I was born in the San Fernando Valley, in Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in Chatsworth, with three older brothers and a little sister, plus our grandparents lived with us, so there were 9 people in the house. Chatsworth is the most Northwest part of the Valley, which when I was growing up was quite rural. I grew up across the street from Mason Park, where the Bad News Bears was filmed, which we all watched excitedly. It wasn’t until later that Chatsworth became the porn capital of the country (allegedly). I went to Chatsworth High and worked in the Chatsworth Public Library through college. I am a Valley girl to the core, and there are times when the accent definitely comes out. Like, “fer sure, you know.”
I bought my first house in Reseda at the bottom of the real estate market and sold it 6 years later for 3 times what I bought it for. Took that money and bought a nicer house in Lake Balboa, and then the real estate market tanked and I got laid off from great jobs twice in a single decade. Kept my house by the slimmest margin, but times were tough, especially after the second layoff, when it took me almost two years to get a good, solid job. An opportunity came up with a company I had a long association with, for a strong role, and in spite of a lot of doubts and fears, I decided, what the fuck, sometimes you just have to roll. So, I sold my house, packed up my little dog, said goodbye to my family and friends and basically everyone I know and love, and moved to Massachusetts late last fall. And despite missing my family and friends like crazy, I really like it here!
I’m sort of astonished that I have had the cajones to change my life completely at this stage, especially since I am not exactly what you would call a risk taker. I’m also proud of the way I treat people and the way I conduct myself, in general. My personal creed is pretty much “don’t be a dick” and I think I live up to that about 90% of the time.
Underneath this seemingly mundane middle-aged woman lurks a passionate soul. I am passionate about life in general, being a good person, trying to help other people when and where I can. I’m passionate about laughter and finding the funny, and not taking myself too seriously. I work hard, and I’m passionate about doing a good job and being a good boss and trying to mentor and help people grow.
My present is a happy adventure, with some lonely moments as I build a new life. My past had a lot of love and laughter (which continues to the present), a lot of adventures, a lot of pretty intense challenges, including career shakeups and a lot of health challenges. Crazy things have happened to me, and I’ve really tried to just power through them with as much grace as I can, usually accompanied by a lot of worrying and a lot of love and support from my family and friends, who, by the way, are awesome people.
I started my blog, at firstname.lastname@example.org when I got laid off, as a way keep myself disciplined by writing and posting once a week, and as an outlet for my feelings. It really was just intended for me, and close friends, but I have been blessed to receive some positive feedback from it, which was so especially needed and welcomed after my layoff, which was quite ego crushing. After a year, I let myself off the hook with the weekly updates, which had become a bit rote. Now I just write and post whenever the mood strikes or when something interesting or funny or strange or sad happens. I don’t take a lot of time to edit myself, I just usually write it all out in one sitting, give it a spell check and post away. I pretty much always have a blog going in my head, so sometimes it’s just a matter of deciding what’s appropriate to share (because not everything is) and then finding the time and energy around a demanding job to actually write it. I’m always thrilled and surprised when people actually read what I write, and consider all comments a great gift.
You can also catch Kathi in pictures on Instagram: @kampysue
Enjoy Kathi’s answers to the Bonus Questions!
What advice would you give the teenage you?
Love yourself! Take more chances! Stop worrying! It will all work out. Not in the way you expect, but it does eventually work out. Also, you are beautiful. 20, 30 and 40 years from now you will look at old pictures of yourself and ache at how lovely you were, and how you never knew it.
Name a place you would like to visit?
Too many places to list, but for a start, Vancouver, Greece, Italy, Alaska, Cape Cod (coming soon, I hope).
How important is music in your life?
This is a weird thing about me. I love music, and I am always breaking into song, like a character from a musical. But, in general, I prefer silence. So, if I’m alone in my house, for a weekend, or whatever, most likely I’m not listening to anything except the sound of my dog’s nails clicking on the wood floors and my own crazy thoughts. However, when I am cooking, or exercising, I crank my Itunes and sing and dance as I sauté and blanch, or pedal fiercely to nowhere. I’m a fairly bad dancer, even though I took ballet for about 8 years when I was young, so I am fairly ridiculous in my moves, but I have fun and that’s all that matters.
What is your favorite Inspirational quote?
My favorite quote is from John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire: It is hard work, and great art, to make life not so serious.
Do you recycle?
I do recycle, but not as aggressively or effectively as I should. My secret shame (well no longer secret) is that I have a large carbon footprint. I’m working on it.
Give money to the beggar on the street or tell them to “Get a job!” Which one are you?
I keep Kind bars in my purse to hand out to people on the street. I’ve been both thanked and spit at for this, but I think you have to do what you can. It’s a complicated issue, but I would never be of the “get a job” mentality.
What is one law you would do away with?
Decriminalize marijuana, for Pete’s sakes! Ridiculous in this day and age!
What was your favorite meal growing up?
My favorite meal, now and forever, is Thanksgiving dinner! I make a crazy good turkey and stuffing.
What has the greatest loss in your life been?
I had a very close friend, for decades, a best friend, that I thought would be my friend forever. And then they weren’t, in a very painful and difficult way. There was really no closure. To this day, it is a deep pain in my life, and while I have of course, moved onward and upward, I don’t think I will ever truly get over this loss.
What is your horoscope sign? Do you feel it fits you?
I’m a Scorpio and normally I would say no, because Scorpios are supposed to be hot tempered, which I am not! But, I would say I am more complicated than people might think (maybe everyone thinks this about themselves) and while I am quick to forgive, I am not at all quick to forget. It doesn’t mean I will hold a grudge, but if someone wrongs me, I will be very cautious in my dealings with them, and very self-protective for a long time.
What is one thing that you don’t know how to do, that you wish you did?
Cartwheels! Also, multiply, and speak fluent Spanish.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Meanness, bigotry and when people leave their Christmas lights up too long.
Who do you talk to on the phone the most?
I talk to my sister and my dad all the time, like, several times a week, easily. But for pure hours logged, that would be my best friend, Kerry, hands down.
If you’re playing trivial pursuit, what is your category?
I’m sort of a mad, crazy Trivia Savant. You don’t want to go up against me, let me warn you! But I am strongest in history, literature and pop culture. My one Kryptonite is sports. So, I used to challenge people when I got the sports category in Trivial Pursuit that if I correctly answered every other category I could make the point. It was kind of cheating but it was a good party trick!
Who is the first person who comes to mind that you would take a bullet for?
I would probably take a bullet for anyone I love, and most of the people I like. There’s a chance I’m taking a hit for perfect strangers too. But the person I would fight a hungry bear for, with a patty melt on my curly head, is my sister, Wendy.