Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Adjusting to a New Normal

So I am not even sure what the numbers of days we have been requested to stay home, but it really feels like time is not passing at all. Most days I have to think about what day it is, which is something that I hadn't considered before. I knew my schedule based on Steve working from home or traveling and now that his company has asked for no travel, it seems like the days are all running together.

I was never much of a TV watcher before either, finding my love for reading was better used than mindlessly watching programming in front of a television set. Even that isn't helping. Yesterday was my first time venturing out into the world to drop off packages to FedEx, and I was still surprised that the city looked normal. Cars were out and about and you remember seeing pictures of places like China and Italy looking like ghost towns, but not here, even after mandatory shutdown orders for California.

Small non essential businesses like clothing shops, nail salons and others were closed, but everything else was open. Some fast food places had caution tape out around the perimeters of the doors to keep people from coming in, forcing them to utilize drive thru as an option to keep them open. Yet banks, restaurants, gas stations, Costco, Dollar Tree, and all the medical offices around where I live were all open. Our streets were just as busy and there is no difference to the number of people out and about. You know not everyone was running errands, when they are supposed to be staying inside. Sure I could see picking up food at the grocery store, or driving through to grab lunch, but honestly, I don't think this is going to have much affect, if people are still out and about.

Makes you wonder when people are going to take things seriously and just stay put. Meanwhile we wait and wonder just how long will this continue. Places like China and other small countries are trying to get back to normal, while our stock market continues to plunge and all those retirement packages are just going to have to wait for sometime. One thing is certain, people have a lot of time on their hands and toilet paper still continues to be the one thing no one can find, even still.

What is it like where you live? Do you think people are heading the recommendations or has nothing really changed much?

Monday, March 23, 2020

Where I Grew Up

Despite all the craziness in the world today, we can still find solace in remember times from our past. It might be a favorite holiday, birthday party, what you did for the Summer, and today, I'd like to take you back to my childhood home in Huntington Beach.

Funny thing is that I can still remember my address, 9432 Breakwater Circle. This is the childhood home I shared with you earlier even though I can't remember much about my bedroom. But I do remember some of the things about that home that I love and still get a smile from when I think back on it.

It's a single story, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. It is the house pictured above. Although when I grew up, it didn't look like that. It has been relandscraped and renovated a bit from the original but still so many great memories growing up. My bedroom was the one closest to the garage and faced the street. My brothers' room faced the backyard as did my parents. My best friend lived across the street until she moved away. Her name was Linda. We lived on a cul-de-sac which meant no cars driving down the street unless they were returning home for the day of work. So all the kids played together. In fact we could walk to the 7-11 on some days to return all the coke bottles we collected to buy enough candy to make us sick. Since our house was only 3 blocks to the beach, it was an easy walk or drive to get there.

I only lived there for a couple of years until my parents bought our home in Santa Ana, because they could get so much more for a house then and the price was worth it for our parents. Yet living on a cul-de-sac meant block parties. We would have them for the 4th of July and I remember sitting outside with our bar-b-ques and waiting to light off fireworks when it got dark. All the parents knew one another and life was so different than the way it is now. We didn't have a pool in our backyard, we simply had a cool fish pond with a waterfall I would let my barbies swim in during the summertime. We would have camp outs in the backyard with our sleeping bags and blankets covering our patio table.

Life was so easy back then. No unlimited television or games to play. Everything was outside. We played tag, ran in the sprinklers, rode our bikes til we got tired. Drank from the hose outside and played with all of our toys from hot wheels, barbies and even flying kites. Now things are so much different. It seems technology that was suppose to make our lives easier, now just makes us more connected to our devices over anything. I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane today and hope you'll share yours with me.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Mandatory Lockdown in California

Who would have ever thought the world and its pandemic would come to this. As of midnight last night 40 million people living in the state of California have been asked to stay home in an effort to combat and prevent the spread of the Corona Virus. However this does not impact those who are working during this time, places like grocery stores, gas stations, food banks, convenience stores, take out and delivery restaurants, banks, landromats, and laundry services, pharmacies and those in state and local government that provide services like hospitals, fire departments, police stations and more.

I guess the hardest thing to face at this time is the question of how long? When will this end? Will it end? In the meantime, I will document my own personal journey of living through a global shutdown in hopes that it might help those like myself that wonder how long before society comes back to a social situation again. Meanwhile places like China are trying to get back to a sense of normal, without knowing if that is a wise decision. I guess we will simply have to wait and see.

The great news is that my husband doesn't have to travel for work, but his work in the wireless communications still falls under the essential category, much like my son in law, working for the railroad and my oldest daughter, works for the hospitals. The only impact it is having for us immediately besides the ongoing hunt for toilet paper, milk, meat and bread, along with disinfectants and bleach remains hard to find. Even Amazon, can't keep up and have been out of stock of all the essentials people need at this time.

My youngest daughter Kailee has already applied for state benefits as her job as a server for Texas Roadhouse continues to face closures. My dad who is self employed, is now facing a huge closure of his business and not sure how that will affect him, as that income was vital. We face a challenge in the midst of this that my daughter Caitlyn is moving and not sure how we will manage that in the face of a lockdown of the entire state. Maybe that falls under an essential task, but it is weird to know that this isn't simply happening here, but everywhere. All. Around. The. World.

I just got an email this morning that my major craft supplier, Craft Outlet is now closed, so I am hopeful we can support businesses that will continue to remain open. For now, this is life as I know it and I just hope that it all ends sooner than later. I'll keep you posted.

What's it like where you are and how are you coping?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Mystery Diagnosis

I'm sure you are probably thinking I am going to write a blog post on the CoVID-19 virus but nope. I think people have heard enough about that to last a lifetime. This time, its about my recent trip to the Urgent Care facility.

I woke up yesterday morning with pain in my right side that was getting stronger by the hour. It didn't matter if I sat, stood up, walked or laid down. It had no affect on the pain. Now to give as specific as a pain comparison as I could, it felt like when I would run in high school and you get the stitch in your side. It wasn't constant but in waves. So I would have moments of reprieve.

So thinking I wanted to rule out things like appendicitis, I thought I would head to the Urgent Care over the Emergency Room. Not only to keep the wait time down, but to prevent me from having to be around so many sick people too. Thankfully, there was only one person waiting so I knew it wasn't going to be a long wait.

So when I was finally seen, the pain was on a scale of 5-6 if I wanted to be reasonable. I didn't really want to try and take something without knowing what is going on. The doctor asked all the usual questions, but when he pressed on the area that was sore, it almost put me through the roof. So he agreed that we should rule out appendicitis. So he said he was going to send me out for a CT Scan and run an IV just in case. So after all the usual paper work being faxed over and approvals, I was off to get a CT Scan with contrast complete.

To sum up long waiting times and getting through all the testings, lets just fast forward to the end result. No appendicitis, which was a relief, but it could be kidney stones, or the large stone I have in my gall bladder. Since the pain from the gall bladder didn't match up with what I was experiencing, he didn't think that was the case. So he said to give it a couple of days and see if perhaps I didn't move the right way, or caused something to pull when it shouldn't have and if it gets worse of course come back.

They weren't even going to prescribe anything for the pain, and wanted me to take Tylenol or Advil and rest. I kindly smiled and said if that were the case, I wouldn't have come into the office today. So he agreed to Tylenol 3. I was so happy to leave, I didn't really consider the pain level I would have to deal with later, that taking a Tylenol 3 wouldn't even touch. They did offer to give me Toredol in my IV before they took that out. However hours later, it didn't do anything.

The most interesting thing was looking at my discharge paperwork to see what they thought was wrong. I found 6 sheets of instructions for kidney stones, gallstones and stomach pains. Then I thought, did they seriously expect me to manage my pain level based on over the counter meds for any of those, with the exception of stomach pains?

I hate being the mystery diagnosis. The one they know there is something up, but they don't know why. That has been something I have dealt with my whole life. The one where all signs don't point to the same thing and instead remains a mystery. So while last night's sleep eluded me, and today I am barely functioning based on being so tired, I am just hoping to get a good nights sleep.

Do you ever face these issues or am I that unusual? Share your story with me today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Hard Working Moms

We all know how busy moms can be whether working outside of the home, or being a full-time housewife and mom. So today's blog post is about what did your Mom do for work? How did she spend her day? Did she have a job outside the home, volunteer or keep things from falling apart at home?

My mom, to me was the greatest. Besides her kindness and compassion, she loved her family more than herself. Growing up, I always remember my mom working. I do remember that she was home when we got home from work, but she did have a job working as a cocktail waitress as a bowling alley. This later changed when my parents moved from Huntington Beach and settled into our new home in Santa Ana, California.

Sadly those happy days would end when I turned 7 and my parents decided on a divorce. This forced my mom to find creative ways to keep things running while taking on a mortgage payment while raising two kids. She did this by working two jobs. One while we were at school and the other shortly after we got home from school. She worked as a waitress at the Airporter Inn, a hotel with restaurant just across from John Wayne or Orange County Airport. It was just minutes away. She worked that job as many hours as she could while we were at school and even on the weekends. There would weeks she would save all her weekly change from tips and put them in jars and she would give rotate giving them to my brother and I, each week. It was spending money we looked forward to receiving. We loved to count the change and then roll it to take to the bank for cash. It was always fun for us to see who got the most money week after week.

This was how my mom managed without being able to be home during the weekends and outings and trips anywhere we rare occasions because of her two jobs. Her night job was working as a cashier at Don Josè Mexican Restaurant. We also loved this job because the next day we would get chips and salsa she brought home at the end of her job.

Since we knew how hard our mom worked, we did things to try and make her days easier from cleaning the house from top to bottom and doing all we could to make sure she didn't worry too much about what we were up to. Our neighbor Judy watched us because our best friends were her kids. So spending time there wasn't something we dreaded. I don't remember being afraid at night while we waited for her to get home, because she would get home while we were at home, and that made everything right in the world.

She worked those two jobs for almost our entire childhood so when mom was home, it was a special time and we loved being able to do things together as a family again. Little did I know it would be those times I would draw upon when I divorced and wonder how I would make it. God knew this would be just what I needed to help me get through my own troubling times. I would understand what moms give up for their kids as well.

So what did your mom do? I'd love to hear your story.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

What's in Your Name?

So in continuing with our legacy posts, I thought I would introduce a new question and topic. Today, the question is "Who gave you your name and why? Did you have a family nickname? How did you get it?

My full name is Kathleen Ann Smith. I was named after my wonderful Aunt Kathy Greshock, who I admire greatly. She is such a great inspiration and contains most of my favorite and not so favorite memories growing up. She lives in Philly and they just sold their family home, that had so many great memories so they can make things easy for them to maintain since all their kids are grown and have moved out. It only made sense but it was bittersweet to know I can't go back and stay there again.

So when I went to high school, Kathy was a pretty common name. So common, that I hated it. It was your atypical cheerleader name. I wasn't a cheerleader. I was the good girl who went to school every day, got great grades, and NEVER got into trouble. That would come in my Junior year. That, is a story for another post.

I wanted to change my name but never did. I know my mom would NEVER go for that. People used to ask me if Kathy was short for Katherine, which I loathed. Sorry to all the Katherine's out there. I just didn't care for that version of trying to figure out what my full name was. No one ever considered Kathleen. I did like the sound of that better over Katherine, maybe because it sounded younger. Yet kids from school never used the proper full length version even if you asked them to do so and even if I introduced them to Kathleen, they would simply say, "Oh Kathy, right?"

Deep down inside, I wanted to scream, "NO!" but agreed with a simply nod of the head. Even my high school boyfriends never used my full name or shorten it to any degree. I thought I would be doomed with Kathy for my entire life. 

I got so tired of people calling me, Kathy, so at work, I changed it to Kathleen. It sounded like a professional name should and thankfully, no one agreed to call me Kathy. I would firmly correct them if they tried to. So for quite a few years in the corporate world I went by Kathleen. It was a no nonsense sounding name. That would later change quickly when I managed a group of mostly guys when I took over the service department at LA Cellular in Rowland Heights.

Guys don't do long, proper names. They will shorten that to any form they could, so I changed it before they did. This is where I get my nickname Kat now. I changed it. I first heard it in the movie, "Casper" as the main character is called Kat, and really loved how that sounded. Now to convince those who knew me well to begin using it. It took some convincing and re-correcting people who kept trying to divert it back to Kathy, that I preferred Kat over Kathy.

It is always interesting however to understand name origins and for me, Kathleen simply means Pure. I guess when I think about the evolution of my name, and where I am today in my faith filled life, I am definitely proud in some degrees and often wonder how people are named? Were they named after someone amazing? So I can't wait to hear your story. I hope you'll share it with me. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Childhood Bedroom

Time to get back to something a bit more fun, instead of focusing on what is happening in the world today.

So today's legacy post is about your childhood bedroom growing up. I'm sure it is a fond memory that you can easily take yourself back to by closing your eyes. I grew up in Huntington Beach til I was about 6 years old. While I don't remember much about my bedroom, I do remember that the beach was so close, we could walk to it or ride our bikes. My parents decide on moving closer inland to purchase a new home with a lot more space. This is the childhood bedroom I remember.

We lived on 3122 South Sycamore Street in Santa Ana, California. Funny how you can remember stuff like that, including my phone number as well. I'm sure you can too. We moved into this 4 bedroom house, and I had the only room in the front. It was a single story house in the middle of a suburban new neighborhood. It was one of the bigger rooms aside from the master bedroom, so the view I had at the time, allowed me to see into the front yard. Since our house was new the cypress trees my dad had planted didn't obstruct the view at the time. They later provided some shade and privacy, but they would also later block most of my view from the inside.
I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. It would later also help me to mask my escape to hang out with friends and boyfriends and no one could see me leave.

My bed was a canopy bed with beautiful pink and white sheets. I had a large dresser and a regular sliding door closet where I could keep my clothes, books and of course all my Barbies and Breyer horses. I remember jumping on that bed and swinging around those posts on the bed until one day, one of them snapped off. Not something you want to explain to your parents especially to your dad. My younger brother Mike shared the room next to mine but his view was only the side of the house. His door was adjacent to the bathroom we both had to share.

My door had a small wall directly in front of it, which is where my closet began. It also allowed a young child to brace themself against the wall and the door and make a climb to the ceiling. It was easy going up but almost impossible trying to jump down without killing yourself in the process. This was before televisions were allowed in bedrooms, so my only form of entertainment was a small cassette player and would later evolve into a small boom box that would sit on top of my dresser. I don't recall having side tables, just a bed and dresser and a big oversize bean bag were the only pieces of furniture in my room. The bed was placed in the middle of the room with my dresser facing it. This gave me so area to play in with my Barbies or to sit in a bean bag and read a book.

I used to sleep with my windows open at night, before things like security proved to be an issue, and one of the things my mom told me, was how cold my room got when she had to come wake me up for school in the morning. In the Summer, I would add a fan to that window to bring the cooler temperatures in since our family didn't run the air conditioning in the Summer. I don't remember it being that hot because the beach was about 20 minutes away.

I loved that bedroom and had lots of stuffed animals on my bed. I guess most kids did growing up. For me it was a much simpler time and we had to use our imaginations to keep busy since cartoons were limited to two different times during the day, mornings and the afternoon, just after school. We didn't have video games, but we did have board games. Most of our fun was hanging out with our friends all day and into the night. Looking back now, my mom didn't know where I was half the time. I would turn up just after the street lights would come on, if I wasn't home already.

I'm curious, what did your childhood bedroom look like and what was the view out your window?