Mary Beth Writes

My friend Karen sent me this lovely, lovely photo collage of all the windows in her house. In the past week she has washed them all, washed the curtains, ironed the curtains that need ironing.  Isn’t this lovely?

In the past month her job, her husband’s job, and the jobs of all her kids have changed; all will now be not working or working less. Unemployment has been applied for by humans who have never applied for unemployment before in their lives. One son’s destination wedding has been put on hold. ALL the high school graduation related events for her beloved high-achieving grandson are now kaput; the family can’t even get together for cake.  Her husband’s oddly shaped little skin thing was, in fact, serious enough to require three trips (so far) to a clinic and surgical center and then there was waiting for pathology labs. Oh, and he doesn’t have his job of over 30 years to go to, cuz it’s closed til this crisis is over. (His health is okay. All he has to do now is heal.)  Also her mom is in assisted living and Karen can only visit through the window.

So. Aren’t those windows beautiful?

What are YOU doing with your freaked-out energy?

I slept swell last night so apparently my insomnia was possibly related to five cups of coffee?

A relaxed brain will dream so mine did.  I dreamed I was in a car with Trump who was the driver. The world was gray and ominous. Trump didn’t know where we were or where we wanted to go. I DID know where I wanted to go; back home. I used Google Maps to direct him. He paid no attention and got on an expressway where he proceeded to drive 80mph BACKWARDS. I yelled at him to get off the highway. He did, pulled into a restaurant and walked away to get donuts (yes, this was in my dream). I had coffee. (of course). I recognized the people at the table next to me. We decided we met years ago at a social services seminar.

Question #1. How many of you worked in any way in a social services type helping career? Were you at the next table?

Question #2. Was this a dream or the evening news?

Do you need a mask? On Sunday I told you how to order them from Otis. Read here. 

The ones I had are gone. You can contact him directly to order a mask for about $5/each plus shipping. His email is:

Values in the Time of Covid:

1. Our $ came from the gov’t (i.e. our taxes) today.  We are keeping it “liquid” until at least summer in case more craziness happens. Kids, grandkids, five jobs, cats, dogs – what could possibly go wrong?

2. I found a nickel on a parking lot this morning.  Will probably keep it “liquid” also.

3. We have not been able to find bread flour. Bread flour is not all-purpose nor is it whole wheat. It’s higher protein because it’s a different kind of wheat (I think).  Len is picky about flour and his bread is evidence. Anyways, I moseyed online around for Bread Flour rabbit holes and found some.

We found it at grain farmers’ cooperative in North Dakota. He ordered TWO 25# bags and the shipping costs more than the flour but get this: the price per pound will end up less than we pay per pound for it at our grocery store. Back when a person could get it.

Says something about what we pay for when we buy our groceries. We pay for someone to carry it across the country to us.

It's been years since we bulk-bought flour, but we know how to do it.  We will immediately put it all into Ziplock bags (some reused, some new, whatever it takes). We will set up the bottom of our fridge as the flour shelf and pile the bags in. Then we will put one bag at a time in our little under-the-fridge freezer for 2-3 days, pull it out, notate that it’s been frozen onto the bag, and then put in a new one. Freezing kills pantry moths. Storing in the fridge protects the flour.

A loaf of sourdough uses about 1.5 lbs of flour and lasts about 5 days. Which gives us six months of knock-your-socks-off bread. When we are sure this all works, next time our we could order even more and share it.  We will let you know.

4. If you go to my UU church, you know Chet. He is many amazing things (Bluegrass and Irish music singer and picker, husband of Sally, once-upon-a-time Waldorf teacher). He also has a tree trimming company so once upon a time I asked him tree questions. He came by a few weeks ago to consult about the over-enthusiastic urban trees that grow between our fence and a parking lot.  

He is in my backyard right now doing a daredevil’s job of getting rid of half our shade. We are the end of his day; he was already in town doing a big job for a bigger client. He is charging us less than we expected to pay. His assistant is sawing the giant limbs into shorter logs, but in the next hour they will just walk away.  Len and I will clean the yard and take the wood to our town recycling place (when it opens again).  

So he earns a bit of income in a time when many people are not hiring arborist work. Plus, we are talking about trying a vegetable garden this year because there will be light!

If you live in SE Wisconsin (he can decide what’s close enough and what’s too far) and want to talk about your trees (consultations are free) he is Chet Celenza at 262 844 0460 or

5. Buying way less. Tipping way more.



Mary Beth That T-Dream sounded more like a nightmare/real-life adventure than anything... I don't normally dream or if I do I don't ever remember them... I've had two as of late but the T wasn't in either one but my new friend was... It's weird how the brain compensates sometimes... I'm craving the human touch I can usually live without for the most part... The reality of this physical distancing is finally making itself known...
Mary Beth's picture

I heard years ago from some brain expert that adults dream because we don't play. Dreaming ricochets in our brain, keeping all the parts and zones involved in unexpected ways. It keeps our thinking processes limber and "plastic."We need this so that when we bump into new situations, our brains know how to think of options.

Leonard's picture

Chet can tell more jokes during a four hour car ride than any person alive.

For years I worked with people with serious and persistent mental illness, in several states. I haven’t known you that long, but I’m pretty sure I was at that table.
Mary Beth's picture

Yes, I think you were!

I agree with Franc. I’m craving the human touch, also. That surprises me. Love being a featured part of your diary. Wish those windows could stay clean forever. Ha. Your dream is unreal!
Mary Beth's picture

My mom has been gone since 1993, but when you say how much you miss being able to hug your mom, it makes me miss my mom, too.

I have been having several vivid dreams each night this last month. I recently read that it is caused by stress. Apparently a lot of us are in the same boat. My local child is laid off. The unemployment checks have not hit and calling in to check on your claim is impossible. As many, our poor little state is not set up for all the claims. Fortunately my son was able to save some money this past year and is getting by. I cannot imagine how his coworkers are faring. I sewed more masks yesterday so we each would have two and made another for my neighbor who wears it to work. Otis’s price at $5 is a bargain! Folks should buy him out!
Mary Beth's picture

Maybe I will mention this again in a day or two - You tally up the stresses in your life in the past year - it gives you a predictive idea about your future.

273...doing okay. The hardest thing for me these days is the physical therapy... Don’t break a shoulder, evidently it has one of the most difficult rehabs! I can swear in two languages...
Mary Beth's picture

o fo paga.

Add new comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

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

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words AARPtaxes AAUW Acadia Accountable apples Arrows Augustine baby balance Baldwin Barkskins Beauty Becky Berry birthday bistro BookReport boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cahokia calendars Canada cello Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport CrimeShows death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering Detroit Dreams Duty eBay Eclipse EmilyDickinson FairTrade farmer firealarm Fitness Five Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode ghosts GovernorThompsonStatePark groceries Guatemala guns happiness HaveYouEver? Healthinsurance HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HouseinBlueRiver hurricane impeachment Innkeeper integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Love Ludington Macaw Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Mayan MayaWorks MindfulChickens Mistakes Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves New York City Nomadland OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon poetry Preaching privacy Protest Quern quest Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes Remember Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement RitesofPassage Roses Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory sick sickness snow Social Security SofritoBandito SpaceShuttle spring square feet staining Stereotypes StoryStarts Survival swim taxes teenager Thanksgiving ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle UnrelatedObservations urgency vacation Valentines vanilla Vietnam VivianWokeUpDrowning vole WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving wedding WhyAttendChurch WillaCather
Ad Promotion