7 Quick Takes: Working My Political Nerves Edition

7 Quick Takes

Comments are turned off because I want to vent my spleen about political stupidity, I cited my sources (and used a variety of them that are known to be local and as neutral as I could get them in these partisan times), and I pay the hosting fees here so none of this is up for debate. πŸ™‚ (Disagree with me? Go vent on a blog for which you pay the hosting fees.)

— 1 —

Trump administration trying to suppress COVID case numbers. The Trump Administration is ordering hospitals to bypass CDC in reporting COVID data. Why would any sane presidential administration order hospitals not to send their data to the agency whose job is to deal with disease control? I mean, the CDC has people who are trained to interpret this data, and who have done this beautifully for decades.

Unless… could he be trying to suppress the number of cases to make it look like he hasn’t completely failed in handling the pandemic? Yeah… sounds about right. Also, it’s scary that I have more science and medical training than most of the people on Trump’s Coronavirus Taskforce. (I was pre-med in college, and parenting Daniel has required as much training as it takes to be a CNA and medical assistant due to his special needs and a lot of the things involved in his hospital discharges. I know this because I’ve had to train nursing students a few times during Daniel’s inpatient stays.)

— 2 —

The collective good. I shared the below image on Facebook last week, and a friend (whose family is British) made an interesting point. She said, “they were British and believed in the collective good in a way that clearly Americans don’t, to our shame.”

London blackout

She has a point, and she managed to help me explain why I find the pissiness over having to wear a mask to be so self-centered. I (and so many other people) wear them because we’re trying to protect other people and we believe in doing things for the collective good, even if we have to sacrifice a little bit of comfort. It’s why I and many other Democrats find some Trump supporters to be so odious–the decisions they’re praising are showing that they are in it only for themselves and not for the rest of the country.

— 3 —

Ted Yoho’s verbal assault of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If any of you think that this was OK or appropriate, please click the “x” on this tab and get off my blog. (For those who are wondering what happened, Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida accosted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she was going to vote, and told her she was “disgusting” before calling her a “f*cking b*tch”. Rep. Yoho claimed it didn’t happen that way… but PEOPLE WITNESSED IT HAPPENING THAT WAY.)

Seriously, I get that AOC infuriates people, but there is no excuse for Rep. Yoho’s behavior… especially as HE HAS DAUGHTERS HER AGE. I wonder how he’d react if someone did that to one of his daughters. Also, his apology was a non-apology (“I am sorry if you understood me to be saying…” is not an apology) and did not address the things he said, but rather the “abruptness of the conversation”.

/goes to look up Ted Yoho’s opponent so she can donate money to them

— 4 —

The civil rights abuses happening in Portland. From a friend of mine who lives there:

It’s absolutely terrifying, but our community has come together and it really feels like everybody here in Portland is trying to do their part to support the protests. We live downtown, just a few blocks from the Justice Center where everything is happening, so we see, hear and know about everything first hand. I know that there is a narrative being spread that the protestors here in Portland are nothing but violent anarchists, trashing the city and causing chaos, and that we deserve this… that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a complete and total lie, being spread by people who aren’t even here, and its horrifying. It’s the people of Portland who are down in the streets — moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, teachers, teenagers, and everything in between — everybody is getting involved, chanting, holding signs, linking arms, taking up space, and protecting eachother. Normal people like you and me. The police and the feds are the ones causing violence, and everyone who has actually been down there can see that clear as day. Once the sun goes down, they start marching in lines down the streets shooting indiscriminately into the crowds.

I’m sure nobody has mentioned that Trump legally needs permission to deploy any troops within the borders of the United States. The mayor of Portland got tear-gassed by them a few nights ago, and a federal judge has just issued a restraining order against the troops to keep them from assaulting or arresting journalists and legal observers.

Seriously, these officers had no identification on them and they were using rented vans to take people off the streets. (DHS *FINALLY* confirmed that they were responsible.) The people taken were people who were legally assembling and protesting, not the anarchist idiots (most of whom are white supremacists) who had caused damage. The governor of Oregon, the mayor of Portland, a few House members, and both senators from Oregon have told the troops to leave, but the acting secretary of the DHS has refused. Tom Ridge, the first ever Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has called him out for his actions, which is saying something. Legislation is currently being drafted to prevent unidentified agents from doing this again, and the US attorney for Oregon is asking for an investigation because this is stuff that happens in third world dictatorships, not a first world country.

Trump is threatening to send troops to Seattle, and I’m pretty sure Mayor Jenny Durkan (former prosecutor for the US Attorney’s office) and Bob Ferguson (attorney general for Washington state, who has yet to lose a battle against the present administration) have the lawsuits written and prepped to file.

Y’all, these weren’t violent protests, and this isn’t “to restore order”. This is Trump flexing his muscles, it’s completely inappropriate, and people aren’t tolerating it.

— 5 —

Campaign propaganda. The image on Trump campaign ad depicting a police officer being attacked by protesters isn’t from the last few months in the United States. It’s from pro-democracy protests in the Ukraine in 2014. This follows the use of a picture of former Washington governor Gary Locke to depict Biden as being soft on China, and the claim that a picture of immigrants jumping over a border in Morocco depicts the US-Mexico border among other misuses of photographs.

Lesson: Campaigns need to google stock images before using them on campaign propaganda.

— 6 —

Seriously, Washington GOP?!?!? Loren Culp, sheriff in a tiny county in eastern Washington and one of the Republican candidates for governor in Washington, is being sued for intimidating a sexual abuse victim, threatening to charge her with making false claims, and failing to report her allegations to child welfare authorities as required by law. Another county investigated the claims the victim was making, and found that she was telling the truth.

Why would we want a law enforcement official who behaves so deplorably as our nextgovernor?!?!? Seriously, the GOP in my state really are showing that they are horrible people (and also a special kind of stupid), given that he’s their current favorite. (I fear that even the state GOP here is getting sick of Tim Eyman, our state’s unofficial parasite.)

— 7 —

Some Facebook humor. Y’all need to start referring to your masks as “face cloaks”.

Fetch me my face cloak!

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

7 Quick Takes: Voting and Other Fun Activities Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Reminder to vote. Some of you might live in states with a primary coming up to decide the ballot for things like House member, senator, governor, etc. All of those positions determine policy both in Washington and in your home state, so please do vote. Your senators confirm judicial nominees and Cabinet positions, for example.

— 2 —

On voting by mail. I received my ballot in the mail today for the August 4 primary because of the entire state of Washington voting by mail. It was a wonderful surprise when I moved up here to find this out, and it is actually an amazing thing. My ballot has a tracking number on it keyed to my name, and I can enter my name in and it will tell me if my ballot has been processed yet. I’ve actually only voted in person a handful of times since I hit voting age 22 years ago, and those are the few times I’ve had problems with my ballots. I’ve never had a problem with my absentee ballot ever in California or Montana, and Washington’s system has been lovely. (I voted in person in Ohio and Minnesota.)

Washington’s REPUBLICAN Secretary of State (emphasis added to show that this not a purely partisan issue with Democrats) wrote an opinion piece on why voting by mail really does work. My only complaint about my ballot this time is that Tim Eyman is listed as a candidate for governor instead of in his own electoral position as State Parasite. (Yes, that was catty. The truth hurts, y’all. Dude is useless and just creates legislation to screw up the state.)

— 3 —

Sweetness. Mom has taken to watching travel videos on YouTube, and Daniel will hang out and watch with her. Currently, they’re watching a Rick Steves one on Budapest. I’ve walked into their room to do things on occasion (they have a printer/scanner and the cats usually hang out in there) and have had to play “figure out the city” a few times.

— 4 —

Duolingo. I decided to get back into language learning during quarantine and have been learning Spanish and Arabic on Duolingo while also reviewing my French. They have a ton of different languages (including Klingon and High Valyrian) and the way they teach seems to work well for me.

— 5 —

Special intention. I have a special intention needing prayer. Please and thank you!

— 6 —

Darn those onion-cutting ninjas! This is beautiful.

— 7 —

/blinks repetitively I walked into the dining room 30 minutes ago to find one of my dad’s shoes on the leg of a dining room chair and encyclopedias stacked on top of the seat. When I found him, my first words were, “what did you break?”

(Part of his shoe was coming loose, so he was gluing it down with shoe goo.)

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: What’s On My Mind Edition

7 Quick Takes

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.

— 1 —

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.

— 2 —

I’m really struggling with how helpless I feel right now. I’m not going to lie. It feels like this verse in the Dropkick Murphys song “The Green Fields of France” right now:

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.

— 3 —

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.

— 4 —

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.

— 5 —

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.)

— 6 —

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.)

— 7 —

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.

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: 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. πŸ˜€ 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.