Mary Beth Writes

Weather makes a big difference, doesn’t it? Quarantine when it’s balmy and sunny is different than waking to grey sky, 33 degrees, and gale warnings. We are such earthy creatures.  All the things we are and know and can do ... and we are still moody on a dreary day.

When I woke to freezing temps and wind advisories I skipped my morning walk. There were plenty of things to do, including interviewing my own nephew who is three cat whiskers from making Eagle Scout. He needed one more particular recommendation, so we talked, I wrote it up and stuck it in an envelope. And then the sun came out.

Post office is a half hour from here so I took a walk after all. Len came with. Ate Peeps when i got home.

Happier Camper.

I am a 25-years participant in The Sister Study. (more about it here)  My sister died of breast cancer in the late 1980’s. This study is long-term tracking of the health of 50,000 women who have/had a sister with this cancer.

Just today I received an email from the Sister Study asking if I would consider downloading a particular Covid-19 tracking app. Information is being collated by several hospitals and medical schools in the US and Great Britain. My info will also be shared to the Sister Study.

So I’m the person who quit playing Words With Friends because privacy issues – but today I downloaded an app that asks me to send in my health status DAILY to a consortium of medical institutions.  I’m glad to do this.

If you want to consider it, this is where I started. (this is not the proposed Google/Facebook monitoring which I do not trust).

Also, it will give info back to Len and me (he also signed up).  It will tell us the daily count of Covid cases in our county.

How to participate:

  • Provide daily updates (your phone will ask whether to "Allow" or "Don't Allow" push notifications-be sure to select "Allow" to receive reminders to provide daily updates)


A month of quarantine is interesting. All my life I’ve claimed I was introverted and yet if the topic came up there were always folks who didn’t believe me. I like people and am pretty happy when I’m among them. If I’ve hung out with you and I didn’t look like I was suffering, believe me, I wasn’t!

But as most introverted people will attest, liking to be alone doesn’t mean we don’t like people. It just means we think, work, and breathe most easily when we are away from the Madding Crowd.     

In this past month I have been able to experience what it’s like to not be responsible to be sociable. I can go hours without talking to anyone but Len, nd sometimes we go hours without talking to each other. It is so uncomplicated to take long walks by myself, to read, write, and think long thoughts. 

I’m learning here.  I don’t have it parsed out, but some things will need to change going forward.  I really love long empty days that are filled with activities I believe in.

What about you?  Are you a surprised that you don’t mind being cut off from others?

Or is being separated from family and friends just relentless pebbles in your shoes?





The only difference for me is that my husband and daughter are with me during this quarantine. Lucky for me they have work and school. It is difficult when we are stuck together to explain my need to be alone. Well, I’m never really alone. The two dogs shadow me wherever I go 24/7! MB, I knew you were introverted...
Mary Beth's picture

I wonder if Paul was also an introvert, but for a lot of reasons, just kept being outgoing and sociable,

I am mostly enjoying staying home and I am not surprised. In normal times I have this quietly nagging feeling - call it guilt of a sort that I should be out and about going places and socializing. Now I am free to read and watch and write and cook with no feelings of guilt - it is a pleasure. I do miss my massages and I miss grocery shopping, but I can deal with this as long as needed.
Mary Beth's picture

Me, too.

I too can be quite content being alone with my TV or computer, only occasionelly music. Time outside walking or just being on my deck in nature, since I live on a stream with wild area all around my home, is very comfortable for me. I enjoy being around people, but have always thought of myself as shy,,,maybe introverted, which most people don't thing I am. I get your feelings completely.

I understand the feeling. I realized I am an outgoing introvert, I enjoy people, I'm not shy or reserved. But I need my alone time to recharge my batteries & I 've learned that I love working alone from home as I have the opportunity to do so now.
Mary Beth's picture

I wonder if this 'socially adept introvert' is evenly distributed between (among?) sexes? Or is it more common in women than in men? Because for women, being social is a survival skill, most of us learn how to be sociable well and early - thus missing the opportunity to understand ourselves as people who need a lot of alone time.

Wow-I've never thought of it like that! It makes total sense for me because it took me a very long time to figure out who I actually was & what made me tick. Thank you for the new perspective.

I have found a new comfort in the quiet...I am a talker, as you know, MB, yet here in my own home that I share with my cat and a friend, there is a wonderful stillness, a shared yet individual “cocoon” of relaxation and healing. Bought of us having a medical crisis not long before this happened (he flatlined and was brought back), it is a restful time. I don’t even wonder what the future brings as I am content now.

I enjoy my alone time, always have its my time to think, cook, plan, terrorize, and create and spend time with the animals or animal as it is now... I've always liked the company of the animals I've surrounded myself with through the years more than the company of my fellow humans, with only a few exceptions... I've started to excercise more which is making me feel better and healhier... And I'm not really stressing out about how long this is going to last because I like myself enough to spend the time doing what I enjoy...

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Remembering Stuff

“I’m getting so old. I just can’t remember anything anymore.”

Okay, I understand and accept that forgetfulness is weird and awkward. We talk to someone about this movie and that house repair and that small restaurant from which we ordered amazing food a few weeks ago and it feels as if we are talking with 95% of the words we used to know. What was that guy’s name? Where did I read that really powerful thing about political strategy now?

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

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