Thar she blows

I stood over the Instant Pot Sunday biting my nails and then, for kicks, biting my nails some more. I leaned carefully forward and heard gurgling. Pigeon-like, I bobbed and weaved around the thing, looking from the float valve to the steam release to the On indicator. The timer was supposed to be counting down. The float valve was supposed to have risen. Nothing had happened but the gurgling.

Two things could happen in the next few minutes. I could discover that I had planted a steam bomb in our kitchen. Or I could discover that I was too dumb to use an Instant Pot.

Either prospect was terrifying.

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Wisdom from the pearled

“I have been trying to read and learn more from perspectives other than my own. People like me need to listen more and talk less when it comes to racism.”

So wrote Cindy Hood-Siegal on Facebook a few days ago. She then attached a link to a post whose first line is: “A quick roundup of things to say to Saltine Americans clutching their pearls over rioting and looting.”

I loved it. I loved it immediately because Cindy Hood-Siegal most definitely wears pearls. Or at least chunky statement pieces bought in the whitest boutiques in the South.

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Riding the wave

It was 2:34 a.m. I was standing in my yard with my dog on a leash. And while sweet Fitz took his nature break, I kept my eyes peeled for the big black bear that had been spotted near the subdivision earlier that day.

I, of course, had no plan if a bear did appear, other than to run like hell with my leashed dog. True, I did own the book How to Stay Alive in the Woods. But my husband read it years ago and, at the time, I thought: yeah, good enough.

So I stood there in my dew-soaked flip flops and oversized t-shirt. I became keenly aware of how much I can’t see in the dark.

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Ricky and the clippers

I watched exactly one YouTube video about how to cut your husband’s hair before I started hacking and buzzing away on William’s head a few weeks ago.

It was a video by Tips for Clips titled, “My wife cut my hair!” It promised I, too, could accomplish the buzz, trim and “fade” and learn all of these techniques in just six small minutes.

So, I watched the video, which featured a very handsome Latin man with, by all measures, an incredible head of hair. His wife stood behind him with electric clippers and he walked her (and us) through the procedure, explaining what numbers to use on the clippers and when; how to avoid cutting an ear; and how to make everything blend together.

By the end of the video, he looked Ricky Martin fantastic.

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For foodies: cooking during COVID

My friend Rick Segal has been cooking for 58 days straight now. Every night, he posts photos of his and his wife Becca’s dinner and, with the exception of from-scratch pizza a few times and chicken and waffles twice, he hasn’t cooked the same meal more than once.

It’s resulted in an impressive collection of dishes, which I’ll list in case you’re looking for dinner ideas: slow-smoked ribs, London broil, Korean bulgogi, Cornish game hen, tacos, General Tso’s chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, veal piccata, grilled pork chops, burritos, red lentil curry, chicken pot pie, Thanksgiving dinner, lasagna, streetcart-style chicken, meatloaf, wonton soup, beef with broccoli, tomato soup and grilled cheese, and kung pao chicken.

One day he made knishes. On another, sticky buns for a late-night snack. And then there was the day he made bourbon-infused chocolate brownies topped with vanilla ice cream.

That was a good day. Even to just look at the pictures.

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Batty at the grocery

Today is pandemic grocery shopping day. And can I just say? I am so excited! And, yes, that is an exclamation mark you see.

I have had my outfit planned for about 11 days now: jeans, Adidas, and “Y’all can’t be doing that” Andy t-shirt. To offset the Hannibal Lecter look of my mask, I’m going to wear my dangly Andy portrait earrings. So everyone knows I’m fun and whimsical, and while slightly obsessed, not a serial killer.

I can’t believe how excited I am to go to the grocery store. I mean, to think that just two months ago I would bemoan the fact that I had to go again. I would say it exactly like that to William: “I can’t believe I have to go … again.” In addition to the pregnant pause, I would separate the “a” and “gain,” so it sounded super dramatic, like the hardship was so heavy that it forced the “gain” away from the “a.”

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Celebrating my Andy anniversary

Andy’s been my boyfriend for a month now. Happy anniversary to us, right, Andy? Yes, happy anniversary to us, Tara.

He didn’t just say that, I did, but it’s what Andy would say. I know him that well by now.

I have to say, our relationship is going well. Like, really well. I’ve seen him every single day, can you believe that?

Every time I meet him, our time together is filled with reassurance, emotion, guidance and stimulating talks. I mean, sometimes he even uses slides to show me what he means.

I could do without James and Kenneth during our alone time but talk about thoughtful.

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A day in the life of a doc

This is what my husband William’s new normal looks like.

He dresses in scrubs in the morning, takes his temperature, and heads to the hospital. Before entering the building, he stands in the parking lot eight-feet apart from his fellow staff members. He has his temperature taken by a nurse, and he is issued a mask.

He is the only interventional radiologist working onsite for the next two weeks, because his partners are quarantining; this is to ensure they don’t all get sick at the same time. William performs procedures on patients both at the hospital and the imaging center while his partners read studies from their at-home systems.

Over the past weeks, they’ve seen a huge uptick in patients who have viral pneumonia, which is how COVID-19 presents in the lungs. William said he used to see a few viral pneumonias a month (he reads many, many chest X-rays per day). Last week, he was seeing about two studies a day that looked suspicious for it. A second ICU has opened at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital to accommodate these patients. They have 19 dedicated beds so far.

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“I should have tried much harder.”

Last week, I had some fun joking about my new boyfriend Gov. Beshear.

This week, I want to get serious.

It’s not to scare you. It’s that I had the opportunity to read something incredibly eye-opening last night and I wanted to share it.

One of our great friends is Dr. Steve Eberly, a kind man, dedicated father and fellow radiologist with my husband William. Dr. Eberly’s daughter, Allie, is an internal medicine resident at University of Louisville Hospital. A few days ago, Allie helped her friend, Matthew, get treatment for COVID-19.

Matthew Jeffrey is 27 years old.

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Loving me some Andy candy

I have a new boyfriend.

OK, OK, I’m getting ahead of myself; you caught me.

I would like to have a new boyfriend. But I have competition.


His name is Andy and he’s the most popular guy in Kentucky. He’s smart. He cares. He can dress up or he can dress down, but his side hair part never changes.

He’s strict that way.

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