Fake Masks

My quest started when I ordered masks for Rose to take to college.

I let her pick out what she wanted.

The masks were delivered.

I was aghast.

Most were only one layer. Most were stretchy.

NONE complied with the CDC and WHO recommendations.

I contacted two of the suppliers and sent them links to proper mask requirements.

They both disappeared off the student website.

A mask is PPE not a fashion accessory.

That is when I started making masks for my family, although I hated sewing.

I did research on the best materials and patterns.

I intended to share this information earlier.

I thought others might find it helpful.

Then I began to notice what others were covering their faces with. It seemed anything would do if it seemed like there was some effort. It occurred to me that maybe folks only wished to APPEAR to comply.

The event that pushed me to the edge of the crazy cliff was a visit from my dead father’s financial advisor. Here was this man, standing over my grieving mother wearing a DIRTY, OLD, USED, WELL-WORN disposable mask. I whisked masks onto my mother and sister and discreetly squirted Germex onto their hands after using his pen. (Don’t mess with my family!)

Ever since that day, I have been broadening the circles of safety around my family and friends.

Which brings me to the POINT.

REAL MASKS have at least three layers. (See links at the end of this post)

It is best to have POLYPROPYLENE in the middle.

Polypropylene is a nonwoven plastic.

Here is what it looks like through a microscope.

I think of it as “virus velcro.” It has a charge that traps and holds the virus.

Not all of it is the same. Here is a thinner version.

This is what the mask filters are made of.

I put two layers in most mask. Some thinner masks get three or four layers.

Real masks only work if worn consistently and properly.

Tired of hearing about masks?

I have friends with a dead parent, huge medical bills or residual health problems.

This virus is real so…


Love Flow



Be the Light

My family ended our holiday with a trip to the White’s to see the lights.

It was the perfect ending.

This is no ordinary light display. It is over the top.

We could see the lights from several streets away.

Their yard is a beacon from the Interstate.

Colored lights flashed, white lights twinkled, stars sparkled.

There was even music tinkling in the background.

This trip was a bright spot in our darkened holiday.

I stood in their driveway, happy to be with my two friends.

I looked up and realized I was under the biggest tree of all.

Dizzy? I was too busy talking to focus. Surprise there.

It lit up the sky above me. I was surrounded in light and love.

Thanks to M and S for the most magical moment in 2020.

Be the light in someone’s darkness. Be the beacon that gets them through.

Let the lower lights be burning!

Send a gleam across the waves!

Some poor fainting, struggling seaman,

you may rescue, you may save.

(Hymn by P.P Bliss 1871)

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Flow and family and friends

Our Tiny Christmas

In some ways it was the most meaningful holiday ever.

No frills or fuss. No shopping or rushing around.

Just focused on family.

I know what it is like to lose someone I love deeply and desperately.

I will do ANYTHING to prevent that again. ( even wear a little mask)

Mama’s tree was tiny but covered with memories.

Our hamster’s stocking from the 1970’s

Daddy’s chair was empty but we took turns sitting in it.

I am more aware of the breezes. I hear the birds. I marvel at the changing colors of the sunsets.

I am still alive, though with a broken heart.

My treasures have truly changed.

Hold yours closely.

Time is precious and passing.

Pay attention.


I’m Not Done!

My friends are retiring and planning the next phase of their life,

but I’m not done.

I never reached my pinnacle, I was busy yawing around.

I never climbed that mountain, my career never got past step one.

I tried teacher, artist, teacher again, writer, blogger…

but I’m not done.

I did the mama thing quite a while, now they are grown,

but I’m not done.

I keep searching for the next mission, after the pandemic,

after the fear leaves me and a vaccination.

I can’t rest or retire because

I’m not done!

I have no idea what I will do next

all I know is…

I’m not done!


Hold On and Face Forward

I will try to decorate my naked tree after I finish this post.

I have not wrapped any gifts. My family has done the shopping.

I have not written the usual cards or Holiday letter.

I do have last year’s Poinsettia in the foyer.

I did buy myself an Ferrari Amaryllis.

One year ago today, my family was knocked down by a huge wave.

The waves kept coming. We barely got up between them.

I have learned a lot during the sad journey. But I have lost a lot, too.

I had planned to re-trace the steps through the coming year

to figure out what all happened as we were being beat down and tossed around.

I have changed my mind about that.

I am not ready nor strong enough to revisit the tragedy and trauma.

There has been no memorial service. Daddy’s ashes are still on the piano.

(I had a nightmare about Daddy sleeping in the snow.)

He is loved and remembered fondly. We miss him desperately.

My wonderful Daddy in his favorite chair “Hong Kong. “

He was wonderful and full of fun and joy.

We take turns sitting in his chair, so it will not be empty. We put a bird feeder beside that window.

He loved birds. He said if there were jobs in heaven, he wanted to help the birds.

What kind of holiday message is this?

It is a REAL one. It is an appropriate one.

This is the most difficult time in the world’s living memory.

We are all sad, we are all being beat down. We are all scared.

Do not expect all our problems to disappear for holiday cheer.

So during this horrible holiday, my message is simple.


Keep your hope handy, give your love as gifts,

smile under your mask and sing into your mask.

Look to the future.

There will be babies (maybe twins) and puppies and bunnies and flowers and birds.



My Red Ferrari

I thought I would splurge on myself this year.

So when I saw it, I knew I should have it.

That sparkle! That racy red!

It has gotten some dust on it.

No matter.

It is just what I need to keep me facing forward.

Rushing fast to a brighter future and ignoring the rearview.

The petal

Happy Holidays.


My Favorite Christmas Picture Books for Children

This is a repost of my favorite Christmas books.  Every year they grow stronger, because children love them.  These are the books children and adults want to read over and over again.  That’s why they’re the best.  Please, go to the library if it is open.  Get some of these books and read them aloud […]

My Favorite Christmas Picture Books for Children


Nature is my school. My latest teacher is a heron.

Two of its favorite fishing spots are within sight of my desk.

Both locations have a downed tree lying in shallow water.

The heron balances on the trunks and stares into the water.

It is poised as though it is meditating or doing yoga.

Its movements are slow and deliberate.

Bend and Snap

It is focused on only the water. No wasted movement or attention.

It seems to be doing one thing and only one thing.

In reality it is doing two things.

Balancing and fishing.

Maintaining balance is required first.

Balance is required.

Balance is first.



Charlotte Solo

When Barley was alive, he got most of the attention.

He was photogenic, needy, cuddly and babyish.

Charlotte was all about Barley and busy.

She only had eyes for him. I was just her source of food.

Things have changed.

Charlotte is alone.

She runs to greet me when I enter her yard. She bows to be petted before eating. She shares her food with a tiny chipmunk.

Yesterday, she climbed a fence to eat passion vine and stood on her hind legs to eat Turk’s Cap.

Sometimes I wonder if she even remembers Barley, and then…

She will break my heart by lying down beside his grave.

Does she know he is under there? I am going to tell myself she doesn’t.

We both miss Barley.

Charlotte is carrying on. She is staying busy and being a brave bunny.