Monday, April 20, 2020

Monday Musings

On Cricut Maker - I finally got started with my Cricut Maker yesterday.  My first attempt was an epic fail:
I decided this font was maybe just too thin to work...

I tried again with a different font that didn't have pencil thin lines.  I got an image I could actually transfer...  But I still didn't like the results.  The Cricut cut each individual letter fully, so where they overlapped, bits would end up missing.  Also, I thought the size was just a little too big!
Finally got to the point of understanding the difference between "group" and "weld".  Very happy with the final result.  More importantly, the bride-to-be was happy!  So, my first project - set of six bridesmaids wine tumblers - DONE!  And weeding vinyl?  Not my idea of a good time!

On Face Masks - I'm still busy sewing. Finished another 10 on Saturday.  So here's the group currently ready to hit the mail
I continue to receive requests for these, so I'm still sewing like crazy.  And now that it is becoming clear that our stay-at-home orders aren't being rescinded anytime soon, and we are being required to wear face masks to get into the grocery store, I'm guessing there will be a continued need.  I'm about to run out of elastic again. Sigh.

On the "New Normal" - or rather complete lack thereof. I thought we had this COVID thing kind of figured out. I'm unemployed, but that happened pre-COVID and we were doing okay. We had settled into a schedule and a life at home...  and with a single phone call, that has all been turned on its head.  

Jay just learned that he's been "furloughed".  I've put that term in quotes because we both agree it is his company's chicken-shit way of jettisoning employees without coming right out and telling them.  He was told 4-8 weeks.  So why do we think "furloughed" actually equals "let go"?  Because they want him to mail his laptop back to Corporate HQ.  If they were planning to bring him back in a month, why would they bother?  So we are now two unemployed older Americans.  Jay is devastated. I don't even know how to react. It sucks in ways I can't even describe.  I know that our situation isn't unique and that we will muddle through it somehow.  But O.M.G. - 2020 SUCKS!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Monday Musings

My patience for all things Pandemic is wearing thin.

Today is Day 31 for me.  A full month of days spent in my home, going nowhere but the grocery store and walks around the block.  Most of the time I'm okay with it. But there are moments...

On Easter Sunday - I woke up feeling blue, knowing that we wouldn't be having the traditional family Easter dinner.  I fantasized about one of those parking lot picnics I've been seeing - everybody next to their individual vehicles with 6 or more feet of space between, sitting on the ground chatting.  I was sorely tempted, but convinced myself that I would be doing precisely what I had been secretly judging other people for...   

I set about my weekly meal planning and grocery shopping.  It takes so long now to put away groceries with the wiping down of every item with a Clorox wipe, then wiping the counter, the refrigerator door, the door knobs, and anything else I had touched between the grocery store and the interior of my home.  Chores done, I sat down to work on One Little Word and some weekly goal setting when the doorbell rang. Confused, I went to the door.

It was Becca!  She and Kyle had stopped by for some socially distanced chatting.  So we set up on the back deck (nobody entered the house).  Finally got enough chairs set up (they were still under winter cover) when Sarah came walking back!  So yes, two of my three children surprised me with an Easter visit.

We maintained social distancing and there were no hugs exchanged. No Easter meal. The kids brought their own drinks and snacks. They only stayed about an hour. I fully acknowledge this was a bit of a "cheat" from the stay-at-home rules.  But man, it did my heart so much good!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Monday Musings

On My Job Search... after roughly six weeks of stalking job boards, I concluded that anything  posted would be for large global companies in heavily regulated industries (banking, finance, pharma, health care, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, etc.). I have neither the experience nor the desire to work in these fields. Perhaps reading job boards wasn't going to be a fruitful avenue for me.

So..... I decided to start my own practice!  I haven't gotten it off the ground or landed a single paying gig yet. But I stepped up my networking into the direction I'm hoping to go and started writing my elevator speech.  Soon I'm going to have to start working on a web site.  My plan is to provide in-house counsel services to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and creatives who don't need (or want the expense) to add a full-time in-house counsel to their staff.  I'm trying to use the current downtime to do the background work to get this ready to go.

On All Things Wedding... right before the world came to a screeching halt, two things were accomplished.  First, on March 10, I found my Mother of the Bride dress!  It's ordered.  Sorry, no sneak peeks!  Second, Becca and Kyle got their wedding rings ordered on March 14th.  This was just before all the businesses were ordered to close... and that evening Becca and Kyle were literally the only two people in the restaurant where they went to celebrate. 

This photo was taken early afternoon on Friday, March 13th.  Becca and I took advantage of a beautiful Spring day to get a walk around the block.  Little did I know that would be the last time I'd be within touching distance of any of my children for weeks (or months, depending on how long this lasts).

On All Things Pandemic... By late afternoon that day, we had word that all Pennsylvania Schools would be closing for two weeks (now indefinitely).  Then Jay got the call to work from home for two weeks (now starting Week 4 and going until at least the end of April).  The panic buying at grocery stores and clearing shelves of toilet paper and hand sanitizer had started a few days earlier.

 My entire family began self-quarantine March 16th.  By the 19th all businesses in Pennsylvania that didn't meet the "life sustaining" categories were ordered to shut down.  Then the Governor began issuing stay-at-home orders on a county by county basis, starting with  Philadelphia effective March 23rd.  Within 3 days every county that my family lives in was included.  Initially the orders were effective until April 6. But on April 1st, Governor Wolf issued a state-wide stay-at-home order effective through April 30th.

Beginning March 21st my "new normal" involved trying to continue my business building activities while busily sewing face masks - initially because I wanted to get some to my daughter Becca and sister Deanna who are both in health care, both still working, both treating patients.

It has quickly morphed into so much more than that.  I've already sent out 22 masks which went to Becca's co-workers and my own friends and family around the country.  I've got another 26 done/in process and supplies coming from several places to make more.

I can't sew fast enough to meet the requests, but I'm trying!  I'll never know whether my masks prevented someone from getting ill, or saved a life, but I'm operating under the assumption that this is the case and working feverishly to make as many as I can - to make whatever small difference I can make in the world.  And that's really all anyone can do right now.

Here's a shot of my current batch of masks.  Using fabrics I had on hand.  All those animal prints were part of a coordinated fat quarter pack, easily 20+ years old!  The style in front is the typical civilian or healthcare emergency mask, like Becca is wearing in the picture above.  The style in back is more form fitting and the pattern is actually cut in different sizes (I'm making large). It can hopefully be worn over an N95 mask for healthcare workers.  I'll know for sure after my sister has a chance to test them out!

As I do when coming to grips with difficult things, I got quiet.  This is my first post since really accepting that this Pandemic was real. 

One interesting thing I did to help cope is join a workshop called Writers in the Pandemic hosted by Patti Digh.  In the course of the two week workshop I wrote several poems about my feelings in this time of uncertainty.  In one we started with the prompt "That discomfort you're feeling is grief." We were asked to write for a specific time period, then circle what stood out for us. Using the circled words as a prompt write a second time, then repeat the exercise and write a third time.  When I distilled it down, I ended up with this Six Word Memoir:

Reward for Safe Return.

When this Pandemic is over and the all clear is sounded, the first thing I'm going to do is hug my daughters.  What is the first thing you want to do when the Pandemic ends?