Mary Beth Writes

Two news reports that caught my attention this morning: 1.) It took three months for the world have its first 100,000 people infected with coronavirus. It took 12 days for the second 100,000 infections to happen.

2.) Even though we are hearing that this disease is most dangerous for people who are immune compromised or old and elderly (gulp) – here in the US is it not precisely following this trajectory. Some numbers are indicating that people (usually young) who vape are more at risk to end up in the hospital from coronavirus than would be expected among younger adults. 

I have been on Twitter at least an hour today. I read both of these things and should have marked where I saw them. Sorry, I don’t know where I read them although I just googled both of these reports and there are a variety of sources talking about them.

I heard the new “Emma.” movie was being released to streaming on Amazon this weekend. Cool! I pulled it up – and the RENTAL price was $20!  Good Grief. Instead I paid $4 to rent the Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and it was fun. Then I rented another movie that Len didn’t want to watch.  When I finally came upstairs Len was on his computer watching “Igby Goes Down” – which he said was well made but didn’t make a whole lot of sense. 

So anyways, I went to bed and fell asleep.

This morning Len told me that while he was watching his movie he became so twisted on his office chair that the bow of his shoelace hooked over the adjusting lever UNDER the seat of the chair. He realized this after the movie was over, after he had turned off his computer, and of course he had turned off all the lights in our office to watch the movie.

He couldn’t see how he was hooked. He also couldn’t lean over because he was tied to the chair.

It took him a while, he said, to free himself from his own office chair.


My grandson started to crawl yesterday! When they facetimed with us this morning he crawled around a corner with the biggest grin on his sweet baby face.  

Our daughter is going to keep both of the kids home this week WHILE she also works from home. All over America parents are doing hard things. Next time someone tries to say our forebearers were amazing because they struggled and sacrificed to raise their families in this new land  – I am going to remind them American parents still are amazing!

This morning I was still in bed drinking coffee (#partnerswhobringpartnerscoffeeinbedstaypartners). I didn’t even have my glasses on yet when I heard a loud, weird squawky noise from outside. I smiled; I know that noise.

Migrating Black Crowned Night herons fly at night and roost and rest during the day. They are squat and their voices are not angelic. I have heard them only two springs in my whole life. Well, as of today, now I have heard them three times. 

I lifted this from my old “Lost in Racine” column from April 23, 2005

Last week my husband I did something we've been meaning to do for years.  We put our canoe into the Root River downtown, then paddled upstream as the river wends through the middle of Racine. We saw a few people fishing. We saw too many places where ugly avalanches of junk slide down banks.

We paddled around a bend. I glanced at bare trees along the bank. Something moved. I heard the rattle of branches.  I looked closer. I whispered to my husband, "There's a Night Heron in there." He whispered back, "What's a Night Heron?"

The last one I saw was years ago when we lived in Chicago. It perched all day on a neighbor's roof and then flew away that night. Here was one of these (to me, at least) rare birds again. It's about the size and shape of a 10-pound bag of flour, wears a blue-gray coat over white-gray undercoating, has short legs (for a heron), long beak, and a black cap.  Its official name is Black-crowned Night Heron.

Len and I admired the ungainly creature. There were more rustles in the trees. Another Night Heron.  More wings luffing, more branches rattling.  Another one and another one.  My heart raced as I stopped counting with my brain and started jamming a finger up from my fist for each heron I saw. 

 I lost count at 23.  It was one of the most beautiful and eerie things I've ever witnessed.  All those birds shapeshifting out of a semi-abandoned industrial nook of the inner city. 

 A friend says Black-crowned Night Herons are migrating north these days.  The ones we saw are likely on their way to Horicon Marsh.

To hear one:






I know just what they look like... I bought a mixed media piece years ago at the "Monument Square Art Fair" in Racine that hangs in George's livingroom it's a trptyh ( 3pcs ) called "Silent Transformation Of The Night Herron Into Saturday Night Dancer, With Chaos" by Alan Shauble who was doing art fair's back when I was still doing them...
Mary Beth's picture

Next time you go there take some pix and send to me? I will post them if you do. Sounds awesome!

A lot of this made me smile despite all the horror around us. Awwww- baby Eddie crawling. \

I just love your nature/animal stories. Can't wait to see Franc's pic. The craines out here are making lots of noise....amazing. And today I see the Wood Ducks are back.
Mary Beth's picture

Aw Shucks... Thank you! I know this is terrifically un-Wisconsin-ish of me ... but I could not recognize a wood duck. I've heard of them forever, but I'm not sure which one they are. Might have to research a little.

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Susan's Birthday Questions 10/19/2020

(One decorates for October birthdays with orange trees.) 

Last week was my birthday. My niece Susan sometimes sends me birthday greetings where she asks excellent questions. She doesn’t know I still have the card she sent six years ago; I meant to answer her questions in the blog I had then, but I never got around to it.

Stereotypes Day

Today is October 12th - Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Not Columbus Day, okay?

I was in the process of giving birth to one of our kids and it was getting on towards midnight. The midwife wondered whether our baby would be born on the day we were in or whether it would be a few more minutes and then the child would have the next day as their birthday.

10/11/2020 This Crazy Advent We're In Now

This painting is by Andrea Kowch


Regarding Time: It’s been about a million months since the quarantine started. It will be an at least one epoch if not two, until a vaccine is available to quell it. Election Day is here now (I’ve already voted, have you?) yet it feels as if it will never be done and gone. Even when Nov 3 arrives we could be in for more epochs of anxious and angry waiting as ballots are tallied, argued over, recounted, all while lawyers and politicians fight and scrap.

Quarantine Diary #204 10/4/2020 3 Short Takes

Three things to say today and none are about our goatish, swag-bellied, canket-blossomed president. How to create a Shakespearean insult. 

1. I just read this WONDERFUL and REMARKABLE book! The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Quarantine Diary #200 The Debate

Regarding that Debate. 

I’ve been at a zoo when a cranky monkey starts throwing poop. That remembrance came to me last night. Watching Uncle Joe try to answer questions while Trump trash talked everybody and everything except white supremacists – that was damn ugly.

Quarantine Diary #198 Who we still are ...

I’ve been trying and trying to write but it hasn’t happened so this morning I looked at some of my old stuff and found this from ten days after 9/11. Made me remember who we are.

I think the miserable karma of Trump is happening. I hope we will be okay. I’m not sure how talk about the harm he has done and is doing now. 

But we … we are still who we are.

The flowers in the photo were a surprise gift, just yesterday, from a friend.

I have edited it a bit. 

September 21, 2001 Lost in Racine - An Aftermath of Civility

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