Mary Beth Writes

This morning I’m “hosting” coffee with friends via Zoom and I’m kinda nervous about if it will work. 

My congregation has been having virtual coffee hours; it’s such a happy thing to see friends’ faces. Because my church “made” us do this I sort of see how it works and so, why not try with others? During this time any organization that forces us to try options to stay connected - that’s mission accomplished right there.  (So thanks Dave and Dennis and whomever else got this going.)

In my early 20’s I was friends with Julie Molloy-Good. I can still hear her asking, “How hard can it be?”

Guess what? It was pretty easy! I googled Zoom the other night and eventually signed up and accidentally started a meeting right then, with Len, in the same room. Bumpy start but no one got hurt. These companies don’t make money if their products are complicated. They count on folks like us to try their products.

It was a delight to have coffee with pals! One of them pulled a beautiful streusel coffee cake out of the oven while we were talking. That was cruel.

My daughter and grandkids also facetimed with me this morning. They were all on the kitchen floor while the baby crawled. At one point my daughter left the phone on the floor in order to get something from a kitchen cupboard. I was laughing because all I could see were the kitchen lights … until suddenly a big round head chugged into view and there was the baby’s smiley face was looking down at me.    

So I’m thinking today about “learning curves.” Children don’t worry about whether they will be able to do something or not. Our baby boy isn’t trying to crawl well or proficiently. Just put him on the floor and away he goes. 

But when I think about “hosting a zoom meeting” I am so aware I might screw up and careen right off the learning curve into the weeds. It’s easy to anxious about activities that are dependent on a computer, but really, what’s the problem? It’s just a learning curve. We have to pay attention for a while. We have to try and maybe try again. We have to ask Google questions and then WikiHow and if that doesn’t work, ask Len.

So that’s what I have to say about Learning Curves during Quarantine. Don’t worry so much about what you don’t know. Be interested in what you are trying to learn.

PS: The smarty-pants three-year-old ended todays’ conversation with, “Have to let you go now, Grandma. Love you!”

Did you see that statistics show that this quarantine, when strictly observed (no restaurants, church, bars) is working? Wow! We have weeks and months ahead of us, but maybe we will get through.

I also read that it it’s likely that 11 million people in Pacific Rim nations will fall into deep poverty because of the way this is affecting the worlds’ economy. People who are okay now but won't be. I can’t take in how much suffering has, is, and will crater the lives of our fellow humans.

Those of us with shelter and time and enough income on which to live – how will we respond?

What are you thinking of changing?

I’m going to start by tipping more and using Amazon less.

More daily flower mandalas created by my niece Susan. You can follow her on Instagram at Susanlawrence954.  For some reason, my computer doesn't want to do very many photos today, so there will be more tomorrow...



I need to get brave and try the zoom! Laughed out loud at the cruel coffee cake coming out of the oven. Smiled at the precious grandkid interactions. My heart squeezed at all the hardship this is causing.

Thank you!!!!

Lovely piece. I just learned to Zoom on Saturday. It was her 84th birthday and all 5 kids zoomed in at 5 pm to sing happy birthday at the same time. It was fun.
Mary Beth's picture

Zoom is WAY easier than, say, crocheting a dishrag or knitting a Nordic sweater. It's amazing what we let ourselves think is easy and what is hard....

I was wondering who was doing the lovely flower mandalas. Kudos to Susan!

It was a fairly uneventful day today... Breakfast panini and some good new baby news... Then afternoon with George since his therapy at the hospital has been shutdown because of this virus... Home to make dinner and a beer and reading some a-mails from the new guy... And then more sitting here alone like the rest of the world... As for your question's #1- I don't have tons of money but my bills are paid so I'll figure out how to share the rest... #2- I've been forced to put a moratorium on thrifting so I may be used to not doing as much of it by the time this is all over with... #3 I've already started tipping way more in hopes that it might just make a tiny difference in someone's life and as far as I'm concerned Amazon is the devil and I won't be giving them any of my money... But I'm thinking and animal shelter could use the money instead...

That was fun, Mary Beth! Thanks for being brave and making us braver than we thought we were or wanted to be.... And yes, I can almost still smell that coffee cake!...... Love the mandalas! It is impossible for us to really wrap our brains around what is happening everywhere in this world. How will it change us all?,

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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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