Category Archives: 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…)






#sol20 March 22 A slice of Sunday; The usual and the different

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 made the kids help clean, like usual.
Took the dog on a walk, like usual.
Chatted with the neighbor, like usual.
Brought my clean laundry up to my room, like usual.
Left folded piles on my bed, like usual.
Made dinner, like usual.
Helped everyone get ready for the week ahead, like usual.

There was more to clean and also less. That’s different.
The Sunday dog walk was shorter than our daily treks. That’s different.
Sat 6 feet away from my neighbor as we both drank our teas. That’s different.
I didn’t have any work clothes to hang to dry. That’s different.
A lot of sweats, comfy socks and cozy sweaters to fold. That’s different.
Didn’t go to the grocery store even though we need fresh veggies. That’s different.
Made a schedule with each kid for their distance learning. That’s different.

#sol20 March 21 A slice of Silver Lining Haiku

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 other day I read a haiku slice… I thought I wrote down which slicer’s it was… but I can’t find that! If you know, please tell me! The haiku ended with “A silver lining” and I thought I’d try lifting that line, for some uplifting haiku of my own. Get it? Lifting to uplift! 

zooming all work now
made me clean my desk at home
a silver lining

kids don’t go to school
means time for chores and reading
a silver lining

new distance learning
includes a mute button tool
a silver lining

far friends at home too
now say we work together
a silver lining

dolphins, swans are back
earth is breathing cleaner now
a silver lining

I’d love for you to add your own “A Silver Lining” haiku in the comments, friends. 


#sol20 March 20 Slice of What Makes You Cry AKA The Grocery Store 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 went to the grocery store last night. (Dishwasher detergent was on my list, as the homemade stuff didn’t work as well as we needed it to work…)

There’s this look that people give each other now, from 6 feet apart. Do you know it? It’s like you wave, or say, “Hello,” or maybe just nod. But in that little gesture, you seem to have a whole unspoken conversation.

“This is crazy, isn’t it?” 
“Yea. I hope you are well.”
“Thanks, you too.”
“Do you think we’ll be like this for a long time?”
“Are your kids driving you crazy yet?”
“Yea. But I mean, I’m grateful for the time we have together.”
“I know what you mean. We are so lucky. So lucky.”
“Exactly. Can you imagine what other people are going through right now? I mean, here we are, walking around, going to the grocery store. We are blessed.”
“Maybe we should be helping other people instead of making sure we have enough snacks for our kids.”
“Well, I actually need dish detergent. See it? It’s under the vegan yogurt and the chips. Next to the apples.” 

And then your wave or your “hello” or your nod is over, and you keep moving your cart.

Mr. Thought likened it to the connection after 9/11. We are coming together, albeit from a distance. (Please tell me that song is trending now. You should listen to it. From a distance there is harmony/And it echoes through the land/It’s the voice of hope/It’s the voice of peace/It’s the voice of every man…)

Our grocery store is wiping down the conveyor belt, and the keypad, etc. in between each customer, which actually does give a shopper a good feeling. It also backs up the line.

I was waiting to turn into my spot in line, behind 2 college kids. When it was their turn to move up in line, one of them said quietly to the other, “Dude, let her go ahead of you.”

The other kid didn’t seem to register the idea. He moved his cart up and was like, “Come on, we have to move up in line. Let’s go!”

His friend gave him a look and tried again. Finally, he said, “What are you going to do if you finish before me? How are you going to get home? I’m your ride, dude!” His friend still looked at him funny.

“Dude!” he yelled. “Let the lady go in front of you!” His friend finally looked at me, said, “Oh!” and moved to let me go in front.

“Thank you so much!” I said as I sent a little prayer out that my kids would be like the first guy.

There was something about walking around, past empty shelves and some people with masks, and then having these two college students give me their place in line, and then waiting in the line behind the white line while the conveyor belt was readied for me that made me start to get emotional. The clerk was running around trying to get everything wiped. “Almost ready!” he kept saying. I’ve worked retail before, and I know that feeling of a long, stalled line.

“It’s okay!” I said. “Thank you so much for everything you are doing!”

Am I really about to cry about the grocery store? I wondered.

The college students, now in the line next to me, were having a conversation.

“Dude, we didn’t even get very much stuff,” the first one said. They looked at their small carts of a bag of chips each, and a bottle of soda, maybe 2 other things.

“Dude, I didn’t even need anything. I just came because I was bored,” his friend said and laughed.

I was thankful to these students for letting me go ahead of them, and that’s why I didn’t speak to them in the teacher voice that was about to come out, “This is NOT the time to come to the grocery store because of boredom, DUDE!” I wanted to say. But I didn’t.

“Do you have a shoppers club card?” the clerk asked.

“Yes, but it’s my phone number,” I said.

“Well, that’s okay. I just washed the keypad, as you probably saw.”

I was allowed to put my phone number in, and then I rearranged some groceries on the conveyor belt.

“Ma’am?” the clerk got my attention. “I’m sorry. Can you please step behind the white line?”

The man behind me gave an annoyed snort, but I just thanked the clerk again. “You must be exhausted! Thank you for all you are doing!”

When my groceries were all the way through and bagged, the clerk stepped aside so I could step up past the white tape, and pay at the keypad.

As I was leaving, I passed the students and said:  “Hey, thanks again for giving me your space in line.” I guess when I’m anxious, I just thank people a lot.

Then I held back tears the whole way to the car.


#sol20 March 19 A Slice of a Chore

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’ll just empty the dishwasher and then go upstairs.” H explains to me the one chore he thinks he will do.

“Actually,” I tell him – with my Zoom mute on, and my hand covering the microphone of my earbuds, “We are out of dishwasher detergent. So we can’t do that load until we go to the store.”

He’s annoyed and walks away.

I go back to my Zoom. I like to say “I go back to my Zoom” even though I don’t have to “go” anywhere. I just turn my head so it’s back in the frame, and uncover the microphone.

A little later though, I hear some odd noises and phrases.

So the microphone gets covered again, mute is pushed again, my head tilts out of the frame, again.

“What are you guys doing?” I yell in my I’m serious but not mad because I don’t want to make it seem like I’m pre-mad voice.

“Oh. Just making some dishwashing detergent.” H says back.

“What?” I say.

L comes out of the kitchen. “He’s making some dishwashing detergent.”

“With what?”

“Oh, baking soda, vinegar, salt…” H is out of the kitchen explaining.

Hmmm, I think.  What am I supposed to do here?

My Zoom meeting is still happening.

But is it a mess? What will actually happen if we try it?

And also, cool. If we don’t have to go to the store right now, that’s even better.

“Did you google how to do it?”

“Yep.” H says with confidence. “It’s all good.”

So I turn back to my computer, uncover my microphone and rejoin my Zoom.

Next up… I have to open the dishwasher… Wish me luck.

#sol20 March 18 A Slice of a list

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.


some things that are getting me through…

kids doing (some of) their chores & school work, it’s a start
facetiming mom & dad, even though they are only 20 minutes away
slicing every day, and commenting too
texting with friends, stay connected!
zoom meetings with colleagues, zoom zoom!
funny memes on facebook, because you have to laugh or…
goodnewsnetwork, to balance out the other stuff
walking the dog, making the kids come along
the good place episodes, and telling netflix that yes, we are still watching
movie nights, a lot of movie nights

#sol20 March 16 A Slice of (GIF) Balance

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 like to find Hunger Games GIFs to try to explain how this feels like a weird Dystopian book. . . (Even though really it feels like the prologue to one of those stories, which is even scarier. That means we have years, decades at least before we get our Katniss…)

Image Link


Mr. Thought suggested Mr. Rogers’ GIFS instead.

Image Link

So that’s a good balance here in the Thought household, I guess.

How are you balancing things out in your home, friends?