Mary Beth Writes

Lambs are being born!  Friend Heidi Woehick called yesterday; we’d made plans a year ago that this spring my family - two little grandkids, no waiting – could visit her farm in lambing season. Well, it’s here now but we are all in quarantine, so we won’t be visiting in real time. 

Then I asked if there were any photos! 

Aren’t they adorable?

I do not believe in stress and yet, somehow, stress seems to believe in me.  I can tell you six ways to Sunday how I am not delicate, not overly sensitive, how I can get up and do what needs to be done.  I talk a good story and as many of you are my friends and I know you – most of you are sprightly, courageous, seasoned, and strong.

We’ve got this. Right?

But there is this other thing going on.  I am turning into a lava lamp of symptoms. 

In the past month, my body has been all these places (and more).

First the skin around my elbows pinged. I think the proper term is neuropathy. The skin was unusually sensitive and felt as if little sparklers were intermittently going off right inside my skin. I could hold my hand against the sore places, press in gently and firmly and that would calm the flares. This unusual adventure was how I learned what neuropathy is.  If you google “sparklers in your skin” you get directed right there. 

Two days later it was gone.  A couple days later I had one sparkler in one leg. Gone the next day.

Indigestion-tinged aches appeared high on one side and low on the other; this on a day where I ate modest amounts of normal things.  A few hours later, all gone.

A light 2-day headache located in one place over one ear.

Once my wrist sort of just “went limp” and I couldn’t pick up a teapot. That only lasted an hour.

I have a medical care person. I had my annual physical exam recently and I’m in good shape.  No diabetes, no blood pressure issues, cholesterol under control, nice thumpy heartbeat. I can walk and I can sleep, and I can get down on the floor and then get back up (it ain’t pretty but I can do it).  

So let’s start this over again.

How is this stress affecting you?

I’m sharing this that I read on several tweets, because I think it helps us to be empathetic and respectful.

There is a difference between what we are being asked to do – Social Distancing; and what workers cannot always mange –Physical Distancing. Social distancing and physical distancing are not the same thing and the difference is crucial. A bus driver who takes fares is not failing to *socially* distance. He or she cannot *physically* distance, which is what actually saves lives -- his own and others'.

And then this: “from a grocery worker interviewed on MSNBC tonight: "I feel like 'essential' just stands for exhausted and expendable.”

If we are in a situation where we can move but a worker cannot we need to be mindful enough to move and to remind others around us to step back, also. 

And then to say thank you. 

Len made our first real sourdough bread and it is astoundingly good!

If I feel overfull this evening, it won’t be from stress.




Stress. Never heard of it. My stomach aches, neck aches, headache off and on has absolutely nothing to do with stress. But, it does help that we are all in this together. We will all get thru this. The lambs are adorable.

I don't believe I'm feeling all that much stress and maybe that's a good thing. George is stressing out enough for the two of us... Having the person I love more than anything in the front lines should have me stressing out but I can't go to that place... I started riding my bike, lifting weights and doing sit-ups... Which I think are helping with the stress and keeping me from over indulging which could easily happen when you are locked up... Also finding a possible new friend online keeps my mind in a happier space than were it would be otherwise...

Yes, stress can certainty affect us physically. Having a husband who makes a loaf of bread that looks that good probably helps. Too bad you can’t visit the lambs now. That could help, too.
Mary Beth's picture

The bread is amazing. Kind burnt on the outside, super crunchy, the inside is tangy. Oh Lordy, I had a second piece for dessert.

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.


 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.


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.

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