My New Normal

Usually, I’d use my free week to share the books I’ve read during the month. But this month I’m going to change things up a bit. One reason is that I haven’t read much. Since the end of February, I’ve only completed one book and half of two others (I normally have at least two books going at a time). The biggest reason for my lack of reading is that life has altered dramatically for us all since the last free week. Unless we were already spending most days at home, our daily routines have been disrupted. So this week I decided to focus on some of the other things that have filled my days.

School: The university where I teach canceled classes on March 12, and immediately instituted training for staff to begin online instruction. Though the original plan was for classes to remain online through the end of March, this was quickly extended through the end of the semester. I enjoy a challenge, and I love learning about new technology, but it’s been time consuming having to record all my lectures for the rest of the year on video, along with adjusting my Power Point slides to illustrate what I would normally write on the board, and coordinate that with the musical recordings I would use (I teach music education). Added to that are the assignments that are normally submitted, and graded online. All this adds up to several extra hours of online time per day, leaving my eyes too tired to read, even traditional print-on-paper types of books. This, I feel, is the biggest reason my reading has really slowed down.

Writers

Writing friends “meet” to brainstorm and offer suggestions for our stories.

Groups: My calendar normally has a lot fewer blank spaces than it does now. Normally, there are weekly rehearsals for three performing groups, two sewing groups, church, and family visits. Plus, there are monthly meetings with writing groups (three), hobby groups (two), and old friends. But all this has come to a halt. Some keep in touch through email or Facebook messenger. Other groups are making connections through video options, like a recent “gathering” of a several authors who met recently for brainstorming/problem solving using an app called Zoom:

family

Our Sunday “family time” looks quite different.

Family: My 86-year old mom lives in an apartment housed in a senior facility where some of her meals are provided, so I don’t have to worry too much about her physical needs being met. But I know she’s lonely, so I call her a few times a week, and I drop off home cooked dishes as well as things she tells me she’s running low on. She has an iPad and an iPhone, so she can call me or any of her sons and grandkids via FaceTime if she’s having difficulty filling out how to make something work or just needs to connect. My daughters recently introduced us to an app called HouseParty, where we could all “meet” from our homes and play games together like Pictionary and Charades.

Projects: People ask me if I’m going crazy having to spend so much time at home, since I’m not going anywhere, but so far I haven’t had a chance to get bored yet. I have so many projects that I’m finally getting started on, and many that I’ve finished. So far I’ve managed:

  • Quilts: 15 quilt tops completed (as of Sunday afternoon). As soon as the church’s quilt guild gets back together, these will be backed and tied and given to the hospital, the veterans’ home, and other charities.
  • Pillowcases: 7 pillowcases (so far) for one of the homeless shelters in the city.
  • I also have several future projects lined up to work on. I have a subscription to receive a monthly card-making kit. I think this month’s rainy day theme is perfect for this time. I’ve got ideas for Easter cards as well as other “cheer up” messages to send to loved ones around me. I’ve also got several face masks cut out and ready to put together when I have a chance to watch the instructional video recommended by our local hospital (see below).

From what I’m reading, this will be our routine for some time. I will be finished grading papers this week, so that will free up more time for me. I know lots of sewists around the country, including our former fox Joselyn Vaughn, have been making masks for a few weeks, but I want to make sure my teaching job is done before I divert my attention to something new. If you’re interested in joining me, here’s a video of the type of mask our local hospital is asking for. There’s a pouch into which a special filter can be inserted. Without the filter, the mask can be used in places that are NOT treating COVID-19, which frees up the N95 masks for those who need them. I’ll post the video below.

As you can see, life in our home looks different, but we’re coping. Hubby is dealing with physical challenges, but maintains an upbeat attitude. He still loves to cook, though he has trouble eating due to recent dental work. And he’s working on finding new TV shows to watch. So far we haven’t had too many heated discussions. If I don’t like what he’s watching, I’ve got plenty of other stuff to do in other parts of the house. As far as I’m concerned, we’re blessed in that we have a place to live and our needs are met. We’ll manage, and it’s our sincere hope that all of you will, too.

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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8 Responses to My New Normal

  1. trishafaye says:

    I love your title – Your New Normal. That’s what it is. Life has turned upside down for just about everyone. But we find new ways to deal and cope with it. And hopefully, along with the challenges, most of us discover new blessings and appreciation too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Trisha. I’m certain you’re right. These are frightening times, but the trials make us even more thankful for what (and who) we have.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff Salter says:

    wonderful attitude and what seems like superb adjustments to the new word-wide craziness.
    Before CoVid-19 hit and spread rapidly across our globe, I thought of you as one of the busiest and best organized people I knew.
    No change in that assessment.
    In fact, it doesn’t seem — to me — as though you’ve dropped ANY of your (formerly) “normal” activities … except for the physical gathering with those three performing groups.
    Wow. It wore me out just reading about your recent weeks of “new Normal.”

    Like

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      You’re so kind! It’s true that my performing groups haven’t met, but that actually frees up a lot of time – travel, rehearsal, travel home, dealing with finding reeds that work well, going to the shop to have stuck keys and other issues dealt with – haven’t done any of that lately. And my scrapbooking groups haven’t met either, so my pictures are still waiting to be put into my family albums. The silver lining there is that I haven’t taken many pictures lately either, so I don’t worry about that so much. Looks like my 2020 album is going to be thinner than years past!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so glad that you are able to do so much with your mother. My brother is 45 miles away and we are not allowed to drop anything off.He is on the phone at least once a day with my sister.It’s been hard on us.
    You certainly are making the most of your time, as you ALWAYS do, Patty! You are a driven woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Tonette, but I’m not sure if I’m driven, or if I’m using this opportunity to clear out my craft room so that when my children haul me out of here they won’t have to dig through my piles of fabric to find me!

      Like

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I think you are an amazing person. I don’t think I can keep up with you.

    Like

  5. Wow! You’ve been so productive. I hadn’t heard of either of those apps, I’m going to look for them.
    I’m making Olson masks,which is what my local hospital requested. I like that I don’t have to mess with pleats and it has a filter pocket.

    Like

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