After a year of isolation, I don’t just miss my friends and family. I miss people I don’t even know.

An older man rubs noses with a cat.
An older man rubs noses with a cat.
Photo by Pietro Schellino on Unsplash

On a Monday morning nearly a year into this pandemic, I suddenly realized how much I miss talking to strangers.

That day, I sat down at my kitchen table and began my pandemic workday routine. I read my email, logged into my virtual office, and checked my calendar to see how many Zoom meetings I had. Despite my best intentions, I got up approximately every 5 minutes to reheat or refill my coffee.

I have a desk, but I prefer to sit at the dining table so I can see out into my backyard garden. The people who lived here…


A helpful translation of that letter from your noisy neighbors.

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Howdy Neighbor! We are the 13 residents of “Einstein House.”

Hey! Thirteen or more college students live in the loud 3-bedroom down the street.

Due to the sheer amount of people living here, it may sound like we are having big parties every night.

We are having big parties every night.

On the contrary, we’re actually just a happy community who loves to play music, laugh, dance, and proclaim our joy to the heavens. :)

We don’t just have big parties. We also do drugs.

We sincerely apologize for keeping you up at night, in the past and potentially the future, and we would like to minimize our negative impact as much as possible.

We don’t really care about keeping you up, but if we get reported again, we are going to have to pay a big-ass fine to the City.

We try to practice quiet hours past 10 p.m. Though, unfortunately, we don’t always realize what time it is.

We never pay attention to quiet hours. Like, ever.

To facilitate more friendly resolutions to any noise issues, here are the numbers of our four female housemates to call/text.

None of the male housemates care how much noise we make or if we have to pay fines. So, the four female housemates “volunteered” to be the contact people.

Text is MUCH preferred!!!

We are under 30…


What holding my son taught me about life, love, and growing up.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

“Hoh,” demanded the small voice from underfoot. Hold.

Sighing a little, distractedly setting down the mountain of laundry, I replied automatically, “Hold, what?”

“Hoh. Peez,” he said, deliberately, with pride.

He was just eighteen months old, at the dawn of speech. I looked down finally and saw his hopeful face upturned, arms reaching for the sky, for me. I swooped him up in a rush, surprising laughter from both of us as I squeezed him close.

“Hold, please,” I repeated, suddenly wanting to hold him forever.

One of the many things they don’t prepare you for when you become a…


In a dark time, I found hope with a dash of humor, and discovered that a few hours of volunteering can end up counting in unexpected ways.

(Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash)

It was an election year, and the world was about to end, or so it seemed. The president was the worst in our nation’s history. Peace and prosperity had been squandered, all good will toward us lost. Whenever I spoke to a friend, the conversation would darken toward the apocalypse: where we would meet when it came, whom we would save, how we would survive. People said to make sure you had cash on you, lots of it, and to keep your gas tank full in case everything suddenly collapsed. It was the kind of time when people would wake…


Without adequate funding for staffing, technology, and childcare, hybrid models will have dire consequences for education and equity, and less-than-certain benefits for public health.

Boy wearing a face mask and looking out a glass door.
Boy wearing a face mask and looking out a glass door.
Photo by Jeremy Alford on Unsplash

Schools across the U.S. are facing draconian budget cuts while grappling with CDC considerations for reopening safely — particularly maintaining adequate physical distancing and small, consistent groups of students. Many are considering hybrid instructional models, in which students attend school in person on alternating schedules and engage in distance learning the rest of the time. Hybrid models are being suggested not just by the CDC itself, but also in policy briefs (such as the American Enterprise…

Brianna Conrey

Nonprofit leader by day, writer and pianist by night.

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