Tag Archives: Covid

“Who moves into an R.V. and hits the road

in the middle of a pandemic while our democracy and society crumble? This girl!”

This girl goes by the handle Badass Cross Stitch, but her civilian moniker is Shannon Downey, and she is out to teach us all to embroider.

On her way across the country she is offering on-line tutorials about hoops, fabric, needles and thread, as well as printable sample patterns that your grandmother might not have approved of. One pattern:

The modern-day needlework movement is a feminist one. Another pattern:

Covid hasn’t stopped her. Though it has me on pause, temporarily, hunkered down with a “mild” case in my mother’s Arizona apartment. Ever masked. Watched over by Minerva on the branch outside the balcony.

One thing Ms. Badass likes to say: “Stab it until you feel better.”

Okay. Shannon aims to teach embroidery to one million people.

“I am queer,” she writes on badasscrossstich.com, “anti-racist, anti-capitalist, highly political, and committed to growth, learning, honesty, and doing whatever I can to make this an equitable world. My art generally tackles what I call the ‘big three’ systems of oppression: white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism….I’ve lived a million lives so far and all of them have brought me to right now—doing EXACTLY what I’m supposed to be doing in this world. I live for community, equity, art, and adventure.”

“My work is meant to disrupt,” she continues. “I disrupt via the medium, the application of the medium, the projects that I build, and by living and making outside of the rules.”

“I also LOVE embroidery.”

Well, perhaps I do too. I’m willing to try, anyway.

Stabbing some shit is something to do in quarantine. As Shannon would say.

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In our time, we will drone

to our grandchildren, it was so harsh, it was so difficult. Every day a challenge. Look at the newspaper, Covid infections run amok, out-of-control wildfires, people who had clearly lost all of their political marbles. Violence in prisons, larcenous gangs performing break and snatch routines in luxury stores.

Was it really that bad, grandmother?

Well, yes. And no.

For every one of these bad things there were people who performed miracles to make them better.

I passed  a painted stone left with some others on an old concrete pump structure as I hiked south along the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. They’d been there a long time. I never paid much mind before.

There is something about leaving a stone – on a grave, as a visitation stone, a commemoration; or a cairn, a waymarker, to help the next hiker along; or stacked in a  Zen garden, where the placement of a stone is an effort to bring order out of chaos.

Just leaving a stone, but somehow it’s moving at the close of 2021.

Let’s welcome 2022 with grace, intelligence and love. Hope. Show our grandchildren that we attempted to place a stone along the way.


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The crater was there

when we arrived at Jones Beach. Could this be a more perfect beach day?

I commented that if the deep azure of the sky had a few puffy clouds it might be even more perfect.

It was wonderful, though, getting on the sand so early that the crater was just feet away from our chairs. It would keep pesky beachgoers (just like us) at a distance, and yet afford us entertainment throughout the morning.

Someone had worked hard at digging it, that was for sure. How deep did it go? I imagined an underground grotto populated by hibernating seagulls and some of the sharks the lifeguards warned us against as they hurriedly blew their whistles and hustled swimmers out of the drink for about half an hour.

Little kids and parents approached the side of the crater. Parents, one after the other: Don’t touch, someone else made that, its theirs. Ever vigilant. We thought children would defy their mothers and fathers, but they all seemed too shy or intimidated to jump right in, as we thought at least some would.

One girl drifted all around the crater’s edge, touched the sand, drifted some more, while mom waited impatiently for her to come down to the ocean. (Note: thongs are the suit du jour.) The daughter peeked over the side, took a handful of sand, followed when her mother beckoned, then gravitated back to the crater.

It was a little like that psychology experiment with the kids and the marshmallows. They’re given just one and told that if they wait to eat it they’ll get three. When we watch through the hidden window, they almost all stuff their faces immediately. In this case, delayed gratification, or no gratification, seemed the rule of thumb. I did see a boy burying himself in sand. Maybe he would brave the crater?

In all the sand-and-surf delight and bonhomie that seems ever present post-Covid (post- in our hard fought corner of the country, New York), something stood out. The ice cream vendor was back – Chipwich! Frozen milky way bars! Frozen fruit bars!

Jorge hadn’t sold on the beach last summer during the pandemic. Now he was back, and a coconut Froz Fruit never tasted so good.

Those puffy clouds? They arrived as we got ready to go. What is more perfect than perfect? 

I don’t know, you tell me.

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