About Jen

Jen isn't quite sure when she lost her mind, but it is probably documented here on Meditatio. She blogs because the world needs her snark at all hours of the night... and she probably can't sleep anyway.

7 Quick Takes: COVID, Politics, and 21st Blogging Anniversary Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Andrew Fauci vs. Rand Paul. I saw this meme today and was curious about it.

Apparently, Rand Paul (who has a medical degree but is not certified by any reputable board) decided to repeat the fallacy about Anthony Fauci having ties to the lab in Wuhan that created COVID. Sorry Rand, I’m with Dr. Fauci on this one, given that he actually has the credentials to back him up, something you don’t have.

— 2 —

Dispatch from a doctor. My friend Katie is a pro-life Catholic hospitalist (adding the adjectives in case people might listen better with them), and she posted the following message:

Vax up!

For those who aren’t aware, a “hospitalist” is a doctor who takes care of you IN THE HOSPITAL. (The red spot on her forehead is from the faceshield she wears in addition to her mask when she walks into a patient’s room.) In other words, she’s seeing scary cases coming into the hospital again. Listen to Katie. Vax up!

— 3 —

Break-through cases. For those who are going to cite the fact that there are still people who are vaccinated that get COVID, here’s the difference between someone who is vaccinated and someone who is unvaccinated:

Vax vs. un-vax

— 4 —

Make good choices. I thought this was interesting advice.

Make good choices.

— 5 —

Finally, someone putting my feelings into words. For those people who say that other people should deal with [insert thing] because they had to deal with it, I have a message for you:

Weird, miserable energy.

— 6 —

U.S. residential school stories. For those who remember me blogging on residential schools for Native Americans a few weeks ago, one of the things I promised to do was learn more about the issue in the USA. Here are a few stories I read this week:

AP: US churches reckon with traumatic legacy of Native schools

AP: Tribe claims remains of kids who died at assimilation school

Salt Lake Tribune: Lost lives, lost culture: The forgotten history of Indigenous boarding schools

— 7 —

My blog is old enough to drink. So, um, my blog turned 21 on July 20th. *raises my can of Coke to it*

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

7 Quick Takes: Home Free Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’ve been binging Home Free’s music lately, so here are some cool vids with my sparkling commentary.

— 1 —

“Everybody Walkin’This Land”. My priest shared this on Election Day, and I blame him for addicting me to this group. It made an impression me, both because of the words and the harmonies.

— 2 —

“Children, Go Where I Send Thee”. I usually post a song on the church Facebook page on Sunday mornings that has something to do with the readings or Fr. Paul’s sermon. This particular song happened to be the one I posted last Sunday.

— 3 —

“American Pie”. Yes, that is the amazing Don McLean (the person who WROTE AND RECORDED the original song) singing with them. No, I am totally not singing along. I’m not! I’m not! I’m not!

— 4 —

“Sea Shanty Medley”. This is absolutely worth watching, especially as I grew up listening to people like The Irish Rovers and The Kingston Trio do these… and Home Free is just as good if not better!

— 5 —

“The Gambler”. I think I actually prefer this to the Kenny Rogers version.

— 6 —

“How Great Thou Art”. It’s an amazing video, beautiful harmonies, beautiful scenery, and they even mix a little bit of my favorite hymn (“It Is Well With My Soul”) into it. 🙂

— 7 —

“Elvira”. This video one big fanboy jam session with The Oak Ridge Boys. They all look like they are having the absolute best time!

— Bonus —

“Castle on the Hill”. I had never heard the Ed Sheeran song, so this inspired me to go look it up. (I like Home Free’s cover better.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum. While you’re there, congratulate her on Accepting the Gift being a semi-finalist in the OSV Challenge.

7 Quick Takes: Residential Schools and Other Things Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Residential school take #1. I’ve been horrified in recent weeks by the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the Indian residential school in Marieval and the discovery of the remains of 200+ kids at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. I mean, these are the kids who went missing for decades, and families were told that they “ran away”. Yeah no, they didn’t. One of the most horrifying things for me to see is that Marieval was functional until 1997. In other words, THESE SCHOOLS EXISTED UNTIL I WAS A SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL.

I also just found out while reading about the situation that there’s another cemetery of 182 unmarked graves near Cranbrook, BC that was found a few days ago.

— 2 —

Residential school take #2. This is all hitting me hard because I used to judge speech meets in north-central Montana, and one of the teams was from Browning High School. Browning is located on the Blackfeet reservation. Most of the students are Native-American as are the coaches. The reservation looks like the ghetto of a major U.S. city because of the poverty there. It’s not surprising that there’s a lot of crime, alcohol and drug use, and poverty there given what the government has done to many Native-American tribes. The high school is beautiful, however, and the kids were amazing competitors. We got to know some of the kids and the coaches in the 3 years we judged speech meets, and I got to judge two of them AT the high school. Their team fed everyone (judges, kids, and parents) an amazing lunch (Indian tacos and blueberries), and they stocked the judges room with every kind of snack food and soda imaginable. For the awards ceremony, they had a cultural program aspect. I’m really bummed that I missed the hoop dancers one year, and they’d have an elder from the tribe doing an honor song every year. Miss Heart Butte (in her special tribal dress) would hand out the awards.

When I hear about the mass graves at the residential schools, it’s these speech and debate kids that I am envisioning. Many members of the tribe were sent away to Chemawa Indian School in Oregon among others, and I only found out about it while reading the obits in the Great Falls Tribune few months ago. While Chemawa isn’t a horrible place (at least today), I’m really wondering if some of the blight I saw on the Blackfeet reservation is due to the abuse done in some residential schools that tribal members attended.

— 3 —

Residential school take #3. Something that I think is meaningful was the Calgary City Council going to the Treaty 7 First Nations and asking them the city should do. The Treaty 7 leaders told them to make Canada Day an occasion to actually *TALK* about what happened so that there could be an ability to move on together as a nation. The fireworks went ahead at night, but they were in honor of the lost children instead of celebrating Canada’s confederation.

My friend Dave posted a picture of his family on Canada Day, and I was heartened to see that the flag was at half-staff per Justin Trudeau’s instructions.

— 4 —

Residential school take #4. As much as I’m talking about Canada’s horrible history, the same thing happened in the USA, and I haven’t seen a lot of talk about it except for some statements by Deb Haaland, the Secretary of the Interior. She has created the Federal Indian Boarding Schools Initiative to investigate the damage done by them further and to see if there are unmarked graves. I’m really happy that President Biden chose her as the Secretary of the Interior for many reasons and this is one of them.

One of the things I’m going to be doing is learning more about the issue in the USA as well as learning more about the tribes in my area. My church is actually reaching out to one of them to get to know them, so that is going to be part of it for me.

— 5 —

Heat wave. We survived the weekend where we had temperatures of 104F. We thankfully have air-conditioning, and we used all the tricks we know from not having A/C in my childhood home. We are pretty lucky because a lot of homes don’t have it, and people were having severe problems with it as a result. I think the HVAC industry is going to be jumping for a few months…

— 6 —

Progress. On Tuesday, I managed to tell my depression to take a flying leap, and I got my desk cleaned off as well as a corner of my room decluttered. I feel proud of myself even though it’s kind of pathetic.

— 7 —

Mount Rainier’s Osceola Flow. This is my latest YouTube rabbit hole. It’s fascinating that a lahar from Mt. Rainier created the bedrock on which the city of Tacoma is built.

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

7 Quick Takes: Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Hot! Hot! Hot! We are looking at temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s up here this weekend… and possibly triple digits! We get some days in the summer that are in the 80’s this year, but it is really rare for us to get into the 90’s. I’m not even sure if we’ve had triple digits in my part of Washington while I’ve lived here! The county is setting up cooling stations for those who don’t have A/C this weekend.

We were talking about the weather last weekend during the call with my brother’s family, and his father-in-law (who is up visiting from Arizona) snarked that it will be mildly warm. It was a 108F when he left Arizona. (Yeah… that’s why I don’t live down there.)

— 2 —

COVID deaths now mostly among unvaccinated. I saw this story on Facebook, and I’m sharing it because the Associated Press tends to be one of the most middle-of-the-road and unbiased media sources. I also looked to see if there was anything from the CDC or National Institutes of Health (a.k.a. REPUTABLE sources for medical information) on vaccine efficacy for those who have already had it, and they are saying that it looks like only one dose of the two-dose series is needed to achieve immunity comparable to those who got the series but did not have COVID.

Get vaccinated, y’all.

— 3 —

Daniel and COVID shot #2. Kiddo got his second vaccine on the 18th and did very well again. Skagit Regional Health’s Vaccine Clinic was really focused on making this a positive situation, and we had a shot giver who was touching everything to Daniel before putting it on the site. I thought she was going too slowly because he was anticipating it, but it worked out well. He has one week to go before he can start doing errands with me (wearing a mask of course).

— 4 —

Phone games redux. Since my post on them last week, I removed Klondike Adventures from my phone and finished all the puzzles on Cross Logic. I’ve since gotten into a new game called Einstein’s Riddle Puzzle, which is the logic games on steroids. I kind of wish it had the format of the boxes like Cross Logic does (so you can figure out the main parts of it), but it has kept my attention.

— 5 —

The Far Side. If you are a fan of Gary Larson’s comic, The Far Side, there is a Facebook community for you! It’s a highlight of my day to find all of my favorites on there.

— 6 —

Volcanic eruption videos. Given that I was born the day after Mt. St. Helens erupted, it isn’t surprising that I have a fascination with them. I came across this video a few nights ago, and it’s fabulous. My favorite part is when you can actually see the shockwave from the first eruption propagating in the clouds.

— 7 —

Supervolcanoes. My family jokes that the Discovery Channel has documentaries for the purpose of scaring the public. Stuff on Yellowstone’s supervolcano falls into that category. It’s the first one mentioned in this video.

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

7 Quick Takes: Phone Games Edition

7 Quick Takes

It’s finally the end of the quarter for me and the end of the school year for Daniel. My brain is fried from dealing with all of this as well as a family medical emergency (prayers are appreciated), so here are some phone games I have enjoyed. (These can all be found on Google Play. No idea about iTunes.)

— 1 —

Bubble Shooter Rainbow. This is one of those bubble popping games, but there isn’t a story attached (like Bubble Witch) and it’s fairly brainless, so I play it while watching YouTube or when I need to think through something with my hands full. It was a good thing to have

— 2 —

Word Collect. This is one where you get six or more letters and have to make words of a certain length out of them. I have a word unscrambler page bookmarked on both my laptop and phone for this game in case I need help.

— 3 —

Klondike Adventures. This is my current serious addiction, and it’s one of those mining camp/homesteading/town-building games but with a story attached. Besides doing things in your camp (like growing crops, building furniture, feeding livestock, etc.), you’re also going to different locations and doing quests. I’m a sucker for an interesting story, so they are doing a pretty good job of keeping my attention.

— 4 —

Clockmaker. This is a spooky Victorian-era game which has you do “match 3” levels at various locations to get items you need to continue in the game. I thought it would be a lot of logic puzzles, but I only saw one or two. If “match 3” stuff is your happiness, I recommend it. If not, skip it.

— 5 —

Alice’s Restaurant. This gives you 6-8 letters (usually in a circle and usually easy in terms of what they are spelling) and you have to put words from those letters in a crossword puzzle format. I find it much easier than Word Collect, and the stars you earn allow you to remodel a restaurant and then an island hotel. There’s also a story that goes along with this one, but it’s not quite as compelling as the one in Klondike Adventures.

— 6 —

Cross Logic. This is one of those logic puzzle games where they give you a grid, and you have to figure out what to put based on the clues they give you. They offer three levels: easy, normal, and hard. My only complaint with this one is that you can’t pay to make the ads go away.

— 7 —

Words with Friends. Scrabble is a family bloodsport. This also kept me entertained when I was in the hospital with pneumonia in 2019.

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

7 Quick Takes: Dislodged G-Tubes, In-Person Church, and Anti-Vaxxer Stupidity Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Unexpected Seattle trip take #1. Fifteen minutes before my therapy appointment yesterday, Daniel walked in and handed me his g-tube (which is supposed to be sitting in a hole in his stomach called a “stoma”) with the balloon fully inflated. This would normally not be as big of a problem because I normally have a spare tube on hand that I can install… but some idiot (we’ll call them “Jen”) forgot to order a new one the second after they replaced the old one. I did have a partial kit but said kit did not include a syringe with a tip small enough to do the deflating/reinflating of a balloon. I managed to get it deflated using the end of a feeding extension, but there was no way to reinflate it, and I couldn’t get it back in Daniel’s stoma.

Cue me hurriedly throwing jammies, underwear, and a spare set of t-shirt/jeans as well as my daily meds into my laptop bag (in case we were there overnight for surgery), grabbing two Cokes out of the refrigerator, explaining to my therapist’s office that I wasn’t going to make it because my kid was having a medical emergency while throwing things in the trunk, and jumping in the car with Daniel to haul butt down to Seattle Children’s Hospital ER because that stoma closing up means emergency surgery to fix it.

— 2 —

Unexpected Seattle trip take #2. We got down to Seattle pretty quickly and didn’t hit any traffic until Shoreline. I also missed my exit, so Daniel and I got a lovely view of downtown Seattle while going across the Ship Canal Bridge before getting turned around. Thankfully, Seattle Childen’s Hospital has valet parking at the ER, and this is *SO* helpful because I could get Daniel in super fast and not have to deal with finding a parking space. I apparently used all the right words because we got taken back immediately. They had someone do vitals while someone else went to go grab some catheters to try and keep the stoma from closing more. I had to help hold Daniel while they got the Foley catheter in, and we were having to do things like grab c-clamps and wrap the end in a diaper as Daniel was creating negative pressure by fake-coughing before we could get it clamped. He was thankfully happy chilling on the bed playing with the TV remote and his tablet, and I got to talk to medical staff, email Jon to let him know what was going on, and let my boss know the situation. (My boss, bless her, had called my student for yesterday, and the student let her know to pass on prayers from her as well.)

— 3 —

Unexpected Seattle trip take #3. Eventually, a fellow and her attending came in, and the fellow checked the tube to see if it was damaged. Luckily, the balloon hadn’t been damaged so it was salvageable. She deflated it and tried putting it back in, but she needed a stylette to try and get it to go in straight. I suggested she grab a kit for a tube of a slightly different size as it would probably have a syringe, stylette, and lube that would help get it back in. While she ran and got the kit, the attending (who was holding Daniel’s arms) was asking me if I was a nurse because I seemed to know what I was doing. I replied that I’d been dealing with g-tube changes for almost 3 years, so I knew what should be happening. When the fellow came back, she lubed up the tube some more and started working on getting it down in the stoma. It wasn’t a pretty process, to say the least, because she was having a heck of a time getting it back in correctly, and I would have lost everything I had eaten in the last week if I was at all squeamish. (Stomach contents were coming out of the stoma as she maneuvered it, and I was blotting them off Daniel’s skin with the hospital blankie.) Eventually, she got it situated in the right place again, and I offered to check placement for her. The placement was good and Daniel was able to have a Pedialyte bolus feed without Pedialyte leaking out, so we were able to be discharged after just being in the ER for 90ish minutes. Our nurse got us squared away with paperwork, printed out a paper on what to watch for, and sent us on our way.

— 4 —

Why I love Seattle Children’s Home Care. I had conversations with them during the drive home about getting a spare tube overnighted to us, and I accidentally missed their last call because I was in the shower. Apparently, they decided to have someone drive it up to us (at least two or more hours because of rush hour), and I was shocked when a white van with a “Seattle Children’s” logo on it pulled in front of the house. The driver got out and handed me a g-tube kit. I almost hugged him.

— 5 —

So how is Daniel doing? I limited his food and drink to clear liquids and really plain things in case he had some nausea after what happened. He was cranky last night but didn’t seem too bad today. There hasn’t been any discharge or swelling, so I think he made it through this OK.

— 6 —

In-person worship. My church returned to in-person worship last Sunday, and it was so strange after worshipping online only for 15 months! It was like walking out of my cave into springtime after hibernating. It was like this strange and familiar thing from my past was happening again. (I can’t even really describe it all that well.) It was well worth all the quarantining.

I swore that I would wear my Easter dress from last year when we came back to in-person worship… so here’s the pic!

I haven't gained any COVID weight! Shut your mouth!

Why yes, I do have a mask that matches my dress! (Both are from Old Navy.)

— 7 —

Anti-vaxxer stupidity. If you believe that the COVID vaccine causes you to become magnetized, please proceed with haste to your nearest medical facility and ask for a lobotomy because someone has clearly ruined your brain.

THERE. ARE. NO. METALS. IN. ANY. OF. THE. VACCINES.

THE. KEY. STUCK. TO. THAT. IDIOT. NURSE. BECAUSE. OF. SEBUM. ON. HER. SKIN.

5G. STANDS. FOR. THE. FIFTH. GENERATION. TECHNOLOGY. STANDARD. FOR BROADBAND. COMMUNICATIONS.

BILL. GATES. ONLY. TALKS. TO. ME. THROUGH. THE. MICROCHIP. FROM. MY. FLU. SHOT. (OK… I couldn’t resist that one.)

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

7 Quick Takes: June Already?!?!? Edition

7 Quick Takes

Any Amazon links are Associate links and go toward paying my bills.

— 1 —

Karma and lack of thanks. I saw a story referenced on Facebook about some boaters who were allegedly harassing another boat that had Pride flags on it… only for their boat to go up in flames a few minutes later. OK… that was interesting and sounds kind of like the boat of harassers was being smited for being jerks. It turns out that it did happen somewhat local to me.

Despite the boat with the Pride flags rescuing them, the boat of harassers jumped into a friend’s boat without saying “thank you”. Yeah guys… the other boat could have left you in the water to wait for a rescue instead of pulling you in, so you might want to try being grateful..

— 2 —

Monday was the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. I found out about it within the last decade from a reference on a site I was reading. I definitely didn’t hear about in high school, and part of the reason was the terror inflicted on the Black community by it and other similar massacres.

If you think things like Tulsa happened years ago and that we should just move on, I invite you to learn about these other massacres, the most recent one being what took place at Emmanuel AME Church in 2015 when Dylan Roof walked in and killed 9 people. There are still survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre that are still alive.

Other massacres.

— 3 —

Karenpocalypse. My guilty pleasure this week has been the Karenpocalypse YouTube channel. It’s sometimes entertaining to watch people being so bleedingly ridiculous that you think you’re dreaming. It’s not fun to be the person receiving the abuse from the Karen (and I’ve been that person), but it can make for an interesting story once the trauma wears off.

— 4 —

Get this book. I’m 49 pages into Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual by Luvvie Ajayi Jones. It’s amazing. Get yourself a copy. Do it now.

— 5 —

Patreon rewards. My Patreon rewards from Planning with Kay arrived today, and I’m positively giddy because I get to play with awesome stickers right around the time I would have been putting this month’s calendar spread for my bullet journal together.

— 6 —

Family gathering. Having my twin brother’s family up for the long weekend was amazing. It was worth all the Facebook messenger calls, the mask-wearing, and giving up holiday gatherings for a year to have everybody under one roof and not having to worry about getting someone super sick. Braden is adorable, and he is a really happy kid. Daniel was transfixed by him, and he was a happy kid all weekend.

— 7 —

New school. I got an email request from the case manager for Daniel’s school stuff this year. She wanted to schedule a Zoom meeting with a bunch of people, and I thought it was just a last-minute IEP meeting. It turns out that they’re doing the program placement stuff that didn’t happen last year because of COVID. Daniel will be going to the middle school that is closer to our house, and the head of that program was at the Zoom meeting to talk about Daniel’s needs. He is planning to have a day where we can come and see the classroom and do the orientation activities that didn’t happen in September 2020.

I’m bummed to lose Daniel’s teacher and paraprofessional from this school year as they love Daniel (and also me) like their own child. They also were absolutely wonderful while Daniel was in the hospital, and I went on Zoom with them one morning to let them see that he was OK. Ms. Leanne, his paraprofessional, has been working like mad to find something to keep his attention in the last weeks of school because he is just DONE. It has meant that I’ve found cool YouTube videos through her that I’ve shared with some of you for your kiddos. She has also fussed over me and swapped hospital stories with me because she’s a fellow caretaker of a medically-fragile person.

Still, I’m actually OK with all of this because it means more people who are going to love my kid, and Mount Vernon Public Schools has been exceptional at making sure that Daniel’s needs have gotten met from Day 1. Very few districts pull off a 12-person IEP on the last day of school for a kid who showed up to register for the fall, and his IEP meetings have always been amazing.

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