All posts tagged: covid-19

a sleeping woman

I’m An Insomniac. And I’m Sleeping Like a Baby During the Pandemic

“You know, don’t you, that Cleo chewed on your hair while you were sleeping last night.” Kent, my beloved, is speaking to me from across the kitchen counter about the irascible pandemic Bernedoodle puppy we adopted together six months ago.  And no, I didn’t know that. “Yeah,” he continues. “I took her out to pee because she was barking frantically at 2 a.m. and when we got back to the bedroom, she jumped up on the bed and went straight for you.” I never heard the barks. I never felt the chews. I am a 56-year-old menopausal woman and I was sleeping as if I were dead. It wasn’t always this way. For as long as I can remember, I have been an incurable insomniac. As an anxious 23 year old who felt inadequate to the task of grownup life, in lieu of sleep, I’d stand by the stove late at night cooking the only thing I knew how to make —  — tapioca pudding  — and eating it warm right out of the pot, …

Depression in the Time of COVID-19 and a Lifetime Before

I’m afraid of my bed. When I landed in a major depressive episode at the end of last October, bed wasn’t exactly a choice. My legs suddenly grew heavy. Bed called as if I were being suctioned toward it. Although there was nowhere in particular I wanted to be, just anywhere else, I felt scared there. Bed was a place my chronically depressed father had always favored. Because I didn’t want to be majorly, chronically depressed like him, bed became a Rubicon. And I crossed it. From bed, I listened to the sounds of life being lived out of bed, beyond my room. Cars, the early morning train at six, runners, kids parading to and from school buses, and sometimes the cacophony my household made while I couldn’t connect with it during those weeks. The autumn air grew thinner and the leaves fell and were swept away. Far outside earshot, I understood people were busy. They were getting book contracts, getting new jobs, going to classes, going to work. I wasn’t. I could barely crawl …

Wenderella: A Gen-X Fairytale of Viruses and Princesses

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful middle-aged woman named Wendi. Or Wenderella, as she called herself one night after she took a lot of cold medicine and watched RuPaul’s Drag Race. Wenderella lived in a far-off, foreign land called TEXAS in a big, big castle. More specifically, a single-story house in a cul-de-sac that was a little too tame for her liking, but whatever, the school district’s good. Not everybody needs to be Carrie Bradshaw. Wenderella ruled her queendom along with her dashing husband and two strong teenage sons. There were also a couple cats and a white dog you may have seen on Instagram. But they were a happy family because they didn’t see each other very often. They frequently did something called “going places.” All was well. All was good. Until one day when everything changed.  “Hear ye, hear ye! There’s an evil disease afoot!” Wenderella’s husband proclaimed to the family. “We must stay inside our castle, or we shall perish!” Why did she order so many rice cakes on Instacart? …

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 …

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 …

Corona Parenting: Do My Kids Need to See Me Cry?

Photo of Ericka by Sarah Sido I was lying next to my seven-year-old son at bedtime. He doesn’t ask for this often because he knows I always say no. One week ago, I had two backpacks to unload, two lunch containers to scrub peanut butter off the sides of, a dishwasher to fill and run, as well as make sure their basketball outfits were cleaned for the after-school game, and sweep all the rice, Legos, sand off the floor before finally settling down to get to my work, which was memorizing lines for an audition or sitting down to edit photos for a deadline. 8pm was my time, my alone time, my work time. But now there is no work. And none in sight. There are no bento box containers to clean, no backpacks to unload. There is little to organize or prepare for. The sports gear is already shoved away deep in the closet. So I laid with my oldest son. Because I had no excuse and really, why not? We are all anxious …