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. 😀 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.

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: 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.

7 Quick Takes: Bright Week Edition

7 Quick Takes

Now that Holy Week is over, I’m weighing in on the current foolishness of the occupant of the White House. If you are someone of a sensitive nature who can’t deal with criticism of him, skip the first take of this post. My blog = my politics rule here and I’m not debating this. (Y’all can believe WHATEVER you want on your own websites.)

Oh yeah… insert spiel about Amazon associate links being present because I am an Amazon associate.

— 1 —

Reopening the economy. I’m heartened by the governors who have rebelled against the temper tantrum thrown by the current occupant of the White House and who have said that *THEY* will decide when their states’ economies open. (For those of you who erroneously think the White House occupant gets to dictate this, I recommend this book to explain it to you in words you can understand. It is a *CLEAR* 10th Amendment issue.)

I also have to laugh at the fact that the White House occupant thinks he can say something one day and pretend he said something else the next day. That might work in a place like North Korea or Turkmenistan where the state controls the media, but it does *NOT* work here. People record and take screenshots of things. Nothing is forgotten on the Internet.

I’m pretty sure my governor and my state’s attorney general were laughing to the point of crying when he said that only he has the power to open the economy (WRONG!) and the next day that he would call each governor individually and give them permission to open their state’s economy (again, WRONG!). I can imagine my state’s attorney general drafting his arguments for court in his head during that first news conference. (Bob Ferguson, my state’s attorney general, has very joyfully filed suits against some of the stupider decisions of this current presidential administration… and won almost every time.)

— 2 —

Reasons why we are locked down. My county has seen an increase of 9 cases per day in the last three days. Our governor isn’t stupid, so I don’t think the restrictions are being lifted any time soon.

Trump logic.

— 3 —

Tulips. If we weren’t in an episode of “The Walking Dead” right now, the Skagit County Tulip Festival would be happening and the roads west of town would be clogged with “tulip tourists”. Because we don’t believe in sacrificing our county’s citizens for the $1 million it would bring in, all the in-person events are either cancelled or postponed. The two big tulip growers, however, are finding ways to be innovative in the midst of it. Roozengaarde is doing virtual tours, and Tulip Town has a program where a $15 donation gets a bouquet of tulips donated to a hospital or nursing home. You can also buy bulbs from both of them or merch from the main festival website.

— 4 —

Nature being cool. I mean, nature is awesome.

— 5 —

OMG! Josh Groban is singing songs in his shower on his Facebook page! Here he is doing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with his friend Lucia Micarelli.

— 6 —

Because Yo-Yo Ma! If I am sharing videos of musicians doing off-the-cuff music on their Facebook walls, I can’t forget Yo-Yo Ma. He has done some selections from Bach’s Cello Suites, which I am admittedly not fond of, so I’m sharing his version of Dona Nobis Pacem:

— 7 —

My church is more awesome than yours! I’ll leave you with The Episcopal Church Virtual Choir and Orchestra singing “The Strife is O’er”.

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?