I’m back home and I feel so much better mentally than when I left. I was wallowing in grief after my mom’s sudden death. I found myself aimlessly wandering through our house, alternating between tears and shock.
The six days with my kids was like a healing balm or salve that my heart needed.
What did we do? I was busy with my son, making his pour-over coffee, overnight oats, grocery shopping at my favorite Berkeley Bowl. I walked Waffles, played Scrabble, went to lunch and shopped with my daughter on Fourth Street, enjoyed time with my son’s fiancee and family. They lost their father several years ago and I felt their empathy and understanding.
The mushroom aisle at Berkeley Bowl, my favorite grocery store.
I was busy most of the time, I felt needed, and I felt my mom is in a better place.
We watched good movies including Metropolitan and Nausciaa of the Valley of the Wind. The voice of the Princess in Nausicaa was done by Alison Lohman, who is a local Palm Springs girl. She was in my ballet class more than 25 years ago. I’m always interested in watching her movies.
The food in the Bay Area is so much better than in Scottsdale. We ordered in most nights because of the storm. We had Japanese, Korean, Mexican and take out from Berkeley Bowl.
My son’s charcuterie with cheeses, salami, prosciutto, blackberries, grapes, crackers and comb honey.
If you find yourself in a funk — not necessarily grief like I’ve been experiencing — how do you get out of it?
This gorgeous blue-eyed Siamese-mix was on leash in my old park.
We’re back home in Arizona for a bit. Christmas in my old life and Movie Colony of Palm Springs neighborhood was not as stressful as I worried about in advance. We spent two nights at my 90-year-old dad’s house and then met part of the extended family at a VRBO the kids selected — five blocks from our family home of 28 plus years.
I had mixed emotions about the entire trip. Then I saw my favorite checker from Ralphs’ grocery store my first night there. I saw a fellow swim parent in the parking lot. It made me cry and smile.
We (me, my daughter and son’s fiancee) got pedicures at the place we used to go to. We got hugs and a huge welcome. They wondered where we’ve been for two years — while they were closed for COVID and we moved. Thank goodness they are still in business!
As for getting all the food we missed from our favorite restaurants? That was one of my goals. We cooked most meals with people taking turns. Every meal was delicious. I never ate out.
My daughter went to one of our old favorites with a friend and said it was an insult to Italian food.
We took turns with cooking and cleaning. I think this was a very good family time! Loved every second. Although they didn’t want me to replay “Funky Town” too many times…Or dance~!
How was your Christmas and holidays? What are our plans for the New Year?
In a couple days, we’ll be leaving to have Christmas with my kids, dad and our son’s girlfriend’s family. Our kids suggested Palm Springs, where we moved from exactly two years ago this week. Last year we gathered in Santa Barbara, which was a fun — if not rainy and cold adventure.
I’m conflicted over Palm Springs. After leaving, I don’t have a strong desire to return. I don’t know if it’s an emotional response. If it brings up too many memories. If I miss it, or if I don’t miss it. It makes me feel things I don’t want to feel.
For the kids, who never wanted us to move from Palm Springs, my husband agreed to rent an Airbnb a few blocks from our old home. It’s all for them, not us.
What I’m looking foward to:
Seeing our big extended family.
Walking around my old park.
Swimming in my former city pool.
Going to my old favorite restaurants for a taste of Mexican food and Italian. We haven’t found any good spots here.
Do you think it’s true that you can never go home again? Why or why not?
I arrived in Berkeley Saturday night to help my son for a week post surgery.
I called my husband repeatedly who remained at home. Normally, I talk to him lots of times each day when we’re apart. Even when he went into an office for work, we called each other several times a day. When I hadn’t heard from him in 20 hours — I was worried.
Finally, he called me back and he sounded horrible. He said his throat felt like razor blades and he was congested and had aches and pains.
He called his doctor for an appointment when he felt even worse. No appointments available for two weeks. You know where this is headed, right? He found a tele-med appointment and called me Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. — after his appointment. The diagnosis was Omicron. (Razor blades painful sore throat is the number one symptom.)
I was sitting in my son’s house with the kids begging me not to go home to my COVID-infected husband and house. They want me to stay. I’m sure my son and his girlfriend welcome my help, but don’t want me to catch the virus, either.
I’m terribly worried about my husband all alone in the state of Arizona with COVID. He’s already sicker than I remember him ever being.
We’ve been double vaxxed and boosted.
The kids received rapid tests from Amazon and they made me take one. It was the longest ten minutes waiting for the line to appear on the test.Two lines COVID, one line Negative. I cooked my son his slow cooking oats — waiting for the results to show.
My husband works remotely from home. I’m home all the time. We’re together whenever we go out — at least this has been our standard operating procedure since COVID hit the country and we moved to a new state. How did my husband get it and not me?
I went back and forth on whether I should stay in California for a few more days, or whether I should take a flight back immediately. I finally decided to stick to the original plan and to take my noon flight home today. I’ll take a Lyft from the airport and move into the casita. Hopefully far enough away to not catch Omicron, but close enough to be there if my husband needs medical help.
What a stressful scary day. The other weird thing is when COVID hit so close, I felt like we had done something wrong. Like we’re guilty or dirty. I never felt that way with the flu or a cold. I think it’s because there’s so much politics going on with this virus.
If anyone in your family or close friends have gotten COVID, did they have a mild case or was it severe? How long did the symptoms last? Did part of your family get it but not everyone?
We got away for two weeks and life felt like it did before the pandemic. It gave me hope that yes, we will return to life before COVID-19 at some point in time. These past six months (or 165 days) of sheltering in place will come to an end.
With my husband required to work remotely, and my writing that can be done wherever, we returned to a tiny beach bungalow for the third summer in a row. We had planned this vacation way before the pandemic, but with the onset of working remotely, we extended our stay and had more time to escape the desert heat and relish in a change of scenery.
There’s something about the ocean that is spiritual and calming. I didn’t realize how much anxiety had been building inside me until I got to the Pacific, walked along the shoreline with waves lapping at my ankles. I could breathe. My back straightened up. I no longer felt trapped and scared.
A beach walk near Santa Barbara
The most freeing feeling was diving under a wave. I’ve always worn hard contact lenses — well since 7th grade anyway. I could never freely dive into a pool or ocean without goggles and worrying about losing contacts, which I’ve done more than once. Last fall I had cataract surgery and no longer wear contacts. It took me a couple dips into the ocean to realize that I could swim and dive under waves without fear.
Our kids joined us for a few days, along with my son’s girlfriend and one of her sisters. We shared meals outside, beach walks, and excursions into the city of Santa Barbara. That felt normal like prior summer trips. We’ve been visiting good friends in the area since before the kids were born. We caught up with other couples and had fun laughing and talking over meals, always outside and socially distanced. But what a nice change from all those months of no social activity.
Santa Barbara Harbor
Yes, I’m back in my house, it’s 109 degrees outside. But, I still have a little bit of that feeling of hope that things will get better. And life is good.
What experiences have you had that give you hope that the pandemic life will end?
Two years ago my August was crazy with stress. My husband was dealing with health insurance, doctors and trying to get tests done. A good friend practically died. My daughter was leaving college to move to a new state and career. Move forward two years and things are still stressful but mainly because of all the changes to what we consider “normal.” Looking back to my August two years ago reminds me that this year, although different, is not that bad.
Here’s what I wrote two years ago:
Waffles at the beach
Thank goodness I’m almost through with a momentous August. Usually, my Augusts are quiet and peaceful with countless hours reading books by the ocean or a mountain lake. But not this year. It’s been by far the craziest couple of weeks I’ve lived through.
Here’s a replay of the past few weeks:
• My husband’s pre-op nightmare battery of tests where they kept ordering test after test so he can have his shoulder surgery tomorrow. This is an entire story in itself that includes a cancer scare that I may write (complain) about on another day.
• Our dear friend passed out at the gym, having a blood clot lodge in her carotid artery causing a stroke—the morning we were driving four hours to see her. She spent a few days in ICU and after a few days was released and went on beach walks with me.
• My son’s girlfriend’s car accident on the day they were coming down to see us at the beach. The next few days helping them find a car because unfortunately the car was totaled. Eventually, they made it on vacation with us—in their new car.
The VRBO we had for one week in paradise.
• Finally, a one week’s beach vacation. Gone in a snap.
• Driving up the mountain to move the RV back to the desert with a friend to help us drive it down the twisty, windy roads. It wouldn’t start by the way. The batteries died. I asked to borrow jumper cables and then a truck because our car has a “weird-ass” battery that can’t be used to jump a car.
Big Bear Lake at the RV Park and Marina.
• Next, we drove to AZ to my daughter’s new house. My husband flew from Phoenix to Salt Lake City so he and my daughter could drive a U-Haul for 10 hours with her worldly possessions through flash floods and monsoon winds. I spent two days cleaning the dusty, dirty house until I was exhausted. But, I did have lil’ Waffles by my side the entire time.
They arrived in the U-Haul after a 10-hour drive.
• We hired movers to unload the U-Haul because of my husband’s upcoming shoulder surgery, plus my daughter’s distance-swimmer shoulder. We were told about a website where you can hire two guys for two hours for moving, which I did. Guess what? The movers didn’t show up! I’m currently trying to get a refund.
• We spent Sunday putting together Ikea furniture and unpacking boxes before making the trek back home.
My kids body surfing during one relaxing moment at the beach.
What could we squeeze in next? Shoulder surgery tomorrow and I get to be nurse and caretaker. Then I’ll return to AZ and help my daughter get settled—and bring the things I forgot to pack on our last trip–like her work wardrobe! Whew! No wonder I’ve been stressed lately.
What is your August like? Did it seem crazier than usual, too?
I wrote this five years ago about my summer vacation with family and friends at the beach. Yes, I miss those days!
My son learning to dive with the swim team. He’s third from the right.
“Do Good. Be Good. We’ll Be Doing Good.”
These are the words my son recorded for our voice mail message when he was four years old.I saved that for years.
What a thoughtful thing for our young son to say! My husband and I adopted that saying as our family motto.
A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.
I try to do good. Be good. Some days it’s a bigger struggle than others. But, it’s something to think about, too. What are we doing with our lives? Are we making a difference? Is the world a better place because we are in it?
A lot has to do with our outlook. I’m definitely one of the “glass is half full” types. I try to look at the positive and stay away from those who are negative. Turning on the TV can put you into negativity land. I truly believe that we can stay positive by removing negative influences around us. Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Read interesting books and essays. Swim! Like Ray Bradbury said, “Garbage in, garbage out!”
My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message. Vacation pic from years ago.
After spending a week in paradise—otherwise known as Carpinteria, CA—I look back on our vacation as perfect. We have great friends who live there who inspire me. I always come home with so much energy from being around positive, hard working entrepreneurs.
Also, my children spent a bit of the week with us. What a treat that was for me! With two college aged kids, having them together was priceless. We rode bikes, hiked, swam in the ocean, sailed, shared meals together. It’s hard to leave them, but I’m so thankful for the time we had together. That’s my glass half full talking as I sit in my lonely, quiet house once again.
Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.
I’m proud to say my kids look truly happy. They are definitely doing and being good.