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: Back to School Edition

Those who know me on Facebook know that Daniel started back to school in person yesterday. He is fully vaccinated and the school requires masks for everyone (no exceptions), so we felt comfortable letting him go this fall. He is in the 7th grade at a local middle school.

Here is what happened in the last few days before he started back to school as well as the first day.

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Sunday afternoon. Remember that Daniel has to have pill bottles for any medication that is going to school with him. Call the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist nicely if they can be made. Make plans to pick them up on Monday afternoon.

— 2 —

Monday afternoon. Exchange a flurry of emails with Daniel’s teacher and the school nurse. Pick up the spare pill bottles after my small group meeting at park with Daniel.

— 3 —

Tuesday afternoon. Talk to school nurse while driving on errands. Discover that doctor’s orders need to be written in order to medicate Daniel at school. Doh! Accept the nurse’s offer to call the pediatrician and get the process started. Come home and start laundry.

— 4 —

Tuesday night. Sort laundry. Find spare clothes to put in Daniel’s backpack. Clean glasses and hearing aids. Go find hearing aid batteries. Discover that all of them are expired. Doh!

Hunt down non-shredded socks to put in the backpack. Realize I need to order more socks. Log onto Amazon.Com and use Amazon Prime to get some delivered on Wednesday afternoon.

Set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. Curse whoever thought having middle school start at 7:00 a.m. was a good idea.

— 5 —

Wednesday morning. Wake up a few minutes before my phone alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m. Tiptoe downstairs to see I could get down there without waking up Daniel. Hand Daniel the spoon with the peanut butter and his meds when he comes down a few minutes after me. Grab his formula bolus out of the fridge. Help him change his training pants. Tell him that he is going to school on the bus today. Hand him clothes. Hook him up to his tube feed.

Go downstairs. Make his lunch and put it in his backpack. Go back upstairs and watch YouTube until his feeding pump beeps. Take him downstairs to get his socks and shoes on. Take pictures with him for the first day of school.

First Day of 7th Grade

My bus stop helper.

See bus arrive at the bottom of the driveway and start to leave 20 seconds later. Run outside barefoot to flag down bus in the cul-de-sac. Get kid on the bus. Go back in the house. Change into clean jammies and go back to bed.

Got kid on the bus

He's all yours until 2:30.

— 6 —

Wednesday midday. Toss clothes on. Head to the grocery store. Grab peanut butter. Grab latté and turkey pesto panini from Starbucks. Head to middle school. Try to figure out how to get into the building. Discover that I’m at a building for elementary school next door. (The back door of the cafeteria was open and the lunch staff pointed me in the right direction.) Head to correct building and get buzzed into office. Get directed to the health room. Introduce myself to nurse on duty. Show her pill bottles and get peanut butter on the spoon while she pages Daniel down to the health room. Introduce myself to his teacher. Medicate child with pills and peanut butter. Fix hearing aid falling out of Daniel’s ear and give the teacher an impromptu lesson on hearing aid placement.

Head to the pediatrician’s office. Discover that I-5 is a parking lot due to someone on foot on the freeway. Take surface route instead. Get screened at the door of the medical building and shoot the breeze with the screener about how public places are too “people-y”. Commiserate on irritation at anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. Show ID to the receptionist and get doctor’s orders for Daniel to receive his meds at school.

Head to ACE Hardware store. Look for Smudge and Biscuit, the tuxedo cats who own the store. Fail to find them. Get hearing aid batteries. Shoot the breeze with the clerk about my dad who claims to hate cats but brings toys for the ACE Hardware kitties. Write an email to deaf/hard-of-hearing teacher to thank him for changing the batteries that morning.

Head back to the school. Park in the correct place this time. Sign and go over orders with the school nurse. Head home to stare at a wall until Daniel gets home.

— 7 —

Wednesday afternoon. Head downstairs around the time Daniel’s bus is supposed to arrive. Sit on the arm of the love seat in front of the window and wait. Play Township on my phone. See the bus coming and open the door for Daniel. Offer him food but plan to follow him upstairs when he declines. Check backpack before going upstairs. Put thermos and leftover perishable items from his lunch box in the refrigerator. Grab a packet of paperwork and take it upstairs to complete.

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