[+] For those who want to know about life in Russia these days, Youtuber Eli from Russia has posted a bit. YouTube will give you other suggestions based on her.
[+] I finished Legends & Lattes on Monday and the book ended up growing on me. I started Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and I finished the first book as well on Monday. It should be interesting to see how the series shapes up.
[+] WIth the USA hitting the milestone of 1 million COVID death,s the New York Times asked for people to submit last texts from their loved ones who died. The results are here.
[+] The formula shortage is unnerving to those of us who couldn’t breastfeed. I was simply too sick. They were concerned about the toll the PTSD and PPD took on my recovery from the HELLP Syndrome, and the lack of sleep from having to wake up to pump was messing with me pretty badly. My kid survived on Neosure for 9 months and then Similac Advance. He went into failure to thrive when an idiot WIC nutritionist made me take him off of formula. He ended up on medical grade Pediasure when we moved up to northern California.
The other issue? Women that couldn’t breastfeed are catching fire from people who don’t quite get that there are legitimate reasons not to and that our bodies don’t just spontaneously start lactating on demand.
[+] My 42nd birthday was yesterday. My twin brother was up for some hangout time (and also 24 hours free of parenting and potty-training), so that was cool. The coughing spasm that night that caused me to lose my entire dinner on my bed was NOT cool. Thankfully, I do have spare sheets, so I got my bed remade after showering. (It took a few tries to get the smell of the puke out of my sheets today though)
[+] I’m still having coughing spasms and asthma issues. It worsened after I had to clean out the exhaust fan in my bathroom. Great of me to have a dust allergy. My lungs are hopefully done yelling with me over that one…
[+] Bed, Bath and Beyond is also low on items, and I’m hearing whispers of bankruptcy. It’s too bad because I could see myself going there for a lot of stuff if I ever have the opportunity to move out of my parents’ house. (What was supposed to be temporary has now stretched to 6 1/2 years.)
[+] Speaking of such things, the secret to making a multiple generation household work is treating the adults like adults and each one doing their share. My parents own the house, but my mom and I have the same brain, which makes running the household easier. I’m having a lot of G-I issues, so food is not fun for me, and I’m having to cook or deal with my own food. It means that I’m not eating the same thing as my parents (or eating at the same time these days), and I have the right to make that call. If we have company and I can’t eat whatever my parents are making, I’ve earned the right not to eat it at age 41… but my parents are also not making me something else. It’s not a huge deal because I plan for those meals with things I can eat.
[+] I saw something a few months ago on the subject of trans athletes. It was an article in which Lia Thomas and her current times were compared to her pre-transition times. She has gotten slower since transitioning, and it was interesting to see how she (yes, SHE) compared to the top times for each gender. The conclusion was that the reason she was at the top time-wise (good, but not Katie Ledecky good) is that she was a top swimmer pre-transition competing with the guys. It has been interesting to see that trans women athletes are not infinitely better post-transition across other sports (I’ve looked), which kinda defeats the argument that they transition in order to beat all the women when they compete.
[+} Also… PRONOUNS MATTER. There was a fire fight on my Facebook last year on the subject, and it was exhausting. Here’s the thing: using ‘they/them” is not a huge freaking deal if it means that my students or coworkers feel respected. There are a lot of gender-related chromosome things that don’t manifest in visible ways, and it’s none of my business to ask, so I just honor people’s requests regarding their pronouns. Mine are in my work email signature, and I can promise that I haven’t been hit by lightning yet. Calling people by their preferred pronouns sends the message that I see them and I care enough to listen.
The sound of COVID. Not gonna lie. This video unnerved me because I’ve lived in a PICU with Daniel for days and spent time in the NICU. Those alarms start going off when bad things are happening. I remember being in the ER with pneumonia and sepsis two years ago, and a low oxygen alarm went off for someone (I think a baby or young child) a few bays down. My mom saw the look on my face (which I had think had even lost the small amount of color it had), and she had to convince me that Daniel was home asleep with my dad because I was about to have another panic attack from my brain going to all the times that those alarms had sounded for Daniel.
Y’all, stop putting doctors and nurses through this foolishness. GET YOURSELF VACCINATED.
Thankful for my Snuggie. My parents are having a new roof put on the house, so I’ve had to be up and dressed earlier than usual. For some odd reason, I’m having a really hard time staying warm, so I have been really appreciating the Snuggie I got for myself a few years ago after my former mother-in-law gave my old one to Goodwill.
I’ve also learned that I can nap through anything if I’m tired enough because I’ve had people outside my (second floor) window and on the roof above me pounding, and I’ve slept through it.
Changing my perspective. I saw this story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and I’m having to confront my feelings on the subject.
Basically, there are a bunch of bells along a route called the “El Camino Real” that stretches from northern California down to San Diego. Franciscan missions were built along that route in the 18th century, and it was a big freaking deal to learn about them in 4th grade, build one, and visit one. History is a passion of mine, so having a piece of history removed is kind of painful.
However, the indigenous people in California had their culture, language, and land removed when the Spanish Franciscans and settlers arrived. They forced them to build the missions under the guise of Christianizing them. Probably 1/3 of the people died during that time, and seeing those bells is like making a black person look at statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate heroes while being told of how glorious the antebellum South was.
As someone who cheered when the Confederate statues came down in town squares and were removed from government buildings (including the U.S. Capitol), I need to remember that the history of the missions is just as problematic. The bells can go. The mission buildings are still there (many of them still are used as churches and chapels), and there are amazing things called “books” that tell their various histories.
This isn’t me trying to appear “woke”. This is me being honest about something that has been on my mind today.
Oops! I was going through this site to see how I had classified my current blog header, and I saw that I was still listing my age as 39 and Daniel’s age as 12. Oops! I’m now 41 years old, and Daniel turned 12 in April. I think I’ll go audit the rest of my pages when I finish these takes…
Vaccine discernment from a fellow blogger. I want to call out Bonnie Engstrom and thank her for being very transparent about the discernment she has gone through on the subject of getting her COVID vaccination. The series from her Instagram stories from a few days ago isn’t archived yet, but she was asking about who people trust regarding media sources and politicians because it’s really super hard to figure these things out if you don’t have a science background. (Science also evolves over time, so information and recommendations for safety precautions have changed as we have learned more about the virus and its variants.)
Throw some prayers her way because her kids have hand, foot, and mouth disease and their air-conditioning isn’t working. It was 100+ F where she lives a few days ago, and it was 92F in the house. 🙁
We found out two weeks ago that there would indeed be a mask and vaccine mandate on campus, and both staff and students would have to sign attestations about being vaccinated before the first day of Fall Quarter on September 20th. Last week, Washington’s governor (Jay Inslee) announced that all health workers and pretty much every person working in education in the state of Washington are required to be vaccinated and submit proof of it to their employers by October 18th. (Not an attestation. ACTUAL PROOF. There are exemptions for medical and religious reasons, but no philosophical ones.) There is also an indoor mask requirement for the entire state again that went into effect on Monday.
I am positively *GIDDY* and am waiting to find out how to submit my proof of vaccination so that I can get that out of the way. I’m thankful to have a governor who cares about the safety of the people in his state, and I’m thankful to work for a college that takes all of this seriously.
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.)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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!
Why yes, I do have a mask that matches my dress! (Both are from Old Navy.)
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Family gathering. Ohmigoshohmigoshohmigosh! I GOT TO SEE MY TWIN BROTHER, SISTER-IN-LAW, AND THEIR SPAWN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 15 MONTHS!!!!!!! It was so worth having to quarantine, do Zoom/Facebook messenger calls, and mask up for a year to stay safe so that I could see them this past weekend. Braden was a few months away from turning 2 when I saw him in February 2020, and he is now almost 3 years old. In the time between visits, he developed a personality.
Really?!?!? When I arrived at my local grocery store, this is what I saw…
Apparently, the corporate people at Haggen are dumbkopfs because we’re *STILL* having double-digit case counts daily here (which is an increase) and they made masks optional for those who are unvaccinated. Yeah… those are the people who are at-risk for contracting COVID because they’re not protected. The CDC did not say that everyone could unmask (just those who are fully vaccinated and only outside and in certain other situations), and I can guarantee that it’s going to be the unvaccinated people that are not masking in public here because the vaccinated people are still wearing them! (Close to 90% of shoppers were, but I live in a blue pocket of my indigo county, so that was to be expected.) There are a lot of really irritated Haggen customers because we’re not out of the woods yet in terms of COVID risk here. The handful of friends I have who are not fully vaccinated due to pregnancy or anaphylaxis with the first shot are really hesitant to shop there due to this decision. (They’re all masking of course, but they’re investing in KN95 masks because they are aware of their risk.)
Mistakes in mask-wearing. When you wear your mask, COVER YOUR FREAKING NOSE. It defeats the purpose of a mask if you leave your nose hanging out. (COVID is primarily spread through the air.) If you want to complain about fabric next to your skin, either invest in a KN95 mask or a singer’s/speaker’s mask. Also… AN OXYGEN MOLECULE IS 1,500 TIMES SMALLER THAN THE COVID DROPLET THAT YOU ARE CLAIMING YOUR CLOTH MASK IS KEEPING OUT, SO DON’T EVEN TELL ME THAT YOUR CLOTH MASK IS PREVENTING OXYGEN FROM GETTING IN!!!!
This PSA is brought to you by the Karen who was behind me in the pharmacy line at Haggen who was wearing a “Trump 2020” mask with her nose sticking out and speaking LOUDLY to the jerk next to her (who wasn’t wearing a mask before people were allowed to stop) about some conspiracy theories that made QAnon’s trash look intelligent. (Why yes, I did ask him why he wasn’t wearing a mask, and I have no regrets. An employee thanked me.)
Church in-person. My parish and the Spanish mission congregation attached to us had an outside service for Pentecost on Sunday. I’m bummed that I couldn’t go because I really miss being with people, but someone had to be home dealing with Zoom. The Holy Spirit made a cameo as a very enthusiastic woodpecker, there were missed parts in the service that had to be reinserted, and our virtual choir anthem couldn’t be heard over the speakers. We *WILL* be going back to in-person worship in the sanctuary on June 6th, but people will be required to mask up (because we’re not unconcerned with the safety of others), the wine will be reserved for our priest only, and the picnic afterward will be a “bring your own food and drink and camping chair to socially distance” affair. We’ll also be continuing to stream worship on Zoom until further notice because there will be people who choose to stay home for health reasons.