Gratitude in the Midst of COVID-19 (I)

I vented my spleen out yesterday and it helped a bit, so I thought I would look for some things for which I could be grateful today.

  • The existence of Zoom which allows me to work with students remotely and meet with people while there is a prohibition on meetings and such here.
  • My house panther who is keeping me entertained.
  • My alcohol gel obsession which means that I still have a little bit left.
  • Amazon Prime which is helping me keep a little ahead of people’s hoarding habits
  • A roof over my head.
  • A Lenten diet that actually lends itself pretty well to eating shelf-stable food.
  • A boss who works with me to make it possible to deal with Daniel’s issues and work.
  • A job I love.
  • A church here who is committed to making sure its members can worship and me being able to be part of that.
  • The new case on the Skagit County Public Health site is someone who was released from the hospital to isolation at home. It’s someone who is getting *BETTER*. (My theory is that these are workers at affected nursing homes.)
  • A stack of books on my e-reader to work through if I’m bored in the next few weeks.
  • A beautiful view of Little Mountain and evergreen trees from my bedroom window.
  • An amazing publicity and web person to work with on the church website who gives me perspective.
  • Last, but not least, knowing WordPress well enough to set things to send comments from trolls into my Trash so that I only see them on the rare occasions I look in there. That way, it’s like they don’t exist unless I give enough of a rat’s butt to look for them, and I can go on with my life without having to care about their commentary.

Shut up, Elena.

COVID-19, You Suck

I had just sat down at Daniel’s IEP meeting when Governor Inslee announced that all K-12 schools in Washington would be closing for the next six or more weeks, effective March 17th. The teachers and specialists present were feeling sick over it because they love their kids something fierce. They’re feeling sick over it because parents like me are being put in really difficult positions where our jobs could be on the line because being stay-at-home parents and homeschooling our kids is not a luxury we have. (I’m a single mom. I *HAVE* to work. I’m waiting to find out if I can work with students remotely until Daniel can go back to school.) They’re feeling sick over it because they know the kids are going to have a hell of a time dealing with school, the one place some of them feel joy, is being taken away from them.

I honestly feel myself like everything that brings me joy is being systematically taken away. My church is functionally shut down for the next two weeks at least. (I’ll be there Sunday only because I’m part of the effort to live stream worship, but there are only going to be 5 of us present and we’re basically going to record stuff and then vacate the premises.) Daniel’s teacher, aides, and specialists are part of my support network with him, and now I’m losing them for six weeks. My degree program, which transitioned into a job for me, was 75% of what got me through my divorce, and now I’m uncertain about how much of a job I’m going to have come April 5th.

I’m honestly pretty angry with the world right now, and it seems like Satan is rubbing salt in my wounds by throwing tone-deaf remarks from homeschooling parents in my path about how interesting it is that everyone is going to be homeschooling now, how we’ll never stop once we start, how we withdraw our kids from their public schools, and/or how we give notice that we’re going to homeschool them. They all seem to be from the people who are the absolute last people I would seek out for advice on the subject, especially because they managed to raise some screwed-up, sociopathic, and/or barely literate kids. All the people I would seek out for advice have been classy enough to trust that I’ll seek them out if/when I need their help. (I have a large number of behaviorists and special education teachers in my friend group.)

Comments are disabled on this post because this is me venting my spleen and none of this is up for discussion.

7 Quick Takes: Living In The Midst of “The Walking Dead” Edition

7 Quick Takes

This blog’s official troll accused me of exaggerating and going to extremes after reading one of my posts where I called them out for some dangerous opinions they hold regarding some infectious diseases. It’s too bad that science backs me up and disproves what they have to say.

Sucks to be you, Elena.

Oh… I also cite REAL ACCURATE SOURCES WITH REAL ACCURATE NUMBERS in this post. Click on by me if you want to believe the hysteria in the media.

— 1 —

The title. Some of you know that I live in western Washington. This part of the state is where all the COVID-19 cases are. (There aren’t any west of Grant or Kittitas counties, so it is currently really just in the western 1/2-2/3 of the state.) King County is the most populous county in the state and has the largest city, Seattle. Thus, this is where the bulk of the cases are. We have the highest number of cases in the country (568) as well as the highest death toll (37). With all K-12 schools having to switch to remote learning for 6+ weeks, the colleges that are having to go to distance learning for the rest of the year, and all the restrictions on public events, it seems like we’re in the midst of an episode of “The Walking Dead” here.

— 2 —

Where to get your information. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and the president isn’t helping with this. (For those who are wondering what I’m talking about, he has made some off-the-cuff remarks that contradict what the CDC and others run by medical professionals have said about it.) Here’s a list of places to go for accurate information:

World Health Organization
-Your state’s department of health/board of health (mine)
-Your county’s board of health/department of health (mine)

All of the above have medical professionals who specialize in infectious diseases reporting on this and making recommendations.

— 3 —

The math on this. It has been reported that COVID-19 is ten times more deadly than the seasonal flu. This is correct. The seasonal flu has a fatality rate of around 0.1% (1 out of 1,000) people. COVID-19’s fatality rate is around 1% (1 in 100 people). It is skewed a little bit here in Washington state because most of the fatal cases are from nursing homes, one specific nursing home in particular.

For more data on this in a beautiful and easy-to-follow format, click here.

— 4 —

How to protect yourself. This might come as a surprise, but the easiest way to protect your self is…


Wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap. Wash them like you just finished eating Thai food with your hands and you need to remove your contacts. Wash them like you just shook hands with the politician you hate most. Say a Hail Mary while you wash your hands. Wash them when you get back to your house after being out in public.

If you need something to say or sing while washing them other than “Happy Birthday”, you can make your own hand-washing poster using this site. Here is one with part of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. There’s also a list of hymns you can sing.

Wash your hands Jabberwocky-style.
Praise the Lord and wash your hands.

Also, stay home if you’re sick and don’t touch your face.

— 5 —

Telecommuting. My college had to close down all sites this week for disinfection after a positive case at a nursing home where CNA students and instructors were doing clinicals. (The staff and students were on campus last week, so the school legally needed to neutralize the risk.) Cue everything including tutoring having to be switched up to remote instruction this week! I’ve been tutoring over Zoom since yesterday, and it’s kind of a cool way to do all of this. My student(s) can share their screen with me, which makes it a whole lot easier for me to point out errors and get “down and dirty” with my Accounting students who work through an online application.

Minion even decided to “help” yesterday, so I was cuddling him during my one-on-one session with a student. Silly panther!

— 6 —

Social distancing. I completely understand the need for social distancing. We stand to overwhelm our health care system unless we flatten the curve in terms of risk. Still, it’s hard to have so many things like church cancelled. Physical touch isn’t even my primary love language, and I’m missing being hugged.

Nadia Bolz-Weber had a really good take on this:

Pandemic of disappointment.

— 7 —

Faith in the time of COVID-19. If you’re like me, Sunday worship/Mass has been cancelled diocese-wide. My church is coming up with ways to livestream worship and post the basics on our website, but for the Catholics out there who are in dioceses like the Archdiocese of Seattle where everything is cancelled, here are some options courtesy of my local Blessed is She folks:

Daily TV Mass
Act of Spiritual Communion

I used to watch a lot of Heart of the Nation when we lived in Galt and going to church with Daniel was a no-go for reasons.

The archbishop of Seattle is also livestreaming Mass on Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT. Your local dioceses might have similar options.

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

Lenten Check-In #1

We’re about a quarter of the way through Lent. I’m doing well at keeping a pesco-vegetarian diet (I’m not even taking Sundays off because I’ve always felt that was kind of a cop-out), my posts here are late but I’ve managed to post almost every day, and I end up kneeling consistently most mornings and a lot of evenings.

It’s getting extra Lenten around here because of the COVID-19 cases. We have 267 cases in Washington state as of this moment and it’s all mostly in western Washington. We have one case in Skagit County where I am, and my employer has closed all campuses for the week because of some students and staff being on campus last week after doing clinicals at a nursing home where there are now two positive cases of it. The one case in Skagit County is a woman in her 40’s and I’m hoping it isn’t any of my students, although I’d be most likely notified if it was. Thankfully, my boss and her counterpart on the Whidbey Island campus came up with contingency plans so that those who were willing could continue to work remotely.

In the midst of this, all midweek Lenten stuff is being postponed until after Easter at my church, no laity is receiving the Cup, offerings are being put in plates on the way up to Communion to keep us from passing plates (and passing germs), there is no physical contact during the Peace, and any coffee hour stuff is having to be done according to very stringent regulations. I feel like a brat because I’m feeling irrated at being inconvenienced by all the precautions when people are actually DYING of it.


Seriously, Catholic Twitter?

A friend told me about this Twitter thread yesterday in which some idiot was going off on people for eating fish on Friday and telling them to be vegan instead because that takes effort.

Wow. Way to have a crappy witness to the beauty of Catholicism. I’m sorry that eating fish on Friday isn’t a sacrifice for you because it is for a lot of people for whom the act of limiting their food choices that much causes them to think about what feeds them spiritually. You come across as a sanctimonious twit.

Then, I saw a news report about wine not being served in Catholic churches due to COVID-19. People were responding that wine is never served in Catholic churches, causing me to facepalm because people are making pedantic remarks about how it is the BLOOD, not merely serving wine. Y’all, I know the difference (and my church is in the same situation where we’re restricting the Cup), but making catty remarks is not helping y’all convey the beauty of Catholicism.