Friday, May 15, 2020

5 NYC Metro Area Masks: Notes from the Pandemic


Free Verse Mask 
A few NYC Metro masks to brighten all of us as we practice social distancing. These are my designs and are sold through Redbubble. 

Redbubble is partnering with Heart to Heart International to donate a blank cloth mask for every mask sold on Redbubble. Heart to Heart works with volunteers, partners, and donors who make healthcare more accessible. They have launched international, domestic, and local responses to COVID-19. Donated masks will be given to people who are in line for drive-through testing before they get to the testing station. They will also be used in hospitals and clinics for non-frontline workers, including administrative staff and hospital workers who are delivering food to patients


Liberty and the Fire Boat
The Metro Area Mask





Counting Mask 



Heart and Soul Mask 


Saturday, May 9, 2020

5 New Face Masks: Notes from the Pandemic


Batik Moon Mask 


A few new masks to brighten all of us as we practice social distancing. These are my designs and are sold through Redbubble. 

Redbubble is partnering with Heart to Heart International to donate a blank cloth mask for every mask sold on Redbubble. Heart to Heart works with volunteers, partners, and donors who make healthcare more accessible. They have launched international, domestic, and local responses to COVID-19. Donated masks will be given to people who are in line for drive-through testing before they get to the testing station. They will also be used in hospitals and clinics for non-frontline workers, including administrative staff and hospital workers who are delivering food to patients.



Love Letters Mask


Product Details

  • Masks are two-layered and made of 100% brushed woven polyester.
  • The over-ear elastic straps hold the mask for a snug fit over mouth and nose
  • Masks are one size and will fit most adults
  • 7.25" x 4.6" / 18.5 x 11.5 cm

Care and Use

  • Machine wash hot after each use and tumble dry
  • Cloth face masks should NOT be used as surgical masks, personal protective equipment, or N-95 respirators
  • Adult use only and should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance



Sunday, May 3, 2020

4 New Face Masks: Notes from the Pandemic


After the Suburbs Mask

I designed some face masks this weekend. These are not for medical workers, but for those of us socially distancing. They are sold through Red Bubble. Click the link under each to purchase. I hope they bring joy.

Note: Redbubble is partnering with Heart to Heart International to donate a blank cloth mask for every mask sold on Redbubble. Heart to Heart works with volunteers, partners, and donors who make healthcare more accessible. They have launched international, domestic, and local responses to COVID-19. Donated masks will be given to people who are in line for drive-through testing before they get to the testing station. They will also be used in hospitals and clinics for non-frontline workers, including administrative staff and hospital workers who are delivering food to patients.

A Time for Governing Mask 


Live Brilliantly Mask



Woman Warrior Mask

#PoetryBreak: Sometimes David Whyte

Friday, April 24, 2020

Craving the Familiar: Notes from the Pandemic



From my side yard. 
I.

An acre of land surrounded the house where I lived. Every garden on that land was one that I planted. By now I would have had some pots of herbs growing inside and I would have had them ready to go outside soon. I would have had some containers of vegetables started too. Delicate green shoots pushed up through that loamy dirt. Fragrant. Stems that would thicken. Later there would be tomatoes.

The side patio was slate and lined with wide, curved garden beds. A bird bath Rob and I bought years ago in Maine sat in a small garden of hydrangeas. A copper bath birds came to swim and splash in. The many Mother Day plants I received are still growing in those many gardens.

Astilbe.
Butterfly bushes.
Crocuses.
Daffodils.
Delphinium.
Hostas.
Hydrangeas.
Lavender.
Peony.
Shasta daisies.
Tulips.

Nothing says miracle like a perennial.

Surrounding the side and back lawns were trees thick enough for bears and deer to roam, home to any number of uncounted birds. My back deck was large and comfortable. I painted there. Served family meals there. Listened to and watched birds wing from branch to branch, tree to tree. I spent every season outside there. Even in winter, Rob cleared the path of snow to the grill. Even in winter as it snowed, I would photograph from that deck, aiming the lens of my camera towards the woods.

II.

This is the first spring in the new place I live and it is industrial in design. No real gardens. A small slice of lawn, overly planned. Antiseptic. What was I thinking when I moved here?

III.

A need arises within me as I finish the 6th week of staying home. This pandemic has me craving the familiar.

The way the third stair from the top creaked.
The way birds made nests on the light fixtures.
How light settled and silvered the leaves of old growth trees.
The way I knew a storm was coming by hearing the birds grow industrious.
The hum of the generator as it tested itself every Sunday morning.
The way silence settled like an old friend each evening.

Nothing says safety like home.




Saturday, April 18, 2020

White Privilege and COVID 19 - A Deadly Combination: Notes from the Pandemic


I. 

Jax Weaver and her daughter want everything opened again in Texas regardless of Coronavirus.  They made a sign saying so.  They went to a rally with others and said so again.  Apparently, Ms. Weaver is confident they are healthy enough to fight the virus.  The NY Times reported, 
Jax Weaver, 33, an out-of-work photographer who lives in Austin and came to the protest with her daughter, Brooklyn, 7, said she was frustrated with the limits on daily life. Among other things, her wife was forced to cancel her in vitro fertilization."


from Tx
Ms. Weaver doesn't understand science, or worse, she doesn't care about the outcomes of a virus on the run.  Everyone who comes in contact with her, if she is positive for COVID 19, can become infected, and those who do will likely then infect others (especially in Texas where things are opening up). Some among the infected will not be as healthy as Ms. Weaver thinks she and her 7-year-old are.  Those people won't like their odds against a deadly, deadly virus. Some of those would never risk their child to such a gamble. But it won't be their decision. Ms. Weaver and those like her are making that decision for 320,000,000 citizens.

But that's a gamble Ms. Weaver is willing to take, so she and her 7-year-old daughter aren't "frustrated with the limits on daily life."


II. 

Ms. Weaver's frustration is an apt example of white privilege. White privilege says, 
I am so important and my needs are so important that it is only logical that my needs must be answered. I am entitled. My wants are critical. My judgment is the best. I know truth. I am truth. 
As a white woman I tell you we are trained from early life to believe such dangerous rhetoric, such dangerous beliefs about our own self importance and the "god-given" importance of white people. Full blown white privilege means that I would not even have a glimmer of recognition that someone else's needs might be more significant than mine, because I have been told daily by the institutions I visit and am part of that my whiteness sends me to the head of the line (well a little behind white men and white boys). Recognizing that privilege, understanding it, and working against that privilege every day matters. 

In light of COVID 19 that mattering is more overt.  White privilege is deadly.  I don't mean that metaphorically. I mean it literally. 


A woman wearing a face mask holds a placard as supporters of the Michigan Conservative Coalition protest against the state’s extended stay-at-home order.
A woman wearing a face mask holds a placard as supporters
of the Michigan Conservative Coalition protest
against the state’s extended stay-at-home order.
Photograph: Seth Herald/Reuters Guardian
In Texas as of today there are 17,371 confirmed cases.  Maybe Ms. Weaver has less to worry about. Although whites make up 73.5% of Texas population, they account for only 34% of the COVID 19 cases (2018 US Census Bureau). In contrast African Americans in Texas make up 12.5% of the population and yet, they account for 10% of the COVID 19 cases in Texas. 

AP news reported, "African Americans account for more than one-third of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. where the race of victims has been made publicly known. Data from states, cities and counties show black people are regularly overrepresented compared to their share of the population:




III.

About the same time racial breakdown of COVID 19 was being first reported, the beginning protests were also starting. What do you notice about the crowds (pictured above and below)?

Angry? (check).
White? (check)




from here.  Perhaps I am just seeing photographs of the crowds who are white and angry and are demanding states "open up" and allow COVID  19 to spread.  It does seem like a trend though.


IV.

Way east of Texas, where I live in northern NJ, there are 81,420 confirmed COVID 19 cases. On April 1 that number was 22,255 and that represented a significant spike from the week before when the number of cases was 3,675. That's why we have been trying our best to stay home and stop infecting ourselves and others.

Near here there are children living in homes with their dead relatives. They are right now waiting for some adult to come and remove the bodies of those they love. They don't understand what is happening apart from what they now know about dying. 

Given the morbidity rate of COVID 19 by race, many of those children are likely African Americans. They, unlike Ms. Weaver's 7 year old daughter, don't have time to make signs and go out and complain about their "freedom" and "rights" and "frustrations with the limits on their daily life."  

What we do know is that their daily lives will never be the same. 

I want people like Ms. Weaver who are put out, frustrated, economically challenged and so on to remember those children who never had to witness their loved ones die had the president acted when he was first briefed and shut down the country (something he never did) in January 2020. Instead of telling us COVID 19 was a democratic hoax, that it was contained, that it would dissolve in April like magic and other sick lies, had Mr. Trump acted responsibly and ordered the shut down and the development of tests, we would not be where we are today.

Those children waiting for help would be out playing, like Ms. Weaver's privileged child is likely doing today. 




Thursday, April 16, 2020

#PoetryBreak: The Doorway by Louise Glück


The Years Passing (M.A. Reilly)

The Doorway

 - by Louise Glück
I wanted to stay as I was
still as the world is never still,
not in midsummer but the moment before
the first flower forms, the moment
nothing is as yet past-

not midsummer, the intoxicant,
but late spring, the grass not yet
high at the edge of the garden, the early tulips
beginning to open-

like a child hovering in a doorway, watching the others,
the ones who go first,
a tense cluster of limbs, alert to
the failures of others, the public falterings

with a child’s fierce confidence of imminent power
preparing to defeat
these weaknesses, to succumb
to nothing, the time directly

prior to flowering, the epoch of mastery

before the appearance of the gift,
before possession.