Covid Quotidian Update 82.5.xi.b

We’re living in a time when time has converged with space, especially for older people who are mostly staying home and/or apart. We have different time than we had before C-19. I’d say we have more time, but that isn’t quite true. The virus has changed time. I’m about to drive to the big city for groceries, a task that once took 2 hours and involved pushing a cart around a store. I never liked that much and now I don’t do it. I drive to the store, I get my stuff, I leave. There are thousands of changes like this to our “time.”

Quotidian reality seems to get weirder and weirder and, as a friend said last night in a text:

She’s been making beautiful masks but got tired of it and started drawing. And I agree with her. We have at least six more months to go. Her drawing is really lovely and I hope she keeps at it.

Someone should do a study on what people, especially older people who are more-or-less staying home, started doing — or trying to do — in this historic interval.

My sewing hopes were dashed yesterday when I realized that the problem I’m having is not me, but with my tool — specifically that sewing machine. After an HOUR of total frustration trying to sew seam binding on a hem, trying to keep the needle threaded, trying to use zig-zag (fuck that), I gave up. I’d have put the damned thing out by the mailbox with a free sign if it hadn’t been going to rain.

Before I gave up I went online to see what other people had to say, just to affirm it wasn’t me and, maybe, to get some advice. Turned out that everything I’ve experienced since I got that bitch isn’t just me. Many people liked it, but others, particularly those who were just hoping to have a simple-to-use machine and were experienced at sewing were very unhappy with it, complaining that it didn’t stay threaded, that the bobbin was unnecessarily complicated, that it jammed on zig-zag, and that the tension was nearly impossible to set correctly for upper and lower threads. Everything I’d been dealing with. Most of the positive were “I just got it and I love it!” I named mine “Mom” since no matter what I do, it’s not happy. I may use it to finish the two projects I have hanging fire, but…

I don’t even want to give it to anyone I know because I like all the people I know. It would just be wrong. My guess is that there are some of these out there that are well made and work right and others that are crap. But now I understand why the woman I bought mine from was standing outside in the snow on a 10 degree day waiting for me the day I bought it. I thought it was the $50 but now I think it was that she wanted this demon out of her house.

“I bought one I like better,” she said, and handed it to me.

I still want a sewing machine, but looking at new ones online, I don’t see anything I remotely want to touch. I wish I’d kept mine when I moved, but…

I am thinking of stopping writing my blog every day, even though I want to support the RagTag Daily Prompt. I really have absolutely nothing whatsoever to say. 😦 You probably realized that before I did…

Meanwhile, here’s something fun to read. You will laugh.

Dear Diary:

All Sewn Up

I can’t dance. Don’t ask me. All the work in the yard finally exacted its toll, not on my back, but on my knee, which is not unexpected. OH well…

Our parents load us down with *fardels and we are obliged, at some time in our lives, or maybe when our lives over, to scatter the fardels appropriately to the future. One of my ancestral fardels is an old pedal sewing machine that once belonged to my grandmother. It’s cast iron and oak and that isn’t even the sewing machine. The sewing machine itself is made of heavy metal inside and out. It comes from a time before plastic.

Fairy garden stuff on the pedal. It’s outside now… Yes, that’s Godzilla vs. the Garden Gnomes

A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from my cousin’s daughter. She included her mom’s phone number, and I sent back mine. Within the hour we were talking and it was wonderful. I wrote all about it here.

This past weekend I was dusting (who’s surprised?) the top of the sewing machine and had an epiphany. “I found a home for you, Grandma,” I said to the machine. I contacted my cousin’s daughter and asked her if she sewed. She does. Then I asked her if she would like this wondrous thing. She was so happy and excited. I took a bunch of photos so she could see it. All she has to do is come and get it. They live only 3 hours away and we’r getting together when the virus is “over.”

My mom was very insistent when my grandmother died that she get the sewing machine. “I’m the one who sews.” It meant a lot to her to pass it on to me. But, it was not strictly true that my mom was “the one who sews.” My cousin’s mom also sewed. My cousin won prizes at 4-H for sewing.

As I was setting up the photos and really looking at the sewing machine for the first time in years, I thought about the influence of my grandmother on my life. It’s been mysterious and persistent and, in some ways, I feel like she lives here with me. She died when I was 10.

A million years later, when I traveled to Switzerland, I found her again. Corresponding with my cousin’s daughter about this heavy-weight fardel, I felt like my grandma was watching over my shoulder, maybe arranging the whole thing. I know that sounds weird, but…

The word “fardel” means “burden.” It’s archaic, and no one uses it, but I really like it and it is my singular mission in life to restore it to common usage. It is used in French (fardeaux) and has a certain undeniable je ne sais quoi.

The Silk Blouse

A little while ago I wrote the story of some silk I was given in Denver by a Thai woman I worked with at the Asian Pacific Development Center when I first came back from China in 1984,  A Shimmering Moment

This morning, my neighbor E, to whom I gave the silk, sent me photos of the finished blouse. It’s amazing and I wanted to share them. E is from Australia and was a teacher. Her training is Home Economics but her schooling is from back in the day when Home Ec was considered science, domestic science, so she is a lot of things — a nutritionist, a gardener, a master at knitting, crocheting and sewing — and more. She’s truly amazing.