After sobbing my eyes out for four hours in a panic attack instead of sleeping last night, I’ve decided to start my November hiatus early. I have a project for church that needs to be done by the day before Advent starts, I have a kid who is reacting to pandemic stress by hitting things (and who has done damage to the house), I have students who are needing a lot of me this quarter, and I need to step away from blogging to conserve my spoons for those things.
Oh yeah, there’s also the fact that a spitefulness and meanness entered politics 10 years ago with the start of the Tea Party movement, and I’ve felt nastiness present in every election since, starting with the 2012 election which had an “us vs. THEM” feel to it, especially as a Protestant in the Catholic blogosphere. 2016’s election was positively mean-spirited and hateful, and the incumbent in the White House has perpetuated that spiteful meanness into his reign. It has felt like the 2016 election has been extended for 4 extra years, and I honestly don’t feel like dealing with people who want to vote for someone who is a bully and who wants to take away programs that are a lifeline for people like me. I’m exhausted, y’all, and I can’t deal with discussions of politics anymore. I voted the second my ballot landed in my mailbox, my ballot has been processed already (because I live in a state that votes by mail and tracks ballots on a website), and I don’t feel like I should have to deal with it any longer.
I plan to spend Election Night eating teriyaki and sushi from my favorite Japanese takeout place via DoorDash and watching “Forged in Fire” reruns instead of checking election returns every 5 minutes or listening to blathering on it from various commentators who are going to make it as dramatic as possible.
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Schadenfreude. One of my Facebook friends posted this, and I felt like it described how a lot of us are feeling right now. We’ve had to deal with months of quarantining ourselves to protect our families, wearing masks to protect ourselves and others, and doing what we were told only to be called sheep, have people mock us, and have to watch people having screaming hissy fits about their “rights” (which are not actually rights enshrined in the Constitution) at Costco. Then, we’re told to “have compassion” when we point out (politely, of course) that actions have consequences.
Yeah, we’re not the ones with the compassion problem, y’all.
Mocking Trump. I had a migraine on Friday, so I didn’t get on Facebook that night. When I did finally look at it, it seemed like all my super conservative friends were complaining about people rejoicing over Trump testing positive for COVID. OK… I scrolled through Facebook for an hour and a half and saw a grand total of THREE memes even having to do with Trump and COVID. Only one person on my Facebook is celebrating this at all, and the vast majority are talking about how weird this feels because they’ve been bullied by Trump and his more vocal followers about taking steps to protect themselves, and then they’re told to be nice when Trump, Melania, multiple senators, and multiple high-profile White House staff test positive.
Y’all, this is what I saw:
[+] Joe Biden pulling his attack ads the second Trump’s positive test was announced, expressing healing wishes for him and Melania, and forbidding his staff to post on social media about Trump’s illness… right after Trump’s campaign sent out some pretty foul statements about him, which people screenshotted.. (Biden’s actions are what we call “leadership”.)
[+] Barack Obama expressing his desire for healing for Trump, Melania, and all who were sick.
[+] Faith leaders of mainline (translation: “liberal”) Christian denominations instructing their followers to pray for Trump and Melania on Sunday regardless of our political stance because it’s what Christians do. (Michael Curry, my fabulous Presiding Bishop, was among them.)
[+] Conspiracy theories in the comments sections on the Facebook walls of my super conservative friends about how this was a plot to get Amy Coney Barrett, Trump, and others sick at the ceremony for her so that she can’t be confirmed. Never mind the fact that Amy has already had it, and the people who got sick were the ones not wearing masks. (Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.)
I’m sure there were people being vitriolic on Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t keep people like that around me.
Vice-presidential debate. I didn’t watch the debate–I loathe Mike Pence, and Kamala Harris was my attorney general in California for five years. She’s probably a bit more liberal than I am, but she knows her stuff and would be an excellent vice-president.
Having said that, I understand from my friends on Facebook and Twitter that the winner of the debate last night was the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head while he was mansplaining racial relations to Harris (who happens to be of Jamaican and Indian descent).
Virtual debate. Even if I didn’t support Joe Biden, I would be in full agreement with his decision not to take part in an in-person debate until Trump’s COVID-19 is gone. I mean, it’s common sense that you don’t share a stage with someone who has a disease that is incredibly communicable.
I’m also pretty aghast at Trump’s joyride this weekend that put his Secret Service detail at risk as well as the doctors at Walter Reed letting him out. I’m seriously prone to bronchitis and pneumonia, so I can tell you that even with steroids, he’s not feeling that great. He’s probably having coughing spasms hard enough to make him vomit, and he’s at risk for complications due to age and obesity.
Remote learning update. Our local school district is allowing a few new groups of students to be in-person at school, but we’re still keeping my kiddo home. School has been pretty boring this week as we’ve been keeping a pretty consistent schedule, so nothing new to report there.
Bobcats! The Wildcat Sanctuary is rescuing two bobcats from a rehabber in California, so their media person and a caretaker are currently on the way back to Minnesota with them. They’re live-posting at various intervals on the drive back to Minnesota, and it has been interesting to see their route as I’ve driven a lot of that route before. (The difference is that they’re taking I-70 instead of I-80, which is the route Jon and I took 16 years ago.)
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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. :))
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.
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.