Making Masks + Musical Hugs from MN

As this moment in time brings our country and our globe to its knees, all of us are adjusting to a new, hopefully temporary, normal.  For so many of us, life has gone from 1000mph to 0mph, nearly overnight.  With artists from coast-to-coast without work, small business owners facing bankruptcy, children without school meals, and those on the front lines enduring heartbreak and frustration, perhaps the only thing to do is lean into the goodness of silver linings and find small ways to help.

So, this is my new project: sewing CDC-approved masks for medical staff at local hospitals.  I’m an entirely novice seamstress (up until this point I hadn’t sewn more than a hem or button), but this opportunity has been my silver lining to learn a new skill that can be put to use for those in need.  If anyone reading this is interested in joining the “sewing army,” click here to get information on the pattern and delivery locations.

The mask-making begins…getting started…
…adding pieces of Dupont-96 HEPA filter to the inside of each mask – brings it close to the efficacy of an N-95…
…all packed up and ready for deliveries!

I’m lucky to be home, hunkering with my parents in a warm home with plenty of food and music to fill the air.  As mama and I become whizzes at giving lessons and studio classes on Zoom, papa and I work on building a garage bouldering wall (my other new obsession with rock climbing has created a crazy home project), and each morning is filled with lots of sewing, there is much gratitude to be felt.  Siestas have become a daily occurrence, happy hour seems to start a bit earlier each afternoon, and an appreciation for the little things has become large.

And, if anyone would like a break from the news stream and wants to escape into Ariana-land for a few moments, below is a musical hug – a little solo Bach as meditation (please excuse the lo-fi, iPhone mic situation – I’m a tech simpleton), and a photo diary of my last couple of months.  Last is a stunning poem by Pablo Neruda – here’s to better days ahead:

My first trip to Sydney for my dear childhood friend Alice’s wedding!

Omg – did I just MEET A KOALA!?  An incredible visit to an Australian wildlife conservation refuge…

Dinner parties with dear friends up in Ithaca, ah yes, the before-times…
A happy and unexpected hang with baby bro in NYC =)
Tweaking my kimchee recipe…

Cornell residency with Arun Ramamurthy, diving into the world of Carnatic music…
Playing Ljova’s “Out of Leftovers” concert series at Symphony Space Bar Thalia on 96th…

Performing Haydn’s “Seven Last Words” with CMSM artists and esteemed actor/narrator, Lou Bellamy.

Catching my dear friend Ian’s CD release show with his group, Sandbox Percussion =)

Attending Jordan Casteel’s talk and gallery opening with Miku (that’s him in the painting!) at the New Museum – completely inspiring.

Happy Baby Shower, Nandi! Can’t wait to meet Little Lady Aponte soon =)

Performing the Beethoven concerto with Kiki Kilburn and the fabulous students of the Cornell Chamber Orchestra – this was unknowingly my last concert, for the foreseeable future…
Post-concert walk on the Cornell Arts Quad with Papa Kim…

…and our last normal weekend…enjoying friends in San Diego =)
Four generations of Kims – great-great auntie and baby Hyunoo in LA =)

Basil, my model for the child-size mask, and me…definitely a missed career opportunity as a bandit model.

And here we are – bare shelves and social-distancing picnics in the car…(this one’s for you, Alma!)…

With love, a poem by Pablo Neruda:

Ode to Hope

Oceanic dawn
at the center
of my life,
waves like grapes,
the sky’s solitude,
you fill me
and flood
the complete sea,
the undiminished sky,
and space,
sea foam’s white
the orange earth,
the sun’s
fiery waist
in agony,
so many
gifts and talents,
birds soaring into their dreams,
and the sea, the sea,
chorus of rich, resonant salt,
and meanwhile,
we men,
touch the water,
and hoping,
we touch the sea,

And the waves tell the firm coast:
‘Everything will be fulfilled.’

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