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Masks from Bradi!



What do you do when you're self-employed, and the pandemic causes your source of income to dry up? Cheyenne and I have a friend who owns Belle Couturiére Alterations in Denver. Not too many weddings right now. So what did Bradi MacSlayne do? She started making and selling PPE masks—snazzy ones. You can order them here. Another artist friend, Sonja Horoshko, also began making masks in the first month of Stay at Home, which helped her make her mortgage payment. Hers were made from Bluebird flour sacking—an iconic Southwest fabric. She also makes beautiful, unique prayer flags, thinking we are going to need more prayers in these times. Sonja thought the Post Office's shipping charge for a single cloth mask was excessive, but then she pointed out that it helps keep the Post Office open. Such an essential consciousness. I ordered a mask from both of these friends. So now I can trade off and be in high fashion! 'Cause you know that's a great concern of mine!


These are the kinds of loving things people are doing in the Time of Corona. Creating an alternative economy while Staying Home and helping save lives with masks and...by Staying Home.


There is also the giving economy. My friend Beck Touchin of Laguna Pueblo together with New Mexico Seamstresses United, has donated handmade masks to Alamo Navajo Chapter, Zuni Pueblo, and UNM Hospital. And I got my first mask as a gift from my friend Karen Ulack––pink with white polka dots.


Speaking of keeping the Post Office open, I was notified today that my order of Earth Day stamps has shipped. I only had three stamps left, and ordering them online was so easy. USPS—my favorite government service. Help keep the Post Office open!


Cara Oosterhouse, a Michigan friend who shares my love for locally made gins (whenever I'm traveling and eating out, I ask if there's a local gin I can try), bought a bottle of something new from Wise Men Distillery and also a few gallons of hand sanitizer. With bars closed, breweries and distilleries are joining the alternative economy and saving lives by making ethanol for sanitizers.


A few weeks before the pandemic hit us, I strongly considered buying a foot-pedal-operated clothes washer. It wasn't expensive, but I dilly-dallied. It's easy to handwash smaller items, but as Stay at Home wears on, what about sheets and towels, jeans? I imagine a lot of people like me live in a small space and would have to go to a public place to wash clothes, so they must've ordered one of these. Lots of them ordered. A foot-pedal washing machine is eco-friendly––an example of a different sort of alternative economy. It's sold out, and I should be glad. I am. Sort of.


It's part of the alternative economy to keep paying the people who do things for you on a regular basis––like hairdressers, barbers, massage therapists, housecleaners––people who can't work and have to stay home. They still need to pay rent, mortgages, gas and electric, and buy food. We can support them with cash and gratitude for all the ways they've made our lives better.


We can join the alternative economy by purchasing from small local businesses. I have plenty of tea in the house, but I'm on the mailing list of New Mexico Tea Company and have bought quite a bit of loose tea and tea-making paraphernalia in their shop near Old-Town (adjacent to the Golden Crown Panaderia) in the past. In the Time of Corona, the shop is closed, but they have started an online ordering option, and it's enabled them to keep all of their people employed. I ordered 2 ounces of organic Darjeeling. I would've ordered 4, if my favorite––Fourth Flush Darjeeling––weren't out of stock, so I'll hope to order that soon. I also ordered a collection of nine teas—5 cups worth in each packet for $24. A darn good deal, I figure. As for me and my house (which is just me), I intend to use some of my stimulus money this way––buying LOCAL. Keeping people in my community employed and solvent.


Do you have a favorite local small business or alternative economy you'd like to tell about? Anywhere––not just in New Mexico. Please feel free to add to comments, and I'll do what I can to make that small, local business known. We have social media!


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In a set of six daily quarantine questions, Number Three is, "What expectations of 'normal' am I letting go of today?" On Tuesday I let go of the expectation that my hairdresser would be cutting my hair anytime soon. My downstairs neighbor and I talked, over suitable distance, about how we short-hair women are normally on a 4-to-5-week schedule. I'm vainly fond of a nice clean look. Nine weeks after my last clip, the cowlicks were creating unsightly bumps and humps.


I've owned at least one pair of clippers with guards, maybe two—discarded on different moves as being too much to pack and carry. But I still have my German-made, salon- quality scissors, and Tuesday morning, I got them out, placed a hunk of wrapping paper over the sink and got to work. I imagined a sort of chunked up, possibly feathery look. Reality: I gave myself a buzz cut that could almost pass for a shave.


This wasn't my first pair of good barbering scissors. Long ago, I used to cut hair for friendship. Thus I had my shears with me when we moved to New Zealand. I don't remember how my midwife got a hold of them, but she used them to force open the clamp on Cheyenne's umbilical cord, bending them in the process. Unusable. We moved soon after that to Women's Land near the northernmost tip of the North Island, and one of the women there also liked to cut hair. She was from Germany, and she had her sister send me new shears. That was 34 years ago, and they are the ones I have now.


At the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School in Sweden, when it is time to enter the silence that lasts more than a month, to learn Kriya Yoga meditation, many students get their heads shaved. The first time I ever had my head shaved was on the three-month course. One of the yoga teachers stood by a sink in the large communal bathroom with scissors and a clipper and took us, one by one. I was surprised to see how much hair, even very short hair, detracts from the face. Without hair everything is visible. Without hair, it is also cold. You feel the breeze of someone walking past you. You must wear a cap outdoors, especially in the winter in southern Sweden.


I've had my head shaved a few times since. These other times it has been to mark a significant change in my life. And then, in a sort of paradoxical move, I covered my head with colorful, crocheted beanies. I realize now that I have it shaved for myself, but I'm not always sure I want others to see it. It is fine for men to shave their heads, but it can be seen as antisocial for a woman to be so boldly, baldly naked. And I don't necessarily have the iconoclastic courage to be that visible in the ordinary world.


Hair. The Bible calls it a woman's glory. When she gets married, a Hassidic woman's head is shaved, and after that she wears a wig. In the 60s and 70s long hair, especially on men, became a symbol of revolution, of the "make love, not war" ethos. The musical Hair reflected those values, portraying the hippie counter-culture and anti-war movement. There is a way we are identified with our hair, with what we choose to do with it and with things that happen to our hair outside our control. In times of transition people often do something different with their hair. Many women find losing their hair traumatic when they undergo chemotherapy. Sometimes friends and family get shaved in solidarity with a cancer patient. Some men, when they go bald, choose to get hair implants. Others choose a full shave. When I had a black partner, I learned a lot about how different the care of black hair is from white hair, including how it's cut. I learned that by doing such a bad job of cutting my partner's hair until I learned how from a black barber. The purpose of shaving our heads at the meditation school was to give us a more powerful experience of energy through the crown chakra.


My most recent, near shave on Tuesday was a practical matter. I just couldn't stand the lumpy, shaggy look anymore. But it also gave me pause to reflect. In the aftermath, I've been enjoying running my hand over the stubble. I giggle when I notice how different a shower feels when water lands between these tiny upright spikes. Hair.

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In Los Angeles––clear blue skies—and in cities all over the world. In the oceans—silence not experienced in decades as cruise ships have been forced to a halt. "Ambient noise from ships and other maritime traffic can increase stress-hormone levels in marine creatures, which can affect their reproductive success," writes Marina Koren in an article in The Atlantic, The Pandemic Is Turning the Natural World Upside Down An American woman living Wuhan thought there were no birds there. Then then lockdown happened, and she heard birdsong. They were always there, she realized, but noise pollution had kept her from hearing them. This infographic from Vennage shows several other ways the pandemic is affecting the world around us: Corona Virus Impact on the Environment


In The Overstory by Richard Powers, the point is made again and again that we humans are not more important than the trees, the forests, the plants, the soil, the animals. They also have a right to life. And even if we think and act as if we are the pinnacle of all creation, we desperately need our fellow beings. We are rightly focused on what is happening to us humans in this global epidemic, but in the much bigger picture, something else is happening. The Earth is being renewed, albeit for a relatively short time, not only by spring, but by the absence of human impact. It amazes me how quickly Our Mother responds.


Over and over I hear and read the phrase, "When this is all over..." and all of us know what "this" is. But what will we do tomorrow when this is over? I'm thinking of when I can next see Cheyenne in the flesh. When will we be able to see family in Denmark, friends in New Zealand? But going to see them involves air or sea travel, increasing air and/or ocean pollution once again. I ask myself what changes I will make? All the information about the climate crisis has done little to change our collective behavior. In the time of Corona, it feels as though Mother Nature is giving us yet another loving but also harsh wake up call, a direction for us to heed. We've been forced to give our embattled Earth a little respite that is also to our benefit, but will we be more conscious of continuing when "this is all over?" Already there are signs, some of them violent, that people, perhaps in fear about their livelihoods, want to get back to business as usual. It's easy for me in my recliner to judge the people protesting the Stay At Home Order in Michigan. I, after all, have my regular retirement income, which, thus far, has not been touched by the pandemic. I am extremely grateful, but what about people who are terrified because of job loss? And when I think of change, it's so easy for me to feel overwhelmed by the tide that surges back to the way things were, so I ask myself, what can I do? How can I help us to think and act differently? What if we each thought of one change we could make and then did that one?


Historically pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

                                                                     ~ Arundhati Roy, Indian novelist and



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The casserole made of substitutions

Love in the time of corona is


Waiting in the parking lot for the little family to walk by

The mother saying thank you because you waited

Meeting up virtually to support the addicted health professional

Walking on opposite sides of the street with your buddy every day

Making a casserole with what's in the house


Love in the time of corona is


Sending a birthday card to your daughter's friend's 5-year-old

Chatting with friends and family

Calling people you haven't talked to in a long time

Saying yes to teaching a middle school class online

Supporting the burdened food project


Love in the time of corona is


Hearing from your daughter every day

Sending a birthday card to your niece who is a hospital nurse

Trusting your work will make a difference

Drinking up the green of the leaves

Tasting the snow on the mountains


What is love in the time of corona to you?



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