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.

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Quarantine Diary #66, 5/24/2020 Zoom Birthday

This week we Zoom-celebrated (zoom-abrated?) the first birthday of our grandson. This was a very different kind of party in our family which ALWAYS celebrates kid’s birthdays. We always have over a few too many friends and relatives. We always have a mound of presents the kids doesn’t actually need. We always have appetizers and pizza, an activity for kids, and a cake. We always sing Happy Birthday too slowly while the kid stares at the candles.

Quarantine Diary #65 – 5/22/2020 Shontay & Irresistible Iridescence

Science Daily website reports this scientific discovery. Bats have an unusual mammal response to viruses they encounter; they don’t get sick to fight the virus like the rest of us mammals do. Instead they act as a kind of long-term host for viruses. A bat is a repository of the viruses it has encountered in its batty life.

Quarantine Diary #64, 5/20/2020 Twenties & Assets

First of all, tonight at 8:20 the time will be 20:20 on 20/2020. If you have kids, or if you are your own odd duck, I think that would be a good time to celebrate. When our kids were young we celebrated New Year’s Eve by piling, on a table on a tablecloth, a crazy stack of metal cookie sheets, muffin tins, bread pans, and bowls. When midnight struck they would try to pull the tablecloth out from under the stack, everything would teeter and then tumble with a terrific crash and the cats would run and it was satisfying.

New Photo & Old Column About Spring

The photo is from this morning and is for you, Michol! This dam on the Fox River is alive with rushing water.

Quarantine Diary #63 - 5/18/2020 Flooding, It's changing now

We had three inches of rain here yesterday. This is what the Fox River by Riverwalk condominiums looks like today.

While I was walking along here, an older woman (says me, ahem…) was standing on her sidewalk with her nervous beagle, looking at the over-its-banks river.

Quarantine Diary #62, 5/16/2020 - Invisible Crisis, Spring

Little Women Again: Louisa May Alcott volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War. She intended to serve three months but after several weeks she became deathly ill with typhoid pneumonia and went home. Typhoid was treated at that time with a medication made with mercury. She survived typhoid but would deal the rest of her life with an autoimmune disease possibly triggered by the mercury.  

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