Mary Beth Writes

I started having a big cold on November 12th and I’m not done with it yet. The nasty contagious sneezing and runny nose part was over weeks ago, but I’m still coughing.  Went to walk-in clinic yesterday and now I have an inhaler which seems help my excitable bronchial tubes settle down. I think (knock on wood) this might work.

A lot of small moments in this past year - some mine, some others’ - have sort of woke me up to our background attitude about being sick.  We are so image oriented. We try to do what we see others do, look like others look, see the world the way others seem to be seeing it.  We receive much of our sense of who we are from watching others, watching TV, going to the movies, judging what we like on Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

And what do we ordinarily see?  We see healthy people doing active things. So much so that we have phrases and language for sickness that imply when we are not in tiptop health, we are not completely living. “Under the weather” Aren’t we ALWAYS living under the weather? “Feeling off” Being born and dying are our ONLY on and off switches, aren’t they? “Feeling off-color” and “Fighting a bug” and “Coming down with something”

These phrases are descriptive of how it feels to get sick. But do we think that being ill means we aren’t as valuable and as alive? We aren’t failing just because we are on the sofa with a stack of books that we are or are not reading. With the TV or music droning. With medicines and cups of cold tea and popsicle wrappers on the coffee table.

It’s still life. If we are evolved enough to say we don’t judge a person by the size of their paycheck, then we have to deal with the corollary – we are also valuable whether we are at work or under the covers.

I think this is part of what people and families of people who have disabilities have been telling us all along. That we won’t always be strong and able to do everything we want to do. Quality of Life is not defined by whether we are doing it in hiking boots or bed socks.

Consider this my public service announcement as we enter the High Season of Being Sick.  Take your time. Try to drink the tea (with or without the brandy in it) while it’s still hot.  Appreciate what makes you feel most comfortable and engaged in your temporarily quieter life – your favorite TV show or music or solitaire played on the pillow on your lap.  

Take it easy … but take it. 

Or as Len's grandfather Leo would say:  "It's not the coughin' that you're coughin' but the coffin they carry you off in..."  

.....

A friend just sent this!  

Fun fact per urban dictionary

 "under the weather"

During the days when ships were powered by sail, the captains log documented everything that happened during the day. As sickness could spread rapidly on a ship, there were often times where the number of sailors that were ill exceeded the space provided in the log to record their names. During these times, the excess names of the sick were recorded in the next column, which was reserved for the weather conditions of the day. Thus, it was not unusual for an ill sailor to be listed "under the weather".

 

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He’d be proud. Also liked the idea that sick people are seen, wrongly, as not being fully human.

Len’s grandpa was a wise man. Ha. I hate being sick.

Hope you feel bettter soon.....

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Cabeza de Vaca & Company: A 500-Year Old Story for Our Time.

I’ve been thinking about Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca for years and I’ve also been thinking about him for a week.

It’s crazy out there in the world right now and people are, I think, kinda sick of each other. Racism, sexism, and classism are the muck we walk through to get to our cars while our climate is turning into flying monkeys. And the rich keep getting richer.

So let me tell you about a guy I admire.

Three Things 9/11/2021

The photo is from a trip to Arizona that Len and I took several years ago. His employer had said he had to take vacation time.  We sat here in our office not knowing where to go or what to do; it came up that fast. We looked up cheap flights from Milwaukee,; Phoenix popped up for $150 round trip. That was how we decided.

Of course, we rented a car and stayed in motels and ate in restaurants so no, it wasn’t a $300 vacation.

Three Things 9/3/2021

1. This morning I was texting with Franc about our heritages. He was born and raised in the Midwest although his ancestors are from Puerto Rico. Being the child of children of a Caribbean Island means he probably has Taino DNA as well as African and European. Heck, he probably has Phoenician and Viking and Pacific Islander because island people and sailors have always thought each other cute.

Three Things 9/2/2021

Regarding Texas: I’m so angry today.

From The Buried: An Archeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler

Hessler is making a case that a significant reason for the failure of Egyptian governments is because citizens are not looking for competent political leaders. They vote for men who lambast the “corruption and immorality” of present leaders. They vote for those who promise a “return to our traditional Islamist values.”

Three Things 8/25/2021

One:

Where did these damn fruit flies come from? I borrowed a 400-page book from the library yesterday and just finished it an hour ago. ONE fruit fly bumped me every twenty minutes through the whole damn tome. I hit at it every time it zipped past but I never zapped it.

I’ll get him (or her?). I put an inch of apple cider vinegar into a glass, covered it with plastic wrap, punched some tiny holes, set it next to our fruit.

Bugs bug me.

Two:

Is it really August already?

I woke up this morning feeling wistful. It’s the third week of August. Where did this summer go?

I have not ridden my bike even once (there are giant construction trucks all over my favorite route). We’ve hardly entertained friends at our Bistro (the apron of the garage that I painted last year). We’ve not traveled other than to see our kids. My six tomato plants are producing an unenergetic number of tomatoes. Didn’t see the Perseids. Didn’t serve umbrella drinks by our pool. Oh wait, we don’t have a pool.

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