Corona Kimono A Year Later, April 6, 2021

Corona Kimono

I started my Corona Kimono a year ago today.  That first entry had sheep in it and the words “low hum of menace“.

It’s a different world today.  Even with how hopeful things are now, I also feel a little ragged.  Like the year has worn me down a bit. I hadn’t really thought of it this way until I looked at that first entry, which actually looks more composed, more peaceful compared to the one I did today.

I don’t think I can bring up the exact feeling of fear I had back then, but I can see the relief at having a place to express myself in that first drawing.

As an artist, the Corona Kimono became the thing that I was able to do during the pandemic.

What I really wanted to do was to help in some way.  This was more a selfish desire than an altruistic one.   “Doing” always makes me feel better than not doing.

Especially during difficult times.

Besides making masks, and being there for the people in my life, and trying to put positive things out into the world on my blog there was little I could do.

Creating my Corona Kimono has helped give my life as an artist meaning during this time.

Looking back at all the entries, I clearly see that some are rougher, more raw than others. I look at some and wish I could erase them, do them over.

But then if my Corona Kimono is truly a journal I guess that’s to be expected.

My last few entries have sometimes come a month apart.  But that too reflects that the urgency has diminished.

This morning a bunch of phrases that arose from the pandemic and have become a familiar part of our vocabulary flashed across my YouTube channel.  I quickly wrote them down thinking they might become a part of my Corona Kimono.

I’m not sure if I wrote them down because I thought I’d forget them, or if it’s because they are so much a part of life, I no longer think of them as being something other than a part of everyday life.

I guess that’s a good reason to include them.

My Corona Kimono so far.

Corona Kimono March 25, 2021

My Corona Kimono

There was a mix-up when Jon first signed up to get his Covid Vaccine.  First, he tried to make an appointment online,  but never got confirmation.  So he called Walgreens and told them and they made an appointment for him over the phone.

Because of a computer error, it turned out he had two appointments.  The pharmacy never corrected the error and it strangely worked out in my favor.

New York State opened vaccines up to people 50 and over yesterday.  I tried to make an appointment online, but Walgreens hadn’t updated the guidelines yet.  So when Jon called the pharmacist with a question, he asked about making an appointment for my vaccine.

The pharmacist looked to see if there were any cancellations and saw that Jon’s two appointments were still in the system.

He was scheduled to get his booster the next day, but his other appointment was for that day at 5pm.

That’s how I got my covid vaccine the day it was opened up to people in my age group.

When I think back to last year at this time, I never would have imagined that I’d be getting vaccinated for the Corona Virus a year later. It’s almost hard to remember the uncertainty and fear so many of us were feeling.

But when I look at the images on my Corona Kimono, it all comes back to me.  With every drawing, each word, every stitch, I am flooded with memories, with what I was feeling at the time.

There’s not much space left on my Corona Kimono.  I will have been working on it for a year in April.  The idea of finishing it is in a way like the idea of being fully vaccinated.  Hard to believe that that at some point soon it will be over.

I stitched me getting my vaccine on the opposite side of the Kimono from the entry of Jon getting his.  Jon got his booster today, the day after my first shot.
You can see my latest entry on the bottom of my Corona Kimono. 
My Corona Kimono from May 27, 2020, when I first started making entries on the front of the Kimono. You can follow my Corona Kimono back to the beginning here. 

 

Corona Kimono 2/25/21

My Corona Kimono, Jon getting vaccinated.

I can’t help feeling hopeful.  It may sound strange, considering there are now over 500,000 deaths from Covid 19.  But it does feel to me like things are beginning to change for the better.

Yesterday Jon got his first vaccination for the Coronavirus. I feel like I can finally relax a little knowing that he is going to be protected from the virus.

Also, knowing that if the Walgreens in our little upstate NY town is getting vaccinations (that’s where Jon was vaccinated) then other small towns and big cities must be getting more vaccines to distribute too.

I’m one of the last on the list to get vaccinated, and I don’t expect things to get back to normal for a very long time,  but I still feel like things are moving along.

A couple of nights ago I had a dream where once again I was in a room crowded with people I didn’t know and no one was wearing a mask.  In the past when I dreamed this I was terrified. (My last Corona Kimono entry was about this nightmare)

But this time, instead of being scared, I just assumed that if no one was wearing a mask it was because it was safe not to anymore.

I didn’t take this dream as a premonition, but as my personal fear about the virus subsiding.

This doesn’t mean Jon and I aren’t being careful anymore.

We will continue to wear masks, social distance, and wash our hands.  Just last week I spoke to a friend who found out that she had the virus in December.  She tested negative at the time, but a recent test showed that she has covid 19 antibodies.

I think the warmer weather, longer days, and feeling of spring help too.  But ultimately, not having that constant low lying worry about the possibility of Jon getting the virus has made all the difference.

My Corona Kimono so far You can see my latest entry on the bottom left

Corona Kimono 2/9/21

The drawing I did before stitching it onto my Corona Kimono.  As often happens, the drawing changes when I stitch it because of the difference in mediums.

A few weeks ago, after our lamb Scotty died, Jon and I went shopping for a new rifle.  The one he used to euthanize Scotty was old and wasn’t working right.  We both felt it was important to have a rifle that was easy to use and working properly.

We called around and finally found a gunshop that had a .22 rifle. It was just what Jon was looking for. We had passed the shop before on the way to Glens Falls.  They also sold shoes, which seemed nicely quirky to me and it looked like a friendly place.

The gun shop was big and spacious inside with lots of people walking around. Men, women, and children were looking at guns, talking to each other, having a good time.

But no one was wearing a mask.

It was surreal. I found it shocking.

I haven’t been around so many people since last march who weren’t wearing masks.  It’s actually rare to see anyone not wearing a mask, even though we live in a place that overwhelmingly voted for Trump.

I felt like I had walked into one of my nightmares,  the ones I started having regularly a few months ago.

In them, I’m in a crowd of people, who all seem to be enjoying themselves, and no one is wearing a mask.  I start to panic and realize that I’m not wearing a mask either. I look around for it, but either can’t find one or the one I have doesn’t fit on my face.

I wake up agitated and frightened.

The woman who owned the gun shop was helpful, but I can’t say I felt comfortable there. I got the feeling we were all working hard to find common ground.   We found it in the purchase of the rifle and some small talk about shoes.

I overheard a conversation about how the virus wasn’t as bad a people made it out to be. And when the owner asked one of the salespeople to show Jon a rifle, he wouldn’t even look at Jon.

I am still haunted by a pistol that was in one of the showcases.

It had Trump’s name and face engraved on the handle and the words “Keep America Great” on the barrel.   It had the feeling of a fetish.  Imbued with the spirit of anger and hatred.

Even if people have not had an experience like Jon and I did at the gunshop, I’ve talked to people who have had nightmares similar to the ones I’ve been having.

I’ve heard that we have some nightmares so that when we wake from them we can be grateful they’re not real.

I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling I got from being in the gun shop for days. I think if I ever find myself in a situation like that again, I’ll just turn around and walk out.

My Mask Nightmare on the back of the sleeve of my Corona Kimono
The back of my Corona Kimono.  There’s just a couple of small spaces that still need to be filled in.

Corona Kimono 1/25/21

A few weeks ago Jon and I stopped at The Mansion and dropped off some things they needed at the front door.  As we drove up, I looked in the windows of the big room where special events were always held and people sometimes watched TV on the big screen the Army of Good bought for them.

I felt a longing to able to walk through the door, plunk down on the couch next to whoever was sitting there and have a casual conversation like I used to.  I thought about how Alice used to reach for my hand when I sat next to her. We would just sit there together, holding hands, not having to say a word.

I always felt welcomed at The Mansion, by the people who live there as well as the staff.

Today I looked on my blog to see when I was last there.  It’s was February 12th, almost a year ago.  We were making a community quilt.  Julie, the activities director, had fabric that had been donated.  I brought in two of my sewing machines and  Ruth, Claudia, Nancy, and Becky chose pieces of fabric then Julie and I sewed them together.

I was thinking about The Mansion today and I wanted to represent the people there that I miss on my Corona Kimono.  So  I did a drawing of Madeline, one of the women who live there, and stitched it on the sleeve of my Corona Kimono. 

Around her image, I wrote about how I missed going to The Mansion and how welcomed and comfortable I always felt there. In my original drawing Madeline was holding up one of her drawings that she did in a class I taught.  But when I stitched the drawing of Madeline onto the sleeve of the Kimono I ran out of room for her drawing.

So now it’s Madeline, representing The Mansion and the people who live there on my Corona Kimono.

Madeline, who would sometimes forget things from one moment to the next, but even in her ninety’s has a beautiful voice and could still sing all the words to “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” and act it out like she did in the play over seventy years ago.

I know it will be different when I can go back to The Mansion.  Some of the people I knew won’t be there anymore and there will be other people I’ve never met before.

But I still have the beginnings of the quilt we started in February.  When the pandemic is over and visitors can return to The Mansion, I plan on bringing the pieces back and finishing the quilt.

My Corona Kimono so far.

Corona Kimono 12/29/20

I woke up with the words Covid Christmas in my head.  I knew they belonged to my Corona Kimono.

Little by little pieces of the image became clear in my mind.  A Christmas tree with Covid 19 Vaccines tied with a bow.  Dr. Fauci, the angel on top of the tree, and  Joe Biden’s Covid Taskforce, their names like the kids on Santa’s list.

In my mind, the list flowed like ribbon candy next to the tree, Anthony Fauci’s face grew angel wings and the vaccines took the place of candles on the tree.

Once in my studio, I did a rough drawing.  But stitching on the sleeve of the Kimono is difficult.  It opens on the wrong side to put the image right side up.  And the sleeve is too small to stretch over the flat base of my free-motion sewing machine.

So I had to take the base off, which only allows me to see a few inches of the surface I’m sewing on.  This makes it’s impossible for me to sew large images freehand.  So I drew the tree with a white pencil before stitching it and traced over the drawing I made of Dr. Fauci’s face to make sure I got it just right.

I listed the first names of the people on Biden’s Taskforce.

At 2:30 Fate plopped her head on my knee, trying to convince me it was time to feed the animals.  “Not yet,” I told her.  I still have a half-hour and more work to do.”

 Once I fill in the back of the left sleeve, I’ll only have the front edging to do.

I’ve been looking at my Corona Kimono for so long I don’t even know what it looks like anymore. But when I look at my first drawing from April, I can still remember the fear I felt of now knowing what would happen.

And now there’s a vaccine.

My friend and poet Jackie Thorne, who is also a nurse, got the first part of the vaccine this week.  For her, it had the same effect as a Tetanus shot. A little pain at the site.

This is probably my last entry on my Corona Kimono for the year.  And I’m feeling pretty hopeful.

You can follow my work on my Corona Kimono back to the beginning here.

Detail of the Vaccine “Candles” and Santa Biden’s list.

Corona Kimono 11/19/20

Covid Winter

There were just three of us in my Bellydancing class last night.  The rest of the class stayed home for reasons due to the Coronavirus.

The facility where we dance is still open, but we’re expecting it may close any day. So we’re figuring out how to do Zoom classes to keep everyone dancing.  It is interesting to me, that like most gyms,  that it is actually one of the safest places, besides staying home, to be.

The space is sanitized between each group that uses it.  There is an air filtration system and high ceilings, we sanitize our hands and feet (since we dance barefoot), keep at least six feet apart from each other, take and record our temperatures and, of course, wear masks.

Winter is here and, as predicted, cases of the virus and deaths from it are rising.  It’s a Covid Winter.

So I stitched an image of the coronavirus with a hat and scarf.  The words Covid Winter and 232,639 the number of deaths from the virus as of today.

You can see my Corona Kimono from the most recent entry to the first one in April, here. 

The sleeve where I stitched today’s Corona Kimono entry
My Corona Kimono so far

 

 

Corona Kimono 11/2/20

Working on my Corona Kimono

I had a scare yesterday when I thought that Jon and I had been exposed to the Coronavirus.  But, this morning, after talking to the nurse at our doctor’s office, we found out that we weren’t at risk.

There are so few cases where we live (although like most places the numbers are rising) and we are careful to wear masks and wash our hands,  socially distance and stay away from groups of people.

The virus seemed so far away from us recently and then, suddenly it was at our door.

Waiting for our doctor to call us back this morning, I did what came most naturally, what kept me from thinking the worst.  I put the experience into my Corona Kimono.

I drew our house, the back porch, the doorway we use most often to go in and out of the house. Our home. I wrote that the Covid scare hit home.  And it did.

Yesterday and this morning were the most personal and real that I’ve felt the virus since it first began. It was a reminder to me that I won’t soon forget.

My Corona Kimono So far.

Corona Kimono 10/21/20

I sit in a cushioned chair at the end of two industrial dining tables pushed together waiting for my mother.  After a few minutes, she comes through the door pushing her walker, looking small in the cavernous room, a young woman with long brown hair and wearing colorful scrubs at her elbow.

Before the pandemic, it used to be the dining room.  Now the tables and chairs are piled around the edges of the room.  A temporary wall divides the space so two residents of the  Assisted Living Community can have visitors at the same time.

I already had my temperature taken and signed the papers with all the standard Corona Virus questions.

“I feel like royalty,” I say to the tall woman orchestrating it all, as she leads me to the long table with a chair at either end.   It’s like one of those British movies where the rich couple sit on opposite ends of the long table meant for more than two people.

She laughs almost relieved,  “Oh that’s good,” she says “I like that”.  I get the feeling she expected me to say something else.

My mother had been in Assisted Living about a month.  This was the first time I visited her since she moved.  I had to put my glasses on to see her across the table.  I felt like we were yelling trying to be heard through our masks and across the distance.

Talking has always been difficult between my mother and me.  In a way, these new obstacles at least gave a tangible reason for it.

We talk for forty-five minutes until the tall woman comes back in the room and says it’s time for my mother to go. I wait for the aid to come in and lead her out of the room before I leave.

Although the place where my mother is living is very nice in so many ways, and she seems to be very comfortable, even happy there,  I was reminded of the time visiting my ex-brother-in-law in prison.

I didn’t cry till I got back in my car.

In the past few years I haven’t seen a lot of my mother even though she lived only a little over an hour away.  Now she’s now living in a very nice place where she’s getting the care she needs.  So it isn’t as if our relationship is much altered by her move.

But it was sad to actually see her in this new and final stage in her life.

I visited my mother about three weeks ago and knew that I wanted to include the visit on my Corona Kimono.  But it wasn’t until today that I could get myself to draw the image that came to my mind and commit it to thread.

My Corona Kimono so far

 

 

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