I spent the first six months of this pandemic enraged. Mostly due to an overwhelming feeling of burden regarding all the additional domestic chores the pandemic added to our plates. ALL! THE! DISHES! The unending cycle of meal prep and the virtual school tug-of-war with my children — least we forget our day jobs. I mean the ones that pay the bills. And for the lucky ones who haven’t lost their jobs, the constant pull of trying to virtually lean in at work while managing everything else has been overwhelming.

I turned my anger and frustration towards what I know…


It was my 45th birthday. I was on my way to a friend’s restaurant to celebrate with family when I got the text. Had I seen the email? “No,” I wrote back, “and I won’t for a while. I am off to celebrate my birthday.”

Arriving home later that night, I positioned myself in a comfortable resting chair and opened emails. I had received a message from leadership at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). …


The 1600s had Fire and Stakes. The 2000s Have a Pandemic.

When I was sixteen, I discovered a deep dark family secret. I was the descendant of a witch. This secret was passed on over the generations in hushes and whispers like a smooth breeze blowing over a hill before a raging winter storm. Something exciting, perhaps normal, but not to be discussed least it cause great shame and embarrassment to the family.

I was entranced. Could it be that I was the descendant of a woman who made such an impression her village felt the literal need to burn her at the stake? A woman who some 350 years later…


I don’t know where you were on March 12, 2020, but I was living my best career life. Just as the snow and frost were melting away in the land of Lake Wobegon, I was planning my biweekly return to DC; visiting my spouse, daughter, and son for a long weekend. Little did I know it would be my last moment experiencing Minnesota Nice before the COVID-19 shelter-in-place when everything came to a grinding halt.

As a spouse, parent and intellectual, I struggle to be productive with my research while living a normal family life. But I thought I had…

Misty L. Heggeness

Principal economist and senior advisor at U.S. Census Bureau. Eternal optimist. Economist by day. Writer by night. Mother and wife 24/7. Opinions all my own.

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