Mary Beth Writes

This morning I listened to my UU congregation’s virtual service. In the sermon Rev. David Kraemer AKA my friend Dave, read a quote that he said he read in one of my diary entries this past week.

The quote is from Albert Camus’ The Plague. “It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.” Another character asks what decency is. “Doing my job,” the doctor replies.

The essay Dave remembered is not, alas, mine. He must have read this very powerful piece in the NYT that I highly recommend.  Read it here.  

Do you know how flattered I feel to have been conflated with a writer for the NYT?  Thank you, Dave, for the compliment.

I am living a great deal of my quarantined life in rabbit holes. 

I need to know how to make sourdough starter because the two we have tried so far have not worked. So I google it but there are 17 different ways to begin starters and I should pick one of them except one of the side links leads to the intriguing your woman who has dozens of short videos showing how she makes everything in her life from materials and plants she gathers from her Chinese mountainside. She is young and beautiful and rarely speaks except in Chinese (of course) to her grandmother. They look like Fairy Tales characters. This is just one of them. There are many. 

Or questions arise (when helping your kid do schoolwork, or an email conversation with your cousin, or your smarty-pants partner makes some smarty-pants remark that you think is wrong). You Wikipedia the question at hand, and what you learn is so interesting you decide you need to read a book about it, but that means downloading the library’s Libby program to your old Kindle.

Right then, your daughter sends you a picture of your grandkids or your grand-cat.

Where did the day go?

Just me? 

I’m living in rabbit holes.

Are you getting used to quarantined life?  Things are different now.

  • Last night we dealt with this week’s groceries without inventing a plan about how to do it. Len picked it up at the store at our appointed time slot.  We soaked, dunked, or wiped everything we brought in the house, then threw away all the plastic bags.  A mere month ago I was proud of the non-disposable produce bags I used at the store.  We’re tossing plastic again. 
  • Sitting on the sofa to listen to my church’s sermon (which I like, can we put sofas in the sanctuary when this is over?).
  • I’m no longer asking if I can pet cute dogs when I’m out walking. The dog doesn’t need my germs and I don’t need his.
  • I step into the grass or a driveway to let other walkers pass me by.
  • I text my children most evenings to ask them how their days were, and amazingly often, they answer!  They aren’t on their way out to anything, either. (Actually, our son has taken up evening fishing.)
  • It’s hard to remember what day it is.
  • I am on social media more than I’ve been in my life but I’m not giving myself a hard time about it.  So much is informative or touching or FUNNY!
  • I see families out for a walk together.
  • The low price of gas.
  • The world is quieter. I miss the all-day merry-go-round of sports teams at the Carroll University soccer field we can see from our bedroom window. Saturdays and Sundays are now as quiet as Tuesdays. 
  • Being with people, even virtually, evokes little moments of delight. I feel the juice of sociability that sort of bubbles up inside me and causes a smile to pop.

What’s a new routine for you?

Comments

TY

I’m learning how to use Zoom! This morning I “went” to my church’s coffee hour. But I have disabling anxiety, so when I saw all the people, most of whom I know and like, I panicked and closed the iPad cover. When I opened it again, there was a microphone symbol. When I touched it all of the people came back! Could they hear me? I closed the cover and tip-toed around the apartment. Then I got a text from a friend [wink], the pastor thought I might be having difficulty getting on, so the helped me. First experience survived. Maybe next time I’ll talk!
Mary Beth's picture

Zoom is powerfully and curiously helpful... we need each other's faces. I think we must be wired this way. The way a dog will walk into a room, come over and get us to pet it a little, thus making face and voice recognition happen - and then it settles down. We sort of know who we still are when we see each others' faces.

It was good to see familiar faces. Living alone I don’t see many. Thank heaven for Zoom. On Monday we are having an extended family “gathering”.

My Great niece is supposed to move into a new apartment on May 1st and is expecting her first child... She's concerned about she and the baby being affected by the corona virus... She's staying in as much as she can... She was planning a baby shower before this all started which is now not going to happen... She's also worried about having to deliver the baby alone in the hospital which is putting more of a strain on her already worried mind...
Mary Beth's picture

That's a lot of unknowns for her. We wish her well.
Mary Beth's picture

Wait. Do I know this great niece? Axia?

Nope, Sonia the oldest of Faye's kids... I can't remember if you met her at the funeral or not. The reminder of that dreadful time is right around the corner.( I hate Easter for reminding me ) She's the young woman in the photo with Mother in the "Sofrito" story...
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. And best heartfelt wishes to all waiting this out.

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WHITE CAKE!

The picture is our wedding cake, made by my friend Karen, who drove it from Indiana to Chicago on the hottest day of that year. It was in the back seat so their two little boys had to ride in front (remember when kids could ride in front?). They got lost in the city but I didn't know that for years because Karen and her husband start early and had time to get lost and then figure it out. Sometimes wedded bliss is a lot of work. 

The following story and recipe is not about the wedding cake, but it is the photo I have...

...

6/30/2022

How Do We Remember What We Remember?

6/30/2022

The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

Our Terrible Canoe Adventure

The eagle photo was taken by Len - but not on this trip! 

6/23/2022

We are fine but I have a tale to tell.

American Successes / American Failures

Did you ever have to tell the truth when it was hard? Did you ever lie to avoid a hard situation?  Did you ever know a hard, wrong thing but you told no one because it was going to be complicated and some people wouldn’t believe you and you might end up disrespected or worse for “telling on” someone else?

Most people work hard at learning truth-telling when they are 4 and 5-years old.

Molecule Moving

6/8/2022     

I didn’t know a Panoply of Dental Moments was coming my way this week, but such is life with teeth. One can brush, floss, slosh, and swish - but if one’s teeth want to crumble, they do. Yesterday I had my six-month cleaning. The hygienist said several times that I brush and floss beautifully. I was proud and thinking maybe I would give myself a “well-done” sticker when I got home. Then the dentist came in to do the check-up and said two fillings had cracks around them and needed to be replaced.

Rough Stories, Tough Week

6/1/2022 

Last Friday evening on PBS Tonight David Brooks said something like this. “I am afraid for all of us. The news just pummels us.”

There are as many tough stories as there are fingers on a closed fist. The shooting in Uvalde. The shooting in Buffalo. The corrupt power of the NRA and other obscene wealth-mongers that are destroying our society from the inside of elected reps’ pockets outwards. Ukraine. Global climate mayhem. Oh, and covid is everywhere. Less traumatic for most; long covid for some. So that’s six fingers on that pugilistic fist.

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