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.

7 Quick Takes: Washington State Primary Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Gubernatorial race. The good news is that Governor Inslee had triple the votes of the other 30+ people running. Even better news is State Parasite and chair thief Tim Eyman doing poorly. (A friend of mine in state government told me that he is a succubus, not a parasite. I still stand by my designation.)

The bad news is that Governor Inslee’s challenger Loren Culp is an absolutely incompetent police chief from a tiny town in eastern Washington who is running on a spite platform not enforcing any of Inslee’s policies… and also being sued for intimidating and threatening a teenage sexual abuse victim while refusing to investigate her abuse by her step-father. The reason this is bad news? There are idiots in this state who will vote for a can of Goya black beans if the Washington State Republicans named it as their candidate out of sheer cussedness because the Democratic western half of the state has all the population and thus controls the government. Governor Inslee has mandated masks and put a stop to reopening statewide due to our COVID spike, and there are people who are cranky about this… most of whom also live in counties where the COVID case rate is now higher than Seattle’s. There were better people in the race to have voted for instead of Culp.

To demonstrate why I think Culp is an idiot: he held a COVID party an “Insubordinate Victory” rally on a meadow in Leavenworth for over a thousand people with no masks or social distancing… IN A COUNTY EXPERIENCING A HUGE COVID SPIKE!!!!! (Chelan County, home of Leavenworth, has 50,000 fewer people than Skagit County where I live, and their case numbers are 1.5 times ours.) I would be willing to put money on a chunk of COVID cases being reported as a result of that event (if attendees tell contact tracers the truth).

— 2 —

Lieutenant governor race. This is the one good piece of news–the top two candidates in the lieutenant governor race are both Democrats, so we’re covered if something happens to whoever wins the gubernatorial race in November. They’re decent enough people that my county’s Democratic party was chill with us picking between the two of them.

— 3 —

Voting by mail. Washington is a vote-by-mail state, and our primary was fine… BECAUSE VOTING BY MAIL WORKS. Our very Republican secretary of state Kim Wyman (who I actually like) has written op-ed’s on the subject this year and has even explained why undocumented immigrants voting is a fallacy, citing voting rates in Yakima County (huge number of farmworkers) as her example and pointing out that it would be ludicrous to register to vote if you’re trying not to be noticed by the government. (I also live in a county with a large number of migrant workers and can tell you with certainty that they’re not voting, partially because some of the people in county government are strongly anti-immigration and would not be in power if the migrant workers could vote.)

— 4 —

Mask take #1. I thought this image was good…

Don't be that person.

— 5 —

Mask take #2. I also thought this was good, and it has been shared by friends of mine who fall all over the political spectrum, so it isn’t just a “liberal” thing.

— 6 —

Why I support teachers right now. Friends of mine who are teachers are COVERING Facebook with posts right now on their back-to-school prep, which is normal for August… but my friends are all talking about the online apps they’re looking at to reach their students and making recommendations for their various subject areas. They’re taking all the lessons they learned from being thrown into remote education this spring and making changes based on what didn’t work well.

I have heard so much complaining online about how teachers are lazy because they don’t want to teach in person during the pandemic, and all these posts are showing the exact opposite. Teachers are readjusting their teaching styles and the way they used to teach to fit the current situation in order to keep their students and themselves safe.

— 7 —

Aid for Lebanon. If you want to help after the explosion in Beirut, here are some charities that are good:

Aid for Lebanon

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

7 Quick Takes: Back to School with COVID-19 Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

First thing: COVID-19 is real. It is very much still a pandemic, and it is spiking everywhere including my county where July has been the worst month on record. There are also, apparently, six “types” of COVID, which explains why some people have a milder case than others.

You can deny all of this as much as you want, but doing so involves ignoring science and sticking your head in the sand. You also come off looking like an utter fool.

Neil Degrasse Tyson on science.

— 2 —

Second thing: SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO ARE MAKING CATTY COMMENTS ABOUT TEACHERS BEING LAZY BECAUSE SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE OVERWHELMINGLY CHOOSING TO START BACK WITH DISTANCE LEARNING IN THE FALL!!! None of the teachers I know are happy that it’s what is having to be done, and all of them miss their kids fiercely. These are already people who are being asked to teach a variety of kids while not being given the resources to do it adequately in addition to being asked to act as human shields in the event of a school shooting. None of them are paid nearly enough to also be put at risk of dying a miserable death from a virus we are still figuring out how to control. (The “novel” in “novel coronavirus” means that is is “new” and that we still know too little about it to control it well.)

— 3 —

I have known since around Memorial Day that it was a very slim chance of Daniel returning to in-person education this fall because of my family’s COVID-19 risk factor. My parents are elderly, my mom is being hit with some health challenges at the moment, and both Daniel and I have some pretty scary underlying health issues that put us at severe risk of complications if we were to contract the virus. My parents and I discussed it at length and tried coming up with some contingency plans in the event that Daniel did return to school with other kids, and there was no good solution. I have prepped everything this summer in what I call the “Schroedinger’s cat model” which was that Daniel was either going to be there in person or he was not going to be there in person, but we were going to plan for both eventualities to exist.

— 4 —

The local school district is offering some in-person options for kids who need it for reasons, but it will be remote learning for almost everybody this fall. What will that look like for Daniel? Hard to say. I will be contacting his new teacher either tomorrow or next week to see if we can have an IEP meeting via Zoom to talk about this. In fact, I predict a lot of IEP Zoom meetings will be happening in the district over this next month as teachers try to figure out how to adapt each student’s IEP goals to the remote education model.

— 5 —

The college where I work just had an all-college meeting today, and I was invited to attend as a staff member. The gist of it is that almost everything will be online for the third quarter in a row. There will probably be some students wetting their pants because they skipped Spring Quarter in hopes that the world would be normal by fall.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha… NO.

— 6 —

What does this mean for me? Well, I’ll have to explain to one of my students who is Internet-phobic that they will not see my beautiful face in person for the foreseeable future… and they will not be happy. (If I’m lucky, they won’t drunk-dial me again for reassurance, and I won’t have to have my kinda-sorta new boss put the fear of Jesus in them. Not that this happened during Spring Break…) My current boss will possibly have more one-on-one hours to give me than I can legally accept, and I might get lent out to the entire campus again or (God willing) embedded with my favorite instructor to teach people how to love Accounting.

— 7 —

The only thing I can predict about this fall is that things will probably stay unpredictable. Woo.

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

7 Quick Takes: No Politics Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

4th of July. It was a quiet 4th of July here in terms of family activity. My dad grilled hotdogs, and I got to see quite a few fireworks shows from my bedroom window… because various people on my cross-street and some of the other cul-de-sacs spent HUNDREDS of dollars on fireworks which they set off for probably 3 straight hours from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. Our poor cats were curled up in my mom’s closet because it sounded like we were being shelled. (My town does allow fireworks between certain hours on the 4th of July, but a lot of other towns don’t.)

— 2 —

Back to Work. Summer Quarter started this week, and I’m getting to tutor for the first time ever during the summer because everything is online. I’ve met with all of my students at least once now, and the first-week stuff that always comes up is getting ironed out.

For those who are wondering, we aren’t going to know if we’ll be back on-campus for Fall Quarter until August. I’d prefer to stay online because the COVID risk is still high here, and my family is still locked down really tightly, so I wouldn’t be able to work on campus. I also know that our college president is risk-averse, so I can’t see him putting the student body in danger.

— 3 —

What leadership looks like. We have a new superintendent here in town and this was what his second day on the job looked like.

I think he’ll be great for the district if taking food, school work, and masks to migrant students is what he does on the second day he is in charge.

— 4 —

Bujo Instagram account. I have a new Instagram account for my bullet journal (bujo). I haven’t done a huge amount with it yet, but will try putting my spreads up before I fill them out. (I can’t show the filled-out ones because a few of them have student names in them, and I’m trying to keep everything FERPA-compliant.)

— 5 —

John Rutter. If you know the music of John Rutter (English choral composer) at all, you’ll appreciate this parody of his work called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rutter” by Pitchcraft. The best part: THEY’RE SINGING IT TO JOHN RUTTER!!!!!!!!!!!! (He loves it.)

— 6 —

/glares at Minion. I just went to go grab a couple of cartons of formula to feed the kid and prep tomorrow’s morning feed because doing it in the morning when I’m tired makes me want to cry. I get in the guest room (where we keep all the fun stuff) and notice a couple of cartons that had been on top of the boxes were on the floor. I picked them up and found them to be empty… WITH FANG MARKS IN THEM. My cat child had bitten them and they had leaked on the carpet.

I was not happy. Meanwhile, Mr. Black Paws is sprawled on the guest bed letting me know that he is magnificent and soft and cute. I told him that he is none of those things and is instead a VERY BAD CAT. (He is not sorry.)

— 7 —

Recommendation. If you are a bullet journal junkie, go check out Planning with Kay. She is delightful, features her house panther in her YouTube videos, and the community during her livestreams is amazing.

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

7 Quick Takes: Post-Lockdown Bucket List Edition

7 Quick Takes

Part of me *REALLY* wants to lambast the idiotic COVID-19 protests that have been taking place all over the country with people failing to practice social distancing, not wearing masks, and carrying around assault weapons. (Do you want COVID-19? Because that’s how you get COVID-19. That last thing also makes you look like terrorists, y’all. Just sayin’.) However, that would not be good reading, and I’ve used up my allotted anger energy for the day on my cranky child who is walking into my room and messing with various things on my desk. (It’s the point in the day when his ADHD meds are wearing off, and I can’t give him his night meds for another half hour. Kiddo is also working through a bowel blockage and we’re tweaking his autism meds, so he’s extra foul.)

So… here’s a list of things I’m going to do once all of the lockdown measures are (responsibly) lifted.

— 1 —

Go to the Trader Joe’s in Bellingham. I have a deep and abiding desire for pub cheese and veggie chips, y’all!

— 2 —

Get my milestone birthday tattoo… maybe. I might postpone it until my next milestone birthday at 42. (Why yes, I *AM* a geek. Thank you for asking!)

— 3 —

Worship with my peeps. Zoom worship is good in that I can see faces, but I really miss being hugged and hanging out with the people who have become part of my family.

— 4 —

Go to my favorite beaches. The state parks I like are all closed due to COVID-19 because people can’t be bothered to social distance properly.

— 5 —

Send my kid to school. I have never wanted to homeschool, and it has been an exercise in frustration for both of us because he doesn’t want to learn at home. Learning happens at school… and he takes a bus there, so what the fur?!?!?!? (Autistic kids thrive on routine, and my kiddo’s routine got severely messed up when schools were closed.

— 6 —

Have a family gathering to celebrate my 40th birthday… and probably my nephew’s 2nd birthday. We do get to Facebook video chat with them on Saturday afternoons, but it isn’t the same as chasing him around the downstairs, having tickle fights with him, and playing “5 Little Monkeys” with him.

— 7 —

Have coffee with people again. I miss my regular baristas.

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

How Not to Be an Obnoxious Twit About Homeschooling

We got word today that schools in Washington will remain closed for the rest of the year. Kids who need it will still get food (which is good because we have a lot of kids of migrant workers here), and instruction will be taking place online. Schools are checking out Chromebooks for their students to use, and teachers have had to figure out how to put the rest of their curriculum for the year online.

This is what you homeschooling parents can do that will be incredibly helpful for people like me:

KEEP YOUR MOUTHS TIGHTLY SHUT ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU *LOVE* HOMESCHOOLING YOUR KIDS UNLESS WE ASK FOR YOUR OPINION OR YOUR HELP.

Seriously, if we wanted to homeschool our kids, WE WOULD ALREADY BE DOING IT.

Our kids’ teachers are better resources than you because they actually *KNOW* our kids, know their learning styles, know their deficient areas, and (in Daniel’s case) have special degrees and certifications in working with kids like ours. ALL OF THEM are being extra brilliant and supporting parents like me in ways that we need that you are not qualified (nor wanted) to do. Failing that, I have other friends who have done an amazing job homeschooling their own kids that I will ask for help if I need it.

Talking about how wonderful homeschooling is to parents like me who are in their own personal version of hell will get you verbally ripped apart. I have an autistic kid who would go to his brick-and-mortar school seven days a week if he could–I’m having to try and work with him in a context that is utterly wrong to him. It is hell on earth, and you aren’t helping me. In fact, you are making me want to kill you.

Many of us are also balancing our own outside-the-home jobs over conference calls at the moment, and having to teach our children is ONE MORE THING on top of a workload that does not lend itself well to being done from home. Some of us, like me, also find leaving our physical houses to work to be something mentally healthy, and hearing about how wonderful it is to work from home will make us stabby.

By all means, please continue to blog about what you are doing with your kids. Just please knock it off with the posts about how parents in my situation will come to love homeschooling and “this is how you can keep doing it!”

Got it?

7 Quick Takes: Mnemonic Device Edition

7 Quick Takes

My governor has just extended the stay at home order for another month, so kiddo just got another week or two off of school. Thankfully, every teacher in Washington has worked up their curriculum to take place on Google Classroom and/or a few other classroom management systems like ClassDojo.

In the spirit of this, I thought I would share some of my favorite mnemonic devices. (Why yes, I *AM* a geek!)

— 1 —

Order of sharps in the key signature. I learned this when I was 10 years old though my piano teacher doesn’t remember teaching me that the “B” stood for “bugs”.

Fat
Cats
Go
Down
Alleys
Eating
Bugs

— 2 —

Order of flats in the key signature. BEAD is its own word in this one.

B
E
A
D

Gum
Candy
Fruit

— 3 —

The Great Lakes. I think this is the first one I remember learning. It’s also the example I shared of a mnemonic device in one of my tutor trainings.

Huron
Ontario
Michigan
Erie
Superior

— 4 —

Care for a sprain. This one is fairly well-known.

Rest
Ice
Compression
Elevation

— 5 —

Order of operations in mathematics. A friend of mine is a math teacher, and her department dressed up as this mnemonic device one year!

Parentheses
Exponents
Multiplication
Division
Addition
Subtraction

becomes…

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

— 6 —

Colors of the rainbow. Anyone else have a friend named Roy G. Biv?

Red
Orange
Yellow

Green

Blue
Indigo
Violet

— 7 —

Order of planets. Pluto is a planet. Fight me, Neil Degrasse Tyson!

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto

becomes…

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles.

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