Mary Beth Writes

Today is day #21. It’s been THREE weeks already, guys. 

Thank you, John Denver for saying it so well. 

 “Let’s go to the bakery and watch the buns rise…”

I’m going to try to be something besides pissed-off today.  The writer of my fav non-consumer/frugality website posted something new yesterday. She eloquently describes how ANGRY she is right now. She’s an RN. She has a college kid living at home instead of at his college. She’s worried about loved ones in their 70’s.

As I read it my stomach flipped and my thoughts exploded.  She is a good writer and what she says is cogent and clear.  But I’m already living in the stew of my own anger; adding someone else’s is way too hard. 

As much as possible for the next few days, I will try to give you observations that don’t come straight from my anger. We need to find more than one path through this stupid, deadly crises that is breaking the world.

This is the website. Non-Consumer Advocate. 

Sometimes some of my neighbors don’t ‘social distance’.  I heard kids playing basketball yesterday.  I can see adults and teenagers as they stop to chat with each other when they are coming out of their shared apartment building.

These neighbors live in the low-income housing that runs most of the block behind our house. These are money-poor people and I don’t know many of them. The news tells us that poor people fare less well than the financially-secure when coronavirus hits.  In Milwaukee a big percentage of the fatalities are of African American men past age 50.  The stress of poverty and racism is real and lethal. Always has been; is true now more than ever.

So even though I think my across-the-fence neighbors should be more careful, I also see that when one doesn’t have financial security, then one needs community. My neighbors are casually but powerfully minding their most important investment – each other. Quite possibly sickness will eventually strike many of them, but their community will endure.

My purse always hangs on the coat rack by the front door. Even in normal times I don’t use it often. It’s more like a church/shopping kit with pens, paper, hand cream, some cash (what’s cash?), a brush and a small tape measure (handy when one is a Goodwill shopper). Today I looked at it and realized I haven’t used it in three weeks and am not likely to use it until this crisis is over.  I moved it to my clothes closet for the duration.  Weird.

Useful phrases for this time we are living in now.

If you awake in the middle of the night when it’s long past midnight but not yet dawn – do you know what time that is? I don’t know where I read this, but you really need to know. It is “Before sparrow fart.”

If you pull something off very badly – like the sourdough bread Len and I are still hoping might turn into something - this is called “An Arctic landing.” No runway, but you survived.

Nancy Drew naps on.













Leonard's picture

Although I like leave a little time out of each day to be angry. We can multitask.

I am angry, also. I read Katy’s blog this morning and felt it all. My three year old granddaughter should not have to say” I don’t want to die from this Coronavirus. I want to stay with this family. We wash our hands”. I should not have to worry about my daughters in nursing or my laid-off son and DIL and how they will pay the bills in a few months. THAT man and his cronies were alerted to this pandemic on Dec 31, 2019. Nero just fiddled. A thousand years ago I took a course about women and stress. We were told “ It is not really a problem if it just takes money to fix it”. All the money in the world cannot fix this. So, yeah, I am pissed.
Mary Beth's picture

There is no comfort zone on this. Maybe I am fine, but we all love people who are not fine now, will not be fine soon, will suffer loss of love, people, and stability. And it didn't have to be this way.

I read Katy's blog too. I "met" you through reading her blog. I am also angry, but I need to keep anger in a little compartment that I let out at certain times during the day, like the news, and anxiety. The rest of the time, I MUST focus on something else: the yard, learning a new skill, encouraging others, and fanning hope. Hope that he will be voted out NOv. 3. Please. Oh, please. Patricia/Fl

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Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.


Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

Advent Light Post 12/24/2020

Judy Saunders. Photo of a Rose.

Lo, how a rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse's lineage coming,
As folks of old have sung.
It came a flower bright
Amid the cold of winter
When half-spent was the night.


Len and I were delivering presents to Chicago yesterday. Social distancing, with masks, but we did it and we saw our kids’ faces and there’s your Christmas, Ma’am.

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