Mary Beth Writes

Here’s a rabbit hole.  (A rabbit hole is anything you suddenly need to learn lots about that you weren’t even thinking about five minutes ago.) (Peg, I need your rabbit hole photo!)

I was thinking about days of the week and how 35 days into this quarantine many of our best jokes are about how confused we are. I saw one joke that said today is March 97th.  Or the one about how interesting this leap year is: February had 29 days. March had 57 days and April is five years long. So far.

I visited Copan, Honduras one lucky time in my lucky life. A guide there explained that Maya people lived by a 20-day week.  Which, if you ask me, is way too long till Friday.

So I just looked up the Maya calendar to see if I remembered that correctly – and I did!

The Haab is a 365-day solar calendar which is (more or less) divided into 18 months of 20 days each. Kin equals 1 Day.  Uinal equals 20 kin AKA a Mayan week. And scientists know that the Mayan calendar is based on OLDER indigenous calendars.

We humans really, really like and need to know what time and day it is. We crave that time and days should be predicable and should be rung in and rung out by regular sleep times.

Consider that a form of torture used by all cultures that torture (including ours) is to put a person in a place where they can’t see daylight, so they don’t know what day it is or how long they have been there.

Or how hard we work to switch a newborn’s sleep schedule to match ours.

Or that a known health risk is to require a person to work a night shift. Or worse, switch their shifts every few weeks.

The first place my brain goes in the morning is, “What day is it?” Usually I can figure it out and then I can get up and get the coffee. Or drink the coffee Len has already fetched.

I have no big point to make here, other than to acknowledge that today is Friday. My spirit is happy about this even though I haven’t worked a regular job in three years. 

Len is out right now at the liquor store.  We haven’t had an IPA in five weeks, and we ran out of Cab Sav a week ago. Isn’t it telling that Friday afternoon awakens our desire for alcohol?   The internal clock knows. 

If one is an abstainer, tell me what delight Friday wakes up in you?

How do you tell the difference in the days these days?

Prone. Proning.  Have you read about proning patients? Covid is so new and so serious. Medical care providers around the world are talking to each other about what they are learning and discovering. This is a terrible time.  It must also be such a unique time for frontline caregivers as they communicate with their colleagues in China, Italy, Spain, France, NYC, and all the other places where people are trying so damn hard to get a handle on how to heal.

Someday I want to read the book that describes what is happening right now as non-political professionals share what they are learning.  Right now, this is where Peace on Earth is happening.   

Anyways, I’m sorry but I can’t source the precise article. Pretty sure it was The Washington Post of New York Times.  Here is a similar article from CNN.

 A physician explained that he has never in his professional life had to tell a patient to get off the phone so that he could put that person into a coma and then intubate him for a ventilator. That moving a patient to a ventilator has ALWAYS happened when that person is already so sick they are unconscious.  With Covid often peoples’ minds are still functioning as their oxygen levels are plummeting them towards death.  This is not only tragic, its extremely medically interesting. 

Some are trying a new therapy and sometimes it works. They “prone” the patient. Which is literally turning them over to be on their stomachs.  Many patients are obese so they are use maternity beds; supportive bed with the tummy and maybe breast area indented enough to allow a full-figured person to lie on their front.  And that no matter how they get the person prone, it seems to elevate oxygen levels very quickly and dramatically.

This week, on my walks, I have paid attention to this body-mechanics phenomenon.  When I walk up a steep hill - if I try to maintain upright posture I get more winded than if I lean forward into the incline.  Get the lungs free of body weight as much as possible and they open up a little so that more oxygen can flow in. When we talked about this, Len realized that leaning forward posture is normal bike riding posture - the weight of  shoulders and head is not over the lungs but over the bike. The weight of one’s girth is lower and also not on the lungs.

We are so complicated and also, we are so simple. Lungs gotta have air.

In the pre-Covid world, Len and I were starting a car trip on Monday. Sigh.

This afternoon I ordered a backyard firepit. We have all those logs, limbs, and tree trimmings. Plus IPA’s.

Lucky is having a plan behind a plan.

What was on your calendar for next week?









This is well- known in the NICU. Premie and newborn chest walls are more pliable, and babies often will oxygenate and ventilate better on their abdomens. This was not new to this 'seasoned' NICU RN. :)
Mary Beth's picture

Part of the article was that people are communicating across boundaries that usually divide them, as they share expertise. Bradley birthing classes - back when we were about having babies - was adamant that delivering mothers should not be "tied" to machines. Bodies need to move. I understand this can't always be the case, but it made sense to me then and still does.

Friday and my heart is happy too. Two days to do nothing but work around the house and maybe do some baking. I’m not bored! Friday night - for as long back as when our boys played sports - means pizza. Tonight we ordered pick up and ate in the truck. It was delicious. Pineapple and all. Ha
Mary Beth's picture

"If you sit in a bath of pineapple chunks, it can kill you. That's well documented." ~ Karl Pilkington I don't know who Pilkington is, either. Or if this is true. But who even knew there are "Quotes about pineapples"?

OK, now I'm laughing about the pineapple......but where were you going on your trip? Thanks again for the daily up lift too.....
Mary Beth's picture

A car trip south and west - Big Bend National Park in Texas and several places we hiked in Arizona a few years ago. We want to hike in desert/river/canyon places but it looks as if we will be vacationing in our backyard in Waukesha this year.... Thanks to Chet, at least will will have more sun and less Box Elder bugs.

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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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