Lock-Down, Grocery Shopping & Face-Masks
Pre-Post Note/ Thank you so much for all your loving, tender, and moving comments about Rand’s passing. I read them all several times, and cried many more. It means a lot to me that my little fur baby can be remembered by so many. These wounds will take a long time to heal (such deep sorrows for two little kitties), but we will get there in the end.
Quarantine day 20, almost three weeks since the lock-down for COVID-19 began in France.
We are maintaining a pretty fixed routine; work in the mornings, exercise in the afternoons, eating & drinking (probably in excess, but hey…), so the days pass surprisingly fast, but they are also starting to blur together. I forget exactly what day of the week it is, or when I last ventured out for a shop, and the idea of just jumping into the RV and driving off somewhere seems like a faint, but luxurious dream.
And yet, it’s only been three weeks….!
It’s funny how the human mind works, when your world changes. There’s the usual stages of denial (this can’t be happening!), to anger (how could this happen?) to finally, after sheer exhaustion, a state of acceptance. This is true for grief, as well as all major changes in life including (I can now say from experience) forced confinement. But once you get to that final stage, you tend to forget what it was like before it all, which I guess is a kind of defense or survival mechanism. Perhaps the mind purges what it cannot have?
Seriously, all this in only three weeks….
I’m sure there’s a deeper point to all this, something about letting go of things you cannot control, but I just find it insane how quickly my mindset has changed. The world seems a very different place from mere months ago, and so does my headspace. I wonder how it’ll feel next month, or next year? Will it all be the same, or will I forget as quickly as I changed?
Anyway for now there’s just the past week, and here’s what’s happened in our little corner of the universe in that very short time..
The Quarantine Period in France Has Extended to Mid-April
It wasn’t much of a surprise when France extended the nationwide lock-down last week.
For those of you following the COVID-19 infection numbers, you’ll know that we’re still not anywhere close to where we need to be in terms of “flattening the curve”. That’s true here and many other places around the world (including most of the USA). So in France the quarantine has officially been extended until the middle of April, and will undoubtedly be extended beyond that yet again.
I’m still holding onto the vague hope that the virus will peak by end April, but it easily could take longer. Either way, I don’t see restrictions loosening up until May.
The other big change is that we can no longer walk/hike where we want. The new rules in France are that you can only exercise/walk for 1 hour within 1 km of your home. So you can’t drive anywhere (e.g. to go for a hike) and you can’t go for longer hikes. They even launched a website to trace a circle of exactly where 1 km can take you, just in case you pretend not to know (rien n’est laissé au hasard).
And of course, the fines for non-compliance have been raised big-time, thanks to the few idiots who didn’t respect the limits to begin with. Now if you’re caught 3 times without the proper paperwork (or too far from home) you risk a fine of up to 3,750 € or 6 months in prison. Yeah, they’re not messing around anymore.
For us folks here in the countryside this really isn’t too bad. We’re surrounded by fields and walking trails, so we’ve got several hikes we can do in perfect nature (all within the sacred 1 km circle), without any issues at all. Plus we’ve got our garden and outdoor space, and a house to roam around in. Zero complaints here. For folks living in teeny apartments in the cities however, this must be absolute hell…..
The longer this thing goes on, the more I’m deeply and profoundly thankful to be living in the sticks.
Grocery Shopping Is Our Big “Event” Of The Week
The only thing we do beyond our 1 km circle these days is grocery shopping, and it’s now literally the biggest “event” of the week. Never imagined that would be the case….
I’ve had a few different experiences since the lock-down too.
The first thing I tried was the contactless online shopping option that I blogged about a few weeks ago (basically you shop online, then pick the stuff up in the trunk of your car). It looked really promising, but sadly ended up being a bit of a bust. I did two separate orders (one at Intermarché, one at Super U) both of which delivered less than half of what I asked for, and almost none of the items I really needed. And then when I tried again a week later, there were zero slots to pick-up orders for weeks. Ah well, bin that idea….
My in-person experience this week was rather better.
My local Carrefour wasn’t that busy, and had most of the stuff I needed except for a few, precious items that were sold out. And no, it wasn’t toilet paper that was out of stock (what IS IT with the toilet paper craze that’s going on in the USA????), but rather practical foodstuffs such as eggs, flour, cheese, and rather interestingly bacon bits (lardons) that were hard to come by. I guess everyone in our village is making quiche??
Also, everything was orderly, all the checkout cashiers were behind barriers with masks, and customers were encouraged to stand 6 ft apart using tape on the floor. It wasn’t contactless, but it wasn’t bad, and I came home with a decent haul. Exciting stuff, eh?
Local Online Shops Are Springing Up
There’s something new in town! A superbly positive development in all this is that folks selling local produce are starting to go online, and THIS is something I’m really excited about.
Back before all this COVID-19 madness we actually bought most of our fresh food at the weekly street markets. We love these as the fare is local & superbly fresh, plus we have tons of choice in our area. Apparently some of these markets are still open (or so we’ve heard), but obviously attendance is way, way down due to strict travel restrictions. So what’s been happening is that local farmers are banding together to offer online ordering for local customers. And IMO it’s a very cool trend….
In the past week I’ve discovered several of these gems thanks to French friends. So, I’ve now got local suppliers lined up for a delivery next week of meats, flours, eggs & other goodies, as well as a local garden center (where I’m planning to get some tomato plants, amongst other things). This makes me very happy indeed.
And I’ve Changed My Mind About Face Masks
Another big change that’s happened this past week, is my thoughts on face masks.
Admittedly, I’ve been a long time coming around to the idea of using masks. From the very beginning, the official recommendation (from WHO, CDC etc.) was that you shouldn’t wear a mask unless you’re sick or caring for someone sick, and I’ve diligently followed (and re-blogged) that recommendation. However, the more I’ve read about COVID-19, the more I’ve changed my mind.
There’s still so much we don’t know about this virus (e.g. how airborne is it really?), plus there is now solid evidence people can transmit the virus before they are symptomatic, which means that you or I, or anyone else could potentially be sick & infecting people without even knowing it. In the light of such evidence we should all be considered potentially infectious and thus all be wearing masks.
Lastly masks have been shown to help, and have been a requirement in certain countries (e.g. in Asia) for a long while. The trend has taken longer to reach Europe, but it’s getting here. Italy (Lombardi), Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have made face masks compulsory when entering public spaces, and other countries are likely to follow suit soon. It’s a massive change for Western cultures, and it’s a significant one.
And look at that!!! The CDC has JUST changed its stance & now recommends that everyone wear cloth masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Wow! I can confidently say that this is the one and only time in my life that I’ll ever be considered “ahead of the game” for any kind of clothing trend.
But What Kind Of Mask??
So now that I’ve come around to the idea of wearing a mask, what kind did I go for?
Obviously you can still buy masks (albeit at crazy prices) online, but in my opinion the real masks (PPE, N95 etc.) need to go to the front-line doctors and nurses who are putting themselves in danger everyday to keep the rest of us safe. Whatever we do, we should not take away precious resources from those who need them for their life-saving jobs.
But a home-made or cloth mask is a conscientious and easy possibility for everyone! And the good news is, that they can be surprisingly effective if made right, and used right.
A study published in a Cambridge University Journal on the effectiveness of various materials against high concentrations of bacterial and viral aerosols showed that even a basic cotton mix can provide filtration of 50-70% (depending on the fabric) against particles as small as 0.02 micron in size (for reference, COVID-19 is around 0.1 micron in size, and droplets are even larger). That is not medical-grade, but it’s significant.
In addition, although the medical use of cloth masks has not been scientifically validated, there are now two popular designs that have been developed by the medical community & are being actively utilized by medical facilities both in USA & in France:
- Olson Mask Design -> this design is being used by several hospitals in the USA including Unity Point Health & North Memorial Health (click on the links for YouTube tutorials).
- CHU Grenoble Design -> this design has been developed & is being used at the Centre Hospitalier de Grenoble (again, click on the link for the YouTube tutorial (French))
There are a ton of other designs on YouTube as well as the CDC website, including super easy no sew options for those without access to a machine. Plus you can buy cloth masks with filter inserts online. And in all honestly I think just about any of them will work for us regular folk.
The key is simply to use several layers of tightly woven cotton material (cotton has the best balance of breath-ability versus filtering), fit the mask closely over your nose & mouth (a combo of semi-decent design, good elastic/ties & skin tape/double-sided tape can achieve that), and wash the mask immediately after every use.
Also it’s important to remember that these are not meant to be masks that you wear for hours in a medical setting. They are simply a reasonable protective barrier that you wear for the SHORT TIME that you spend in public places on essential outings (the key is still to STAY HOME, folks!!).
I Went For The Olson Design
I decided to make the Olson mask design which uses 6 separate pieces of fabric. It’s a bit fiddly to put together, but it has multiple layers, as well as a filter insert. Plus I like the fact that it’s been created by a hospital team & properly fit-tested (with skin tape). It’s not necessarily the prettiest mask out there, but it is very functional.
The only barrier I ran into is that I’m a pretty poor seamstress (entirely self-taught) and I’m working on what is essentially a toy sewing machine. All I have is an old IKEA machine (primarily meant for kids, I think) and it is temperamental as all get-out. Still, I manage to get by, with persistence and a fair amount of swearing.
For the design I used the exact online instructions, except I added a little internal loop of material in the nose area for a removable metal nose-clip (see pics below).
And IMO the result was pretty decent!
My first mask took me almost a whole day to make (the darn toy machine kept crapping out), but I’m getting a smidgen faster every time I go and my plan is to give them all away. My next lot are going to local friends, and then I will continue to sew for anyone local (friends, old folks, nurses etc.) who wants them. It’s a looong process (for me), but I figured it’s the least I can do during this time. Anyway, I’ve got the time now right?
That’s It For This Week!
So that wraps up our week! I have no idea what next week will bring, but at this rate I’m sure I’ll have at least another 2,000 words or so to share with you. Either way, I’ll be sure to update you right here.
I’d love to hear about YOUR week and your quarantine (if you happen to be holed up like us). DO share in the comments below!!SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Sherry Fields says
Hello from the KY teacher whose students followed your US and some of your Europe adventures! I too am blessed to live in the country. We have 150 acres to roam. The hubby and I have been chilling on Fields Ridge for almost 3 weeks now. Can’t say I mind it too much. We are lucky that our daughters and their family’s have farms that join into ours, so we’ve not had to quarantine from our precious little grandchildren. They just walk down one hill, up the flat bottom field and climb up another hill and they’re at Granny and Pa’s. We in lock down through April 30 as of right now. But the Governor has hinted at another month maybe two of stay at home mandates. No school in the state. Kids are learning via google classroom or zoom. Personally I think they’ve probably learned more these past two weeks at home than what they would’ve sitting in a classroom desk. I actually homeschool one of the grandsons, so he’s used to the method. Nothing better than learning outside in nature! Especially in Springtime in KY! For the first time since WWI, the KY Derby won’t be run the first Saturday in May!! It’s been moved to September! Ive so enjoyed your blog all these years. My heart hurt so much for you when you lost your precious kitties. We lost our 17 year old cat at Christmas and our 20 year old doggie two months ago. The grief is heartbreaking. I’ve been sending comforting love in my nightly prayers. Stay safe and healthy in France!
I’m so happy you wrote in Sherry! I often think about you and really wish we’d had the chance to meet you & your students back in the day. Ah well.
So very sorry to hear you lost two precious pets over the past months. And your dog made it to 20….that’s incredible!! Both of them clearly had great lives with you, but it’s heartbreaking not to have them with you anymore. I know that pain.
During this time however, I’m glad to hear you have space to roam, and family nearby. That’s a real blessing. Continued good health to you all.
Terry Brown says
Hi from Canada. Keep safe.
Angie Quantrell says
Ahhh. Writing from home-sheltered Washington state. Week, I don’t even know anymore. Too long. We are now also supposed to wear masks. Today was my first foray out with one. Ugh. But I do feel better about breathing as I walk around other shoppers. My every other week schedule is home schooling with my daughter-in-law. The second every other week I work from home. In between, chaos. Anything I do (and you know this) causes a mess and need for rearranging the RV to find what I need. Yesterday included a trip to our storage…so now there is more stuff in the way. But I celebrated by baking pumpkin snickerdoodles for kid snacks this week. Mmmm. Who cares if it’s spring? Thanks for sharing how it’s going in France. Thinking of both of you and your precious kitties.
Wearing a mask for the first time is REALLY strange. It’s not really part of our Western culture so I feel rather self-conscious when I do it. But, like you, I do feel better with some kind of barrier over my nose and mouth when I’m out. I’m sure I’ll get used to it? Cheers for your updates. Always nice to hear what people are up to.
Sue Malone says
Great story, Nina, and I know you are still grieving. I hope there is nothing more for us to grieve and that things eventually shift. However, I laughed when I read this line in your first paragraph: “so the days pass surprisingly fast, but they are also starting to blur together. I forget exactly what day of the week it is, or when I last ventured out for a shop,”. That line could have come from just about anyone I know, any blogger who is writing, and from me as well. So true for all of us. I made masks yesterday for us, using old hepa vacuum bags and quilting fabric with ties. And I went to the grocery this morning, with good success. Count the little blessings, for sure
Well done on the masks! And the shopping. Like you said it’s the little things that count these days. Not a bad thing to be reminded of I guess.
Excellent as expected…. love…love the sewing machine… what a great job you did on the mask… jealous you can grow stuff now…it is too early here, still cold .
That sewing machine is a riot isn’t it? I really don’t think it was meant for serious use, but I’m definitely putting it to the test. Hope it holds out for me….
Mary Dunbar says
We are lucky to be within walking distance of the beach in Ocean Park, WA so we get a daily beach walk. A few weeks ago they closed the beach to vehicle traffic so our walks are quite nice. We have decided to only listen to the news in the morning otherwise I think we could go crazy. Like you we have lost track of what day of the week it is. I have been baking ( a luxury since our Airstream doesn’t have an oven) and just started a sourdough starter. Like you I think it will be May or even June before we consider travel again. Also considering coming off the road…lots to reflect on
Ahhhhh, the beach. I just got a huge pang of nostalgia there. What a luxury to be able to walk by the ocean everyday! And sourdough….yes, I should write about that. I have a 2-year-old gluten-free sourdough starter in the fridge at the moment, and plan to start a “regular” one this week. A good tip in these times.
Oh, and coming off the road. Yeah that’s a difficult one. Lots of emotions come into play after you’ve been a traveler and are suddenly “still”. You’ll know when the time is right.
Janet bickham says
Always glad to see Polly❤️ Thankful for your information and news about France.
The Olsen mask does look like an effective choice, I plan on making a lot for family and friends. Take care of each other and maybe get a little better sewing machine?
Lol, it would make it less tedious to make masks
When this whole lockdown is over I DEFINITELY plan on getting a better sewing machine LOL. Not much I can do about it right now, but hopefully soon….hopefully soon.
We had the exact same experience with the grocery pick-up. The first time we did it, we were able to get a pick up time about 3 days after we made the order and they had just about everything. More recently, it took over a week to get a slot and when we went to pick up our order, we only got about half our items. We would have happily taken random substitutes, but they seemed to default to just saying “no” instead of putting something in the bag. I get it – they don’t want to have to re-stock a bunch of rejections, but for us, in this situation, we don’t care. We just need staples. I’m hopeful that if this situation continues, the stores will add more resources to their curbside pickup and delivery programs and make it easier for people to use it effectively. Actually, what I really hope is that this whole nightmare ends and we can all go back to normal. Stay well.
I think the intention that the grocery stores had with the pick-ups was solid, but the execution ended up being waaaay beyond what they could handle. Just way too many people suddenly wanting the service at once, together with panic-buying & (probably) only a small crew to fulfill the online orders. So they quickly became overwhelmed. They’re supposed to do substitutes in our stores too, but never seem to. If the exact item isn’t in stock, they just don’t put it in the cart. I’ve given up on the online approach for our regular grocery store.
Thank you Nina – well researched as always.
That is definitely a “baby” sewing machine–but you are getting the job done! We keep saying how grateful we are to have all the space around us. I simply cannot imagine being in an apartment with no outdoor space. Take care Nina and Paul.
The folks in apartments with no space and no outdoor area must be going nuts. I know there are many creative things going on out there in the cities (e.g. balcony singing etc.), but it must still feel very confining. SO glad to have space around us.
Thanks for sharing your experiences in France. We are fortunate to live in the country and have room to get outside and go for walks. We have a daughter in a group home and we aren’t allowed to enter her home. We have gone over to check on her and talked to her through her bedroom window. That sure boosted her spirits. It’s the small things we do, like your mask gifts, that will build relationships and make friends of people we may never have taken the time to get to know before this crisis. Remembering to stay connected to loved ones, friends, and others around us will see us through this. Stay well!
Oh gosh, I’m so sorry for you and your daughter. I know many people who are going through similar issues with their elderly parents in homes, or family in hospital that they can’t visit anymore. If we weren’t living with dad we’d have to talk to him through the window too. Truly hope all this ends soon.
I have joined a volunteer FB group call RVs 4 MDs which matches Healthcare Providers with RVers who want to help them by lending them their RVs to use to isolate themselves so they don’t infect their families. It’s only been going on to 10 days, but is now nationwide with 20,000+ members and 1,400+ volunteers helping to facilitate it. It’s also heartwarming to see people helping others in a crisis. The healthcare providers are so extremely thankful. Maybe someone in other countries will start a similar program. Wishing your family the best.
What a WONDERFUL organization & fabulous resource for all those non-used RVs!! Thanks so much for writing about it. For blog readers here is a direct link to the Facebook group:
Linda Sand says
Grieving goes on as long as it takes. Don’t try to shorten that time or it will just pop up again later. You have a right to your grief.
I’m using the no-sew method of folding a bandana and adding hair bands for the ear loops since I already had all that on hand. I go nowhere but my Dave will now wear one when he goes grocery shopping.
We live in a small apartment in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, but our huge windows overlook a nature preserve so we don’t feel cooped up. Plus the restaurant on the premises is delivering meals right to our door so we rarely have to cook which keeps down the grocery challenges. And we are retired so don’t have to figure out how to to do work or school. We are so blessed.
Ah yes, restaurant deliveries. I was trying to think of the advantages of living in a city and I totally forgot about all the great deliveries you can get (groceries, restaurants etc.). That’s something I do miss. Very glad you’ve got a lovely, green view to look out onto, and you’re managing to get by. Continued good health to you.
Zsuzsa Klush says
Thank you Nina! Your masks turned out great ! Yes, you’re right it’s the high light of the week when we have to go grocery shopping. We’re in Sam’s Family Spa, I know you know this place, the pools and court yard locked down. As of midnight tonight we have to wear face mask when out in public till the end of the month. Take care !
Oh you’re at Sam’s!!!!! Of course, one of our FAV places while we were RVing. It’s sad to see the pools shut down though, although it makes sense during this time. Oh, and didn’t know they’d made masks compulsory there. Good to know…the trend is spreading, even in the US.
Barbara Goodman says
So glad you and yours are well, great to see the beautiful countryside and Polly
I hear ya on the making of the face masks, I’ve been Hawaiian quilting by hand for years and these masks are HARD TO MAKE, took me one whole day of frustrating cussing, then the next day to get it ALMOST right.
We’re in our 3rd week of self isolation in our home in Ohio but so many people are out n about. Last week I was going to the market ( hard to shop with my husband having celiac disease ) and the parking lot of Lowe’s was packed, very irresponsible of these people.
Please continue to update us, I look so forward to your post, we are hoping for the best for everyone .
Hawaiin quilting, eh? That totally intrigued me as I’d never heard of it before, so I’ve just spent a pleasant half-hour on the web looking it up & learning about it. What beautiful patterns and gorgeous quilts!!! Fascinating to learn about.
Oh, and I’m glad to hear it wasn’t just me that struggled with the mask design 🙂
Being in Cochise Co. in SE, AZ, we only have 5 confirmed cases. One civilian employee on the Fort, 3 visitors, and I haven’t heard anything on the 5th. We still have N95 masks from when we didn’t need it for the virus 11 years ago (and still don’t need so far), so we’re good there. We’ve always been stocked for at least 6 months (defiantly more) since living in Los Angeles and going through the Northridge Quake. The garden is finally producing so that reduces the need to go shopping.
Being off-grid solar (and having 3 portable generators from 2kw to 5.5ks and one, 8kw, online auto back-up propane gennie) we’re good to go there.
What our pre-prep didn’t account for was water. No, we have an unlimited supply of well water. Distilled water! We have 24 large 2v batteries that get very thirsty in the summer. People are buying it to drink so we are limited to only one gallon a day. Fortunately we don’t use much in the winter so we have plenty stockpiled. The other thing was dishwasher detergent. Who would have thought? It’s also rationed but I was able to get extra from Amazon.
I think the TP thing is from people seeing videos from Venezuela showing empty TP and water shelves. Diarrhea is not a symptom of this virus that I’ve seen.
One thing else I’d suggest, Gin and Tonic, Vodka and Tonic, or just tonic water.
Stay safe, guys!
Something I forgot: For any reader who are stocking up now on extra supplies, when this is over, don’t use those supplies and then start shopping again. You are now stocked for the next crises, whatever it is. Keep shopping as you used to, rotate if necessary, and keep your stockpile ready!
Sounds like you are VERY well prepped. Good job. And yes I’m with you on the Gin & Tonic. We have a hefty supply here, and I am using it regularly for my health 🙂
Hi Nina, Paul and Paws,
In exchange for all the time you take writing your blogs with so much interesting info, you deserve some feedback from your readers so I’ll write about our aspect. For us here in USA, I regard the happenings on the European Front as perhaps being a foretaste of what might occur here a week or two later. My brother in UK says that burglaries are on the increase with so many people now with less readily-available food, or money (income) due to loss of job, or both. Since we live in a ‘poorer area’ of northern California, I wonder if this will become a worry here too. So, I will stay at home to ‘guard the fort’ while Kim travels alone this week back down to LA to resume looking after her Mom, who is in need of care during her final months. Kim will take a supply of toilet rolls (!!) since while we have been able to get some (though hit and miss) up here, they are still ‘not available’ down south CA, apparently!
It seems far safer ‘up here’ as I’ve heard of very few Covid-19 cases up here, so out in public you still sense a generally ‘casual’ approach to it all (people keeping their distance, but not many wearing masks) but our relatives down south urge Kim to ‘stay inside and don’t meet with ANYone’ once she gets there – so I assume things are ‘worse’ down there, and the much higher population density also adding to the problem.
On a separate issue, I read that one Covid-19 testing company (a rival to Lab Corp; I won’t name them) has caused chaos in western USA: they greedily jumped on the bandwagon early on, promising hospitals, medical centers and doctors “faster and cheaper Covid-19 testing” than anyone else. Now, they have a backlog of tens of thousands, that will take days/weeks to get through, as they can only process approx 1000 per day at their one facility in a south CA town. This in turn causes chaos in those medical centers who have to use then discard their disposable protective clothing each time they attend one patient who has to be regarded as ‘positive’ until they get a result to say otherwise. And hence a huge shortage of the protective gear in ‘all’ south California hospitals. Meanwhile New York has far better ‘figures’ as a rival company gets through 10 times the number of tests. Another of the ‘great shame’ stories one hears amidst all the chaos of this crazy world right now!
My heart goes out to anyone who is being badly affected by all this – those with very limited access to food or other essential supplies, those without a job or financial income, those being driven round the bend by having kids they need to keep entertained while schools are closed, and the many others suffering quirks I haven’t even thought of!
P.S. Readers – share with us any funny Toilet Roll stories???!! 😉
Oh gosh, that’s going to be a tough experience for Kim. Not only having to go down south (where it certainly sounds like things are worse), but also having to care for her mom during her final months. My heart breaks for her. I really hope that all goes as smoothly as possible for her.
The disparity in the way different states are handling the crisis really gets to me. I know it’s part of the culture…each state has their autonomy…but during a crisis like this it would really make sense for states to band together, to share testing links/resources, to learn from each other.
Bob Martel says
Greeting! A 1K radius? That’s a pretty tough limit for us country folks, we use up about a 1/4 of that just going down the driveway . We’ve got several 3 to 5 mile loops on dirt roads around the house. We see one or two cars and half a dozen cyclists during our 1-2 hour long daily walks. Very quiet here. Thank goodness for Verizon internet. There are very early indications of a “flattening curve” in Michigan. But it will definitely take longer to get out of this mess than it took to get in. . We are so glad not to be in one of those southern states with a Neanderthal governor. Stay safe!
Yeah, in your area 1km won’t take you far at all! I really enjoyed biking around your place (back when we were staying there). Lots of lovely, quiet country roads and you can literally bike for miles! Good memories. And YES, I’m glad your governor has taken things into her own hands. She’s doing an excellent job.
Terry E McKnight says
Good article as always. My wife, Linda, is a master quilter with numerous sewing machines and a serger. In full mask production. First for family and friends, then for organizations and groups in need, These are not for sale, just for donation. Already have several weeks worth of demand.
I’m sorry for loss of your cats. We know your pain. We lost our second cat last year after 19 yrs and 12 days. She traveled by Rv with us to 44 states. Like you, a loss of a fur companion really tears me up. Our remaining Burmese cat is 8 years old and healthy at this stage.
It sounds like France has a better grip on things than the USA. I’ll spare you the details of the stupid conduct of many of my fellow citizens, but it is bad.
Every couple of years I throw in the fact that we met you at Markham Park back about 2011 and have continued to read all your post since then. I enjoy them immensely. Perhaps you will still recall us. Thanks for your continued effort on all your well researched topics as well as your travel posts.
YES OF COURSE….Markham. I absolutely remember. That was at the very beginning of our travels. It’s so fun that you’ve followed along ever since then.
And KUDOS to your wife and the quilting team for all those masks. I’m not going to get anywhere close to that kind of volume, but I will give everything away here too.
Tami Fox says
We’re hunkered down at Nellis AFB in Vegas. Who would have thought you could be bored in Vegas? Besides the strip, casinos, hotels, non-essential businesses being shutdown, the metro park system, BLM, State Park, etc. are closed. We ventured out to Valley of Fire a couple of weeks ago before the shutdown, and it was mostly vacant. Too windy for a hike, but it was nice to see the red rocks out there. The supply chain here is somewhat back to normal, and I go shopping about once a week. I am trying to figure out to make a mask w/o a sewing machine. Will probably get something made in a few days to wear in public. We just stay at our RV and do laps around the park 3 times a day. Take care!
Ahhhh, Valley of Fire. One of my favorite memories of that area. Such a gorgeous place. Thank you for that!
For no sew masks, have a look on YouTube. There are a bunch of options on there. Also the CDC has instructions for a no sew mask here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Thanks for taking the time to write this post Nina. I have been asking myself what I can do for others during this time, without too great of a risk to us, and found myself wishing I had a sewing machine. I just bit the bullet and ordered one through Amazon, and will start making these masks as soon as I can. It will also allow me to go out to the store again instead of waiting for a pick-up time at a couple of the grocers, which are getting harder to come by. Hoping for all of us that this crisis moves on sooner rather than later, but I am not optimistic about that, especially in this country where our officials waited so long to act. Big virtual hugs to you and Paul. Hopefully there will be some valuable lessons we all learn from this tragedy.
How lovely to hear from you LuAnne! Unfortunately I feel we may be in this mess for a while too. Many of the lockdowns happened too late (IMO) and in the meantime the virus kept spreading. I hope to be proved wrong, but I’m not overly optimistic on that.
Brenda Lopez says
Hello, Nina. It’s so nice to hear that you are able to take long walks/hikes near your place. We have been mostly staying home since about 2 1/2 weeks ago, before there were any kind of requests to stay home here in Mexico. We live in a pretty quiet area and are still able to take walks and bicycle around the neighborhood. Just outside our neighborhood gates there is a bike path we can take past several closed adventure, culture and water parks that are all closed. We have access to a “private” beach and were able to go until last week, but they’ve closed all of the beaches as of Monday, understandably. The government was very lax for a long time and are starting to take more serious measures. As with most countries different entities (in our case states and municipalities) have taken different measures which lead to a lot of confusion. We’ve driven around just to get out and have noticed huge differences even within the city – the tourist area is mostly closed down, locals areas are more variable, I even saw some shoe stores open this weekend (!!!). We didn’t get out of the car. Some municipalities (especially small ones) have closed their borders to non-residents, like I said all over the board. And the numbers don’t seem right to me based on all that I’m reading (too much sometimes). So the possibility of medical systems being overwhelmed is a big concern. Other concerns as well but this is getting long. For right now we are okay, even if we can’t go outside our complex, we have a nice patio and courtyard area. I think of you a lot lately, and about your loss of your kitties. How is Polly doing with the loss? Wondering about her as well. Hugs to you and Paul.
I’m glad to hear you guys are safe and hunkered down in your casita. Hopefully all will stay calm in your area.
As for Polly I think she’s doing OK. She looks for the cats often, and she wonders why are not there (the “pack” is not complete), but I’ve shown her the urns and tried to explain to her what was going on. Hopefully she understands? She is more “clingy” these days, which I do think indicates grief. After all, she spent literally her whole life with the cats.
Kim from Northern NV here … good job, Nina, with your toy sewing machine! And you a non-sewer, besides! I’ve seen those things at the IKEA in West Sacramento and laughed my head off. I’m genuinely surprised you can get it to work so well!
I’ve shared your post and your idea abt the fabric tube for the nose piece for the Olson mask … all my quilting and sewing buds think you are a genius! We are using aluminum foil folded in on itself to make the nose strip itself.
1km isn’t a very long walk, is it? Back in my running days, I would think a 5k race was more of a sprint … that was 3.2 miles imperial. I bet you walk in circles a lot! At least you have very pretty scenery. I live right next to BLM area, and have the good fortune to take my pups for long hikes thru the alpine desert. The only life we seem to run into are herds of wild horses, hares and quail. I’m not complaining!
Please, everyone, stay safe and well. Wear your masks, and stay home when you can.
The IKEA machine is definitely a bit of a joke…but hey, it’s still working (fingers crossed!!). I’m SO glad that my little fabric loop has been helpful to your sewing buds! It’s the little accomplishments that we relish these days, so that’s made me very happy to hear 🙂
Donna M Sims says
Nice to hear from you Nina. Each of us can probably find someone or something to be thankful for in this crisis. We’ve been in the Texas Rio Grande Valley for 3 months. There were a handful of virus cases in March, and a few more throughout the valley now. The quilting ladies in our RV park jumped on masks right away, and they have made 100s. Great job. We were able to snag 2. We moved north a bit to Kerrville in central Texas this week. There are currently 2 virus cases in this Texas county. The grocery stores are starting to have some TP available, but bleach or alcohol are not available. (Why do people think they need 96+ rolls of TP? Its not Montezuma’s Revenge people). I love Polly’s expression. Seems like she is asking “what’s next?” Or, “why are you wearing a mask?” Lol. Take care.
Thank you for the update! Always lovely to hear what my readers are up to. Glad the TP madness is maybe (finally?) coming to a close. It has been crazy to watch from over here. Take care!
Linda Davey says
I am jealous of your little toy sewing machine! It may take a while but at least it gets the job done. Steven is going to look for a sewing kit next time he goes to the store. He used to sew clothes for his GI Joes, lol, so he’s the man in charge of making masks! We do have some huge coffee filters (for making Greek yogurt in the IP) and I think they will make a fab filter. Until then, we do have a few masks to use. It’s good to keep busy!
Jodee Gravel says
That TP photo is like porn!! Haven’t seen a single roll in all the online shopping I’ve done in a month. I’ve had pretty good luck with grocery order and pickup at both Frys and Walmart, but there’s always at least a couple items out of stock. Still no TP or PT, but we have enough to get through the next couple weeks. Your countryside is so beautiful, what a blessing for those of us with homes in these great areas. We’re safe and staying home here in our desert home with one of our sons, DIL and oldest grandson – and grateful they are able to continue working and attending classes online for the duration. Great info on the masks, fortunately I have friends who sew :-))
Aaron And Beth Jones says
No rv adventures here either…blessed to be working from home since the 2nd week in March and still getting paid 🙂 both Beth and I are healthy and exercise daily here at home with our Peloton App and indoor bike and treadmill. Got caught up on things we been putting off since we can’t really/or shouldn’t be out in the RV going places. Painting, cleaning out garage, patio stuff, etc… God bless to you and Paul and fam!