With the kids on their way to visit, my husband and I kept our promise to quarantine. The days at home gave me new appreciation for life in our backyard. (I wrote about the need to quarantine HERE.)
“Hey, it’s not that bad!” were my famous words I’d tell my swim coach after a hard set. We emblazoned the saying on t-shirts after the coach joked that he should advertise his Masters with my expression. (I wrote about not giving up — whether it’s swimming, fishing or writing HERE — complete with t-shirt pics.)
I discovered staying home “is not that bad” — and I that I love and appreciate my backyard.
The following are views that make me enjoy living where I do:
I watched three Harris Hawks land in a tree across the wall. They love to hang out there. Then one by one, they flew into our yard. I lost sight as they flew over our roof.
Here’s a video of one flying I captured in slow motion:
I can’t wait to see my son, daughter-in-law, her brother and my daughter!
What are your favorite things or views from your home?
I wrote this when we dropped our daughter off at college several years ago. Now that she’s living in the adult world — I still miss these things about her. We were lucky to have her sheltering in place with us for a couple of months. That was one of the good things that happened in 2020 — not COVID-19 and being locked down — but getting the chance to spend time together.
We took our daughter to college two weeks ago. She looks really happy in the photos posted on FB and Instagram. She’s made new friends, is enjoying her team and coaches — and likes her classes.
My life is busy with new and old projects. But, I notice a quiet, a sort of waiting sense, that I didn’t feel before. It’s the little things about her that I miss.
I miss her cracking my back. She would give me a hug, tell me to relax and say, “One, two..” and lift me up in the air before she said three. The result was cracking, popping relief.
I miss her making me laugh. Kat is funny. I love her little half smile when she knows she’s especially clever. And the crinkles around her eyes when she laughs out loud.
I miss her cleaning out my wallet and organizing it for me. She’d say, “Mom your purse is a gateway to hoarding.”
I miss her walking through the kitchen door after her morning workout asking me to make her eggs. I don’t have anyone to make eggs for right now — except my husband and me — and we rarely eat them.
I miss her cat Olive walking on the skinny end of her four poster bed while she watched Netflix on my laptop.
I miss when she was very young and called yellow “lallo.” And when we’d go to the beach and she’d strip naked as soon as her suit got wet. I used to bring a bag full of swimsuits for her.
I miss going to the pool and watching practice, chatting with the other swim parents. That was a luxury that I took for granted.
Yes, I miss her and I hope she knows how much I love her.
What are the little things you miss the most about your kids who have left home — or friends you no longer see very often?
Did you see the news about a food fight at a baseball game? It was the Phillies “dollar dog night” that got totally out of hand with hot dogs thrown throughout the stadium. When I saw that, I flashed on a memory from when my kids were young.
One of the great things we did for our children was sign them up for Junior Lifeguards in Laguna Beach in the summer. It was quite a project. Laguna residents got to sign up first. It was fierce competition to get a spot. I’d drive down the night before registration opened for non-residents and stay in a hotel. Once I took my daughter with me. We got up at 5 a.m. and sat in front of the parks and rec building in beach chairs and sleeping bags. We were about fourth in line.
The line grew long by 8 a.m. and people walking by said “Woah! What concert are you waiting to buy tickets for?”
My son is in the second row to the bottom, third from right.
At Junior Guards the kids would run on the beach, learn about the different beaches and coves, swim through the blow hole and out in the ocean. They had all sorts of competitive games they’d play on the beach, too. They’d be exhausted when I’d pick them up at the end of the day.
The final day of Junior Guards was a picnic at Heisler Park. We’d all contribute something for the feast. I was shocked to find out the picnic ended in a free-for-all food fight! It was a disaster with the kids in their white Junior Guard t-shirts smeared with mustard, ketchup and potato salad. The park was a disaster!
Needless to say, I was not happy that my kids participated in it. But talk about chagrin! My son informed me my adorable young perfect daughter started it!
My hoodlum daughter is in the second row to the bottom with a big braid over her shoulder. My son is two rows directly above her.
What have your children done that surprised you — good or bad?
In a news release from Liberty Elementary School District (LESD) on Nov. 14, it was announced the district that serves more than 4,500 students in Buckeye and Goodyear will shorten its school week.
The K-8 students will observe the new schedule in the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.
“The decision comes after months of research, community discussions and surveys. The idea was first explored last year as a cost savings measure in response to failing to pass a budget override. After surveying staff and families in the spring, it was clear this idea garnered initial support regardless of how much money it saved. For that reason, combined with the potential to better recruit teachers in a nationwide shortage, the idea was further explored,” the news release read.
A committee was formed and met several times to research, develop four-day plan options, and go over the pros and cons.
“The LESD administration recognizes that while this change may be viewed favorably by some, it is also not the first choice for some of our staff members and families. Much work lies ahead to adjust calendars, contracts and other logistics to line up with this new four-day week,” the district said.
Students will have an extra 40 minutes tacked onto their school day, but in exchange, they’ll have Fridays off.
As for four-day work weeks, employers are having a tough time attracting employees. Especially getting them back into the office after working remotely. Many companies have hybrid schedules of two days in the office, three days at home, or the reverse.
Towards the end of 2022, headlines began popping up trumpeting the arrival, at long last, of a new way of working. Business Insider’s, for example, read: “New Research May Have Just Paved the Way for the 4-Day Week.” The research in question was the first large-scale, independent pilot programs to test the impact of reducing the workweek to roughly 32 hours, without any reduction in pay.
Conducted by the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global (4WDG), the two pilots were based on six-month trials that included 33 companies and a total of 903 employees, primarily in the U.S. and Ireland. They confirmed a thesis that has been gathering steam for a while: a shorter work week is better for both employees and employers.
My kids are three years apart in age. They had different experiences with social media growing up. I think “My Space” appeared when my son was in junior high and he didn’t have a smart phone. Kids in his class got in trouble for bullying and posting content that wasn’t considered appropriate.
If I remember correctly, my son got his first iphone for high school graduation. Facebook, My Space and whatever else was popular back then wasn’t a significant part of his life.
My daughter on the other hand had friends with iphones as early as third grade. I think we held off until she was 13 or 14.
At the pool, whether it was swim practice or meets, before the advent of smart phones, the kids would all hang out together under pop-up tents and play word games, cards or Catchphrase. The high school kids would play alongside the middle and elementary school-aged kids. I loved that about swim team.
By the time my daughter was in high school, everyone sat like robots on their iphones. There was bullying going on between teammates sitting yards apart. Nobody talked or laughed like they used to.
Now I’m seeing reports from the CDC, prestigious medical centers and doctors that social media is harmful to kids under a certain age. Although most social media sites restrict use to kids under 13 — it’s a well known fact that 10 year-olds are using social media sites.
Here’s an excerpt from an article called Protecting kids from social media’s harms by Stephanie Whiteside:
(NewsNation) – How young is too young for social media?
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is saying 13 years old is too young for social media accounts. Under U.S. law, sites that allow those under 13 to create accounts have to abide by stricter policies around data collection and privacy.
Research has shown social media can be harmful to kids and teens who are still developing their identities, damaging mental health and even impacting brain development.
After wandering around my house in shock for a couple days because of my mom’s sudden death, I headed to Berkeley to be with my kids. This was a preplanned trip which I think came at a remarkable time. My son is having foot surgery and he asked me to come up and take care of him for a few days.
I think this will help keep me busy and distracted. I think being with both my kids will be more helpful to me than I will be to them!
Of course the weather is supposed to be absolutely miserable with pouring down rain every day. I’m sitting at the airport in Phoenix with the blue skies surrounding me. I was worried about flying Southwest, but they seem to be back on schedule.
Here’s to my children and getting through my waves of grief. Here’s a link to my story about my mom.
If you lost someone in your life recently, what was most helpful for you to handle greiving?
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?