Mary Beth Writes

When I’m in a certain mood I love how-to articles – and I’m in that mood right now. I think it happens at the intersection of reasonable weather and Friday ... when happiness still seems possible.

I googled “How to have a nice weekend in the time of Covid” and guess what? There are no Wiki-How articles on how to be happy in a pandemic.

Let’s invent this right here, right now.

1. Remember and imagine what you would love to do if nothing were in your way. One of the ways we humans make ourselves unhappy is to not acknowledge grief and yearning. If you haven’t longed for anything all week, that’s an awesome coping skill you have there, but once in a while you need to remember the other things you love to do.  

Len and I miss road trips. Saying it aloud reminds us that we are in a long hiatus but someday it will end. In the meantime, we drive away from home for an hour or two and remember what it feels like to be the White Horse Girl and the Blue Wind Boy.

Remember who you are and imagine widely on your own behalf.

2. Then the flip side to yearning. What is the chore about which you have been procrastinating? Don’t jot down “Declutter the house.”  Pick one specific area - maybe your work bench or the shelves that hold your cups and glasses or the silverware drawer.

Maybe you need to write to your elected reps.  Or send cheer-them-up cards to others.  Or wrestle buckthorn and invasive mustard that grows in a place you care about.

3. What is a treat you would like to eat or drink? Have you had a root beer float yet this year? Orange sherbet? A mojito or perfectly tangy brewed iced tea?

4. Have you explored parking lots “with potential” close to where you live? Like this: There’s a dead-end turn-around at the end of an access street to the Meijer’s parking lot close to here, and it looks over a huge field rimmed with woods. The long view slopes away from where you sit, in your car, by yourself, in the middle of a pandemic. In Ludington G-Park (do they still call it that, Peg?) is where you can park your car to watch the sun set into Lake Michigan. Sometimes the most interesting place to sit is your own front steps. Do you have a short list of good places to park or sit to watch the world?

6. Have you honored your longing for spirituality lately?

7. Finally, make a SHORT list of what MUST be accomplished this weekend. Essential laundry, groceries, calling your mom, mowing the grass in the front yard. Picking the zucchini before it grows into the backdoor and down the basement steps.

Make your plans now.

Friday night: Put together that nice place to sit or walk plus something summery to eat or drink. Mojito on the front steps? Root beer float while parked in the car, windows open, watching fireflies? Ice cream cone while walking along a lovely side street in your town?

Saturday: Start with the 1-2-hour chore you’ve been meaning to do. If it leads you happily into more chores, go for it. If it makes you a cranky martyr do not do more than the one thing.

Saturday afternoon and evening: Take yourself and anyone else in your realm to a park. Stay outside several hours. Maybe bring a bat and ball, kite, bubbles, whatever outdoor toys you may have around. Bring your dog with you but don’t bring your cat. Get drive-through sandwiches on the way home or make pancakes with whatever fruit is left in your house. 

Sunday: If you belong to a congregation, listen to their online service. If you don’t belong to a particular church or if you are curious - have you realized everyone is online these days?  This might be your time to explore.

Such as Ebenezer Baptist church!

Sunday afternoon: Do the must-do chores. If it takes more than two hours, you need an easier life.

Sunday evening. Make a list of the best moments of your weekend so you will remember to repeat them soon.


What are you doing in your weekends? 





Thank you Mary Beth! I hope you have a great week end. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

It always gives me a bit more oomph for the day ahead when I open my laptop to find a kind word from a welcome name. Thanks to you, also.

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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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