Amidst the wale of sirens, an aerie, unnatural silence has fallen, here in Brooklyn, New York. Covid-19 is here. We have been asked to refrain from non-essential travel, to #stayhome and when we need to go out, to ‘social distance’ or pass our fellows with at least a 6 foot berth. We carry hand sanitizer, keep our hands away from our faces and we leave our houses at a minimum, in order to exercise and food shop. The subway continues to run with a modified schedule. The roads are clear of most traffic.
The birds are building nests and singing to attract mates. Trees are blossoming. Daffodils are breaking ground and opening their bright yellow trumpets. All while some neighbors shutter their homes and others come down with the virus. My Man, thankfully, is able to work from home, and I was temporarily let go from my part time job. And while I can apply for unemployment, the NY state unemployment website has crashed and the phone lines drop calls, just before the final filing step. So many people are trying to apply at once, and the system cannot support it.
Going to the grocery store feels like a threat, as everyone needs food and there is no way to tell who might be infected. This is when the numbers and statistics begin a cacophony of warnings and protective barking. 1 in a 1000 people are infected. 27,000 people live within a square mile of space, here. The mayor suggests that 40-80% of New Yorkers will become ill. NYC needs ventilators and our hospitals are running out of much needed supplies.
I continue to Dance Walk, leaving my home early. Walking the less trodden areas. Crossing the street upon coming up on a fellow. Unfortunately, the gateway to viewing the Lady Liberty has been locked, for the time being. I will find a new way to visit her, she is my balm. This is the last image I took of her:
In the meantime, my Man and I are doing well enough. My city doesn’t sound right. This does not feel like the hope that spring usually embodies. None of us know how long this will take. All we can do is take care, wash our hands, be brief in our outside endeavors, while we remain in good cheer.
We are in the midst of a monumental moment. We are being asked to stay inside as much as possible, due to the possibility of catching Covid-19. If we go out, it is suggested that we stay a distance of six feet away from our fella beings. But getting some fitness on can help lessen anxiety, provides a change in scenery, and well, it’s good for you.
Enter, Dance Walking.
Using a great playlist, put your headphones on, get out there and throw some caution to the wind! You can keep your distance, of course! Crossing the street to keep space provides an additional distance and more time to do those dance moves!
When you don’t care what you look like, and you are dancing for the fun of it, you will attract some attention! Make eye contact! Smile big. Spread your joy, like butter, on hot and crispy toast.
Since the virus has been a concern, I have noticed folks are less willing to make eye contact. That’s not good.
This morning, during my dance walk, I made sure to say, ‘Good morning!,’ with a big smile and a friendly wave, whenever possible. Fostering interaction while dance walking is a point-making endeavor, if you ask me! One woman received my greeting with a huge smile, saying, ‘Someone looks happy!’, and I was.
Folks need to see joy right now and I am happy to be that for my fellows. Points, point, points!
I am loving learning to roller skate. I just love it. I want to, one day, feel totally comfortable, on wheels, as if they are my feet. I want to dance on my skates. I want to street skate.
Until now, I have been visiting roller skating rinks around the city. The rinks allow me the safety of a flat, smooth surface, leveling out the playing field and allowing for a cleaner, smoother practice. But it is quite unlike street skating.
So, I packed my backpack up, skates, wrist guards, knee guards and helmet and I walked to IKEA, down in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I told myself that I was merely, taking my skates for a walk, in case an area looked good for a trial run.
Now, I have to say, I confront my demons in doing this. It is difficult to feel vulnerable, outside, while moving on wheels, especially as I learn. But I want this. I want to take up space in this way. I want to learn to dance as I skate.
We women are often fed a line that says we should defer, make ourselves smaller, make room for others, not that we need to listen to this societal conditioning, but the messaging is there. Skating feels like the opposite to me. It raises me up by 4-5″, it makes me protect myself with gear. It makes me seek self efficacy and it puts a smile on my face too. I will get better at this. I will feel less vulnerable and more empowered soon.
It is OK to take it slowly and to learn throughly. This space is mine.
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I am committed to skating. The only way to get anywhere, is to practice. So I am practicing. I watch @dirtydeborahharry on YouTube, then I try things out. Dirty Deborah Harry told me (as if I know her!! I don’t. She is a YouTube skate celeb that teaches quite well. She also makes me want to move to California.) to scope out an outdoor spot, check it over for gravel, smoothness and cracks and then to continue to visit and skate the area. So. I have found a quiet spot behind IKEA in Brooklyn. There aren’t too many people who go there and it is fairly flat and crack free. I am getting my time in! # I also did a half hour of yoga and three sets of #sandbagtraining in. I have programmed single leg deadlift into my workout because I think balance lifting will help skating.
I bought this: Six Strand Embroidery Cotton, 500gm, White and I have no regret. I am falling in love with embroidery, and I mean head over heels in love. And Procion MX dye has some part in the picture.
I have been having a post cancer dialog with myself as to whether I would continue to use Procion MX dye.
Pros and cons:
It is a synthetic chemical.
It isn’t conducive to apartment living/studio space.
I still drum up projects using Procion MX dye for at least a portion of the project.
I own a full set of colors and all of the equipment to go with it.
So what I have decided is, I am going to use the dyes I own and I am going to use it sporadically, as I see fit. Embroidery is my current obsession and I want a full array of color gradations in every color of thread, so I prepare to dye them. I am on a mission to use the cloth I have been making for the last 10 years. Some dye use here and there, if tidy, succinct, and abbreviated is OK.
David and I walked through Red Hook this morning. There was a tag sale. I bought this set of stamps for 5$, no wait, 15$, oh, I mean 10$. It was a confusing negotiation. The cigar box had a 5$ sticker on it. I told the guy I wanted it, he said, “15$, please. You get the idea. We settled on 10$. I wanted the set. It also has a full set of numbers. The box they are nestled in, not the cigar box is the original.
We also found a brand new wash board. I have been wanting one, we hand wash a lot here at Casa Testa. This washing board is metal, has two textures, one flat, one grated. It really is Dubl Handi.
Breast Pocket production is in ull swing around the world. I have spoken to folks in Hong Kong, Australia, Finland and all over the U.S. Someone read about the project over at Craft Gossip, which I have never heard of but I like very much. Great name, too.
Here you see the western pocket. I will Kantha Stitch this piece, dense straight rows in the negative space around the ribbon. Can you see it in this picture? For no particular reason, I am stitching this pocket for my paternal Grandmother. Maybe it is because she used to enjoy watching Westerns on Sunday afternoon television.
I love the Kantha Cloth that uses stitch along with pictorial story telling. I will be researching more about Kantha.
Once a week my Man and I walk up to our favorite coffee joint and help open it. And now, as the weather improves, I have begun to walk afterward. I love walking. I walk fast enough that you might call it running, I can’t slow it down.
But when I bring my camera, that will make me stop long enough to enjoy cobblestoned streets.
Oh! Pigeons meet wet cement.
And, please don’t feed the hipsters. That stencil looks like Woody Allen, right? He is the ultimate hipster. And that red down there? Roses? I am inspired by this.
This church door reminds me of the embroidery I am doing on the Female Mag blouse
And finally, the reason for walking down into Red Hook, this Duke Riley poster. Maybe a year and some ago, I went gallery hopping with the Journal Study Gals. Pat pulled a strip of paper off a telephone pole, tore it in half, handed me a section. I went home to glue it in my journal and made a page featuring it (see the last image in this post).
But I had no way of connecting the scrap of paper to the original artist. And you know I have a thing for posters and poster art, you can’t restore vintage posters for 6+ years without acquiring an affection for paper, posters, and wheat paste.
So this morning I went back into Red Hook, photographed the poster in-situ and then took it off the wall. 😈 I brought the poster home, in pieces, and washed it in the tub, it is drying now. I don’t know what I am going to do with it, but I like this man’s work and I think I might need to meet him. I bet he lives in Red Hook. He is a tattoo artist, he makes me want a tattoo.
I saw a real rat today, running from a dumpster into a building that is being renovated. I love seeing rats in the city. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Beside which, they clean up after us!
So, there is a blog hop going on and I am just now catching up with it, you should too.
April 30 – Tracie Lynn HuskampStenciled & Stitched: A Special Occasion Greeting CardMay 1 – Traci BunkersGelatin PrintingMay 2 – Lisa EngelbrechtScript Lettering/Tattoo style using Sakura Calligrapher PensMay 3 – Judy Coates PerezFun Little ResistMay 4 – Melanie TestaThimble Cinch SackMay 5 – Lyric KinardPSE for Thermofax Screen PrintingMay 6 – Jill BerryPop-Up Heart Map