Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Quiz: Who is Behind the Mask?

Image by shubham sharma from Pixabay
When do you wear the mask?
A. When out in public
B. When I'm assuming my other persona
C. All the time

2. What is your nickname?
A. Snowflake
B. Curse of Capistrano
C. Angel of Music

3. How do you like to relax?
A. Netflix and chill in my living room
B. Horseback riding near my villa
C. Listening to opera in my underground lair

5. What's your favorite pickup line?
A. "Do you want to quarantine with me?"
B. "Be careful seƱorita, there are dangerous men about."
C. “Say you'll love me every waking moment.”

6. Your mask makes you look...
A. Healthier
B. Sexier
C. Creepier

7. Why are you wearing the mask?
A. To prevent the spread of a highly-contagious virus
B. To hide my identity from the world
C. To cover up the deformed half of my face

8. What is your greatest fear?
A. Dying due to the careless behavior of others
B. Dying without avenging crimes against my family
C. Dying alone

Mostly A's - Congratulations! You are a concerned citizen doing your part to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Mostly B's - Congratulations! You are Zorro.
Mostly C's - Congratulations! You are the Phantom of the Opera.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Monday, April 27, 2020

A Return to Normalcy?

Gas prices at a 7-11 in Denver on April 27, 2020.
Colorado's stay-at-home expired yesterday, which means that today was the first day of the revised "safer-at-home" order. I ventured out to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate. What better way is there to mark one month of surviving a pandemic than deep-fried sweets?

It was almost back to normal. There was traffic. Someone honked at me, and another person cut me off, just like old times. I have never been more grateful for rude drivers. For the last month, everyone has been preternaturally polite.

The drive to the donut shop seemed almost normal, except for the fact that myself and my two children were all wearing masks in the car.

We passed a construction site, now bustling with construction workers. Normal. 

We passed my daughter's preschool, now closed for the school year in April. Not normal. 

We passed by 7-11, where I stopped to get gas at $1.65 a gallon. NOT NORMAL AT ALL.

Either I traveled back in time to two decades ago when gas was that price -- or
the new normal is an alternate universe where everyone stays at home, generating a precipitous drop in gas prices.

I vote for the first option.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Lessons in Doing Nothing for Quarantine

So far, it's been three weeks since Colorado's stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of coronavirus went into effect on March 26. For me, the hardest part has been wrapping my mind around the concept of doing something by doing nothing. Sitting at home binge-watching Netflix isn't exactly the heroic effort that previous generations have exerted in times of worldwide crisis.

I wrote about adjusting to wearing face masks for the Colorado Sun last week. This week, I finally got some additional to sew masks for local hospitals. So my net contribution to the Great Pandemic of 2020 will be 20 polka-dot face masks.

As I dusted off the sewing machine, I realized it has been years since I sewed anything. The last time I used a sewing machine, I was in high school, where I spent a lot of time doing nothing in a small town. If anything, this has been the best training for staying at home.

In high school, the main excitement consisted of driving in a loop around "downtown," which was approximately two blocks, in my friend's white Camaro. The car may have changed to a more family-friendly version, but last week the big weekend excitement was taking the family for a long drive around the neighborhood.

I'm afraid the rest of my quarantine will be a repeat of high school. I will lock myself in my room and listen to the Cure when I'm feeling angst. I will daydream of life in more exciting places. Maybe I will even sew my own prom dress in an '80s extravaganza of satin and chiffon.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Parenting During a Pandemic

As a parent, part of your job is keeping your children safe. If I could, I would wrap my kids in bubble wrap to cushion their falls.

But one thing I never worried about was a global pandemic. Now I'm struggling to balance my anxiety with trying to keep my kids occupied.

Yesterday, I tried to muster up interest in the backyard swing set -- now that all playgrounds are wrapped with police tape in Denver. "Mommy, can I sit on the swing? Does it have germs?" my four-year-old asked.

Then she nervously took my hand when we took the dog for a walk. "I'm not sure if we should do this," she said. I tried to explain to her that we were still allowed to leave the house to go for walks

I thought I was doing a good job of explaining to her why we couldn't see grandma for a while. Of why preschool is closed. Of why one person has to go to the grocery store instead of the whole family.

Yesterday, as the US became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, I seemed to have faltered as well. Today, I'm going to take a break from reading the coronavirus body count.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, keeping calm is key. "Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others," the CDC said in guidelines on its website.

Here are some other parenting tips from experts:

  • How to Calmly Explain the Coronavirus to Your Kids
  • Tips for handling work and kids during COVID-19 isolation
  • How to talk to children about the coronavirus
  • Do you have any tips to share about talking to your children about the coronavirus?

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    Trying Not to Panic at Stay-at-Home Order

    A stay-at-home order for Denver residents starts today at 5 p.m. due to the coronavirus. I'm trying not to panic. I support it as this right thing to do, and yet, it has finally hit home that my life is going to to be drastically different in the next couple of months.

    We have been staying at home as much as possible, but my two children don't always understand why we are home so much. School is out for at least a month, and most likely the rest of the year.

    Yesterday, I took them to a deserted playground to let off steam. We also visited grandma's house.

    But now, the playgrounds are closing at 5 p.m. And now grandma says it would be probably better if we stayed away. I'm sure both decisions are the right thing to do, but I have no Plan B.

    The order allows people to go outside and exercise, as long as social distancing is maintained. But my elderly dog is already sick of walks. She hides from me when I try to go for walks.

    Please don't inundate me with emails about flattening the curve. I want to flatten the curve. I just don't know how to keep my sanity while doing it.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer

    Thursday, March 12, 2020

    Let's Do the Corona Cancel

    As coronavirus fears sweep the nation, let's do our part and hibernate. I canceled lunch with a former coworker on Friday, which would have involved taking public transportation and eating in a crowded restaurant.

    It's 2020, for God's sake. We don't have a health care system in the US that's remotely prepared for a pandemic, but we do have Netflix. We don't have a president who even understands what a virus is, but we do have the technology that lets some of us work from home.

    My children are on Spring Break next week, and we idly talked about taking a trip. Now it's Corona Cancel time. We're going to stay home and do crafts until our fingers ache and our dining room table is completely coated in glue and glitter.

    Now is the time to embrace the aspects of American life that are so often denigrated. Let's embrace the drive-thru. We don't have to go into a restaurant to eat. We can avoid social contact and still receive delicious food.

    Let's live all our life on Facebook. We don't have to ever talk to each other in person again. Forget "Bowling Alone." Let's try existing for the next four weeks without face-to-face contact.

    Just practice with me.

    "I can't make it. I have to Corona Cancel."

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Saturday, February 29, 2020

    Everyone Needs a Little Encouragement

    Sometimes everyone needs a little encouragement. Today at the library, I wandered upstairs to the bathroom because one of the quirks of my favorite library is there are no restrooms for adults on the first floor.

    As I walked past a meeting room on the second floor, there were a flock of young women dressed in black in a standing-room only meeting. Because I'm old and cynical, I assumed it was a a meeting of the anonymous variety.

    However, as I'm in the bathroom washing my hands, a young woman nervously shares that it's a casting call. She's slender and blonde, with an enviable pair of peep-toe high heels.

    She's fidgeting with her outfit, and seems very nervous. I assure that she looks great and that she'll blow them away. Then I wish her luck one more time, and head back down to rejoin the normal library patrons.

    Now if only I could send myself some of that same positive energy as I sit down to apply for a writing opportunity that seems like a complete long shot. Everyone needs a little encouragement, but it's easier to encourage other people than myself!

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.