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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The Good Old Days???

9/28/2022

Over the past few days Len and I have been emailing with two cousins regarding this interesting topic.

Were the Good Old Days All That Good?

The four of us grew up in the late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. We are from three hometowns. Two of us were and still are science nerds. Two of us grew up in the same family and church.

This is what Len said about his childhood.

This is a more intense version of joking to kids that our smallpox scars are power ports.

Send $ to Welcome the Strangers Among Us.

If you have a heart for new immigrants among us and are open to another way to support them – Listen Up.

Three Things - Surviving the News, Our Web, Hiking Pix

9/16/2022

Len and I went on a hike yesterday at the Monches section of the Ice Age Trail and the photos are from there. 

Was it only a week and a half ago? My how time flies when one lives in an open and free society under daily assault.

3 Things - Cool, 9/11, Bulbs

The photo is from Hiroshima. It's the shadow of what was there before the bomb. 

9/11/2022

Yesterday it was hot and muggy and sticky. Almost every day since May has been hot and muggy and sticky. We have a small house with air conditioning; utility bills are not prohibitive so I am a lucky that way.  It’s usually cool enough in here.

But spending time outside, as one ought to do, is perpetually hot and muggy and sticky. I’m weary of sweating. Most weeks my laundry has included nearly twenty spent t-shirts … just from me.

3 Things - QE2, Triplets, & Me

The death of Queen Elizabeth dominated the news yesterday and it still thick afoot today. ‘Thick afoot” is my attempt to sound like a wee English countryside river animal political pundit. You know. An otter with a pipe. A weasel in a dark suit and an appropriate tie. A crow with an Hermès scarf.

I have two responses to QE2’s passing.

Wild Horses & Other Beauties

8/23/2022 

I first saw this photograph on Twitter in April. I don’t know the photographer, but the photo stopped me in my tracks. 

The Twitter handle of this person is Chris Byrne @ChrisByrnePhoto. He has a website; I think he leads photography workshops. His website is: chrisbyrnephotography.com.

Meanwhile, here I am, awestruck by a beautiful and wild place I will likely never go. It’s called Torres de Pain and it’s a national park in Chile. https://national-parks.org/chile/torres-del-paine

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