The Bad Liz

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic 2020 - How I am keeping sane

In late January 2020, the media started reporting about this new "flu-like" virus that was rampant in China, the Coronavirus, or COVID 19.  Since I work at a hospital it was easy for me to get information from the physicians about this virus. They said it would be not the normal flu or influenza, but it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But that was very early in the game.  And very far from the truth.  No one knew.

In the weeks that followed the COVID-19 spread further and faster than anyone realized it would. Borders were closed first with China and then too people coming from China (even if they were US citizens) into the USA. Finally it would end with the USA, along with many of the countries of the world, closing its borders to all.  Cruise ships were stranded without ports of entry as they were closed.  People on the ships died from the disease.  The last time I remember the airport being so quiet was right after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. (I live 6 miles from the Detroit airport, under a flight path - I hear planes.  All. The. Time.)

On March 19, when I left the hospital for a long weekend I was just thinking I would be back to work on Monday.  My weekend started with taking my dogs to the veterinarian for an annual check up. But it wasn’t a normal appointment. I drove to the veterinarian office And called when I was in the parking lot to let them know that I was there. One of the office personnel walked out wearing a mask and took Chloe into the office for her check up. Several minutes later she came back out with the dog, and took my other dog and my credit card into the office. Again several minutes later, Emi was returned to me, with my credit  card and we were on our way.  Very surreal.  I also made a stop at my local meat market and then to the grocery store, most likely for weekend snacks.

The following Monday the program coordinators through the hospital were given the choice to work from home if desired.  The following day, the governor issued a stay at home order, which covered  employees deemed to not be essential employees should not be in the hospital.  Effective that day, it was completely working from home.

Star Trek fabric and Taco Trucks - everything will be used.
Self made binding tape - so many burnt fingers
Many employees were not able to actually work from home and had to use their vacation time through the generosity of Henry Ford Hospital, employees were granted 80 hours of COVID time off.  This would prove invaluable in the coming weeks.

From March 21st through April 28th, I never left the house.  Well, I might have walked the dogs, or talked with a neighbor across the driveway, but I never left the area.  On April 29th, I went to a local restaurant for Middle Eastern cuisine carryout. While in the restaurant, I was stunned to see 4 persons without masks on!  Don't they know what is going on in the world?  Or don't they care?  I was practicing my social distancing, staying 6 over more feet apart, when another person walked in, and tried to go right up to the counter.  "Yo, dude, there is a line" - he looked at me as if I was insane.  I glared over my mask at him.  Don't fuck with the short lady, I'm from Detroit.
Caps using African prints

Then I was home again until May 21st, when I ventured out for a double mask haircut.  You know, it's when your friend who can cut hair wears a mask and you wear a mask.  That's a double mask haircut.  I have never been home that long in my entire life.  Many of us were feeling the same way.

I've been able to keep my sanity by sewing surgical caps and masks for the MICU (Medical ICU) at Henry Ford Hospital.  Dr. Rana Awdish submitted a plea on Facebook in late March for surgical caps and I knew it was something that I could do from home.  Most of my off hours have been sewing, using all of my machines.  It is amazing how my four year old computerized sewing machine wasn't as strong as my 70 year old Singer sewing machine in the multiple layers of fabric in a mask.  That featherweight punches through layers like a boss.

(In the fall of 2018, my friend Susan and I stumbled upon a sale that netted us hundreds of yards of cotton quilting fabric for $20.  Much of this fabric has been used in the making of the caps and masks.  This was a bonus as I sewed and sewed and sewed.)
Masks for all!  Mom's Featherweight
sewing machine is a rock star

On May 4th, my hours were reduced by 50%, so I was working 20 hours, using my COVID time off and then vacation time.  It did give me more time to sew.  Hopefully by next week, I will be back to working full time, before I have to look at the budget.

Susan also donated part of her fabric stash and several hundred yards of elastic for the making of masks.  Another welcome gift was a donation by one of my beading friends for the purchase of materials needed.

I've probably completed about 200 caps at this point, about 75 or so masks - at one point, I have stopped counting because the number doesn't really matter, it's the making that matters. In order to get the caps to Dr. Awdish, I have been mailing them to her, so she can take them to the hospital when she works next.  It seemed to be the quickest solution.  I've also mailed caps and masks to New Orleans for a former chief and his wife, made a few for a former fellow for herself and family.  What keeps me going?  Things like an email from a grateful nurse:

Bouffant caps - these are not my favorite to sew but I persisted
"Early on in this Covid 19 struggle it became apparent that we were all very concerned about inadvertently bringing this terrible virus home with us. We were lucky enough to get top notch respirators. However,  wearing the appropriate respirator mask was literally tearing my hair out every time I took it off. 

The solution to this issue was to wear a scrub cap...of which I had none and the disposables quickly disappeared. I was too tired each night to try to figure out ordering one online.   Enter Rana with a bag of super cute scrub hats.  I was lucky enough to get a super cute one with red hearts and later another one so that I could change them out.  I simply cannot thank you enough."

(Yes, in my next batch waiting to be mailed, there is one with this nurses' name on it!  I don't know if I made one with red hearts or not, but she will have another cap soon)

Next, my thoughts on things that are going on out there, you know in the real world, not the bubble that is my home.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Another hobby? Yes, I am crazy!

It’s all the fault of another beader.  Truly, it is. I was gifted a set of really nice watercolors, a couple of brushes, and a sketch pad for Christmas in 2016.  I took the items camping in August 2017.  So maybe it is my fault because I did take them camping.  And I started to paint.
Rabbit (from a royalty free website)

Door (from a royalty free image website)

Hawk from a photo that one of
"my doctors" took and allowed me to use.

Leaves from the back garden

Leaf from a campground or my
back garden I try to keep notes
of what paint colors that I used
and what brush I used.

Watercolor of a street view of the village
 of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

These were all from videos that I found on YouTube.
Yes, another hobby!  Watercolor paints.  I've learned what I like and what I don't like.  I like Arches 300 gsm paper, I don't like Canson XL watercolor paper.  I like inexpensive Chinese brushes.  I love Daniel Smith watercolor paints, but I also haven't tried any other brands.  I've learned that I like watching the YouTube videos - what artists I like and artists that I think are just a little to full of themselves.

I've learned that I like to watercolor.

Update of My BUJO year

Early in 2018, I learned about a planning system that revolves around the person and not what is printed on a page in a premade planner, called a "Bullet Journal" and in late January I decided to try it.  You can read about it here:  My Adventure Into Bullet Journaling

2018 BUJO
I've been really good about keeping track of what I have done, what I need to do, what should be done when, and when I received the things that I need to do.  It's helped me stay on track, prove that things were completed and when (very important when you get the phone call accusing you of not doing it, then you know what day you did it, can go back through your emails and say "Um, this was emailed, to YOU, on Sept 4th at 2:36 p.m.").
You can see how the 2018 has expanded with use. 
The 2018 was about the same thickness that the new 2019 is now.
I've tracked movies I want to watch, sayings that I found interesting, wrote a mid-year review for my benefit, future log for 2019 items (reminder, move this information to the new book), tracked how much I did of certain things; expenses, verifications, pages used, etc.

Has it helped me?  Yes, definitely, it has helped me.  So much so that I have my 2019 BUJO in my hand and starting to plan with it.  It's a Leuchtturm 1917 and I have heard some really good things about it.  I will probably add some paint to the front of it, with these fun stickers that I found.
Paint or more stickers - that is a hard question!
 Let's see how on track I can be in 2019 with this BUJO system.

Monday, November 26, 2018

My Weird Obsession

This weird obsession started pretty innocently.

For years I have sewn on a mid-1980s Pfaff Tipmatic sewing machine that I purchased while I was living in Germany, it’s was a great machine that I really liked.  One year I just got the bug in me that I needed (needed, not wanted) a new sewing machine and decided on a Babylock machine called the “Soprano” (nicknamed Tony, of course).  But I couldn’t let go of the Pfaff machine – I might need it one day!
2016 Babylock Soprano Sewing Machine aka "Tony"

I was given a vintage sewing machine by a friend from work, in a cabinet that needed some work.  Nice, older White Rotary sewing machine.  Pretty cool, but there wasn’t a real emotional pull to that machine.  I don’t know why.  It was a great present, the price was right, but no love was involved.

White Rotary Sewing Machine

Many years prior, Alan found a sewing machine and cabinet in the trash one day – he brought it home, cleaned it up.  It was an end table for years, at my home, my brother’s home, but again not a huge emotional connection to the machine.
Mom's 1953 Singer Featherweight

Then I started thinking about my mother’s sewing machine.  It was a cute little Singer Featherweight that I learned how to sew with.  I started by just moving the balance or hand wheel as Mom didn’t want us to use the foot pedal.  Soon, though we were allowed to use that as well.  This practice sewing that was used to make Barbie® clothes and blankets and more.  The more I thought about this machine, the more I wanted one.

Now, that’s an emotional connection!

I started searching on Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, CraigsList, etc. and found out that these little vintage machines are crazy expensive!  I reached out to my ex-husband (aka step-brother) to find out if the Featherweight was something that my father had in the house up north (that he was currently living in).  It was found and shipped to me within a week.  Hurray!

I took it to the neighborhood sewing machine repair shop to give it a tune-up and fix the electrical repair that my father did at some point in time.  I was not going to have a Featherweight with a white extension power cord.  No way.  Sandy at the Sew and Vac Center did a great job and the machine runs great.  It’s a little power horse for going through multiple layers of denim fabric.

So Liz was happy with her Mom’s 1953 Singer Featherweight machine, her old mid-80s Pfaff, her new Soprano and the Brother Overlock machine that her husband surprised her with!  What more could I need?  Why nothing.  I didn’t need a thing.

1941 Singer Model 128 AG133259

Until I saw a 1941 Singer model 128 with a Godzilla finish in a bentwood case.  I think I really fell in love with the box.  Yup.  That had to come and live with me.
1952 Pfaff Model 130

Until I saw a 1952 Pfaff model 130, with an original sewing cabinet with dovetail joinery, and a coffee grinder attachment (it’s actually an embroidery attachment, but makes a coffee grinder noise).  Almost mint condition. This is a beautiful sewing machine.

Until I saw a 1947 Singer Featherweight with the scrollwork on the front plate of the machine.

Friday, March 02, 2018

My adventure into bullet journaling

I just started with bullet journaling in late January 2018 and I have been watching many you tube videos and Pinterest items to learn how it's done.  I’ve used traditional calendar systems for years and usually discard it within a few days.  Here’s how I have been put my "Semi" Bullet Journal together.

I had a book from the hospitals' 100 anniversary and thought it would be a good place to start with - I put some dot painting on the cover to brighten it up.

I added a key just inside the front cover to help me with keeping track of the items that I would have in the journal.  Along with a small piece of my art "What do you want?"

To do (smal box)
Completed (check mark)
Migrated (arrow to the right)
Note (*)
Discard (cross out the item)

Monthly calendar:  While I appreciate the idea of writing out the monthly calendar, I know that I will never do that.  I found a monthly calendar on the computer and printed it.  It’s easy enough to cut out the month and tape it with double sided tape to my journal page.  I just couldn’t see the logic of reinventing the wheel.  The hard part was determining how many pages to leave for each month in my book so I haven’t taped them to the book.  Currently they are evenly spaced throughout the book.

Dividers: I found dividers with the month on them, cut them down to fit in my journal and taped the the calendars to the divider.  I am certain if I looked though the stores, I could have found mini dividers that would fit, maybe next year.   I have placed them evenly through the journal, but not attached them.  It makes it easy to move should I have an extra busy month and need extra pages.

Next Week Item:  Another portion of the on line tutorials that confused me was having a list for next week.  Then, when it is next week, you copy the list into your calendar - certainly not a time saver for me.  When it is an item for another month, I have taken to putting a sticky note on the divider for the appropriate month, or writing in pencil on the month divider things that need to be completed, and possibly a deadline, if there is one.

Much of my job has somewhat fluid deadlines.  If it’s an absolute deadline, I actually enter the event on my Outlook calendar with a reminder on the day, maybe a little before.  That way I’ll get an electronic reminder, and it’s in the bullet journal.

February had eight pages of "To Do" items.  While I realize that my journal looks more like a huge to do list, why waste the time making a daily, weekly or monthly calendar if I am not going to use these items?

I have taken to decorating my journal with small watercolor paintings of mine, washi tape and funny sticky notes.

I love colors markers and pens, fountain pens with great ink and all these items keep the journal fun and interesting.

There are many more things that I can do with this; track days that I am spending money or not spending money, working out, etc.  Pictures can be taped into the journal, samples of paint colors.  I added a "Wish List" and have been adding items I would like to get or do.

Friday, June 23, 2017

What would you do?

On my recent trip to Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting next to a woman on the train - we were about 2 hours or less from Chicago and we started chatting.  The conversation started innocently enough and then turned a direction that I never would have expected.  Here is my FB post in case you missed it:
"Woman sitting next to me just wondered if I was afraid to live in Dearborn because of "those" people living there. I answered that yes, living with many insecure white men who could buy a gun easily scares me tremendously but it doesn't stop me from going to work in Detroit or shopping in Dearborn. Conversation has now ceased.
I bet if she could find another seat she would move."

Being on the train with this woman today really made me wonder about people -  it made me think about "people being people". My friend, Ahmad said something that he is right about.  That it doesn't make it better or right.
I know that there are a lot of people who don't know any one from outside of their home communities, much less people who know persons from overseas. Perhaps living in Detroit growing up, living in Dearborn as an adult, and living out of the country for a number of years has shaped my way of thinking and acting more than I realized. I certainly can't remember a time when I thought I hated people because of race or religion or politics. If I hate (I do try not to hate because that's a lot of negative energy that I don't need to waste my time with) or dislike someone it's usually because they are closed minded, bigoted, or an ass.
I had the opportunity to tell this woman today about the great people that I have met through my life and could not. But she closed off before I could.
I wish that I could have told her of the doctors that I work with that I would trust with my life. I wish I could tell her about the places that I have seen and the joy when you can say thank you in someone's native language, even if that's the only word that you know in that language.
I wish that I could tell her that we all came from some other place and that we are talking together because we are supposed to, that an immigrant from the 1880's is no better or worse than one from 2008. That my religious beliefs are no better or worse than her beliefs, or any other beliefs.
But I couldn't. Maybe I should have just talked even if she didn't want to hear.
But, it might have gotten through. Maybe.  Hopefully.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Liz and Tricia's Great Adventure 1981

In the spring of 1981, a co-worker of mine asked me if I would take a trip to Germany with her that summer.  Her sister was stationed with the US Army outside of Darmstadt.  I don’t think it took much convincing for me to say yes.  Little did I realize this would be the beginning of a life-long love to travel.

My family had always gone on a “summer vacation” – camping our way to such places as Florida, North Dakota (my grandmother lived in Fargo and we stayed in Minnesota, just across the border), the north shore of Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada and Yellowstone.  Thinking back on these trips, while they were a lot of fun, they were also educational.  Dad taught us how to swim, fish, and look at the constellations in the stars, taught us about plants, animals, driving, campfires and more.

Trish and I were co-workers, we’d been out a couple of times, but this was the beginning of a great adventure.  I only had 2 weeks of paid vacation and took one week of unpaid time off.  This was a big deal.  

My mother found through adult education offered in Dearborn Heights a beginning German course that she and I signed up for.  It was fun to do something like that, and we did go to a German restaurant in the area.   I don’t know that I learned much, but it did put the language in my ear.

Trish and I thought we would save some money by joining the Youth Hostel society, we became members so that our lodging costs would be decreased.   We decided that we could rent a car, but most of the cars were a standard transmission (automatic transmission rentals were very expensive).  We didn’t know how to drive a stick shift!  My older brother helped us with that, he taught us on a Dodge Omni how to use a stick shift.  We went to AAA and received our international drivers’ licenses.  We made our reservations and away we went.

We found travel books about Germany, the AAA was a great resource for us.  We plotted and mapped, made decisions and settled on a basic plan of what we wanted.

I had only flown once before this trip.  My grandmother was in a Fargo nursing home and we flew there over Easter break.  I remember that my mother dressed the siblings in our dress clothes and it was very exciting.  I think that I was about 11 or 12 at this time.

This trip had our plane landing in London – and it was a very hard landing.  Many of the oxygen masks popped out of their overhead containers and scared the crap out of me.  The pilot did come on the in-cabin radio and apologized for the hard landing.  Whew, nothing was wrong.  Our next landing had a different shock for me.  Police.  Not just police, but police with machine guns.  Sure, I am a Detroit girl but I never saw police with machine guns.

We stayed a couple of nights with Tricia’s sister and her husband in a small village, Wolfskehlen which is just outside of Darmstadt.  As we wandered through this small village, we were greeted by the people we passed on our walks.  “Guten morgen (morning)”, “tag” (day), and “abend (evening)” became very familiar to us as we walked around.  In the Detroit area, people didn’t talk to strangers on the street – you just didn’t do that.  It was hard the first few times to answer back, but slowly became more natural.  The people on the street actually made eye contact and acknowledged that you were there.  Inconceivable!

Then we started our travels.  To Burg Frankenstein to Strabourg to Austria and Switzerland to Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Munchen and Dachau.  We saw castles, churches, cathedrals, walled cities, wild boar, and frog crossings.  We ate in cafes, gasthaus, bought food to go at bakeries.  We used our menu finder to try different things.  I mistook schinken for schnecken and learned that I loved snails in garlic and butter.  I drank different beer and wine, tried Spezi and love it (still do!). 

Why this long trip down memory lane?
Because on this trip, I bought a pair of shoes.  I loved these shoes.  They were a white clog with a wood base made by the Danish company, Ecco.  I loved these shoes from the minute that I put them on.  I wore them until they couldn’t be worn any longer.  They were an extension of my feet.

Recently, I purchased a pair of Sanita clogs with a wooden base.  And they make the same noise when I walk in them.  The exact same noise.  And the noise took me back to 1981.  And I thought about Trisha and my great adventure.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Year so Far

2016 has been a different kind of year.  Full of political innuendos and campaign truths and lies (and sadly, the average voters just don’t make the time to figure out what is the truth).  This sparked my Facebook post on September 1st:

Political rant: We all know that to some degree, politicians have their own agenda and are looking out for their own interests. ALL politicians. It's up to us, as informed voters, to figure out who is going to be less harmful to us, our town, state and our country.

You are not a Republican or Democrat because Mom or Dad were one. Make an informed decision as to where you are in the big picture.

Your homework for the time between now and Election Day is going to be to find this out. 
Not just watching the mud-slinging commercials on the television. Go to web sites, read, and investigate.  And to watch this movie: (

Play close attention to the character that Andy Griffith plays. Watch the things that he says and does as the movie progresses. Pay attention to any parallels that you see.

Then vote in November, an informed, honest vote.  Rant over.
I’ve been voting since I was 18 years old and 9 presidential election.  One of the first things that I remember hearing about voting is my mothers’ voice “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” and I have voted in all the presidential elections since then.  I have voted in most of the primaries.  Do you know how many people don’t bother with the local elections – these are the people that will make the most difference in your lives. 

Look up the word dilemma in the dictionary:  “a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones” is one of the definitions that I found in my search.  A grade school teacher once said that a dilemma is a “decision between two evils” and I like that definition.  Because we know that all politicians have their own agenda – it’s searching for the “evil” that is going to be best for each of us.

It’s up to all of us to make a sound political decision based on what is important to each of us; based on the candidates personal experiences, their expertise in their field, their ability to surround themselves with experts that know what is important in their field of expertise.  Not what the information/entertainment channels deem is important in their eyes.  This needs to be important to YOU.

I am not going to tell you who to vote for, it’s actually none of my business.  But I am going to ask that you really make certain that you know why you are voting for your candidate and that you know that your candidate can successfully complete the job before you mark your ballot.