7 Quick Takes: English Only Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Working with non-English speakers. When I walked into the classroom for my drop-in session on Monday, I had to calm down one of the students who was taking a test for one of her classes. Her English is limited and she had been sitting there for two hours trying to figure out how to start her test. Once I got clarification from her instructor on what she was supposed to be doing, we were able to get her working. I’m thankful to a couple of my other Spanish-speaking students for translating because I needed to give her very specific instructions and Google Translate can only do so much.

— 2 —

“English only” people. My experience on Monday got me thinking about the misguided people who make nasty comments about how “this is America and people need to speak English!” Most of these people do not speak any language but English and many of them cannot write English well. For my Spanish-speaking students, it’s the equivalent of learning two languages because you have the words that come from French and the words that come from German. Add in grammar that is complex and you have something that confounds a lot of people learning the language. Other languages are hard for us to learn, especially those with different alphabets, but I see a lot of my ELL students struggling with verb tenses and the number of verbs that have prepositions attached that change the meaning. On the other hand, you don’t have to think about the gender of nouns in English as you do in Romance languages.

— 3 —

It’s about time, Washington! Washington took away personal and philosophical exemptions for the MMR vaccine last week. I’d prefer if they had taken away religious exemptions too, but I’m thinking that most of those people either homeschool or only attend schools of their religious tradition. With the number of measles cases in the state and the fact that it had been eradicated 20 years ago and is now back, I’m glad my state is taking a stand!

— 4 —

Hematology update. I saw my hematologist on Tuesday morning and he is OK with my blood work the way it is. My ferritin is the low end of normal and my red cells are still funky, but there is nothing that is concerning him. He is sending me back to my regular doctor and adding to the recommendation of every medical professional I’ve seen since February that a hysterectomy is a good idea for me, given that my body is depleting red blood cells faster than it can make them. With any luck, I’ll be getting spayed this summer.

— 5 —

For handwriting enthusiasts… This Reddit is fabulous.

— 6 —

Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was lovely. I got a rose at church, a carnation at Starbucks, and my mom and Daniel surprised me with flowers when they came home from the grocery store. I was honestly just happy to get a craft thing from Daniel that he made in school — I have pretty simple tastes and I don’t expect people to make a big to-do over me. The flowers were definitely a nice surprise though.

— 7 —

Funny… Did y’all know that Green Bay Packers player Aaron Rodgers was the soldier who got immolated on GOT last Sunday? It was interesting to watch.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum. Tell her how cool her new layout is!

7 Quick Takes: Only 6 Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Daniel update. We saw the psychiatrist at the Autism Center again today and he is keeping Daniel on the dose of meds that we titrated up to last week. I didn’t quite realize until we were talking to him that Daniel’s behavior is actually good on this new dose. Now if we can keep him from waking up at 4:30 a.m. and bouncing off the walls…

— 2 —

Interesting… The psychiatrist commented that he has seen more than a few kids with Daniel’s genetic abnormality that is responsible for his autism and they tend to have similar behavior, food issues, etc. In other words, THIS IS NOT BECAUSE WE VACCINATED HIM.

(Seriously… there are STILL people who harp on this despite studies coming out daily showing that VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM.)

— 3 —

Hematology. I saw my lovely hematologist on Friday afternoon and he referred me for more bloodwork. My red cells are funky, my clotting factors are OK, my folate is too high, and some of the other factors are off. I’ve tried googling this stuff and I’m not finding anything conclusive, so I’m going to have to wait until Tuesday when I see my hematologist again to find out what’s up. It might be that they’ll have me do repeat tests every so often to see if/when I’m heading toward anemia. We’re also going to see if a hysterectomy helps with it at all because it seems like my body is losing red blood cells faster than it can make them.

— 4 —

Rachel Held Evans. If you want to understand why I and many other Christians (Protestants and Catholics alike) are mourning her, read this hashtag.

— 5 —

School update. I’m required to do a mock employment interview for my Final Project class and I went to interview with the head of the BASAM program at school… who happens to be a former Fortune 500 VP who worked all over southeast Asia. It was interesting and also really good practice for what to say and how to answer questions that I might be asked. She asked if I would connect to her on LinkedIn in case one of her local friends has a job that might fit me. Score!

— 6 —

Game of Thrones. I’m betting on Daenerys winning the throne. Because girls and dragons! Not that I’ve ever seen more than a few minutes of the show…

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

Rachel Held Evans

I got word from Sarah Bessey, one of the organizers of Rachel’s GoFundMe, that Rachel died early this morning. According to the updates her husband Dan had been posting on her blog:

Rachel was slowly weaned from the coma medication. Her seizures returned but at a reduced rate. There were periods of time where she didn’t have seizures at all. Rachel did not return to an alert state during this process. The hospital team worked to diagnose the primary cause of her seizures and proactively treated for some known possible causes for which diagnostics were not immediately available due to physical limitations.

Early Thursday morning, May 2, Rachel experienced sudden and extreme changes in her vitals. The team at the hospital discovered extensive swelling of her brain and took emergency action to stabilize her. The team worked until Friday afternoon to the best of their ability to save her. This swelling event caused severe damage and ultimately was not survivable.

Rachel died early Saturday morning, May 4, 2019.

This entire experience is surreal. I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story. I cannot express how much the support means to me and our kids. To everyone who has prayed, called, texted, driven, flown, given of themselves physically and financially to help ease this burden: Thank you. We are privileged. Rachel’s presence in this world was a gift to us all and her work will long survive her.

I am profoundly sad to hear this news. Her blog and her writing were part of how I sustained my faith during a really hard part of my life, and they spawned the Proverbs 31 Project here on this blog. I feel sad for her husband Dan, their two small children, her parents Peter and Robin, her sister Amanda, and the rest of her family. Please keep them in your prayers.

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Rachel. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

7 Quick Takes: Jen Is Busy Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Happy news. Someone from Reddit shared this link with me. I have it bookmarked to show to students who are having a freak-out at what they’re doing in drop-in tutoring.

— 2 —

An update on Rachel Held Evans. According to Rachel’s husband Dan, they’re currently weaning her off her coma meds. Please keep praying for her.

— 3 —

Trappistines. I’m watching/listening to this as I type and it is fascinating.

— 4 —

School-related take. I was doing itineraries, memo reports, agendas, and minutes this week in Document Production and it was… interesting. It’s a hard class for me because I am incredibly nitpicky and every small mistake and accidental extra space knocks 10% off of my assignment grade. We still haven’t gotten our grades from Assignment 2, so we were all grasping at straws for Assignment 3, which was due tonight (Thursday night).

— 5 —

Prayer request. Please pray for my friend Sister Lucia, a Discalced Carmelite nun, as she makes her First Profession on May 13. Thanks!

— 6 —

Tutoring take. I’m still being run off my feet, but I’m liking it today because I get to help people with Excel, which is one of my favorite applications. I’m having students in the same class work in groups and help each other unless they’re taking a test, and it’s working out well.

— 7 —

Rend Collective. Here’s a new song from one of my favorite bands.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum where she has a redux of the Accepting the Gift conference.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: April 28, 2019

For Today… April 28, 2019

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… sunny and in the low 50’s.

I am thinking… about my Document Production homework. Bleh.

I am thankful… for my amazing church and worship today. After spending a period of time sitting in church and wanting to be anywhere else but there, it’s wonderful to be excited to go to church again. (That period ended when I returned to the Episcopal Church in 2014.)

One of my favorite things… calmness and quiet. I have it temporarily.

I am wearing… black fitted tee from Old Navy and jeans capris. Church clothes were a t-shirt dress from Old Navy, a cardigan from Kohl’s and my black flats

I am creating… documents for my homework. Woo.

I am reading… Inspired by Rachel Held Evans who remains in a medically-induced coma while doctors try to figure out what the heck is causing her seizures. Please pray for her and her family.

I am hoping… to get some database work done for church.

I am learning… tutor skills. (I’m listening to training right now.)

In my kitchen… probably leftover ham and spinach salad.

In the school room… Daniel is loving school still. His IEP meeting was fabulous this year.

Post Script… my priest’s website is here.

Shared Quote… “The apostles remembered what many modern Christians tend to forget—that what makes the gospel offensive isn’t who it keeps out but who it lets in.” — Rachel Held Evans

A moment from my day… this was our Communion hymn.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: If I Had Not Given Up My Blog for Lent Edition

7 Quick Takes

Lent is over, it’s Bright Week, and I am back to blogging. (OK… some of you may have noticed that I cheated a little bit by changing the YouTube video on my time off page.) I have been meaning to write this post for a few days, but work and homework have been crazy. There will be 7 +/- blurbs, so I am counting this as my Quick Takes.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… about how weirdly calm I am about Grandma’s passing. It might be because I wasn’t the one cleaning out her room at the assisted living facility and her bedroom back at her house. My mom and her siblings have been dealing with all of this, and I have been figuring out burial service things. We got her ashes back around March 11 (she was supposed to be cremated on March 6… which was Ash Wednesday — because I am a horrible human being, I actually found humor in that), and part of them will be interred at my church in Mount Vernon. My uncle is making a plain cedar box for that, and I am glad to have that figured out so that biodegradable cremation urns stop being in my ads on Reddit. In the meantime, I am incredibly thankful for my church and how they jumped in to support us after her passing. They sent food home with me on Shrove Tuesday, sent emails and cards with condolences for our family, and I got hugged within an inch of my life on Shrove Tuesday.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… we got a last-minute appointment with a psychiatrist at the Autism Center. Daniel was badly-behaved (which is actually a benefit in this case) and the psych made the comment that until we improve his nutrition, none of the other meds he could prescribe would be of any benefit. So… he changed Daniel from his Adderall XR (which is also used as an appetite suppressant) to Concerta, and we’re titrating up on it. So far, the only change has been that kiddo is not sleeping well and is having what seems to be a worse time in the evenings until his evening meds kick in. He’s also waking up in the middle of the night or at 6 a.m., which is not making my life wonderful. We start the next highest dose this weekend, and I am praying like hell that it helps. Please send Starbucks.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… my iron is back to normal (thank you, weekly bloodwork and a boatload of iron pills), but my clotting factors are funky. Shark Week (a.k.a. my period) hit me like a ton of bricks in March… and also happened during finals of course. An appointment was made with my ob/gyn to talk about a hysterectomy… and I missed it today because my body decided that tachycardia sounded like a good plan this morning. So… I get to wait until June to see her… which happens to be on the day I graduate and Daniel is off school. This month’s Shark Week happened during Holy Week, and it was not quite as bad as March, but still crappy. I see Hematology next Friday. Woo.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… that this quarter started on April 9th and is kicking my butt. I am the only tutor in my department and I can’t work enough hours to meet all the need that exists at the moment because this is the quarter everyone seems to be taking QuickBooks. The book they’re using for it is crappy (I had it last year), and it’s especially crappy for my English language learners who are having to figure it out in their second or third language. I had to close my one-on-one schedule this week, and I’m still getting requests for tutoring that I’m having to turn away. (I also have a couple students who I have had to tell that I will help them once they stop mouthing off at me or trying to have an existential argument about the class material.) Additionally, my Document Production class is hateful at the moment. We are docked 10% of our grade per mistake on every assignment, and we don’t know from week to week if we’re going to get any of those points back because the website isn’t fabulous on correcting formatting. I’m sure it will be better next week as I know now where my mistakes are coming from and can avoid them, but it is stressing me out right now.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… that I finally joined Phi Theta Kappa (my school’s honor society that I was invited to join in September 2017) in March. I’m going to have my induction ceremony in the next few weeks and I might have a lovely stole along with my honor cords when I graduate.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… about Daniel’s sedated ABR on March 29 with the audiologist we like and our amazing anesthesiologist from his g-tube placement last August. It turns out that our favorite audiologist got an almost perfect result last July, and she adjusted his hearing aids accordingly after the procedure.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… that the Lenten devotional booklet I put together for my church was highly complimented, and that having it go out over email turned out to be one of the best moves as it was easier for people to access. The project was actually a blessing as I was putting the finishing touches on it while Grandma was dying, and it gave me something into which I could pour my nervous energy.

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… that the French version of the Hail Mary sung by French Catholics outside of Notre Dame got stuck in my head. I largely avoided watching footage of it burning because I couldn’t deal with the sadness. (Also… what the actual [expletive], 45?!?!? Suggesting that French firefighters use an air tanker on the cathedral and that they should get on it is not an appropriate sentiment for a world leader to suggest while the symbol of a country’s faith is burning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

If I hadn’t given up blogging for Lent I would have told you… about the insight I had on Maundy Thursday about Jesus praying in the garden and how it means that God understands and is with me in those liminal times when I am scared about what is coming next. Seriously, it was amazing for my faith as was Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, where I got verklempt during the reading about the Pieta.

Last thing: Rachel Held Evans, my favorite author, is currently in a medically-induced coma while doctors try to figure out why her brain is experiencing constant seizures. She ended up in the hospital with a combination of flu and a UTI, and she had a severe allergic reaction to her antibiotics. This is distressing me greatly because she is very much me with a southern accent, and her books have been part of what kept my faith going for the last ten years as I dealt with times where I would go to church and want to be anywhere else but there. (This thankfully changed when I got away from Jon’s churches and went back to the Episcopal Church.) Updates on her health are here and a GoFundMe for her medical expenses here. Please keep her, her husband Dan, and their two kids in your prayers.

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