Category Archives: Coronavirus

My Coronavirus Dollhouse

Back in 1975, my baby sister got a dollhouse for Christmas.

It was a classic white clapboard house with a black shingled roof and black shutters. It had eight good size rooms and was a replica of the house she lived in, so I dubbed it “The Blind Brook House.”

I was a Delta flight attendant, living in Miami at the time, but thirteen hundred miles didn’t stop me from being obsessed with all things dollhouse. That Christmas, I spent a fortune on furniture for Blind Brook and spent countless hours helping my sister set it all up.

I loved that dollhouse more than she did, and for whatever reason, it never caught her attention. By the following Christmas, it was relegated to the attic, where it languished for sixteen years.

In 1991, when the attic got cleaned out, the house was rediscovered, and I became the proud owner of the Blind Brook homestead.

The dollhouse was dirty and cobwebby and needed a paint job.  My daughter was three years old at the time, and I figured she would love it. But like my sister, she didn’t have much of an interest in it at all.

Ironically, it was my seven-year-old son who loved Blind Brook. He helped me paint, carpet, and install stairs. We cleaned off all the furniture and set up the rooms according to his layout.

Soon after, my son lost interest in the dollhouse. So once again, it ended up in an attic—this time mine.

When we moved in 1996, the dollhouse was yet again rediscovered.

I wasn’t sure where we would put it, or if we even had room for it, but there was never a doubt in my mind that the Blind Brook house was coming with me.

At the time I dusted it off, and even though it needed a paint job, no one was interested in working on it with me, so I stuck it on a table in my daughter’s room with the front of the house facing forward, and we all forgot about it.

In 2017, my two granddaughters discovered the house and asked me what was behind the front door.

They were obsessed with it and wanted me to turn it around so they could see it from the back. I had all but forgotten that the house was full of furniture, and they loved it.

My oldest granddaughter wanted to know where the family was. Had they gone out? What did they look like? How many were there? Was there a cat?

Family? Cat?

I’m not sure why, but Blind Brook never had a family in it. Or any pets.

The strangest part is that I never even noticed the house was without a family, nor did anyone ever ask for one.

But my precious granddaughter wanted a family in that house, so I ordered one online—a mom, a dad, a little boy, a little girl, and a newborn baby.

The next time my granddaughter played with the house, she asked for a cat. So, I ordered a kitten. And a dog.

Fast forward to January 2020, when my husband and I bought her a dollhouse of her own. And she insisted that I buy her the exact family I had in my dollhouse. And of course, a cat of her own. And a kitty.

I was so looking forward to playing dollhouse with her. But then life changed, and all we could do was Zoom.

I began to look at Blind Brook from a whole other perspective. I was in quarantine, and so was my Blind Brook family.

As news of the virus got worse, I pulled out walls, and the staircase, to make larger rooms so that more people could fit into them.

While ordering corona supplies on Amazon, I threw in a miniature television and water cooler for my dollhouse. I wasn’t able to find real people toilet paper, so I ordered lots and lots of miniature toilet paper instead.

When the coronavirus death toll spiked and took my Aunt Mary, I bought another family—a husband, a wife, a little girl, and three more babies.

There were no ventilators, no masks, and no federal government leadership.

As I listened to the grimmest of grim reports day in and day out, I would take a daily reprieve from reality. With scissors, glue, and tape in hand, I went into fantasy mode.

I couldn’t do anything about the horrors outside my house, but I was in complete control of Blind Brook.

I added lighting and wallpaper, flooring, books, a dining room table, dishes, sandwiches, a menorah, bowls of tomato soup, and some beer on ice.

I tried to stay away from the news and binged on Dead To Me. By the time I finished Season Two, we were at 100,000 dead.

What could I do? What could I do?

I set my mini self up in the Blind Brook television room and invited my friend, Robin, and my sister G for some wine and cheese, and potato chips. I sat back with Robin and we watched Dead To Me together, side by side, while my animal-loving sis played with the kitten.

But the lonely would not go away.

so I went for a bike ride and wore a mask, but I couldn’t breathe.

Build a fire. Think happy thoughts.

And then came the murder of George Floyd. He couldn’t breathe either.

But not because of some stupid mask.

I shut down and drank too much wine.

I installed windows in every Blind Brook room to let in the light, and I bought a kitchen clock and a grandma and grandpa.

As the protests raged, I sat on the floor, staring at my therapeutical masterpiece.

I was then that I noticed that the clock on the wall was set for 8:18. Or was it 8:17?

At 1:12 scale, it was near impossible to decipher the exact time. I wanted it to be 8:18. For anyone who knows me, 18 is my go-to number.

When I messengered a friend about the systemic pandemic within a pandemic and my thoughts on 8:18 vs. 8:17, she quoted Luke 8:17:

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

That’s when I decided to pull myself together. I reminded myself that I had come out the other end of a lot of bad stuff.

I was a warrior.

Covid-19 wasn’t going to be the straw that broke my back.

So, I added another six women, two men, a dog, a birdhouse, and a teenage girl who’s still on backorder along with my real people toilet paper.

It finally felt like enough.

Blind Brook was full of family and friends. Lots of togetherness despite my fourteen weeks in isolated quarantine.

My sister Georgette thinks my dollhouse needs its own Instagram account.

I think my Blind Brook family needs a real life again.

60,000 Dead My “Friends”


I thought he was my friend

until on March 18

he spewed his hate

and labeled me

a New York liberal.

His snarky friends

from

nowheresville

were making fun of

Cuomo and Scarsdale

while my family

was in lockdown and

my Aunt Mary was dying.

It’s a blue state thing

they wrote.

Like if I live in a blue state

I deserve to die.

I told him off.

He unfriended me.

“I think it’s because you are too much

for the guy. And Teri, I’m saying that in a good way.”

That’s what a true friend said.

My Aunt gave her ventilator

to somebody else.

She was buried on my birthday

and by April 6

10,000 in the U.S.

were dead.

What do 10,000 people

look like?

I found a photo

and printed it.

I ran my fingers over the

tapestry of faces and flags.

No red or blue or

black or brown or

white demarcations.

Packed together,

because it was

before our world

changed.

April 11

was always a

sad day.

But this April 11

20,000 were dead

and my sad seemed

meaningless in comparison.

I printed a second copy

of the 10,000 photo

and glued it

next to the other one.

It felt wrong to glue them

together.

And then 10,000 more by

April 16.

So I printed another one

and this time it felt

right to glue

them together.

I wept because

the triptych was

beyond words.

Four days later

Another 10,000.

Up to 40,000 now.

I printed the photo.

But I refused to glue it.

And then there was that

imbecilic friend

who wrote that more

people die from

the flu than Coronavirus.

Dr. Nobody.

I wanted to cut

her down to size

with my words.

I won’t rest until

I do.

Maybe she’ll

read this

and dump me.

April 24, another 10,000.

It took me three days

to finally print the

photo out.

50,000 dead

in the U.S.

and the WHO says

the worst is yet

to come.

And now today

another 10,000.

60,438 dead

in the U.S.

I thought about how to

share this with you.

I asked myself if I should print it out

yet again.

Yes, show them.

I didn’t want to,

but I felt compelled to

print and glue

them all next to

each other.

To show you

60,000.


The Passover Story During Coronavirus

My husband and I zoomed the first night of Passover with some of the kids and grandkids last night, and I have to say that I enjoyed it, but I held back the tears as best I could. I quietly ate brisket and broccoli souffle with my husband and tried to think positive thoughts.

This morning, I got a Passover story in my inbox, and amidst all of my angst, I got a good laugh out of it.

I decided to create my own Passover story. I hope it makes you laugh.

THE SEDER

The Seder is a ritual dinner that marks the start of Passover.

During the Seder, we Jews eat brisket, matzah, all things potato, and other uber-rich fattening foods, retell the story of the exodus from Egypt, and drink four cups of very sweet wine.

THE SEDER PLATE

The centerpiece of the Passover table is the Seder plate, which holds a shank bone, parsley, lettuce, horseradish, a roasted egg, and haroset, a mixture of apples, walnuts, and wine.

But my in-store grocery shopper couldn’t find any of that. So, deep-six the plate.

THE FIRST CUP OF WINE

Nobody likes Manischewitz, but it’s all we got, okay? So, hold your nose and bottoms up.

THE WASHING OF THE HANDS

Near the beginning of the Seder, we perform a ritual washing of the hands.  A splash of water from a bowl, and that’s it. Seriously? Not this year. Don’t just splash them. And get rid of the bowl. Get up and wash your hands at the sink with soap. Scrub a dub and sing the ABC’s twice.

How is this night different from all other nights?

Well, the two of us have been holed up in this house for the last three weeks, so this night is pretty much the same as every other night.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS 

  1. On all other nights, we eat leavened bread. Why on this night, only matzah?

Tradition. Plus, everyone’s out of bread. And don’t even ask how much I had to pay for one measly box of matzah.

  1. On all other nights, we eat a variety of vegetables. Why on this night, only bitter herbs?

Look, the store has been out of veggies for weeks, so I grabbed some leftover rosemary from last year’s garden. That’s all we have. Deal with it.

  1. On all other nights, we don’t dip even once. Why on this night do we dip our parsley twice?

First off, we don’t have any parsley. And second, because salt water is a disinfectant or something like that. So change it up and gargle instead of dipping.

4. On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we recline?

Because, seriously, I can’t even keep my head up with all this anxiety and mishegas.

THE FOUR SONS

In telling the Passover story, we use our imagination and tailor our questions and answers.

The wise child asks: How can I help flatten the curve?

To him, we say, listen to the scientists, stay at home, and wash your hands. And ignore the ignoramus politicians shaking hands and crowding together on the podium.

The wicked child asks: I’m too young to worry about staying in, washing my hands, and all the boring stuff.  Screw quarantine. Can’t grandma take one for the team?   

To him we say, there’s always one like you in the family.

The simple child asks: Are we going to be okay?

To him, we say, not if the wicked child has anything to do with it.

And to the child who does not even know how to ask:

To him, we say, don’t worry, Governor Cuomo will speak on your behalf.

THE PASSOVER STORY

Pharaoh was an ignorant and vengeful man who cared nothing for science or the welfare of his people. He dismissed the White House Pandemic team, cut funding to the CDC, cared only about lining his own pockets, and getting a mail-in voting ballot.

Even God lost his patience and visited a terrible plague upon Pharaoh’s land.

Pharaoh sort of heard his people’s cries, and said, “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

Moses shook his head in amazement and said, “I think we should shut down all non-essential businesses.”

The people’s cries grew louder, but Pharaoh said, “It’s going to disappear. One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.”

The Israelites washed their hands and started to stock up on toilet paper.

The people asked Pharaoh for masks and ventilators. Pharaoh said, “In April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that’s a beautiful date to look forward to.”

And Moses said unto the Israelites, “It’s time to close our schools.”

The people begged Pharaoh for coronavirus tests, and the media questioned him about when they would be available for everyone. Pharaoh threw a hissy fit and told reporters, “You should say congratulations—great job, instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question. Everyone who wants a test can get one,” he shouted and then hurried off to get tested for the coronavirus.

Moses’ jaw dropped and he made an emergency call to New York’s Governor Cuomo.

The people began to die. “I don’t take responsibility at all,” Pharaoh sniped. “We can’t let the cure be worse than the disease,” Pharaoh insisted.

More people died, and nurses and doctors began to plead to Pharaoh for protective gear.  Pharaoh said, “We’ll be raring to go by Easter. I’d love to have it open by Easter, okay?”

The nurses and doctors went back to saving lives, and the Israelites helped their little ones with their homework.

“No one could have seen this coming,” Pharaoh whined. “We’ve done a great job,” he repeated time and time again.

Moses and the Israelites maintained their social distancing, stayed hunkered down at home, and listened to Gov. Cuomo’s daily updates.

The people again begged Pharaoh for tests. “We’re the federal government. We’re not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing,” the Pharoah loudly proclaimed. Then he scurried off to get a second test for the coronavirus.

The nurses and doctors continued to beseech Pharaoh for masks. Pharaoh had a theory that masks were going out the back door and ordered reporters to look into it.

When Moses reminded him that death and unemployment were through the roof, Pharaoh asked him if he had seen his daily briefing ratings. Pharaoh said that what was through the roof were his television ratings—better than Monday Night Football and even better than The Bachelor finale.

THE SECOND CUP OF WINE

All this talk of Pharaoh is stressing me out. I’ll drink anything at this point.

SECOND WASHING OF THE HANDS

Go and wash your hands again with loads of soap, and cap it off with a Clorox wipe.

TIME TO EAT!

(Albeit only two of us.)

THE SEARCH FOR THE AFIKOMAN

Seriously? Two dollars for finding the Afikoman? I spent the last two days cooking and sanitizing.

THE THIRD CUP OF WINE

Three cupsh down. I hasen’t felt thish good in weeksh.

OPENING THE DOOR FOR ELIJAH

Are you crazy? Keep the door shut. Don’t you dare let him into this house. Unless he has toilet paper.

DAYENU (Which means it would have sufficed)

If He had given us doctors and nurses, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us sanitation workers, grocery store clerks, UPS, and Fed-Ex drivers, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us Zoom, and Instacart and food delivery, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us paper towels, toilet paper, and napkins, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us Birks and Fauci, it would have been enough. DAYENU

If He had given us Inslee, Whitmer, Newsom, and Cuomo, it would have been enough. DAYENU

THE FOURTH CUP OF WINE

I’zve read a fairuy tale aboupt ma prince wit a maks cnad ha froxg, lasht nights.

CONCLUSION

Next year in Jerusalem. Hmmm. I don’t think so.

My Corona Birthday Wish

Before the coronavirus, I didn’t want my birthday to come.

I was not looking forward to turning 67, and my thoughts kept going back to my younger days when I had a lifetime of living left.

For weeks before my birthday, I kept asking myself: How the hell did I get here so fast? To be sure, those 67 years flew by.

But my pre-corona outlook on everything has changed.

Now, I’m looking at my birthday, my life, my loves, and my future so very differently.

Going forward, I keep promising myself that I’m going to make significant changes.

I’m planning on working less and playing harder.

I’m going to spend more time with family and friends.

And I want to visit all of those states I haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience, although not so united these days.

And I’m not gonna lie, a ton of dark thoughts about what I won’t be doing crept into my psyche as well, because…

Well, if you know me, you know why.

I will never again shake someone’s hand without thinking ew, and will probably never hug a stranger.

And I’m reasonably sure I will never again venture into a crowded anything.

But I don’t want to dwell on the corona negatives right now.

I’m trying to focus on the good that can come from the virus.

Something good has to come out of all this misery, right?

Going forward, I refuse to wait out the rest of my life.

While in quarantine, I’ve been watching way too much news, but I can’t help myself.

The countless thousands of innocent people dying so painfully and senselessly make me sad mad.

And I feel compelled to watch the news all day and all night, wishing and praying for good news, or maybe even a miracle.

All those poor souls suffering, most without their family with them, and then dying, just like that.

I force myself to ward off the need to turn on the television by reading.

On my birthday, I read that the Egyptians believed that a person died, not once—but twice.

The first death was their final breath.

And the second death was the last time someone uttered their name.

The concept was profound and gave me some peace. Although I couldn’t help but wonder who that last person would be for me.

That night I blew out my candle, and I made a birthday wish like no other before it.

And I know I’m not supposed to tell you my wish for fear that it won’t come true.

But these are trying times, so here’s what it was:

Please stop dying, and damn it, I want to live. But if I die, please let it be twice.

I Want February Back

February 2020. It seems like light years ago.

I celebrated my daughter’s birthday at Peter Luger in Brooklyn, and I was living the life. I was living the dream.

Until I wasn’t.

March is my new reality. March madness.

I want February back.

Hell, I’ll take last week back.

Last week my dear friend Ann was still alive, and my Aunt Mary didn’t have coronavirus.

What a difference a week makes.

After listening to Governor Cuomo’s daily news briefing today, I went online like I do every day.

I frantically clicked around from website to website. I scoured Home Depot, Walmart, Staples, Bed Bath, anywhere, for paper products.

$59.91 for a box of 125 tissues?

OUT OF STOCK. DELIVERY UNAVAILABLE.

My mind goes back and forth. My mind goes forth and back.

IN-STORE PURCHASE ONLY.

I weigh the options: Go to the grocery store and risk my life, on the one hand, skip the grocery store and save my life, and run out of toilet paper on the other.

I count my rolls of toilet paper and tissue boxes. I’m running dangerously low.

I ask myself what to do, as I sip my almost black coffee, afraid to use too much milk, lest I run out of it, and milk goes the way of toilet paper, and paper towel, and tissues, and spaghetti sauce.

Last Wednesday, I spoke to a BFF on the phone for an hour or so. This week she’s dead.

My Aunt is sick, and who knows when or if I’ll ever see her again.

I miss my kids and my grandkids. I miss my daughter’s dog and my friends and my consulting gigs.

I wonder who will be next, and pray that all this ends soon.

I can’t sleep and finally pass out at 3:30 am if I’m lucky. I wake up close to noon because my time clock is off.

I go to bed to the news, and I wake up to the news.

And it’s all bad. And inside, I rage at the nutjobs who say it’s all fake.

How many are dead today? Did those ventilators get delivered? Will I be needing one soon?

I take my temperature and hold my breath for ten seconds.

I want February back.

Detox Your Lungs to Reduce Mucus Congestion

Okay, I am going to be honest with you (and myself).

I am a germaphobe and a slight hypochondriac. (I don’t think I’m that much of a hypo, but if you ask my family, they would disagree.)

The germaphobe thing goes way back, and I admit that I go overboard with germs, and as a result, I drive my family and friends nuts.

Most people (okay most normal people) love to hug, shake hands, go to the movies, and generally surround themselves with friends.

Me? Not so much.

Hotels make me crazy, especially the remote. Well, to be clear, ANY remote makes me crazy. And my phone—really anyone’s phone. Don’t ask.

I cover my hands with my shirt when coming into contact with phones, tablets, keys, faucets, steering wheels, or doorknobs.

Bathrooms drive me insane. It takes a village for me to navigate my way through public toilets and sinks.

And I detest planes, and trains and subways.

I don’t like carpet, I don’t like curtains, and I refuse to use a kitchen towel more than once, so I can’t even tell you how many rolls of paper towel I go through in a week.

And if you’re wondering, NO, I have not been buying up unreasonable amounts of paper products.

Primarily because I already had a shitload of it in my house.

And despite a plethora of products, I’m still manically worried that I will run out.

I change my bath towel, washcloth, and hair turban two times a week, I strip my beds every seven days, including the mattress cover, and spend a vast majority of my free time cleaning.

Heck, I wash down my furnace and water heater on a bi-monthly basis.

So, you get the picture.

Now, I’m sure I’m overblowing my situation, but for the past few days, I have been waking up congested.

Under normal circumstances, I would be alarmed, so now, with coronavirus looming over all of us, I have become obsessed with every clearing of my throat. And okay, I have the sniffles and sneezed twice this morning.

Of course, I went online and googled “Foods that reduce mucus.”

The first thing I came across was the quote from Dr. Sebi, who believed that mucus was the cause of every disease. OKAY.

Dr. Sebi was a Honduran herbalist and healer, although many thought he was a nutjob. In 2016, he was arrested in Honduras for carrying around too much cash. After several weeks in jail, he contracted pneumonia and died.

After reading about Dr. Sabi, I went to mucus-research town. After reading umpteen articles, I was on a mucus-free tangent.

I threw out my cup of coffee and filled up my cup with hot water and fresh lemon juice. Then I threw back a Mucinex and ate a mango. (I eventually came upon an article that said I could have black coffee, but no more than two cups a day. Whew.)

Now I’m writing this blog post.

Some stuff I learned:

To reduce mucus, you can include in your daily food and drink intake, things like:

(In alphabetical order because I’m also slightly OCD)

Agar

Apples

Apricots

Bell Peppers

Blackberries

Blueberries

Broccoli

Broth (Clear and low to no sodium)

Cantaloupe

Carrots

Cayenne Pepper

Celery

Chamomile

Chicken

Chili Peppers

Cider Vinegar (Don’t go crazy on this one, cuz you can get an ulcer. But you can add a teaspoon to your herbal tea or make a salad dressing.)

Cinnamon

Cranberry Juice (Unsweetened)

Cucumber

Cumin

Decaffeinated Tea

Flax Seeds

Flounder

Garlic

Ginger

Guava

Ginseng

Grapefruit

Herring

Honey

Kiwi

Lemons

Licorice Root

Limes

Olive Oil

Onion

Oranges

Oregano

Parsley

Peppermint

Pickles

Pineapple

Pomegranate

Pumpkin

Pumpkin Seeds

Raspberries

Sage

Salmon

Sardines

Spinach

Spearmint

Squash

Strawberries

Sweet potatoes

Thyme

Tomatoes

Trout (Lake)

Tuna

Turmeric

Walnuts

Watercress

I will be avoiding (also in alphabetical order):

Alcohol, bananas, bread, butter, cabbage, caffeinated beverages (except for my single cup of black coffee) cereal, cheese, corn and corn products, eggs, ice cream, milk, pasta, potatoes (white), processed foods, red meat, soda, soy and soy products, sugar, yogurt,

While I am trying to be humorous and not spend too much time watching the news (especially Trump), I hope and pray you are all safe and sound and look forward to better days.