What I’ve Learned From the Pandemic…

What I’ve Learned From the Pandemic…

I was having coffee with a friend the other day when he began a sentence with, “What I’ve learned from the pandemic…” Now this is a dear friend who also became very, very ill when the pandemic hit New York City, so much so that there were a few nights when it didn’t seem likely he would pull through. This was before any of us realized just how bad it was going to be here in New York City. Before we realized that all of us would know at least a few people who barely survived and a few who did not. He is still not 100%.

What I’ve learned from the pandemic…

I’ll start with the easy ones.

Travel! My husband and I love traveling. So much so that when we first got together we talked about traveling the world with kids in tow, mind you this was before the reality of having actual children had hit us (Oh how young and foolish we were!) but we did fantasize a lot about the places we wanted to go and see. So in the next 6 months we have planned a couple big trips that we’ve been thinking about doing for years, but now are actually going to do.

I’m not a foodie. Actually that’s an understatement. I don’t care about that hot new restaurant that requires a 3 months in advance reservation. In fact I don’t care about eating out period. It turns out I can happily exist on a very boring diet of sameness for months and months at a time without ever varying it. The ice cream situation is a case in point. Did I tell you about the ice cream situation? No? It’s okay, I did a video about it that will be posting in another day or two. The same can be said about clothing. Comfort is everything at this point.

Masks. Here’s the thing about masks, I hate wearing them, I just have to say it, but I won’t be throwing them out any time soon. And while I’m at it I also hate wearing high heels, a bra and non stretchy clothing. In fact, underwear in general is annoying. However I do, on occasion, wear any and all of those things and even all at once. Okay, maybe not the high heels any more, but I am a woman of a certain age and I think that gives me the leeway to say, “No More!” Having said that, I would also like to take this moment to point out that I have not gotten sick, not even a cold, in over a year. That mask? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ll be putting that thing on again when I’m in the subway or massive crowds. And since I live in New York City the likelihood of finding myself in either of those situations is pretty good.

Germs are everywhere. This probably isn’t news to most of you, but I grew up in the country, making mud cakes, shoveling manure, picking berries and eating figs right off the tree. It was all considered very healthy and it was. Basically I’m one of the Beverly Hillbillies only moved to New York City. And now that I live in a thriving metropolis, washing fruit and vegetables is a given, along with my hands, to a degree that would make a germaphobe proud. Cities are basically massive petri dishes over flowing with germs eager to attack. Where did I put my mask? Did I mention the whole mask thing? Oh and also, hand sanitizer. Those are going right into my must-have-at-all-times along with some Kleenex, regardless of how many people get vaccinated.

Laughter. Any situation, no matter how awful, is better if I can find the humor in it. The Irish seem to have some sort of humor DNA that they’re born with, but as I don’t have Irish ancestry, just an Irish husband, which helps, but isn’t the same thing; mostly I’m left to my own devices on this one. Sometimes it’s hard and I have to dig deep, but that tiny kernel of humor is always there waiting to be discovered. Of course now, while I’m trying to think of something funny to say, I’m coming up empty. Humor’s like that. It creeps up and hits you in the face unexpectedly.

Family. This isn’t something I learned because of the pandemic, it’s more that the pandemic confirmed what I already knew. Family is everything.

Kindness. Again, not a big discovery moment because of the pandemic, but more a validation that when in doubt, kindness is the way to go. That and the art of not saying anything. This one is a big learning curve for me, but one of these days… Of course at that point, I’ll have to stop blogging and doing videos as well, because really, what else is there to say?


What about you?

Sh*t My Mother Sends Me & So Much More!

Sh*t My Mother Sends Me & So Much More!

I haven’t shared anything from my mother in awhile, so I thought today was as good a day as any for a little humor. Courtesy of my mother, who received this from my brother, I think. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out the source… but regardless, the importance of punctuation.

And now that many of us are getting or have already been vaccinated, there’s this:

A throwback to the early days of the pandemic…

And a few of my own that I found while looking for other things on the internet, which makes one wonder how we manage to get anything done at all!

Not for the faint of heart…

Remember this family? Spoiler alert: It didn’t end well.

Perhaps this will be the new normal moving forward…

And finally, I’ll end with this…

How are all of you doing?


Sh*t My Mother Sends Me & So Much More!

2020: A Year in Photographs

January: Things start off easily enough. I release my Rhino Pouch and post it in my Etsy shop.
January: Created YouTube Channel: Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand.
February 20, 2020 – Posted my first Youtube video.
March: Designed and Posted my Abstract Pouch in my Etsy Shop
Found out I’d been granted a two week artist’s residency at the Chateau D’Oquevaux. All set to go in April, 2020, only to realize that wasn’t going to happen. Rebook my air travel for July, 2020 and hope for the best.
March: New York City becomes the epicenter of the Pandemic.
March: Home sewn facemasks become a thing.
And so do empty Manhattan streets in the middle of a day during the week. Pick a day, any day, the streets were empty.
March: A sobering moment when a mobile morgue parks just blocks from our apartment. NYC is unable to keep up with the numbers of people dying from COVID. Mobile morgues like this one begin showing up all over the city to contain the overflow.
April: The eerie silence of a great city in full lock down.
May: A little pandemic humor
May: And some beauty amidst the horror
June: Stores board up their storefronts in response to the demonstrations against rampant police brutality.
June: Design and release Otter Needle Roll
July: Outdoor dining transforms the streets of New York and brings a little magic to a stir crazy populous.
July: Design and release River Rocks Pouch
August: With little else to do, I continue to design, and release my Rock Gardens Bag
August: Celebration of my 60th Birthday on our roof with a couple of socially distanced friends.
September: Visiting an empty Highline
September: Design and release eyeglasses case.
October: My improvisational stitching idea continues.
October: Design and release scissor’s case.
October: A bike ride heading downtown.
November Humor
November: Fall in New York City
December: A little snow in New York City
Finish second improvisational stitching piece: “Perseverance”
December: A quiet Christmas.

Happy New Year!

Sh*t My Mother Sends Me & So Much More!

Sleepless In New York City

On yet another night of sleeplessness I decided it was high time I found out where the whole – count sheep and fall asleep – idea originated. Which, oddly, led me to the discovery of Goats Parkour and the fact that sea otters love to eat sea urchin, which, as facts go, is kind of interesting, particularly at 3am and, anyway, who doesn’t love sea otters?

While googling – “the origins of counting sheep” I learned that this was something shepherds did before going to sleep in Medieval times, but a 12th century fable refers to counting sheep in the Middle East, suggesting this has been going on for awhile now. The article then ends with this sobering thought,

“Origins aside, the practice is an awful sleeping aid.”


Which, I have to admit, kind of took the wind out of my sails. The final sobering sentence of the piece speculated, “Maybe that’s why Don Quixote preferred goats.” Which took me to this… I know, I know…

Watching this last YouTube video made me reconsider my whole, I’ll-start-exercising-again-once-this-whole-pandemic-is-behind-us thinking and so I got up and did some exercises. All of this was done before 4am and I’d just like to interject that New York City, despite the pandemic, is busy at 4am. I know this because I see all the lights on in buildings viewed from our living room windows, but I digress and anyway, my point being that you can cram a LOT of things into the early morning hours if you’re strategic about it.

While exercising, my mind immediately leapt to otters, because that’s where the mind goes at 3:30am while exercising in a semi-dark living room in Manhattan. That’s when I discovered the first video I posted, thus ending my short-lived-newly-discovered-exercise-routine, which, okay, you really can’t call it a “routine” when you do it only once, even though your intention is to do it daily, but never mind.

So then I began designing a new project, which turned into TWO new projects, because that’s the way I think – if one is good, two will be even better and anyway it’s not even 5am – the first features an otter and some sea urchins, and the second features mandalas, because otters can only be upstaged by mandalas in my opinion, though otters AND sea urchins are a hard act to follow. Still, undaunted, I plunged onward.

I also decided that I would video tape the makings of both projects, so that I will have, not just written instructions, but videos as well. By the way if you have any interest in either project please take the poll I embedded in yesterday’s tutorial, I would love your opinion.

All of this brings me back, full circle, to sleeplessness… I have no answers, though I read that counting your breath, as opposed to sheep, can be helpful, but then, when would I find the time to get all the things I want to do, done?! That was rhetorical.

Sh*t My Mother Sends Me & So Much More!

News & Musings From New York City

The news here in New York City, more specifically Manhattan, is that non-essential shops, restaurants, etc will continue to be in lockdown. Tell that to the Irish Pub less than a block away that is a thriving hive of activity, selling burgers and free shots to any who “need” it. As we were hit harder than anywhere else, this means that for some of us, we have been doing the whole #stayhomestaysafe thing since the end of February. Hence the Irish Pub giving out shots and being deemed “essential”. Which, I’d like to just say here, is both funny and kind of tragic at the same time.

The pub, a hub of activity.

The good news is the gym remains shut, and therefore I do not have to wake up at 6:00am and think – should I go workout or remain in bed staring at the ceiling wishing I could go back to sleep, knowing I won’t be able to, and then going, begrudgingly, at 6:30 or even 7:00 to the gym anyway, having spent the last hour facilitating between whether I should or shouldn’t go, thereby losing not just an hour of my time to the gym, but more like two hours, which really starts to piss me off.

The bad news is I’m at an age when going to the gym and getting exercise really shouldn’t be optional, and is therefore “essential,” but since I feel like I’m still in my late 20’s, I forget. Maybe I should get that drug made from jelly fish that’s supposed to help with memory loss… And then there’s the emerging new fad – running. Not running on a treadmill, but actually running outside. For those younger than 40 this will strike you as “new,” for the rest of us this is one of those – oh right, I remember running when I was in my 20’s, when everyone wore those nylon running shorts that looked like two petals overlapping and when you ran they’d kind of flap. For many of us it wasn’t attractive then and still isn’t now, though I hear that running attire has vastly improved, except I wouldn’t know firsthand as I have zero intention of going for a run down the still-sort-of-empty streets of Manhattan.

Anyway running is more a re-emergence much like culottes or what we called in the 60’s petal pushers, but that are now referred to as capris. Amazing how a new name and a little marketing can make any old thing seem new and tantalizing. (This was less a regression and more a tangent, but really what does it matter? It’s not like you have anywhere to go or anything else to do, right?) The point is, running has become a ‘thing’ again. Or so I’m being told. One of my girl friends runs now daily, though she insists she doesn’t run as much as she jogs or, as another friend of mine called it, a slow slog. Later I learned that she had actually said “a slow jog” but I mis-heard it as “slow slog,” which I like better. AND it made me reconsider my whole – You won’t catch me running unless it’s away from something or someone and I’m in grave danger of being physically injured. I even caught myself thinking – I could do a “slow slog”… tomorrow. Clearly I need the magical elixir that only a jelly fish can provide. Which, by the way, whaaaaaaaaaaaat?????? Who knew jelly fish had these super powers, let alone magical ones and how does whatever they have, have anything to do with memory and memory loss? I cannot be the only one asking these questions. Or am I?

Don’t answer that.

So another few weeks or maybe months of #stayhome, making the whole #staysafe part of the hashtag questionable, because really, who is “safe” when you’ve been cooped up inside for going on three months or more? Or do we need to redefine the word “safe”?

Regardless, I have some stitching to do and another couple YouTube videos to record, edit and post.

Don’t forget to #stayhome and do your best to #Staysafe and if you’re feeling really adventurous go for a slow slog.