Why I do it. In the 22 years I’ve been old enough to vote, I’ve voted in person only a handful of times. I wasn’t registered in the county where I went to school because someone from my church was running for mayor during my first year of college, and I never bothered to change my registration. I’ve voted in five different states, and the only time I had a problem voting was when I lived in Montana and they screwed up my registration, so I wasn’t allowed to vote when I showed up at my polling place. I became a staunch absentee ballot person at that point, and I haven’t had any problems in the 14 years since!
It’s incredibly convenient. I can do it on my time schedule, and I don’t have to wait in line to do it. I can sit down with my voter guide, look at who my county’s political party organization endorses, and then I just have to throw it in the mailbox or put it in one of the dropboxes placed by my County Auditor.
A word of warning if you plan to use a dropbox: unofficial dropboxes are appearing in some states, so you should always go to an official dropbox run by your county’s auditor or whoever handles elections for your county. My county sends a list of official ones with the ballot, and they range from libraries to police stations to the county courthouse.
My County Auditor also recommends mailing ballots no later than October 27th to ensure they arrive by Election Day.
You need to read the instructions. There are stories of ballots being rejected already because people aren’t signing envelopes or putting things in secrecy sleeves. Your vote-by-mail ballot comes with instructions. (Mine are printed on the secrecy sleeve inside.) Read them carefully and follow them to the letter.
Ink color. Most ballots that ask you to fill in a bubble will require you to fill it out in blue or black ink. (It’s like a gigantic scantron sheet.) I stick with black to be safe. We are also told to cross out the name of the item if we fill in the wrong spot for a person or ballot measure.
Book recommendation. If you’ve stayed with me through all the blathering I’ve done regarding voting by mail, I have a book recommendation for you: the Paranormal Investigation Bureau mysteries by Dionne Lister are my current book addiction. They’re kind of like a cross between Harry Potter and chick lit. In the first book, Lily Bianchi, an Australian photographer finds out she is a witch on her 24th birthday when a strange woman turns up to tell her that her brother is missing. She ends up flying to England to find him, and she ends up staying and working for the Paranormal Investigation Bureau. Like in Harry Potter, there’s an evil organization doing nefarious stuff and trying to kill the main character, but it’s a little bit of a lighter read than J.K. Rowling’s books.
Interesting article.The Washington Post did a pretty cool article comparing our handling of coronavirus with medieval Europeans handling the plague. I’m a history junkie, so I found it pretty fascinating.
Schadenfreude. One of my Facebook friends posted this, and I felt like it described how a lot of us are feeling right now. We’ve had to deal with months of quarantining ourselves to protect our families, wearing masks to protect ourselves and others, and doing what we were told only to be called sheep, have people mock us, and have to watch people having screaming hissy fits about their “rights” (which are not actually rights enshrined in the Constitution) at Costco. Then, we’re told to “have compassion” when we point out (politely, of course) that actions have consequences.
Yeah, we’re not the ones with the compassion problem, y’all.
Mocking Trump. I had a migraine on Friday, so I didn’t get on Facebook that night. When I did finally look at it, it seemed like all my super conservative friends were complaining about people rejoicing over Trump testing positive for COVID. OK… I scrolled through Facebook for an hour and a half and saw a grand total of THREE memes even having to do with Trump and COVID. Only one person on my Facebook is celebrating this at all, and the vast majority are talking about how weird this feels because they’ve been bullied by Trump and his more vocal followers about taking steps to protect themselves, and then they’re told to be nice when Trump, Melania, multiple senators, and multiple high-profile White House staff test positive.
Y’all, this is what I saw:
[+] Joe Biden pulling his attack ads the second Trump’s positive test was announced, expressing healing wishes for him and Melania, and forbidding his staff to post on social media about Trump’s illness… right after Trump’s campaign sent out some pretty foul statements about him, which people screenshotted.. (Biden’s actions are what we call “leadership”.)
[+] Barack Obama expressing his desire for healing for Trump, Melania, and all who were sick.
[+] Faith leaders of mainline (translation: “liberal”) Christian denominations instructing their followers to pray for Trump and Melania on Sunday regardless of our political stance because it’s what Christians do. (Michael Curry, my fabulous Presiding Bishop, was among them.)
[+] Conspiracy theories in the comments sections on the Facebook walls of my super conservative friends about how this was a plot to get Amy Coney Barrett, Trump, and others sick at the ceremony for her so that she can’t be confirmed. Never mind the fact that Amy has already had it, and the people who got sick were the ones not wearing masks. (Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.)
I’m sure there were people being vitriolic on Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t keep people like that around me.
Vice-presidential debate. I didn’t watch the debate–I loathe Mike Pence, and Kamala Harris was my attorney general in California for five years. She’s probably a bit more liberal than I am, but she knows her stuff and would be an excellent vice-president.
Having said that, I understand from my friends on Facebook and Twitter that the winner of the debate last night was the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head while he was mansplaining racial relations to Harris (who happens to be of Jamaican and Indian descent).
Virtual debate. Even if I didn’t support Joe Biden, I would be in full agreement with his decision not to take part in an in-person debate until Trump’s COVID-19 is gone. I mean, it’s common sense that you don’t share a stage with someone who has a disease that is incredibly communicable.
I’m also pretty aghast at Trump’s joyride this weekend that put his Secret Service detail at risk as well as the doctors at Walter Reed letting him out. I’m seriously prone to bronchitis and pneumonia, so I can tell you that even with steroids, he’s not feeling that great. He’s probably having coughing spasms hard enough to make him vomit, and he’s at risk for complications due to age and obesity.
Remote learning update. Our local school district is allowing a few new groups of students to be in-person at school, but we’re still keeping my kiddo home. School has been pretty boring this week as we’ve been keeping a pretty consistent schedule, so nothing new to report there.
Bobcats! The Wildcat Sanctuary is rescuing two bobcats from a rehabber in California, so their media person and a caretaker are currently on the way back to Minnesota with them. They’re live-posting at various intervals on the drive back to Minnesota, and it has been interesting to see their route as I’ve driven a lot of that route before. (The difference is that they’re taking I-70 instead of I-80, which is the route Jon and I took 16 years ago.)
Amy Coney Barrett. I oppose having confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett before the election takes place. If Mitch McConnell refused to allow hearings for Merrick Garland 8-9 months before the 2016 election, it is hypocritical as heck to try and shoehorn this into the 6 weeks before the election this year.
I oppose her nomination for several reasons. She has been a judge for less than three years (she was elevated by Trump in 2017), and I disagree with her record regarding the Affordable Care Act among other decisions.
You see what I wrote above? THAT is how you disagree faithfully. No name-calling involved and any criticism was focused on people’s ACTIONS and their record instead of their personal life.
The debate on Monday. I’ve known who I would be voting for since the day after the 2016 election, so I skipped the debate on Monday. According to people I know who watched it, it was brutal, and Chuck Wallace did a horrible job of keeping order. The most interesting commentary came from some of my stalwart Republican friends on Facebook… who had nothing good to say about Trump’s performance and are thinking of voting for Biden.
Tiger-Thon!The Wildcat Sanctuary (my favorite charity) is having a Tiger-Thon to raise money for the care of their cats. For the last week, they’ve had a triple match for their fundraising, and it all culminated today with lots of live Facebook posts with all of their tigers. The videos are here in case you have any kids who have a deep and abiding need to watch tiger videos. 🙂 (I recommend checking out Daisy, a.k.a. Crazy Daisy.)
An educational opportunity. Daniel had an ADHD appointment of yesterday, and we opted to do it in person in case they could do his flu shot while we were there. (They don’t have their supply in yet, so we’re on a waiting list.) Our medical system in town is a site for medical school rotations at an osteopathix medical school in Yakima, so Daniel’s pediatrician asked if I’d be OK with her student sitting in. My answer is always “yes!” so we had a sweet young lady hanging out with us. My little flirt kept his mask on without a problem from the time we were about to walk in the building until we were back in the car, and he also sat down calmly and looked at his pediatrician sweetly to let her know he was ready for her to check him over. (We have her take a listen to him and also check ears, mouth, and tummy whenever we’re there for ADHD appointments because Daniel can’t articulate pain.)
Other than Daniel being extra cute and happy to see his pediatrician, I had the blessing of being able to educate the medical student on Daniel’s g-tube and how that works in terms of getting the formula for it, what the process was like to get it, how Daniel does with it, how we change it out, and also what Daniel’s genetic issues are that contribute. I think the student had just taken her boards this summer, so it was kind of cool for her to actually see a few conditions that are not super common.
Remote learning update. We’re still chugging along with Zoom school. Daniel’s paraprofessional is using songs from Laurie Berkner to keep him engaged, so I now have We Are the Dinosaurs, Drive My Car, and her version of The Cat Came Back stuck in my head. (That last one is wonderful because we do school downstairs where my dad watches TV… and my dad hates that song with a passion. :))
The bishop’s visit. Despite Zoom cutting out recording and Facebook being pissy about streaming, worship on Sunday with the bishop went well. There were maybe 30 people total in the sanctuary between everyone at the altar, the families of those being baptized/comfirmed/received, and we managed to broadcast the special music in the sanctuary as well as on Zoom. The bishop even joined us for coffee hour, which was cool because we were able to have actual conversations with him.
Because Gordon Lightfoot! I grew up listening to Gordon Lightfoot and my mom recently found a documentary on him on YouTube. As a result, a lot of his less known (to me) songs have been playing in her room lately, and this is one that I am now addicted to.
Owie. I did have to have a tooth extracted last Friday–one of my back molars. I’m on Day 6 since extraction and it’s still achy. I probably have a dry socket, so I’ll have to go soak a black tea bag when I’m done and stuff it back into that spot.
New addiction. There’s a game called Word Collect available on Google Play and it’s pretty addictive. I started playing less than a week ago, and I’m already up to Level 505! I even have a word unscrambler open on my laptop in case I get stuck.
Stormy. We had decent wind and downpours yesterday, which was fun to watch as I was sitting and working at my desk. We are supposed to have a high wind warning tonight, so I’ll probably close the window after my room cools down a bit. There’s weather to the east of us on the Olympic Peninsula and in the San Juan’s, so we might have some decent weather around the time I fall asleep.
Update on the virtual choir piece. We just got the mixed version back, and it turned out incredibly well. It’s not perfect or like it would be in real life, but it’s pretty darn good considering that we’re recording it in 9 different places, one of the people doing so from across the state. It should go over well this weekend when we have the bishop with us for worship. (He will be doing his episcopal visit on Sunday.) There are a few baptisms, two girls being confirmed, the reception of some new members, and the commissioning of a parish health worker for Resurrección. (For those who are new to my blog, my church shares a priest and facilities with La Iglesia Episcopal de la Resurrección, a Spanish-speaking mission congregation. We do bilingual worship together on the 5th Sunday of the month, and we have a big to-do together when the bishop comes to hang out.) It’s going to be the first time the Eucharist has been celebrated inside the sanctuary in months and the number of people allowed to attend in person will be severely restricted. I’m trying to sort out how to do certain things for the live stream because we’ll have the virtual choir anthem as well as the Offertory being played on both Zoom and in the sanctuary simultaneously. I need to have a discussion with our video and sound people and perhaps give out passwords and permissions to be allowed to access the church’s Google Drive. It should be… interesting.
Back to work. Classes started this week. I’m kind of a strange tutor because I can really tutor any humanities class, most human services classes, a lot of social science classes, some basic math classes, and (of course) all the accounting/Microsoft classes in my department. This means I’ve been getting texts from my new boss asking if I can tutor certain niche classes like Business Law because I do a lot of tutoring in the business classes. (My answer, by the way, was “no” because it would require purchasing the book and having to do a lot of unpaid learning in my spare time.) Still, it’s nice to be useful in strange ways.
Remote learning update. We’re continuing with Zoom school for Daniel. His paraprofessional has found some YouTube videos that he likes, including one where a Pete the Cat story is being read. His teacher, therapists, and paraprofessional adore him. After watching what they do, I’m standing pretty firm in the belief that they don’t get paid nearly enough for what they do.
I’ve been really busy this week, so I’m grabbing some time this morning while Daniel has his hour-long tube feed this morning before Zoom school There may or may not be Amazon affiliate links because that’s how I roll.
Remote learning update #1. Let me just say that I wish with every fiber of my being that Daniel could go to school and be in a normal classroom environment because that is where he thrives. I wish that coronavirus wasn’t a death sentence for everyone in this house, and I envy all of you who live in a place where COVID is either not deadly, doesn’t exist, or where you can be willfully in denial of its existence. In-person school is an option for Daniel if we want it due to his special needs, but we’ve had cases of COVID spreading in schools in Washington, so we’re having to keep him quarantined. Kiddo is sensory-seeking at the moment, which means he wants to hit me and will make the effort to reach over and do it while working. (Autism is an [expletive] joy.) He’s also in a fake sneezing/coughing and spitting phase at the moment, so I don’t want to be within 10 feet of him, given that I landed in the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis last year from him fake sneezing on me. (Fake sneezing or coughing releases droplets and causes me to douse myself in Germ-X because my isolation room was pretty sucky.) It was so bad yesterday that his paraprofessional told me to move away out of his reach and just let him do what he needed to do. She blessedly sang silly songs and read a story to him so I could get out of arms reach and try to hold myself together so I wouldn’t cry.
Let’s just say that anyone who tells me how wonderful homeschooling is or attempts to tell me how to “fix” things will be dealt with harshly, especially if it’s coming from a parent who has neurotypical kids. My kid is not like yours, and you have no freaking clue what you are talking about. (Comments about an autism/ MMR vaccine link will get you banned because we believe in actual *SCIENCE* on this blog, and we don’t support idiots like Andrew Wakefield or Bob Sears who falsify results or commit gross malfeasance resulting in their medical licenses being pulled.)
Really? I got a survey from the “Trump Make America Great Campaign” yesterday. (I’d like to extend both of my middle fingers to whoever put me on that mailing list. Most people aren’t heinous enough to put someone’s name and address on a political mailing list like that.)
Fear not, y’all! I filled out the survey and gave him lots of “constructive criticism” and suggestions for improvement before letting him and his campaign know that I was making a nice donation to Joe Biden in their honor. I even decorated the envelope! (I usually just recycle the mailings like this that I get from the Democratic campaigns because I get them in email form as well… which I delete because I write enough letters to my Congresscritters.) I even repurposed Trump’s fundraising letter and the outer envelope as charcoal starter. 😀
Moral of the story: don’t send me junk mail on a day that is making me want to take up cobra-kissing.
Virtual choir. Our bishop is making an Episcopal visit to us on September 27th for baptisms, confirmations, and stuff like that. We’re putting together a virtual choir video of the anthem below, and I got my video portion of it done last night… after 20 takes because I’m unnerved about singing acapella by myself and I’m a severe perfectionist.
Mammogram. I hit the big 4-0 in May and I’m on birth control pills to help with my menopause, so I had to get my first mammogram this year. (I was going to go on my birthday, but COVID happened.) I’ve had people tell me how horrifically painful they are, so I was a little nervous before they started. Yeah, it was seriously a 1 or 2 on the 1-10 pain scale. (I realize that everyone has a different body and a different pain threshold.) My chest was a little tender afterward, but it was *NOTHING* compared to the pain of a pelvic exam/pap smear/pelvic ultrasound for me. (Those are easily a 7 out of 10 for me for reasons I’d prefer not to share for me, and I am incredibly thankful to be done with them permanently.)
Y’all, do your preventative screenings, even if it’s painful. I still did my well-woman exam at all the appropriate intervals, even though it was excruciating. It beats having cancer for sure!
Smoke. We’re getting smoke from all the fires in the Pacific Northwest. It’s not as bad today as it has been, but I’m not allowed to be outside for more than a few minutes without a respirator. I did a porch visit with family members on Saturday, and I won a few days of breathing treatments because I’m special like that. Woo. We’re supposed to get some thunderstorms today, and I’m hoping that the lightning doesn’t spark any fires.
Fatigue. My meds have been off this week, so I have been nauseated, having mood swings, and am achey all over. I haven’t had a fibro flare-up like this in a while, so it has been unpleasant to say the least.
Duolingo. I finished the Arabic skill tree on Duolingo a month or so ago, and I have been fighting to keep my streak going as I return to learning Spanish and reviewing French. I might have to start reviewing Arabic to get my language-learning mojo back so that I can really improve my Spanish. I have no idea why Arabic had me so gung-ho and Spanish doesn’t. Maybe it’s because Spanish is for work and not for me?
Zoom school. Circle time from 9:00-9:30 over Zoom is chaotic enough that I’ve had to bring other work to do downstairs with me and just make sure Daniel doesn’t run away from his school Chromebook. Otherwise, the chaos makes me ponder taking up rattlesnake-cuddling as a hobby. It’s also hard because Daniel is already apraxic and speaks super softly because I think he’s kind of shell-shocked at the intensity of circle time and all the kids talking.
What is working. One of the teachers got Daniel a BoomLearning account, and it has been wonderful. We can share screen on Zoom and work with his paraprofessional that way. He seems to like it, especially the math stuff, and I think it will work out really well for him as he doesn’t want to do workbook stuff.
Wildfires. The entire freaking West Coast is on fire. Smoke is hitting us in Washington, and I am banned by my family from going outside without a respirator on because of my crappy lungs. Woo. Just in case you’re denying climate change, IT’S WHAT IS CAUSING THESE FIRES TO BE SO BAD.