Category Archives: pandemic

Blank Page Published: A Slice of writing

Slice of LIfe

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Blank page, typed and then deleted.
Type, delete, type delete.
I’ve done this before.

A few things I almost wrote about, but then erased…

I deserve an adulting award for ordering mulch today
I’m failing as a mother, #screentime
Sitting in the sun begs the question, is it summer yet?
I miss a lot of people and things right now.
I think I have a cold. It better be just a cold.
Filled out my mail-in ballot today. Hope I followed all the rules. There were a lot of rules. I will send it when my stamps come. It’s so odd to order stamps to be mailed.
Voting makes me feel like I need to pay more attention to the news.
The news makes me feel like I need to go back to bed. Under the covers.
This Groundhog’s Day life is devoid of usable slices. Boring, but also too raw.
Man it’s hard to have a friend dying during a pandemic.

I told myself to write on Tuesdays, though.
Keep up the habit, build it up
Remember that I love to write.

Remember that I love to write.
Remember that I love to write.
Remember that I love to write.

I still don’t know if I’ll hit select all – Delete, or


Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers


I’m not saying that it’s quite as easy to find the joy each day, remotely.

Even before pandemic times
Before The Quarantine,
There were days.

Days when
meetings overtook
people were mean
things got canceled
I didn’t see a child,
(other than my own and they were grumpy that day, for sure)

There’s a reason I have a wine glass that says

On those days,
Before pandemic times
Before Quarantine
I sometimes had to look for joy

And maybe I learned that looking for joy
is how you find it

Now it’s pandemic times
The Quarantine

Now I have to look for joy
It doesn’t pop up on its own and wave its hands in the air as often as normal

But it’s still important.
Because I’ve learned that looking for joy
is how you find it

Even if you are looking into your computer screen at little boxes
reading emails instead of faces
walking down your steps instead of around a school

Some people have reminded me that I don’t have to keep finding joy
posting videos, sharing every day
“It’s a pandemic!”
“Cut yourself some slack!”
“You don’t owe videos to anyone!”

But I do.
I owe it to myself
I owe it to myself to keep looking for joy


(Check out my #findthejoy videos on Twitter and Facebook @OnaFeinberg … and join in! See what happens when you look for joy!)

a sticky note slice

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers


My desktop sticky notes urge me to write
even though I’m a little
too edgy to write

Pen on the page.
What you focus on grows

I went to a mindfulness zoom a week or two ago
(Mindfulness. Zoom. Seems ironic, but maybe for 2020 it’s just iconic)
I guess a half-hour session wasn’t sufficient
to make me mindful enough

Good mindfulness reminders though.
He told us,
“You are being held.”
“Anxiety is anticipatory fear.”
“You have thousands of thoughts a day… and that’s no problem.”
So I wrote myself more sticky notes for my desktop

Pen on the page.

What you focus on grows
You are being held
Anxiety is anticipatory fear
No problem

There’s another sticky too
I wrote it down when my
acupuncturist told me to get out of my head
She said,
“You are not more powerful than God.”

Pen on the page.
What you focus on grows
You are being held
Anxiety is anticipatory fear
No problem
You are not more powerful than God


#sol20 March 31 A Slice, The Last Slice

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.


I don’t know what to write about.
Which means I should probably try a 6-word slice:

Writing brought happiness, and also frustration 

My mind is maybe too tired to write today.
Which means I should probably try a haiku:

zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom
butt, ears, eyes, and elbows hurt
zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom

Slicing is hard.
Which means I should probably try a little rhyme:

Writerly life
during pandemic strife
means my first-hand account
is paramount 

Pandemic life
as coach, mother, wife
means busy days full of stress
my brain – full of a mess

Sit every day to write
before sinking into bed at night
means choosing my chair again
staring at the screen with disdain

But living the slicer life
during the pandemic strife
means a writing and sharing opportunity
a connection, a community

It’s the last Slice of Life this March.
Which means I should probably make this short and sweet:

See you next Tuesday, I hope! 



#sol20 March 30 A Slice of Siblings

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.


The teenagers have started a 30 Day health challenge. They woke up early, on their own. Well, the 13-year old did, and then he woke up his sister. She doesn’t like alarm clocks, so for once she actually asked him to wake her up.

When I walked down to get my coffee, the yoga mat was already set up, the hand weights were out, and the oatmeal was started on the stove.

There was even cut fruit on the counter.


H grabbed an apple.

“Did you wash that apple?” I asked and I handed him the fruit and veggie wash. He had washed it, but he washed it again.

He was chopping up the apple when his sister walked in the kitchen, eyes wide at all the preparation.

“Wow!” She said as her brother started chopping the apple.


“I can’t promise I’m going to do all of this every day,” H said.

L started to nod, taking in all of the prep work, “I know.”

“I mean,” he continued, “these are the last of the strawberries.”

#sol20 March 28 A Slice of Saturday During the Pandemic

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday during the pandemic
Slept in until 8
Had just one zoom, with friends though
Took the dog on a walk
Tried to read a bit
Talked to my Mom on the phone
We had popcorn and veggies for dinner
Watched Harry Potter Six
Shared and finished a box of Thin Mints
Gave the kids elderberry gummies
Saturday, during the pandemic


#sol20 March 27 A Slice of Where Are the Stories?

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.


When I introduce Slice of Life writing to students, we usually end up talking about what makes a story. Inevitably, someone will say they don’t have a slice to write about.

Then I get to tell them that they’re wrong.

I mean, it’s not often that I get to say that sort of thing to students. I usually say it with an eyebrow wiggle.

It’s so fun to help them understand that stories are all around them! That they don’t have to wait for an amazing exciting vacation, or a winning game, or a birthday party to find a story.

And you know what? They figure it out. They try some formats, they write more and more and they realize that there are stories everywhere!

Today I thought to myself, “Well, being home all the time for 2 weeks really makes it hard to find a slice every day. Everything is always the same!”

Because of Social Distancing, I guess it’s my own job to tell myself that I’m wrong. I’ll even add an eyebrow wiggle.

Writing is hard right now, for new and strange reasons… I’m tired of sitting at my computer, I don’t know how to frame a story about something that happened over zoom, my brain is too full of anxiety to pause and find the little stories that are in front of me, and by the time I sit to write, I’ve lost steam, and maybe even hope. That’s why the stories are hard to find.

After my last zoom of the day today, and a quick run to the store, we took a walk. It’s our most used route. “So much the same every day,” I thought.

Then I noticed the signs, on almost every signpost. They are posted by the Jana Marie Foundation, and they might be just what our community needs.

“Well, that’s different,” I thought.

It’s nice to see a little hope posted at every corner.

More hope = more stories = more writing.

#sol20 March 26 A Slice of How-To AKA My Nails During the Pandemic

Slice of LIfePart of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by.

This school year I started treating myself to powder dipped manicures. It’s been a guilty pleasure to have my nails done and colorful! So fun!

Last month I treated my daughter to one with me. This was when she was preparing to go on a school trip to Italy for Spring Break. She was worried about biting her nails while she was there, so we thought a manicure might help curb the habit. I think later that day we got word that she was actually going to go to Germany. Italy wasn’t safe enough anymore. The calendar’s a little fuzzy in my brain, but I think it was the next day after that when the trip was canceled completely.

But, at least our nails looked good!

But now it’s almost a month later. Not so good.


And nail salons aren’t essential businesses opened during social distancing, and if they were open, it’s not worth it at this point.

So, we googled how to take this stuff off, and ordered a nail drill.

Today was the day. It was a long process, friends. But in light of the fact that we all have to learn new ways of doing things now, I have recorded the steps for your education:

  1. Wait for the package from amazon
  2. Wipe down the amazon box
  3. Wipe down the nail drill box
  4. Wait for all zoom meetings to be done
  5. Wait for anyone who was stuck inside on zoom meetings all day to get a little bit of sunshine
  6. Wait for little brothers to be busy
  7. Unpack the nail drill
  8. Read the directions (There weren’t really many directions…)
  9. Find a USB brick to plug in the nail drill (Where are all the chargers? Are the kids hoarding chargers?)
  10. Take turns roughing up nails with the new nail drill (Ouch. That thing is loud and fast, and somehow hurts sometimes! Actually, ouch.)
  11. Cut foil and cotton (I did feel bad about using foil, since I only have the one thing of foil, and I don’t want to have to go to the store…)
  12. Soak cotton in acetone (100%. All the things we googled were clear: It must be 100% Acetone)
  13. Wrap fingers in acetone soaked cotton, and foil (This was hard to do once one hand was wrapped, by the way.)
  14. Wait for 30 minutes (Boring! Waiting is hard.)
  15. Unwrap each nail (With hope in my heart!)
  16. Realize it only worked somewhat (Hope isn’t my strong suit)
  17. Scrape some, drill some (We got to use a smaller drill piece that doesn’t hurt!)
  18. File
  19. Soak (More Acetone)
  20. Hope
  21. Wipe (Yay!)
  22. Clip
  23. File
  24. Paint with nail hardener
  25. Sigh with relief to be done.

I don’t know when we will be able to get our nails done again. Last time we did it, the world was different, on the cusp of change.

Some people I know are planning on growing gardens for the first time, or are working on menus that utilize the exact right groceries to minimize waste. I know there are people out there with 3D printers printing face masks. This pandemic is bringing out the best in people, and now I’ve joined the ranks of people working to make the world a better place. I’ve figured out how to take off my powder dip nail polish. I guess it’s a start.


#sol20 March 23 A Slice of 10 minutes or less of working from home. . .

Earlier today, (It feels like it must have been a different day. But, it was this day.) I had to start to figure out how to really work a full day while my kids did their school stuff, etc.

I put headphones on even though my zoom meeting wasn’t starting yet. It was just so I wouldn’t hear the kids in the other room. I’m not sure what kind of parent this makes me, but it’s what I did, and I need to be honest with you. I could still hear them.

Photo on 3-23-20 at 9.50 AM.jpg

But, I tried to just jump into my real work anyway. I mean, I had 12 whole minutes until my zoom. Surely I could knock something off of my to-do list.

Before the headphones, one of my kids was super curious about what I was doing when he heard me playing a zoom recording someone had sent me

“Are you in a meeting?” he said, peeking over my shoulder. 

“No,” I said quickly, trying to ignore my child. There. I’ve said it. This morning began with me trying to ignore my kids, and that is how the day has ended too. 

“Play it again!” he said, “I thought someone said, Ona Feinberg!” 

So,  I finally showed him again and convinced him that it was not what he thought.

Alone, I took a deep breath and started working again, half-listening to the boys talking in the kitchen. This might have been when I realized that it really is hard for me to concentrate when people are making noise around me.  So, I put my headphones on, and the “Totally Stress Free” station on Spotify. 

Seconds later, he was back. 

“Can we make pumpkin muffins?” 

Oh. This one was easy. We don’t have any flour. So I said, “We don’t have the ingredients.”

“I’ll check” was the answer as he went to check, and popped back in a minute later.

“No, we don’t have flour,” he said. “So I’ll make pumpkin pie.” 

O.M.G. Deep breaths. 

Aha! I figured it out. This will stop the baking extravaganza in my freshly cleaned up kitchen! “How will you make the crust?” I challenged. “We don’t have flour or graham crackers or anything like that.” 

“Oh, there are ways,” he said like he was in a dramatic movie. Or maybe a soap opera. And he disappeared back into the kitchen.”

“You have my permission to google how you might make the crust, you can’t make anything until you run it by me and right now I have to work,” I yelled after him, and turned my attention back to my computer.

“Okay. So I’ll look it up.” 

A minute later, “Okay, I got it. I can start making it now.”

“No! Not yet. Hold on!”

In came the next kid. 

“Mama. I want to start a business.” She flopped down into a chair in front of my desk.

I had to laugh. It just came out. Pumpkin pies and businesses. Forget the struggle of working full time and running a home school, I suddenly felt like I was also running a bakery and a business school.

“I mean after the coronavirus is over,” she said. 

Deep breaths in, Ona. Deep breaths out.

“Okay, that’s awesome honey. I have a zoom-in like 10 minutes. And work to do before that. Can we maybe talk about your business idea in a little bit? Maybe later today?” 

With just a slight pout she started to read instead. So, I went back to work.

But then Mr. Pumpkin Pie chef comes back.

“I’ve figured it out. I can make the crust with crushed ice cream cones and cinnamon Chex.”

“Okay,” I say. And then, because it’s still early, but I already feel like I’ve worked a whole day, I say, “But if there is one speck of mess in the kitchen; if there is one speck of conflict while baking; if the kitchen isn’t cleaner than when you started, you won’t be doing any more baking for the whole pandemic.”

That seemed to go over well, so I turn back to my computer.

But then another kid walked in. (Don’t worry. I only have 3, so my morning slice is almost over.)

“Can you read this from my teacher with me?” he asked. “Can you help me?”

My chef says something from the kitchen that I don’t understand and my daughter says, “He says he’s going to use the food processor to make the crust.”

“You can’t use the food processor while I’m zooming!” I yell. “And my zoom starts in less than 10 minutes!

“Oh,” he says calmly. “I’ll just do it really quickly right now.”

And he does.

(Epilogue: And then the house smells delicious for the rest of the day, he did clean the kitchen, and the pie was delicious, and I did get to my zoom on time, and the next zooms too, and the kids did most of what they were supposed to while I was working, and the house is mostly not a disaster, and I was somewhat successful some of the times I tried to ignore my kids, including the time I spent writing this slice…)