Create This Book

Kavi asked for a copy of Create This Book for her birthday, which was dutifully purchased for her, but I also got Kavi a copy of Wreck This Journal.

Create This Book was apparently meant to be a less destructive version of Wreck this Journal, or so Kavi told me, when I gave her this book? But I think my sweet girl could use a little help accessing her more destructive impulses (in a constructive manner). I feel like there’s probably a metaphor in there about protesting — sometimes you need to destroy in order to build better? — but I will leave its full unpacking as an exercise for the reader.

Kavi said I could share a copy of this exercise with you. The assignment was to create a non-stop line, and she said she thought about drawing a circle, but decided to draw this instead.

She showed it to Anand, and let him do it too, and he went for an oval-ish circle, and then promptly went back to his video game. I feel like this tells you something about both my children.

Mother’s Day Breakfast-in-bed

The kids are now old enough (at 10 and 13) that Mother’s Day breakfast-in-bed doesn’t require anything of me other than telling them what I want and when I want it. Well, the ‘when’ was a little off, as I’d requested 8 and it arrived at 8:30, but the ‘what’ was perfect. And that was just fine, because I happily went back to sleep for another half hour.

Kevin got up to make the bacon, which also meant that he wasn’t sleeping, which normally precludes morning TV-watching in bed. So today I got to lounge in bed watching Nadiya’s very sweet _Time to Eat_, eating the kids’ bombatoast (it’s perfect), along with the host of clementines that Anand brought me. “We might be a *little* late with breakfast because Kavi just woke up…”

Lovely. Counting my blessings.


Co-signed. I’m still sewing some masks for free for healthcare workers, food service, etc., but if someone just wants one of my masks because they like the fabric or whatever, then they’re going to have to pay me. I’ve pretty much run through my entire budget for materials already, and that’s not even counting my time.

I’ve put in about 3-5 hours / day for most of the last few weeks on making masks, and time sewing is time I’m not writing or doing other work that brings in money, and I have part-time staff to pay.

I’m probably going to have to stop making free masks soon because I want to be able to keep affording to pay my people, and with my Feast book launch indefinitely postponed, the cash flow situation is not so great now. We’re fine, but we can’t afford to just give masks away to everyone.

(That said, if you’re a local healthcare person, first responder, or food service person in need of a fabric mask, with a workplace that can’t afford to (or refuses to) buy them for you, ping me.)


“I say this as someone who has made an unexpected ton of free masks where needed for friends, family, and coworkers. I’ve seen several posts today deriding people for asking for payment for making masks. Some of them are super ugly. This really annoys the bejeezus out of me.

It is COMPLETELY reasonable to request payment when people ask you to make them masks. This is your time, your money, and your invested effort.

Right now, a lot of professional costumers and tailors are completely out of work, and this is one of the few ways they can make money.

Also right now, a lot of people with sewing talent are being pressured into giving all their free time to mask making, regardless of the level of stress it adds to their lives.

Some of those people are literally crippling themselves with arthritis, tendonitis, and other ailments, trying to get things out.

All of this as they worry about friends, family, and coworkers in the current environment.

Remember the whole “do it for exposure” thing? Just how ridiculous it is to ask artists for free everything? (And SCA folks do it all the freaking time.)

Yeah, no. Pay the people whom you ask to make masks for you if they ask for payment. If they don’t ask for payment, and you know they could use the cash, pay them anyway.

Those same people might be donating masks they make to hospitals and nursing homes – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer to pay them.

You pay your healthcare workers, you pay the pharmacy, you pay everyone else you get something from. If you asked someone who sews to make you a mask don’t assume they owe it to you to make it for free.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.”

– Stephanie Stewart-Howard

Masks for Doctor Family

This afternoon’s masks go to a two-doctor husband/wife couple, her adult brother who’s staying with them during social distancing for a few months unexpectedly, and the toddler daughter. They also have an infant in the house. The daughter likes sparkly pink — I didn’t think sparkly would survive lots of washing, but Kavi said these butterflies made it look sparkly, so that will hopefully do. Otherwise, I would have bedazzled the heck out of her mask! Think good thoughts for them, okay? It’s nerve-wracking for all the doctors I know who have to go in to the hospital and then come back home to their families.

Sewing accompaniment was first an episode of the “Milk Street” podcast, which was fine, but I think I like Christopher Kimball better as an editorial voice than an actual voice — something about the way he talks about food and culture kind of rubs me the wrong way. So I’m not recommending that (though I’ll probably listen to at least 1-2 more before I actually give up — it’s not fair to judge anything on the first episode), but I *am* recommending the “Home Cooking” podcast with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway, which was somehow immensely comforting.

Part of it is Samin’s voice, which is like a warm hug, and also her enthusiasm about eating, and especially her pragmatic and sensible approach to cooking at home during a quarantine. She got so excited when they had three questions about frozen vegetables and it just made me smile. I love her. There are only two episodes so far, but I hope they do lots.

I think I haven’t recommended this yet, but I’m also all caught up on the three episodes of “Staying in with Emily and Kumail.” You may know them because Kumail told their story in the movie, _The Big Sick_, which I watched with Kevin the other night (and got all sappy, yes) — it’s an interracial romance, and Kumail came from a Pakistani American family that expected him to have an arranged marriage, so all of that is very familiar to me.

But then (and this isn’t really a spoiler, given the title, etc.) partway through the movie, Emily gets incredibly sick very fast. In real life, obviously, she survived, but she is still living with a condition that means they have to self-quarantine periodically, so they decided to do this podcast (all funds from ad sales going to coronavirus-related charities) about techniques for getting through staying in.

Now, they don’t have kids and they work from home, so this is mostly relevant to those in similar positions, who might be going stir-crazy, but Emily was a therapist before she became a writer, and she offers various thoughts and techniques that might be helpful to many. Mostly, though, I like listening to them. They’re pretty funny, their interplay is very sweet, and it makes me smile.

That should be a whole podcast category: podcasts that make you smile. I nominate “Home Cooking” and “Staying in with Emily and Kumail.”