In an attempt to a) keep friends, family, and folks in our community safe, and b) keep myself entertained and out of the pool hall during our shelter-in-place adventure, I’ve been making fabric masks with custom-made replaceable liners from blue shop towels.

Why blue shop towels?

A recent study found that of all the material likely to be available to home-grown mask makers, the blue shop towels had the highest performance of microbial filtration available (

Why custom-made to fit these particular masks?
Because trying to just shove a square of shop towel into the pocket results in an uncomfortable bunched-up mass of material in front of your nose and mouth that are hot and hard to breathe through.

Wearing masks is weird enough for most of us without making it more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

By cutting and sewing them into a shape that matches the exact contour of the mask, they fit smoothly and keep the structure of the curve snugged up tight to your nose for a better seal while giving you (literally) more breathing room.

Upside to the filters? Safer, more comfortable peeps.
Downside? They can be maddeningly fiddly to insert smoothly.

So, I made a quick video to show the easiest way to get the little buggers in. (Please pardon the accidental advertising for those amazing Persian pickled vegetables on the counter, although they are pretty darn tasty if you’re into pickled veggies.)

I also made a mask for Winston, who immediately had some thoughts he wanted to share on the subject.

On a final note, may I just say how much it sucks when your dog’s video is better than yours?


Yet Spring Persists

March 21, 2020

I was out picking up some of the larger sticks and boughs that had fallen into our yard lately. (Don’t worry, I left all the mulchy smaller stuff for the bees.) I didn’t expect pink. I’m not a very good “expressive” gardener, but I like to think I’m a decent “receptive” one. As long as […]

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Assaggio, Seattle’s Best Italian Restaurant

February 15, 2020

Seattle’s outstanding Italian restaurant, Assaggio, just sort of snuck up on us. It turned out to be, by heaps and hounds, the highlight of our trip.


Write Where You Are

November 25, 2018

“It’s been so long since I’ve blogged,” I complained to the Muse as I flipped the slow bacon. “Write,” she breathed. “Write already.” (She’s heard this sad refrain a lot lately. I understand her weariness, although that’s probably just projection on my part.) There’s no sense whining to Her about not knowing where to begin […]

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The Gift

December 22, 2017
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By the time I was sudsing up my hair with my favorite-scented shampoo (I go by smell) in a warm shower with great water pressure, gently stretching my neck muscles as I massaged my scalp, I was feeling like those actors in shampoo commercials who carry on like this shampoo experience is, bar none, the best friggin’ moment of their entire life, like melting Brie.

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Hot Christmas Ideas

November 13, 2017

If you have someone on your gift list that resonates with the song, “One Scoville Over the Line,” it turns out there’s a whole swath of gift options for your hot sauce fans.



November 6, 2017
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Cousins are dolphins who swim tight alongside when we need support in rough waters, and who take pictures and laugh with us when we’re sailing smooth.

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