Not Ready for the New Day

My state is lifting all pandemic restrictions and fully opening. A new day is dawning.

And I’m not ready.

Since the countdown began to things returning to normal, I’ve struggled on and off with waves of anxiety at the thought. Although today is the “big day” I’ve already seen the shift . A larger percentage of people have ditched their masks. On social media, I see ‘friends’ celebrating with large gatherings, trips, and no safety measures.

And it’s freaking me out.

I am fully vaccinated. People are being asked to use the honor system. If a person is not vaccinated, he is being asked to do the right thing and wear a mask. Unless the person has a medical reason for not being vaccinated (and would still be wearing a mask if that was the case), I am trying to understand why someone would not get the vaccine – not only for their own safety but the safety of others. Then again, I cannot help jumping to conclusions and assuming that a person who would not wear a mask unvaccinated is probably in that same group of people who did not take the pandemic seriously. I know that I should give people the benefit of the doubt and I’m trying sooooooo hard!

Then there’s the matter of my grandsons, who are too young to be vaccinated. They are still at risk. They have to wear masks. In our family, even if we were so inclined to not wear a mask, if the boys are with us masks are required. Especially with six year old Beej, who will not hesitate to point out that it’s not safe to go without a mask. He has been a rock star throughout the pandemic- spending a good part of the year in the company of adults only and remaining safe in all areas- mask, social distancing and hand-washing- with no complaints. And I will continue to keep him safe until he is no longer at risk.

Things aren’t going to be normal. Each state has different guidelines. Businesses have the right to require masks and exercise safety measures. Although it feels like the world is opening up and everything will be ‘normal’ again, the truth is that even normal will be a new normal and it will take time to adjust to it. The reality is other parts of the world are experiencing surges and lockdowns. New variants of the virus seems to be popping up daily.

It’s too soon to toss the masks and pretend that the last 14 or 15 months never happened. It’s still here. It’s just different.

I won’t be ditching my mask. I will be cautiously dipping my toe into the new normal to test the waters. And as we move forward, regardless of where you might fall on the pandemic spectrum in terms of belief or opinion, I hope you will continue to practice patience and kindness.

Peace and love,

-Kat

Happy Belated Banned Books Week!

Last week was Banned Books Week. To this day it amazes me how many books are challenged and the reasons why.

Some of the Challenged Books that I’ve Read:

I read the first seven books in high school. Analyzing these novels led to insightful, meaningful conversations and most of these books left lasting impressions on me. I admit that I only have the vaguest memories of a few

  • The Great Gatsby
  • by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • by J. D. Salinger
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • by Harper Lee
  • Catch- 22
  • by Joseph Heller
  • Animal Farm
  • by George Orwell
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • by Ken Kesey
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • by Kurt Vonnegut

The next two books I read as a young teenager. I have vivid memories of being in junior high and reading Forever aloud with my best friend while we waited for our ride after school. I’m sure my mother would have never allowed me to read the books if she had known the subject content. My poor kids weren’t as lucky as I was.

  • Forever
  • by Judy Blume
  • Go Ask Alice
  • by Anonymous

The last titles on my list all came out when my kids were growing up or grown up. While I wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding the previous books and why they were challenged, as an adult I knew that there would be some who objected to list below. My own children read most of them and I wouldn’t have had a problem with them reading them.

  • Twilight series
  • by Stephenie Meyer
  • Harry Potter series
  • by J. K. Rowling
  • The Hunger Games series
  • by Suzanne Collins
  • Thirteen Reasons Why
  • by Jay Asher
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

I cannot imagine a world without books that challenge us to think, re-think, explore, grow and learn. Isn’t that part of the joy of reading? To be taken to a place you’ve never been?

What are your favorite banned books?

-Kat

Finding Motivation

I’m doing a great job of ignoring the voice in my head that’s been screaming for months. What’s it saying? Ugh. I don’t even want to go there. But I’m the one bringing it up so I have no choice but to share it. “The only way to write is to write!!!” That’s what it says most of the time. But then lately it’s been interrupted by a louder, angrier voice yelling out in a booming voice that ricochets around my head- “COVER YOUR NOSE!!!” That annoying voice is my constant companion when I’m out in public. Luckily most of my face is covered by a mask so the only thing a person might see is my eyes expressing my displeasure at the voice…. and their nose being uncovered.

I’ve contemplated printing up flyers to hand to people or toss into their shopping carts politely showing them the correct way to wear their mask. I’ve considered writing in bold black sharpie “COVER YOUR F-ING NOSE” or “WEAR A MASK” on the back of my shopping list. My son, who sometimes accompanies me on these shopping trips, looks uneasy and almost anxious when I bring up my ideas. It might be the real reason he rarely comes with anymore.

But none of this has anything to do with my lack of motivation for writing. I have a bit to say but lately it’s more about the pandemic than anything else. I keep thinking that this is something I should be filling journals with and yet, I can’t write much at all.

I’m hoping this epic writer’s block hits the road soon. We are coming into the colder months and being cooped inside with my people and no motivation to write might get the best of me!!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday- -tion

Stay safe!

-Kat

Goodbye, May!

mask

This really is the time that introverts have been training for all of their lives!

I blinked and it was gone. The month. Which is pretty hilarious considering time has slowed down so much it’s ridiculous. I’m fairly certain that each day has doubled in hours, if not more. I clearly remember the last day life felt normal. March 13th. Yes, Friday the 13th. I guess I should have taken that as a sign! And I know where the month of May went. It was consumed by that all too familiar thief of the times- The Virus. I can just picture it in my head…. like a secret agent complete with dark glasses, trench coat, dark hat pulled low over his forehead sneaking in the steal away with the month of May tucked under his arm.

After that day, while restrictions piled up on a daily, if not even more often, basis, normal everyday life just slipped away. In those early days I battled with anxiety in a way I had never experienced in my life. Luckily I got that under control and these days although it creeps up on my from time to time, I’m usually able to get a lid on it.

The thing is, I understood the need for the restrictions. They were for our own good. To keep us safe. To save lives. Maybe I wouldn’t die if I had it, but the at risk members of my family quite easily could. So logically I got it. Unfortunately in those early days, my anxiety did not.

In the months that have followed, I’ve discovered so many things. Here are just a few-

  • I learned that e-learning is the pits and I’m so glad I didn’t have to deal it with my own kids when they were in the 5-10 year age group!
  • It’s really easy to lose track of time. Although my month of May was stolen, I’m never sure what day of the week it is and I spend a lot of time checking the calendar, as if it’s going to shout out a message, “Welcome, Kat- today is Sunday!”
  • Living by Zoom meeting is a totally different experience than life before zooming.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in shopping online and spend, spend, spend.
  • If I didn’t want unexpected visitors before, I REALLY don’t want any visitors now.
  • I’ve never been so suspect of people that I thought I trusted. Face coverings and social distancing…. this one took me by surprise. In 2-1/2 months we have only had one person inside our house who is outside our 5 person circle. And the only house I’ve been in besides my own is my dad’s. Keeping him safe and inside (meaning not out in public) has been a challenge. (He touches everything and then his face.)
  • I found out what was truly essential.
  • My worry for the 2/3 of my kids who continued to work throughout grew in epic proportions. Both were essential workers- a first responder and store cashier.
  • Although my state has moved into the next Phase, I’m not ready. What little I’ve seen in the past two days causes me major concern. Face coverings and social distancing are being thrown by the wayside. For more reasons than I could list, people are desperately trying to grab onto their former lives and freedoms. I am not.

And last and most important of all-

  • While the world was shut down, life kept moving. There were birthdays, births, graduations, health issues, pet health issues…. some passed by with little fanfare and others will be celebrated like crazy when it truly is safe to do so.

And so, I’m saying goodbye to May and holding on to hope that June is filled with better things!

Please stay safe!

-Kat

Fandango’s One Word Challenge- thief

Ragtag Daily Prompt- For our good

Photo a day challenge- Goodbye May