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.)
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.
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.)
/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.)
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.
Yakima, Benton, and Franklin counties. All y’all in those three counties who are refusing to mask up are the source of many of the new COVID-19 cases. It’s the reason Governor Inslee has had to go visit you and make it a gross misdemeanor not to wear a mask in public in just your counties. I know you hate the governor, but your stupid partisan hatred is causing the rest of us to give up ICU and hospital beds to accommodate your patients. So, please grow the [insert word] up, and just wear a damn mask.
The western half of the state who already pays for all of your services
For anyone who doesn’t know, the Skagit County Chorale are local to me, and the choir’s cases are 10-20% of my county’s COVID-19 cases. The two women who died are connected to me through church friends.
Some beautiful music. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is our opening hymn for Sunday morning, and I found this beautiful version from the Spelman College Glee Club when I was searching for something to put my church’s Facebook page.
I can’t even with this… If you attempt to explain this away, you are a horrible human being and your voting privileges need to be revoked. Telling black people that they “need to learn about their history or go back to it” is racist as [insert expletive], and it shows that Trump doesn’t understand American history at all. The reason we want to rename places and take statues down is that the people did horrible things, and those things should not be glorified.
Also, if anyone is afraid that not having these statues will cause us to forget our history, I need to introduce you to an amazing thing called a “book”.
Weekend plans. Given the spike we’re having in COVID-19 cases right now in my area (which for us means that we’re up from no new cases for a week to 5+ new cases per day), a family gathering this weekend is OBVIOUSLY not happening. It will just be my household and we’ll have hot dogs for dinner on Saturday night. We’ll also see how much we get shelled by idiots playing with fireworks. (They are unfortunately legal on the 4th in my town during certain hours.) All the parades and events in my area are cancelled because the people in charge actually believe medical experts who are saying it’s a bad idea. (All those states who reopened early and have spikes in infection rates are proof of why the leadership needs to be listening.)
A sign of things to come.This makes two Republican candidates for governor who are having legal issues. (This is the other one.) I’m wondering who the GOP in Washington is going to try next, given that they seem to be attracting idiots.
Their videos are set to appear first on my Facebook wall, and watching them is a highlight of my day. I also will watch them when I’m falling asleep at night. Here are some of my favorites and some that show how wonderful the sanctuary is. Most of the videos I am showing are of the medium cats and cougars because they are my favorites, but they do have lions (all but one of whom were rescued from zoos in Argentina two years ago) and tigers.
So you want to work with wildcats… Here are interviews with some of the caretakers. Elyse works with pretty much all of the cats, is the vet coordinator, and does a lot of operant conditioning. You also get to hear from the hybrid caretakers and the ones that do a lot of the medium-sized cats.
Essey, my sponsored cat. Full disclosure: I fell head-over-heels in love with Essey when I saw the first video below. (She’s a tiny girl just like I was at her age!) I looked to see how much it would be to sponsor her, and it was thankfully within my budget. I also included her intake exam video so you can see what an intake exam looks like at the sanctuary.
Serval cuddle puddles. Servals are probably my favorite cat to watch after the cougars. They look like something out of a Dr. Suess book and their cuddle puddles are adorable. I also love the chirp that Rocky (one of the servals) is making about a minute into the video. (This is one of 12-13 videos that they made as part of one of their fundraising drives last year when they posted every hour on the hour from the sanctuary.)
Washington cougars. While I root against the Washington State University Cougars as they are the archrivals of my parents’ alma mater (Go Dawgs!), I am smitten with these three babies. They were trapped on the other side of the Cascade Mountains from me and were taken in by the sanctuary because Washington state doesn’t allow the rehab and release of apex predators. People suggested names based on places in Washington, and the sanctuary decided on Rainier (girl), Quincy (boy), and Tacoma (boy). Rainier is my favorite, mostly because she’s a little pistol. My favorite video on the site is probably the second one where Elyse is feeding them and she calls out “Cougars!” as she is clicking the tongs.) The cougars are now big enough to move down to Cougar Cove where they live next to another cougar family, the 5-Wild.
Inside rooms for the cats. The sanctuary is unique in that they provide both an inside temperature-controlled room for each of the bigger cats (and bungalows for the hybrids) and an outside fenced habitat. Here are some videos that showcase the insides and the hybrid habitats.
Enrichment. In addition to providing a lot of space for the cats, they also provide enrichment for the cats to destroy. Apparently, they have an entire shed dedicated to this, which includes a spice rack. In addition to the obvious favorites of catnip and tuna, the wildcats also go crazy for seasoning salt. Of course, the cats like boxes–that’s just a given. 🙂
Andre the cougar. Andre, one of the cougars in the 5-Wild, decided to eat some cardboard a couple weeks ago and developed a bowel blockage that had to be removed with emergency surgery. He was down in Quarantine for a week afterward so they could make sure he healed properly. I think the cutest thing ever is the fourth video down when Rio (the blonde female caretaker) walked in and started fussing over him and babytalking him… and he starts chirping/meowing at her. He even meowed for Judson (the male media person for the sanctuary). 🙂 (Cougars can also purr and one of the caretakers in the first take describes them as sounding like a bunch of motorboats.) Andre is back with his cougar posse in his habitat and doing well.
Masks are not the devil’s law. Masks have been scientifically proven to protect people. Wearing masks are protecting people who are immunocompromised, people taking care of other people who are immunocompromised, or who cannot wear masks because of their own health issues (asthma). Masks do not kill 99.999% of the population.
Get your heads out of your butts and start giving a crap about other people.
It’s been THAT week here. My sweet child decided to pull out his g-tube on Tuesday (necessitating it being changed a month early and causing me a pretty massive adrenaline spike as I had to change it while being half-awake), I’m fighting allergies up the wazoo, and that’s not even getting into all the racial and political things going on in this country. I can’t do much about my kiddo’s g-tube sitch or the allergies, but I figured I would vent out my spleen on the politics and social things.
The governor of Oklahoma has invited Trump to visit the neighborhood where the Tulsa Race Massacre took place, and black Tulsans are unnerved by this. They also didn’t include black leaders in the discussion, which is a pretty huge slap in the face when THEY were the ones killed in the massacre.
It might be a good idea to lift up some prayers for everyone in the Tulsa area for safety from the COVID-19 cluster that is probably going to result as well as from any of Trump’s “fine upstanding people” causing shenanigans.
Commemorating the Emanuel 9. Five years ago, Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and shot nine people dead. He did it in order to start a race war, and one of the most vivid memories I have of the day after it happened is one of the family members of the deceased telling Roof that she forgave him because she had to do it as a Christian. He wanted to start a fight, and she effectively blocked him.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of my former denominations, held a prayer service to commemorate them on Wednesday.
Hydroxychloroquine. The CDC has pulled emergency authorization for use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine… BECAUSE IT IS UNLIKELY TO BE EFFECTIVE!!!!!!!!!!!! All of us who have been offered it by our rheumatologists for our conditions are rolling our eyes because WE HAVE BEEN TELLING PEOPLE THIS. (Its brand name is Plaquenil, and it has been out for a while.) Among the side effects that turned me off of trying it was liver issues and retinal damage. If it was the only thing that was going to keep me alive, my parents (who have my medical POA) would have permitted it to be given to me, but there was no conclusive evidence that it would do any good–only that it would cause serious cardiac side effects.
The lesson here: Trump should have waited until peer-reviewed/strong> studies came out before talking about it.
One more mask take. I’m just going to say this plainly:
IF YOU ARE REFUSING TO WEAR A MASK* IN PUBLIC AND DON’T HAVE A MEDICAL REASON** FOR DOING SO, YOU ARE A SELFISH HUMAN BEING.***
Yes, your glasses fog up. Guess what? It happens to doctors and nursing staff in hospitals all the time. (I’ve seen probably 50 letters to the editor from doctors and nurses all over the country on this subject.)They have no sympathy for you, and I don’t either. I’ve had to live in a mask, gloves, and gown over my clothes for a week at a time while in the PICU with Daniel. If I can do it for a week or more at a time, you can do it for an hour while grocery-shopping or at Mass. Masking up protects those around you from getting infected with COVID-19 if you have it, and it honestly is a sign that you care about the welfare of other people. Given that states are opening up too fast and seeing a spike in infections, places need to be enforcing it.
Yes, Trump doesn’t wear one, but he’s also a fundamentally selfish human being who requires those around him to wear masks instead because he cares about them not infecting him, but not about him infecting them. Don’t be like Trump. Mask up.
(And to my main troll: the office of your Congressional representative thinks it’s hysterically funny that someone in Washington state is donating to her campaign because one of her constituents is being an Internet troll.)
*Bandanas and neck gaiters count here as well.
**Autism is included in medical reasons.
***If you haven’t been able to acquire one and/or need instructions on how to make one, leave me a comment and I’ll get you information on how to do that.
I’ve gotten political this week here and here. There is so incredibly much I want to say, and my constant state of exhaustion these days is making it hard to find the words, so I figured I’d give you a picture of the various directions my mind is going in right now (late afternoon on Thursday). Some of them are related to the events of this last week, and some of them are “ooooh shiny!” type thoughts about bullet journal supplies.
I’m honestly really angry at the people who are getting their news about the protests from biased sources. Click here for an interactive media bias chart. I tend to double and triple-check my sources to make sure that whatever I’m posting is as neutral as I can get it. I have also been examining my own biases and trying to get news from sites like The Grio that show things from a different cultural standpoint.
And I can’t help but wonder oh Willy McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died,
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause,
Did you really believe that this war would end wars.
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing and dying it was all done in vain,
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.
While I know the song is addressing World War I, the whole thing about “the killing and dying it was all done in vain… it all happened again, and again, and again, and again, and again.” Last week, it was George Floyd. Before that, it was Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. I don’t blame the black community one damn bit for being angry because the cards are stacked against them, and there is no static date in sight for change to actually come until our society completely reevaluates itself.
I’m thinking about the casual racism I’ve witnessed in my own life. When I was living in Bexley for seminary, the cops there often got referred to as the “Bexley Border Patrol” because of their habit of following black men walking on city and neighborhood streets. It was only 20 years earlier that the seminary had their first black students, and the seminary president had to go to the police department and tell them to stop harassing them. (I heard the story from one of the students who became a professor there and was teaching my “African-American Religious Experience” class.) The local Kroger was right across the bridge over Alum Creek, and it was like walking into a different world once I crossed the bridge from the leafy streets of Bexley. It was then that I learned that Columbus looked like a checkerboard with white and black neighborhoods alternating. It was something that I had never thought about before as a sweet little 21 year old girl from northern California. That year of seminary changed a lot of the ways I saw the world.
I’m heartened at some of the conversations that are happening in various places. Louisville Metro Council’s public safety committee has unanimously approved “Breonna’s Law” which would regulate no-knock warrants. It is named for Louisville paramedic Breonna Taylor who was killed while asleep in her home when officers stormed in on a no-knock warrant and opened fire. Investigations have been opened into her killing by the FBI, and there was a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city by her family.
There is also a bipartisan push to demilitarize police, which I think is important for many reasons. There needs to be a serious push toward community-based policing and not the rough tactics that Trump has been demanding. We’re seeing from the protests that the rough tactics are backfiring pretty spectacularly and are causing more problems than they’re resolving.
I don’t think police departments are going to be defunded, but I’m really hoping that conversations between city officials and organizers of protests might start a kernel of change happening.
I’m reading what people are saying and trying to listen more than I speak. (And yes, this is harder than it sounds for me, and I don’t deserve a medal for it. Former President Obama wrote this, which I think is helpful for people like me in figuring out a starting point. There is also this list, which is being added to as time goes on. (For those who are “all or nothing” people like me, the second link is stuff to do over time to help you consider your privilege and move toward being helpful, not to have to accomplish by tomorrow.)
I’m mentally putting together a list of things to do tomorrow to help my child to not have a screaming meltdown. Let’s just say that someone had a bad night and someone’s mommy has been suffering the repercussions of this all day. It’s hard having a largely nonverbal child with autism who can’t tell you *WHY* they are enraged and screaming so loudly that it is shattering glass in a three-mile radius… at 12:45 a.m. (My hunch is that allergies are causing him to be congested and not feel good, and I couldn’t make a run to Haggen in my jammies for Children’s Dimetapp because they close at midnight due to COVID-19. (They’re usually open 24 hours.) He was tired today, but the 4-7 p.m. meltdown time was pretty normal in terms of rage at being told “no” to things that his crappy impulse control (from the ADHD) compels him to do. I’m seriously wishing there was even a shot at in-home ABA up here.
My kiddo truthfully occupies 90% of my spoons and 75% of my mental energy these days. This is why I tend to rip heads off of people who don’t have kids with autism but still think that they have anything useful to say to me regarding what I *SHOULD* be trying with Daniel. (Hint: A gluten-free diet isn’t going to magically cure him. Neither is the GAPS diet.)
I’m plotting out next week’s bullet journal layout to keep myself somewhat sane. I’ve got a bunch of stickers from Planning with Kay, but I still have a month to go until I migrate my bullet journal and use those for my July layout. (I get to start a new journal at that point! *bouncebouncebounce*) I also need my ink cartridges to arrive already so that I can print out stuff for next week’s layout.