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.

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.

7 Quick Takes: Mnemonic Device Edition

7 Quick Takes

My governor has just extended the stay at home order for another month, so kiddo just got another week or two off of school. Thankfully, every teacher in Washington has worked up their curriculum to take place on Google Classroom and/or a few other classroom management systems like ClassDojo.

In the spirit of this, I thought I would share some of my favorite mnemonic devices. (Why yes, I *AM* a geek!)

— 1 —

Order of sharps in the key signature. I learned this when I was 10 years old though my piano teacher doesn’t remember teaching me that the “B” stood for “bugs”.

Fat
Cats
Go
Down
Alleys
Eating
Bugs

— 2 —

Order of flats in the key signature. BEAD is its own word in this one.

B
E
A
D

Gum
Candy
Fruit

— 3 —

The Great Lakes. I think this is the first one I remember learning. It’s also the example I shared of a mnemonic device in one of my tutor trainings.

Huron
Ontario
Michigan
Erie
Superior

— 4 —

Care for a sprain. This one is fairly well-known.

Rest
Ice
Compression
Elevation

— 5 —

Order of operations in mathematics. A friend of mine is a math teacher, and her department dressed up as this mnemonic device one year!

Parentheses
Exponents
Multiplication
Division
Addition
Subtraction

becomes…

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

— 6 —

Colors of the rainbow. Anyone else have a friend named Roy G. Biv?

Red
Orange
Yellow

Green

Blue
Indigo
Violet

— 7 —

Order of planets. Pluto is a planet. Fight me, Neil Degrasse Tyson!

Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto

becomes…

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles.

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

7 Quick Takes: Good Things In the Midst of COVID-19 Edition

7 Quick Takes

Here in Washington, we are under a shelter-in-place order until Holy Week, and it will likely get extended until the COVID-19 situation is resolved. (45’s plan to reopen things for Easter isn’t going to happen in these parts. Even if things did, I’m not resuming a normal life until *ACTUAL* epidemiologists recommend it, not a failed businessman and reality star.) I was already under a more restrictive shelter-in-place than existed before the one in Washington went into effect, so this was nothing new. Since I could probably enumerate the ways this situation stinks, I thought I would turn that on its head and talk about some *GOOD* things that are coming of this.

— 1 —

I’m developing an entirely new skill set. I had used Zoom twice before March 11th when I had to suddenly become a power user for work. I had never done a live post on Facebook until March 15th. I am now teaching people how to use both, and I am contributing to putting my church’s worship service online from home. (I had to make the decision not to be there in person to record last Saturday, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it was a struggle to make the decision and I cried my eyes out because it was *ONE MORE* life-giving thing being taken away from me.)

This Sunday, I get to be the “cyber verger” and do all the cueing, embedding, and unmuting when we do worship over Zoom.

— 2 —

I’m rediscovering the beauty of Compline. Our bishop has requested that we not hold corporate worship through Easter (and we are complying because a.) we listen to the bishop, and b.) the shelter-in-place order from Governor Inslee prohibits it), so I asked my priest if I could do Compline on the church Facebook page as a way of creating community and praying together even though we’re physically scattered. He enthusiastically gave me his blessing, so I have been doing it on weeknights at 8:30 p.m. It is my favorite of the Daily Offices in the Book of Common Prayer, so it is been fun to get to do it. I accidentally recorded it on my Facebook wall on Tuesday night, which might not have been a bad thing because one of my college friends from Intervarsity joined me. 🙂

— 3 —

I am getting a lot of reading done. While I do read a lot, it tends to be online things. Being “bored” has meant that I spend a chunk of my day reading on my bed with Minion on the panther trap I have for him. (It’s a quilt that he tends to appropriate from me.) I just finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (finally!!!), and I plan to start another book tonight.

— 4 —

I’m having dinner with my parents more often. We don’t eat together as a family often because my parents and I are usually doing our own thing at night, and Daniel obviously is fed by pump. (We still encourage him to join us at the table for some milk or Cheerios.) We have managed to eat dinner together twice this week, which is nice. Dad was making hamburgers for him and my mom on Sunday, so I joined them with a “tuna burger” as my mom put it. (I am pesco-vegetarian for Lent and Dad has been keeping up a steady supply of tuna for me.) Last night, I made lasagna (because I wanted lasagna, darn it!) and they joined me for that. (I currently have 7 servings of lasagna frozen for me in the chest freezer in the garage so that I can vary my diet a bit.)

— 5 —

I’m blessed with an amazing resource in Daniel’s teacher. Daniel’s teacher is researching every possible classroom management program out there so that all of her kiddos have at least one that works well for them. We are going to be using one called ClassDojo for Daniel as well as Google Classroom because that is what the school district wants to use. I am really thankful that she is so dedicated to her students!

— 6 —

I am not having to hang out in waiting rooms and exam rooms with Daniel. Daniel’s specialists through Seattle Children’s and our pediatrician up here have been willing to do phone appointments so that we don’t have to go there. It isn’t that bad of a trek to Everett where Daniel would have had a G-I appointment last Friday, but it still meant that I did not have to be up at 6 to leave by 7 for Daniel’s x-ray and 8:00 appointment.

— 7 —

I am appreciating Max Lucado’s “Coronavirus Check-in” videos. Max Lucado is one of the few evangelicals that doesn’t make me want to stab things. His books are lovely, and he has been putting out videos almost every day on his YouTube channel and on Facebook where he is checking in, giving a short pep talk, praying for people, and inviting people to submit their prayer requests so that others can pray for them. It’s totally not something normally on my radar, but I came across this video on Facebook and have been sharing it all over the place:

People were ripping Max apart in the comments, but it is a beautiful video because it is so true. God can deal with our frustrations, and Max encourages us to have a meltdown if we need it… but to not stay there and to come back to a place of praise, using parts of the third chapter of Lamentations as an example.

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

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.

7 Quick Takes: Living In The Midst of “The Walking Dead” Edition

7 Quick Takes

This blog’s official troll accused me of exaggerating and going to extremes after reading one of my posts where I called them out for some dangerous opinions they hold regarding some infectious diseases. It’s too bad that science backs me up and disproves what they have to say.

Sucks to be you, Elena.

Oh… I also cite REAL ACCURATE SOURCES WITH REAL ACCURATE NUMBERS in this post. Click on by me if you want to believe the hysteria in the media.

— 1 —

The title. Some of you know that I live in western Washington. This part of the state is where all the COVID-19 cases are. (There aren’t any west of Grant or Kittitas counties, so it is currently really just in the western 1/2-2/3 of the state.) King County is the most populous county in the state and has the largest city, Seattle. Thus, this is where the bulk of the cases are. We have the highest number of cases in the country (568) as well as the highest death toll (37). With all K-12 schools having to switch to remote learning for 6+ weeks, the colleges that are having to go to distance learning for the rest of the year, and all the restrictions on public events, it seems like we’re in the midst of an episode of “The Walking Dead” here.

— 2 —

Where to get your information. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and the president isn’t helping with this. (For those who are wondering what I’m talking about, he has made some off-the-cuff remarks that contradict what the CDC and others run by medical professionals have said about it.) Here’s a list of places to go for accurate information:

World Health Organization
CDC
-Your state’s department of health/board of health (mine)
-Your county’s board of health/department of health (mine)

All of the above have medical professionals who specialize in infectious diseases reporting on this and making recommendations.

— 3 —

The math on this. It has been reported that COVID-19 is ten times more deadly than the seasonal flu. This is correct. The seasonal flu has a fatality rate of around 0.1% (1 out of 1,000) people. COVID-19’s fatality rate is around 1% (1 in 100 people). It is skewed a little bit here in Washington state because most of the fatal cases are from nursing homes, one specific nursing home in particular.

For more data on this in a beautiful and easy-to-follow format, click here.

— 4 —

How to protect yourself. This might come as a surprise, but the easiest way to protect your self is…

WASH YOUR FREAKING HANDS.

Wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap. Wash them like you just finished eating Thai food with your hands and you need to remove your contacts. Wash them like you just shook hands with the politician you hate most. Say a Hail Mary while you wash your hands. Wash them when you get back to your house after being out in public.

If you need something to say or sing while washing them other than “Happy Birthday”, you can make your own hand-washing poster using this site. Here is one with part of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. There’s also a list of hymns you can sing.

Wash your hands Jabberwocky-style.
Praise the Lord and wash your hands.

Also, stay home if you’re sick and don’t touch your face.

— 5 —

Telecommuting. My college had to close down all sites this week for disinfection after a positive case at a nursing home where CNA students and instructors were doing clinicals. (The staff and students were on campus last week, so the school legally needed to neutralize the risk.) Cue everything including tutoring having to be switched up to remote instruction this week! I’ve been tutoring over Zoom since yesterday, and it’s kind of a cool way to do all of this. My student(s) can share their screen with me, which makes it a whole lot easier for me to point out errors and get “down and dirty” with my Accounting students who work through an online application.

Minion even decided to “help” yesterday, so I was cuddling him during my one-on-one session with a student. Silly panther!

— 6 —

Social distancing. I completely understand the need for social distancing. We stand to overwhelm our health care system unless we flatten the curve in terms of risk. Still, it’s hard to have so many things like church cancelled. Physical touch isn’t even my primary love language, and I’m missing being hugged.

Nadia Bolz-Weber had a really good take on this:

Pandemic of disappointment.

— 7 —

Faith in the time of COVID-19. If you’re like me, Sunday worship/Mass has been cancelled diocese-wide. My church is coming up with ways to livestream worship and post the basics on our website, but for the Catholics out there who are in dioceses like the Archdiocese of Seattle where everything is cancelled, here are some options courtesy of my local Blessed is She folks:

Daily TV Mass
Act of Spiritual Communion

I used to watch a lot of Heart of the Nation when we lived in Galt and going to church with Daniel was a no-go for reasons.

The archbishop of Seattle is also livestreaming Mass on Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT. Your local dioceses might have similar options.

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