Mary Beth Writes

This morning I’m “hosting” coffee with friends via Zoom and I’m kinda nervous about if it will work. 

My congregation has been having virtual coffee hours; it’s such a happy thing to see friends’ faces. Because my church “made” us do this I sort of see how it works and so, why not try with others? During this time any organization that forces us to try options to stay connected - that’s mission accomplished right there.  (So thanks Dave and Dennis and whomever else got this going.)

In my early 20’s I was friends with Julie Molloy-Good. I can still hear her asking, “How hard can it be?”

Guess what? It was pretty easy! I googled Zoom the other night and eventually signed up and accidentally started a meeting right then, with Len, in the same room. Bumpy start but no one got hurt. These companies don’t make money if their products are complicated. They count on folks like us to try their products.

It was a delight to have coffee with pals! One of them pulled a beautiful streusel coffee cake out of the oven while we were talking. That was cruel.

My daughter and grandkids also facetimed with me this morning. They were all on the kitchen floor while the baby crawled. At one point my daughter left the phone on the floor in order to get something from a kitchen cupboard. I was laughing because all I could see were the kitchen lights … until suddenly a big round head chugged into view and there was the baby’s smiley face was looking down at me.    

So I’m thinking today about “learning curves.” Children don’t worry about whether they will be able to do something or not. Our baby boy isn’t trying to crawl well or proficiently. Just put him on the floor and away he goes. 

But when I think about “hosting a zoom meeting” I am so aware I might screw up and careen right off the learning curve into the weeds. It’s easy to anxious about activities that are dependent on a computer, but really, what’s the problem? It’s just a learning curve. We have to pay attention for a while. We have to try and maybe try again. We have to ask Google questions and then WikiHow and if that doesn’t work, ask Len.

So that’s what I have to say about Learning Curves during Quarantine. Don’t worry so much about what you don’t know. Be interested in what you are trying to learn.

PS: The smarty-pants three-year-old ended todays’ conversation with, “Have to let you go now, Grandma. Love you!”


Did you see that statistics show that this quarantine, when strictly observed (no restaurants, church, bars) is working? Wow! We have weeks and months ahead of us, but maybe we will get through.

I also read that it it’s likely that 11 million people in Pacific Rim nations will fall into deep poverty because of the way this is affecting the worlds’ economy. People who are okay now but won't be. I can’t take in how much suffering has, is, and will crater the lives of our fellow humans.

Those of us with shelter and time and enough income on which to live – how will we respond?

What are you thinking of changing?

I’m going to start by tipping more and using Amazon less.

More daily flower mandalas created by my niece Susan. You can follow her on Instagram at Susanlawrence954.  For some reason, my computer doesn't want to do very many photos today, so there will be more tomorrow...

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I need to get brave and try the zoom! Laughed out loud at the cruel coffee cake coming out of the oven. Smiled at the precious grandkid interactions. My heart squeezed at all the hardship this is causing.

Thank you!!!!

Lovely piece. I just learned to Zoom on Saturday. It was her 84th birthday and all 5 kids zoomed in at 5 pm to sing happy birthday at the same time. It was fun.
Mary Beth's picture

Zoom is WAY easier than, say, crocheting a dishrag or knitting a Nordic sweater. It's amazing what we let ourselves think is easy and what is hard....

I was wondering who was doing the lovely flower mandalas. Kudos to Susan!

It was a fairly uneventful day today... Breakfast panini and some good new baby news... Then afternoon with George since his therapy at the hospital has been shutdown because of this virus... Home to make dinner and a beer and reading some a-mails from the new guy... And then more sitting here alone like the rest of the world... As for your question's #1- I don't have tons of money but my bills are paid so I'll figure out how to share the rest... #2- I've been forced to put a moratorium on thrifting so I may be used to not doing as much of it by the time this is all over with... #3 I've already started tipping way more in hopes that it might just make a tiny difference in someone's life and as far as I'm concerned Amazon is the devil and I won't be giving them any of my money... But I'm thinking and animal shelter could use the money instead...

That was fun, Mary Beth! Thanks for being brave and making us braver than we thought we were or wanted to be.... And yes, I can almost still smell that coffee cake!...... Love the mandalas! It is impossible for us to really wrap our brains around what is happening everywhere in this world. How will it change us all?,

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Quarantine Diary #142 Swimming Lessons

“It's a good idea to begin at the bottom in everything except in learning to swim.” Unknown author

I was well into my 40’s when I realized that one doesn’t have to wait for perfect weather if one wants to go into the water. 

Quarantine Diary #141 8/5/2020 "Red Dust"

I just finished reading “Red Dust – A Path Through China” by Ma Jain.  It is a remarkable book that asks more questions than it answers.

Ma Jain was born in the 50’s and grew up grew up very poor in a small Chinese city. He remembers when his mother would simmer stones for dinner so that the neighbors would see her cooking and not realize how poor they were.  (A whole different take on the children’s tale “Stone Soup.") The violent and terrifying Cultural Revolution that Chinese citizens lived through is over but memories of it are in everyone’s minds.

Quarantine Diary #140 7/31/2020 Wishing you a Merry Quarantine Weekend

When I’m in a certain mood I love how-to articles – and I’m in that mood right now. I think it happens at the intersection of reasonable weather and Friday ... when happiness still seems possible.

I googled “How to have a nice weekend in the time of Covid” and guess what? There are no Wiki-How articles on how to be happy in a pandemic.

Let’s invent this right here, right now.

Quarantine Diary #134 Written while sweating …

My best coping skill for appalling weather is to show it who is boss. 30 below?  Cool. Let me put on all my clothes plus a hat down to my eyebrows and another one up to my glasses, and I’ll go out there.

Quarantine Diary #131 7/23/2020 "Becoming Labrador"

Yesterday I forgot to write about a movie we watched which I think many of you might like to watch, also.  We’ve been talking here about what one can stand to read and watch these days when our spirits are stressed and anxious.

I thought I wanted to reprise some of our Canada travels.  FYI, if you’ve traveled in a place you loved, put that place into your streaming service Search window, find some great or mediocre documentaries about that place, and revisit your memories.  It’s fun.

Quarantine Diary #130 7/22/2020 What's in your glass?

In the last few weeks one of my knees has decided it is the current star of the MB show. I overused it one day, I know when that was, ever since it’s been wonky. I have to baby it otherwise it hurts more than a little. Aging isn’t for wusses. 

I am walking less because walking a lot makes it worse.  I CAN ride a bike as much as I want since that doesn’t exacerbate the situation. I’m trying to weigh less, which is its own comedy.

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