she was glad I was wearing a mask. Another nurse dressed similarly went down the hall to see if the doctor wanted to swab me, and they did. (The rationale was that they wanted to make sure I could get the tooth taken care of, and this would serve to clear me.) I was escorted to an exam room, my vitals were taken, and the nurse laid out some gloves and hospital-grade disinfecting wipes so I could disinfect my purse in the car. A doctor with a cheerful face checked me out, and she ordered the test after joking that we really need to talk to the pandemic council about scheduling pandemics during allergy season. (To nobody’s surprise, I had no fever, my vitals were excellent, and my lungs sounded incredibly good for someone with allergy asthma.) Another nurse took me outside to the tent where she did the swab.

This is the swab, by the way:

Yes, that is really what happens.

She had me lower my mask to access my nose but cover my mouth because she said it would make me cough. (She was right.) It was an incredibly unpleasant and peculiar sensation. Unlike the uncomfortable tickly feeling of an influenza swab, this one feels like intense pressure but not pain. (If I had to pick between the two, this one was less horrible, mostly because they only have to do one nostril and it doesn’t feel like you want to jab something into your nose to stop the tickly feeling.) I was told that my results would be back within 48 hours, told not to leave the house until I get them, given my after-visit summary and information on the test, and sent on my way.

When I got home, I cleaned my purse, my coffee cup, my steering wheel, my car’s seat, and my cell phone with the hospital-grade cleaning wipes before getting into the house, washing my hands (OBVIOUSLY!), and taking a shower. I’m going to toss my flip-flops in the trash because it’s not worth putting them through the washer on hot (like I did with my clothes and towel), and I’m keeping my distance more from my parents until I get the test results back. Getting tested put me at greater exposure to COVID-19 than my regular life did, but I’m glad that the community health clinic is taking this seriously. It makes me feel better about having to have them work on my mouth and (likely) extract the tooth.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Sea Mar Dental for taking this so seriously as well as to Dr. Nona Hanson and the team from Skagit Regional Health that was staffing the Acute Respiratory Clinic today. Everyone was incredibly professional and positive today, and that really made a difference.

7 Quick Takes: Making the Best of a Hard Situation Edition

7 Quick Takes

Word in Washington is that our stay-at-home order is being extended, and we will find out how much longer tomorrow. (It was supposed to end on May 4th, but we’re not nearly ready to reopen the state according to Governor Inslee and the doctors, scientists, and public health people he is trusting to advise him.) It’s not great, but this was about saving lives, not my own personal happiness and convenience.

I didn’t know how I was going to deal with being home with my crankypants child for six weeks while trying to work… and it has worked out. Here are some things I’ve learned.

— 1 —

I’ve learned that teachers deserve to be paid two to three times what they earn. I mean, I had mad respect for Daniel’s teachers before as well as my teacher friends who are severely underpaid. Then, I watched the reaction of teachers in the room at Daniel’s IEP meeting when the announcement came down that schools were closed for six weeks. I then watched Daniel’s teacher work her tail off to find class management software to fit each one of her kids when it was announced that schools would be closed for the rest of the year. When my kiddo had a problem dealing with learning over Zoom (because autism = routines and places MUST remain constant), his teacher just hung out and played tablet games with him until he was used to it. She puts together a YouTube video for her kiddos to watch on school mornings so they can do calendar time and News 2 You together. I’ve seen teachers at other schools post “We Miss You” signs in the windows for kids to see when they come to pick up food for the day or go for walks, and the bilingual immersion program teachers got together to make a massive collage of them spelling out a message of love to their students in English and Spanish. Others have masked up and gone to visit students in their homes to troubleshoot laptop issues.

I am definitely making a contribution to his current teacher’s classroom next year, even though Daniel will be at a different school. She loves her kids like her own, and I’ve seen others in the district here who are the same way.

— 2 —

I’ve learned how to find the last commercially-available cleaning wipes. Granted, I did see the writing on the wall and grab a good supply from Amazon before everything disappeared from grocery stores, but I’ve also managed to find them on big box store websites as recently as LAST WEEK. (I swear… I got the last canisters available for shipment from Target before even their generic ones started being routed only to hospitals.) It has become a game for me.

— 3 —

I’ve learned how to facilitate worship on Facebook Live and Zoom. Since it will likely be a while before my church is back worshipping together and my governor isn’t exempting churches from the stay-at-home order, it’s good that I can at least use my gifts and talents to serve my congregation. We’ve gotten better at getting everything together with a few hiccups here and there (because keeping people muted appropriately can be like herding cats at times), but we’re making it work.

A benefit of having worship online is that we are making it accessible for shut-ins. Even when we can all come back to worshipping in person, we at least have a way to also put it online that we didn’t have before. I have some amazing people working with me on this, and I definitely know this will be a good thing for me as I have been that shut-in person several times in the past.

— 4 —

I’ve learned ways to get my needs met. Want food from your favorite local restaurant? Look online to see if they are registered with a delivery service. (We have a really good local one called Munchie Dude.) Need a cloth mask? Put out a Facebook message letting people know your need and maybe someone you know is making them for income or will make one for free. (I just went to Etsy so that my church ladies could focus on making them for nursing home. When I found out about a parishioner selling them, I put out the word that she makes them.) Have a Starbucks addiction? See if there’s a local drive-thru one. (Yes, I have an addiction. Shut up!)

— 5 —

I’ve learned how to survive being stuck around people. My parents and I are all introverts, but my dad and I like to leave the house on occasion. Because we’re all high-risk, trips are limited to grocery shopping (once a week per person), Starbucks (an essential service-shut up!), medical needs (a.k.a. physical therapy when Zoom doesn’t cut it and the possible emergency dental one for me tomorrow), and stuff that can’t be ordered online. We generally just head to our rooms when we start getting peopled out (which works unless Daniel is feeling needy), and both Mom and Dad go for walks or work in the yard. (I’m sadly allergic to “outside” at the moment. Allergies during a pandemic suck.)

— 6 —

We’ve started eating as a family again. During olden times (a.k.a. before the pandemic), we ate together only on special occasions because we all have our own schedules and needs. These days, Mom or Dad make a “company” dish and we’ll have dinner at the table. I still eat different food from them frequently even though Lent is over and I can eat meat again (part of my diet is for health reasons), but I’ll bring whatever I’m eating to the table and we’ll still eat as a family. Daniel is even coming downstairs to be near us on occasion.

— 7 —

I’ve learned that I can do anything for six weeks. Life will not be “normal” again ever because we are in a new place due to coronavirus, but we’ll all (as in, all of humanity) adjust to a new “normal”. Yes, it’s going to be inconvenient for the people who benefitted from the less good parts of the old “normal”, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. We have an opportunity to create a better situation, and I’m all in.

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