Mary Beth Writes

This has been a nutty day. Not a bad day, just a day one hopes no one asks, “How is Retirement going, Mary Beth?” For those who are not retired and wonder what we do all day, perhaps this will illuminate what we dare not tell the young.

I woke at 6:30. I got right up because I am Purposeful. However, Len was still sleeping soundly (he stays up way later at night than I do) and he was tucked into the quilts like a large butterfly burrito-ed in a Target-brand comforter. I quietly looked at my favorite websites, the Washington Post, and Twitter for … an hour.

I dunno… hours happen.

Then I got up and got ready for my day. The first thing I did was eat strawberries and house-brand Cheerios because I love a breakfast that tastes like morning cartoon commercials.

The next thing I did was walk to the library to pick up 8 of the 16 picture books I’d ordered to read to our granddaughter. There are 99 reasons to hate Covid quarantine but there is this one reason to be thankful – and it is reading to our grandkid, on Facetime, every day, for a few minutes. We are closer to her than we ever expected we could be. This is pure grace in our lucky lives.

Yesterday she mentioned to us that she likes to have “doughnuts for the road.” We think this is something her dad may have mentioned. She didn’t know it was funny but ever since we have been mentioning “doughnuts for the road.”

We read to her today about noon-thirty. Then I went upstairs to read but I fell asleep. Naps happen. Especially if one went for an hour walk in the rain in the morning.

Woke up. Drank the rest of the (cold) coffee that I’m brought upstairs with me. Read some more.

Decided to do something purposeful I’ve been thinking about for ages.

I hate Facebook. I mean, I check it every day and if you are my FB pal (Mary Beth Danielson, feel free to ask) you know I repost new-to-me political info plus anything that makes me laugh. I hate how FB manipulates but I like how it passes along stuff I would have discovered no other way. So, I have a FB page plus associated with it, I have what I guess is a business page for Mary Beth Danielson Writes. I thought maybe that would increase my readership a few years ago but it didn’t work so I gave up using it. Yet it is still there and I get notifications every day that I’m letting the world down by not paying FB money to promote me.

I decided today would be a good day to figure out how to close that sucker down. Show Mark Zuckerberg who’s who. Right?

Well, about a decade ago in a debacle I can’t still can’t explain, I lost access to my FB page because I changed the password, didn’t write it down and a long time later encouraged someone I love to use my laptop. They logged into their FB account which led to an imbroglio worthy of the backstreets of 15th Florence, Italy. Months later Len and Dave, (he and my friend Otis make the beautiful braided fabric baskets I offer on this site sometimes) spent hours talking to each other in geek talk about this while Otis and I gossiped about normal things. Len and Dave fixed my FB life.

So I am not innocent of the chaos that can erupt when one attempts to change a FB account.

This afternoon I went to my regular account. I researched to ensure I knew my correct username and password. I noted that on my list of all my passwords etc, I have TWO passwords for FB. Just figures.

I asked Google how to find out my password. I needed to enter my password in order to update to a new password. I made up a new password that I would be changing to. The little window said my new password was awesome. Thank you. I entered it again just the way they ask you to. Cool.

Then they said they couldn’t use it because the password I entered in order to enter my password was incorrect. Would I like them to change it?

Deep breath. Yes.

Ok, l entered a temporary password; a very short one related to most of my passwords of the past couple years.

They sent a 6-digit safety code to my email. Except I have a Gmail account for FB in order to protect it from FB messing with the email address I use for everything. Oh great.

Found it the Gmail address I only use for a few things. Found the 6-digit code.

Went to FB, entered the new password which is not the fantastic password but just one good enough to get the job done.

I’m in.

I’ve been at this an hour.

I look at my FB business page that is associated with my FB account. Decide it just isn’t that important.

Go downstairs and ask Len if we have any doughnuts for the road. He says no but we do have grocery store wine.


This is what we do all day.

1. This morning I rechecked our house insurance.  Most house insurances do not cover for sewer back-up unless you specifically ask them to cover that. I had asked them several years ago and I wondered if it was still valid. For an extra $20 a year we have $10,000 coverage in case the drains in our basement back up due to floods or problems with city water.  I checked this today because my heart goes out to people living along the Pacific coast in all those incredible fires. 

Take away? Climate change is here. If you have the luxury to think before it hits you, what will climate crisis most likely bring to your life? Is it something you can protect or insure against now?

2. Last night Len and I attended a Zoom meeting with Aaron Perry who is the Democratic candidate running against Scott Allen in our congressional district.

Tonight at 7PM we are attending a Zoom meeting of Tom Palzewicz and our (very cool) Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.  Meet us there?

Have you gone to a Zoom meeting to meet your candidates?  Please, please consider this. You don’t have to pay although they need our donations and Len and I donate modest amounts.

These Zoom groups seem to be small. Some ask in advance what your questions are. It is an AMAZING and intimate way to meet the people who want to represent us in state and federal places.  Seldom have we individuals had such an easy way to meet the folks running to represent us. You don’t have to talk, although you can. It is usually just an hour or so to click in and listen.

Look on FB for your district. Find out who is running and what their virtual events are. Sign up – they send you the code you will need to click to get into the zoom meeting. It really is easy and really powerful.

You can do it inbunny slippers. 

3. Do you want me to post my websites entries on FB? since, you know, I already have the b usiness site?

4. Do you want me to show you more baskets and masks that David and Otis have created? Might be fun to buy some this autumn for Xmas presents. 



3. Not necessary for those of us who already read your blog. Only if it might help you. 4. Sure, post the masks and baskets!

Yum! Would love to see them. I have been in quarantine sooooo long. I really need to punch up my living space. And I do buy Christmas presents early. I, too, am retired. Have no idea what I do all day most of the time. I usually baby sit my 1 yr old granddaughter once a week. She is a handful but fun. Each morning I pull veg from the garden but that will soon end. We attended a zoom meeting tonight on “white fragility”, through our church. It will be every Thursday for 7 weeks. Nice to have you back. Joyce
Mary Beth's picture

Hi! I just called Otis. He and Dave will send some photos of baskets and masks by next week and we will do this! They live in central Illinois in a tiny town (I think the population is 600) on a cliff overlooking the the Mississippi. There's a site of a British fort down the hill from them, that was built to fight the French. It's been there a while.

You crack me up! Good idea to join a zoom meeting to learn about our reps. Thanks!

I'm "building a business" (whatever that means!) and lose whole hours of my day on social media, researching something business-related, and going out to the garden "just to check up on things." (3 hours later I come in hot, sweaty, and dirty in no mood to sit in front of a laptop.) At any rate, you're in good company. Re: facebook. I have a dream of ending my FB involvement. In the past, I've scoffed at people who left or took breaks. But my soul hurts every time I go on there. As you know, I have a lot of things happening on FB so I'd have to find another place to put all of that, or tell it goodbye. That's why I'm still on FB...for the time being. LOL.

Loved your separation of PURPOSEFUL versus all the other ways we fill our time. Procrastination of some things feels way less stressful in retirement mode too. I usually think of it as a substitution... Sometimes I have felt bad to sign up for a zoom meeting and then later forget to log-on. Getting donuts on the road would not be an event to procrastinate or forget about!

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.


 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.


Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.


Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

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