I’ve gotten political this week here and here. There is so incredibly much I want to say, and my constant state of exhaustion these days is making it hard to find the words, so I figured I’d give you a picture of the various directions my mind is going in right now (late afternoon on Thursday). Some of them are related to the events of this last week, and some of them are “ooooh shiny!” type thoughts about bullet journal supplies.
I’m honestly really angry at the people who are getting their news about the protests from biased sources. Click here for an interactive media bias chart. I tend to double and triple-check my sources to make sure that whatever I’m posting is as neutral as I can get it. I have also been examining my own biases and trying to get news from sites like The Grio that show things from a different cultural standpoint.
And I can’t help but wonder oh Willy McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died,
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause,
Did you really believe that this war would end wars.
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing and dying it was all done in vain,
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.
While I know the song is addressing World War I, the whole thing about “the killing and dying it was all done in vain… it all happened again, and again, and again, and again, and again.” Last week, it was George Floyd. Before that, it was Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. I don’t blame the black community one damn bit for being angry because the cards are stacked against them, and there is no static date in sight for change to actually come until our society completely reevaluates itself.
I’m thinking about the casual racism I’ve witnessed in my own life. When I was living in Bexley for seminary, the cops there often got referred to as the “Bexley Border Patrol” because of their habit of following black men walking on city and neighborhood streets. It was only 20 years earlier that the seminary had their first black students, and the seminary president had to go to the police department and tell them to stop harassing them. (I heard the story from one of the students who became a professor there and was teaching my “African-American Religious Experience” class.) The local Kroger was right across the bridge over Alum Creek, and it was like walking into a different world once I crossed the bridge from the leafy streets of Bexley. It was then that I learned that Columbus looked like a checkerboard with white and black neighborhoods alternating. It was something that I had never thought about before as a sweet little 21 year old girl from northern California. That year of seminary changed a lot of the ways I saw the world.
I’m heartened at some of the conversations that are happening in various places. Louisville Metro Council’s public safety committee has unanimously approved “Breonna’s Law” which would regulate no-knock warrants. It is named for Louisville paramedic Breonna Taylor who was killed while asleep in her home when officers stormed in on a no-knock warrant and opened fire. Investigations have been opened into her killing by the FBI, and there was a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the city by her family.
There is also a bipartisan push to demilitarize police, which I think is important for many reasons. There needs to be a serious push toward community-based policing and not the rough tactics that Trump has been demanding. We’re seeing from the protests that the rough tactics are backfiring pretty spectacularly and are causing more problems than they’re resolving.
I don’t think police departments are going to be defunded, but I’m really hoping that conversations between city officials and organizers of protests might start a kernel of change happening.
I’m reading what people are saying and trying to listen more than I speak. (And yes, this is harder than it sounds for me, and I don’t deserve a medal for it. Former President Obama wrote this, which I think is helpful for people like me in figuring out a starting point. There is also this list, which is being added to as time goes on. (For those who are “all or nothing” people like me, the second link is stuff to do over time to help you consider your privilege and move toward being helpful, not to have to accomplish by tomorrow.)
I’m mentally putting together a list of things to do tomorrow to help my child to not have a screaming meltdown. Let’s just say that someone had a bad night and someone’s mommy has been suffering the repercussions of this all day. It’s hard having a largely nonverbal child with autism who can’t tell you *WHY* they are enraged and screaming so loudly that it is shattering glass in a three-mile radius… at 12:45 a.m. (My hunch is that allergies are causing him to be congested and not feel good, and I couldn’t make a run to Haggen in my jammies for Children’s Dimetapp because they close at midnight due to COVID-19. (They’re usually open 24 hours.) He was tired today, but the 4-7 p.m. meltdown time was pretty normal in terms of rage at being told “no” to things that his crappy impulse control (from the ADHD) compels him to do. I’m seriously wishing there was even a shot at in-home ABA up here.
My kiddo truthfully occupies 90% of my spoons and 75% of my mental energy these days. This is why I tend to rip heads off of people who don’t have kids with autism but still think that they have anything useful to say to me regarding what I *SHOULD* be trying with Daniel. (Hint: A gluten-free diet isn’t going to magically cure him. Neither is the GAPS diet.)
I’m plotting out next week’s bullet journal layout to keep myself somewhat sane. I’ve got a bunch of stickers from Planning with Kay, but I still have a month to go until I migrate my bullet journal and use those for my July layout. (I get to start a new journal at that point! *bouncebouncebounce*) I also need my ink cartridges to arrive already so that I can print out stuff for next week’s layout.
I’ve been dealing with utter stupidity on the part of various people on Facebook today (so much so that I finally started reporting posts and photos for hate speech, anti-vaxx information, and COVID-19 misinformation) as well as a child who woke up in an exceedingly vile mood, so I’m foregoing posting about politics this week for my Quick Takes. Fear not! The political posts will probably happen this weekend, and I’m sufficiently irritated enough to need to work my nerves.
And for my trolls, I have a new policy for this election year. Every time you troll me, I will make a donation to various political campaigns in order to make sure your House districts are controlled by Democrats, flip the Senate, and elect Joe Biden. So please, keep being horrible human beings and help me to kick out the Republican swamp creatures in DC that you so love! (It’s even better right now because there are 450% matches going on for various Democrat campaigns.) Don’t worry–I’ll email homemade honor cards to all the email addresses y’all are using to try and push comments through. 😀
Because my life involves a lot of focus and concentration these days, I’ve been watching “Live PD” to give my brain a break. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from bingeing it on YouTube.
If you’re going to traffic in illegal substances, you shouldn’t commit any traffic infractions. Seriously, it seems like one of the police officers pulls someone over for an illegal turn/speeding/broken tail light, and whoever they pull over has a meth pipe or their car smells like marijuana. Had the person not sped or made that illegal turn, they never would have gotten caught.
If you’re drunk, the officer will be able to tell. I don’t care how well you think you do at looking sober–you WILL fail the nystagmus test among the other “sobriety” tests. People invariably also seem to reek of alcohol in all of those cases.
I have nystagmus and balance issues from two bad ankles and some other medical issues, which is one of the reasons I don’t ever drink alcohol–it exacerbates them. (Any of you who have ever seen me on Zoom can tell this immediately. My sleep medicine specialist picked up on it within a second of meeting me.) If it is ever called into question, not drinking means that I can probably pass those tests with flying colors, which would *NOT* be the case after even a small glass of wine in my case.
Nobody ever does the walk-and-turn test as well as they think they did in the above situation. It would be comical if it wasn’t so infuriating that they were putting others at risk by driving drunk or high. People either stumble like mad, don’t take the correct number of heel-to-toe steps, fail to turn 180 degrees (usually just 90 degrees), or they fall while turning. Then, they act completely shocked when the officer tells them to put their hands behind their back and arrests them for DUI/DWI (depending on the jurisdiction).
You are responsible for whatever is in your car. This means that you probably shouldn’t be dating a heroin addict because any heroin in the car is your problem unless your addict partner fesses up. It is kind of interesting how many people express complete shock that they have heroin or weed in their car, especially in their glove compartment or in their back seat. Ditto with people riding with you drinking open cans/bottles of beer. You can’t have any open containers in the car, even if you aren’t the one drinking them.
Also? It’s a bad idea to dump your crack into your open soda can because it means that instead of just being liable for the weight of the actual crack, you are now liable for the weight of the crack AND the weight of the soda can (can + liquid). What was only a jail felony is now prison-worthy.
Narcan does not feel good to receive. Of the 500+ YouTube videos I’ve seen of “Live PD” on YouTube as well as the episodes I’ve watched live on TV, a couple of them have incidents where someone overdoses on heroin and has to be given Narcan to reverse it. It doesn’t seem pleasant, and I looked up what it feels like. Apparently, it’s true. It makes people feel really agitated, which is something they are using opiates to prevent.
There are people dumb enough to believe there is a difference between “driving” and “traveling”. Sovereign citizens are funny to watch because they are so convinced that they are above any U.S. laws… kind of like those idiots who stormed state capital buildings with AR-15’s to protest for their “rights”… which are more their rights to be stupid twits. (Also, those idiots with guns on their backs are not funny to watch–they make me want to reach through the computer screen and slap them upside the head a few times because their stupidity knows no bounds.)
Anyway, it’s fun to watch SovCits because you can just imagine them with aluminum foil wrapped around their heads to prevent the government from reading their thoughts.
K-9 officers are the coolest. It’s fun watching them work their dogs, and it’s always fun to watch how fast people give up once the dog appears. I have learned some cool German dog-handling commands, and the best episodes are when the dogs are let loose to go find the people.
Also? Dogs are trained to sniff out your contraband, so just give it up to the nice police officer already. It astounds me when I see people who are *SHOCKED* that the dog alerted to the weed in the glove compartment. I mean, dogs have hypersensitive senses of smell–it’s why they use them instead of cats!
The source of these Quick Takes. On Saturday afternoon, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across this picture:
I generally don’t share stuff from Occupy Democrats because while I agree with them a lot of the time and they are mostly accurate, they get really mean-spirited about things. (I will admit that my first thought when I saw the wording was that the way they worded it was a bit catty.)
However, this piqued my interest enough to fact-check it. I mean, did people *REALLY* want to do something as stupid as go near an active volcano?
A couple of important things to take away from the webinar. Steve Malone (the seismologist tracking Mount St. Helens at the time) made some points that were worth sharing.
He also made an interesting analogy with this picture here:
Scientists tend to have a lot of models and data types and inputs that they are using to try to figure out what is going on. Civil authorities who are having to make these decisions want a yes/no answer. It’s why governors who are putting their trust in scientists and medical authorities are not able to give a specific answer as to when things will go back to “normal”… especially since we are looking at an entirely new normal now!
Where I am seeing a parallel. Governor Dixy Lee Ray did sign an order to keep people out of the “red” and “blue” zones around the mountain, but she allowed Weyerhauser trucks in for logging purposes because logging was a big part of the economy. Among those killed in the eruption were members of at least one logging crew. Had it not been a Sunday when the mountain erupted, more logging crews would have been in the area, and the death toll would have been much higher. There was a volcanologist named David A. Johnston who was killed in one of the pyroclastic flows, and that was a bitter pill for the person for whom he was standing in and the UW researchers monitoring the volcano. (Johnston Ridge Observatory is named after him.)
There’s also kind of a sad story about a man named Harry R. Truman who refused to leave the lodge he owned on Spirit Lake. He became a folk hero of sorts because of it, and his body was never found. They think that he was killed in a pyroclastic flow and that his lodge and his body and his cats are all buried under something like 150 feet of ash. His attitude reminds me of some of the people protesting in states to get the economy reopened. I look at them and ask myself “why???” because what they’re doing is endangering themselves, but it’s their decision to put themselves in danger.
This kind of thing is why I’m getting so salty about those who are more concerned about the economy than actual human lives. We can take steps to put the economy back together, but we can’t bring people back from the dead. I’m hearing on my local news about states that have “reopened” reporting the highest COVID-19 case count ever for that specific day while I’m watching the curve flatten out in Washington and in my own county where we’re still sheltering-in-place. It’s a balancing act for sure, and it irritates me that some people are trying to make it into a simplistic issue because their situation is merely one of inconvenience.
A really cool story. There’s a photographer who goes to Goodwill and finds exposed film from old cameras to develop. She ended up finding some that had pictures of the Mount St. Helens eruption. Even cooler is that the grandson of the person who owned the camera now has pictures of himself with his parents and grandmother that he didn’t know existed.
1.) Both sides of my family are geology junkies. My maternal grandfather was a geology major before he had to leave college due to illness and World War II, and my paternal grandfather enjoyed the geology classes he took as general education credits. I have a cousin who majored in Geology and did graduate work in it (digging dinosaur bones in Montana and working with Jack Horner), and my parents both grew up getting roadside geology lectures from their fathers. As a result, we’re full of amateur geologists, especially on my mom’s side. (I think my mom’s family keeps the Roadside Geology publishers in business.)
2.) My entire family is from Oregon and Washington originally. This was a big deal.
3.) My mom went into labor with my twin brother and me as Mount St. Helens erupted. We were born 24 hours later. Twin births are often complicated, and mine was no exception. My brother was almost twice my size, and my heart stopped mid-birth. I required resuscitation and spent my first week of life at Stanford Children’s Hospital, 45 minutes away from my parents in San Jose, before being transferred back to Los Gatos Community Hospital for another two weeks to get bigger. My brother came home after three days. I came home after three weeks.
My family always makes jokes about Mount St. Helens and our birth. We have newspapers from Yakima from the day of our birth talking about all the ash falling. When we were 25 years old, my dad got some ash from the volcano and sent it to my brother and me. (Mine is sitting on the bookcase next to my desk.) My parents visited the volcanic monument that year and took a picture of themselves at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. My brother and I were photoshopped into the picture (along with their cats), and it was used as the Christmas picture that year. 🙂 Because of my connection to the mountain, I tend to geek out on documentaries on it at this time of year.
And yes, I did just turn 40 years old this week. 🙂 I had a quiet day, my dad made me one of my favorite meals, and my parents got me a carrot cake. We did candles and presents with my evil twin over Facebook messenger. It wasn’t what we usually do, but it was pretty fabulous.
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.
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.
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”.
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?
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.)
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.
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.