Mary Beth Writes

I’ve been busy today so I’m a little late getting to this diary. Doing what, you ask? Oh, brilliant things like washing the bathroom and doing laundry and going for a blustery walk. Took the plastic off the particular windows we wrap in the fall.

Spent a chunk of the morning reading about the lead-up to the Revolutionary War battles at Saratoga. More about that later.  Reading about brave and canny, stupid and ego-centric politicians of an entirely different era is part of my coping strategy for life in the US. We aren’t the first to live in fraught times. Not by a long shot.

So the first thing I amgoing to say today in this public diary of some of my feelings and pursuits during this Quarantine – is this. 

Today I’m really, really angry. People are losing family and friends. People are shaken that loved ones are dying alone.  We are seeing the faces of doctors and nurses and other caregivers who have been over-exposed to the virus until their systems become overwhelmed ... and they are gone. Damn. And yet more doctors and nurses and care providers are FLYING INTO NYC area hospitals from other parts of the country to help. I am undone by the gallantry of some of us.

Where is the cohesive plan to get them the protection they need?  This administration KNEW in January that Coronavirus was coming – and individuals sold stock.  I am so angry I could bite a senator.  

I saw an article that predicts the peak of this in Wisconsin will be May 22nd.  Holy Spotted Cow that is seven weeks away. We will be inside this long? With occasional forays to hike with Len and only Len? I love the man dearly but what I would give right now to hug any of my women friends. Humans who never smell even faintly of that’s day’s 6th cup of coffee.

What will happen to our state and our nation while we hold our breath THIS LONG?

I’m angry because other nations planned ahead. Denmark apparently didn’t throw everyone into unemployment. They said everyone still has the same job they always had, and now they are sending checks to businesses to they can continue to pay their employees. The day it’s okay to go back to work, everyone goes back to their job.

We couldn’t do that?

Did you see that the price of antibacterial gel in Denmark is $4 for one bottle and $95 for two? Boom, hoarding stopped in its tracks.

We couldn’t do that?

Where is the planning? The preparations? The imaginative solutions?

As one tweet read, “If capitalism is so great, why does it have to be bailed out by socialism every ten years?”

I’m so angry and I bet you are, too. I’m leaving it here right now, but if this is a two-month diary, we’ll be back.

We went to a parent-teacher meeting when the kids were youngsters. People were asking how to get their kids to do more house chores and homework.. It was a long meeting; all I really remember is this funny remark from one of the teachers. 

They were reading Little House books in that teacher’s classroom.

“All children love Little House stories. They love-love-love how Laura and Mary do chores to help Ma and Pa and then when the day is done, Pa plays his fiddle, and everyone is content and happy. Kids loves these tales.

“However, sadly, loving Laura and Mary has very little to do with your kid actually doing dishes or making their bed. Everyone loves to hear about Laura and Mary. No one wants to actually live their life.”

So; about our long nights in our cabins and soddies with only each other.  We have media, of course. We don’t have to invent all our own entertainment. Thank Goodness because Len and I trying to play the kids’ left-behind recorders could get real bleak real fast.

I think they call this “Little Humans in the Big Pandemic.”


The cat in the photo is my daughter's cat, Nancy Drew. 





I can't believe we are 16 days into shelter in place. My spouse is a ICU nurse in Chicago. His ICU just had its first Covid-19 on Wednesday: a 57-year-old male from the neighborhood, now on a ventilator. He was selected to be the patient's nurse. He is off this weekend, and returns on Wednesday. Like you note, this is just the beginning. The mayor of Chicago closed our Lakefront and city parks on Thursday after cooped up people thronged the Lakefront on Wednesday, with its beautiful sunny skies and warm temperatures. I was among them, easily keeping my 6' social distance . But many failed to heed social distancing requirements, especially young people with closed high schools and colleges. So now we have one less escape valve. Now we have this clever yet appropriate meme circulating online:
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I tried to insert the photo of Mayor Lightfoot at the barrier to the lake path - but it didn't work (too many kinds of media). Dark humor here. We are all inside, cleaning, napping. We are turning into house cats. Anything you or J want to say about living through this in Chicago, I am glad to post it.

The only silver lining in this whole thing from my vantage point is the fact that I'm testing the waters with someone new to my life... We have yet to meet and it won't happen for months because of the dangers involved so we exchanged photos which didn't scare either one of us away... We text and e-mail and speak on the phone for hours at a time. .( Dating in the age of corona I guess ) We are learning about each other slowly but surely which is kinda refreshing... We had coffee and tea together but miles apart this morning... He's a teacher working from home doing so by video his younger sister lives with him, she's in health care so we compare notes and story's... There are no guarantees that we will even like each other when we meet in person but we are both willing to wait it out to find out... I'm not a big fan of talking about myself so I sent him to this blog to read the story's here... He laughed saying..." I've never met anyone who came with their own testimoniales before" He's even reading the comments afterwards saying that he's learning as much from those as he is from the article's themselves...
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Did you tell him that this past week you bought 65 pounds of rice and one loaf of bread?

thanks for venting our anger....eager for another hike...someday...hugs
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“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ― John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

Yes Mary Beth I did tell Brad about the 45Lbs. of rice and that didn't scare him away either... That was probably because he had already read the piece on me you did so I guess he's prepared for just about anything now... Besides when got to Cermack they had changed the opening from 7am to 8am so I spent the hour sitting in the parking lot sending him train of thought e-mails about rice and pretty much anything else that came up at that hour. ( I had been up since 4 so my head was a scary place )... After I scored the rice and loaded up the car I had e-mail from him asking ¿if the trip was successful? I said yes , and he responded that he was glad the catastrophe was avoided...
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I have a feeling that for those who follow these comments - we have a potential novel unfolding right in front of our eyes.... All we ask is that it be a romance or a contemporary culture portrayal - not a whodunit...


You can actually make anger sound funny....”I am so angry I could bite a senator”! It made me laugh! Sorry, I know it isn’t funny.... Humor is lifesaving though! I love your honesty.
Mary Beth's picture

It made me laugh, too. But not in a supportive way ...

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Ayad Akhtar's "Homeland Elegies" & Do We Understand Colonialism?

I heard part of an NPR / Fresh Air interview with writer Ayad Akhtar so I borrowed the book from the library and read it.

In the 1960’s his parents earned medical degrees in Pakistan and then emigrated to the US where Ayad was born and has lived all his life. (His parents are now deceased.) His dad was a highly respected cardiologist. In the 1990’s, when Donald Trump was having heart issues, Dr. Akhtar was flown to NYC to examine Trump.

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.

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