Mary Beth Writes


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 morning, we were driving the sleepover grandchild back to their house when our kid called and said the Covid test that morning was positive and they were super sorry they had exposed us.

We cancelled things we had planned to do this week with friends. Three hours of close contact, several hugs, sitting two feet away at a chatty dinner – no way we would miss Covid this time around. I looked up the CDC site for quarantine guidelines. When exposed, quarantine for 10 days and/or wear a an N95 mask and don’t take it off.

We are on day #5. We don’t have Covid and I’m almost embarrassed because I ruined some really sweet plans for myself and others.

However, I do have a cold! My nose is so clogged it feels as if it’s been tuck-pointed and I have sneezes so profound they send cats flying. No fever though and I don’t feel run down or very sick. I just definitely have the cold Len had last week.

So even though I didn’t (apparently, there are days to go in this quarantining) save my friends from Covid, I did save them from this dumb cold.

I looked up “What happens when soldiers get sick right before a battle?” and discovered this interesting theory. It’s likely that General Robert E Lee was leading his army at Gettysburg while still affected by a heart attack he probably had that spring.

In March 1863, Lee suffered “a sudden onset pain in his chest, back, and arms. It affected his ability to ride a horse and he was known to have become anxious and depressed, both common conditions after heart attacks. It is proposed that “his heart disease may have affected his judgement which would explain some of the decisions he ordered that day, namely Pickett’s Charge. As the NIH diagnosis says, the loss at Gettysburg didn’t break Lee’s heart, it was broken when he got there.”  Read the article here. 

Do you find yourself casually referring to “before Covid” or “when Covid was new” or “I can’t remember how many vaccines and boosters I’ve had, I just know I got all of ‘em.”

It’s still weird, isn’t it? We KNOW this disease is everywhere yet we are going back out to shop and do activities. We know we can still get Covid, or get it again, though with precautions and shots it probably won’t kill us. Probably.

Also, if we are related to people with weakened immune systems (who isn’t?) then we need to think on their behalf as well as our own. Though from what one reads, there are plenty who think acting on behalf of others is a snowflake choice.

But – everyone is out and about. How bad can it be?

No clear answers.

What are you doing? Masking? Not thinking about it?





Went grocery shopping today.. No one has a mask on, including myself. All taking chances, even though I am boosted.

I am still masking and not exposing myself to people or situations where I could be in contact with someone who has Covid. Having ALL the vaccinations and boosters is good, but I’d like to be one of the people who does not get Covid. Can’t afford to be sick. Don’t want to be sick. It helps that I am a bit of a recluse.

Basically I try not to think about it. I am aware! We have all our boosters, we did get Covid last January and hubby was very sick. Me not so much. We wash our hands more often. Try to social distance. I think Covid is here to stay. We still need to go on living.

I don't wear a mask anymore but try hard to distance myself physically from others while in social situations. Honestly, I think I just got sick of wearing a mask. I do feel like I pay more attention to the possibility of catching an illness while casually socializing since Covid appeared. I didn't think too much about it "before Covid." Just last weekend my husband and I declined a dinner invitation because the wife disclosed she had tested negative for Covid but had a sore throat and was feeling punky. I don't need strep or even another cold, thank you. Likewise, if I'm not feeling well I stay home. Hope you feel better from your cold soon.

We always mask while shopping. I was at Aldi on Monday and saw more masked people than I have in a year. I am not complaining. My husband is immuno-compromised. A good friend has Covid Pneumonia and may be on oxygen for the rest of her life. It ain’t something to mess around with.
Mary Beth's picture

Yes, the long Covid, the serious damage to some peoples' health - its real. I hope your friend can heal. What a slog to get through.

I continue to mask when out in public places, and do not attend big social events. Neither, does the rest of my immediate family. My oldest daughter lives daily with the effects of having had mono as a teenager. Her immune system never recovered. My youngest has a heart condition, and my grandson is medical complex. We are careful, and vigilant. All vaccinated and boosted. I hope you are fully recovered from your cold soon. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

I salute how much caring and being cautious you need to do in your family. We did go to a college concert a few weeks ago, but the good thing about college-level concerts is that they are generally good ... and usually under-attended. Wore a mask, sat in a huge space with not too many people. It was amazing to hear live music again.

I got COVID at the end of October. Never had it before, and was thinking maybe my immune system was "strong like bull", and I was going to be able to evade it. Nope. Despite vaccinations and boostering, I got a doozy of a case when one of my co-workers came in to work sick ("I think it's just a cold"). Despite wearing a mask at work,(my sick co-worker did not) three days later I started with symptoms and two days after that tested positive. I found out that the incubation period for the new variants is less than 3 days. Boy - I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It layed me flat for over a week. I also have continued to wear a mask in public places. It feels like the right thing to do.

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Y is for Yellowstone


Back in February I asked you to give me topics to write about that would correspond to the alphabet. Sometimes several of you sent ideas for one letter and sometimes I wrote about all of them (I’s and S’s) Here we are at letter Y for which your suggestions are Yummy Food and Yawns. The word yawn absolutely makes me yawn; no way I could write about that - I would yawn for hours. I worked on Yummy Food but could only find a scolding voice about Americans eating too much sugar. Bah. True but not interesting.

So, I gave Y a go again. Y is for?

"I was Scott Simon's teller."


First of all - Thank you to those of you who came to the Wisconsin Writers Association zoom gala last night. I HAD received an email a week ago which said I would be reading my whole story. Cutting it in half while I was reading was awkward! It was still a happy event for me and the other writers. Thanks for being there! 

X is for Xeriscape


Xeriscape is pronounced ‘zeer-eh-scape’ and it means landscaping with little to no irrigated water. Readers in the west already know about this. Those of us who don’t live in arid or desert places need to wake up to the incredible resource that water is - then begin to accommodate ourselves to “water all around and beneath us all the time” is no longer our reality. Nor is it our right. We’ve got to get smarter and do better.

W is for Wonder


To whomever suggested Wonder - Thank You!  ‘Wonder’ has been bobbing in my mind like a frog in a pond.

However, I have FOUR suggestions from you guys for X - but I do not want to write four X essays. These are the suggestions:

1.) X signature substitution

2.) xylophone on a string pulled by a toddler

3.) xenophobia

4.) Xmas. 

If you have an opinion respond with the one you would like me to attempt. I will choose whichever X gets the most comments.

There will be no gerrymandering in this election.



Grownups Noticing Their Lives


Most of you know about my former weird and lovely job of coordinating an employability skills program for Huber-qualified inmates in the Racine County Jail (that’s a mouthful). Early on I realized that most of the people I would work with were people with 1.) huge addiction problems, and 2.) underlying and over-the-top and to-the-side just lying around mental health issues.

V is for Vocabulary


For those who are new here - This year I am writing about topics, in alphabetical order, that were suggested to me by readers. Sometimes this is hard! 


My cousin-in-law Dave has some powerfully thorough avocations (for fun and profit he earned a PhD in biochemistry; you will notice this in his list). This year, among other pursuits, he has been collecting words which have appeared in our culture since 1945, which was the year he also appeared in our culture.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words A-Z AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent aging Alaska anniversary antibiotics antlers apples appointments Arrows art Ashland August Augustine aunts baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barbara Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM Blue BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada canoe cat romance cats cello Chicago China Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus climate change clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows danger DarkRiver death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering democracy dentist depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Echoes Eclipse election EmilyDickinson eschatology Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer Fata Morgana ferns firealarm Fitness Five Flatbread Flexible flu Food Pantry Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal FrugalHacks Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga fungi fusion Galena Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd gerrymandering ghosts gifts girls GNTL gorgons goulash GovernorThompsonStatePark Graduation grandkids granola groceries Guatemala gum guns Hair happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance hearings heart heaven HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HowCrowGotOutofJail humor hurricane Ice Cream idiosyncrasy igloos impeachment Innkeeper Instincts integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Jan 6 Janus jewelry JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich Jump justice Karen kites ladder Lady Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness LouisArmstrong Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mounds mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha NAMI Nancy Drew Newfoundland New Mexico New York City Nomadland nope observation OBUUC Ocotillo OnaJudge ordinary OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples poetry Preaching privacy procrastination Protest QE2 Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism reading recipe recipes recommendations Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb Ricky rime RitesofPassage romance Rosemary Ruether Roses Roti Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraKurtz SaraRodriguez satellites ScottSimon sculpture Seasons Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spirituality spring square feet staining stars stele Stereotypes stories StoryStarts stream monitoring stress Survival swim Talent taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou therapy ThreeBillBoards Three Thing ThreeThings Three Things TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine Ulysses Grant Umbrella UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam vision VivianWokeUpDrowning Vocabulary vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving Webs wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Wiley Willa WillaCather Wisteria Won! Wonder words Xeriscape Yellowstone
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