Mary Beth Writes

After I wrote the following, I realize I want to say what I keep saying. I’m here with just Len. No kids. Quarantine with children is someone else’s diary. 

I’m still waiting for ‘bored’ to kick in.

Housekeeping: I was raised (inculcated, brain washed, raised, w/e) to do house chores. Homes were supposed to be clean, neat, and tidy. Now that I am an old adult, I’m not so sure. I appreciate a calm place but I’m well aware that cleaning is generally opposite from creativity.

 Here’s a Dorothy Sayers theological argument for when your house seems a bit gritty. Sayers (friend of Tolkien and CS Lewis) says that the Bible says humans are created in the image of God. Right there in the first chapter of Genesis this is stated. So, what do we know about God at this point? Just this. God CREATED. Ergo creativity is cool, and God said diddlysquat about wiping the counters. Feel free to use this rationale anytime you need it.

 Anyways, I spend at 2-4 hours a week cleaning, clearing, laundry, yardwork, and putting stuff away. Len does as much. The driveway doesn’t snow-blow itself.

 I write 2-3 hours a day.  Others spend their mojo sewing, making things out of wood, polishing the sailboat, painting amazing things on amazing surfaces. Creativity and problem-solving and inventing what we want out of what we have. This takes times.

Walking or biking, moving and exercising takes time. The older we are, the more we need it.

Still spending a lot of time with family and friends on digital media.

Learning. Reading hard books with new-to-me knowledge in them.

Escape reading. I’m not strong enough to always live in the here and now. (The best anti-insomnia tonic, IMHO, is an evening spent in a good book.)

 People talk about being bored but I think for a lot of us, that isn’t happening.  Things are different. Activities are upside down and gone. But there is still so much occupy our minds and hands.

What about you?

I sent this email to my state reps. Feel free to copy all or parts of it if you want to:

The decision of Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature this past Monday to force Wisconsin voters to choose between their health and their right to vote – is abhorrent.

This is not democracy. This is YOUR Republican party acting to quash the democratic process in this state.

Today the NYT called this “the culmination of a decade of efforts by state Republicans to make voting harder, redraw legislative boundaries and dilute the power of voters in the state’s urban centers.”

Your party’s craven manipulation of logic and fairness is about safeguarding your Republican lock on our supreme court. “The winner will be in position to cast a deciding vote on a case before the court that seeks to purge more than 200,000 people from Wisconsin’s voter rolls…’

You, Sir, voted to REQUIRE Wisconsin citizens to choose between their own health and their right to vote.

Your support of this decision clearly indicates that POWER means more to you than the LIFE and HEALTH of citizens in this state and in your district.

Why are you even in public office? 

Hair today. Hair tomorrow.

Last time I talked with women friends, once of them said, “Well, soon we will all know what color our hair is…”  Since we can’t go to our hair stylists, many of us are facing a precarious and uncertain future.  

My hair is getting fluffier. I take a shower, let it dry, look in the mirror a few hours later and I have gained several inches on both sides of my head.  I’ve been trying to move my part over closer to the side of my head but it won‘t stay there.  My new favorite accessory is my Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument baseball cap.

When we were first married I cut Len’s hair. That was a looser, earthier, less precise time.

I see a future where I might be doing this again and I’m not confident how well this will go. 

They say new adventures are part of retirement.

What are you doing about your hair?

Not asking you, David.

 

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Comments

Mary Beth, thank you for your blog. I love today's picture of the animals in the sunlight. Don't you want to just lay down with them in the sun? I am also not bored, however I have work to do and I am feeling that it is too much work and I want to do the sewing, reading, jigsaw puzzle and yogaing part of life more. And yes, those of us who have a home, and a partner, are kind of in the best of all possible worlds in this crazy situation. My daughter who has three boys at home, ages 8 to 18 months- well that is a completely different scenario. P.s. We are going to try a virtual church service tomorrow evening for Maundy Thursday. Dorian
Mary Beth's picture

Watching (virtually..) my daughter with her two little ones awes and frustrates me. She is doing this WHILE working FT from home. And Len and I can't help, because one of our dearest hopes is that our grandchildren grow up with grandparents. Specifically, the ones who are us. So here I am, filling my day with meaningful activities. And there my kids all are, managing. Is this like being the grandparents in The Old World reading letters from their kids in The New Land?
Leonard's picture

I think a lot of people who are usually busy working or taking care of other people suddenly find themselves with time on their hands -- and occupy themselves cleaning, fixing and tidying. I've been retired for a few years, and I feel like I've been practicing for that. Now it's mostly taken up with worrying and fussing about things that we can't do much about. Family who might be sick, and politicians who don't seem to have our interests at heart. Doing housework during the pandemic is not buying us the kind of satisfaction or calmness that we were hoping for.

Obviously this question wasn't for me either but I'm answering anyway... I have been cutting what's left of my own hair for so many years that I can't even say how long it's been... It's frugal and I just couldn't justify having to pay someone to do it, and if I should mess it up I can always shave my head...I'm so good at it that I don't even look in a mirror until I'm done... What I'm not good at is trimming this beard that I decided to grow in protest to this whole covid saga we are going through... I thought it might be interesting to see if I can keep it growing until we are once again able to be among our fellow men & women... It will also be interesting to see how long it grows... The longest time I've done this is a month for "No Shave November" wish me luck...

I hope you post pictures!

So prescient. I cut my own hair 2 days ago! I washed it, combed it straight up in the air while wet and cut two inches off across the top. It came out pretty well, sort of a cockeyed layered look. My mom noticed on a ZOOM talk. Time to attend to important cleaning I never do - like moisturize the leather chair and Liquid Gold all the pre-midcentury and previous century wood furniture:) And youtube has taught me how to save decrepit orchids and what "pups" are on bromelaids and pineapple plants - I even started tomato and pepper seeds in egg cartoons. Haven't done that since the '90s.

I thought I should let you know how much I am enjoying the diary. It is like catching up with a good old friend. I have even wandered “back into the stacks”. I don’t think you know I grew up in Wheaton. I also was a Pioneer girl, I even went to a Camp Cherith one summer. I like to say I did leave Wheaton, but maybe not so much. I sent my children to Honey Rock Camp. And like you, I am not bored. We are housed, safe, and well. Please keep writing!
Mary Beth's picture

I either did not know or more likely forgot that. Wheaton. Well, that shipped sure sailed, didn't it... I do remember when both you and I were trying to talk ourselves into mammograms - because we both had sisters with breast cancer. Made a huge diff to me that my dr was as anxious as me. It was no little thing back then, to pull up our shorts and go out and deal with our fear and our reality ... and here we still are. OMG! Pioneer Girl! Me, too! Cuz they didn't want us to be exposed to those Worldly Girl Scouts. I'll keep writing. What else does one do with this many stories?

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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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