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Spirit Halloween in San Luis Obispo on Madonna Rd

September 13, 2020
We visited the Spirit Halloween Store in San Luis Obispo on September 11, 2020. It was even scarier than last year's Halloween season. You can visit this very store this year located at: 323 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405. Here's our video clip from our recent visit.

Related Halloween Items:
 

I was let go before at a job and it was devastating

September 10, 2020
Because of coronavirus Covid-19, the economy has tanked and many are losing their jobs. People that I personally know have been laid off or let go from their positions.  They were hoping they would be spared from it but the inevitable happened. 

A couple of years ago, I was let go from a job and I did not see it coming. There was no warning, whatsoever, and I was getting complimented left and right from other people within and outside the organization. When I was let go, I was so devastated and I want to offer you some sympathy and let you know that I know how hard it is. It's a big disappointment and hard to come to terms with. 

You work hard, do your best and go above and beyond your call of duty but still, that did not help with retaining your job. I've been there. I worked so hard, scrambled to find daycare for both of my little ones and my pay was only enough to cover for my childcare costs and nothing more; and through all of those hurdles, it was still out of my control and they said my position was eliminated and I was let go. Even though it was almost 2 years ago, I am sad when I think about why they did what they did. I think it's because I had a feeling that my boss was feeling intimidated by my tremendous efforts and even another person in my department had wanted me to take over her position while she was going through chemotherapy, literally a week before I was let go. I know people in the organization knew of my capabilities but the only person who can let me keep my job is my boss. If your boss is not on your side, then what can you do, right? Even the Director of Human Resources showed such remorse for letting me go. It was like she didn't want me to go but my boss must have pulled some strings for this. HR extended my free gym membership for another year, a perk for having a city job, so that I may continue to use the facility even after I was no longer working for them. I guess she was trying to make herself feel better from the guilt she's feeling. What made it even harder for me to understand was why did the Director of HR have so much guilt letting me go while my boss just wanted to get it overwith. My boss could not look me in the eye and they still wanted me to continue to help them with a theatre event that very weekend. It all didn't make sense to me. It was so strange and I'm sure you had felt strange when you were being let go from a position that you cared so much for.

It's hard to not take it personally but you need to pull through. You need to try to think as many positive thoughts as you can because depression can easily take over and affect you and your loved ones. You might think, why was I let go but that Joe Smith was not? You might think, did my boss have beef with me and I didn't know until I was let go? You might think that Joe Smith was allowed to stay in the organization and you were let go because you were not capable enough. Do not think like that. If there is room for improvement regardless of whether you lost your job or not, then the right route to take is do some self-improvement for yourself and your future. Learn something new, find a new organization or club to be a part of so you can improve your team building skills. Have fun with it. Take this time to unwind, reflect and be open-minded about it.

Think of the things and gifts that you currently have: your partner, or children or even hobbies. Do more of the things that you love. I know it's hard to go outside during this pandemic but maybe you can pick up a new hobby, like painting at home or taking an online class. Keep yourself productive. Work out at home or participate in some volunteer work. Do things to keep you motivated about life and stay active, physically and intellectually. 

Hang in there, guys. I'm not going to say you'll feel better soon because it's something that you will remember and take with you. Just hang in there. We'll get through it. This is a humbling experience if you've never been let go before. It will give you so many relatable attributes that you've never identified with before. Just remember, this is a hard time that we are all going through. This pandemic is affecting many people. Some lost their loved ones. Try to think about what you have that others don't: like health, love and peace. Don't get yourself into a dark place. It is healthy to mourn the loss of an identity that you had as a worker but as you've heard before, your job does not define you as a human being. The quality of a person is defined by how good of a person you are; your moral compass, compassion and how you can offer a helping hand or ear to those less fortunate than you. Find someone who cares about you and who will not dampen your spirits because if you're around a leechy person, that can put you in a darker place. I know because I have a family member who is extremely toxic. Steer clear of the toxic people, reflect on yourself and if you're on unemployment, it's okay. Don't feel guilt. We paid our taxes for emergencies and downfalls like this.

And from experience, If you're eligible, don't delay the unemployment application. The process can take awhile if they are backed up. Stay motivated!

 

Distance Learning for Fall for the Kids and Me

July 31, 2020
(My makeshift desk below for online learning.)
makeshift deskDistance learning starts back again in a couple of weeks for my soon-to-be 1st grader. It's going to be his second go at this. We're happy to be learning but distance learning means parent involvement is crucial from 9AM - 2:30PM on school days with more live meetings every day this time. It means mommy is also one of his educators again and we're going to have to do this as a team. We've learned how to make it work better for my son during the last go and I have been doing online school for myself as well for the last 6 weeks and will be continuing for fall. Here are some of my thoughts about online learning.

I have a new respect for live online learning and now in California, every college, whether you attend SDSU, Cal Poly, Cuesta College or Stanford, about half of their classes, if not more, are going virtual for fall due to precautions against Covid. This is how it's going to be now.

CONS
There are notable cons and pros to online learning. Without having to worry about gas and commuting time is nice but live Zoom sessions for 3 - 4 hours at a time for 3 days a week are totally different and can be tough with distractions compared to my traditional classroom years that I had experienced at SDSU. For instance, there have been occasions when my spouse just happens to be home while I'm on my live online classroom and he has asked me a random question that's totally not important right in the middle of my class. Because I put my headphones on, my husband can't hear the contents of my instructor's lesson or my group meetings but they can totally hear him if my mic just happens to be on. Furthermore, live classrooms online mean your webcam has to be on so every classmate has the option to stare at your face without you knowing for the entire session via live Zoom. Group work and sharing screens via web were clunky at first too. And importantly, if your internet is down in the middle of class, then that automatically logs you out of the class session and troubleshooting and waiting for it to get back on can be stressful.

PROS
Because classes are online, I don't have to find childcare for my kids. There were days when my kids would make a ruckus or need my attention (my little one is 4) while my mic and cam were on for group work discussions and I've had to excuse myself for a minute, but it's still manageable. Surprisingly, I still feel connected to my classmates, maybe more so than the traditional learning environment. I think knowing that we are all trying to get through this pandemic together, there is an energy that's different. We also get a glimpse into our classmates' personal lives without trying because we are sitting in our homes with the webcam on. Every once in awhile, a classmate's child makes a surprise appearance for a brief moment. My little one's arm made it to my last class meeting as he was trying to wave like any normal 4 year olds would do. This is something you don't see in a traditional in-person class setting.

If you or your kids are starting distance learning soon and don't feel all too good about it, just remember that there will be good and tough days. Give yourself some grace and sometimes where you pick as your desk space for you or your kids can make a big difference. We would move my older son's desk space to a different spot if he had a hard time focusing at any point last spring when we started distance learning last March through May.distance learning at home 

(My son doing distance learning for school last spring 2020 in the left picture)

Even for my own online learning, figuring out what personally works took a few weeks. I started out at the dining table and realized soon that when my husband is home too, he actually makes more noise than my kids. My fav spot is moving my end table to the front of my closet in my bedroom and then moving it back when class is over. I don't have room for an office desk in our home but really, I don't need one. Make-shifting makes it easy to move around, when needed. (See my top picture of this blog entry for reference on how I made my end table a makeshift desk for my online class meetings.)

I've tried my desk space outside once while my husband was home to watch the kids and it didn't work out too well for me. The glare from the sun that reflected onto my computer screen made it hard for me to focus on a lesson. It sounded like a good idea but in reality, it can be stressful if you don't have an umbrella like me in this instance. And the wind noises can be so distracting if you're speaking with your classmates and your mic has to be on.

Distance Learning can be challenging, but at the same time, it offers some conveniences to some families as well. Let's hope life can get back to a more normal by next spring but until then, hold on; we're in for a ride! You're not alone with the frustrations and adaptations with distance learning. Remember, as it's becoming a coronavirus Covid-19 slogan, "we're all in this together". And who knows, you might grow to like this method better.

Have a great Back-to-School week! 
 

Robin's Restaurant in Cambria

July 25, 2020

We drove to Cambria earlier this week to enjoy some sightseeing in our county. We live in the South County part of San Luis Obispo County so driving to the North County part is a nice change. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing a second round of closures for San Luis Obispo County, many restaurants with patios and outdoor dining spaces are more popular since indoor dining is not allowed at this time. We went to Robin's Restaurant in Cambria to enjoy a very nice lunch in their garden dining area and we throughly enjoyed our meal. I ordered the fish tacos and my husband ordered the mole enchiladas.



They had a kid's menu as well which the kids liked. My older son had the spaghetti while my younger one got the pizza. Everything tasted fantastic. The portions were great and the service was attentive.


This was the menu that we were presented with when we sat down. I can't wait to come back again when we plan on making our way North because then, we can stop in at Robin's Restaurant and enjoy another delicious outdoor lunch!
 

Distance Learning for Fall 2020 in San Luis Obispo School Districts

July 19, 2020
Two major school districts in San Luis Obispo County have already officially announced that their students are going to be doing distance learning again for Fall 2020 starting in August 2020. See announcement links below:

San Luis Coastal Unified School District
https://www.slcusd.org/announcements-details.php?id=1898
SLCUSD will begin the 2020-2021 school year on August 24, 2020 with distance learning to continue through the winter break.

Lucia Mar Unfied School District
https://www.luciamarschools.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1693835&type=d&pREC_ID=1852169
First day of school is August 14, 2020


 

Macy's Delayed Delivery During Pandemic

July 12, 2020
I ordered 2 sports bras from Macys.com on June 11, 2020 (over a month ago) and my package has not arrived yet. This is crazy.

I was expecting it to be maybe 2 weeks delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic but over a month? I tried calling Macy's customer service toll free line separate times on 2 different dates but no one picked up when the automated line transferred me to a customer service representative. No customer service personnel right now guys! They are MIA. I am assuming that their customer service call center is overseas and they are probably shut down from Covid-19 or maybe Macy's is going out of business? I have no idea! I wanted to write about this to warn you guys. If you plan on ordering something online from Macy's, allot at least a month. 

I have my tracking number and at first, it looks like it was shipped via UPS, then transferred to USPS. It was like in the LA area for about 3 weeks, not moving. I thought maybe the package is lost. See my tracking progress in the image below. It says, it is finally expected to be delivered tomorrow on July 12, 2020 BUT, my original estimated delivery arrival was June 19, 2020. Who knows! I guess it's the USPS' fault but not being able to get a hold of a person from Macy's customer service toll free line is troubling. I attempted to call USPS' number too tonight and then realized there was finally movement when I went on the USPS tracking link again. I've had an online order delivered to a wrong address because of the delivery's person mistake before and so I truly thought this one was long-gone to someone in a different city. I live in San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County is the next county over so it looks like it is making its way...


Wish me luck, guys! This mama needs new sports bras and if it actually comes tomorrow, I'll update this blog entry with a status update. Macy's customer service line is unreachable right now. Make your online orders from a different website or you may lose your money if something is really wrong with your order.

UPDATE: My Macy's package finally arrived!
 

Ending of Phase 2 Reopening in SLO

June 14, 2020
Stating tomorrow, San Luis Obispo County will move into Phase 3 of reopening and today is the last day of phase 2. A lot has happened since my past post during phase 1. 

The kids are done with distance learning now so we have a bit of free time. I've notice a lot of tourists are here on the weekends at Pismo Beach too. Most of them were not wearing masks. I often wonder if they are refusing to wear one or if they just don't have one. See my DIY fabric face mask blog post.

During the week, all of the locals are amazing at wearing masks to grocery stores but on the weekends when the tourists are here, many inside of the grocery stores don't have them on, even though there is a sign in front asking them to wear them.

Picture of Phase 1 reopening at Pismo State Beach Above

We've been to the beach three times since the reopening started: once during phase 1 and twice during phase 2, which included a day during Memorial Day weekend. With Phase 3 opening tomorrow, I feel that tourists will feel even more comfortable with traveling so things around here will feel like there's no pandemic at all.

See our beach picture from Memorial Day weekend last month at Pismo State Beach above during Phase 2 of reopening. 

It is inevitable that that a second wave of coronavirus infections are coming our way when fall and winter come around. Then, we'll have to worry about both the flu and coronavirus because as we all know, during the colder weather is when the viruses thrive.

Stay healthy, everyone! Stay a safe distance and wear a mask if you can, to help your elders and those with autoimmune diseases. Enjoy your summer because we'll probably end up with another closure after the summer is over and more people are getting sick again. That is just my guess and only time will tell when it's going to happen.
 

What to do for Father's Day in SLO

June 4, 2020
As more businesses are reopening up, being out and about for Father's Day is doable now. Here are some ideas on what to do around San Luis Obispo County that will not break the bank and help make it a memorable day. Please remember to wear your mask.

  1. Avila Valley Barn - Open every day from 10AM - 6PM, Avila Valley Barn has a storefront that is considered a grocery store so they have remained open during the pandemic. You can feed the animals, walk around the farm and buy some local goods. Parking is always free so you can just stroll around without spending a buck, unless you want to buy some food for the goats. Address: 560 Avila Beach Drive San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
  2. Beach Day at Pismo Beach - The beaches are open here in San Luis Obispo County, including our most popular one, Pismo Beach. As a local, I still love coming to this beach because there are so many restaurants nearby. I love seeing visitors come here and enjoying my county. Some of the restaurants offer clam chowder, sandwiches and ethnic cuisines so the choices are plenty. Parking can be difficult but if you don't mind walking a few blocks away, it is very doable.
  3. Monarch Butterfly Grove (Grover Beach to Pismo Beach) - Monarch Butterfly Grove is a state park so it's open year round and always a big tourist spot. I come here for the trails behind it and I suggest everyone to take advantage of it. You can get to the ocean this way! It is such a beautiful walk through the trails but it's not very accessible for the disabled. However, the main Butterfly Grove area is spacious and allows room for those who need accessibility and strollers. You can also get to Monarch Butterfly Grove from the Grover Beach side off of Grand Avenue using the Meadows Trail.
  4. Creek Walk Stroll in Downtown - Whenever we are in downtown San Luis Obispo, we try to walk through it via the creek walk that's adjacent to Higuera St. It's a very easy walk and it actually goes right under the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Church, a famous landmark, as well. It's a very peaceful walk and you can get to so many other businesses by going up and down the creek, as an alternative route to the busy road.
 

DIY Face Masks

April 10, 2020

Since disposable face masks were being reserved for our healthcare workers at the beginning of the pandemic, we've resorted to making face masks with things we already have at home. While I was pregnant I picked up sewing to hem my maternity pants. Several years later, this sewing machine is coming around to be so useful for today's pandemic.

Week 1 of Making Face Masks


Using Hobby Lobby's guidelines, here are the two face mask sizes I made pictured below: one standard size and the other one was made to fit my kids. The Hobby Lobby's guidelines is set for the standard adult size for pleated face masks. I attempted to make the first one for my sons but then realized it was way too big so this big green one is now mine and the second smaller one pictured below is for my sons. They both have small heads so I made two of the small ones in the same pattern.


I couldn't find new elastic bands online for purchase and didn't want to go on a long scavenger hunt at our local stores so I found these old elastic headbands in my bathroom cabinet and used them as ear loops instead. They were amazing substitutes! I had one in black, green and white so they were just enough for our four face masks! I had to make the ear loops for my kids shorter. Otherwise, the small face mask wouldn't fit securely on their faces.


The most time consuming part for me was measuring the pleats evenly on both sides. The pleats are helpful in making sure the mouth and nose get good coverage. 


For the pleated face mask, according to Hobby Lobby's instructions, you'd need a fabric that is 8 inches x 15 inches. I used those dimensions for my husband and me. For the kids, I had to kind of eye it so for my boys (3 and 6 years old), I decided to cut the fabric size to 8 inches x 10 inches for them. It was perfect for my 6 year old but slightly too big for my 3 year old. However, it did not fall off his face and he could grow into them quickly. If your kid's face is on the bigger side, make them bigger than that and use your best judgment. I also feel that if you use hair ties instead of headbands, you'd need to make sure that the hair tie is long enough. I've found hair ties that were too short to use as ear loops.

Other things at home that you could use as elastics for the ear loops include old bikini straps and elastics inside of fitted sheets that you no longer use and can repurpose as a face mask.

This is a picture of the other two face masks I made below. I made my husband's face mask with his favorite NFL sports team's fabric, the Carolina Panthers.

For the kids' masks, you can see that I didn't add as many pleats.

UNIME Anti-Dust Mouth Mask Cotton Mouth Mask,Unisex Black Face Mask Reusable Fashion Mask Anime Face Mask Washable Mask Reusable Mask for Cycling Camping Travel for Men Women,Pack of 2


Week 2 of Making Face Masks
After I finished making pleated face masks for my family, a new trend started online of more people wearing non-pleated masks. Some of them even look like bra cups, which is facinating to me. If we save all of these non-pleated face masks, we can make bikini tops for the summer! I wanted to see if making these masks would be easier to make so I watched a tutorial online from Treasurie's blog and made myself a fabric stencil for it. 


There is definitely more cutting involved for making the non-pleated cup style face masks but I still enjoyed learning to make it. This mask ended up being a 3 layer mask so there is a sense of protection there and I find that this mask style is easier to breathe through than the pleated ones. Whether they offer more or the same protection as the pleated face masks, I'm not sure?


Here's how my non-pleated face mask looks below. I also now use pantyhose cuts as ear loops, instead of elastics because elastics are still so hard to find now. However, I've discovered that these nylon pantyhose subsitutions are so much better for the ears as they don't hurt when you wear them for too long. I also want to note that this sailboat face mask was made from a baby bed sheet that both of my kids used when they slept in a crib. Therefore, any mask that I make out of this has so much sentimental value to me.


Week 3 of Making Face Masks
After a couple of weeks of making face masks, I decided that I was confident enough to make face masks as gifts for friends. Here's how my 3rd week of face mask making looks like below. These are pleated face masks that I've significantly improved since week 1. The ear loops of these below are also made out of 1 inch cuts from a nylon pantyhose. I'm more careful with sizing my pleats and making sure my sewing is more steady. Plus, I'm not taking any more shortcuts and used an iron.


Stay safe, everyone. 

Similar Supplies for Sewing Projects:
Nautical Light Blue Sail Boat Marine Print Cotton Drapery Upholstery Fabric 55"W (by The Yard)

melupa 109 Yards Length 1/4 Inch Width Elastic Bands White Braided Elastic String Cord Heavy Stretch Elastic Rope for Sewing Craft, DIY Earloop, Beading
 

Shelter at Home During Covid 19 Closures

March 29, 2020
We've just finished Week 2 of sheltering at home and we're starting to have a decent routine down. Surprisingly, my kids have not asked me to take them to the park or anything like that yet. It's also my husband's second week working from home so I think that they're just enjoying being able to spend more time with him, even if it means we're just playing at home.

Only one of my kids is old enough to go to school so I've only had to worry about homeschooling my 6 year old. His kindergarten teacher has been really proactive in making sure the kids have everything they need to complete their assignments at home. We generally have 5 - 6 assignments every day, Monday through Friday. It helps keep my son busy and gives me peace in knowing that we're still doing everything we can academically. 

We've also taken advantage of the free meals for kids during school closures. We've only done 3 pick-ups within the last 2 weeks but we're planning on picking them up at least twice next week. (See a list of schools that provide free meals to kids during the Coronavirus closures.) My son likes the surprise brown bags or boxes that we'd get. We're grateful for this. Generally, it's the only reason I strap them in the car and take them out of the home. There's never a line when we go pick up my kids' meals. The meals are for any child ages between 0 - 18 years old. The meal pick-up times are between 11AM - 1PM but we generally go around 11:15AM. The milk that they give the kids have been helpful in making sure we have milk at home for them. 

I'm an introvert so staying home, watching TV and shopping online generally keep me occupied and content. My husband, on the other hand, is having a harder time staying home all the time. He's used to being out and about every day because of work. He's relying on facebook a lot to get his social fix. We've also designated him as our food runner to get groceries so he generally gets out of the house at least twice a week to do that for us. He'd get the groceries and then I make him immediately take off all his clothes and put them in the washer and take a shower so that we can avoid any exposure to any coronavirus on his clothes. We haven't been using gloves nor masks when we get out but I've noticed that about 25% of the people do. I've heard people in the bay area are more diligent on using gloves and wearing masks when they are at the grocery store. I'm thinking as the number of people infected in SLO county increases or the situation in our country gets worse, more gloves and masks will come out.

I'm saddened to hear that one of my friends lost her job due to this pandemic. With businesses closing, many have had to cut back employee's hours or lay off their staff. We're blessed that my husband has been able to work from home and keep his job. We'll always need electricity right?

I'm also saddened that the hospital staff members are going through a rough time already at Week 2. Not so much here in SLO but I'm originally from San Diego and the coronavirus Covid-19 situation is worse there. One of my close friends is an anesthetist at a hospital and she's confessed to me yesterday that going to work lately has been like going to the battlefield. She lives in San Diego and works night shifts and with both of her kids at home now, she said it has been hard. I'm sure the sleep is not easy during the day. I'm so proud of her but I hope she stays safe.

Stay safe everyone.

 

About Me


SanLuisObispoMom.com Originally from San Diego, California, the publisher of SanLuisObispoMom.com is a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, they now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here the exploration continues.

All photos (except for ads) on SanLuisObispoMom.com including: homepage, 'Family-Friendly Things to do' page, 'SLO Restaurants' page,'Mom Groups & Childcare' page, and 'blog' page were taken by me so they are original content of SanLuisObispoMom.com. 

To find family-friendly activities in the SLO area, go to the 'Family-Friendly Things To Do' page.

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