Catching Up: November 2, 2023 Edition


[+] COVID was hateful. I had two weeks of sinus infection/bronchitis symptoms and the fatigue has been insane. Last week, the asthma exacerbation kicked in. I got a chest x-ray at Urgent Care to rule out anything scary, and my lungs were clear. Cue a steroid inhaler. I’m not up to singing with the choir yet, but I’m reading the names of the deceased during Communion on Sunday.

[+] Daniel continues to adjust to high school. We found out at conferences that he prefers the male staff members to the females. He is getting really cranky toward the end of the school day, and we’re not sure why. Non-verbal kids are hard because of this. The hitting is also increasing, which is not making me happy.

[+] The job hunting has resumed. I had to suspend it during COVID, and I’m honestly kind of happy for the break. My tutoring job burned me out for the last two years, and it was nice to have the space to actually be sick and not have to be made to feel guilty for not being able to work through a migraine or have to turn off my phone to avoid students with no sense of boundaries.

Catching Up: COVID Edition

It was a nice 3 1/2 years avoiding COVID…

[+] After masking up, quarantining, and getting vaccinated, my turn for COVID finally came. I likely got it from Dad, who got it at a small family gathering. I knew I’d probably get it if someone in the house got it–my immune system is crappy. The test showed the COVID line almost immediately, and was brilliant red.

[+] We’ve been partaking of DoorDash and a local food delivery service since Dad got sick because quarantining while cooking is hard. Parishioners have promised food and chicken soup. I don’t really have an appetite though.

[+] What is this variant like? Well, it’s like a head cold, post-nasal drip, and a chest cold went speed-dating. I’m having to write down when I take meds so I don’t take anything that interacts. I’ve gotta say… if this is the mild version that vaxxed people get, I’d hate to have gotten the variant that was out there before the vaccines were developed!

[+] Just pray for me, y’all. I can’t sleep and it feels like I just tried to run through a brick wall.

Catching Up: High School Edition

I made it, y’all!

[+] My surly teenager made it through the summer with daily trips out with me to find some “good trouble”. We checked out farm stores, discovered a local bar/grocery store that makes good desserts, and drove A LOT. I now know a few different ways to get home when I-5 snarls up going through Skagit County. I dispatched him to his first day of high school this morning, and I will post a picture when I have time today.

[+] I did finally get to see a gastroenterologist, and he decided that an endoscopy and colonoscopy would be a good plan. He prescribed SuTabs for the cleanse, and they were worth the $$$ because it’s two doses of 12 pills instead of nasty liquids. (Insurance didn’t cover them because insurance companies are death panels.) The cleanse process was hideous as usual, especially because the first dose left me puking badly, but I got through it. The actual procedures were as easy as they could be, and I can’t say enough good about Skagit Valley Hospital’s Endoscopy department. My anesthesiologist was lovely, and my nurse got my IV in painlessly. (The last few IV’s I’ve had at SVH have been painless. I don’t know if it’s a procedural thing or a training thing, but they are amazing. I have had horrible experiences with it taking multiple tries to get one in and it landing me in tears before.) They found that my stomach wall was definitely inflamed, but we don’t know why. Crohn’s, colitis, and scary stuff have been ruled out thankfully.

[+] I went through and audited my pages this morning… and determined that I need to do this a lot more often! I had to fix ages for me and the kid, and I also had to update how long I had been doing this blog (23 years!). Oops!

Catching Up: Two and a Half Months Edition

Wow… two-and-a-half months of silence.

[+] Work. My contract with the college ended on June 30th. I knew it was coming, and I spent last quarter working on my LinkedIn profile as well as creating ones on Glassdoor and Indeed. I’ve got a couple of stop-gap temporary measures in place until I can find a a more permanent remote job, but I’m still living pretty modestly and I am getting a little frustrated with the amount of scammers out there posting positions. There are some days when I honestly feel like I’m playing “Scam or No Scam”, and I have other friends in similar situations.

[+] Health. My appointment with gastroenterology is next week, and it cannot come soon enough. My stomach is angry and eating is unpleasant. I’m willing to deal with an endoscopy and colonoscopy at this point if they can figure out what is happening.

[+] Daniel. Kiddo is at least five inches taller than me, and he is in the middle of puberty. The mood swings are epic. School starts again in a little more than a month, and I think both Daniel and I will be excited for that to happen.

Catching Up: Favorite TikToks Edition

I’ve been sick, dealing with work stress, and generally feeling like crap, so I’ve been lying low and watching TikTok when I’m not working. Here are some TikTok finds…

@tanaradoublechocolate. “Everybody’s so creative!” She comments on horrific cooking TikToks. Her other catchphrase is that “it ain’t gone down easy if it ain’t cheesy!”

@gregisms. He’s a gay drama teacher from New Orleans who reports on things his elementary school drama students say to him. How can this not be entertaining?

@meganandtherescues. She rescues kittens. Her “bean bakery” videos about plumping up tiny black kittens are amazing.

@north_omaha_cat_lady. There’s nothing family-friendly about her. She comments on TikTok food videos, GLBTQIA+ issues, strange foods, and just about anything else. I love her for her “Caucasity Cookbook” commentary.

@drennondavis. His cats talk… and have a tie business. Always fun.

@plantymurse. He is a nurse who spent time in an ICU in Idaho. Expect embarrassing stories that may/may not be family-friendly.

@grannybibbins. Do you want to know about farming implements? Do you hate hussies? Do you want to see an octogenarian chase her grandsons around with a cattle prod? Do you like Jing Soda? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need to go get some “Farm Facts with Granny”.

@bdylanhollis. Dylan is a Bermudan who came to the University of Wyoming to get his degree in jazz piano. He makes vintage recipes and has a cookbook coming out this summer. Some of his videos have innuendo, so maybe preview them before showing them to your kids?

@carrie_eileen_chuff. Carrie is a former nun who has some things to say about the cloistered life. She is now Eastern Catholic. She is fascinating.

@christopherskaife. He’s the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. He’s interesting and the ravens are cool.

@knucklebumpfarms. This is the TikTok of Taylor Blake. Her emu Emmanuel became an Internet sensation for attacking Taylor’s phone while she was trying to film TikTok videos. Her farm got hit with bird flu, and she lost all of her birds with the exception of Emmanuel and Rico (an evil black swan). Emmanuel suffered a stress reaction, and Taylor spent two months nursing him back from the point of death. Her other animals are also wonderful.

@ladykiernan. I watch her channel for her House Phone Saga. She has a landline whose number she does not know, but the telemarketers all seem to have it. 🙂 She pranks them.

@mehdinatv. Garrett and Mubina are the one channel I would send you to if you need to learn about Islam. Highly recommended.

Catching Up: April 13, 2023 Edition

It’s been real, y’all.

[+] Work. Most of my students dropped classes toward the end of the quarter, so I had a soft finish to Winter Quarter. I still slept through most of Spring Break, so the quarter definitely wore me out. I was online last week, so my students started up in earnest this week.

[+] Health. I went to Urgent Care for a UTI on Tuesday, but my UA was clear. I was definitely in pain and it was in the spot for diverticulosis, so my grand prize was lab work and a CT scan. (Just a head’s up to anyone local: the Comprehensive Imaging Center on Division Street is freaking *AWESOME* and got me worked in super fast.) I still feel like crap, and I slept for seven hours straight yesterday, which was very likely me sleeping off a fever because I was completely dead to the world during that time. I pre-emptively canceled out of choir practice tonight, and I’m going to start taking a fiber supplement to try and keep things from getting bad enough to send me to the ER.

[+] Cats. For those who have been reading this blog for long enough, you’ll know that I had a tabby patch monster named Freya while I was married. We had her from the time she was a teacup kitten, and she was a fuzzy little pitbull. Sadly, I couldn’t take her when I left my marriage in October 2015, so she stayed with my former in-laws. (They treat their cats like royalty, so this was a good arrangement.) My former mother-in-law kept me updated on her, and she sent me pictures to make sure I knew that Freya was in good hands. The little monster became my father-in-law’s guard kitty (because she loves men), and she even stared down some paramedics to keep them from taking him away. (My former mother-in-law had to close her off in another room and incurred Freya’s wrath. I had to talk to Jon about something that day, and I started the conversation with the words, “DO YOU *KNOW* WHAT YOUR CAT DID?!?!?”)

Anyway, I got a text from my former mother-in-law on Tuesday letting me know that Freya had headed to Valhalla (where all Viking warrior princesses go) and had died in her arms at the vet at the ripe old age of 19. Many tears were shed, but I know that Freya had a good life with lots of love.


Catching Up: March 10, 2023 Edition

February was… packed.

[+] Health: I got an infection from the antibiotics, and they discovered a UTI while testing me for the other infection. So… three rounds of antibiotics in a three week period. Yay!

[+] One Parish One Prisoner. My parish participates in a program called One Parish One Prisoner (OPOP) where churches are paired with a person in the correctional system who is within two years of release. The team from the church builds a relationship with the person and makes their re-entry into society less difficult. My church was paired with a gentleman named Paul, and he was released on March 16, 2022. It has been an absolutely wonderful experience, so all of our hearts fell when he was arrested for parole violations on February 3rd. (There’s a whole mess with Community Corrections that I’m leaving out because I tend to start dropping f-bombs when I think about it.) The following Sunday (the 5th), Fr. Paul brought his wife Beth (who he married in October) up front, and he invited people to come up to the front and lay hands to pray if they felt led. THE PEWS EMPTIED. 40 PEOPLE IN MY STAID EPISCOPAL CHURCH CAME UP TO LAY HANDS AND PRAY.

Apologies that the sound is awful

When he was done praying, Fr. Paul told Beth to turn around and see the people supporting her. She literally doubled over sobbing when she saw all of us. There were very few dry eyes in the house from the rest of us as well. It was one of the most powerful moments of my Christian life.

Paul was released on February 16th.

[+] More Loss. I got a call on February 6th from Charlotte’s husband Bud letting me know that she was entering hospice. The two of them were two of my favorite Zoom parishioners, and I was grateful for the chance to be able to say good-bye even if it ended up being over email. She passed away on February 16th, and her funeral was this past weekend. I chose her book as part of my Lenten reading, and it was quite good. Bud is now (hopefully) one of our in-person parishioners, and it has been good to get to know him better.