Author Archives: deemallon

PPE : two versions of mask

If you don’t have twist ties, cut wire and fold ends with needle nose pliers. These are about 4″ long when finished.

Cut CLOTH RECTANGLES 7.5″ x 14″

Press under each short end 1/8″ and then at the machine, turn another 1/8″ under and stitch for a finished hem.

Fold rectangle to create “envelope.”

Stitch across top flap to create a 1/4″ channel for wire. Insert wire and then stitch channel closed at ends of wire.

Cut FOUR straps — 12″ x 1″

Press in half, then fold sides to center, fold on top of each other, and stitch.

Take the envelope and stitch three pleats per short side for a finished length of 3.5″

Cut TWO facings 4″ x 1.25 or 1.5″

Stitch to wrong side. Lay two straps at the edges, fold facing over to right side and stitch, tucking ends of facing in and capturing straps.

Fold straps back on themselves to the outside and top stitch several times for strength.

These straps are longer than 10”

Deb found another version below. It offers an elegant simplicity. Three pieces only! No nose wire, but does feature the pocket for filter.

My understanding is that hospitals will wash and sterilize upon receipt but check before dropping off. Many hospitals in the Boston area will accept only masks made from fabric that they supply.

Walk in the woods

Took a walk in the woods. Usually on a Sunday, I stay behind. K knew the paths really well and I thought: must do this more often.

I have my Fitbit back on. Gonna set little goals. Did 8 minutes on stationary bike yesterday (hey! I said little goals). My legs hurt.

It was cold today. Even so, at the suggestion of my neighbor, a bunch of us met at the curb for a “cocktail hour.”

Some folks I hadn’t talked to in a couple of seasons. A silver lining.

Cuomo has asked for federal government help in setting up temporary hospitals, including at Stony Brook in Long Island. My brother won’t have another shift there for more than a month.

There were 11 other people on the plane from NY to LA and, given that the NY airports were shuttered earlier in the day, my brother was glad to get a seat.

I figured out how to borrow books from my library on kindle. Hurrah! Even though I have lots of unread books in the house, this makes me feel good.

I’m an hour into “Shelter in Place,” by Norah Roberts. After “Lost Children Archive,” I wanted a fast read. More about that later, maybe.

Hope you all had manageable weekends! Heigh ho. On to another week!

Mask making, easy version

1. Cut three rectangles 100% cotton 6 x 9″

2. Lay two rectangles right sides together. Position third on top (it will end up inside).

3. Cut two strips of 1/4″ elastic, 7.5″

4. With right sides together and inner layer resting on top, sew all the way around except for a three inch opening for turning. Secure ends of elastic into corners of the short dimension, taking care not to catch elastic as you sew one end to another.

5. Turn “envelope” right side out

6. Pin three pleats on each end

6. Top stitch around twice.

There are other more complicated versions, but my pea brain needed something simple. (This mask example doesn’t demonstrate the inner layer).

Here’s the video of easy mask-making from Courier Press.

I washed my fabric first because my basement imparts a bit of a stink but my understanding is that hospitals will wash upon receipt.

My hope is that I can deliver these to a local hospital. Mass General, maybe.

Personal coronavirus update:

1. The guy who my son was supervising this week who is symptomatic and in quarantine doesn’t qualify for testing — meaning C won’t know definitely whether he’s been exposed. The good news is that, being in a lab, both had protective equipment on.

2. My brother reported that the CTs that he’s seeing of PUI’s (persons under investigation) are routinely showing alarmingly damaged lungs.

Friday after CA shuts down

Days SEVEN and EIGHT of Home Containment

10:30 pm Learn that all of California is on lockdown.

10:40 pm Learn that C worked all day Tuesday with a guy now quarantined and exhibiting symptoms. C’s roommate is away for the next near term. My brother, who lives in LA but works sometimes on Long Island, may not be able to return. By air, anyway.

11:00 pm Read a twitter feed peppered with stories about young men almost dying. The symptoms. The difficulty getting tested. Being refused care.

3:00 am Awake

7:00 am Watch YouTube videos on how to make face masks

8:00 am Package a thermometer and electrolyte tablets to ship to LA

9:00 Send HIPAA release back to therapist so we can meet on Zoom

9:30 Eat banana bread with peanut butter thinking, “how delicious” and “maybe I’ll finally use up all the dark brown-skinned bananas in the freezer.”

9:35 K whistles in the shower. Some things don’t change.

9:55 Read Windthread blog about the doe Caroline giving birth to two kids and wonder at the nature of contrast and connection — Grace in California in the birthing shed or with Emrie insisting on sleep at the very same time I read about Gavin Newsom’s order for all of California and learned about C’s recent exposure.

I will get around to uplifting messages but for now I rely on others to put them out (Thank you, Liz. Thank you, Jude).

That guy above, BTW, is the original cut out who became all those Jared Kushner collages.

PS We know about Burr and other corrupt GOP possible insider trading because they’re required to disclose. How much money are the trumps making? There’s reporting about Jared cashing in, but I haven’t had the stomach to pursue it yet.

Spray paint, gifts, and rain

When I removed the house shapes after spray painting, I was reminded of Jennifer Coyne Qudeen’s work. She uses house silhouettes with marvelous invention.

The house silhouettes combined with images from the NYTimes Travel section with fantastic result (below). Even the tears make me swoon.

About to settle in for second Zoom writing class of the week, the one I’ve been part of for many years. This one I get to listen more.

Here’s a quick tour of my writing space on this rainy Thursday.

My son didn’t pack Jude’s strays and (ahem) I didn’t remind him. Someday soon, I’ll pop them in the mail to California.

Day SEVEN of HOME CONTAINMENT. I like that phrase better than self-quarantine or isolation. How’s it going with you all?

It was nice to come down to a ready pot of coffee but weird to hear a conference call about technical appendices going on. Fortunately, K didn’t have his camera on because when I walked in front of his screen his colleagues would’ve seen an old bird with weird hair who looked like she just woke up.

Spaciousness

“In the midst of fear, kindness is needed, even just a little, so that the panic, restlessness, and angst don’t completely take over. We can simply ask ourselves if even in the midst of contraction and tension spaciousness is available as well.”

The Magnanimous Heart
Compassion and Love, Loss and Grief, Joy and Liberation, by Narayan Helen Liebensen

I’ve been though so many states of mind since yesterday, it feels like days instead of hours since I last typed here.

Rather than explain, I will barrel forward.

An old photo of D (top), as I think of all the parents home with children. Next, a little shell/insect combo, revealing how much I am missing paper play.

This collage, made in 1980 while I was living in SF, used copies made on one of the first color Xerox machines. How I loved that ‘color shift’ dial! Now my niece is sheltering in place just across the bay from where I once lived.

I lived in that duplex during my senior year in college in Northampton, Mass. Look how themes stay with us!

Meanwhile, plans have formed to use my sister’s cardboard collection after revisiting this book below.

An early decision will be how to attach the house/pages to each other. Artists in the book use various means: ribbons, wire, hemp, rick rack.

500. That’s how many words I deleted this morning. But today it doesn’t satisfy, because my hunch is that the trimmed chapters need to go in their entirety. More decisions.

Where are you finding spaciousness?

Body as writing prompt

Writing Prompt: “Throw consciousness to some particular part of the body. Put the whole mind there… what are the reports?

This sounds like a Gestalt exercise, but it comes from an old book entitled, “Power of Will,” by Frank Channing Haddock. 1918.

(How weird to see that the book was published during the Spanish flu).

Here is a part of what I wrote, neck speaking:

Wasn’t it funny that you had a nail in your pocket during your bone scan? The x-ray technician queried, “Are you sure there’s nothing else in your pockets?” And there it was: a three inch nail, left over from a day of hanging mirrors on the wall where you come in. On the wall where you come in now light gathers on various rectangles of glass, a pleasing magic no less potent for being ordinary.

The diagnostics designed to show my crumbling demise partner with a tool for bringing in more light.

The scan sees through shirt and pants and flesh, all the way down to the bone. Look! There we are, the C-3’s and C-4’s, just below your skull. Perhaps a little gratitude is in order. How long we’ve upheld your head — through dance class, Take Back the Night Rallies, and snowstorms and screaming sex and giving birth and closing doors and making soup. . . Everything you can name and lots you can’t name as well.

Crumbling is one way to describe us. Compression: average to moderate. Waiting for severe. Still going, albeit with a crunch.

We could use your kind attention right now and in the right nows that follow. Please baby our nerves, stretch our muscles. Let the phone buzz and the screen stay dark. Take a bath with salts. Scrub your knees and elbows with the salt. Remember that you are an electrical being.

Sunlight is disinfecting, healing, which is why hanging mirrors is never merely ornamental. Find it. Sit in it.

Piggyback prayer. Burn a punk or two. It’s time to go deeper.

Remember how we used to say, “the breath knows how”?

Well, the breath knows how.

May all sentient beings by joyful, etc.

We prepare for darkness — the dust to dust part. Such preparations are not morbid. In fact, they are joyous. How lovely to breathe knowing that one day you will not. We crumble and compress on our way to the grave. Such is the way of all structures, not just skeletons, but also empires and republics.

Did it ever occur to you how much of your agonies arise from wanting, desperately wanting, the Republic to survive?

It might. It might not. Do your calls, your protests and postcards, but forget a return, a preservation, a rekindling or a revolution. Give all those ideas up. This we say to you.