7 Quick Takes: Making the Best of a Hard Situation Edition

7 Quick Takes

Word in Washington is that our stay-at-home order is being extended, and we will find out how much longer tomorrow. (It was supposed to end on May 4th, but we’re not nearly ready to reopen the state according to Governor Inslee and the doctors, scientists, and public health people he is trusting to advise him.) It’s not great, but this was about saving lives, not my own personal happiness and convenience.

I didn’t know how I was going to deal with being home with my crankypants child for six weeks while trying to work… and it has worked out. Here are some things I’ve learned.

— 1 —

I’ve learned that teachers deserve to be paid two to three times what they earn. I mean, I had mad respect for Daniel’s teachers before as well as my teacher friends who are severely underpaid. Then, I watched the reaction of teachers in the room at Daniel’s IEP meeting when the announcement came down that schools were closed for six weeks. I then watched Daniel’s teacher work her tail off to find class management software to fit each one of her kids when it was announced that schools would be closed for the rest of the year. When my kiddo had a problem dealing with learning over Zoom (because autism = routines and places MUST remain constant), his teacher just hung out and played tablet games with him until he was used to it. She puts together a YouTube video for her kiddos to watch on school mornings so they can do calendar time and News 2 You together. I’ve seen teachers at other schools post “We Miss You” signs in the windows for kids to see when they come to pick up food for the day or go for walks, and the bilingual immersion program teachers got together to make a massive collage of them spelling out a message of love to their students in English and Spanish. Others have masked up and gone to visit students in their homes to troubleshoot laptop issues.

I am definitely making a contribution to his current teacher’s classroom next year, even though Daniel will be at a different school. She loves her kids like her own, and I’ve seen others in the district here who are the same way.

— 2 —

I’ve learned how to find the last commercially-available cleaning wipes. Granted, I did see the writing on the wall and grab a good supply from Amazon before everything disappeared from grocery stores, but I’ve also managed to find them on big box store websites as recently as LAST WEEK. (I swear… I got the last canisters available for shipment from Target before even their generic ones started being routed only to hospitals.) It has become a game for me.

— 3 —

I’ve learned how to facilitate worship on Facebook Live and Zoom. Since it will likely be a while before my church is back worshipping together and my governor isn’t exempting churches from the stay-at-home order, it’s good that I can at least use my gifts and talents to serve my congregation. We’ve gotten better at getting everything together with a few hiccups here and there (because keeping people muted appropriately can be like herding cats at times), but we’re making it work.

A benefit of having worship online is that we are making it accessible for shut-ins. Even when we can all come back to worshipping in person, we at least have a way to also put it online that we didn’t have before. I have some amazing people working with me on this, and I definitely know this will be a good thing for me as I have been that shut-in person several times in the past.

— 4 —

I’ve learned ways to get my needs met. Want food from your favorite local restaurant? Look online to see if they are registered with a delivery service. (We have a really good local one called Munchie Dude.) Need a cloth mask? Put out a Facebook message letting people know your need and maybe someone you know is making them for income or will make one for free. (I just went to Etsy so that my church ladies could focus on making them for nursing home. When I found out about a parishioner selling them, I put out the word that she makes them.) Have a Starbucks addiction? See if there’s a local drive-thru one. (Yes, I have an addiction. Shut up!)

— 5 —

I’ve learned how to survive being stuck around people. My parents and I are all introverts, but my dad and I like to leave the house on occasion. Because we’re all high-risk, trips are limited to grocery shopping (once a week per person), Starbucks (an essential service-shut up!), medical needs (a.k.a. physical therapy when Zoom doesn’t cut it and the possible emergency dental one for me tomorrow), and stuff that can’t be ordered online. We generally just head to our rooms when we start getting peopled out (which works unless Daniel is feeling needy), and both Mom and Dad go for walks or work in the yard. (I’m sadly allergic to “outside” at the moment. Allergies during a pandemic suck.)

— 6 —

We’ve started eating as a family again. During olden times (a.k.a. before the pandemic), we ate together only on special occasions because we all have our own schedules and needs. These days, Mom or Dad make a “company” dish and we’ll have dinner at the table. I still eat different food from them frequently even though Lent is over and I can eat meat again (part of my diet is for health reasons), but I’ll bring whatever I’m eating to the table and we’ll still eat as a family. Daniel is even coming downstairs to be near us on occasion.

— 7 —

I’ve learned that I can do anything for six weeks. Life will not be “normal” again ever because we are in a new place due to coronavirus, but we’ll all (as in, all of humanity) adjust to a new “normal”. Yes, it’s going to be inconvenient for the people who benefitted from the less good parts of the old “normal”, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. We have an opportunity to create a better situation, and I’m all in.

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

Seriously, Mike Pence?

Full disclosure: I dislike Mike Pence. I think he is a horrible vice-president, and I can’t wait for him to not be one breath away from the presidency. Trump talks a big game, but Pence believes it all.

Some of the latest stupidity from the occupant of the White House and his puppets is Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic… where he refused to wear a mask. Yes, this idiot walked into a place where people are being treated for a highly contagious disease and didn’t mask up.

Here is his rationale:

“As vice president of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” he told reporters, saying he is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Nope. Stupid reasoning. Those people around you might be tested for the coronavirus, but they’re around other people who might be asymptomatic and give it to them. They, then, can give it to you. I’m also pretty sure that you’re ignoring all the advice on social distancing as well, given the pictures I see of you. For all you know, you’re a carrier and are infecting them!

Next!

“And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say ‘thank you.'”

OK… this is even stupider. These researchers and health care personnel are all wearing masks. You can see their eyes. Your mouth might be covered, but that doesn’t prevent you from speaking to them. I know this from personal experience as I have a kid who likes to hang out in children’s hospitals. (Seattle Children’s, by the way, is the best.)

Me in a PICU bay at UCD Medical Center during one of Daniel’s RSV hospitalizations where I wore a mask, gown, and gloves all the time unless I left the room:

Me in the PICU at UCD Medical Center

Daniel’s medical people and I communicated just fine through masks, and there was *PLENTY* of eye contact.

Me in my surgical bunny suit when I was helping with anesthesia in the OR for Daniel’s g-tube procedure:

G-Tube Surgery

Me today in my gorgeous cloth mask made by Katusha75 after going grocery shopping:

Me today.

If it’s good enough for the health care workers and your security detail, you can do it too. You’re just too self-centered to do it.

Loser.

56 Days

Some perspective from Governor Andrew Cuomo:

Somebody said to me, “I can’t do this anymore.” People are feeling the stress on a number of levels. They’re not getting a paycheck. Their life is on hold. “Is my business going to come back? Do I have a job at the end of this? My whole life has been disoriented. I just, I can’t take it anymore.” I get it. I get it. I really do fundamentally get it. This has been a God awful situation on many, many levels.

God awful situation on many, many levels. And many people I’m sure are saying this in their own way, so who said it to me is not important, but it was one of my daughters, I won’t tell you which one though. Just to protect their privacy.

I get the feeling. Today is day 56. It’s been 56 long days. Generations are called upon to deal with high levels of difficulty. We are called upon to deal with this crisis. Day 56. 1918 pandemic went on for two years, we are in day 56. World War one went on for four years, the great depression went on for four years. You want to talk about economic anxiety. You want to talk about people losing homes, not being able to feed themselves. People living in camps, people living in cars, world war two, six years, Vietnam war, that intensity every night, every night have to hear about the tragedies went on for eight years.

I get 56 days is a long time and I get it’s the worst thing that we have experienced in modern history. I get that. But just a little perspective, not that it makes our situation any better, but it gives you a sense of perspective. Yes, in life, things happen. On an individual level and on a societal level, things happen. And you have to deal with it and it’s hard, but on the other hand, that makes us who we are. You get shaped by your experiences. This is a terrible experience to go through, but we will manage it, we will handle it, and we will be the better for it.

56 days of this inconvenience, yeah, think of it this way, what you’re doing is actually saving lives. That’s not rhetorical. That’s not overly dramatic. You are saving lives. What we have done here has saved lives. Every expert, every expert, CDC, white house task force, Cornell University, Columbia University, McKinsey, the group that Bill Gates funded, every one of them projected that there would be at least 100,000 more serious infections in the state of New York, 100,000 more serious infections, more hospitalizations. What happened? We did what we had to do, which was hard and is hard. Well, what did we accomplish? 100,000 fewer serious infections. That’s what 56 days of our relative living through hell has accomplished. And that is a heck of an accomplishment. So yes, it’s not for naught. 100,000 fewer infections.

And look, “Life is better than death, even if it is not your own,” A.J Parkinson. Even if you’re 22 and you’re 25 and you’re strong and you’re healthy and you say, “Well, you know what, even if I get coronavirus, it’s not going to affect me because it doesn’t affect the young.” With a little caveat there, except when it does, and your life might’ve been the one that it did affect. But even if you’re right, I’m 22, I’m 25 I would’ve been just fine. Yeah, but who could you have infected? And maybe they weren’t going to be fine because they weren’t 22 when they weren’t 25 because they were 65 and because they had diabetes or they had hypertension or they had an underlying heart condition, or because they were recovering from cancer and a cancer operation, and you infect that person and that person dies because you got infected. That’s the reality of what we’re dealing with. 56 days of pain. Yes, yes. Relative to the past and what other societies have gone through, bad but not the worst that people have gone through. What did we accomplish? 100,000 fewer infections in the state of New York. And we actually saved lives. That’s what we did and that’s what we’re doing and that is inarguable.

(Source)

A Letter to Those Protesting In Favor of Opening the Economy

To those few who are creating gridlock in front of state capital buildings and trying to get your governors to “open the economy”:

I have three words for you:

KNOCK IT OFF.

Seriously. Knock it off. Some of you are showing a small amount of intelligence and are wearing masks, and maybe you won’t spread the virus or contract it. The rest of you are stupider than the paperweight on my desk, are wasting precious oxygen, and should be apologizing to the trees producing it.

Apologize to the tree for wasting its time.

This is not just a cold and it isn’t just a random flu virus. Doctors around the world who have degrees from actual medical universities (and not simply from just doing a simple Google search) are saying that this is similar to SARS, but is a whole other ballgame in terms of how infectious it is and the havoc that it is wreaking on bodies. It has overwhelmed medical systems of countries like Spain and Italy that are actually very good (as in, people get the care they need and don’t go broke trying to get it as they do in the dumpster fire of a system we have in the USA), and it has killed a scary percentage of their populations. We might have done the most COVID-19 tests in the world, but we are also the third most populous country and we have tested a smaller percentage of our population than countries like South Korea. The way Donald Trump has handled this entire situation is unspeakably horrible, and I burn with anger that good friends of mine are working insane hours and putting themselves at risk to take care of COVID-19 patients without proper protective equipment. The troll in the White House has doled things out to states based on who is kissing his large backside, and states are having to take measures like Maryland did and source things like COVID-19 tests from overseas because our chief executive can’t be arsed to care. This is completely inexcusable, especially as he is making asinine tweets cheering you morons on in the morning while making sweeping pronouncements about how we shouldn’t take unnecessary risks in the afternoon. The troll you dimwits voted into office in 2016 doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone other than himself, and I am stunned by your moronic hanging on his every word.

You all have put yourselves at risk of contracting COVID-19 with your ignorant protests, and you have done the opposite of what you intended: governors (like mine) who actually give a shit about their states are having to extend lockdown measures because you created a public health situation by refusing to listen to specialists (whose education took years to obtain instead of the paltry Google search you did) and practice social distancing. Do you honestly think your state officials *LIKE* having to cancel events or put a halt to business?!?!? Do you really think your governor sits around and thinks of ways to make you suffer?!?!? Stop acting like adult toddlers and suck up the fact that it would be catastrophic to go back to “normal”. The massive risk that said “normal” had on public health outweighs your “liberties”, and I’m positive that the Founding Fathers (who lived in a time when pandemics were a thing) would agree.

We are in a completely new situation here, and things will never fully be the same again. They can’t. Instead, we are having to learn a new way of doing things that we probably should have been doing anyway. We knew that e-learning would probably need to expand, and it just did. The way we used to do church was not working for many people, and putting everything on Zoom or Facebook Live is allowing people to attend church who could not physically walk in the door. We will go back to worshipping in person eventually, but it will take some time and we need to keep putting worship online for those who can only access it there. Many jobs that could be moved online now have been. We’ve also discovered that the way we were doing business was detrimental to others, and some of you are learning this firsthand as you experience how “wonderful” it feels to be worried about paying your mortgage because you suddenly lost your income or are earning significantly less than you did before. Most Americans are one paycheck away from homelessness, and those social programs you claim are used only by Reagan’s fictitious “welfare queen” actually serve a legitimate purpose. (Not to mention, it is incredibly hard to be approved for them. I should know as I have had to apply before and am on Medicaid right now.)

So what do we as a country do now? We need to make the best of a hard situation. We may not be able to physically shop at our local small businesses, but we can buy gift cards to use in the future. Those who can afford to do so can make donations to their local food banks. (I am fundraising for mine on Facebook for my 40th birthday. Click “Contact Me” up at the top and fill out the form if you want details.) We can help feed our neighbors or shop for elderly people in our lives. We can make masks for healthcare workers and others who need them using spare fabric that we have on hand. We can wear masks out in public to cut down on the spread of COVID-19. (If you need a cloth one, look on Etsy. There are a number of Etsy shops that will make you one to your specifications for $10-$15, and you are putting money in the pocket of a small business by ordering from them.) We can realize that we are not the center of the universe and that perhaps we have to do things that we don’t want to do in order to save the lives of other people.

Your haircut can wait. Your tattoo can wait. Your pedicure can wait. Your beach trip can wait. The health of your community is more important than all of those things.

And lest you think that I’m some random person who is unaffected by this, my hours have been cut, I am having to find creative ways to do my job, I’m having to postpone a desperately needed dentist appointment because the risk is too high, I have a kid who is having a hell of a time learning at home, and I’m lucky if I get to see my physical therapist in person once a month due to quarantine issues. (I’m recovering from an injury that affects my ability to weight-bear, so this is hard.) I really do feel bad for the students (not the parents who are living vicariously through their kid) who aren’t getting their high school graduation, a senior prom, to sing the last choir concert of their high school career, to letter in a sport, or their college graduation after four years of working their butts off. I feel bad for a coworker whose wedding has been postponed. I feel horrible for those who are dying in hospitals without loved ones present or those loved ones who can’t be with their patient. (A friend of mine’s son is currently recovering from a massive stroke, and they haven’t been able to be with him in almost a week.)

So please, while you’re in a holding pattern, go do something that actually benefits society and won’t land you in the hospitals where friends of mine across the country are trying to save the lives of people who didn’t do something completely stupid like you did.

Snuggles,

jen

PS: A friend of mine who was a firearms instructor in the Army thinks that you look like terrorist assholes when you’re walking around with your AR-15’s like that. Just because you theoretically can do something doesn’t mean you should.

PPS: Some of you might have noticed that the comments are closed. My blog = my stance is correct and I don’t want to debate with idiots who disagree with me. 😀 Go write your lame thoughts on your own blog!

Me with my awesome mask... because I actually care about the health of the people around me, unlike you twits.

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.

7 Quick Takes: Triduum Hymn Edition

7 Quick Takes

It’s Maundy Thursday, y’all! Who’s up for a Triduum hymn singalong??? Yeah, just me? #churchmusicnerd

— 1 —

“Now We Join in Celebration”. This is my favorite ELCA Communion hymn. I mean, the tune is “Schmücke dich”. What’s not to like??? #hymntunenerd

— 2 —

“Ubi Caritas”. This was the first Taizé chant I learned, and it is still a favorite. We use it a lot when we do bilingual worship with our Spanish-speaking mission congregation.

— 3 —

“Ah, Holy Jesus”. This is my favorite Triduum hymn by far… and we never sing it at my church!

— 4 —

“O Sacred Head Now Wounded”. This is the one most people think of when it comes to Good Friday. I know I learned it from an old Amy Grant CD 25 years ago.

— 5 —

“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”. This sounds like it is something from the mid-19th century, but it is maybe 25-30 years old at most. it was written by Stuart Townend, who is better known for more contemporary pieces.

— 6 —

“Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” This is better known as an African-American spiritual, and it gets sung at most Protestant Good Friday services across the board.

— 7 —

“Near the Cross”. This is not one I’ve heard sung on Good Friday because most Lutheran churches favor the older hymns (and I’m with them–give me something pre-1700 any day!), but it is appropriate.

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