Mary Beth Writes

Len says one can hear LOTS of frogs when one rides their bike on the Drumlin Trail.  


 Frugal Wins during the Time of Coronavirus. 1. Haven’t bought anything except groceries. 2. Haven’t eaten anywhere except home. 3. Not cooking a splendid Easter dinner for kids or friends so no outlay for a wondrous multitude of groceries.  4. No Easter candy (well, some Peeps for me and maybe a chocolate bunny for Len). 4.5 The Savings on Easter Grass, right?  5. Not buying gas to drive anywhere. 6. Another eBay item sold today. A little clutter out/a little money in. Anyone willing to pay $7.50 plus shipping for an old china bunny is a person who WANTS the bunny which is great. 7. Len and I invested over $2000 for therapy when we were in our 30’s and that is still working. Therapist/counselor/psychologist, psychiatrist - whatever you call them– if you are anxious and your state of mind is crumbly – these professionals work via phone, skype, zoom.  They don’t fix you, but they can help you find YOUR light and YOUR strength. If you need help, get it and the more you can’t afford it, the more you probably need it. Find a person and then talk with them about ways to afford it. They can help you figure that part out.

Len bought on-sale patio lights more than a year ago. We had not yet put them for a variety of reasonable reasons. Today he strung them IN our garage and I’m excited to dine alfresco this evening. We we are meeting some friends via Zoom and I’m kind of grinning just writing this.

In normal circumstances it is possibly silly to deck out one’s garage. These are not normal times. I’m up for a change of venue…

Rationales. Be Careful with them.

Years ago, when I worked in the jail, I attended a seminar presented by an organization that worked with women who had been victims of assault.

The presenter talked about “magical thinking” and her example was this. They had worked with a woman who had come home from work one day to a stranger in her house. He violently assaulted her. The trauma affected her for years.

The presenter said, “She would say in therapy sessions, ‘If only I hadn’t come home right then…’” 

She could live with the fact that it had happened. She could not live with the reality that the violence was random.  If it was random, she couldn’t figure out how to protect herself so that it wouldn’t happen again. She would rather believe that it was her fault, because then at least, she was in control. 

I think of this story often and I am thinking of it these days. People are getting sick and people are dying, and we are looking for rationales. This victim did this or that person didn’t do that.

This is magical thinking. We need to stay quarantined.  We can try to eat well, stay hydrated, go outside for walks or bike rides IF we don’t live in a city where there is no space to do that.  There are boundaries to observe.

But even if we “do everything right” there is randomness to this.  When you hear that a person contracted it – watch your words, watch your thinking.  Don’t blame the victim.  Don’t blame yourself.

Judy Woodruff, a few weeks ago, stated what to me is the most profound statement I have heard yet. Her general words were, “Today the stock market rose a huge amount. Today hundreds of people died.  This really doesn’t make sense.”

Why do I have an app THAT CAME PRE-INSTALLED ON MY PHONE where I can check the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, NYSE, and more?

Where are the American indices that ask:

  • How many work-able adults in the US are currently working?
  • What it the average wage per house in the country right now?
  • If we select out individuals earning more than $100,000 per year – what is the average hourly wage?
  • What is the average cost of health insurance for a family of four?  Can we break that out by metro and rural area?

Wouldn’t these indices say more about the core strength of our nation? 

Today, Monday, the stock market rose 1600 points while the known death toll is now over 10,000.  

I can’t live in fear, anxiety, and anger.  As soon as Len gets back from his bike ride, I’m drinking wine with him in the garage. 

What ridiculous thing are you looking forward to?










TY, Look forward to your daily musings..

I don’t know if most of your readers are local or not, but I’m kinda proud that I know what “drumlin“ means! Other readers, do you know? If you do know, don’t spoil it- if you don’t know, don’t cheat! What do you guys think it is?
Mary Beth's picture

Drumlin... A secret Wisconsin word!

We ate dinner outside tonight, too, for the first time this year. It brings an added element of excitement--a change of scenery. We are so fortunate to live where we have a fenced in back yard; the boys & puppy can play and we don't have to worry. They are also still riding their bikes/scooters around the neighborhood. Feeling blessed and grateful for the sun. Not so in love with my garden at the moment... LOL
Mary Beth's picture

I discovered (well, reconfirmed) that whereas inside the house I generally have one small glass of wine - outside the house I have two regular sized glasses of wine. I see some kids outside but not many. The baby across the street just returned from her morning stroller ride.

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.


 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.


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.

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