• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Yesterday Don’t Matter if It’s Gone

vintage-corona-typewriter-david-hinds.jpgDear Readers of this Blog:

I apologize for being so absentee over the last months. I just wanted to touch base now and see how everyone is faring during this crisis. Hoping that you and your families are out of harm’s way. I’ve missed you all.  Love, Betsy

Please let us know where you are, how you are.




53 Responses

  1. Betsy! How wonderful to hear from you. I hope you and yours are well.

    I’m at home in Nova Scotia where I’m supposed to be. Strange days to be a doc and a high risk person holed up with a man I love who is also a high risk person. Too much info in my head. I know too much about how these things go.

    I see people flouting and flaunting and I wish they could see what I have seen in the ERs where I spent many years watching the consequences of folly. I wish they knew the power they held, that they could fix all this simply by doing what they are told to do.

    I feel safer than many do sitting here in Canada where we have leaders who actually lead and have unwavering faith in science. I fear for Italians and Iranians and Americans. I fear for kids on packed beaches and old folks in nursing homes and my sister alone in London desperately trying to find a box of tampons.. I fear for our already fragile health care system. And my heart breaks for all those dying frightened and alone and for my medical colleagues having to decide who lives and dies based solely on the supplies they have on hand.

    And yet I know that this will pass as everything always does. So, for now it’s a locked door and hand soap, disinfectant wipes and latex gloves. Homeland, Better Call Saul, old episodes of Taxi and books, books, books. FaceTime and Skype and email. And hope that people step up and not out. I hope hard.

  2. Let’s see. My son is a musician self quarantining in Brooklyn. My 95 year-old mother is in a continuing care facility here in town, and I talked to her through a glass door today. My husband is pretty frantic, but calms himself by gardening. I had a Zoom Happy Hour with my artist friends today.
    Life is Good!

  3. I hope you’re okay, Betsy. I worry so much for all our friends in New York.

    So far, two of my husband’s sisters and their children have fallen ill, but they’re holding their own. My husband felt sick yesterday and I realized the thermometer I had just checked was no longer working, so I had to scramble from one pharmacy to the next and finally borrow one from my son’s boyfriend’s mother (along with hand sanitizer and disposable gloves, this is now a black market item). My husband’s temperature is normal and he feels better today, so maybe it was the takeout chicken salad.

    We live in Washington and have a traveling nurse boarding with us. He works in the ER where they are already rationing masks and other PPE, so I worry for his safety and that of his colleagues. And for us, should that sticky little virus find its way into our home.

    On a happier note, I’m finding a new joy and purpose in writing. Drafted a whole book in six weeks, and I’m working on the second pass. I had just received my certification as a nutritional therapist, but the PT clinics I was meant to be working for are going belly up and have laid off most of the staff, so I’m hoping to have some way to bring in money over the coming months until we can dig ourselves out of this mess.

    I wish so much that we’d made it to the next administration before the world blew up.

    I wish for a lot of things, actually. Mostly I wish for all of you that you’ll be safe and well and that you’ll stay home and write shelves full of beautiful books.

  4. Betsy – was just thinking before coming online – I miss Betsy – I should email her – and here you are. Hope you’re good. I’m feeling good, feeling strong, maybe because of all the vitamins I’ve been taking. I recommend Vit C, Zinc, and Echinacea. NYC is surreal. Hanging out in Washington Square Park, very few people – keeping 6 foot distance, but great to be in the sun. Can’t stay in my small apartment all the time. Would be a perfect opportunity to get back to writing my novel, but can’t seem to get restarted. Maybe soon! Lots of love, Kyler

  5. I am glad all of you are well, and hope you stay well and sane. We are fine here in the Florida panhandle, graced by sunshine and an offshore breeze.

    Our racing schedule is shelved, and we doubt that it will resume this year. There is a $500. fine for walking the beach, but we know places where there is only sand and water- bootleg beaches. I’ve long thought of sailing as a near-perfect form of social isolation, and will be on the water this weekend. A 160 mile river trip is in the works, and soon.

    I haven’t written much since Hurricane Michael upended so much, and we are very near the end of rebuilding, though many are not. I gave up my column of 15 years, as the energy and drive were gone with the big storm. That may change.

    Betsy, you have been a light for us, and though we lose sight now and then, you help us stay steady on. Thank you, Betsy, and thank you all. Stay well.

    • I prefer to think of me being the darkness for you all, but thank you.
      Enjoy that ocean for all of us. xo

  6. I’m fine. I’ve tucked my cranky self home with Spouse and Dogs. It’s where I prefer to be and I guess that’s good. I’m very glad to hear from you all.

    • Very handy to be an introvert in these times. I can’t say I really mind it, so long as I can still take a walk with the pupplings. So glad to hear you’re doing okay, my friend.

      • So true! And likewise.

      • Picture of the pups if possible. Please! I hate life, but I love pups.

        • I can’t seem to post it here, but emailed their scruffy little dog faces to your bridgeladies address.

          My mom says she saw this newscaster talking about New Yorkers passing the neighbors’ dogs around so they have an excuse to be on the street. The newscaster was like, Hey, that dog looks familiar…

    • Yes, I’m with you. This is a homebody’s dream. Except for all the suffering and loss. So more of a homebody’s nightmare.

  7. So glad to hear from you Betsy and so glad to hear from many of the tribe.
    I’m on the CT shoreline half a tank of gas away from the epicenter. Lots of NY residents have vacation homes among us. They have fled the city and we are waiting for our numbers to accelerate. We welcome all who need to hunker down and are doing our best to stay safe.
    I have hours to write and yet when I do I feel as if all my pencils are broken.

  8. Hey there, Betsy, and all,

    Here in NC, and in my county alone, there are 9 cases thus far. For the state, (we have 100 counties total) less than 50% are reporting cases – and most of those are 2, with higher numbers in about 3 counties. Total cases = 398, minimal given our total population is about 10.5M. (blows my mind NYC is almost equal in population)

    I’m considered one of those compromised, although not as much as a few months ago. The good news is, I’m a hermit anyway, so while others might be going nuts at having to stay home, this is my normal life like others mentioned. I’ve been working on a new book – about 60K in, and I guess all this is to say same old, same old here!

    Prayers for NYC, and the other hot spots. My best to all here.

  9. 60K in. Lady!!

  10. Walking in the woods and along the lake, studying the tracks after a recent snowstorm. There is still ice on the lake. We got a new dog back in the fall. She loves to go for walks, but can’t always be trusted when she runs free; she only listens when she chooses to. Brandy is part sled dog and part boxer, so she’s strong and loves to pull. Cute, too, with a sweet disposition. She knows where we are even if we can’t see her. She’ll come looking for us and as long as we’re not near a road, she’s usually okay; I got nervous when she disappeared in a swamp. She was fine, just in need of a bath.

    Work is strange. Everyone is uncertain. Most take precautions, but a few are clueless. I wear a mask and disinfect everything often. The mail must go through! My hands are dry and cracked, but that’s not unusual for this time of year.

    My wife goes to work a couple of days a week and hopes no one else will be around. My daughter is distance learning and communicating with her friends via social media. One of the things they do is agree on a movie, sometimes horror — zombie apocalypse anyone? — but often comedies, then stream it at the same time and watch it together so they can comment on it and act like kids when someone farts or an oblivious parent comes in and says it’s dinner time.

    Our usual band practice has been curtailed. The lead guitarist has heart issues so we’re being especially cautious. Maybe we should just practice at a distance and each bring our own doobies? So I’ve been focusing on the acoustic and that’s been nice.

    Writing a bit, but not as much as I should be. Some things never change. Proof: I still think the president is an idiot. Can’t listen to him or ass kissing Pence, but I pay attention when Dr. Fauci speaks. I’m guessing he won’t be on the podium too much anymore.

    I hope all is well with you and your family. Take care everyone!

    • Thanks, Mike. You, too. I love all the kids watching a movie together.
      Glad you got nature, doobies, a life partner and a dog.

  11. I’m glad to hear you are well!! Sending you love to forward to all NY! and take care.

  12. Hi Betsy. I’m still in the UK and wishing I was in Canada! Seems safer there. So many people here don’t seem to grasp the gravity of the situation. Both of my teens had big ass country wide exams to sit next term (GCSEs and A levels). All cancelled, all on hold. In this situation though that’s the least of our worries. Take care. Damhnait xo

  13. Hi all! Telepathy, Betsy. The other day I checked my junk mail wondering if perhaps you were hiding there. No such luck. And here you are!

    Crazy times. My musician son is out of work and the melody ain’t pretty. Son in L.A. finds his way cooking, playing virtual chess and inventing things. Daughter in NYC is working from home (she markets Dial soap, so there’s a plus) – scared and with one-year-old in tow. Husband and I have each other in Florida, but the sun is too sunny. I need pewter skies these days.

    We are zooming in on our granddaughter’s first birthday party virtually this weekend–a first of many firsts.

    Am I writing? What’s to say?

    Stay safe, everyone.

  14. Hey, Betsy, good to see you. And good to see all the rest of youse.

    Susan and I are in far northeast Chicago, where we live in a two-bedroom walk-up with our two cats, who taught us the rudiments of social distancing long ago.

    My job has been home-officed since late 2016, so there was no transition for me to make in that regard.

    Susan goes to the grocery store more often than I would in these days of hunkering down. She goes about three times a week for fresh produce. I told her we could live on beans and rice for a couple weeks and I’d be fine with that. She wouldn’t, though. We’ll see how it works out.

    We’re fine. May the scourge pass us by and leave us and those we love unscathed.

  15. Hello, virtual Betsy and all!

    So good to hear where you all are and though the craziness prevails you are all still humming from home. I’m in Rhode Island, a tiny unorganized corrupt state that is now even tinier and more unorganized and corrupt. I was already on medical leave and now have to extend it (I’m not crying). 2 daughters home from work and school with the 2 dogs and me.

    Sophie, the 11-year-old chihuahua, had breathing difficulty and had to go to the doggy hospital. They picked her up from the car window like a drive-thru. Luckily it’s not her heart or cancer or the virus, just run of the mill pneumonia and she is home with medication. I’m on a lot of medication for my various ailments but Sophie gets hers surrounded by cheese. So jealous!

    I am dangerously low on toilet paper but I have a lot of shitty first drafts standing in the rear, all puns intended. I cook, bake, read, do this rediculous word game on my ancient iPad, binge watch and DVR and even Pay for View sometimes. I started a new blog where I hardly post, read a lot about writing, write a tiny bit (maybe it’s a RI thing), think about sending something out, think about what the hell should happen next in the novel, and far too often wallow in depression and loss. My kids make me laugh, I grunt through my PT exercises once or twice a week, curse my wife who is gone, girl. My hip gives out, my face breaks out, my feet are numb, and I can’t open the pickle jar. Betsy, you gave me a great idea though. I think it’s time to hit the basement bookshelves to find Forest Through the Trees. What a great book to reread on home confinement. Stay safe and snug. Love to all, Marie

  16. hi betsy,

    i was thinking of you the other day and wondering how you’re doing–i hope you’re okay.

    as a canadian, i’ve got kick-ass social healthcare so i’m feeling anywhere along the continuum of cautiously optimistic to terrified, depending on the time of day. this is a war, after all. my kids are at uni and away from home–they’re socially isolated in place for now. this contributes to the terrified part of the day.

    there are books for reading, words for writing, although writing feels like dragging words through mud. the ooze. i’m trying. rewriting this novel seems useless but i’m doing it anyway.


  17. it’s not useless.. .Happy to see you here.

  18. Glad you’re back, Betsy, and that everyone here is hanging on.

    They say that this is a time for introverts to shine, that we’ve been prepping for this our whole lives, which is true but still feels so wrong. Wish I could make it all go away.

    Boston is a ghost town full of scared people. I’m keeping a candle lit in the window by my fire escape just in case someone out there feels alone. I write at night, thank god for that.
    Peace & light to all.

  19. I live in Oregon. We live and work on a cattle ranch and homeschool our two children, so my day-to-day hasn’t changed very much. That being said, it’s depressing knowing that I’m being encouraged to stay home. I already was home! But COVID-19 entered the U.S. by way of Seattle, so Oregon’s governor was one of the first to cancel public school, encourage self-quarantine, and discourage groups of 10 or more from gathering together. I’m almost out of wine, though, so a trip to the grocery store is planned. The kids and I have been riding our bikes around the block every couple of days, but it snowed last night. Wonderful “season” to write, but I feel more like going into hibernation.

  20. So glad to read everyone’s posts. Here in New Orleans, we are all feeling post-Katrina flashbacks: empty streets, the Silence, unemployment, the lack of intelligent leadership…

    Still, I have structured a schedule of gardening, writing and assorted small house repairs. I even harvested more than a gallon of honey from my beehives. And lots of phone calls to friends and clients – some who are in lockdown at local retirement complexes. It’s a strange, new world. Thanks, Betsy, for giving us one place of Normal. Or, at least, normal for us!

  21. Writing, gardening, house repairs, harvesting honey. Will you marry me?

  22. Home and playing teacher to kids (they almost buy it), listening to Lord of the Rings on audio while fixing the damn house up. Alive and enjoying the sunny days when they come.

  23. There you are! Glad you’re all okay.

  24. I don’t know any of the other posters but I wish them as well as you, Betsy, well. Here in State College our artist friends are getting together to talk, draw an occasionally drink. The has proven to be a boost, especially to those who are home alone. Eventually we will share our work on the Facebook page “Artful Musings” and we encourage others to contribute art, music, poetry to this growing community. Our Yoga teacher at the Y has also put our weekly class on line.


  25. Nice to see your mail in my inbox. Which is not something I say about most email. I even checked my spam once and wondered if I just fell off the list. I hope you are somewhere healthy and safe.

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