7 Quick Takes: Late to Post Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Fatigue. My meds have been off this week, so I have been nauseated, having mood swings, and am achey all over. I haven’t had a fibro flare-up like this in a while, so it has been unpleasant to say the least.

— 2 —

Duolingo. I finished the Arabic skill tree on Duolingo a month or so ago, and I have been fighting to keep my streak going as I return to learning Spanish and reviewing French. I might have to start reviewing Arabic to get my language-learning mojo back so that I can really improve my Spanish. I have no idea why Arabic had me so gung-ho and Spanish doesn’t. Maybe it’s because Spanish is for work and not for me?

— 3 —

Zoom school. Circle time from 9:00-9:30 over Zoom is chaotic enough that I’ve had to bring other work to do downstairs with me and just make sure Daniel doesn’t run away from his school Chromebook. Otherwise, the chaos makes me ponder taking up rattlesnake-cuddling as a hobby. It’s also hard because Daniel is already apraxic and speaks super softly because I think he’s kind of shell-shocked at the intensity of circle time and all the kids talking.

— 4 —

What is working. One of the teachers got Daniel a BoomLearning account, and it has been wonderful. We can share screen on Zoom and work with his paraprofessional that way. He seems to like it, especially the math stuff, and I think it will work out really well for him as he doesn’t want to do workbook stuff.

— 5 —

Wildfires. The entire freaking West Coast is on fire. Smoke is hitting us in Washington, and I am banned by my family from going outside without a respirator on because of my crappy lungs. Woo. Just in case you’re denying climate change, IT’S WHAT IS CAUSING THESE FIRES TO BE SO BAD.

— 6 —

Election. Is anyone else wishing the election was over? Just me?

— 7 —

What is saving me. I’m re-reading all the Cackleberry Club mysteries by Laura Childs. I guess cozy murder mysteries are my catnip?

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: Wildcat Sanctuary Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’m taking a break from talking about racial reconciliation, BLM, and masks to share one of my favorite charities with you: the Wildcat Sanctuary. In terms of my giving, they are second only to my church. (I also will sometimes donate off of their wishlist so Ramsey can have another box to sit in.) I invite you to check out their page to learn more about their work, the captive wildlife crisis, and why you shouldn’t adopt a hybrid cat (Bengals, Savannahs, Chausies, and Safaris).

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.

— 1 —

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.



— 2 —

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.


— 3 —

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.)

— 4 —

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.




— 5 —

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.




— 6 —

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. 🙂



— 7 —

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.




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.

May Bullet Journal

I was going to do this for my Quick Takes last week, but I blanked on it at the time.

Full disclosure: There are as many ways to do a bullet journal as there are people who use bullet journals. This is how I have set mine up for one specific month, and it is not the only correct way to do it.)

I wanted to show people how I put my bullet journal together. I have only been doing it this particular way since the beginning of the year, so I am learning a little at a time about what works and what doesn’t work for me. My inspirations in this style of design are Amanda Rach Lee and Mary Beth of maryberrystudio. (I am not great at drawing or calligraphy, so I tend toward Mary Beth’s scrapbooking approach, but without the washi tape and stickers.)

(Also, I am an Amazon affiliate, so any Amazon links to products are affiliate links.)

The month doesn’t always start off on a Sunday, so sometimes you just need to have daily pages done ahead of time so that you can buy yourself time until you can do monthly layout things. I knew ahead of time how many pages I needed for monthly layout stuff, so I went ahead and drew a few pages for May 1st and 2nd. (The one shown is for May 2nd, and it has my Saturday chores on it. My weekday pages have the same layout, but my students’ names are present in the time slots where I work with them. The layout is adapted from one in this book.)

One of my daily pages.

Here is what I start with for the calendar pages. It’s hard to see in this picture, but the pages have a dot grid and the dots are 5 mm apart.

My blank notebook.

I find an image I like on Unsplash.Com and print out a few full-page copies, depending on if I’m using something patterned or if it’s a regular picture where I need to print out accent pieces. This is the one I used for May. (It’s a picture of Iranian noble art taken by photographer Mohammad Ali Berenji. According to a fellow parishioner who spent a few years teaching in Iran before the Revolution and whose heart is still there, the architectural embellishments are called “muqarnas”.)

On the back of the images, I print some 5 mm graph paper from this site. (Homeschooling parents might want to look into this site as you can print out specialty graph paper for free. A fellow tutor loves the hexagonal paper for her organic chemistry notes.) I can’t cut a straight line to save my life, so this is really helpful to have as I can cut specific sizes based on the number of squares.

My graph paper.

Once I have everything printed, I cut a few square accent pieces (the dot you see on the paper in the picture above is from that process), to see what color sharpie looks the best on it. Silver was the winner.

Testing my Sharpies.

Once I have my accent pieces cut, I turn to the actual drawing portion. Using my bigger ruler, I draw the rectangles for what will be my calendar grid. I have learned the measurements I need in centimeters, so this is helpful. Once I have the outer borders drawn, I move to draw the horizontal lines for weeks. I then draw the vertical lines to divide everything into days (not shown).

The basics of my calendar grid.
Setting up my weeks.

Once my grid is drawn, I start placing the accent pieces with the month’s name and then a piece with an interesting quotation. While I am doing all the gluing down with the glue tape, I put the pieces on pages from old magazines or catalogs that I recycle. (It keeps my desk from getting covered in adhesive.)

Accent piece #1
Putting on the glue tape.

Once the accent pieces are in place, I cut strips to serve as the labels for the days of the week. The one on the righthand calendar page tends to be a bit longer than the ones I use for daily pages.

Putting the date strips on.

Boom! Calendar layout is done!

The finished calendar layout.

The next part is my page of habit trackers. I use silicone stamping pieces that I peel off a sheet of plastic and place on transparent stamping blocks. (I need to get some blocks that have 5 mm squares, but these work well for the moment.) My inkpad is a cheap one from Michael’s. I am only tracking two things this month, so I make a large accent piece for the rest of the page. A lot of people have multiple special pages for mood trackers, the month’s playlist, quote pages, etc., but I generally stick to just the page of habit trackers for right now.

Habit trackers.

After this, I just have my daily pages to finish. I cut strips from the leftover picture that I used to make the accent piece for the tracker page and use those for the date labels. The strips are two squares tall, and I can write the date on them before cutting them to the length I need and glue taping them onto the page.

Daily page labels.

My finished daily page is here:

A finished daily page.

This a weekly layout page. The black things are my feeble attempts to make students’ names unreadable in MS Paint because I’m trying to avoid committing a FERPA violation.

My weekly layout.

Here’s the picture of almost everything I used:

My tools.

Journal: Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook. There are less expensive ones that are just as good, such as this one. I like the dot grid, but some people really like having a square grid or just plain pages. You do you. The sticker on the front is from MoveOn.Org (in case anyone in my readership didn’t know that my politics are progressive). Again, you do you.

Pens: silver Sharpie, gold Sharpie, blue metallic Sharpie, and the Pilot Frixion black erasable gel pen that is my BFF. (The blue, red, and purple pens are also Pilot Frixion erasable gel pens. I just get them three at a time at my college’s bookstore because I don’t go through them as quickly as my black ones.)

Rulers: two cheap plastic ones from Office Depot

Stamps: black ink pad, silicone calendar stamp, and stamping blocks.

Miscellaneous: glue tape.

And finally, a picture of my supervisor:

My minion of sleepiness.

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments and I may do a Quick Takes post with them.

7 Quick Takes: Quarantine Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’m not actually under quarantine because of known exposure–I’m staying in (with the exception of getting coffee from the $tarbux drive-thru, recording worship on Sunday, and physical therapy appointments) at the request of my parents because of this happening last year. While my hysterical hysterectomy took care of some of the reason for the bleeding/clotting issue, I’m still asthmatic and we don’t know how well I can fight it off (or *IF* I can fight it off). So… I’m effectively quarantined for the long haul.

Just a head’s up, there may/may not be links because I am an Amazon associate.

— 1 —

Storytime! The amazing Mary Lenaburg has video storytime with her son Jonathan and husband Jerry up on her Facebook page. This was last night and this was the night before. It’s fun to have someone read to me, but the comedy value in the delivery of the stories is even better. Last night’s offerings were Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Fandango Stew. The previous night’s offerings were Fox in Socks and Green Eggs and Ham.

All of these books belonged to Mary’s daughter Courtney, so this is an absolutely beautiful part of her legacy.

— 2 —

The sitch in Kirkland. Probably 80% of the COVID-19 deaths in Washington and 25% of the COVID-19 deaths nationally are associated with Life Care Center in Kirkland. This news story talks about how everything got started there and started the spread to other assisted living facilities in the Seattle area. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be shut down when all is said and done because the lawsuits alone from the survivors and the families of the deceased would put it out of business.

— 3 —

Shelter in place. If I were still living in my childhood home in California, I would be required to shelter in place as it is part of a swath of seven Bay Area counties requiring it in order to get a handle on the spread of COVID-19. Washington’s governor has declined to require that yet. I’m wondering how long it will be until that happens here.

— 4 —

Selfishness. Does anyone else want to dopeslap the people determined to party for Spring Break in public despite the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19? I mean, I get that it sucks to have to cancel plans, but THEY’RE PUTTING PEOPLE’S HEALTH AT RISK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Selfish twits!

— 5 —

How I’m doing. In all seriousness, I’m having to force myself not to look at my state’s COVID-19 page or my county’s page until 4 p.m. every day because refreshing both of them to see if they’ve updated them yet is not good for my mental health. It was unnerving enough to see that my rural county is up to 18 cases and three hospitalizations. (No deaths yet thankfully.) Statewide, we’re up to almost 1,400 cases and 74 deaths, which is also sad. Most of the cases are in the Seattle/Tacoma/Everett corridor, but that’s still 1,400 too many cases and 74 too many deaths.

— 6 —

Some humor. Someone shared this on Facebook, and I feel like y’all need to see it too, especially any cat people out there.

— 7 —

Compline. I’m doing Compline live on my church’s Facebook page tomorrow night at 8 p.m. If you want to come and say it with me, send me a message and I’ll give you the details.

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

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.