Mary Beth Writes

After I wrote the following, I realize I want to say what I keep saying. I’m here with just Len. No kids. Quarantine with children is someone else’s diary. 

I’m still waiting for ‘bored’ to kick in.

Housekeeping: I was raised (inculcated, brain washed, raised, w/e) to do house chores. Homes were supposed to be clean, neat, and tidy. Now that I am an old adult, I’m not so sure. I appreciate a calm place but I’m well aware that cleaning is generally opposite from creativity.

 Here’s a Dorothy Sayers theological argument for when your house seems a bit gritty. Sayers (friend of Tolkien and CS Lewis) says that the Bible says humans are created in the image of God. Right there in the first chapter of Genesis this is stated. So, what do we know about God at this point? Just this. God CREATED. Ergo creativity is cool, and God said diddlysquat about wiping the counters. Feel free to use this rationale anytime you need it.

 Anyways, I spend at 2-4 hours a week cleaning, clearing, laundry, yardwork, and putting stuff away. Len does as much. The driveway doesn’t snow-blow itself.

 I write 2-3 hours a day.  Others spend their mojo sewing, making things out of wood, polishing the sailboat, painting amazing things on amazing surfaces. Creativity and problem-solving and inventing what we want out of what we have. This takes times.

Walking or biking, moving and exercising takes time. The older we are, the more we need it.

Still spending a lot of time with family and friends on digital media.

Learning. Reading hard books with new-to-me knowledge in them.

Escape reading. I’m not strong enough to always live in the here and now. (The best anti-insomnia tonic, IMHO, is an evening spent in a good book.)

 People talk about being bored but I think for a lot of us, that isn’t happening.  Things are different. Activities are upside down and gone. But there is still so much occupy our minds and hands.

What about you?

I sent this email to my state reps. Feel free to copy all or parts of it if you want to:

The decision of Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature this past Monday to force Wisconsin voters to choose between their health and their right to vote – is abhorrent.

This is not democracy. This is YOUR Republican party acting to quash the democratic process in this state.

Today the NYT called this “the culmination of a decade of efforts by state Republicans to make voting harder, redraw legislative boundaries and dilute the power of voters in the state’s urban centers.”

Your party’s craven manipulation of logic and fairness is about safeguarding your Republican lock on our supreme court. “The winner will be in position to cast a deciding vote on a case before the court that seeks to purge more than 200,000 people from Wisconsin’s voter rolls…’

You, Sir, voted to REQUIRE Wisconsin citizens to choose between their own health and their right to vote.

Your support of this decision clearly indicates that POWER means more to you than the LIFE and HEALTH of citizens in this state and in your district.

Why are you even in public office? 

Hair today. Hair tomorrow.

Last time I talked with women friends, once of them said, “Well, soon we will all know what color our hair is…”  Since we can’t go to our hair stylists, many of us are facing a precarious and uncertain future.  

My hair is getting fluffier. I take a shower, let it dry, look in the mirror a few hours later and I have gained several inches on both sides of my head.  I’ve been trying to move my part over closer to the side of my head but it won‘t stay there.  My new favorite accessory is my Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument baseball cap.

When we were first married I cut Len’s hair. That was a looser, earthier, less precise time.

I see a future where I might be doing this again and I’m not confident how well this will go. 

They say new adventures are part of retirement.

What are you doing about your hair?

Not asking you, David.

 

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Comments

Mary Beth, thank you for your blog. I love today's picture of the animals in the sunlight. Don't you want to just lay down with them in the sun? I am also not bored, however I have work to do and I am feeling that it is too much work and I want to do the sewing, reading, jigsaw puzzle and yogaing part of life more. And yes, those of us who have a home, and a partner, are kind of in the best of all possible worlds in this crazy situation. My daughter who has three boys at home, ages 8 to 18 months- well that is a completely different scenario. P.s. We are going to try a virtual church service tomorrow evening for Maundy Thursday. Dorian
Mary Beth's picture

Watching (virtually..) my daughter with her two little ones awes and frustrates me. She is doing this WHILE working FT from home. And Len and I can't help, because one of our dearest hopes is that our grandchildren grow up with grandparents. Specifically, the ones who are us. So here I am, filling my day with meaningful activities. And there my kids all are, managing. Is this like being the grandparents in The Old World reading letters from their kids in The New Land?
Leonard's picture

I think a lot of people who are usually busy working or taking care of other people suddenly find themselves with time on their hands -- and occupy themselves cleaning, fixing and tidying. I've been retired for a few years, and I feel like I've been practicing for that. Now it's mostly taken up with worrying and fussing about things that we can't do much about. Family who might be sick, and politicians who don't seem to have our interests at heart. Doing housework during the pandemic is not buying us the kind of satisfaction or calmness that we were hoping for.

Obviously this question wasn't for me either but I'm answering anyway... I have been cutting what's left of my own hair for so many years that I can't even say how long it's been... It's frugal and I just couldn't justify having to pay someone to do it, and if I should mess it up I can always shave my head...I'm so good at it that I don't even look in a mirror until I'm done... What I'm not good at is trimming this beard that I decided to grow in protest to this whole covid saga we are going through... I thought it might be interesting to see if I can keep it growing until we are once again able to be among our fellow men & women... It will also be interesting to see how long it grows... The longest time I've done this is a month for "No Shave November" wish me luck...

I hope you post pictures!

So prescient. I cut my own hair 2 days ago! I washed it, combed it straight up in the air while wet and cut two inches off across the top. It came out pretty well, sort of a cockeyed layered look. My mom noticed on a ZOOM talk. Time to attend to important cleaning I never do - like moisturize the leather chair and Liquid Gold all the pre-midcentury and previous century wood furniture:) And youtube has taught me how to save decrepit orchids and what "pups" are on bromelaids and pineapple plants - I even started tomato and pepper seeds in egg cartoons. Haven't done that since the '90s.

I thought I should let you know how much I am enjoying the diary. It is like catching up with a good old friend. I have even wandered “back into the stacks”. I don’t think you know I grew up in Wheaton. I also was a Pioneer girl, I even went to a Camp Cherith one summer. I like to say I did leave Wheaton, but maybe not so much. I sent my children to Honey Rock Camp. And like you, I am not bored. We are housed, safe, and well. Please keep writing!
Mary Beth's picture

I either did not know or more likely forgot that. Wheaton. Well, that shipped sure sailed, didn't it... I do remember when both you and I were trying to talk ourselves into mammograms - because we both had sisters with breast cancer. Made a huge diff to me that my dr was as anxious as me. It was no little thing back then, to pull up our shorts and go out and deal with our fear and our reality ... and here we still are. OMG! Pioneer Girl! Me, too! Cuz they didn't want us to be exposed to those Worldly Girl Scouts. I'll keep writing. What else does one do with this many stories?

I’m not bored either. Loving the time to do what I want when I want to do it. Before I retired, this is what I was worried about and you told me to stop. You knew best! That picture of Len is on our couch! Ha. I believe, Garry was asleep on the other end.

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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