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Recognizing and Responding to Domestic & Sexual Violence During Quarantine

Troubling information from the San Diego Police Department recently detailed that domestic and sexual violence is skyrocketing during this quarantine time period. As a rape crisis counselor and public educator for over 12 years, I have seen a glimpse into the pain, shame, growth and healing that so many experience. Abuse in homes is a secretive and damaging reality for far too many children and adults; it causes fear, anxiety, depression, and myriad personal health challenges. Normally, people suffering in homes can find some kind of solace and joy going to school, playing sports, hanging out with friends and seeking other external resources. COVID-19 has now forced countless victims/survivors of violence to spend confined time with abusive family members or partners, inevitably causing further isolation and internalized conflict. 

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Stardate 73716.6: Nineteenth day of social distancing

Did you ever notice Charles Stanley has a really long index finger? I was thinking about that today. Google it and let me know what you think. Murray had to go to the vet today to get a prescription refilled. He did great. They told me they couldn’t take his temperature because he wouldn’t let them put the thermometer in his butt. They didn’t need to tell me that because I heard him growl at them from the waiting room. I don’t blame you, Murray. Speaking of thermometers, I’m taking my temperature like ten times a day. My thermometer goes in your ear, you count to 5, you press the button, and then for a half second you convince yourself you’ve got COVID-19. Then it turns out you don’t. And then you kind of wish you did have a super mild case just so you could recover and leave the house again. They probably need those kinds of thermometers for dogs. I didn’t read that article in TIME Magazine by NT Wright for several days. The title kind of triggered me. But then I finally did read it and I’m with Tom. We aren’t friends but I hear his friends call him Tom. In my mind we are friends so it’s OK. Tom. Sometimes I think we are just meant to lament and that’s what this strange season is for. I mean, the Aztecs had a real shot at making the Final Four and I was going to take Jackson as a surprise. But now we’ll never know. Mal, Matt, Yanni, Jordan, and KJ are still going to be heroes though. I think “lament” is the Christian word for “sucks.” It laments that March Madness got cancelled. I’m looking forward to tomorrow though. We’re going to have “Church for Youth Workers” again and I don’t think it’s going to lament. 

Current body temperature: 98.3 left ear; 98.4 right ear
Rolls of toilet paper: 2.6 cases (I counted, Tash) 
Number of times I touched my face today: I give up. If I die, I die. 
Supplies: We’re going through a quart of salsa a day. Normal? 
Dollars received from the government: $0 of $3400
Social distancing grade: C+ (Vet and Petco)

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Stardate 73714.2: Eighteenth day of social distancing

Is this a cruel joke? Are you all having fun and living life and just convinced those around me to participate in a grand ruse? A few months ago I had Jackson convinced that he was the star of Jackson TV, a 24/7/365 TV show about his life. Sadly I think both are false. Today I watched a man stand in front of a lectern and on live television try to convince us that he is doing a fine job despite the fact that, if we are lucky, he estimates only twice as many Americans will die in the coming weeks from his mismanagement of COVID-19 than were killed in action during the entire Vietnam War. We are supposed to congratulate him that millions more didn’t also die? I realize that’s not funny, you came here for funny, but we cannot make light of what happened today. In lighter news, the Pingüinos are safe. Everyone in McLandia is healthy and fine. Megan started her classes again, at dinner we had a good laugh about the out of state students who are paying $60,000 a year to attend online classes. Some international students are attending class in the middle of the night in their time zones, hardly what they were envisioning when they cheated on their English proficiency exams to get in. I really love jelly beans. Not as much as coffee but I’m really liking them. Don’t buy the imitation ones, either. Generic ones taste like sugary wax and Jelly Belly’s are just trying to hard. The only real ones are from Brachs. But before you buy them you have to check for freshness by squeezing them. Don’t do this with Peeps, they are always fresh. But for Brachs jelly beans it is essential to make sure they are fresh. I’m enjoying this documentary about Margaret Atwood. Not as much as Kristen is, but she is a fascinating treasure of a woman. I wonder if she thinks Carole Baskins fed her husband to a tiger? I wonder if she liked Tiger King? I wonder what her guilty pleasure is? I hope it’s MMA. Tonight we had BBQ. I wish we had tacos. 

Current body temperature: 98.1
Rolls of toilet paper: Plenty but not too much. 
Number of times I touched my face: Lots
Supplies: We are doing well.
Dollars received from the government: 0 of 3400
Social distancing grade: A-

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Stardate 73708.8: Sixteenth day of social distancing

So let me get this straight. By mid-April the government is sending us all $1200? But today they announced we are supposed to stay locked up in our homes until the end of April? People are going to lose their minds! And I’m here for it. All of it. We’ve gone from watching reality shows on TV to the government turning 327 million Americans into reality show contestants, all broadcast for free on Zoom. In related news, pot shops and gun shops are both considered “essential services”. So they are open here in San Diego County. Did you know that out in El Cajon they’ve got a gun shop that also sells liquor? Right there on Magnolia. Not too far from the leaning tower of froyo on Broadway. Only in El Cajon can you swing by the yogurt shop (cash only) right after you loaded up on guns & liquor. If you do it in reverse order and get your gun and liquor first, the froyo is free! El Cajon is a special, special place. Here in McLandia we had a quiet Sunday. I continued my domestic duties by baking a fine loaf of onion sourdough bread and making curtains for the building in the backyard formerly known as my Tiny Office. I hummed songs from the Sound of Music the whole time because when Julie Andrews grows up she wants to be just like me, just with more freedom of movement. [Think about that one and get back to me. It’s funny.] My fellow Clay Middle School alumni would be proud. Somehow making a pillow case in 7th grade Home Economics prepared me to make curtains 30 years later. My sister-in-law Gwen got Kristen a sewing machine for Christmas probably 20 years ago. Kristen has never once used it but I’ve used it quite a bit. Thanks Gwen! At first I liked Dr. Fauci. But I’m sick of seeing him. I’m kind of sick of hearing news about COVID-19, though I think we’re still going to be talking about it in a few months. If I were Dr. Fauci’s agent I’d be shopping a book by Dr. Fauci for high school graduates called, “Oh, The Places You Can’t Go!” It could be about prom and homecoming and baseball games and everything else fun outside of your home. Sixteen days into this thing and I’m still telling dad jokes. Pray for my children. I’ve also taken up bad dad dancing. It’s good exercise and it serves as a daily reminder to my kids that one day, when shaking hands won’t kill them, I’d like for them to move out of my house so Kristen and I can move to Mexico and start a goat farm overlooking the Pacific ocean. You can laugh all you want but that’s my dream. 

Current body temperature: 97.4
Rolls of toilet paper: 2.2 cases
Number of times I touched my face today: Probably more than Dr. Fauci would like me to.
Supplies: Plenty of delicious stuff
Number of dollars sent to me by the government: 0 of $3400
Social distancing grade: A

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Stardate 73706.1: Fifteenth day of social distancing

Oooo… we’re halfway the-ere. Woo ohhh. Livin’ on a prayer. Thank you 90s hottie. 15 days down, 15 to go? I hope so. The news on this virus was terrible today. Terrifying really. NY is a week ahead of us. Good Lord it could be bad here. Meanwhile in Rolando we can’t manage to keep people out of the park? Stop playing basketball! Playing basketball is not social distancing. Here in McLandia we are all healthy, the box of Pingüinos fully sealed, Kristen and Adam are still managing to keep everyone alive. I’m alternating between watching the British Baking Show and Tiger King. I’d kind of like to see Joe Exotic make a pavlova. I kept myself busy today with a little garage project, installing new LED lights so I can use the desk in there if I need to. It’s not that I don’t like working next to Jackson all day. I adore him. But he never stops talking and that makes it difficult to actually work from home. Plus, i think Minecraft is dumb. There, i said it. So instead of sitting next to him I’ll now have the option to work next to the water heater. $650,000 in real estate and I get to work next to a water heater. Isn’t adulthood grand? In other news, the 500 seeds we planted last weekend are starting to pop up. We will soon have a tiny forest of summer veggies available at a driveway near you for just $3 each. We are keeping surprisingly busy while we wait full quarantine. This March has lived up to its moniker. 

Current body temperature: 98.0
Rolls of toilet paper: 2.2 cases
Number of times I touched my face: A lot
Supplies: Supplies are solid and stores are replenished
Dollars received from the government: $0 of $3400 
Social distancing grade: A

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Stardate 73711.4: Seventeenth day of social distancing

Tonight I thought it would be fun to go to CVS Pharmacy to walk around and feel normal. It wasn’t fun. I don’t recommend it. Today was Monday. Every day kind of feels like Monday. Or Saturday. Who cares anymore. I get up at my normal time each day, try to maintain some sort of routine, drink my coffee, but without the need to leave to drive to school or other things on my schedule, it’s all kind of a wash. I worked at my desk in the garage today. That’s all I have to say about that. I’m still astonishingly busy. I think it’s because people who are normally busy traveling are home now. Speaking of Marko, he’s teaching again at Thursday’s “Church for Youth Workers” and you should come. The first one was super great. When this is all over can we keep the neighborhood vibe? I’m talking to my neighbors nearly every day right now. The dogs were amused by everyone being home. Now I think they are bored of us. Too many walks. Too much petting. Too many treats. Think of all the vocabulary we can forget when this is all over? Flatten the curve, social distancing, CDC, FDA, WHO, and Dr. Fauci. All words we’ll never have to say again. The older kids are playing a board game tonight called “Pandemic.” I’m raising savages. Tonight they issued a stay at home order for Baja California. Yesterday they ordered all restaurants to only offer take-out. I hope they lift that before I get to go back. Because if I have to get my tacos or birria to go, I’ll still get it. But it won’t be the same. I’ve been daydreaming a lot lately about when things get back to normal. I think I’m going to break social norms and hug all the people at my favorite taco shops. Sure, I miss people. But I miss tacos a lot too. 

Current body temperature: 98.8
Rolls of toilet paper: 2.1 cases
Number of times I touched my face today: Less than 2400
Supplies: I bought candy tonight. If you tell people I bought candy I won’t be able to share it with you. 
Money received from the government: $0 of $3400
Social distancing grade: B- (Someone got 3 feet from me at CVS. What was wrong with that guy?)

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Stardate 73702.9: Fourteenth day of social distancing

We went to Costco today. We got hot dogs and they were delicious. Burping up hot dog breath in the car with the windows up, not hot but worth it. We also went to Smart & Final where we did not touch people. When the cashier guy handed me the receipt our hands almost touched. It was close but I don’t think we touched. [Rolando folks, they have toilet paper at Smart & Final.] Kristen and I foraged enough to last another two weeks. Unless the Zombies come. Something tells me they’ll eat the brains of the pacifists first so I’m pretty screwed. In other news, GO OUTSIDE. I don’t know about the rest of the world but Spring is here in San Diego. It’s been raining a lot and that means everything is blooming and the sky is super clear. If we had parks I’d say go for a hike. But we don’t. Instead, take a walk around your neighborhood. One of the things I admire about Kristen is that she constantly notices beautiful things great and small in all directions. Go on a walk with her and notice the clouds. “Can you see the moon?” “Look at these flowers or that bush.” “Do you see that it’s growing right now? Soon those buds will turn orange.” So be like Kristen, go on a walk and forget your phone. Forget your worries. Forget work. Forget that the kids are at home and probably want dinner. These are crazy times. But don’t forget to notice stuff. Don’t forget to write stuff down. Start your own Stardate journal. Today when we got home from Costco I immediately took a shower. In the shower I was thinking about all the places I’ve gone in my life so far. If I’m honest I never thought I’d have to come home from Costco and take a shower for fear that I’d catch some deadly virus. Nothing really scares me. I’ve visited people with TB and not worn a mask. A couple of years ago I brought home Zika as a souvenir from Haiti. I recommend maybe bringing home coffee instead? I’ve been in tents of people who’ve lost everything and I’ve never felt the things I feel right now. It’s much less interesting when it’s you. I’m hardwired to go and do things and it’s absolutely crazy to me that if things go wrong people like Adam McLane will be setting up tents in Clay Park. I’ll end with the highlight of my week. On Monday I was invited to a staff call with my friends at Praying Pelican Missions. Everyone was supposed to wear a PPM t-shirt but one staff member wore a pickle costume instead. Sometimes you just need a good laugh and that made me laugh so hard I was glad I had already gone to the bathroom. I love laughing. It’s my favorite emotion. And I look forward to laughing with my friends again, in person, as soon as we get past this. Thankfully, no one in our house has eaten the Pinguinos yet. 14 days in and we’re all healthy. 

Current body temperature: 97.4
Rolls of toilet paper: Enough to cover the fact that we also have 25 lbs of black beans in storage
Number of times I touched my face: I did not stick my finger in my mouth at Costco. But I did eat a hot dog. 
Supplies: Good Lord we bought a lot of food today. We’re good. 
Social distancing grade: B

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Stardate 73700.6: Thirteenth day of social distancing

Stardate 73700.6
Thirteenth day of social distancing 

I don’t care about coronavirus anymore. Just please make it stop raining. RIP to Spring Break 2020. We never knew you. Our kids have this idea that kind of makes sense to me. What if all of society just agreed that Monday is January 1st, 2020? What if we all just agreed that the past 90 days sucked and let’s do it over? Deal? Deal. Happy New Years! 

Current body temperature: 97.9
Rolls of toilet paper: 2.4 cases 
Number of times I touched my face today? So many times. I touched my face on camera in front of 180 people, too. 
Supplies: We need to go to Costco tomorrow. Pray for us. 
Social distancing grade: C-

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Stardate 73698: Twelfth day of social distancing

We did it, America. We figured out how to get the news to shut up about the election. And we’ve solved school shootings for the year. And we’ve ended homeschool jokes once and for all. And we’ve nearly solved carbon emissions. No one is complaining about bike lanes anymore. All we had to do was lock 50% of the population in their homes for a few weeks with a couple cases of toilet paper and bottled water. Of course, people getting sick and the tragic deaths aren’t funny at all. But what home confinement is doing to us is kind of ironic. We’re social beings and we’re finding our ways. Tomorrow Marko and I are hosting a church service for youth worker friends. When we kicked this idea around I thought it’d be small and quirky, maybe a couple dozen of our friends. Almost 300 people have signed up. Hope it doesn’t suck. We’re calling it Church for Youth Workers but today when I was gardening I laughed at the thought of calling it Our Lady of Unlimited Data or maybe First Baptist Church of Zoom. It’s hard to wrap my mind around our Senate voting to spend $2 trillion tonight. I live in a neighborhood that can’t find money to pave roads but over in Washington Steve Mnuchin swung by his office at the Treasury Department tonight, logged into some old Windows NT desktop, and added a couple zeros to our nations bank account. I don’t know how it works but I do know Daddy Warbucks is sending me $3400 just for being alive. I’ll take it. Speaking of miracles, Gavin Newsom, who is apparently our governor now, said I don’t have to pay my mortgage for the next three months and there’s nothing Wells Fargo can do about it. The way I see it the longer we all decide to stay home and not eat our Pinguinos the more money they are going to send us. All we have to do is hang tight 6 more months and the government will keep sending us checks. Take that Boomers! This Gen Xer is officially retired. 

Current body temperature: 98.1
Rolls of toilet paper: 2.5 cases
Number of times I touched my face today: 709,033
Supplies: My sourdough is growing, so technically we have more food than yesterday. Less cookies though. 
Social distancing grade: A (did I leave the house today!?!?!)

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Stardate 73695.1: Eleventh day of social distancing

Megan had a good point tonight. If COVID-19 doesn’t get us, diabetes might. We really need to slow down on the desserts. Have you seen your inbox? I had no idea all these companies cared so much about me. My health insurance company just sent me an email that said, “We’re in this together for the health and safety of all.” When my health insurance went up more than 25% this year I sure didn’t feel like we were in this together. Kaiser Permanente? More like ripping my Kaiser off Permanently. I know that this whole social distancing thing is supposed to be boring but I’m not bored. I don’t think I’ve had a day off in the last 2.5 weeks and I don’t really see one in sight. I wake up pouring over legislative news and right now it’s 10:12 PM Pacific time and I’m still monitoring a live feed from the Senate floor. Plot twist: They’re doing nothing. Megan and I went out to the grocery story today. We’ll find out if we lived in 14 days. Our local Vons has changed the entire set-up of the store. There’s only one way in and one way out. You enter and get a freshly sanitized cart… I licked it just because. And when you go to the checkout line they have a red line now that you can’t cross by threat of death and dismemberment until the cart in front of you has properly checked out. It might have taken a pandemic to fix Vons but Vons is fixed. No one ate the Pinguinos in our house but I’m hearing it’s getting close. 

Current body temperature: 98.4
Rolls of toilet paper: 2.5 cases
Number of times I touched my face today: A lot
Supplies: Today we added sherbet, mint chocolate chip ice cream, mini drumsticks, and ice cream cookies.
Social distancing grade: B

Addendum: The Senate, White House, and House Democrats just reached a $2 trillion deal.