7 Quick Takes: 300,000 People Edition

7 Quick Takes

We have lost 300,000 people to COVID-19 here in the USA and people still don’t seem to care, so I thought I’d do my Quick Takes on the scale of that number. All of these figures are from Wikipedia with the exception of take #5, which took some combing through Church statistics.

(Seriously, you can either read me talking about stats or me talking about the state of Daniel’s bowels. Throwing out statistics seemed more merciful.)

Also? I’ve seen idiots in my local area talking about how it’s just a cold or flu, and part of the problem with that line of thought is that you can get a mild case of COVID and end up later on with blood clots or heart conditions. This even happens in young people and people with no history of either thing.

— 1 —

The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The population is 300,286. That’s a lot of missing Steelers fans.

— 2 —

The city of St. Louis, Missouri. With a population of 300,576, that is a lot of people you won’t be meeting there.

— 3 —

Most of the population of Iceland. There would only be 36,713 people left in this Viking paradise.

— 4 —

Slightly more than the population of Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. Our COVID death toll here in the States would wipe out the entire population of the capital plus 604 people.

— 5 —

Almost the entire Diocese of Toledo. There would only be 19,907 Catholics left in northwest Ohio! (My readership is mostly Catholic, so I thought I’d throw this figure out there.)

— 6 —

Slightly under half the population of the U.S. state of Vermont. The Green Mountain State has a population of 623,989. That means that there would be just about half as many Green Mountain Boys there.

— 7 —

Slightly less than the number of people who work for Starbucks globally. Starbucks employs 346,000 people worldwide, so I might have a hard time finding someone to make my iced grande latté with one pump of vanilla!

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

7 Quick Takes: What I Did This Week Edition

7 Quick Takes

Answer: Doing laundry.

Question: Why is Jen creeping through the halls of Seattle Children’s Hospital at 2:15 a.m.?

— 1 —

Hauled butt to Seattle. Daniel was pukey last Thursday and hadn’t pooped, so we headed to his gastroenterologist in Everett… who proceeded to blow me off and give me instructions for some enemas. I’m sure nobody will be surprised that the enemas did nothing except make my kid afraid of me, and I finally hit my breaking point on Monday when he was puking and nothing was happening. I knew it was ER time (having gone through this last year) and decided to drive down to Seattle Children’s Hospital for their ER, figuring that they would have all the necessary tools (i.e. feeding extensions) and knowledge to deal with Daniel. (They do, and they know how to use them.) I also figured they were probably taking good COVID precautions. (They are.)

— 2 —

Helped give enemas. I made nurses to the actual enema part while I held him in position. Fun fun fun.

— 3 —

Slept. For some reason I sleep like I’m dead in the hospital when I’m on one of the pull-out couches.

— 4 —

Watched construction taking place outside my window. They are building something outside my room, and our room is full of construction noise during the day. They offered to move us if the noise was going to bother Daniel’s autistic sensitivities. (My kid couldn’t care less.)

— 5 —

Prayed for Thomas Lauer. Thomas is the 5 year old son of Katherine at Gloria in Excelsis Deo. If you’re not praying for him, start doing it NOW. Kiddo has survived 7(!!!!!) surgeries in the last three weeks since they removed a 13 oz. tumor from his tummy. He had a SIRS response to the surgery and has dealt with internal bleeding, necrotic organs, and a whole host of issues… and he is still alive.

Pray for him and for his mama Katherine. She has been by his side for the last 3+ weeks, and she needs prayers for continued strength. I’ve watched my kid code and almost not come back from it. She has watched far more than that in the last three weeks, and she is incredibly strong.

— 6 —

Take mask selfies. Did you expect anything less of me? 🙂 My glasses are off because they were reflecting my computer screen, and my hair is in ringlets at the ends because I just washed it.

Mask selfie!

— 7 —

Played Bubble Pop Origins on my phone.. It’s brainless, and I needed something brainless this week because I’m being given a boatload of information.

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

7 Quick Takes: Thankful Edition

7 Quick Takes

I decided to come back from my hiatus early and let you all know the things for which I am giving thanks this year.

Blah blah blah Amazon links are affiliate ones blah blah blah.

— 1 —

I’m thankful the election is over. Holy polarization, Batman! This election season was functionally 8 years long. The 2012 election bled into the 2016 one… which then bled into this one. I’m also so thankful that the election went in my favor! I have a good governor who has worked tirelessly to protect the people of Washington, and the idiot running against him would have been horrible for the state. I get my amazing Congresscritter again, and let’s not even go into how happy I am that Joe Biden won the election.

You know what’s making me even happier? Not having to deal with the “rolling Trump rally” idiots driving around, creating traffic hazards, and giving me a headache from their honking. I wonder if they even know how much they made people want to vote for Biden instead!

— 2 —

I’m thankful for teachers. Homeschoolng Daniel is my idea of hell, so I’m grateful that someone else is doing the planning while I just have to make sure he stays on task. His teacher, therapists, and aide love him, and they make an absolute effort to try and reach him. I can’t wait until he can go back to school, but I’m happy that we can at least keep his education moving until the vaccine is ready.

— 3 —

I’m thankful that I have a job right now. One of the good things about my job is that it can be done online. Because of this, I was able to work this summer for the first time since Daniel was a baby. Winter Quarter will also be online, so I have job security for the time being.

— 4 —

I’m thankful for businesses that are trying to keep their employees and customers safe. I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the pandemic where I live, so I appreciate that my grocery store is limiting the number of people inside, that my favorite restaurants are on DoorDash or Munchie Dude so food can be delivered, and that other places have curbside pick up for food and retail goods. People in my area have been patient with the restrictions that we currently have, and that made it easier to deal with the line to get in the store on Thanksgiving Eve to pick up Daniel’s meds and a few last-minute things.

— 5 —

I’m thankful for my family. I’ve been stuck in the house with them for eight months, and we haven’t managed to kill each other yet. The grown-ups are also eating together every night, so I think my parents have a better idea of what I do for a living and what I have on my figurative plate because we talk about our days at dinner.

We also were able to have some socially distant porch visits this summer with some extended family. For Thanksgiving, we made dinner-to-go for my bachelor uncle, and he was able to come over and pick it up. (He brought us a pumpkin spice cheesecake from 5b’s Bakery in exchange.)

— 6 —

I’m thankful for my church. We haven’t been able to have in-person worship for eight months, so we’ve done worship over Facebook Live and then Zoom. Granted, I’m the one doing all the tech and web work for it, but people are being patient with tech malfunctions for the most part, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Our Vestry is also trying to make sure people get called every week and checked on because it can be lonely and we have an older congregation. Our choir has put together virtual anthems, and we’re working on finding ways to do worship without being allowed to sing. (This is why we can’t sing.) We did a survey of people this summer, and nobody wants to go back to in-person worship until the county hits Phase 4 and there is a vaccine available. We obviously didn’t get to do Easter in-person, and we are making plans for Midnight Mass over Zoom.

— 7 —

I’m thankful for my NOOK. I’ve re-read and gotten caught up on one series of murder mysteries, and I am almost done with the “Witchnapped in Westerham” books.

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

7 Quick Takes: Vote-by-Mail Edition

7 Quick Takes

I live in a state that votes completely by mail and just got my ballot in the mail, so I figured I’d talk a little bit about it today.

Oh yeah, links to books and stuff are Amazon associate links. Just a head’s up!

— 1 —

Not a Democratic plot to steal the election. Washington’s Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, has written articles on voting by mail… and she is a staunch REPUBLICAN. This is her story.

— 2 —

Why I do it. In the 22 years I’ve been old enough to vote, I’ve voted in person only a handful of times. I wasn’t registered in the county where I went to school because someone from my church was running for mayor during my first year of college, and I never bothered to change my registration. I’ve voted in five different states, and the only time I had a problem voting was when I lived in Montana and they screwed up my registration, so I wasn’t allowed to vote when I showed up at my polling place. I became a staunch absentee ballot person at that point, and I haven’t had any problems in the 14 years since!

— 3 —

It’s incredibly convenient. I can do it on my time schedule, and I don’t have to wait in line to do it. I can sit down with my voter guide, look at who my county’s political party organization endorses, and then I just have to throw it in the mailbox or put it in one of the dropboxes placed by my County Auditor.

A word of warning if you plan to use a dropbox: unofficial dropboxes are appearing in some states, so you should always go to an official dropbox run by your county’s auditor or whoever handles elections for your county. My county sends a list of official ones with the ballot, and they range from libraries to police stations to the county courthouse.

My County Auditor also recommends mailing ballots no later than October 27th to ensure they arrive by Election Day.

— 4 —

You need to read the instructions. There are stories of ballots being rejected already because people aren’t signing envelopes or putting things in secrecy sleeves. Your vote-by-mail ballot comes with instructions. (Mine are printed on the secrecy sleeve inside.) Read them carefully and follow them to the letter.

— 5 —

Ink color. Most ballots that ask you to fill in a bubble will require you to fill it out in blue or black ink. (It’s like a gigantic scantron sheet.) I stick with black to be safe. We are also told to cross out the name of the item if we fill in the wrong spot for a person or ballot measure.

— 6 —

Book recommendation. If you’ve stayed with me through all the blathering I’ve done regarding voting by mail, I have a book recommendation for you: the Paranormal Investigation Bureau mysteries by Dionne Lister are my current book addiction. They’re kind of like a cross between Harry Potter and chick lit. In the first book, Lily Bianchi, an Australian photographer finds out she is a witch on her 24th birthday when a strange woman turns up to tell her that her brother is missing. She ends up flying to England to find him, and she ends up staying and working for the Paranormal Investigation Bureau. Like in Harry Potter, there’s an evil organization doing nefarious stuff and trying to kill the main character, but it’s a little bit of a lighter read than J.K. Rowling’s books.

— 7 —

Interesting article. The Washington Post did a pretty cool article comparing our handling of coronavirus with medieval Europeans handling the plague. I’m a history junkie, so I found it pretty fascinating.

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

7 Quick Takes: Politics, Tigers, and Gordon Lightfoot Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Amy Coney Barrett. I oppose having confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett before the election takes place. If Mitch McConnell refused to allow hearings for Merrick Garland 8-9 months before the 2016 election, it is hypocritical as heck to try and shoehorn this into the 6 weeks before the election this year.

I oppose her nomination for several reasons. She has been a judge for less than three years (she was elevated by Trump in 2017), and I disagree with her record regarding the Affordable Care Act among other decisions.

You see what I wrote above? THAT is how you disagree faithfully. No name-calling involved and any criticism was focused on people’s ACTIONS and their record instead of their personal life.

— 2 —

The debate on Monday. I’ve known who I would be voting for since the day after the 2016 election, so I skipped the debate on Monday. According to people I know who watched it, it was brutal, and Chuck Wallace did a horrible job of keeping order. The most interesting commentary came from some of my stalwart Republican friends on Facebook… who had nothing good to say about Trump’s performance and are thinking of voting for Biden.

I’m currently reading the fact-check on the debate from the New York Times (which doesn’t go easy on either candidate) and it is convincing me that I’m better off not watching next Wednesday’s debate, given how much of a dumpster fire this one was!

**UPDATE** Trump and Melania have tested positive for COVID, so I don’t think there will be a debate on Wednesday unless it can be done over Zoom or something.

— 3 —

Tiger-Thon! The Wildcat Sanctuary (my favorite charity) is having a Tiger-Thon to raise money for the care of their cats. For the last week, they’ve had a triple match for their fundraising, and it all culminated today with lots of live Facebook posts with all of their tigers. The videos are here in case you have any kids who have a deep and abiding need to watch tiger videos. 🙂 (I recommend checking out Daisy, a.k.a. Crazy Daisy.)

— 4 —

An educational opportunity. Daniel had an ADHD appointment of yesterday, and we opted to do it in person in case they could do his flu shot while we were there. (They don’t have their supply in yet, so we’re on a waiting list.) Our medical system in town is a site for medical school rotations at an osteopathix medical school in Yakima, so Daniel’s pediatrician asked if I’d be OK with her student sitting in. My answer is always “yes!” so we had a sweet young lady hanging out with us. My little flirt kept his mask on without a problem from the time we were about to walk in the building until we were back in the car, and he also sat down calmly and looked at his pediatrician sweetly to let her know he was ready for her to check him over. (We have her take a listen to him and also check ears, mouth, and tummy whenever we’re there for ADHD appointments because Daniel can’t articulate pain.)

Other than Daniel being extra cute and happy to see his pediatrician, I had the blessing of being able to educate the medical student on Daniel’s g-tube and how that works in terms of getting the formula for it, what the process was like to get it, how Daniel does with it, how we change it out, and also what Daniel’s genetic issues are that contribute. I think the student had just taken her boards this summer, so it was kind of cool for her to actually see a few conditions that are not super common.

— 5 —

Remote learning update. We’re still chugging along with Zoom school. Daniel’s paraprofessional is using songs from Laurie Berkner to keep him engaged, so I now have We Are the Dinosaurs, Drive My Car, and her version of The Cat Came Back stuck in my head. (That last one is wonderful because we do school downstairs where my dad watches TV… and my dad hates that song with a passion. :))

— 6 —

The bishop’s visit. Despite Zoom cutting out recording and Facebook being pissy about streaming, worship on Sunday with the bishop went well. There were maybe 30 people total in the sanctuary between everyone at the altar, the families of those being baptized/comfirmed/received, and we managed to broadcast the special music in the sanctuary as well as on Zoom. The bishop even joined us for coffee hour, which was cool because we were able to have actual conversations with him.

— 7 —

Because Gordon Lightfoot! I grew up listening to Gordon Lightfoot and my mom recently found a documentary on him on YouTube. As a result, a lot of his less known (to me) songs have been playing in her room lately, and this is one that I am now addicted to.

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

7 Quick Takes: Jen Is Not (Really) Cranky Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Owie. I did have to have a tooth extracted last Friday–one of my back molars. I’m on Day 6 since extraction and it’s still achy. I probably have a dry socket, so I’ll have to go soak a black tea bag when I’m done and stuff it back into that spot.

— 2 —

New addiction. There’s a game called Word Collect available on Google Play and it’s pretty addictive. I started playing less than a week ago, and I’m already up to Level 505! I even have a word unscrambler open on my laptop in case I get stuck.

— 3 —

Stormy. We had decent wind and downpours yesterday, which was fun to watch as I was sitting and working at my desk. We are supposed to have a high wind warning tonight, so I’ll probably close the window after my room cools down a bit. There’s weather to the east of us on the Olympic Peninsula and in the San Juan’s, so we might have some decent weather around the time I fall asleep.

— 4 —

Update on the virtual choir piece. We just got the mixed version back, and it turned out incredibly well. It’s not perfect or like it would be in real life, but it’s pretty darn good considering that we’re recording it in 9 different places, one of the people doing so from across the state. It should go over well this weekend when we have the bishop with us for worship. (He will be doing his episcopal visit on Sunday.) There are a few baptisms, two girls being confirmed, the reception of some new members, and the commissioning of a parish health worker for Resurrección. (For those who are new to my blog, my church shares a priest and facilities with La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección, a Spanish-speaking mission congregation. We do bilingual worship together on the 5th Sunday of the month, and we have a big to-do together when the bishop comes to hang out.) It’s going to be the first time the Eucharist has been celebrated inside the sanctuary in months and the number of people allowed to attend in person will be severely restricted. I’m trying to sort out how to do certain things for the live stream because we’ll have the virtual choir anthem as well as the Offertory being played on both Zoom and in the sanctuary simultaneously. I need to have a discussion with our video and sound people and perhaps give out passwords and permissions to be allowed to access the church’s Google Drive. It should be… interesting.

— 5 —

Back to work. Classes started this week. I’m kind of a strange tutor because I can really tutor any humanities class, most human services classes, a lot of social science classes, some basic math classes, and (of course) all the accounting/Microsoft classes in my department. This means I’ve been getting texts from my new boss asking if I can tutor certain niche classes like Business Law because I do a lot of tutoring in the business classes. (My answer, by the way, was “no” because it would require purchasing the book and having to do a lot of unpaid learning in my spare time.) Still, it’s nice to be useful in strange ways.

— 6 —

Remote learning update. We’re continuing with Zoom school for Daniel. His paraprofessional has found some YouTube videos that he likes, including one where a Pete the Cat story is being read. His teacher, therapists, and paraprofessional adore him. After watching what they do, I’m standing pretty firm in the belief that they don’t get paid nearly enough for what they do.

— 7 —

Birthday! Kelly, our hostess with the mostest, has a birthday this weekend. Go wish her a happy birthday and read her list of 42 things about her!

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

7 Quick Takes: Morning Tube Feed Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’ve been really busy this week, so I’m grabbing some time this morning while Daniel has his hour-long tube feed this morning before Zoom school There may or may not be Amazon affiliate links because that’s how I roll.

— 1 —

Remote learning update #1. Let me just say that I wish with every fiber of my being that Daniel could go to school and be in a normal classroom environment because that is where he thrives. I wish that coronavirus wasn’t a death sentence for everyone in this house, and I envy all of you who live in a place where COVID is either not deadly, doesn’t exist, or where you can be willfully in denial of its existence. In-person school is an option for Daniel if we want it due to his special needs, but we’ve had cases of COVID spreading in schools in Washington, so we’re having to keep him quarantined. Kiddo is sensory-seeking at the moment, which means he wants to hit me and will make the effort to reach over and do it while working. (Autism is an [expletive] joy.) He’s also in a fake sneezing/coughing and spitting phase at the moment, so I don’t want to be within 10 feet of him, given that I landed in the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis last year from him fake sneezing on me. (Fake sneezing or coughing releases droplets and causes me to douse myself in Germ-X because my isolation room was pretty sucky.) It was so bad yesterday that his paraprofessional told me to move away out of his reach and just let him do what he needed to do. She blessedly sang silly songs and read a story to him so I could get out of arms reach and try to hold myself together so I wouldn’t cry.

Let’s just say that anyone who tells me how wonderful homeschooling is or attempts to tell me how to “fix” things will be dealt with harshly, especially if it’s coming from a parent who has neurotypical kids. My kid is not like yours, and you have no freaking clue what you are talking about. (Comments about an autism/ MMR vaccine link will get you banned because we believe in actual *SCIENCE* on this blog, and we don’t support idiots like Andrew Wakefield or Bob Sears who falsify results or commit gross malfeasance resulting in their medical licenses being pulled.)

— 2 —

Really? I got a survey from the “Trump Make America Great Campaign” yesterday. (I’d like to extend both of my middle fingers to whoever put me on that mailing list. Most people aren’t heinous enough to put someone’s name and address on a political mailing list like that.)

Fear not, y’all! I filled out the survey and gave him lots of “constructive criticism” and suggestions for improvement before letting him and his campaign know that I was making a nice donation to Joe Biden in their honor. I even decorated the envelope! (I usually just recycle the mailings like this that I get from the Democratic campaigns because I get them in email form as well… which I delete because I write enough letters to my Congresscritters.) I even repurposed Trump’s fundraising letter and the outer envelope as charcoal starter. 😀

Envelope 1

Envelope 2

Moral of the story: don’t send me junk mail on a day that is making me want to take up cobra-kissing.

— 3 —

Virtual choir. Our bishop is making an Episcopal visit to us on September 27th for baptisms, confirmations, and stuff like that. We’re putting together a virtual choir video of the anthem below, and I got my video portion of it done last night… after 20 takes because I’m unnerved about singing acapella by myself and I’m a severe perfectionist.

— 4 —

Mammogram. I hit the big 4-0 in May and I’m on birth control pills to help with my menopause, so I had to get my first mammogram this year. (I was going to go on my birthday, but COVID happened.) I’ve had people tell me how horrifically painful they are, so I was a little nervous before they started. Yeah, it was seriously a 1 or 2 on the 1-10 pain scale. (I realize that everyone has a different body and a different pain threshold.) My chest was a little tender afterward, but it was *NOTHING* compared to the pain of a pelvic exam/pap smear/pelvic ultrasound for me. (Those are easily a 7 out of 10 for me for reasons I’d prefer not to share for me, and I am incredibly thankful to be done with them permanently.)

Y’all, do your preventative screenings, even if it’s painful. I still did my well-woman exam at all the appropriate intervals, even though it was excruciating. It beats having cancer for sure!

— 5 —

Remote learning update #2. The little monster came up to me when his feed was done and said “school”. That’s progress, I guess?

— 6 —

Smoke. We’re getting smoke from all the fires in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not as bad today as it has been, but I’m not allowed to be outside for more than a few minutes without a respirator. I did a porch visit with family members on Saturday, and I won a few days of breathing treatments because I’m special like that. Woo. We’re supposed to get some thunderstorms today, and I’m hoping that the lightning doesn’t spark any fires.

— 7 —

Argh. I’m on the phone with Social Security currently (a necessary evil), and I have a dentist appointment today where they’ll likely be removing a tooth. Gotta love inhaler and ice-chewing damage!

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