We Care a LOT

Now social-media free for over 8 months, you’d think I’d be totally in the dark by now but that’s not true. It’s not exactly true I’ve been social media-free, because I run social media for my friend’s business (“run” is an exaggeration of how I log in about once every couple weeks to make sure everyone is “happy”) and have a fake Faceschmuck account so that I can buy things on the local buy-sell-trade (I log into that about once a month, maybe).

Anyway, since I stopped compulsively looking at Instagram (and built my own lonely version), I’ve had a hell of a lot of time to read, and to study languages (using Duolingo), and have gotten a lot of projects done. Those projects include a lot of sewing with my new sewing machine, a replica of the sewing machine I sold along with everything else in 2013 to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Muscle memory being an incredible thing, I’m able to bang out a decent number of cotton face masks, and have been handing them out when I go to town, which isn’t often. Today I handed out 11 masks, mainly to women (they’re more likely to accept a mask) and mainly to women wearing disposable paper (surgical, non N95) masks, the type I would wear to suction a patient were I still a nurse. Although fine for preventing Covid-19 spread to others, paper masks are not as good at protecting yourself, and cannot be re-used. Anyways, half the time I notice them being worn upside-down, being worn torn, and being worn dirty.

Scrubbed in surgery

Hint: the person on the left is wearing a surgical mask more correctly. The person on the right is NOT. Can you imagine why, given many diseases are airborne and invisible to the naked eye?

“Let me get you into a two-layer, machine-washable cloth mask,” I say!

two handmade cotton face masks

Two layer masks with option for a third (fourth, fifth, as thick as you wanna go) layer. Aluminum nose bridge stay. Washable, totally wearable, very Christmas-y.

You can learn to make your own masks like these with my (free or by donation) sewing pattern, just click:

Downloadable mask sewing pattern

This morning I got a cute comment from a customer in the Netherlands:

Hi Caroline,

You’re not prolly the dev on this, since you created those beautiful caps, but I presume you know the person who makes the plugin.

Actually, I am the person who makes the plugin. Ha, cute. In fact, I wrote and manage six plugins for Wordpress. I’ve got a ton of projects on the burner! I am a retired (Oregon/Washington/Vermont/New York) Registered Nurse who sewed a ton of cycling caps, started hiking a lot, moved into a Volkswagen Westfalia, started coding websites more and more trying do a little better than hand-to-mouth. I’m really busy! I have a lot of adventures, too, though, and thanks to getting off the Zuckerburg crack cocaine, I have a lot more time to actually succeed for myself, and let’s just say I’m eating better lately. I am still donating a good portion of my profits to non-profits, particularly a local food bank (IMACA) and a monthly donation to the Center for Biological Diversity.

ken forkish sourdough pain de campagne with rosemary

I’ve mastered ONE sourdough recipe, but will struggle equally with the next recipe. It’s not easy at 7500′ elevation! This is a rosemary “Pain de Campagne” a la Ken Forkish

That’s not to say I’m sleeping particularly well or that I’m happy with what’s going on. We sort of “joked,” as well as joking can go lately, that we feel like we are in a waking nightmare. I won’t blame 2020, because 2021 is going to be just as bad (haven’t we learned this yet?). I will continue to feel sorry for selfish people who always put themselves first. A friend who wanted something from me got awkward the other day when I said I can’t go anywhere because California is in lockdown. She said she’s enjoying eating at restaurants and I said, “Oh, I haven’t done that since February.” She called me silly, and even after I reminded her I have a nursing education, she told me you can’t spread the virus if you’re not sick. I’m sorry but that’s utter nonsense coming from someone I know for a fact is super silly… and who has no formal science education.

It’s called an asymptomatic spreader, silly.

People need to get their shit together, at least long enough to be considerate for a stranger who might have heart disease, diabetes, a difficult pregnancy or be immuno-compromised due to cancer or organ transplant etc. etc. A lot of people are going to die when all is said and done, and I want nothing to do with spreading it. In fact, as a former nurse who suffered a good deal of PTSD from the style of nursing I “enjoyed,” I would love it if you joined in helping me remind anyone you can that mask-wearing is important to make sure hospitals are open for everyone no matter whether broken arm, heart attack, MVA, or Covid-19, and that our precious medical responders stay as healthy and capable as possible despite this massive strain. Medical responders are not just dying of Covid-19, but they are dropping of exhaustion, burnout and PTSD. And I know well how bad that hurts.

cotton christmas theme covid-19 face masks

In April they laughed when I said I’d be making Christmas masks. Now taking orders for Easter masks.

And so I’m just hanging out, sewing masks to give out to people in my area and coding, and in the evenings reading rad books about adventures I could have maybe later next year, maybe in 2022. The ways in which I plan on endangering my life along the shores of the Colorado River someday give me anticipatory thrills. Some books landed in my lap the other day (I live in a house with probably close to 1000 books) and gave me naughty hiking ideas. Not George Steck books. I am still mad at George Steck (dead) because his books about Grand Canyon routes sent me on extraordinarily painful hikes. New author, different new trouble, I hope. Though I did go ahead and buy more of the Dyneema cord I used to canyoneer with last year, the 2mm thick stuff. It can cut right into your flesh, but man, it sure does come in handy!

Interesting rock formation in the desert

I went on a scouting mission in my new 4×4 just before the lockdown. That Jeep, plus my walking legs means WATCHOUT WORLD! Now I can get way up in the weird local canyons.

I also watched some trending and catchy hyper-post-processed 2019 PCT hiker videos, especially ones filmed around their visits through Agua Dulce and Hiker Heaven, and reminisced a bit about how fun it was to watch thousands of hikers dream, tinker and chat through long hot days and into the delicious quiet and sometimes chilly nights of the SoCal desert. I’m still in touch with the Saufleys and Ziggy and the Bear and it’s sad because both families have been pretty much passed over by their community despite a combined 35+ years of hosting hikers. 35 years of hosting strangers! Thru-hikers! If you have their contact information and stayed at their house, send them a Christmas card! Because hosting strangers is Christ-like. If you don’t have their contact information, get in touch and I’ll provide it!


So, between planning and reminiscing about things I love, and trying to stay optimistic, and generally NOT KILLING PEOPLE BECAUSE I CARE A LOT, I’m doing okay.

(Pre-Mike Patton. And those lyrics, that sarcasm!)

I sure hope you are also finding creative ways of building fortresses of sanity and peace. We will need them. But remember, we will also need to have plans for how to deconstruct them when it’s safe to come out. Someday we will not need to wear masks, and we will be able to congregate and touch and hug, and maybe even cough and sneeze without panic. Be ready for that, too. 💋