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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A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska

1/25/2023 

I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z

1/25/2023

I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?

1/22/2023 

Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Len Explains Fusion Energy

The photo is of Lisa Meitner. The BFF of one of our kids is (quite likely) a great grand niece of this amazing woman. 

...

MB: Len occasionally explains very complicated science things to me or our kids in such a way that we actually understand it. One of our kids asked him what the big deal was about fusion. Len wrote this and I thought some of you might like to read it.

Long live curious people and long live nerds. 

 

Almost. Two Years Later

1/6/2023 

 I remember where I was two years ago this afternoon. Do you?

I was writing. I knew I had another hour to just work by myself and I was happy about that. I love no interruptions.

Len was downstairs. I heard him turn on the TV. We NEVER watch TV during the day so it was weird when he called up to me, “You should come down here. Something’s happening.”

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