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How to Keep Your Tiger Safe from COVID-19 – Riparians at the Gate + Jennifer Fitz


All artwork is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Click through on each image for descriptions and licensing information.

Now that the coronavirus pandemic has spread to tigers, you’ll want to sit down with your tiger and discuss the CDC’s recommendations for protecting itself from COVID-19.

Brahmin talking to a tiger.

It’s not always easy to talk about such a frightening and confusing topic with your tiger, so I’ve gone ahead and prepared this illustrated guide.

Hand Hygiene

Explain to your tiger that germs reside on frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs.

File:White Bengal Tiger at Door (11889542686).jpg

Encourage your tigers greet one another using alternatives to handshakes.

Royal Bengal tigers playing with paws in air.

Discuss the importance of frequent hand-washing,

Tiger splashing water

especially before meals.

Anthropomorphized tiger sitting down to undersized dinner (Puck)

Aim for a minimum of twenty seconds of washing with soap and water.

Bengal Tiger in Water

Social Distancing

In order to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the virus, your tiger needs to learn about “social distancing.”

Young tiger playing with its mother

This includes avoiding unnecessary outings,

Two anthropomorphmized tigers going for a drive in a convertible

especially to places like crowded bars and restaurants.

Cafe Bar sign with tiger on top

While introverted tigers may be more than ready for an extended vacation from too much social time,

File:Tiger Family.jpg - Mother tiger with wide eyes

more extroverted tigers may find social isolation depressing.

File:Eugène Delacroix - Royal Tiger - Google Art Project.jpg

Your tiger may be tempted to sneak out of the house to meet with friends,

File:The Naughty Adventures of Mr. Jack by James Swinnerton cover (1904).jpg

or defy instructions to keep a minimum of one tiger-length apart.

Anthropomorphized tiger pulling back curtain on two tigers embracing

Firm, consistent reminders,

File:Kishi Ganku - Tiger - 36.100.11 - Metropolitan Museum of Art.jpg

including posters or other instructional material,

Siberian Beware of Tiger Sign

may help your tiger remember the rules.

Safe Working Conditions

Unfortunately, many tigers have jobs that involve close contact with others, who may carry the virus without realizing it.

File:Thomas Daniell - Tiger Hunting in the East Indies - Google Art Project.jpg

Tiger attacking hunters on elephant

Tiger attacking passenger elephant

Peter Paul Rubens, animal battle scene

Ask your tiger to discuss with its employer whether work-from-home is possible.

Book plate "Industria et Perseverantia" with tiger holding ruler

Certain white-collar tiger occupations naturally lend themselves to work from home.

Tiger reading long scrolling paper

Readily available software may allow your tiger to meet with colleagues via “zoom” conferences,

File:Tiger Fangs (1943) film poster.jpg

even for very large groups.

Images of wild cats in separate frames

Less-technically savvy tigers may find conferencing software overwhelming, however,

spiraling images of british colonies

and may find it simpler to conduct business via telephone.

tiger on telephone

Finally, for tiger occupations which require heading into the office, organizing the workplace to allow at least one tiger-length of space between employees can keep everyone safe.

tigers in distance approaching fort

Personal Protection Equipment

A tiger cough or sneeze can spread virus-laden droplets much farther than we realize.

File:Puck's political weather forecast for Fourteenth Street and vicinity - Dalrymple. LCCN2012648722.jpg

Unfortunately, an extensive review of the literature shows little evidence that adequate PPE is available for tigers,

Rory cartoon tiger doing laboratory experiments

and thus your tiger may have to do without, rely on donations,

Anthropomorphized tiger begging (Puck)

or sew up its own.

Boy with needle and tiger

Be Safe, Practice Tiger Distancing!

Meanwhile, readers, if you are worried about catching COVID-19 from a tiger, do like I do and keep a safe distance from tigers at all times.

PS: Feel free to share your own favorite tiger art in the blog discussion group.


Artwork credits, in order of appearance:,_tome_1_0480.jpg,_Natural_History_of_Pachydermes…_Wellcome_L0030793.jpg,_Tour_through_the_British_colonies_and_foreign_possessions.jpg,_caccia_alla_tigre,_1900_ca..JPG

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Splendid Isolation – Grace Pending



I can no longer hear you through this splendid isolation

Whether that’s purposeful on my part or consensual on yours makes no real difference

It’s not as if we had so much in common that we could get to know each other just by turning inward, like those others you sometimes matched us up against

Today’s stark contrasts feel sharper than any kitchen knife and cut so much deeper

But rather than despair we choose forgetfulness

Leaving us only to wonder once again what this silence is all about



Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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On my bookshelf, Holy Week 2020 and beyond – Riparians at the Gate + Jennifer Fitz


This is my long overdue post on what I’ve been reading and what I’ve got in the queue, some of it Lenten some of it not (except, of course, that everything is Lenten).

For my top picks of family-friendly Holy Week videos, look here.

Simcha’s Lenten Family Film Festival is here, and Julie Davis has a starter pack of Lenten viewing here, but her whole blog is a treasure trove of reading and viewing suggestions.


My Good Friday go-to is Thomas à Kempis’s On the Passion of Christ.  I read a little bit more of it every year.

So no, I wasn’t kidding when I recommend partial-book reading as a Lenten strategy.  It’s a thing. Sometimes a very spiritually fruitful thing.  This is definitely a book for which a single meditation — even just a few paragraphs — can go a long, long ways.

Not recommended for those prone to scrupulosity.  Ideal for those prone to laxity.  Great example of using one’s imagination to immerse oneself in Scripture as a method of prayer, btw.

And hence: Not for the scrupulous. Just no.  NO!

If you are prone to scruples, for goodness sakes do like my kid did today, unbidden, and grab a few of Pauline Media’s Encounter the Saints books.  Good for kids, ideal for busy adults who need a quick inspiring read that will challenge your faith.  Can’t have too many of these.

Just finished: All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Ballard — Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy by Phil Keith and Tom Clavin.  I give it . . . I dunno.  A lot of stars.  Also, I demand a mini-series.  Talk about non-stop fodder for period drama . . . the adventures just. never. quit.

Of Catholic interest: Somewhere along the way, Eugene Ballard managed to become a Catholic, often a lousy but also compulsively-heroic Catholic, and he died reconciled to the Church.  The biography doesn’t treat his faith very extensively, which is probably just as well; when THEY MAKE THE MINI-SERIES, which I demand, they’d better not screw up the Catholic part.

All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy

Did I mention I demand a mini-series?  This is a great story.

Currently reading: 

I apologize if you thought I was reading Lentier-stuff.  Well, these are Lenty each in their way.  Everything is Lenty.

Okay but I have another one open that is properly Lent-themed:

Just Sayeth the Lord: A Fresh Take on the Prophets by Julie Davis.

Thus Sayeth the Lord by Julie Davis

I’m a few chapters in, and so far so good.  Down-to-earth recaps, explanations, and meditations on the stories of various prophets.  Based on the what I’ve read, I’d definitely consider this one as a choice for a parish book club or Bible study, ages teen and up.

Readable, does not assume a particular level of background knowledge, does provide spiritual insights useful to those who are already well-studied.

It is of course no secret I’m a Julie Davis fan.  Her other two books are quite different and heartily recommended:

(Head’s up: At this writing I am not active on Goodreads, so please don’t try to message me there and then wonder why I’m ignoring you.)

Next Up:

Living Memento Mori: My Journey Through the Stations of the Cross by Emily DeArdo.  I’ve actually kinda sorta already read this book? But not exactly.

Living Momento Mori by Emily DeArdo

Emily is one of my favorite internet writer-friends, and she let me take a look at the original manuscript for this book back when we were trying to figure out who would be the ideal publisher.

Ave Maria was the winner, and their request was that she organize her memoir around the Stations of the Cross — if you didn’t know this already, one of the things publishers do with book proposals and manuscript drafts is come back to the author with requests for how to modify the book to better serve their readers.  It’s up to the author, of course, to decide which suggested changes fit with the goals of the book and when it’s time to stand firm (even at the cost of walking, if it comes to it); Emily obviously decided that the stations theme worked with her story, and I trust her instincts on that one.

I haven’t read the Stations of the Cross version, and no, I don’t feel, for a moment, that somehow that framework will become obsolete come Easter.  I have a sneaking suspicion, sorry to say, that Momento Mori is going to remain a pertinent theme for many months to come.

In the future I am going to recommend that Emily write something like My Memoir of Everything Being Awesome and Life is a Cakewalk, and maybe world events will take a hint?

And finally, you knew it was coming, I’m eager to finally be able to crack open The Contagious Catholic: The Art of Practical Evangelization by Marcel LeJeune.

The Contagious Catholic by Marcel LeJeune

Call it Providence or coincidence, but I assure you Catholic publishers don’t get six months advance notice on upcoming world events and tailor their book titles accordingly.

In what is definitely Providence, here’s the story of how we ended up writing overlapping books coming out within just months of each other: I had a brief online conversation with Marcel about the same time I was pitching my book proposal to OSV.  He mentioned in conversation that he had a book (he didn’t elaborate on the specific topic) in mind but had no idea when he’d get around to writing it or finding a publisher for it.

So I figure: Okay, he’s the guy to write about a book about this, but he’s not writing the book.

Makes sense. He’s a really busy guy running a major ministry teaching people how to evangelize, and his priority is to do the thing.  So someone needs to write the book on how to do the thing.  We get lots and lots of people who are excited about evangelization but are seriously wondering, “Okay, how do we do this?” because they’ve never been in a parish where evangelization and discipleship happen for serious.

I’m a writer.  I’m not running a major ministry that is sucking up all my time.  He can do the thing and I can write about the thing.  I guess I’ll do that.

There is no way — let me repeat: NO WAY — I would have even proposed my book if I’d known Marcel was writing his.  So it’s a good thing I did not know that he was going to end up finding time to get his manuscript together, because he has read my book now, and here’s his verdict in his email feedback to me:

You hit a lot of areas that I did not, and it seems the most  important ones were covered in our own ways by both of us.

That sounds about right.  You can check out the Catholic Missionary Disciples blog here to get a feel for Marcel’s writing style and the topics that interest him, how he and I overlap each other, and how is depth of experience is going to bring a different perspective than mine.

Anyway, now that I’m finally done with edits (other than a final look after the copy-editor has finished cleaning up the no-good, horrible, very-bad typos I’ve already identified from my “final” draft after pushing the send button), I’m free to read Marcel’s book with no risk of accidental plagiarizing, and so that’s what I am itching to do.*

Girl with preztels covering her eyes, in front of bookshelf.

For today’s photo penance, let’s do a fresh young face from the camera roll: A child of mine in attendance at a Family Honor parent workshop SuperHusband and I were giving last year.  This is what happens when you let her borrow your laptop.

*If you’re wondering: I’m pretty strict with myself about not reading other people’s blog posts or books on a topic I’m actively writing on, except if I’m explicitly researching a response to that literature. So I spent many months not clicking through on Marcel’s blog links because I didn’t want his voice getting confused with my own while I was actively writing.

Could I recommend you read, memorize, and internalize every single thing he writes on his blog?  Yes.  I recommend that.

And then go do the thing. DO. THE. THING.  Thank you.


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Letters from Armorica- Making Haste Slowly (6 June 36 AF) – Zymurgia House


First Letter

Dear Leon,

Everything seems poised to go so fast, and yet proceeds so slowly! Amelie received three inquiries for road-wagons before I’d ever returned to Bois-de-Bas, and several more have come in during the last month. There would be many, many more, I feel sure, if we began to use our only road-wagon to haul goods in earnest between Bois-de-Bas and Mont-Havre, but it will be too useful to us here as we get La Compagnie des Wagons Tuppenny started. That, and as you say we must move avec prudence: let us by all means have a few wagons to sell and the ability to produce more before we starting enflaming demand too much!

And that will take a little while. CWT has so many needs, and even though so many are readily available here in Bois-de-Bas it takes time to get them all together. Lumber, for example. We have been using chêne-pierre because it is common here, and it was easy enough to gather sufficient seasoned wood for a single wagon; but if we are to make many such we need a steady supply, and that requires planning.

And then, Jacques has suggested that we might use a proportion of beechpine in place of chêne-pierre, as it is softer and easier to work, and might do equally well for the parts of the wagon that aren’t load-bearing. And as far as that goes, it might do quite well for the hardened struture as well—though I will have to carefully determine whether the material to be hardened has an effect on the degree of effort a hardened block can make available to the other parts of the wagon. I don’t believe it does; it seems to have more to do with shape and geometry.

But if we can, then using beechpine could result in a considerable savings of both time and money—except that we would have to acquire it from a distance, and it would need to be hauled here, and we would need you to set up relationships with those who sell it.

Oh, my. I have just imagined a discussion I must have with M. Trousseau, who owns our local lumber mill. Imagine, mon cher Leon, a road-wagon for hauling logs…to a lumber mill outfitted with formed devices for moving them easily. I’m picturing something like an object with a strap for strapping around a log that provides lift. Strap two or more around the log at intervals, and it should be possible to lift the log into the air and move it into place. It would need to be carefully designed: as with our road-wagon, you wouldn’t want the log to get away from you. But it seems that the work could be made much easier and safer than it is now, and that would be worth quite a bit.

Hah! Perhaps we might acquire our chêne-pierre at a lower cost than we had planned! Yes, and then sell the equipment to other places in good time!

But our deepest needs are two: men to do the work, and a place for them to do it. The latter is the more pressing, as we have some number of young men who came here during the war and are eager to stop “feeding the goats” as my townsfolk have begun to say—that is, to do the unpleasant jobs that as newcomers they are most welcome to do. I’ve no doubt they have friends in their home villages who are eager to the do the same.

The facility is easy enough, in principle: all we need to get started is, effectively, a barn, to get us out of the weather, and that’s a structure that the people here know well how to build. And quickly, too, as I saw with our town hall some while ago. But there is no place to put it right here in town, as the town hall got the last available space for such a large structure; and in any event no one wants it right here in town anyway. Marc and I have found a property some miles to the west of town: a nice spot on dry, high ground, but with bad soil for farming or it would have been taken decades since. The land will need to be cleared, of course, but we should have something in place in a month or two, enough to get started. It is a place of the most excellent, as Amelie noted to me, because it overlooks the road from Mont-Havre. We shall put a large sign on the front, and every drover who goes by will see it.

The more difficult issue is how we divide up our time, Jacques and Marc and I. Jacques remains our cabinet-maker here in Bois-de-Bas, but we will need him to build the first several wagons, and then to oversee the work. He will need to take on another apprentice or two, it seems, which will further restrict his time in the short run. And Marc, of course, has his farm; but he is planning on spending a good bit of his time on our new endeavor, and if it goes well he might, so he tells me, give up farming altogether.

Ironically, my services are the least of it so far as building the wagons goes; and I begin to see how the Former’s Guild has become so powerful and its members so lazy. The forming proper is a small fraction of the effort required to produce a finished wagon; some of it I can do here in my workshop, and the rest can be done on-site quickly enough. And yet, only a former can do it. It will be quite some time before the work required is beyond the strength of Luc and myself. Still, I suppose I should begin looking for another apprentice. Luc is progressing quickly, now that he has learned to read and write fluently; his indentures run for another five years, but he will be capable of journeyman work long before that.

So there is much to wait for—but of course we are not waiting for all of that to fill the first few orders. Jacques and I have revised the design somewhat after our journey to and from Mont-Havre, and have begun work on the first few orders; and Amelie has designed a pretty little emblem we can place on each wagon, like a hallmark. On a part of the hardened structure, naturally, so that it can’t be removed!

And so we go on, mon cher Leon, so we go on!



Next letter

photo credit: Chrisbkes Old West Mountain via photopin (license)

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There Is No Time Left For Living – Grace Pending

There Is No Time Left For Living – Grace Pending

The days are softening, but the nights remain incomplete

Blurred lines, mixed up memories, long abandoned detours lie ahead

If yesterday never happened, tomorrow becomes just so much collateral damage

And once every breath needs to last a lifetime, there is no time left for living

Sometimes mutiny best serves the unnerved heart


Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay

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COVID-19: Three Things to Keep in Mind as We Enter Holy Week


Image: Schoenstatt Unity Cross used with permission

This will be a strange Holy Week. I’m feeling it, and no doubt you are, too. It will be strange in the sense of the unfamiliar. For the first time in memory, there will be no Holy Week services in our churches. It will be strange and it will feel strange. But the strangeness need not ruin the meaningfulness of the holy time that is upon us. It’s how you deal with the strangeness that counts.

As we enter Holy Week, there are three things you should keep in mind.

  1. Jesus suffered and died for your sins. Nothing can or will change that fact. Your Redemer came, and he came for you so that you would be able to enter the gates of heaven. The Passion and Crucifixion is a reality that you can cling to. It cannot in any way be lessened or altered by any crisis or hardship. Not even by a world crisis.
  2. Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death and sin and in fact, he has conquered the world. The battle already has been won – for you. No COVID-19 pandemic, no canceling of church services and sacraments, can put our Lord back into the grave and keep him there. His Resurrection is a sure thing that you can depend on. Our Lord is more powerful than coronavirus, shortages, economic crisis, quarantine, isolation, fear, or loneliness. He proved that by rising from the dead after three days in the Tomb.
  3. There is a reason for JOY. Perhaps it seems as though the world is crumbling around you and you may not feel happy about it. That’s perfectly understandable. I’m not happy about the fact that it can seem as though the world is crumbling around me, either. Even with that,  you still can have joy. Why? Because real joy comes from the grace of God and despite your present difficulties, God’s grace is available to you. It is present in your life whether you’re aware of it or not. All you need do is ask for it and it will be there – for you, and for all those who you care about. You can have joy in knowing that Christ is your Savior, that God loves you, and that his Mother Mary loves and cares for you as well. She accompanied her Son on his way to Calvary, and she is accompanying you now in your suffering.

While we may not be gathering in churches this week, you can participate online in Holy Week services. You can find a wide array of Masses and services at this link.

You also might wish to spend time with the Scriptures for the week by either meditating on them alone or reading them together as a family. You’ll find all the readings for this week on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website. Read through the passages slowly and think about what they mean to you here, now, in this present time. Jesus will speak to you through Scripture if you ask him to.

As we enter Holy Week, please keep these three things in mind, and urge others to keep them in mind, too. First, nothing can change the fact that Jesus died for your sins. Second, Jesus is more powerful than the coronavirus pandemic or any of its ensuing complications. His Resurrection proves that. Finally, there is reason for JOY and God will instill joy in your heart with his grace if only you ask him to. Enter Holy Week not with fear and unhappiness, but with confidence in our Almighty, All-knowing, All-Loving, All-Merciful God. Indeed, he has conquered the world.


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How to Pick Comfortable Mask Fabric – Riparians at the Gate + Jennifer Fitz


TLDR: Choose any single 100% natural fabric.

Details follow.


The CDC has finally come around on the usage of cloth masks by the general public.  Amen.

Masks aren’t magic.  They are one piece in a whole collection of safety tactics that, when combined, make things less-bad.  It’s just like how your car has many safety features that work together with your safe driving skills, or your table saw comes with safety features that are in addition to, not instead of, your decision to always know where all your fingers are.

But covering one’s mouth and nose does help.  So do that.  This is the post where I explain to you the trick of how to cover your face with a fabric that will be relatively more comfortable.

My credentials: I spend a lot of time playing outside in a hot, humid climate.


Now you might live someplace cool and dry.  But your mouth and nose are little heat-n-humidity factories. The whole point of wearing a cloth mask is to keep your hot, moist exhalations to yourself.  In other words, by masking up you are getting the Southern Summer Experience plastered to your face.

Please. Allow me to guide you on how to take the edge off, because the last thing we want is your desperate panting miserable self to rip off your mask as you let out a primal scream in the Walmart checkout line.

To spare us all, here’s the fabric you need:

  • Any single
  • 100%
  • natural fiber.

Working backwards:

NATURAL means: Cotton, wool, silk, or linen.

You’ll need to get out your reading glasses to read the fine print.  Cotton is the most widely used, but any of these can work.  You may find tightly-woven silk in the upholstery department.  You may find tightly-woven linen in the form of a table cloth or napkin.  We’ll talk about wool below.

Yes, I know there are hi-tech wicking fabrics.  If you have a garment you find very comfortable in hot sweaty conditions, perhaps an old pair of hi-performance long underwear from your trekking expedition or something, have at it.

But if you must buy new fabric, buy natural because it’s widely available, cheap, and proven.  “Wicking” or “breathable” synthetics sometimes are what they promise (more likely so if coming from a reputable purveyor of technical mountaineering gear, just sayin’), and sometimes they are hype.  You’ll have to test for yourself, and not everyone has the money to gamble on tests.

Be warned: “Natural” fibers do not include, for this purpose, bamboo or other modern-day recycling projects.  Those kinda-natural inventions don’t function the way traditional natural fibers do.  Cotton, wool, linen, or silk. Those are the ones you want.

Review Q&A: What does natural mean?  It means cotton, wool, linen or silk.

100% means: ONLY the single natural fabric you have chosen, no other material of any other kind.

Your cotton skinny jeans with “just a touch” of spandex are NOT 100%.  Your cotton socks are highly unlikely to be only cotton, they probably have some kind of stretchy thing that makes them hold their shape.

Many, many, many natural fabrics used in clothing or sold at fabric stores contain either a poly-blend (looking at you, t-shirts) or a small amount of spandex or lycra to improve fit.

Read the label.  Your stash of old t-shirts probably contains both 100% cotton and cotton-poly blend t-shirts.  Read every label.  Your favorite bandanna might be 100% cotton or might be cotton-poly. Read the label.  Your worn-out wool sweater (blazer, skirt, etc.) you could never quite bring yourself to throw away (more below) might be 100% wool or it might be a wool-blend.  Read. the. label.

Review Q&A: What does 100% mean?  It means that when you read the label, it says 100% of either cotton, silk, linen, or wool, and NOTHING else.

SINGLE means: I don’t trust you with that 100% concept.

Ha!  It means this: ONLY cotton, or ONLY wool, or ONLY linen, or ONLY silk.

Linen-cotton blends, for example, are popular for summer shirts and for table linens.  This is a trick! Don’t fall for it!  Yes, the two fibers are both 100% natural. But when you blend them, you lose the comfort of a single-fiber natural fabric.

Trust me on this.  I know.

Other common combos, especially in scarves and luxury fabrics, are wool-and-silk or linen-and-silk.

These will not help you.  Do not use these in your homemade or improvised face mask or you will become a sweaty mess.  Go for a SINGLE natural fiber in your 100% natural fabric.

Review Q&A: What does single mean?  It means that your fabric is composed of only one type of natural fiber.

Readily Available Sources of Single-Fiber 100% Natural Fabric

There’s a good chance you already have something sitting around your house that can be converted into an improvised face covering.  Some sources to look for:

  • T-shirts
  • Pillowcases or sheets
  • Cloth napkins
  • Table cloths
  • Mom-jeans, Dad-jeans, and cargo shorts
  • Flannel shirts
  • Dress shirts
  • Curtains
  • Tote bags
  • Bandannas
  • Jackets

And yes, sweaters.  (See below!)  Naturally you aren’t going to cut up a perfectly good garment unless you have no other choice, but you might have something that is stained, pilled, worn through at the knees or elbows, or otherwise ready for re-purposing.

In the average household, your best bets for re-purposing are going to be:

  • That ratty old thing your husband won’t quit wearing because he loves it, but seriously, it’s time.
  • That awful dress your six-year-old loves, and insists she still wear, but hello it was her favorite when she was TWO and now not only is it permanently ketchup-marked, it is also no longer working even as a shirt.
  • The fabulous piece you got on clearance because you love the fabric, but the cut of the garment is horribly unflattering and no amount of belting or cardigans can fix that, and you need to move on.

Find these things, read the labels, and if they are a 100% natural single-fiber fabric, they are perfect for your home-made or improvised face covering.

Finally, let’s talk about wool.

Two things you need to know:

  • Usually knitted items are a very loose fabric that won’t help much for keeping your cough to yourself.
  • Wool shrinks in the wash.

If you know what you’re doing, you can use this to your advantage.  “Felting” is the process of washing and drying a wool fabric until it shrinks up into a tight fabric.  When you do this to your gorgeous handmade Christmas sweater, by accident, instead of hand-washing and laying flat to dry, you end up with a doll-sized sweater.  Oops.

But fast forward to today, when you are now eyeing up that wool garment you own that is either no longer presentable, or else it never really was suitable for any human to wear anyway, no matter how much the giver meant well when she gave it to you.

You can use this item for mask-making (having confirmed by reading the label that it is indeed 100% natural single-fiber-type wool), but first you need to felt it.  Do that by running it through the hot wash and dryer a bunch of times until it quits shrinking.

That’s it.  Not complicated.  You need to do this not only because you want to tighten-up that weave or knit, but also because it’s no good to have a mask you can’t wash and dry — you’ll just end up making doll masks.  Ha.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Okay that’s it for today’s lecture.  Remember, if you don’t want to pass out from heatstroke or infect the world in a sweat-crazed rage as you tear your drenched mask-of-misery from your overheated face, make your homemade mask out of fabric that’s:

  • 100%
  • natural
  • single-fiber

That’s 100% of or cotton or linen or silk or wool.

You’re welcome.

Artwork: The Green Mask comic book cover, circa 1940, via Wikimedia, public domain.  This is not the right pattern for slowing the spread of respiratory illness.  Pretty sure your forehead is not a major vector of contagion.

On the other hand, let’s say it now right now: If you would also wear whatever glasses you have on hand when you must venture out, that, too, would add yet another layer of protection, however minimal.


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This Time – Grace Pending

This Time – Grace Pending

When the morning starts again, I’ll be waiting

this time, I will find a way to understand you

this time, I will protect your unschooled heart

Age has ruined nearly everything, except my

appetite for another day and you within reach


Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay

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COVID-19: Is It a Good Idea to Make Your Own Face Mask?


The web is filled with articles and instructions for how to make your own face mask for protection against coronavirus. I’ve seen a number of them that instruct how to make face masks for medical personnel, too. I have a number of medical personnel in my family, and the idea of folks making masks to help protect them in this crisis of medical supply shortages touches my heart deeply.

While making your own face mask might bring you peace of mind, there are some things you need to know before you consider yourself fully protected. Additionally, there are some cautions about homemade masks for medical staff. It’s not as simple as some may think.

Here is an article I found about the pros and cons of homemade masks for both private and medical use. Please read through it before you consider making masks for yourself or others. It’s a fairly easy read:

Below are three different methods for making face masks, including one from Deaconness Health Systems. (Again, please read the above article before you start making face masks for medical personnel).

Right now, our Lord is asking us to undergo a tremendous trial and that can make us feel like victims rather than cherished Children of God. Engaging in productive, helpful endeavors can help us to pull out of our victim attitude and give us a way to feel helpful. So, whether you decide to undertake the making of face masks or some other form of outreach, you’ll be doing much good for yourself and others. It will bring a light of joy into this dark time.

Above all, make prayer a constant in your life. If you’re making something to give away or making any other kind gesture, offer a quick prayer for the person who will receive it. Pray for people you don’t know as well as people you do. Just pray. You, me, everyone in the world is a cherished Child of God. We are much loved and he will not abandon us in our need.


No-Sew Face Mask


Face Mask for Medical Personnel from Deaconness


Easy DIY Face Mask


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Tales from Home – The Story of Our Side Door

Tales from Home – The Story of Our Side Door

There is a glass and wood door just off of our sun porch. It doesn’t honestly look like much of interest. It’s just on an ordinary-looking old door. It wears the patina of almost a hundred years and the brass doorknob is worn smooth by decades of wear and tear. It certainly doesn’t look like the bold political statement it was when it was hung there or the danger that the door meant to the whole family who once lived here.

Dr. and Mrs. Smith moved into our house right after returning from their honeymoon, which was sometime in early 1920. He was the only dentist in our small town with his office set up right down on the square. Dr. Smith was liked and well-respected among the citizens on this side of F-Ville except for his assistance on seeing Black patients as well as White.

He was a sensible man and didn’t allow his patients to mix in his waiting room. He saw his White patients openly during the day, and his Black and Hispanic, after his office had closed, bringing them in the back door to keep it all as quiet as possible. It didn’t take long before the whole town knew that Dr. Smith was seeing “Colored” patients on the down-low, and soon after that the Klan paid him a visit. Stop seeing your Black patients, they told him, or we’ll run you out of town.

He didn’t change his clientele, and the Klan swung into action. They let it be known around town that Dr. Smith was anathema and that anyone who knew what was good for them would stop seeing him immediately.  They then posted a giant of a man on the sidewalk outside his office to scare off anyone who ignored their bant and brought a Klan-friendly dentist into town to set up shop and run Dr. Smith out of business.

Dr. Smith wasn’t dropping any of his patients, or letting the Klan push him around. Instead, he hired a contractor to add a side entrance onto his house, renovated the downstairs to change the downstairs bedroom into a waiting room and the backroom into an exam room, and added a parking space on the front lawn. He’d made an end-run around the Klan and brought his office home.

The KKK muscle man soon showed up on the sidewalk in front of our house, trying to keep the embargo in place. Dr. Smith had had enough. He grabbed his double-barrelled shotgun and ran at the goon screaming, “Get away from my house you sum-bitch!” The Klansman hightailed it out of there with the good doctor hot on his heels.

It was the last that Dr. Smith saw of the Klan around his business. He continued his practice here at home for years after that.

*We were fortunate to meet a few of his grandsons and one great-grandson last year. They stopped by to see the house where they’d spent their summers, and over a few glasses of sweet tea and Southern hospitality, they regaled us with the stories of the house we now call home.

About Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Catholic author, speaker, CrossFit coach, and the Managing Editor of The Catholic Conspiracy website. She is the author of the best-selling books Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us and Can We Be Friends? She is a co-host of the popular podcast The Visitation Project, and is a columnist for The National Catholic Register. She and her husband live just outside Dallas with their eight children, a German Shepherd named Dave, and an ever-multiplying family of dust-bunnies.

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