I’m not sure about you, but I am starting to lose track of the weeks since the coronavirus upended our lives. I just ordered my second 5-pound bag of coffee from Overwinter, my pre-pandemic workday staple. I never thought I’d be ordering coffee like it was potting soil, but here we are.
Last week I started interviewing my father via Zoom for a family oral history. I lost my mother and grandparents at a fairly young age, so my Dad is one of the few remaining links to their stories. This has been on my “someday” to-do list for at least a decade. With daily reminders of the fragility of life, I decided to stop putting it off. What’s on your “someday” list that you’ve decided to tackle during this time?
For things to do in the here and now, WBASNY WNY and our committees have been working to provide virtual programming for our members. This week’s programs include a New Lawyers Wellness Check-in, an Advance Directives CLE, and a program on Self-Care in Stressful Times. See below for more details. And please fill out our short survey on what programming you’d most like to see in the future.
Message from Beth Solek, President-Elect:
We continue to remain at home, living and working in our adapted home offices, athletic facilities, schools, and gourmet kitchens. Throughout this, I've had the opportunity to connect with many of our members both personally and professionally through social media, emails and texts, as well as countless Zoom meetings.
Keeping in line with Past President Kara Addelman's recommendation of daytime and nighttime athleisure wear, daytime and nighttime Zoom locations have been established. Obviously, daytime or professional zooms occur in the home office, a space designed for focus and attention to work. However, happy hours and meet-ups are much more fun in Beth's Bar. Twinkle lights and slideshows courtesy of YouTube transform any area into a fabulous escape.
All of this has exponentially increased my screen time. Because of that, I decided to go old school and to revisit some of the classics for reading and cooking. As for a cookbook and reference material, my go-to is Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I mastered Hollandaise sauce and poached eggs to make Eggs Benedict. Julia's bordelaise will up anyone's steak game. Not to mention, Julia Child is a rock star!
As for reading, I've enjoyed Educated by Tara Westover (Book Club is May 13!) and A Crisis in the Hot Zone by Richard Preston (timely and nightmare inducing). And for a little escapism into alternate fantastic worlds, The Witching Hour by Anne Rice and Outlander by Diana Galbadon provide much needed respite from reality.
For Your Physical & Mental Health:
Heart Fire Yoga, a queer-owned, inclusive, and community-focused yoga studio, is offering virtual yoga classes starting March 23. You can sign up for 30 days for $40 or buy single passes. https://www.heartfire-yoga.com/
Power Yoga Buffalo is offering yoga classes on Zoom. Check out their Facebook and Instagram feeds for scheduling info. https://poweryogabuffalo.com/
Be Embodied Mindful Living & Yoga Study has a number of online resources, including a Sanity During Covid series available at https://bemindfulliving.com/blog
Nicole Chumsky, LMHC, has a series of online meditations available on Insight Timer at https://insig.ht/7b9ZlVK234
For the next two months, FabFitFun TV (https://tv.fabfitfun.com/) is opening their library of workouts to non-members.
Working at home and looking for a break from your desk? Try the 7 Minute Workout in any room in the house, no equipment needed. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/activity/the-7-minute-workout
The meditation app Headspace is offering free access to a mediation series called “Weathering the Storm” for these uncertain times. www.headspace.com/covid-19
From Beth Solek, President-Elect:
I thought I’d share some of the little things that are getting me through...
1. Luxe Loungewear: Nothing like statement dressing to mentally prepare for a day at the office, and by office, I mean kitchen. https://shop.laceandday.com/ Lace and Day has a variety of items that make dressing up for work fun. Shop local!
2. Social Distancing. Erie County parks are still open. Sprague Brook Park has a three mile loop of rolling hills that is perfect for a stroll with the human and fur babies or a run for those looking to amp up their cardio.
3. Designated Space to work out. A perfectly placed yoga mat, weights, and flowers cannot be ignored. https://www.corepoweryoga.com/ has free online classes. PYB is charging $5 per class.
From Ashley Lowry, Local Director:
Radio.com has a list of podcasts to keep your kids engaged.
One of my favorite online teachers is offering a free 7-day challenge to help align our chakras during this time of fear and change:
She also offers a TON of free videos on her YouTube channel for anyone who wants to try something new, and/or focus on a certain style of yoga or part of the body: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrettLarkinYoga/featured
For Kids (and their exhausted parents):
From Kelly Gotham, State Director:
A couple of things we have been using to occupy my kid -
1) The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens has a Home Safari Facebook Live at 3:00 p.m. every day where they highlight one of their animals and share an at-home activity.
2) Daily Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems on YouTube
3) The New England Aquarium hosts virtual visits on Facebook and YouTube every day at 11 a.m.
4) Facebook Messenger Kids for my daughter to video chat with her friends
From Immediate Past President Kara Addelman:
The author of Pete the Cat, James Dean, is hosting a daily Instagram story at noon where he shows the audience how to draw a character and reads one of his books. My 4 year old looks forward to it every day. On Instagram, follow @petethecatofficial
Kara also recommends: (1) doors, (2) designating day sweatpants and night sweatpants, and (3) snacks, snacks, and more snacks.
From Kara Eyre, Working Parents Committee Co-Chair:
ABC Mouse (abcmouse.com) and Adventure Academy (adventureacademy.com) - Fun and educational games for kids.
Cosmic Kid Yoga on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga)
Koo Koo Kanga Roo (https://www.youtube.com/kookookangaroo) and GoNoodle (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2YBT7HYqCbbvzu3kKZ3wnw) have great little dance lessons for kids.
Learn to draw videos on YouTube are fun for all ages and my kids are obsessed with them!
HeadsUp has a kids version for non-readers and it’s quite fun! https://apps.apple.com/us/app/heads-up-kids/id937976391
If you have a piano or a keyboard, the Simply Piano App has little lessons and will teach you how to pound out chords so you can have family music time.
And lastly - I’m not gonna lie - I shelled out the money for Disney Plus. It has been WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY.
From Darice Hickey, Treasurer:
This is the website I have been using for my preschooler while she is out of school. It has lessons for all ages and is free!
From Local Director Anna McCarthy:
The WNED Learn at Home website provides a daily “learn at home” schedule, and has a link to the WNED PBS Parents & Teachers Facebook Group, which provides daily curriculum from PBS, NPR, and other public media network resources.
Ways to Give Back:
From Local Director Christine Vogel:
Here are some things I have done/am doing that helped me tremendously emotionally and make me feel like I'm doing my part:
If you're a landlord consider waiving all or part of April rent for your tenant(s). Do this either conditionally or unconditionally. A condition could be a waiver ii exchange for mowing, shoveling, painting, bringing garbage totes to the road, weeding, digging a garden, etc.
Pick up garbage in your neighborhood. Spring is always a gross time for garbage in the streets especially along the curb. Wear gloves! It's an outdoor activity and is rewarding.
Offer free notary services to folks in your neighborhood (do it on your terms like meet outside only and IDs to be slid across the hood of a car.)
Join organizing and volunteering efforts through social media groups like Buffalo Mutual Aid Network. Also check with your local Block Clubs and neighborhood FB groups.
From Joanna Chen, State Director:
Volunteer to deliver meals at https://www.feedmorewny.org/volunteer
From their website:
FeedMore WNY has an urgent need for volunteers to help during the COVID-19 response. We are in need of home-delivered meal volunteers to bring nutritious food to our homebound and elderly neighbors throughout Erie and Niagara counties. We also are in need of warehouse volunteers to help package emergency food packs for those in need, including children and families struggling while schools are closed. If you are able to assist with these tasks, please complete the form below and a member of our staff will be in touch with more information. Thank you for helping our vulnerable neighbors during this time of need!
Support the local restaurants, bartenders, servers, and kitchen staff who are out of work during this crisis and help them get back on their feet when businesses reopen by donating to the WNY Hospitality Relief Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/wny-hospitality-relief-fund
Donate blood! Western New York is facing a blood shortage due to the pandemic. Find out more and book an appointment at https://www.connectlife.org/get-involved/donate-blood
Where to Eat:
Support our local economy and get some delicious food at the many restaurants that are working through the crisis. There are several sites compiling lists of restaurants (and bars) open for takeout:
From Florina Altshiler, State Director
What have you been doing to stay sane during these times?
On sunny days, I park myself on my hammock and pretend I’m on vacation during the short break I get from tending to my tyrant child.
What does your new normal look like?
Exhausting! I’m up before 7am feeding, changing and entertaining my two year old. This goes on through 8pm for a brutal 13 hour shift with one hammock break when he naps. Once he is in bed for the night, I catch up on my work and get my reporting, discovery, etc. done through about midnight.
Is there a book, podcast, movie, or TV show that's got you hooked?
Ozark is a captivating drama and season three recently came out on Netflix. I binge watched it through the night over two nights and regretted my sleepless mornings to follow.
From Christine Vogel, Local Director
My new normal is peaceful. It’s a peace that comes from looking straight into danger and remembering that I am in full control of my reaction, responses, and emotions. I am giving myself permission to be sad, happy, tired, or energized. I give all the feelings space and time.
Being an attorney has always involved working with very stressed clients. Injustices done to them often creates anger being unleashed on us, their advocates. This stress is amplified now. So a focus must be joy; how do we make ourselves joyful?
I am lawyering wearing Carhartt pants which has been a secret dream of mine and wearing my hair in a “Heidi” style, 2 braids pinned up on top of my head. I do these things to create my own joy. I’m listening to Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) on old cassette tapes.
I take daily walks and pick up garbage. My neighborhood is a mess! While I’m out I spy on people’s gardens. I take photos of front lawn/garden layouts. I say hello to the daffodils starting to bloom. I take comfort that the birds and flowers don’t care.
Learning new things or revisiting old passions always felt like things I didn’t have time for. Well, I do now. I’m taking bankruptcy CLEs and also listening to German news. I am also writing in a journal and sending handwritten letters to friends.
This is a time for nurturing. And it is also time to snuggle with my cat who is thrilled to have me in his house all day, seriously, he is! And I’m watching garbage on Netflix. “Love is Blind.” Total delightful trash.
I’m remembering that this time in our history will forever be remembered as monumental. And devastating. Our grandkids will ask if we got sick, if we helped, if we hoarded toilet paper. It’s time to live the story we want to tell. I say that respectfully and with care as many of us will get sick.
But there is no “right way.” There is literally no cure for the virus and no answer as to how to live and maintain. Find joy in the simple. Carhartts, braided hair, garbage picking, and garden peeking is working for me. :)
From Marissa Washington, Local Director
For me, I am at home essentially off work while my husband works remotely. My day is now providing childcare and unpacking (we moved two weeks ago). During the day I try not to watch TV, rather, I go outside on walks or catch up with family/friends via FaceTime/Zoom/House Party or go for a drive. When my husband gets off work, we have dinner, enjoy family time (a walk, sitting outside, a house project, playing, reading to baby, etc.), then the two of us watch Ozark on Netflix once the kiddo is asleep. Trying to keep that “quarantine 15” at bay. Not very exciting but helps us not to totally go insane.