Mary Beth Writes

Coming right up, Pandemical Mother’s Day! If you are a mother you probably have one of two imperfect tomorrows in front of you.

If you are a mom with kids in your house, you will eat what they cook, or call in take-out, or cook the meal to celebrate yourself. If that 3rd option happens I’m suggesting cereal, candy bars, popcorn and Old Fashioneds. But you do you.

If your kids are grown and out of the house, well, there’s a conundrum. Cozy phone calls? Or Happy Social Distancing with the ones you love best. Air hugs just don’t cut it, do they? Maybe you will hug them anyway, I won’t tell.

I read this smart article earlier today which certainly suggests that if you can manage it – stay outside. Read here.  The weather in the Midwest tomorrow is supposed to be rain interspersed with snow. Fun.

Tomorrow you either will or won’t be with your mother, your children, and grandchildren. Mother’s Day is an easy day to start with the best of intentions and attitude and then whammo-bammo, one kid sticks his finger in the nose of the other (they are 40 and 42) and next thing you know … complicated feelings.

So maybe today think of things you would like to happen that YOU can be in charge of. A walk, with snowshoes? Cooking something you love to eat. Listening to your favorite music. Watching a movie. (We watched “Becoming.” It was like breathing clean air to remember how many good people are in our country.) If you have the money to do so, order something you’ve been coveting a little.

Never wait for someone else to make you happy on Mother’s Day during a pandemic.

In case you need or want a laugh: Best Tweets by Women this week.   

Things I saw on Twitter yesterday and this morning:

 Tweet 1: Trump's grandfather died in the 1918 flu pandemic and the subsequent life insurance policy that paid out created the Trump fortune. This is the most mind-boggling thing I've learned during Covid 19.

Tweet 2: In the past DAY, the 8 richest men increased their wealth by $6.2B:
Mark Zuckerberg: $1.08B, Larry Page: $956M, Bill Gates: $931M, Sergey Brin: $919M
Jeff Bezos: $907M, Larry Ellison: $634M, Warren Buffett: $429M, Steve Ballmer: $353M
Combined wealth: $653.8B

While 33M+ lost jobs

A friend asked me (via email, sigh) how I’m doing. I said I feel as if in the last few days I and America have finished Part One of the pandemic. We have witnessed thousands of people dying, bodies stacked in refrigerator trucks, Trump stumbling through his briefings and Cuomo gripping our attention in his. We know who Fauci is as well as the lady with the scarf. We know how to put on our masks. I don’t think much anymore about “going out” since being here seems so normal. Getting in the car makes me feel slightly giddy.

I check the Dow Jones a lot less than I used to; it seems dead and stupid and has so little to offer people who lost their jobs. Some businesses are re-opening but who is patronizing restaurants and stores now? According to surveys, about 70% of us are staying hunkered down until something makes more sense than this.

We are in Part Two where 46% of Americans are affected by lowered income. But that means 54% of us have about the same. Len and I and many of you are in the 54% - and it doesn’t feel a bit stable or kind.

I walked on the boardwalk through the slough behind Target this morning, my mind tumbling and whizzing. I leaned against the railing a few minutes to watch mud.  And wouldn’t you know, a piece of that muck began to move! It was a big ole’ turtle! 

It was so marvelous to watch that old lady (I decided she was she) pushing around, biting at weedy things, just being her perfect self. I smiled until I realized I was smiling and that I was excited. I wasn't trying to be delighted, that just happened on its own. I thought about the generations behind me who taught their kids to look for turtles for fun, science, and dinner.  All of those people and their kids crowded up behind me with their curiosity and respect, we all wanted to see the big turtle at the edge of a swampy city pond.   

The earliest known turtles date from the Middle Jurassic, making them ancient. Turtles are thought to have exceptional night vision due to the unusually large number of rod cells in their retinas; turtles have color vision with sensitivities ranging from the near ultraviolet (UVA) to red.

The story going on around us is so much older, wilder, and bigger than us.  

 

Comments

Watched Becoming the day it came out -- smiled the whole way through it. Michelle is such an upbeat, decent, encouraging person, she is amazing. Watching the Grant Park scene on election night made me cry, just as I did that night in 2008 when I felt so hopeful for my country. Watching Becoming did once again give me some hope. In spite of the dumpster fire that is the current administration, we did once have leaders who were decent and competent; so perhaps we could have that once again. Feeling hopeful is so much better than feeling despair. Feeling despair makes one want to give up, but feeling hopeful makes one try to make things better.

I have walked that boardwolk many times in past years....thanks for the memory. I have a big old snaping turtle who lives in my channel. Head as big as my fist. I see heim every year....but not this year yet....strange... one year he got stuck inside the fence around my veggie garden. I had to rescue him. Had to get him to grab a stick and drag him out the gate. He wasn't very apprecative. He's lucky I don't like turtle soup!
Mary Beth's picture

Aren't they awesome! Like a wave from millions of years ago, they hung out with dinosaurs and they hang out near us.

I too watched Becoming on the day it first came out. All I can say is that that woman has more intelligence and class in her little finger than that poor excuse for a president we have in Washington... And as for turtles how can you not love them... As kids we used to bring them home from a nearby pond and keep them in the backyard until they would escape or we'd take them back to the pond...

That reminds me of a turtle I had brought home for a "pet". It all went well until one day when holding it on my shoulder.....it bit me on the neck! After that I stuck to bring toads and frogs home....except when I got a muskrat from the almost empty city swimming pool after the winter draw down.....I was into bring anyting live home for a pet, snakes, baby black birds ( full of lice, my mother pointed out, when I set them on the kitchen table ) I also collected niightcrawlers with a flashlite after a heavy rain, by the coffee can full. My first "pets".
Mary Beth's picture

Michol, I can just see you with pet worms and a muskrat and a crow on your shoulder, giving heck to anyone who crossed your path. A mom who names her daughter Michol knows who that daughter is going to be!

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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.

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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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