Pandemic journal: Day 42

Friday, April 24, 7:04 AM

Day 42 of voluntary social distancing, Day 39 of county shelter-in-place, Day 36 of statewide shelter-in-place

No theme, this week

I am so, so sleepy this morning, and I don’t know what’s going on with my left eye; really both eyes are a little itchy/irritated. Allergies? Pinkeye? I also had a bit of sore throat yesterday and when I mentioned this to E, he said the same. Allergies? Surely not COVID?! Anyway, clearly I should go to bed early tonight. 

I’m writing with AS and HB and would like to branch off from journaling but I don’t have any ideas. The grief of pandemic is no longer so acute or interesting, but the thought of mining any other feeling is off-putting, like, haven’t I enough to cope with already, without needing to add more input from the recesses of memory? 

Well, I’ll try a reverse sensory pyramid: 5 things I’d like to touch/feel, 4 to smell, 3 to taste, 2 to hear, 1 to see.  

  • Clasping my friend’s hand
  • The cold smooth contours of a boulder in the shade, with some rougher places
  • The warm furred bulk of my sister’s cat Darcy, vibrating with purring, and the different thickness and quality of fur in different places of her body
  • Squeezing and kneading soft bread dough after the first rise 
  • An outside petal on a rose in full bloom, just enough pressure from my fingertips to feel it but not detach it, a little dew
  • That rose, of the backyard varieties that still give fragrance, burying my nose into its center
  • That bread dough! Sticking my face into the bowl 
  • A hot bowl of pho
  • The ocean, scent intensifying as I drive with windows down and then walk closer across the sand
  • Crushed strawberries with sugar 
  • Buttered naan with saag paneer
  • Gobo pickles (which I don’t even like?!)
  • A cello, live, in the same room 
  • The burbley way 2yos talk, but live, in conversation with me

It was surprisingly hard to come up with these. I’m currently experiencing so much sensory richness that I don’t feel deprived of depth of sensation — quite the opposite, as the morning air runs almost too chilly over my bare arms and the birds catch up with each other, the sun shines, the cloudless sky, etc, etc. But variety… the broad variety usually dotted through a this-many-weeks-long period of my life is absent and it’s a little hard to imagine which direction I’d want to take it first; most of these things I don’t exactly actively miss but I sure would enjoy them. It’s a pretty cliché list?! (Also, clearly, I should bake bread today.)

I hear Owl. It’s late for them to get up! I hope that means E got to sleep in, too.

Yesterday was pretty busy. While E took Owl to a storytime hosted by his boss, I finally got my ass in gear to prepare for mask-making with KW: got out my fabrics and checked to see if they seemed opaque enough, found some wire and cutting and stitching materials, dug out some saved elastics, took out tracing paper and pen and blue tape and ruler, figured out how to trace patterns from my laptop, ironed my fabrics. Later, while FaceTiming with SD, I traced and cut the pattern pieces. 

Face mask pattern pieces, traced by hand

I had suspected it would be good to learn from K rather than the quicker option of finding a video on YouTube. And that proved true. She’s a really good teacher and I never felt stupid or like I should have known something, and it was amazing to get her expertise as a sewist who’s now made ~700 masks! She showed me the most complicated and best-fitting mask, and the easiest and quickest and least fitted, and several variations in between, so I could decide which one I wanted to do. I finished a mask in the time we were talking — just under 2 hours though we weren’t sewing the entire time — and it truly wasn’t hard; the hardest part was figuring out which method to use. So I’ll try to make one for E too, and then maybe some backups. It was satisfying to make one, and thanks to K I feel confident I did it right and it’ll serve me well. It’s already way, way more comfortable than ones we ordered online. (I also knew I could trust K’s thoughtfulness and thoroughness in construction, having firsthand experience with how she approaches her work!) 

PS. Yesterday when I told SD I’ve been feeling brain-foggy she said vitamin D helps her with that, so I’ll try it. 

Sending loving thoughts to the mask-makers.