Gratitude in the Midst of COVID-19 (I)

I vented my spleen out yesterday and it helped a bit, so I thought I would look for some things for which I could be grateful today.

  • The existence of Zoom which allows me to work with students remotely and meet with people while there is a prohibition on meetings and such here.
  • My house panther who is keeping me entertained.
  • My alcohol gel obsession which means that I still have a little bit left.
  • Amazon Prime which is helping me keep a little ahead of people’s hoarding habits
  • A roof over my head.
  • A Lenten diet that actually lends itself pretty well to eating shelf-stable food.
  • A boss who works with me to make it possible to deal with Daniel’s issues and work.
  • A job I love.
  • A church here who is committed to making sure its members can worship and me being able to be part of that.
  • The new case on the Skagit County Public Health site is someone who was released from the hospital to isolation at home. It’s someone who is getting *BETTER*. (My theory is that these are workers at affected nursing homes.)
  • A stack of books on my e-reader to work through if I’m bored in the next few weeks.
  • A beautiful view of Little Mountain and evergreen trees from my bedroom window.
  • An amazing publicity and web person to work with on the church website who gives me perspective.
  • Last, but not least, knowing WordPress well enough to set things to send comments from trolls into my Trash so that I only see them on the rare occasions I look in there. That way, it’s like they don’t exist unless I give enough of a rat’s butt to look for them, and I can go on with my life without having to care about their commentary.

Shut up, Elena.

7 Quick Takes: Putting Together My March Bullet Journal Layout Edition

7 Quick Takes

Much of my creative writing energy is going toward my Lenten blogging, so I thought I’d share some bullet journaling stuff. This is how I created my March layout. As I am an Amazon affiliate, there are Amazon affiliate links in this post.

— 1 —

My supplies. Here are the things I used:

My journal
My pens, 2, 3, 4, 5
My adhesive tape
My stamping blocks
My calendar stamps

My supplies
More supplies.

The metallic Sharpie pens and the two rulers are from Office Depot, and the black ink pad is from Michael’s. (The scissors are from Target or somewhere like that.) The pictures are shamrocks from Unsplash.Com, and this is the photographer’s profile.

— 2 —

One of my hacks. I cannot draw or cut a straight line on my own to save my life, so I’ve found that it works to print graph paper on the back of the image. This site has a variety of types that you can print out and use. (The stuff on the back of the pictures is 5 mm cartesian graph paper because the dots in my journal are at 5 mm intervals.) Once everything is printed out, I trim the edges off and have pictures that I can cut up to use for labels and accent pieces.

The graph paper on the back of my pictures.

— 3 —

Swatch test. I wasn’t sure as to which of my Sharpies would work best on the stuff I had, so I cut a couple of accent pieces and did a swatch test. My gold Sharpies were the best by far.

My swatch test.

— 4 —

Label strips. After I cut the accent pieces for my calendar page, I start cutting strips of the picture that are two squares high to serve as labels for each day, for my trackers, and for special pages. I keep the strips in an envelope in the back pocket flap of my bullet journal.

Label strips.

— 5 —

Calendar page. I had already drawn my calendar when I decided to take pictures for this post, so you are only seeing the finished project in this picture with the exception of the long strips labeling the days of the week. (This calendar spread is two pages wide, so this is just the left page. I also haven’t put the accent piece in with this month’s quote in this picture.)

Part of the calendar.

The second accent piece is placed in this picture. I took part of the last verse of “Be Thou My Vision” and used it.

Second accent piece.

— 6 —

Weekly and daily layouts. This is what my weekly and daily layouts look like. I give each day its own layout, so the weekly one (when I fill it in) gives me my work schedule for the week at a glance as well as any appointments for me or for Daniel. The numbers going down the left side of the daily layout page are hours. I keep a running schedule of things from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 24-hour time is my preference, especially when I have to do things like space out Miralax doses when Daniel has a cleanse. As you can see, different things are color-coded, and I have a key in the front that explains the colors and any symbols I use.

My weekly and daily layouts.

— 7 —

Monthly trackers. I usually only have two of these so they fit on the calendar page, but I have trackers for my Lenten stuff as well. This is where I use the stamping blocks and pads. The one on the far right is my monthly activity tracker and the rest are the Lenten ones with the non-Lenten weeks crossed out in gold.

Trackers.

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

7 Quick Takes: Long Time, No Write Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Just a head’s up that there may/may not be Amazon affiliate links in this post because I am an Amazon affiliate.

Good news regarding the kid. We saw Daniel’s actual G-I specialist instead of just her PA this week for the first time in 18 months, and she was giddy to see him with actual weight on him. Kiddo was 59.96 lbs at weigh-in (we’re going to say 60 lbs because 0.04 lbs is basically the difference of a cup of milk), and he is now 4’7.5″ tall. I’m 5’1″, so kiddo needs to knock it off with getting taller!

— 2 —

Cleanse this weekend. His G-I specialist did feel a bowel blockage, so we “get” to do a cleanse this weekend in the form of senna and lots of Miralax dissolved into apple juice. I’m giddy… NOT.

— 3 —

A song I have had in my head lately. I’m working on my church’s Lenten devotional book and the name is “Agape”, so the following has been stuck in my head.

— 4 —

Update on the perimenopausal dysphoria. I saw my doctor about it a little over 2 weeks ago, and she put me (the girl who can’t get pregnant except involving an angel and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit along with miraculously regrowing three organs) on birth control because she had never had a patient go into menopause this early and the thing she’d give me for the dysphoria is already a medication I take. It seems to be helping… when I’m not hitting grief wells inside of me because of my writing subjects for the Lenten devotional book and my students aren’t triggering PTSD-related panic attacks. (Yeah, that day was a freaking joy. My therapist had never seen me cry before my appointment that next day.)

— 5 —

Slacker mom Valentines. Are your kids in school for the first time and having to do Valentines for their class? Here’s the slacker mom way: address labels + a template from Avery.Com + appropriate fruit snacks = Valentines for everyone in 10-15 minutes. You’re welcome.

Slacker mom Valentines

— 6 —

Early morning panther selfies. Now that I’m usually up early and praying, I tend to acquire a needy panther who thinks it should be a “stay home and snuggle your panther” day. (He got one today because my morning student canceled.) This leads to some interesting selfies where my eyes aren’t fully open yet.

Early morning panther selfies.

— 7 —

Gifts from my grandfather. My grandpa sends me rainbows from heaven when I really need to know everything will be OK. This week has been no exception.

Rainbows from my grandpa.

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

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: January 14, 2020

The kid and I are home for a snow day (because we got a few inches of snow and Washington doesn’t know how to handle it), so I thought I’d play along this week.

For Today… January 14, 2020

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… snowy. 22F at the moment, so the snow will be sticking around.

Snowy tree stump.

I am thinking… about the lasagna I’m making for Sunday. One of my favorite people at church can’t have gluten, so I’m using brown rice pasta, and I’m pondering how to get the meat texture in the sauce. I’m thinking of adding some carrots that I’ve put through the food processor. My cattle ranchers in Montana loved it when I made it that way and had no idea it was vegetarian until I told them, so I’m thinking it should work?

I am thankful… that my mom took care of Daniel for a bit this morning so I could sleep. He was up at 4:45 a.m. (!!!), so that was a necessity!

One of my favorite things… quiet. Unfortunately, I’m not getting that until my human child goes to sleep.

I am wearing… a charcoal colored thermal shirt and blue jeans from Old Navy. I’m actually wearing shoes for a change because being barefoot on hardwood floors is irritating my feet.

I am creating… the skeleton for the Lenten devotional book I coordinate for my parish so that I can just paste devotions in when I receive them.

I am reading… Good Omens by Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman… and actually making progress because I’m doing a lot of reading while I eat.

I am hoping… Daniel and I are back to school and work tomorrow.

I am learning… patience with my child.

In my kitchen… haven’t thought about dinner yet. Maybe leftovers?

In the schoolroom… Daniel is apparently doing well with learning to type.

Post Script… here is how you can get your letters stamped with a Loveland postmark for Valentine’s Day.

Shared Quote… “Crowley had always known that he would be around when the world ended, because he was immortal and wouldn’t have any alternative. But he hoped it was a long way off. Because he rather liked people. It was major failing in a demon. Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse. Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course. One of them had written it, hadn’t he…’Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.'” –Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

A moment from my day… California kids in the snow. (Yes, Daniel is getting taller. I have a good 1-2 inches of heel on my boots, so he actually comes up farther on me normally.)

Me and my beach boy.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: Halloween Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Halloween Take #1. My conspiracy theorist costume.

My costume.

— 2 —

Halloween Take #2. Here is a close-up picture of some of my conspiracy theories.

A close-up of my costume.

— 3 —

Halloween #3. Even my prince of darkness got in on the action! (And yes, he is planning to kill me while I sleep.)

Minion and me.

— 4 —

Halloween Take #4. I made my dad a pumpkin pi(e).

The pumpkin pi(e) I made for my dad.

— 5 —

An explanation. Three years ago, one of my baristas did an aluminum foil hat for Halloween and I had been wanting to try it. I also put ~30 labels all over my body with the names of various conspiracies. The aluminum foil hat was actually super easy and it fit over my bun. I didn’t wear it all day because it was really hot, but it did the trick.

— 6 —

Coffee Take #1.

Yeah, this is totally me...

— 7 —

Prayer request. Please keep the Witte family in prayer as they bury little Preston today. They were one of our amazing church families in Minnesota, and my heart breaks for them. Also, please wear blue for him today if you can.

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

7 Quick Takes: Things on My Mind Edition

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Why do cats pick the most inconvenient place to sleep? Currently, my prince of darkness is curled up on my feet, which is not the most comfortable place to have him. CATS!

— 2 —

My post-op appointment on Tuesday. My lovely Ukrainian OB/GYN showed me pictures of my insides at my appointment on Tuesday. Apparently, my adhesions were more serious than they expected and they were also taken aback by the vascularity they found, so my surgery took longer than expected. It was strange to see pictures of my ovaries–I expected them to look a bit different. In any case, he was happy with the progress of my healing and took the time to answer my questions. He has a very dry sense of humor, and it was good to see it come out. If I need any further treatment, I will request him specifically.

— 3 —

My students. I have several students who are receiving Accounting help from me and one who is getting general computer help. My mind is pondering ways to help them as well as the predicament one is in. (I just sent that student a “pep talk”.)

— 4 —

My CPAP mask. My old one was irritating me, so I decided to try a new one. I think it might grow on me after I get through this first adjustment period.

— 5 —

My crocheting. I made a fatal mistake in a crocheting project and had to frog the whole thing… twice. I’m on try #3 and it just might work out for me. I need to just do that at home and bring my nephew’s baby/big boy blankie when I work with students as that one is more brainless crocheting.

— 6 —

Daniel’s 22q clinic appointment. It’s a “clinic” appointment, so we’re going to be there for HOURS while specialists come in and out of the room.

— 7 —

Local elections. We have an unqualified outsider seeking to unseat our mayor… who was qualified BEFORE she was elected, has gone back to school and achieved MORE qualifications in her two terms as mayor, and who is supported by the town police and firefighters. I’ve lived in Mount Vernon for longer than our mayor’s challenger and *I* am more qualified for the office than she is, so I can’t understand why she is bothering to run.

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

7 Quick Takes: Recovery Edition

7 Quick Takes

My hysterical hysterectomy was on Tuesday. Here are the deets on recovery.

— 1 —

The surgery itself. There were no complications other than me having to have four incisions instead of three. (We’re talking incisions that are maybe an inch long, so this is minor.) They had to fix some adhesions, and my uterus apparently developed a new blood supply in the last 10 years, but it had to come out anyway so that wasn’t a big deal. My surgeon was happy with the outcome.

— 2 —

Anesthesia. Upon finding out that I was electing to stay overnight, my anesthesiologist offered to put in a morphine block that would keep me pain-free for the first day but would make me a little bit itchy. I took him up on it, and was more than a “little bit” itchy. I wanted to sleep in a vat of Benadryl gel because it was so bad. God bless Lindsay, my night nurse, because she was coming up with new and creative ways to help me deal with this. Still, my anesthesiologist was fabulous and had a fabulous bedside manner.

— 3 —

Why I love my church. A woman from my church asked what she could do to help, and I asked if she could sit with me while I was waiting for surgery because Mom was supposed to be getting Daniel off to school at that point. Even when my surgery got moved 2 1/2 hours later, she offered to stay with me and another woman joined her. They kept my mom and me calm, prayed with me, anointed me with anointing oil, and made small talk to keep me relaxed. What they didn’t know was how terrified I was that I wasn’t going to wake up from surgery… because we’ve had that happen in my family in the last five years, and part of that was because all of Daniel’s stuff depends on me. They’ve checked in with me every day since, either in person or by text, and one of them has even helped me negotiate all the pain conversations with my surgeon’s nurses.

Another woman (who sings alto in the choir with me) brought over a gallon of chicken soup and some Asian pears today. The soup is helping to settle my stomach.

My priest checked on me intermittently on Tuesday, and he finally got me awake on Wednesday morning, so I got more anointing oil on me (which is the best smell in the world) and the laying on of hands for prayer.

— 4 —

The pain. The morphine wore off around 4 p.m. yesterday, and my mom arrived home with my Toradol and Tramadol at that point. Toradol works well with the pain. Tramadol made me feel dippy, but it did nothing to help the pain. This culminated in me having a screaming panic attack at 2 a.m. because I was vomiting from the leftover anesthesia in my system (because I removed the Scopolamine patch from behind my ear too early) and having pain that was a 6 or 7 out of 10 on the pain scale. (God bless my parents because I was inconsolable for a while.) I didn’t know that I could have added acetaminophen to the Tramadol, so it was 8 hours of misery. I’ve been meticulous as all get out about taking my Toradol at EXACTLY six-hour increments today. My surgeon’s nurses and I had a conversation over the messaging system their office uses about my pain, and I have permission to take acetaminophen with my Toradol along with some Ativan for anxiety if I need it.

— 5 —

My nurses. My nurses at my local hospital were amazing. My pre-op team got my IV in painlessly. (They do a small injection of lidocaine first, which helps a lot.) They also made sure I was comfortable and fetched me a lot of cranberry juice and ice chips on Tuesday and Wednesday because it was the only thing I really wanted that I was allowed to have (I was on liquids on Tuesday night).

— 6 —

My mom. Mom has taken over all of Daniel’s care this week, and she has completely rocked it. She learned all of my jobs last week, and I went into surgery breathing a little easier knowing that she could take care of Daniel. Since I’ve been home, I’ve tweaked things a bit and done a couple of things that she hadn’t learned how to do by feel yet, but she has enforced me resting… which is important because I have to be doing something.

— 7 —

My surgeon. He is a very formal Ukrainian gentleman, but his bedside manner was excellent. He did all of my care on Wednesday morning including removing the catheter and packing that I had in me. (It was uncomfortable, but that couldn’t be helped.) As he was talking to me both before surgery and after, he was holding my hand, which was good in keeping calm when I was either scared or really uncomfortable.

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