7 Quick Takes: Mixed Week Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Kitty hospice. My parents’ elderly tabby Jethro likely has lymphoma, and my mom took him to the vet on Tuesday to address him not eating. They gave her the options of doing nothing, doing palliative care, doing kitty chemo, or euthanizing him. Mom and I talked about it, and she opted for palliative care. The vet will do fluids weekly, and we’ve been given medications to deal with nausea, pain, appetite, and a steroid to deal with the lymphoma. Mom is aware that this is giving us weeks, not years, and I told her that I would clear my schedule and go with her to the vet to do the talking when it comes time to let Jethro go.

— 2 —

Daniel’s health. My monster had an ADHD appointment a week ago, and his pediatrician felt a stool ball in his stomach. She put in an x-ray order and we got it on Saturday. The x-ray showed the stool ball and what looked like a kidney stone, so she put in a stat ultrasound order. The ultrasound was Tuesday, and it was thankfully clean. So… we’re dealing with the stool ball, and I’m hoping we’re not jockeying for another hospitalization.

— 3 —

A lovely fight. The Sea Chickens are headed down to rumble with my boys (THE NINERS!!!) this weekend. I’m hoping my boys win because the Sea Chickens get insufferable when they win.

— 4 —

My other boys. My baseball boys (THE GIANTS!!!) are in the mix for the NL West. I’m hoping the LA Losers stay multiple games behind and/or lose the Wild Card game to St. Louis (my other boys) if it comes to that.

— 5 —

“Special needs”. Kelly of This Ain’t The Lyceum did a piece on the term “special needs” last week. It’s worth a read.

— 6 —

Interesting hymnody. I was on a Maddy Prior binge and discovered an album of hymns from the 18th and 19th century. It includes “The God of Abraham Praise” which is a hymn I wish we would sing in my parish. (Hello minor key! Hello interesting tune!)

— 7 —

Huh. “And Can It Be?” is a song I associate with Baptist churches, and I had no idea that it’s a Charles Wesley tune. Cool! (This is another Maddy Prior recording.)

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

7 Quick Takes: First Week of School Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

First day back on campus. I had my first drop-in tutoring shift back on campus on Tuesday. It was surreal to say the least. There are definitely fewer people, everyone is masked up, and there are lots of plexiglass boundaries to keep people separate when using the computers in front of the enrollment office. The door to my drop-in room was open when I got there, but it ended up autolocking later… which meant that I accidentally locked the people out who were joining me an hour into my shift. Oops! The security guard letting them in was one I know, and he laughed at me.

Once they got in, they let me know what the opening protocols were… which was good because apparently, we don’t have a paper with the list on it. I think I’ll have to rectify that…

— 2 —

Full load. One of the other tutors who handles Communications has moved on, leaving me as the only one doing it this quarter. In fact, I’m the only one doing Accounting, Office/Business Technology (only 2 classes left as the department shut down in June and these classes are general education ones), Human Services, Communications, Sociology, and pretty much any class in the Humanities. I’ve been booked solid since last week. I have more work hours than I’m supposed to have, but there’s nobody else to cover the requests.

If nothing else, I’m putting my interdisciplinary B.A. and part of my Master’s degree to good use!

— 3 —

Working together. For a couple of the classes, I’m double booked where I have two students sharing a time slot. The first session of that went far better than I could have imagined, and it turns out that the students have multiple classes together. It’s a win-win because they get a study buddy, my boss satisfies two tutoring requests without adding excess hours (at least in those cases), and I get to listen and learn from the discussion.

— 4 —

Seeing old friends. I’ve got two students assigned to me that have been part of the program I serve since before the pandemic, and I am SOOOO excited to see them again. I would absolutely enjoy curling up in my ivory tower and doing Accounting spreadsheets, but these two are part of the way things used to be for me and I *REALLY* missed my students.

I also have my first Human Services student back with me this quarter for an OBT class, so I am positively jazzed to get to work with her again. She and I absolutely clicked during the first full quarter I was working only online, and I’ve missed her the past few quarters.

— 5 —

Ummm… yeah. We were going to start doing live choir again… and then the Delta variant decided to dopeslap the country. After Daniel had the potential exposure and I had to get tested, emails started flying between the members of the choir, and the decision was made to do virtual anthems for the near future. I haven’t actually looked at the music or my part for the one I have to get recorded by Saturday night, but I’ve been singing the hymn (Siyahamba) for 20+ years in Zulu, English, and Spanish, so I think I’ll be OK. 🙂 (Don’t tell my choir director!)

— 6 —

Oh hey, another devotional book project! Because I hate myself and I clearly am not doing mearly enough right now, I have a devotional book project in process that was put on my heart by God during the week Daniel was quarantined and the two of us were taking a drive in the car to preserve our collective sanity.

Retroactie prayers for my ability not to overextend myself would be appreciated. Please and thank you!

— 7 —

My YouTube consumption. So what do I watch when I’m this overextended? How about people with tats and piercings doing snake surgery and puppeting deformed reticulated pythons with an attitude! (Probably not safe for work or children or people who are spooked by snakes.)

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

Quick Takes: “Calm Down Already! Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Vaccine mandate take #1. For everyone hollering and moaning about the Biden vaccination mandate, I have a message for you:

CALM DOWN ALREADY.

Joe Biden is not creating policy to spite you.

Every former president (including Donald Trump), all 50 U.S. governors, most of Congress, and 95% of doctors are vaccinated.

There is a historical precedent for this, starting with George Washington requiring his army to be innoculated against smallpox.

Anyone over the age of 70 in this country probably received at least one of their vaccines at school. (Heck, they did scoliosis tests and TB tests on us in middle school in the early 90’s!)

Bill Gates does not want to put a microchip in your arm.

5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks. It does not cause cancer.

— 2 —

Vaccine mandate take #2. This is a video from Ninja Nerd on how the vaccine was tested, how it was created, and how it works. The presenter is Zack Murphy, a PA student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

— 3 —

Vaccine mandate take #3. I’m subject to both the Biden mandate and the one from Washington’s governor Jay Inslee. My employer has had several pop-up vaccine clinics on the Mount Vernon and Whidbey campuses, and all of the staff have been given a list of places to contact for information on vaccines if we need them–a list that spans five counties. We’ve been given two months to get vaccinated or apply for an exemption. Everything must be done by October 20th. There’s a mandate for students as well, but they have until November to get their vaccinations and submit attestations. In other words, we don’t suddenly have a large horde of people having to be vaccinated within a week. (Pfizer and Moderna require two shots spaced a certain amount of time apart, and all of the vaccines require a two week wait after the final one to be considered “completely vaccinated”.)

— 4 —

Vaccine mandate #4. King County (the county where most of Seattle and suburbs are) is requiring retaurants, theaters, and gyms to check people for either a vaccine card or a negative COVID test. All of Washington’s professional sports teams and college teams (most of which are in King County) require it as well.

A couple places in my county are requiring a vaccination card (theaters mostly at this point), and people are losing their freaking mind over it and howling about discrimination. I’m rolling my eyes. The places requiring it are places where people are going to be in close proximity… and I don’t blame them one bit. If I were going to a theater for a movie, I’d hope that I wasn’t stuck between two unvaccinated people who may or may not have COVID. Vaccines aren’t perfect, but it lowers the risk. Vaccinated people also don’t get as sick as those who are unvaccinated. (The New York Times reported that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die of COVID than those who are vaccinated.)

— 5 —

Health update. In addition to getting my brain scraped last week, I also had to see my GP. She was happy with everything, and she listened to some of the weird symptoms I’m having. She ordered a ton of bloodwork and a UA, so I dealt with all of that on Tuesday. (I was aiming for Monday, but I hadn’t slept well and was getting super hypoglycemic by 3 a.m., so I ended up eating and postponing it until Tuesday morning. (It was fasting bloodwork, so OBVIOUSLY there was some serious thirst and serious hunger going on. It *NEVER* fails.)

My GP finally looked at labs today, and everything checked out fine. No new medication updates thankfully. I’m apparently NOT anemic (which was a concern).

— 6 —

Interesting music take #1. Here’s some Sicilian polyphony mixed with Mongolian khoomii overtone chant. It’s kind of an unusual but fun combination.

— 7 —

Interesting music take #2. This song was on a folk music album that came with a songbook years ago. I love Mavis Staples singing it because I think it needs that soul.

There’s also apparently one-room country school in rural Montana that sings it with their kids.

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

7 Quick Takes: Musings from the COVID Testing Line Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Really??? I got a text and an email from Daniel’s school on Friday to let me know that Daniel may have been exposed to COVID. Well, crap! We had Daniel mask up in the house until we could figure out what to do. My brother has been through this a few times with my nephew’s daycare, and he told us that we didn’t need to mask up Daniel in the house. (Kiddo was pissed at having to wear his mask in the house at first, but he adjusted and even fell asleep in it.) I also had to stay home from church on Sunday, which pissed me off because my former choir director was there to get to say goodbye to all of us, and I missed the special dinner with her as well.

We learned on Tuesday that they were shutting his class down for at least a week, and he would be able to return to school on Monday (the 13th) as long as he wasn’t manifesting symptoms because he’s vaccinated. My choir director asked me to get tested (since the choir with the cluster cases is local to us), so I did. (They even let me tickle my own brain!) Unsurprisingly, my test was negative. Props to Skagit County Public Health. I went home after getting tested and hopped in the shower. My test results were back by the time I got out of the shower. It was ~20 minute turnaround.

My brother’s response was the best:

Love how someone’s personal choice just became your problem.

— 2 —

Sigh… A church friend of mine had a coworker who was a diehard anti-vaxxer and Trump supporter. He would bait me on my friend’s wall, so I blocked him on Facebook.

A week and a half ago, my church friend asked me to pray for this coworker because he was in the ICU with COVID. He deteriorated over the next week, and they removed him from life support on Monday. He leaves a wife and a daughter who was a complete daddy’s girl. He was in his late 40’s.

Y’all, I’m not posting on vaccination and urging you to get vaccinated because I want to debate you on the subject or because it’s a political thing. This person’s death could have been prevented if he had been vaccinated. He would have gotten really sick, but he wouldn’t have ended up on a ventilator. I’m legitimately sad about his death because it did *NOT* have to happen.

— 3 —

Eff cancer. My friend Mellora’s husband Matt was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, and he ended up in the ER on August 30th with a collapsed lung. His condition worsened and he was put on hospice yesterday. He died that night. He leaves Mellora and their two daughters. He was my age.

Please keep Mellora, her daughters, and all who knew and loved Matt in your prayers.

— 4 —

Music take #1. This song has been on my mind for the last 24 hours with the deaths I heard about yesterday.

— 5 —

Music take #2. The song above led to this one by Matt Maher getting stuck in my head.

— 6 —

Music take #3. The song in the previous take just made me cry, and this other one came to mind.

— 7 —

Music take #4. As I was out with Daniel today and pondering all that was going on this week, this hymn came to mind. It’s Brian Doerkson’s arrangement of “It Is Well With My Soul”. His dad sings with him starting on verse 2. I sang this hymn to Daniel in the NICU and in the PICU during the hospitalization 10 1/2 years when we almost lost him. It’s absolutely my favorite hymn.

— Bonus —

Vaccination mandate. I know people are probably going to be up in arms about this in their Quick Takes, and my position is probably not going to be popular.

I have an employer that requires vaccination, and I live in a state where the governor (thankfully) requires it of all medical and education workers. I would honestly not be comfortable having Daniel in a class with an unvaccinated teacher, and I’m hoping the 6th graders in his class can be vaccinated soon as well to cut down on the chances of him bringing it home. I would refuse to be treated by a doctor or dentist who wasn’t vaccinated because of the need to be close to each other for check-ups and treatment. Large employers are going to have people in close proximity when they go back to the office, so it makes sense that they be vaccinated.

As I said above, I’m not pushing vaccination as a political talking point. The Delta variant doesn’t discriminate between Republicans and Democrats. These variants are going to keep developing until people are vaccinated and COVID stops being endemic. I’m saying all of these things because I really do care about my blog readers, and I don’t want y’all ending up on ventilators and making your family deal with funeral arrangements.

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: Stoned Cats, Murder Mysteries, and Strange YouTube Finds Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

My current earworm. I was downstairs prepping a bolus for Daniel one evening when this was playing on one of the music channels on TV.

— 2 —

Cats! My parents’ elderly tomcat Jethro had to have his teeth cleaned on Monday, and they decided to remove some lipomas from his sides while he was under anesthesia. Jet did fine, but the incisions on his sides were large enough that he has some decent stitches, so he was the proud recipient of an Elizabethan collar (a.k.a. the cone). Minion had apparently never seen another cat in a cone because he puffed up… which is impressive when you consider that he’s a 15 lb kitty cat. His puffed tail is probably the best part. He also got hissy and started growling, so he was exiled from my parents’ room that night. Meanwhile, Jet was really stoned to the point that he was standing there watching TV. (He then started bumping into walls.)

— 3 —

Alpine, Washington. My literary catnip at the moment is Mary Daheim’s series of murder mysteries involving the fictitious town of Alpine, Washington in the Cascade Mountains. I was first acquainted with them 10 years ago and read them out of order over the last decade. I’m finally buying the e-book versions and putting them on my e-reader, and I am finding that I am enjoying them now that I am reading them in order, especially as I now am acquainted with the location of some of the places. The protagonist is a newspaper editor named Emma Lord, and I find that I can actually picture a lot of the events after living in a bunch of small towns.

— 4 —

Fauci ouchies, round 2. My parents get their second doses of COVID vaccine this weekend. I’m hoping that I hit the top of the list sooner than later. I will also be curious to know if I can get my shot at the local vaccine clinic or if I’ll have to go elsewhere given that I’m at risk for side effects. (I have an egg allergy, so they’ve always made me hang out after getting any vaccines or my flu shot even at my local pharmacy. I’ve also gotten allergy shots, so waiting for 20 minutes afterward is normal for me.)

— 5 —

What’s in a mortician’s purse? Caitlin does a riff on the “what’s in my purse?” thing that people were doing 6-7 years ago. And yes, she’s being sarcastic, especially about the fetal human skull made of white chocolate.

— 6 —

More of “Ask a Mortician”! So what’s the oldest mummy in the world?

— 7 —

Speaking of old things… Benjamin of bald and bankrupt explores an old caravanserai in Armenia.

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

7 Quick Takes: Internet Rabbit Hole Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Fauci spills the tea. Dr. Anthony Fauci did an interview with the New York Times over the past weekend on what it was like to work with Donald Trump, and it explains why a lot of misinformation (especially the fallacy about hydroxychloroquine being effective) was spread.

If you can’t get behind the paywall for the New York Times, the Seattle Times has it here.

— 2 —

Media bias. As we are still in a very polarized country, I wanted to share the media bias chart as it’s helpful in evaluating the media you consume. When I saw it a few years ago, I stopped sharing articles from the Huffington Post because they skew left. When I read an article online that sounds too good to be true, I check it against Reuters, NPR, or the Associated Press as they tend to be closer to bias-free.

— 3 —

Holy Internet rabbit hole, Batman! YouTube recommended this video to me…

Which led to others…

And then to this…

This is a bad site for me to know about!

— 4 —

Richard III reburial documentary. This documentary was last night’s rabbit hole. The music for the service is amazing.

— 5 —

COVID vaccine. A lot of people in my church are getting their “Fauci ouchies” this week and next. My parents will get theirs on Sunday. They are already allowing the tier before mine to start getting their vaccines this week, so I’m hoping to get mine sooner or later.

The side effects I’m hearing about from those who have received theirs is arm pain for 24-36 hours after, and only one person has had fever or chills. (Those went away after 24 hours.) I’m absolutely used to arm pain after flu shots, so I’m not worrying too much. I’m also fine being watched for 20 minutes after my shot because that’s absolutely normal for me anyway. (I have weird allergies and sensitivities.)

— 6 —

Double-masking. I’m seeing people on Twitter complaining about double-masking meaning that masks aren’t effective, and I’m kind of wanting smack people. The reason this is called “novel” coronavirus is because it’s “NEW”. We are learning more and more about it daily, and the new information means that recommendations change from time to time. Also, if we’re being advised to double-mask, doesn’t that underscore the importance of wearing a mask in the first place???

— 7 —

Choir get-together. One of the altos hosted a Zoom meeting for all of us in choir to get a chance to socialize this evening. We can’t have choir practice over Zoom, but it was good to get together and talk to people, especially as one of our members is hospitalized with COVID and we’re all worried about her.

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