Here’s my homemade facemask, providing a bright spot of color when I went out yesterday.

I’m reading Fashion on the Ration, a book about clothing in Britain during WWII. I’ve only read the first chapter, and so far I’m mostly noticing the similarities and differences between the war and the pandemic. People were confused and frightened, as we are now, and conflicted about whether to save or to try to support the economy. Restaurants and other public spaces were closed, and women were at home while their husbands and other menfolk were off fighting. Some people were working and others were trying to be productive at home, gardening or baking  and whatnot.

Women’s magazines were helping the government share the messages they wanted to get out. Women were told that their job was to keep the nation calm and cheerful, to continue with “the arts of peace” so that those skills and behaviors would not be lost, to present themselves well as a show of bravery.

If they could afford to buy clothes, Vogue told them, they should. “Every time you hold back” from buying a new garment, the magazine said, they were giving the clothing industry a sock on the chin — which they should be helping the nation to keep up. The chin, that is.

Women who couldn’t afford clothing should make clothes for themselves and their children. Their evenings were no longer filled with dinner parties and nightclubs, so they should spend them sewing. Vogue began to offer sewing patterns along with their magazines.

Readers were cautioned to be brave by taking on these new requirements without complaining. This, they were assured, was as brave as flying across the Atlantic.

Oh — and handbags were designed to carry gas masks.

Our pandemic approach is in some ways similar. I think a lot of us are sewing or knitting in the evenings, even people who haven’t done so before. We’re gardening and baking, too, and coping with some minor shortages. Our mayor is encouraging us to garden, in fact, as well as to wear masks when we’re in public. People are sewing those masks as well.

We’re not dressing well to keep up everyone’s courage. A lot of us are staying in pajamas all day. Forget make up and hairstyles.

French people are making chic face masks, but Americans are whining about having to wear them.

Although I calculated that about 84% of the people at the bakery yesterday were in masks.

Yes, I went to the bakery. I stood aside and waited for them to make my sandwich, and saw 25 or more customers, with just 4 not wearing masks.  I haven’t been out enough to know, but folks on Facebook have been saying that most people aren’t wearing masks. The mayor and the city council have passed an ordinance saying masks are required. The governor, who never shut down the state completely and has been raising what restrictions there were even as the number of cases spikes, said that cities were not allowed to make more restrictive rules than the state.

This was my third time out in public since the pandemic announcement on March 11th. I had my teeth cleaned and I went to visit #1 daughter and her kids. Tomorrow will be 14 days since that visit and I have no COVID-19 symptoms, so I’m feeling pretty confident.

I carried my new Vine handbag, which is a good match for my facemask.

I don’t really have many opportunities to enjoy a handbag at the moment, so I didn’t think twice about carrying this one, even if it is a little bit fancy for my errand.

I was out taking photos for a website. It seemed like the perfect time to get a self-indulgent sandwich and a slice of cake. They put a bag of Cheetos into my bag, too, and I ate them.

Today seems like a perfect time to get back to eating right. Also being brave. And possibly sewing, but definitely knitting.