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Pandemic Scrapbook

May 2020

Donna Van Cleve

Mask Making 101

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One way I felt like I could help my family from a distance was to make masks for them. Even though we've been told that wearing masks are to keep our germs in rather than protect us from the virus, I wanted to make fitted masks that had enough layers you couldn't see light through them. I used the free pattern from Sweet Red Poppy

I didn't have to buy a thing since I had a container of bias tape belonging to my mother and grandmother and I had plenty of fabric on hand. The most effective fabrics were actually cut from clothes, including pants, a quilted pillow sham, and an old coverall of Dad's. But it did take me a while to figure out how to add an extra layer of lining, but once I started, I made 32 masks. My kitchen/dining room stayed a complete mess the two weeks I worked on them. I wouldn't be surprised if this were one of the ways a hoarding house starts. 

Of course, my crazy kids enjoy finding other uses for their masks. 

Vacation 2020 - Mississippi Cats Roadtrip

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I had to cancel my Viking River Cruise in April, so when the opportunity arose to take an 18-hour roundtrip road trip to Mississippi in two days to pick up 3 cats, I jumped at the chance since this would probably be my only vacation this year. Ha. Desperation manifests itself in odd ways. Actually, the thought of hanging out with Yvonne was the deciding factor. I'm not good at talking on the phone or FaceTiming, so we had a lot of catching up to do since the pandemic started. We talked nonstop, and I, who have become accustomed to two-hour daily naps, didn't even get sleepy!

We brought and wore masks for the pit stop times, and we were shocked and dismayed that throughout East Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, we saw only 3 people wearing masks. And it looked like business as usual for most communities. 

We met Jodi Rae and Bryan in Forest, Mississippi, the halfway point of the trip, spent the night, and headed back to Texas with three Guardian of the Galaxy-named cats: Nebula, Gamorah, and Ned. Okay, not sure where Ned's name came from. These sweet cats did great on the trip home. I think they knew they had been entrusted to two grandmothers, one of which was their very own Oma. 

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Photos by Jodi and Bryan 

Pandemic Dog Grooming 


I cut my beautiful Maltese dog's long hair with a pair of scissors this month, only to discover a chihuahua underneath. jk. I know the haircut has made you physically feel better, little dog, but your expression tells me you're embarrassed. Sorry, Lily! Some day we will visit a real doggie beauty shop.


Physical Distancing in the Best Way


Dad and I hadn't seen my sister and BIL in months, but they were passing through town and picked up lunch for us, and to keep our distance we sat on the porch to eat and catch up. Why can't I remember to take pictures of my loved ones when we're together? These photos were taken after the fact. Love you Joy and Jay. Thanks for lunch and the visit!


Nature Didn't Get the Memo


Reflecting on the Pandemic from my Porch

Weeds still grow between pavers. 

Birds still sing their songs. 

Mosquitos still bite bare skin.

And the water cycle goes on.


One of nature’s own,

Too small to actually see,

Broke away from its usual habitat

To wreak havoc on our species.


Infinity travels both ways,

But we, in our finite minds,

Give more credence to its greater side

Until a lesser invades our kind. 


The micro brought down the macro,

Forced the powerful to their knees,

Air-eating machines grind to a halt,

Will this slowdown make us see?


Life is organically shifting

To slower, cleaner means;

And nature’s already healing

From centuries'  well intentioned schemes,


These made life easier for humans, 

But greed and power corrupt;

Nature’s cost of correction is tragic and huge,

So let’s not screw this up.

Donna Van Cleve

June 2020

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