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 #121 7/13/2020 When we crave a simpler murder ...

Last post we were talking about what stories, books, art, TV, shows, and music works for us now. It’s pretty obvious that living four months in isolation through a pandemic - changes what our spirits want and need. Several people in Friday’s comments said that they are watching British crime shows.

Us, too. Len and I binge-watched Endeavor. Each show is an hour and a half, there are 6-8 shows per season, and there are seven seasons … so far. There will be one more season later this year when its released from England to the US. So yes, pretty invested!

Quarantine Diary #118 7/10/2020 The thing that we don't want that we have.

This week I requested books from the library, picked them up, walked back home, and started reading.

One book is a lawyer/detective book that is 850 pages long. It’s a great read in that American gum-cracking, fast-talking, everyone has an angle kind of way. I was 150 pages in before I accepted I don’t even like gum and I quit it.

Next I started The Women of Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell.  

Quarantine Diary #112 7/3/2020 The View From Here, Now

I just checked the comments on my website. I get a few wacko ones most days that are in Greek or Russian, or are porno invites. I delete them. Part of the shtick when running a website outside the hosted sites.

And here, right here on a Friday evening, is this good comment from one of you, 

Quarantine Diary #108 6/30/2020 Woke Neighbors

I was quietly sitting here, just writing, when I heard yelling. I looked up and there was Modern America Right Here Right Now, in front of my house.

Cops had a car pulled over and were yelling at someone to come out. A black man with dreadlocks got out, hands in air, protesting and arguing to the cops. I couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying, but he was arguing respectfully. I heard his “Sir” several times. He was not swearing that I could hear.

Quarantine Diary #104 6/26/2020 Common Sense

This very small story has been lurking in my mind for decades and I have been thinking about it again, just recently.

One afternoon I overheard my dad complaining to my mom about schoolteachers. I suppose they were having a busy week in the print shop when a teacher from the high school dropped off, late in the day, a print job that needed to be completed in less time than was convenient. I’m guessing it was the school newspaper.

Quarantine Diary #101 6/23/2020 Today the Protest Came to Us

I keep saying Len and I are not going to protests because of Covid.

But then one came to us.

Late yesterday afternoon we heard that Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos would be at a meeting this morning at Saratoga STEM school here in Waukesha. It's three blocks from our house. 

The meeting was to talk about school choice. School choice is when you take taxpayer education funds away from local schools, change neighborhood schools into “choice schools” that will attract kids from outside that neighborhood and then you underfund the neighborhood school that's left.

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