Mary Beth Writes

Two news reports that caught my attention this morning: 1.) It took three months for the world have its first 100,000 people infected with coronavirus. It took 12 days for the second 100,000 infections to happen.

2.) Even though we are hearing that this disease is most dangerous for people who are immune compromised or old and elderly (gulp) – here in the US is it not precisely following this trajectory. Some numbers are indicating that people (usually young) who vape are more at risk to end up in the hospital from coronavirus than would be expected among younger adults. 

I have been on Twitter at least an hour today. I read both of these things and should have marked where I saw them. Sorry, I don’t know where I read them although I just googled both of these reports and there are a variety of sources talking about them.

I heard the new “Emma.” movie was being released to streaming on Amazon this weekend. Cool! I pulled it up – and the RENTAL price was $20!  Good Grief. Instead I paid $4 to rent the Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and it was fun. Then I rented another movie that Len didn’t want to watch.  When I finally came upstairs Len was on his computer watching “Igby Goes Down” – which he said was well made but didn’t make a whole lot of sense. 

So anyways, I went to bed and fell asleep.

This morning Len told me that while he was watching his movie he became so twisted on his office chair that the bow of his shoelace hooked over the adjusting lever UNDER the seat of the chair. He realized this after the movie was over, after he had turned off his computer, and of course he had turned off all the lights in our office to watch the movie.

He couldn’t see how he was hooked. He also couldn’t lean over because he was tied to the chair.

It took him a while, he said, to free himself from his own office chair.


My grandson started to crawl yesterday! When they facetimed with us this morning he crawled around a corner with the biggest grin on his sweet baby face.  

Our daughter is going to keep both of the kids home this week WHILE she also works from home. All over America parents are doing hard things. Next time someone tries to say our forebearers were amazing because they struggled and sacrificed to raise their families in this new land  – I am going to remind them American parents still are amazing!

This morning I was still in bed drinking coffee (#partnerswhobringpartnerscoffeeinbedstaypartners). I didn’t even have my glasses on yet when I heard a loud, weird squawky noise from outside. I smiled; I know that noise.

Migrating Black Crowned Night herons fly at night and roost and rest during the day. They are squat and their voices are not angelic. I have heard them only two springs in my whole life. Well, as of today, now I have heard them three times. 

I lifted this from my old “Lost in Racine” column from April 23, 2005

Last week my husband I did something we've been meaning to do for years.  We put our canoe into the Root River downtown, then paddled upstream as the river wends through the middle of Racine. We saw a few people fishing. We saw too many places where ugly avalanches of junk slide down banks.

We paddled around a bend. I glanced at bare trees along the bank. Something moved. I heard the rattle of branches.  I looked closer. I whispered to my husband, "There's a Night Heron in there." He whispered back, "What's a Night Heron?"

The last one I saw was years ago when we lived in Chicago. It perched all day on a neighbor's roof and then flew away that night. Here was one of these (to me, at least) rare birds again. It's about the size and shape of a 10-pound bag of flour, wears a blue-gray coat over white-gray undercoating, has short legs (for a heron), long beak, and a black cap.  Its official name is Black-crowned Night Heron.

Len and I admired the ungainly creature. There were more rustles in the trees. Another Night Heron.  More wings luffing, more branches rattling.  Another one and another one.  My heart raced as I stopped counting with my brain and started jamming a finger up from my fist for each heron I saw. 

 I lost count at 23.  It was one of the most beautiful and eerie things I've ever witnessed.  All those birds shapeshifting out of a semi-abandoned industrial nook of the inner city. 

 A friend says Black-crowned Night Herons are migrating north these days.  The ones we saw are likely on their way to Horicon Marsh.

To hear one:






I know just what they look like... I bought a mixed media piece years ago at the "Monument Square Art Fair" in Racine that hangs in George's livingroom it's a trptyh ( 3pcs ) called "Silent Transformation Of The Night Herron Into Saturday Night Dancer, With Chaos" by Alan Shauble who was doing art fair's back when I was still doing them...
Mary Beth's picture

Next time you go there take some pix and send to me? I will post them if you do. Sounds awesome!

A lot of this made me smile despite all the horror around us. Awwww- baby Eddie crawling. \

I just love your nature/animal stories. Can't wait to see Franc's pic. The craines out here are making lots of noise....amazing. And today I see the Wood Ducks are back.
Mary Beth's picture

Aw Shucks... Thank you! I know this is terrifically un-Wisconsin-ish of me ... but I could not recognize a wood duck. I've heard of them forever, but I'm not sure which one they are. Might have to research a little.

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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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