January 12, 2021

PANDEMIC FATIGUE: What Day Is It?

 

Photo: Bonni Brodnick

I woke up this morning feeling paralyzed. Unable to move. Wondering, “Why does it feel like the beginning of the pandemic? In early-March 2020, when all the world stopped and we were forced to close down our lives and go into lockdown? When it was sort of adventurous to have my husband work from home every day. When there was that video that went viral showing how to wipe down groceries and rid them of Covid germs. Packages just delivered were either left outside or in the car for a few days until they were safe. You had to order toilet paper from Amazon.

At first it was a treat to eat in front of the TV every night. I’d make dinner, set the trays, and my husband and I would sink into the latest recommended episode or movie on Netflix, Hulu, or prime video. (Remember in the beginning of the pandemic it was de rigueur to watch “Tiger King” — the Netflix special where [true story] a zoo owner spirals out of control in a murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.)

March blurred into April. The weather got warmer and it was summer. Picnics, BBQs, and cocktails were resurrected. We could see family and friends if masks were worn and there was six-feet distance between you, them, and the potato chips.

Then the cold came. And it’s back to the monotony of one day following the next, with nothing to differentiate them.

The other day I went (masked, of course) to the hardware store. The clerk said, “Have a good weekend!”

Weekend? Was it a Friday again? I thought it was a Monday. Or a Wednesday.

“Oh, gee, thanks!” I said, wondering if the gusto in my voice sounded fake. “You, too.”

But Covid vaccines are finally here. As people are saying, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.” The news, though, is dire all around. The surge of the pandemic is higher in some areas than it was last March. Emergency rooms are over-run and front-line workers suffer from exhaustion. First there was the anxiety about the election, that was over, and now there’s the news about the coup at the Capitol, the resignations of people in the Cabinet, and the upcoming inauguration. (Can’t it just be virtual?)

“At least we know that we won’t be experiencing this next winter,” said a friend. He was right. By next January, my dreams will come true to resume travel, go to jazz clubs, Broadway shows, concerts, and PARTIES!! With no masks!

But for now, I am feeling paralyzed with fear and anxiety. How about you?




December 29, 2020

A Novel Idea

                                                                                                                      Photo by James on Unsplash


 I was giving a talk on my book, Pound Ridge Past, to a group of sixth graders. After the presentation and Q&A, one of the students came over to ask me a question.

"Can you help me think of an idea for a book? I want to write a novel over winter vacation."




December 25, 2020

Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” Goes Gingerbread for Christmas Cheer

 

     Forget about decorating a roof with gumdrops, window frames with Skittles, and shutters out of candy canes! Culinary artist Melody Dearden knocks it out of the park with this gingerbread house based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecturally brilliant Fallingwater

Read on, click here ...

(The Real Deal)




December 12, 2020

Happy, Stay-at-Home, Pandemic Birthday! (First Rule is: Make pretend there's no Coronavirus.)

 

The Big 3–0! It was my daughter’s thirtieth birthday. Since we’re in the mix of a pandemic, we decided to have a “Spa Day” at home. Our outfits included matching satin (shiny polyester) pajamas, a white bathrobe (with the waffle fabric, just like a real spa), and, to top it off, terry-cloth turbans. Soothing spa music and aromatherapy diffusers were blasting. Decorations included “Happy Quarantine Birthday!” and “Made in 1990” banners dangling from the stairs. Signs that read “Stay Home Stay Safe” and “Happy Quarantine Birthday” were reminders of the 2020 time and place. On every flat surface, i.e., kitchen cabinets and paintings, we hung inspirational quotes, like  and 

“I can’t believe I’m here with you on your 30th birthday,” I said. “Number #1 because I had a stroke three years ago (and, hence, enjoy every single moment is as if it’s on steroids), and #2, we have to stay home anyway.” 

"I know,” Annie said, reaching her hand across the table. “I was thinking the same thing.” As she took her hand away, it bumped into the cup of chamomile tea she had poured herself at the “Complimentary Tea Station” when entering the kitchen.

The first activity was candle-making. We placed wicks in small candle tins and poured in tea tree, peppermint, lavender, or sweet orange essence into the melting soy wax on the stove. (Note: Soy wax burns quickly.) Then stir in wax blocks of green, pink, blue, purple, yellow, or red. Pour into the tins with waiting wicks, and … homemade, scented candles.
Then it was time to goof around with photos:

In the late afternoon, we watched our favorite movie (which we’ve seen a million times), “Father of the Bride I.” You know, the one with Diane Keaton and Steve Martin? We love it. Annie and I both remarked how strange it was to see people interacting so closely, without masks.

The Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Center was taking place that same night of Annie’s birthday. Coincidentally, when I had ACB, thirty years ago, I remember sitting up in the hospital bed and thinking how, just streets away from my perch at Mt. Sinai Hospital, people were celebrating the holiday season. With my brand-new daughter cuddled next to me, I celebrated with them. (Then she began to cry … and would  stop. Talk about a buzz kill.)

Annie ordered in her favorite dinner (burgers and lobster macaroni and cheese), and by now, Husband “left his office,” which means he came downstairs. Since the renewed surge of the pandemic, he works from home. We were now a party of three revelers cheering on this benchmark birthday.

In the background of almost everything I do is the reality of the Coronavirus. I always told my children that we have to make home our heaven. Because right beyond the front door, there are horrific things taking place. The news flash on my phone proved it. By 9:15 p.m., CNN reported, “The US has reported the highest number of new daily Covid-19 deaths since the plague began, with more than 2,650 reported so far today.”

Bringing out cake and candles helped me get back in the groove after reading the dismal news.


A friend later asked, “How much did it cost to do the spa stuff at home?”

“Spa stuff? That was just what we ,” I explained. “There were no loofah scrubs or cucumber facials. It was make-pretend. Annie and I needed an excuse to celebrate her thirtieth and gave it a motif. The closest it got to a spa atmosphere was our twin outfits, the mellow music, aromatherapy diffusers, and scented candles. Oh, and the chamomile tea.”

As Covid-19 numbers continue spiking and hospitals across the country are overburdened, Annie and I were home. Safe. Luxuriating in a special mother/daughter moment that we will always remember.




December 4, 2020

Free Labels! Get'em while they're ... NOT!

 


This is what happens when organizations send out free labels that really miss 
the mark. When you open the letter and say, "I didn't even order these." When 
you wonder if the person who type-set them is all right.

Didn't they know that "Mr." doesn't work with "Bonni" because "Bonni" is a 
girl's name? And that girls rarely get a "Jr." after their name, unless you're 
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, Jr.

For some reason, these labels made me think of the movie, "Call Me By Your Name." My name is "Bonni K. Brodnick," or "Bonni D. Brodnick," depending on when you met me on my timeline. No "Mr." No "Jr."

It's always a funny when a non-profit organization makes a plea for my money by including "personalized" labels that don't even spell my name correctly. NOT!





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