7 Quick Takes: Vote-by-Mail Edition

7 Quick Takes

I live in a state that votes completely by mail and just got my ballot in the mail, so I figured I’d talk a little bit about it today.

Oh yeah, links to books and stuff are Amazon associate links. Just a head’s up!

— 1 —

Not a Democratic plot to steal the election. Washington’s Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, has written articles on voting by mail… and she is a staunch REPUBLICAN. This is her story.

— 2 —

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!

— 3 —

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.

— 4 —

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.

— 5 —

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.

— 6 —

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.

— 7 —

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.

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

7 Quick Takes: Schadenfreude, Politics, and Fun Read-Alouds Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

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.

Schadenfreude is a bitch.

— 2 —

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.

— 3 —

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).

— 4 —

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.

— 5 —

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.

— 6 —

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.)

— 7 —

Fun read-aloud video. Nope. Totally not dancing along to the music. Never. I also love that Pete is a cat walking along with Chucks on all four paws!

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

7 Quick Takes: Late to Post Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

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.

— 2 —

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?

— 3 —

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.

— 4 —

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.

— 5 —

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.

— 6 —

Election. Is anyone else wishing the election was over? Just me?

— 7 —

What is saving me. I’m re-reading all the Cackleberry Club mysteries by Laura Childs. I guess cozy murder mysteries are my catnip?

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

7 Quick Takes: Odds and Ends Edition

7 Quick Takes

Head’s up: any Amazon links are affiliate ones.

— 1 —

Called it. A friend shared this news story with me after seeing me be cranky about protestors who weren’t wearing masks and were eschewing guidelines about social distancing…

72 COVID Positive After Attending Large Event

I know I’m a horrible person for saying this, but… CALLED IT!

— 2 —

Update on the broken tooth. Some of you might remember that I broke a tooth about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Well, word of it got to a parishioner who manages a dental office, and she offered to get me seen PDQ. I went in today, and the tooth was apparently not worth saving by root canal or crown, so I let them extract it. Getting my mouth numbed wasn’t pleasant, but the extraction process wasn’t too bad. They were able to get it out in one piece, and I got to see what an adult tooth looks like, root and all. I have to wait five weeks before they put in a bridge because my jaw needs to heal properly first.

— 3 —

COVID-19 close to home. I’m glad that my local community choir’s tragedy can do some good.

— 4 —

Some beauty for today. This is amazing.

— 5 —

New hobby? I got a Mother’s Day gift card from Daniel, and I used it to get this book and this pen set. I can’t wait to start practicing hand-lettering.

— 6 —

Lessons from “Live PD” #1. If you have anything in your car and the police ask if they can search it, just confess it. The dog WILL find it, and your car WILL get torn apart. I have yet to see anyone get away with having stuff on them and the dog not finding it.

— 7 —

Lessons from “Live PD” #2. If a police officer turns their lights on behind you, just pull over where you (or where it is safe to do so). Do not just continue on home. They WILL take you to jail for fleeing, and the reason they were pulling you over was probably for something minor. Stopping in your driveway does not mean you are “safe”.

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

7 Quick Takes: Things Keeping Me Going Edition

7 Quick Takes

Washington’s stay-at-home order is being extended until the 31st, which is reasonable as we were the first hotspot and we’ve seen our curve flattening in the right direction as a result of the order. I thought I would share what is keeping me functional right now because maybe it might help someone else who is having a hard time?

— 1 —

Putting my bullet journal together. I put my May bullet journal layout together last week, and I am officially hopelessly addicted to making my layouts artsy. 😀 The post about it is here.

— 2 —

Posting mask selfies. I was originally doing it to snark about Mike Pence not wearing one at the Mayo Clinic, but it has gotten to just be fun now. Having had a COVID-19 test last weekend, I will *JOYFULLY* wear masks in public for the rest of my life to not have to go through that again. Yeah, my glasses fog up, but that is so much easier than being stuck in an isolation room or being intubated, not knowing if I would wake up from sedation alive. I also am happy to do it if it has even a remote shot of protecting others from getting infected. It’s not an imposition if it contributes to public health, and I fail to understand why people are being so pissy about companies like Costco requiring masks. There are a bunch of patterns online for even us who can’t sew, and it’s a craft you can make with kids, or you can google “masks for sale in [your area]” and give money to someone who might be using this to make ends meet right now.

Kitty mask selfie!

There’s also this opinion piece that just has an interesting title.

— 3 —

Volunteering for my church. Even once the state is opened up again, I will probably still have to wait a few weeks to be able to join the folks at St. Paul’s again. This is why I’m really happy that I can help make Sunday worship happen for us on Zoom, and also help make our postponed “Lenten” book study possible.

— 4 —

Watching YouTube. My guilty pleasure is “Live PD”. I’m sorry to admit that I really do enjoy watching being tracked by K9 officers or tased. (My cousin, who is an ex-sheriff’s deputy up here, would be rolling his eyes at me.)

— 5 —

Working. I am thankfully blessed with a job I can do online, so I’m working with students ~12 hours a week. I don’t have any Accounting students for a change (it’s one of my specialties), but I have gotten lent out to the entire campus, so I am working in departments as diverse as Human Services (basically, social work) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The reason: I’m a Microsoft specialist, and I’m apparently good at working with English Language Learners. (I love my English learners fiercely. I’ve only had two students among them who haven’t been people I want as coworkers someday, and I’m continually blown away at how well they’re doing their classes in their second or third language.)

I also have an amazing boss and really fun co-tutors. Tutor-training meetings are actually pretty fun, even on Zoom.

— 6 —

Reading. I was trying to bring my Target cart up to $25 so an order of cleaning wipes would ship, and I added a mass-market paperback murder mystery that looked kind of nice to it to bump my order to the right amount. I ended up reading the book in one sitting and ordered the other seven in the series. I think that what I need to get me reading again is something brainless because my daily life requires a huge amount of serious thought.

— 7 —

Writing letters. I’m making a dent in my correspondence pile. Woo.

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

7 Quick Takes: Quarantine Edition

7 Quick Takes

I’m not actually under quarantine because of known exposure–I’m staying in (with the exception of getting coffee from the $tarbux drive-thru, recording worship on Sunday, and physical therapy appointments) at the request of my parents because of this happening last year. While my hysterical hysterectomy took care of some of the reason for the bleeding/clotting issue, I’m still asthmatic and we don’t know how well I can fight it off (or *IF* I can fight it off). So… I’m effectively quarantined for the long haul.

Just a head’s up, there may/may not be links because I am an Amazon associate.

— 1 —

Storytime! The amazing Mary Lenaburg has video storytime with her son Jonathan and husband Jerry up on her Facebook page. This was last night and this was the night before. It’s fun to have someone read to me, but the comedy value in the delivery of the stories is even better. Last night’s offerings were Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Fandango Stew. The previous night’s offerings were Fox in Socks and Green Eggs and Ham.

All of these books belonged to Mary’s daughter Courtney, so this is an absolutely beautiful part of her legacy.

— 2 —

The sitch in Kirkland. Probably 80% of the COVID-19 deaths in Washington and 25% of the COVID-19 deaths nationally are associated with Life Care Center in Kirkland. This news story talks about how everything got started there and started the spread to other assisted living facilities in the Seattle area. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be shut down when all is said and done because the lawsuits alone from the survivors and the families of the deceased would put it out of business.

— 3 —

Shelter in place. If I were still living in my childhood home in California, I would be required to shelter in place as it is part of a swath of seven Bay Area counties requiring it in order to get a handle on the spread of COVID-19. Washington’s governor has declined to require that yet. I’m wondering how long it will be until that happens here.

— 4 —

Selfishness. Does anyone else want to dopeslap the people determined to party for Spring Break in public despite the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19? I mean, I get that it sucks to have to cancel plans, but THEY’RE PUTTING PEOPLE’S HEALTH AT RISK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Selfish twits!

— 5 —

How I’m doing. In all seriousness, I’m having to force myself not to look at my state’s COVID-19 page or my county’s page until 4 p.m. every day because refreshing both of them to see if they’ve updated them yet is not good for my mental health. It was unnerving enough to see that my rural county is up to 18 cases and three hospitalizations. (No deaths yet thankfully.) Statewide, we’re up to almost 1,400 cases and 74 deaths, which is also sad. Most of the cases are in the Seattle/Tacoma/Everett corridor, but that’s still 1,400 too many cases and 74 too many deaths.

— 6 —

Some humor. Someone shared this on Facebook, and I feel like y’all need to see it too, especially any cat people out there.

— 7 —

Compline. I’m doing Compline live on my church’s Facebook page tomorrow night at 8 p.m. If you want to come and say it with me, send me a message and I’ll give you the details.

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

7 Quick Takes: I Love the Pacific Northwest Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Bucolic joy. On Sunday morning, it was raining but the sun came out around noon. I was on my way to Trader Joe’s in Bellingham and was driving down the hill on Broad Street to get to I-5 North when I saw the most stunning sight. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and I was high up enough to see a stretch of the Skagit River with the sunlight shimmering on the water. It filled me with awe and joy to see it. I love the Pacific Northwest.

— 2 —

First snow. We got our first snow of the year here in Mount Vernon last night and this morning. 95% of it is melted off now (just before noon), but it looked like a giant hand had sifted powdered sugar on everything this summer. It was also nice and wet snow, which was great as it made it SOOOOOO much easier to clean off my car this morning.

— 3 —

Joy from today. In the interest of keeping my intention on making time for prayer daily (other than saying grace), I’ve made sure that I have various things at my fingertips like the prayerbook from the nice folks at Sacred Space, the Trisagion, and the podcasts from the Pray As You Go folks, so that has been helpful. Today’s Pray As You Go meditation was on Luke 5:12-16, which I know better in the Gospel of Mark. It’s the story where a leper tells Jesus that he can heal the leper if he chooses, and Jesus says “I choose to.” It is one of my favorites because Jesus looks on the leper with compassion when he tells the leper that he chooses to heal him. The reflection was interesting as it was talking about whether or not we choose to let Jesus in to heal us and what we ask to be healed.

— 4 —

The Iran situation. I go to church with a couple who taught English in Iran prior to the 1979 Revolution, so the news lately has been distressing me. I’ve seen the country through their eyes, and what I’m seeing is that we just assassinated a general in another country’s military. That is a war crime. I’m angrily stunned at what has taken place.

— 5 —

The cast of MASH on this situation. This describes my feelings well.

The best explanation of my take on the impending hostilities.

— 6 —

Daniel. We’ve had a couple good days with Daniel that are like what we had prior to the beginning of 2018 when his behavior started declining, he gradually stopped eating, and we think the bowel blockage was continuing. It’s always nice to get a brief glimpse of gaining back lost ground.

— 7 —

Our anthem for Sunday. We sing this during Epiphany every year at my church and I thought I would share. The words are from a hymn sung during Lauds at the feast of the Transfiguration, and the translation is:

O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with loving-kindness deign to receive
suppliant praise and prayer.

Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be members
of thy blessed body. (Source)

The recording of the hymn is here.

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