Mary Beth Writes

Oh Lordy, it’s not even a week yet and I am SO READY for this crisis to be blow away. 

Yesterday Len and I went for a long walk at Scuppernong. (Scuppernong info here.)

After the hike we ate sandwiches while watching the sun set while watching two Sandhill Cranes dance!  By doing all this we completely missed the evening news and I lost twelve pounds of dread.

Have been trying to not sit on Twitter all day today. Trying.   

There will be Scuppernong photos tomorrow.  I need Len to help me figure out a step but he’s in the middle of a Big Concentration so I will not bother him right now.

I guess that’s the first thing I have to say. When one is in close quarters with another person one MUST keep in mind that other person is ACTUALLY another person and not an “extension of me.”  Marriage is weird this way, huh? We fall in love with someone because they are wondrously different than us. And then we spend the rest of our lives trying to make them do things our way on our schedule.

Len and I share a small office and we usually do fine. We both know and accept that we are Highly Distractible - think toddlers in a roomful of puppies. Anyway, if one of us seems as if they have somehow made it into a place where they are thinking and working -  then other doesn’t say anything other than “I’m going downstairs for coffee, want some?”

This next bit makes me sad.  My friend Karen’s mom is in an assisted living residence in Indiana.  She’s in her 80’s, is a retired RN, raised good kids who became good adults with wonderful families who up till this past week - visited frequently. But as is happening across the nation, the place where she lives has locked down. To keep people from possibly cross-infecting each other these folks – our Greatest Generation - are being asked to mostly stay in their rooms. They are being served their meals in their rooms. 

Karen’s mom, like so many in this novel situation, feels a bit lonesome, anxious, and sad.  I asked if I could put her address here and Karen says yes – especially if those of you who respond send cards and greetings that she can share with others who are also eager for interesting things from the outside world.

If you have a moment, send a card or short note. Say what town you are from. Talk about the weather! She probably won’t be able to answer many, but this is interesting to know. Her husband fought in WWII. Somehow Karen’s mom and dad honeymooned in Paris soon after it was liberated. They lived their lives in Indiana. Karen’s dad worked at a factory; her mom was a school nurse. If I messed this up, Karen will correct me in the comments….

Mrs. Joan Owen

Miller’s Assisted Living

625 Oakhill Ave, Apt 6

Plymouth, In. 46563


If you are on Facebook, follow Janis Ian. Yes, That Janis Ian. She posts a lot of funny stuff and occasionally intriguing things.  This was in her feed yesterday: I like the idea that maybe we can help our lungs get ready for what’s coming…

Here's some splendid advice I received from a nurse about how to guard the health of your lungs when ill. Since every bad cold I get goes straight to my lungs and turns into bronchitis, I was really happy to see this, which also includes a few things I never knew.

‘When ill, we shallow breath, and mucus settles in the bases of our lungs. This is why a viral infection is often followed by pneumonia. So doing deep breathing exercises is really important!
* Note. Holding arms above head, if you can, opens your rib cage and makes the deep breathing easier and fuller. Stretch your arms overhead when breathing deeply, period. It helps stretch out your ribcage while drawing in your breath.
Deep Breathing Exercises
1. Take in a very deep breath. Hold for 3-5 seconds. The pressure will pop open your lungs' smaller alveoli.
2. Repeat 5 times. Then cough forcefully after the 5th deep breath. Cough until mucus clears.
3. If you are congested repeat this several times an hour until your lungs feel clear.
4. You can get additional benefit from side lying in bed. Rotate to do the exercises on both sides.
Sit up in a chair. Walk around. Rest lying down intermittently but remember to do the side lying deep breathing exercises before you get up. Repeat them when you are upright.
Encourage sick children to be reasonably active when fevers are down.”


How are you?




I think that I might be one of those puppies you were talking about ( my Bad ) I have been doing that deep breathing thing for years, it's part of doing yoga ( It's not all about stretching and posing ) and it's something you can easily do while driving ( keep your hands on the wheel ) to work or the ¿¿store?? I find that it also helps me to destress since I'm not a fan of driving...

Mom will love this and all the wishes. Daddy didn’t actually fight in WWII but he served as a military policeman in France (Where I was conceived - ha) Last name is Owen - without an S. No matter. She will get it. Thank u! I want this all to be over, like all of us.
Mary Beth's picture

If others want me to publish names and addresses of people they care about who are stuck in nursing homes, send that contact info to me with a sentence of two about that person ... and I will publish the addresses as we go along.

What a cool idea. I will drop a note to your friend's Mom. I hope she understands that we aren't a bunch of crazies with bad intentions. Here is a quick story: I was a visiting nurse and had a lovely patient named Winnie. She was sort of my substitute grandma because mine was not nearby- or maybe we had been sisters in another lifetime. Anyway, we really loved each other, but eventually she needed to move to be closer to her daughter as her health got worse and her husband died. So I would write to her, but not as often as the months went by, and eventually she could not answer, or really remember me or other people, and this was really sad, because she was a lady who loved writing and receiving letters. I continued to send a note or card when I could. After she died, her daughter told me that Winnie kept all of the letters and stuff in her top drawer and would hold them and talk about them. She would ask her daughter to read them to her when her vision left her, and she often didn't realize that these were sometimes old letters being re-read. I was so honored first, to have that wonderful in-person connection and, second, to know it and also meant so much to her. I'm pretty sure we will connect again sometime in the universe.
Mary Beth's picture

This is a beautiful story. Affection and respect and love is, I am sure, what holds the world together when it feels as if it is flying apart.

Now I should write one to my own a home in Idaho. She no longer knows who I am...
Mary Beth's picture

Logically, it will make no diff if you write to your mom. But as the world is knit together by the physics of things and love - it WILL make a difference if you send love in an envelope anywhere. I'm pretty sure of it.

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Quarantine Diary #17 3/30/2020

Why are people (lots of them) on Facebook posting photos of landscapes? The instructions say one should post a picture of a landscape one took somewhere, one should not say where that place is, and no people should be included, especially not the posting-person.  

Why? I don’t get it. I don’t mind but I really don’t get how this connects to anything.

A friend’s husband’s company had a virtual meeting this morning about the future of their company. Things are changing but not shutting down. They will still have income and insurance.  Thought you might like to know.  

Quarantine Diary #16 3/29/2020

I’ve been busy today so I’m a little late getting to this diary. Doing what, you ask? Oh, brilliant things like washing the bathroom and doing laundry and going for a blustery walk. Took the plastic off the particular windows we wrap in the fall.

Spent a chunk of the morning reading about the lead-up to the Revolutionary War battles at Saratoga. More about that later.  Reading about brave and canny, stupid and ego-centric politicians of an entirely different era is part of my coping strategy for life in the US. We aren’t the first to live in fraught times. Not by a long shot.

Quarantine Diary #15 3/28/2020

The Long-Awaited Groceries (The hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” is in my brain right now) came last night at 9PM – when it was raining. A woman named Sarah, late 30’s, brown ponytail, not-posh sweatpants and hoodie – carried ALL our groceries across the street from her car to our porch. This included 8-packs of Gatorade plus boxes of seltzer water, plus lots of other heavy stuff. Did I mention it was raining?

Quarantine #14 3/27/2020

Last night we did another wild and crazy thing. We got in our car and went for a drive! The first thing we remarked to each other was that we had not been in the car together in weeks.  It felt a little odd to be in there, next to each other, about to GO SOMEPLACE! Maybe this is the way it feels to be the family dog when they let you sit in the front seat and EVERYTHING IS SO AMAZING!

We drove west into the rosy sunset, filled with excitement to, um, see the sky.  Quarantines are easiest on people who have a low bar for excitement.

Quarantine Diary #13 3/26/2020

What do you miss?  What, in our new pandemical world do you miss most from our pre-pandemical world?You know, the one we lived in till two weeks ago?

I don’t mean the heartbreaking realities such as safe medical care providers and enough places to go should one become ill and the loved ones that we are losing.

I just mean, what are we getting used to? Or trying to get used to. What might we never go back to?

Quarantine Diary #12 3/25/2020

Right now it is 11:00AM.  Got up this morning at the regular time. Did regular things. Came to the office to write. Worked (hardly at all) on a project, wrapped an item for eBay. Announced to Len at 10:30 that I was sleepy and going to take a nap.

You know what he said?  He said, “Me, too.”

The following half hour he took the sofa and I took our bed and both of us slept like toddlers on cots.

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