Mary Beth Writes

This morning I listened to my UU congregation’s virtual service. In the sermon Rev. David Kraemer AKA my friend Dave, read a quote that he said he read in one of my diary entries this past week.

The quote is from Albert Camus’ The Plague. “It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.” Another character asks what decency is. “Doing my job,” the doctor replies.

The essay Dave remembered is not, alas, mine. He must have read this very powerful piece in the NYT that I highly recommend.  Read it here.  

Do you know how flattered I feel to have been conflated with a writer for the NYT?  Thank you, Dave, for the compliment.

I am living a great deal of my quarantined life in rabbit holes. 

I need to know how to make sourdough starter because the two we have tried so far have not worked. So I google it but there are 17 different ways to begin starters and I should pick one of them except one of the side links leads to the intriguing your woman who has dozens of short videos showing how she makes everything in her life from materials and plants she gathers from her Chinese mountainside. She is young and beautiful and rarely speaks except in Chinese (of course) to her grandmother. They look like Fairy Tales characters. This is just one of them. There are many. 

Or questions arise (when helping your kid do schoolwork, or an email conversation with your cousin, or your smarty-pants partner makes some smarty-pants remark that you think is wrong). You Wikipedia the question at hand, and what you learn is so interesting you decide you need to read a book about it, but that means downloading the library’s Libby program to your old Kindle.

Right then, your daughter sends you a picture of your grandkids or your grand-cat.

Where did the day go?

Just me? 

I’m living in rabbit holes.

Are you getting used to quarantined life?  Things are different now.

  • Last night we dealt with this week’s groceries without inventing a plan about how to do it. Len picked it up at the store at our appointed time slot.  We soaked, dunked, or wiped everything we brought in the house, then threw away all the plastic bags.  A mere month ago I was proud of the non-disposable produce bags I used at the store.  We’re tossing plastic again. 
  • Sitting on the sofa to listen to my church’s sermon (which I like, can we put sofas in the sanctuary when this is over?).
  • I’m no longer asking if I can pet cute dogs when I’m out walking. The dog doesn’t need my germs and I don’t need his.
  • I step into the grass or a driveway to let other walkers pass me by.
  • I text my children most evenings to ask them how their days were, and amazingly often, they answer!  They aren’t on their way out to anything, either. (Actually, our son has taken up evening fishing.)
  • It’s hard to remember what day it is.
  • I am on social media more than I’ve been in my life but I’m not giving myself a hard time about it.  So much is informative or touching or FUNNY!
  • I see families out for a walk together.
  • The low price of gas.
  • The world is quieter. I miss the all-day merry-go-round of sports teams at the Carroll University soccer field we can see from our bedroom window. Saturdays and Sundays are now as quiet as Tuesdays. 
  • Being with people, even virtually, evokes little moments of delight. I feel the juice of sociability that sort of bubbles up inside me and causes a smile to pop.

What’s a new routine for you?

Comments

TY

I’m learning how to use Zoom! This morning I “went” to my church’s coffee hour. But I have disabling anxiety, so when I saw all the people, most of whom I know and like, I panicked and closed the iPad cover. When I opened it again, there was a microphone symbol. When I touched it all of the people came back! Could they hear me? I closed the cover and tip-toed around the apartment. Then I got a text from a friend [wink], the pastor thought I might be having difficulty getting on, so the helped me. First experience survived. Maybe next time I’ll talk!
Mary Beth's picture

Zoom is powerfully and curiously helpful... we need each other's faces. I think we must be wired this way. The way a dog will walk into a room, come over and get us to pet it a little, thus making face and voice recognition happen - and then it settles down. We sort of know who we still are when we see each others' faces.

It was good to see familiar faces. Living alone I don’t see many. Thank heaven for Zoom. On Monday we are having an extended family “gathering”.

My Great niece is supposed to move into a new apartment on May 1st and is expecting her first child... She's concerned about she and the baby being affected by the corona virus... She's staying in as much as she can... She was planning a baby shower before this all started which is now not going to happen... She's also worried about having to deliver the baby alone in the hospital which is putting more of a strain on her already worried mind...
Mary Beth's picture

That's a lot of unknowns for her. We wish her well.
Mary Beth's picture

Wait. Do I know this great niece? Axia?

Nope, Sonia the oldest of Faye's kids... I can't remember if you met her at the funeral or not. The reminder of that dreadful time is right around the corner.( I hate Easter for reminding me ) She's the young woman in the photo with Mother in the "Sofrito" story...
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. And best heartfelt wishes to all waiting this out.

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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