Month: April 2020

TueNight 10: Cat Greenleaf

Age: 48 Bio: Cat is the creator of Talk Stoop on NBC which she hosted from her Cobble Hill townhouse for nearly a decade. Now, at her present home in Coney Island, she and her family play on the beach & make upcycled furniture for their #ZeroWaste home staging and interiors biz, Greenleaf & Sons. Beyond the Bio: “Presently, the world is loopy for everybody — over 40, under 40, or eternally 40 like me! But my life has been inside out for the past three years: working through depression, losing my job, facing financial upheaval, adjusting to a new family structure. And now I’m here, finally out of those weeds. Grateful and changed. Then COVID-19 came to town and the earth shook again. Since our foundation had already fallen away, we’d already had to rebuild. And since I spent a long time in bed — a long time — I’m already back up on my feet.  Our hearts are breaking daily along with everyone else’s, but we’re able to support our loved ones facing terrifying uncertainty today because we’ve so recently weathered our …

I’m Willing to Dye for Normalcy

I haven’t worn makeup in 34 days. Or pants, for that matter. Since my family and I decamped from our New York City apartment to our upstate home, I wake up every day and slip on one of the two pairs of black leggings I have with me, and one of two stretched-out sports bras. Apparently, when packing for a pandemic, it’s smarter to bring an assortment of workout clothes than it is to bring cute sweaters. Those sweaters, along with a couple of pairs of jeans, remain folded in my duffel bag, next to the flat iron I thought I might use.  Use for what? To make my rooty hair look better as I trudge between my kitchen and garbage shed for the hundredth time? Or sit across a silent breakfast table from my shell-shocked family who could care less how I, or they, look? I was never much one for elaborate beauty routines but my regimen has now been reduced to face splashing and teeth brushing. Last night I tweezed my eyebrows for …

TueNight 10: Sulyn Silber

Age: 52 Quick bio: Sulyn has been a personal trainer for 20 years and a massage therapist for 14. She has recently moved from NYC to Denver to spend more time in nature, and more specifically, in the mountains. During the Covid-19 pandemic, as a professional who relies on in-person workouts, she switched up her business to offer customized virtual personal training sessions. She mixes her simple DIY workouts with a badass personalized playlist from her days as a DJ.  Beyond the Bio:  “Turning 50 was huge. I found more confidence in my daily life and I wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers, but I also realized that I had the power to defuse situations. Part of this comes from my daily meditation practice, which started in 2014, and from endless hours of talk therapy. Being in my 5th decade on this planet, I live life as fully as I can, each and every day. And I try to find kindness in moments that may have eluded me in my younger days.” What makes you a grown-ass lady?  “Being …

What Our Country Has Lost With Corona We’ve Lost Before

I wrote this poem in 2001, just days after 9/11, when I was 25 years old and living in Brooklyn. Reading it now, at 43, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am experiencing similar feelings of grief, anger, suspicion, confusion about what this means for our civil rights, and yes, fear of going to war once the dust settles (because let’s be honest, the U.S. cannot let ineptitude go unpunished, even when its our own). The reason I want to share this poem now is because I know that fear and turning a blind eye to injustice increased exponentially in the decade following 9/11, and I’m hoping that doesn’t happen this time around.  “A Matter of Gray” Questions have come to visit mea life led carelessly is hard to organizeprioritize, re-schedule, pencil inagain. I spent those first days looking for clues, conducting my own “investigation”unraveling global maps gone dusty to find the jagged, colored section with which to drop my rageI placed a push-pin there like people dowhen they have visited a place… or hope toas if …

TueNight 10: Katie Rosman

Age: 48 Quick bio: Katie is a reporter for the New York Times. As she puts it, she’s “in the business of knowing other people’s business.”  Like many reporters, Katie’s usual features beat has shifted to covering COVID-19 — she wrote about the outbreak in Seattle and shared tips for staying sane through the crisis. Katie is also the author of the memoir, If You Knew Suzy. And she’s started making these wonderful, hand-stitched dinner napkins.  Beyond the Bio: “I’m worried. I’m bored. I’m wearing sweatpants for the 23rd consecutive day. But I’m also very grateful because I’m healthy, I’m employed and I’m privileged beyond description. My goal each day is to stay connected to the gratitude. But it takes work because, basically, my anxiety’s got anxiety.” What makes you a grown-ass lady? “Not apologizing for what I shouldn’t be sorry for, and being the first to say sorry when I fuck up.” 1. On the nightstand: Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman. Hand sanitizer.  2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Diet Coke 3. Jam of the minute: “Ain’t No Man” by Angaleena Presley 4. Thing I miss: Walking out the front door. …

Child hugs Mom during downward dog

Finding Equilibrium: When You Both Need Care

My jaw clenches as he yells at me from less than two feet away about a video game character’s ability to perform some amazing feat I immediately tune out, despite the loudness of the words being drilled into my head. He’s woken up far earlier than usual, and the things I needed to do to make sure that I am taking care of myself before he gets up are forcefully blown into the wind, like someone else’s heartfelt desires against dandelion seeds. “Please lower your voice. I’m standing right here.” “I’M NOT YELLING.”  He says this genuinely; without guile or sarcasm. “I know you don’t think you’re yelling, but trust me when I tell you, it sounds way louder out here than it does in there. And you have to remember that there are other people in this house; we’re not home alone anymore. Please lower your volume.” He scowls, takes in a breath, and then proceeds to say the exact same thing at the exact same volume, except now in a deeply exasperated tone. …

TueNight 10: Tara Shaver

Tara hikes a glacier in South Iceland in winter — 3 years after an unexpected total hip replacement (Photo provided by Tara) Age: 41 Quick bio: Tara is a volunteer engagement advisor with AARP by day and moonlights as a video storyteller. She is currently promoting her COVID-19 Chronicles, which documented her household’s journey with this coronavirus, including a crowd-sourced Q&A. “My boyfriend and I were two of the first people in Tennessee to be diagnosed with COVID-19. We had symptoms of the virus for 12-14 days and have been released from observation by public health since March 21. Since we have fully recovered, we are now participating in a COVID-19 vaccine study conducted by Vanderbilt University, and taking steps to donate plasma specifically for COVID-19 therapies.” Beyond the Bio:  “I’m a self-proclaimed city bumpkin. Born and raised in a small community outside of a small town in rural north Alabama, I love the conveniences and variety of city life, while embracing the best parts of ‘my raising.’ World traveler. Shoe junkie. List maker. Life changer. Curly Girl.” What …

That Time Simon LeBon Worked in My Office

Like many 13-year-old girls in 1984, I often dreamed that Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon would one day randomly show up at my door. Unlike most of those girls, however, that actually ended up happening to me. And the story is nuts. In the early ‘00s, I worked at Rykodisc, an independent record label. If you are “of a certain age,” you may remember Ryko for its David Bowie, Elvis Costello, and Frank Zappa CD reissues and/or its trademark green CD cases. The Business Affairs office, where I worked, was located outside of Philadelphia in Main Line suburban Bryn Mawr, PA, in a nondescript compound: Ryko had the building in the front (an old 1920s-era stone mansion), while RuffNation’s successor company occupied the two brick stable buildings in the back, which they had renovated and converted into offices and a state-of-the-art recording studio. One day, our office manager (we’ll call him Eric) brought some payment approvals or something upstairs to my office for signature. Eric was about 6 years younger than me, in a pop …

TueNight 10: Tyrese Coleman

Age: 40 years old today! (April 1) Quick bio: Tyrese L. Coleman is the author of the collection, How to Sit, a 2019 Pen Open Book Award finalist published with Mason Jar Press in 2018. Writer, wife, mother, attorney, and writing instructor, she is a contributing editor at Split Lip Magazine and her essays and stories have appeared in several publications, including Black Warrior Review, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, and the Kenyon Review.  Beyond the Bio: “Life right now is all about ‘sheltering in place’ because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that I am cooped up in the house with my family and socializing via video chat. However, I have discovered some positives. One is that I have money since I am not out spending it. And another is that I have started jogging, something that I never thought I would be into. I always thought that the idea of ‘going for a run to clear my mind’ was something people just said, but it is actually true.” What makes you a grown-ass lady? …