Mary Beth Writes

Today it finally happened. Len asked if today was Wednesday or Thursday. I looked at him, opened my mouth to answer, and realized I did not know. I opened my phone to look at my calendar app – and I could not remember what my calendar app looks like.

It’s Thursday.

We made a grocery order this morning and one of us will pick it up this evening. We’re making an order for a lumber yard so we can do a yard project, we’ll have that one delivered. I’m figuring out how to order from a garden center. This morning I called the butcher shop, said what we wanted (including the fresh Polish sausage Len didn’t get to have at Easter this year), walked there, got and quickly paid for precisely what I ordered and then I came back home.

I miss shopping. I miss checking out what’s new or interesting. I miss harshly judging cool and unnecessary housewares at Target. I miss endcaps. I miss the Whoo-hoo items at Pick n’ Save (super cheap discontinued items). I miss wandering in acres of plants, finding a lonely $3 perennial with wilted leaves and a true green heart and adopting it.

But this is Wisconsin and the numbers of people with Covid-19 are on the uptick. As of today, 5052 have it (confirmed). 257 have died. Staying in my house and yard are as important today as it was weeks ago. Maybe more important as there are more people now shedding the virus. Coronavirus is BOTH catch and release.

We will keep on figuring out how to order what we need and want, and I will not look to to tell me about the lives of my ancestors. I will pay attention to what this feels like; to find and define happiness, satisfaction, and sometimes even joy by what I do and not by what I shop for.

And now I know why I come from a long line of cinnamon bun bakers. When you can’t have so much of what you sort of want to have – you begin to realize you could wander into the kitchen and a few hours later have mounds of baked goods. Not too shabby. I am the scion (scioness?) of women who triumphed at wrestling the meaning of life from sugar and flour.

I watched a movie several weeks ago that I am still thinking about. “Edie” is about a woman somewhere in her 80’s or early 90’s, I think – who sort of backs herself into accomplishing a goal she gave up decades ago. That goal is to climb the mountain Suilven in the Northern Scottish Highlands. It is not impossible to do this, but it is extremely hard. To accomplish it she needs to believe in her own desire to do it. She needs to face the lost years of her life when she didn’t pursue her own happiness. She needs the help of an athletic young man who needs the wisdom of her. She needs to not be such a grouch.

I like a movie about an old person who isn’t dead yet. I like a story that challenges one to keep pursing goals even when we aren’t sure what they are. I respect how tricky it is to figure this out when we can’t exactly leave our houses.  

Then again, I don’t like easy questions.

PS: The scenery is gorgeous. 













Omg. Did u make those cinnamon buns today? I want some.
Mary Beth's picture

No. Not today. I almost did but then I pulled myself back from that abyss...

It was an emotional day today brought on by a combination of things, none too serious but a bunch of little things piled on top of this whole corona stuff.... Add to that watching "The Greatest Showman"( Just push my buttons already ) after dinner and it just pushed me over the edge...
Mary Beth's picture

I know the emotional energy you bring to your life and to your friends' lives is big and rich. The downside to being a sensitive person is - one is sensitive. I hope this day is easier - though I'm looking out the window at our solid mass of gray gloom - it's not going to be cheerful on the surface, anyway.

Aren't coincidences interesting! I watched Edie yesterday, I grieved for/with her, I rooted for her, I climbed with her. It was wonderful, and yet, I was filled with melancholy after. Be well. Patricia/Fl
Mary Beth's picture

The hard and good part of that movie, and why I guess I'm still thinking of it, was that it didn't end with all the emotions dealt with and put away. Did her daughter "get" how cramped her mother's life had been? Did she apologize to her daughter for just running away without, apparently, saying where she went? Did that young man stay with his GF and that looming debt? I get stiff watching movies on our sofa. Will I ever do a hike that beautiful and adventurous again?

Oh, Mary Beth, keep showing up at my house. Please. A few days ago, my husband and I were talking about things we stopped doing after a critical voice (whose?) told us we weren’t “good” at it; drawing, playing music, sewing, dancing, singing... We watched Edie last night. I had not heard of it. We still own a piano. And a sewing machine. Thanks. Love, Lois.

I would not know if I did not mark off on my calendar...or looked at my electronics! Does the day really matter? Is it sad I am content, alone, with my cat? I have a housemate yet we do not spend much time is a “comfortable” friendship. (He just mowed the lawn for the first time this year...something I can no longer do) BTW: my go-to baking is scones and/or what Wisconsinites call Seven Sisters. My mother’s recipe from a 1948 Danish magazine.
Mary Beth's picture

'Sad' is a social construct that only applies if you feel it or if you do things that make other people feel it. If it ain't either of those, then say hi to your cat and knit til the cows come home!

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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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