Mary Beth Writes

I had to do an errand this morning that was in the neighborhood of a Stein’s yard and garden store. I’d already looked online at several seed companies. All seemed to feature whackadoodle high prices as well as warnings about no substitutions and delayed shipments. That was discouraging.

I put on my Big-Girl mask and went into the store at 10AM (there were three customers in the whole place) and bought the seeds on my list as well as seeds not on my list. 

I had forgotten about Four o’clock flowers. I grew them back when my kids were little. They grew right next to the playhouse that the kids built with scrap lumber. Boy, that was a house that wasn’t Lil’ Tykes. That playhouse was scrappy, the beat-up walkway where it resided was scrappy, there wasn’t full daylight, the dog ran back and forth right there – and those 4 o’clocks just bloomed and bloomed.  

Are flowers sometimes souvenirs you grow to remind yourself of the last time you grew them? Last year one hollyhock by my kitchen door just took off to grow nine feet tall! Len put a hook in the side of the house to hold it up. Nearly every woman who walked past it stopped a minute to tell me about playing hollyhock dolls when she was little.

Right now, most of us are becoming aware that the United States’ meat supply is being upended. Most meat is becoming a little or a lot more expensive.  In the frugal blogs I read, some people are going out of their way to buy larger than ordinary amounts of meat to put in their freezers against rising prices and short supplies.

There is a lot of American hypocrisy going on when we blame China’s “wet markets” for this pandemic. Yes, those markets of so many animals are dangerous and ought to be closed. 

But just as dangerous are our factory farms where animals are genetically engineered to produce the most meat the most cheaply. Factory farms are breeding grounds for the next pandemic.

So that meat some of us are rushing to buy right now – maybe we need to back off.

This week I am going to attempt a daring feat I have never done before. I have a stack of books on my nightstand.  I often dip into them to read for a few minutes, but then I go to the library and find fiction that will “take me away.” Our Waukesha Public Library (bless them) is kinda open again as of today. But one has to order books ahead, make a date and time slot to pick up one’s chosen books, there is no browsing.

This makes sense. But alas, how do I know what I want to read before I’ve started to read it?

So in this particular week I am going to read my own damn books. (Actually, two of the books in my stack are loaners from friends.)

Does anyone want to join me in this grueling commitment to just go ahead and read a book they have been meaning to read for a long time?



I have decided to cut way back on meat...again. I am not planning to eat any. I have some in The freezer and will continue to cook it for the other inhabitants of the house, dogs included. I just cannot stomach the idea of factory farms. I have a book on my nightstand that I have had kicking around for a couple of years, I decided to start reading it tomorrow. Might make a nice change from English murder mysteries on YouTube and Coronavirus stuff and covidiots.

I'll join you Mary Beth, I can see 5 books from my vantage point that I've either started to read or picked up thinking it would be a good read... Reading has never been easy for me it's more work than I would like it to be because my eyes don't focus like most people's do... It's like running a marathon and yet it's something I truly enjoy.... I'm pledging to finish "Blood, Bones & Butter" The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton... I tend to like reading about people who don't really follow the crowd , but choose to do things on their own terms... It's something Ms. Hamilton does in spades from what I've read so far... I could be friends with this Woman...

I mostly read books on my Kindle now and have accumulated quite a few "to be read." One was a bio of Georgia O'Keefe that I have been slowly working my way through. However, I have the desire to be "taken away" by good fiction too. I recommend reading the readers' reviews on Amazon. I find that that gives me a pretty good idea of whether I will enjoy a book. Then you can check your library to see if they have the book. I am currently very much enjoying M.L.Longworth's series of "Verlaque and Bonnet" mysteries that are set in Provence, France. Lots of attention to descriptions of good meals and wines, good character development, and interesting crimes to be solved without gore and car chases. You would definitely feel "taken away."

Big Girl mask —- haha— did they match ur big girl pantries?? Haha Love seed packets and all the pretty color they represent. I have plenty of unread books on my shelf too Meat supply. We need to clean our freezer out and see what we need
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I am going to do book recommendations inside these Quarantine Diaries. In the past, I've found my best recommends in - the comments in the Non-Consumer Advocate. I think there is something about people living carefully and cleverly - that they often like similar books. So pay attention Dear Readers/Friends. Books, movies, TV shows... coming up.

Hey, you guys! Some of you might like trading free books with others around the US, or even around the world!
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for this tip!

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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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