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Newsletter | May/Jun 2020

Volume 48:3 | Search

If you would like to see corrections to this newsletter or to submit articles or suggestions for future newsletters please contact the Newsletter Editor at newsletter@owa-usa.org.

In this issue:
Making Masks - Betty Woo


A note from your editor

by Mui Ho    |    Share #1403

The painful murder of George Floyd in Minnesota reminds us of the deep rooted racism in our society and system. The type of restraint exercised on Floyd by the police should be outlawed. We should not tolerate such extreme action by the police on civilians. I am totally saddened by the little progress made on race and racism in this country since the Civil Rights movement fifty years ago. Unfortunately the White house is not helping. The peaceful protestors were denounced by the President as thugs while haling the same type of protesters and their actions in Hong Kong as legitimately fighting for democracy. His continuing to confuse the country has been harmful. We, as a society, have to make the effort to break this cycle of violence and racism once for all.

While adjusting to our life during lock down by continuing to try to lead a normal life, many of our members have been very productive and creative, using the time inside our homes to engage in new projects or to finish old ones that we have forgotten. As for myself, I started sewing more, an activity that I find very meditative and peaceful. I have used leftover fabrics to make pockets for my tops and jackets to make them more functional. Many of our members are doing other creative projects.

I hope you will share with your friends and get together (with proper distancing and facemarks, of course) to engage in a dialogue on our 'new normal' -- addressing the future of the pandemic, how to transform civil disobedience into productive action and to make the basic changes in our society needed to create a better world.

Making Masks

by Betty Woo    |    Share #1406

Betty's sewing table


Early March, Jim and I enjoyed a nice meal out on Main Street in Woodland. We didn’t know at the time that we were enjoying our last day out for a long while. Reluctant to go home yet and looking for entertainment, Jim spotted the Sew and Vac shop sign. He said let’s go look at sergers. My old serger quit working over 20 years ago and not having done any real sewing in years, I didn’t think I needed one. But it sounded like fun, so we entered a little shop packed to the brim with machines.
In between helping other customers, in a light Russian accent the busy shop owner knowledgeably demonstrated serger features of models both plain and fancy. His enthusiasm infected me with an unexpected desire for a new serger. Mentioning he could take my old serger in trade, he cinched the deal. I put the new serger on a side table in my dining room not thinking about when I’d get around to looking at it.
It’s hard to believe that a little over a month later, my lovely little serger is working “smooth as butter” making masks for family, friends and neighbors. After perfecting my pattern and technique, I‘ve settled on a quick version, churning out face masks by the dozens. I donate them to essential workers, at the farm stands, at the food bank and shelter. (As they must turn away clients who don’t wear face protection, our Yolo Food Bank tries to provide one if clients show up without.) Sometimes I think a higher power guides our steps. My new serger suddenly arriving at this time certainly feels serendipitous.

Lockdown as a defining event of our lives

by Leslie Golden    |    Share #1415

2019 OWA retreat


My personal experience during this period of lockdown has been pleasant and I realize how privileged I am to be retired at this time in my life. My thoughts go out to everyone in the working community. This will be the defining event in all our lives but financially hardest on those with the least.

With this in mind, I and my family have continued to pay all the people who have provided their services to us on a monthly basis and we shared our stimulus check with all the people who provided services for us during the year and donated the rest to the food banks. It’s time to take care of those people who have taken care of us and those less fortunate.

My current diversions include gardening, playing duplicate bridge on line (life master is in my future sometime), practicing my watercolor (thanks Judy Rowe), exercising on my elliptical machine (thinking about it more than doing it) and coordinating with neighbors to mitigate the risk of future wildfires via zoom. I am so thankful that I moved my 94-year-old father in with us last year. It is a relief to have him here and safe.

Working during lockdown

by jiane du    |    Share #1409


As I am locked down in my house every day, I feel very lucky to be healthy and working, to start in conceptual design for a Performance Arts Center at Fairfield High School. Nothing makes me feel better than to be designing a building that will house the teaching and performing of the arts for our young people. For the last two months, every time I push the NPR One app on my phone to listen to the news, I feel sad and despair. Then, I go back to my drawing board, or I should say my desk with the computer facing my woodsy backyard in Montclair, to work on the project and I feel better. I am thinking how lucky we are as architects and designers, to be able to think and envision the future, as the current environment suffers. At least, the current funding for the educational projects are still available and projects are still continuing as some other sectors have slowed down or put on hold.

It’s amazing how fast we have evolved, adopted and transformed the workplace from office-base to primarily working from home, as well as socializing with each other online. I was very skeptical at first, refusing to work from home, since my Oakland office only had five people including me. I have learned to make it work, and even embracing it at this point. I still find it difficult to communicate with my team members on the project. It is remarkable that everyone is learning how to use Zoom, Gotomeeting, Microsoft Team or Google Hangout to conduct meetings with clients like the school districts and to connect with coworkers and friends. I’ve even met with my book club and drawing group via Zoom and Gotomeeting. So, instead of drawing at other people’s backyard with friends, I am forced to sit alone in my own backyard and draw. Then, I get on Zoom and share with them my process and the joy I had in discovering the trees in my own backyard.

Jian's water color of her garden





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