in the time of coronavirus

The kids are doing school online.  For Isla, she basically does a normal school day from 8:30 to 2:30.  Up to half the time, she’ll be Skyping with an instructor.  The other half, she’s working independently.  It works extremely well overall.  It doesn’t work quite so well with Bri.  She has about an hour of Skyping a day, and she needs someone to be sitting with her the whole time.  She also needs support from us for any “independent” work.  This is causing me a huge amount of stress, because I cannot put Saoirse down for naps.  She wakes right up, and if she doesn’t nap, she becomes hysterical.  It’s hard to work the feeding and napping (not to mention feeding myself and the older girls) around Bri’s needs.

My local grocery store has been doing a pretty good job staying stocked.  I was alarmed when shelves started to empty initially, but it hasn’t gotten worse, so that’s good.  I don’t care so much about toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, etc.  What is scary to me is if food starts to disappear.  I finally got formula in two weeks after ordering from Amazon.  Fortunately, before this Coronavirus thing even started, I had laid in a one month emergency supply of formula, just in case.  I was thinking earthquake, but I guess it came in handy for this.

We have a lot of cases around here – 100 to 150 / day tested, but likely 700 to 1500 actual.  That’s per day, by the way.  7.5% of those who have tested positive have died – already.  I expect the percent will go up.  This obviously reflects the lack of testing locally.  Honestly, it makes me wonder if we should move somewhere that actually has their act together.  Clearly not New York!  NY is seeming more like a third world country than ever.

I don’t read the news much, which is helping.  I do check the Dept of Health website daily to see the number of cases and deaths every day in my county.  We have not seen a rise in new cases over the last few days, so it seems like canceling school and the “stay at home” order is helping.  I have been coping oddly well mentally with the situation, but I am exhausted.  It feels like I have been in a constant state of stress since getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes last August.  Maybe since getting diagnosed with previa in June or July.  It’s just been one thing after another – previa, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, postpartum hypertension, Saoirse in the hospital for two weeks, three further weeks of tube feeding, months of measuring her food and weighing her all the time.  I honestly stopped worrying about her two weeks before we had our first death locally, and it was back to worryville at that point.  I just feel like I need a break, but there is no choice but to march on.

I will be shocked if schools reopen around here.  So when do things get back to normal?  I’m just praying we’re looking at 3 to 6 months and not 12 to 18 months.  And “normal” will likely be a major economic downturn.  But I’m trying not to think about that, yet.


I started feeling guilty for going grocery shopping.  We are now getting 100+ cases daily in my county, and testing is very limited, so actual daily cases are likely between 500 and 1000.  (Basically, you cannot get tested unless you are hospitalized.)  So, I decided that this week we’ll switch to delivery.  I’ve done delivery before, and it was very convenient.

First, I try QFC.  No delivery available – period.  When I first logged on, it was available Sunday night (as in 6 days from now), but that disappeared within minutes.

So, I went over the Safeway.  Their site crashed within a few minutes of me trying to use it.

Back to QFC – I’ll try pickup.  That’s just as good, really.  First available – Thursday night.  I’m currently trying to predict what groceries I’ll need Thursday.  And Saoirse and I will be off the grocery store today.  Last week, it was packed.

mask rant

When Seattle had its first coronavirus death three weeks ago – yes three – and it rapidly became impossible to procure medical masks, one of my first thoughts was, I’ll just make some out of fabric.  In fact, I thought, I’ll make enough for everyone in Isla’s and Briony’s classes.

Then I did some research.  In short, cloth masks don’t work.  Not only do they not work, they can even be worse than not wearing a mask at all.

Now, all over my quilting Insta, people are talking about making lots of cloth masks.  Does no one use Google?  Or am I missing something?

Furthermore, I find the anti-paper mask rhetoric in the US irritating.  Paper masks do help prevent contagion, which is why Asian governments recommend them, including China and Korea, the only countries so far to actually control this thing.  My Korean friend is completely mystified by the anti-mask perspective in the US.  Buying them now may not make sense since medical personnel need them more, but I’m skeptical about whether medical personnel can just wear any old paper mask.  Furthermore, many, many people already own masks in their homes which they could wear.  We, for example, have open boxes of masks from when S was in the hospital and H and I had colds.  We wore a mask whenever we held her.  And, she didn’t catch our cold.

Edited to add link.  I think you can make a case for non-medical personnel to wear cloth masks.  (1)  They stop you touching your face and (2) they scare people into giving you space.

Colorful checkerboard quilt for Briony

I made this quilt some time ago but never wrote it up.  I made this as a winter quilt for Briony, and I love how it turned out.  She’s slept under it most nights since I made it.


I used entirely fabric from stash for this quilt, including lots of large scraps.  There’s Sarah Jane’s Wee Wander, Lotta Jansdotter, Heather Ross, and many more.  I tried to alternate between light and dark fabrics.

The binding is a pink and white narrow stripe.


Since this was intended to be a “winter quilt,” I used my old favorite 100% wool batting from Quilter’s Dream.  It’s warm and fluffy as a result.


I did simple diagonal quilting, and I love how it turned out.

The quilt is a generous twin size and perfect for Bri’s bed.


We’re on Day 5 or so of a cold.  Maybe only 4.  It’s funny how the days seem longer when either you or baby is sick, or both of us in this case.  It’s supposedly a very mild cold, but it’s still quite difficult when layered on top of what is not exactly a leisurely lifestyle.  Currently baby is sleeping on my chest.  I often try to do a little sewing at times like this, but I’m just not feeling up to it today, so my everlasting quilt is stagnating this week.  Not having sick days is very high on my list of things I dislike about being a SAHM.  If I were working, I would definitely have taken a couple days off this week to convalesce.

I’m currently going through a minor English Paper Piecing obsession.  As in, I’d really like to try it, but because I have almost zero free time right now, it’s a purely theoretical obsession.   I am mentally planning a very simple quilt with a *little* bit of EPP for my brother’s baby, expected in August.  (I’m so happy for him, as it’s a double rainbow.)   He and my SIL do not find out gender in advance, so it needs to be gender neutral.  I’m thinking squares on point, perhaps in white or mostly white, with a simple hexagonal flower appliqued on top, probably in blue.  Hand sewing is where it’s at for me these days.  I’m even contemplating doing some hand quilting.

This weekend is the marathon Olympic trials.  In my opinion, it’s the women’s race of the year.  (Men’s marathoning isn’t in a great place right now in the US.)  I’m more excited about it than the Olympics.  I’ll be cheering for Jordan Hasay and Sara Hall, not to mention all the sub-elite women who are living a dream by merely competing.

the virus

A friend of mine lives in Japan.  She is Japanese, but lived for a while in the PNW before moving back to Japan.  She has a sweet little girl L’s age.  Anyway, she’s been posting on FB about her experiences with Coronavirus, and it’s alarming to say the least.  For example, today she posted about how nice it was to be able to go out without a mask because they were “in nature” as opposed to in a place with other people.  Then, she posted that school is canceled until April, and likely until the end of the year.  Her daughter will be homeschooling online.

There is a very legitimate possibility school will be canceled in the US as well.  How would that even work?  Unlike in Japan, where most moms stay home, in the US most mothers work, meaning that one parent would have to stop working.  I can’t even imagine how that would work.  As in, it wouldn’t.  Also, shaking in my boots at the thought of having to try to entertain my kids for months without going anywhere with people.

Fatality rates for this thing are about 20x that of the flu.  They seriously need to speed up work on the vaccine!  If a vaccine is even possible for this.


I can’t believe that we only have 75% of the results back from Iowa.  If I were Buttigieg, I’d be furious.  Speaking of Mr. B, am I the only one who has no idea how to pronounce his name?  I like Buttigieg, I do, but I have to say that I do not think being mayor of South Bend qualifies you to become president, even if you are smart, good-looking and a veteran.  We set the qualification bar pretty low with Obama (who turned out to be awesome) and lower still with Trump (not so awesome), but honestly, I think you could argue Buttigieg is even less qualified than Trump, if that’s possible.  But seriously, the head of the Iowa Democrats needs to step down.  Also, this debacle is why having the government stage a massive takeover of healthcare is a terrible idea.  Having a government health insurance *option* is the right choice.  If it’s run well, everyone will choose that option, and private healthcare will mostly disappear.  If it’s run poorly, we’ll all be glad we’re not forced to use it.

S is sleeping on my chest, and I’m tempted to put her down, but she’ll likely wake up.  I’m desperate for a nap, though.  We went to the grocery store together today, for the second time, and she was awake the whole time, looking around, just drinking in the scenery.  It must be an amazing thing, seeing a grocery store for the first time.