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The veteran journalist talks about rebalancing her priorities, and a listener with an autoimmune disease asks for advice.
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Host Anna Sale and the logos for Death, Sex & Money and WNYC Studios, all on a beige background.

So, in last week's episode, during a break in the wonderful conversation between Sonia Manzano and Sonia Sotomayor, I told you about all the accumulated coconut milk in my pantry. I needed some inspiration for what to do with it, so I asked if would add some ideas to our collective Pandemic Tool Kit

And you did! Some of you also emailed recipes. It was very nice. 

And you know what? I did not make anything with the coconut milk. Last weekend was a long one here in the Bay Area. Because of hazardous wildfire smoke, we stayed inside the whole time. I didn't take the kids out to play and the puppy did not get walked. By Sunday night, I realized that I hadn't left the house since Wednesday afternoon. 

And while I was not going outside, I was making a meal, then cleaning up the kitchen, then cutting up veggies for a snack, then making a meal, then unloading the dishwasher, then putting little crackers in a bowl, then making another meal, and starting the dishwasher again. At least, that's what it felt like. Sometimes my husband cooked and we ordered pizza one night. But, the point is, feeding two kids and two dogs and two parents felt like an endless chore, and a chore so chore-y that I couldn't even bring myself to try to bring a little flash to it by doing something fab with that coconut milk. 

So, on a team conference call on Monday morning, when all the great coconut milk suggestions came up, I admitted that despite so much help and encouragement from others, all of it was still sitting in the pantry. Because in California, I really wanted to say, there is nothing fun happening right now and everything is hard! 

...and then, by the end of the workday, the wind picked up just a little here in Berkeley, and for the moment, the smoke started to clear. We wrapped up our episode this week with Maria Hinojosa, which I really love and feel fed by so much of what she says. Then, I started thinking about what my family should have for dinner, and I reached into the pantry. I asked my four-year-old to stir while we mixed up a fresh blend of curry spices, and we put our coconut milk to use! 

A pot of curried lentils in coconut milk.
These are our coconut curry lentils. They were delicious. 

All this is to say...food, and how we are dealing with all the changes to our food routines, tells us a lot about how we are doing more deeply. So, tell us what you're noticing about food in your life right now. What food is making you feel really comforted these days? Email us at deathsexmoney@wnyc.org.
 
—Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team
This Week on Death, Sex & Money
A photo of Maria Hinojosa looking into the camera. The background is dark and her face is lit. Maria has shoulder length brown wavy hair and dangling silver earrings.

For many years, journalist Maria Hinojosa was often the first and the only Latina in the newsrooms where she worked. She felt undermined and underestimated by many of her white colleagues, something she worked hard at to overcome—because, as she told me, to survive in the world of media, "you have to have a huge f***ing ego."

But that same ego also led to problems in her marriage. Maria told me about the times she chose her career over her family, about the breaking point that led her to reevaluate her priorities, and how, these days, she is learning how to practice listening and self-love. Listen in your podcast feeds now.

Your Stories: A Pandemic, And A Flare Up
This past week, we heard from a listener who is feeling isolated, and is wondering if anyone else out there is going through something similar: 
"I have ulcerative colitis (basically a milder variation of Crohn's Disease). Something that exacerbates the symptoms of colitis is stress (hello pandemic). And so, I have been dealing with a major flare up since June. The stress of the pandemic coupled with my symptoms has in some ways paralyzed me. I haven't left my house for anything but a daily walk in a week. A park with a port-a-potty is about the only place I feel comfortable seeing friends because at least I know I'll have the option. I worry constantly about catching the virus and what that might mean for me as someone with an autoimmune disease.

And that got me thinking, I know there are more people like me out there: with Crohn's, Colitis, Hashimoto's, and other autoimmune diseases trying to cope during a pandemic. I would love to know how careful others are being, what they're doing to cope with their symptoms, and where they're finding joy or at least calm. Additionally, it feels like people who are taking the virus less seriously downplay the effects because 'it only effects people with pre-existing conditions.' I think it would be powerful to have an episode of DSM reminding those people that someone with an autoimmune disease or pre-existing condition is human too. And that having a pre-existing condition shouldn't be a death sentence. 

I am just learning to talk about my illness with my own network, and answering questions about the details of my symptoms would be really hard for me. 
If you could find people willing to do it, I would be so grateful. It would really mean the world to me to feel less alone."

—Allison, 31, Indiana
If you want to send this listener a message, write us. We would be glad to pass your words on. And if you've got an episode idea that you'd like for us to think about, email us too. We're at deathsexmoney@wnyc.org.

Listen to This: Audio We Love

A drawing of a white, female radio producer in a red coat wearing black headphones and holding a black microphone in a plant filled background.
A short haired woman looking down at the words "Short Cuts" in black, and the BBC Radio 4 logo in the top right corner.

Radio producer Bianca Giaever was feeling lonely. So she decided to find someone else—a complete stranger—who was also lonely, to record them and connect with them. Enter Sophia, a religious New York City crossing guard on the way out of her marriage. Don't miss this very special story about being present and finding purpose from the series "Constellation Prize" from The Believer

In the latest episode of the BBC's program Short Cuts, there are three stories about the future, including a robot doing standup comedy, and poems about an empathetic tomorrow. But the second story is particularly delightful. Writer Ciarra Jones' mom set high expectations for her while she was growing up. But Ciarra learned to let go of her own perfectionist tendencies through gardening with her mom, specifically with some special zucchini plants.

"This podcast is so good. The DSM team does a ton of compelling interviews that are very relevant. The interviews usually also introduce me to people I am not familiar with, which is awesome."
—Janet, Texas

Join Janet in supporting our work at Death, Sex & Money!
Donate now at deathsexmoney.org/donate.
Are you cooking up a storm these days, are you ordering lots of takeout, or are you struggling with food insecurity right now?

As we enter month six of the pandemic, tell us about your relationship to food. Email us at deathsexmoney@wnyc.org.
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