Mary Beth Writes

Weather makes a big difference, doesn’t it? Quarantine when it’s balmy and sunny is different than waking to grey sky, 33 degrees, and gale warnings. We are such earthy creatures.  All the things we are and know and can do ... and we are still moody on a dreary day.

When I woke to freezing temps and wind advisories I skipped my morning walk. There were plenty of things to do, including interviewing my own nephew who is three cat whiskers from making Eagle Scout. He needed one more particular recommendation, so we talked, I wrote it up and stuck it in an envelope. And then the sun came out.

Post office is a half hour from here so I took a walk after all. Len came with. Ate Peeps when i got home.

Happier Camper.

I am a 25-years participant in The Sister Study. (more about it here)  My sister died of breast cancer in the late 1980’s. This study is long-term tracking of the health of 50,000 women who have/had a sister with this cancer.

Just today I received an email from the Sister Study asking if I would consider downloading a particular Covid-19 tracking app. Information is being collated by several hospitals and medical schools in the US and Great Britain. My info will also be shared to the Sister Study.

So I’m the person who quit playing Words With Friends because privacy issues – but today I downloaded an app that asks me to send in my health status DAILY to a consortium of medical institutions.  I’m glad to do this.

If you want to consider it, this is where I started. (this is not the proposed Google/Facebook monitoring which I do not trust).

Also, it will give info back to Len and me (he also signed up).  It will tell us the daily count of Covid cases in our county.

How to participate:

  • Provide daily updates (your phone will ask whether to "Allow" or "Don't Allow" push notifications-be sure to select "Allow" to receive reminders to provide daily updates)


A month of quarantine is interesting. All my life I’ve claimed I was introverted and yet if the topic came up there were always folks who didn’t believe me. I like people and am pretty happy when I’m among them. If I’ve hung out with you and I didn’t look like I was suffering, believe me, I wasn’t!

But as most introverted people will attest, liking to be alone doesn’t mean we don’t like people. It just means we think, work, and breathe most easily when we are away from the Madding Crowd.     

In this past month I have been able to experience what it’s like to not be responsible to be sociable. I can go hours without talking to anyone but Len, nd sometimes we go hours without talking to each other. It is so uncomplicated to take long walks by myself, to read, write, and think long thoughts. 

I’m learning here.  I don’t have it parsed out, but some things will need to change going forward.  I really love long empty days that are filled with activities I believe in.

What about you?  Are you a surprised that you don’t mind being cut off from others?

Or is being separated from family and friends just relentless pebbles in your shoes?





The only difference for me is that my husband and daughter are with me during this quarantine. Lucky for me they have work and school. It is difficult when we are stuck together to explain my need to be alone. Well, I’m never really alone. The two dogs shadow me wherever I go 24/7! MB, I knew you were introverted...
Mary Beth's picture

I wonder if Paul was also an introvert, but for a lot of reasons, just kept being outgoing and sociable,

I am mostly enjoying staying home and I am not surprised. In normal times I have this quietly nagging feeling - call it guilt of a sort that I should be out and about going places and socializing. Now I am free to read and watch and write and cook with no feelings of guilt - it is a pleasure. I do miss my massages and I miss grocery shopping, but I can deal with this as long as needed.
Mary Beth's picture

Me, too.

I too can be quite content being alone with my TV or computer, only occasionelly music. Time outside walking or just being on my deck in nature, since I live on a stream with wild area all around my home, is very comfortable for me. I enjoy being around people, but have always thought of myself as shy,,,maybe introverted, which most people don't thing I am. I get your feelings completely.

I understand the feeling. I realized I am an outgoing introvert, I enjoy people, I'm not shy or reserved. But I need my alone time to recharge my batteries & I 've learned that I love working alone from home as I have the opportunity to do so now.
Mary Beth's picture

I wonder if this 'socially adept introvert' is evenly distributed between (among?) sexes? Or is it more common in women than in men? Because for women, being social is a survival skill, most of us learn how to be sociable well and early - thus missing the opportunity to understand ourselves as people who need a lot of alone time.

Wow-I've never thought of it like that! It makes total sense for me because it took me a very long time to figure out who I actually was & what made me tick. Thank you for the new perspective.

I have found a new comfort in the quiet...I am a talker, as you know, MB, yet here in my own home that I share with my cat and a friend, there is a wonderful stillness, a shared yet individual “cocoon” of relaxation and healing. Bought of us having a medical crisis not long before this happened (he flatlined and was brought back), it is a restful time. I don’t even wonder what the future brings as I am content now.

I enjoy my alone time, always have its my time to think, cook, plan, terrorize, and create and spend time with the animals or animal as it is now... I've always liked the company of the animals I've surrounded myself with through the years more than the company of my fellow humans, with only a few exceptions... I've started to excercise more which is making me feel better and healhier... And I'm not really stressing out about how long this is going to last because I like myself enough to spend the time doing what I enjoy...

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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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