Mary Beth Writes

The Long-Awaited Groceries (The hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” is in my brain right now) came last night at 9PM – when it was raining. A woman named Sarah, late 30’s, brown ponytail, not-posh sweatpants and hoodie – carried ALL our groceries across the street from her car to our porch. This included 8-packs of Gatorade plus boxes of seltzer water, plus lots of other heavy stuff. Did I mention it was raining? Yes, we had tipped her well when the order was placed but still- that was hard work and she and all the other gracious delivery people out there are the Empresses and Emperors of quarantined Americans.   

This morning we had whole wheat pancakes with yogurt and raspberry preserves and an egg.  Plus I ate grapes, one by one, while I was making the pancakes. Nobody in a thousand-dollar suit brought me my food. Just one strong woman who smiled and said she is kind of enjoying the deliveries; “Gets me out of the store sometimes.”

Also, after I slid my egg onto my plate I forgot to turn the burner off. Len noticed it 20 minutes later.  Wasn’t someone just writing about Safety at Home?

I’m talking with my adult kids more than I used to. It’s not every day, it’s never long gabby conversations. But things come up and we communicate a bit, and this means everything to me. Almost every conversation eventually touches on these three topics.

  • What we are cooking.
  • We are going to stay separate from each other except if one of us needs help, then we are all going to towards the fire.
  • What we are eating.

(Honest to Pete, two of the kids are, right now, baking bread together while 100 miles apart.) 

If you have adult kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, adults you knew when they were children – isn’t it powerful to watch them now? Did you read the comments from yesterday? Chris’s son is an EMT without enough PPE (personal protective equipment). Franc’s sister (he was a teenager when she was born) is going back to work in a hospital this week after her vacation.  These adults we know and sometimes raised are holding the world together. They are trying to protect us. What we did, raising this generation, was good.

I don’t want to hear any of us judging others on the basis of what decade they were born in. That’s lazy, stupid and divisive talk. Being a Boomer or Millennial or Gen X’s might explain the music we like or the TV shows we remember. It says nothing about the content of our character.  

We bought a whole chicken to cook. I asked Len how he was going to cook it. He said he was going to simmer it and then …  I stopped him. “You’re going to just start out boiling it in water?”

So that conversation got real right away.  If the wife wanted roast chicken, she was welcome to do it.

This is a picture of me rubbing poultry seasoning onto and into the cold, dead bird. It was impossibly intimate and the next time we get a whole chicken (we don’t often) I will eat it boiled with cornflakes if that’s what I have to do to avoid ever again sticking my hand where the chicken’s toilet paper should go.

Laughing is good, isn’t it?

Here are “the best women’s tweets of last week.” RIGHT HERE. They are very, very good.



Thank you. Loved the tweets!!

Ick. I hate touching dead, cold, wet chicken. But, then again your house will smell awesome and it’s gonna taste delicious! The women’s tweets were the best. I flip thru Facebook way to much - just to laugh at all the gifs. Yes, laughing is excellent!

Today Angela sent me a photo of the medical supplies catalog from which she was ordering her own supply of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment ) I told her she's like a teacher buying their own school supplies so their students can actually learn in class... I fear for this woman that has been the most important member of my family...She's been my kid ( Long Story ) since I was a nappy headed 12yr old Gay boy looking in her crib & shouting "SHE'S MINE" after she came home from the hospital... And even more so when our father died when she was 8 so I'm invested in this smart woman... I don't want anything happening to her because her employer can't supply the safety equipment she and her colleagues so desperately need...

I laughed so much I had tears...and signed up to receive myself! Franc: thinking of your sister: her safety, her honor, her life I just returned from a long quiet, so many birds. I can breath clean air; no exhaust to clog my bronchial tube. Mixed blessings.

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Quarantine Diary #141 August 5, 2020 "Red Dust"

I just finished reading “Red Dust – A Path Through China” by Ma Jain. It is a quietly stupendous memoir.

Ma Jain was born in the 50’s, grew up very poor in a small Chinese city. He remembers when his mom would simmer stones for dinner - not because they were going to eat that - but so that the neighbors would see her cooking and not know how poor they were. A whole different take on the children’s tale "Stone Soup".

Quarantine Diary #140 7/31/2020 Wishing you a Merry Quarantine Weekend

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.

Quarantine Diary #134 Written while sweating …

My best coping skill for appalling weather is to show it who is boss. 30 below?  Cool. Let me put on all my clothes plus a hat down to my eyebrows and another one up to my glasses, and I’ll go out there.

Quarantine Diary #131 7/23/2020 "Becoming Labrador"

Yesterday I forgot to write about a movie we watched which I think many of you might like to watch, also.  We’ve been talking here about what one can stand to read and watch these days when our spirits are stressed and anxious.

I thought I wanted to reprise some of our Canada travels.  FYI, if you’ve traveled in a place you loved, put that place into your streaming service Search window, find some great or mediocre documentaries about that place, and revisit your memories.  It’s fun.

Quarantine Diary #130 7/22/2020 What's in your glass?

In the last few weeks one of my knees has decided it is the current star of the MB show. I overused it one day, I know when that was, ever since it’s been wonky. I have to baby it otherwise it hurts more than a little. Aging isn’t for wusses. 

I am walking less because walking a lot makes it worse.  I CAN ride a bike as much as I want since that doesn’t exacerbate the situation. I’m trying to weigh less, which is its own comedy.

Quarantine Diary #124 7/17/2020 As if it makes sense …

Our family lost a friend this week. I won’t go into too many details other than Tom died of a bike accident on a sunny day while riding in the country with friends. His wheel somehow got stuck in gravel, he fell, the fall twisted, and he died.

This is not his obituary or eulogy. This is a just a reflection on losing friends and how do we make sense of this?

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