Mary Beth Writes

Israel’s Health Ministry this week announced that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — one of the world’s most effective shots — was offering only 64 percent protection against infection and symptomatic illness caused by the delta variant.

The vaccine was still highly effective at preventing severe illness and death, the ministry said.

(I read this in the Washington Post, though it’s other places also.)

Statistics are never perfectly perfect and there are always more questions. But as a person with two Pfizer vaccinations in me – I’ll sure keep wearing a mask and I will be wary of guests in my home who are not vaccinated. Which is complicated because I’m spending some time this summer with two kids and their mom who I met via volunteering with the neighborhood school.

What are you doing? Are you confident about the health of you and your loved ones? Are you still wondering?

I also read that Wisconsin has had no Covid deaths in several days.  And that Pfizer is asking to be able to provide 3rd/booster vaccines for those who have received two. I think people are paying attention. Maybe this time experts are the ones moving on this. Won’t that be nice.

This week I donated a good-looking but very beat-up solid wood table. Neighbors gave it to us when they were moving out two years ago, which happened to be the day before we were going to help our table-less kid move into a new apartment. Well, she just moved again and she no longer needs it. I thought about refinishing it – but not a one of my kith or kin wants a new table.

It was hard donating a potentially nice piece of furniture it to Goodwill but doing so freed room in our garage and on my to-do list.

This week Len delved into our under-the-fridge freezer to jettison some tired and/or yucky items. The freezer has room in it again.

On social media I was following great sites that say powerful things about women’s rights to live with more respect and less self-criticism in their family and work lives. For months I’ve been reading these pithy comments until this week I realized their points make me so frustrated and angry.

And the thing is, I’m not disrespected in my family, and I’m retired. I unfollowed those sites. They are strong for women in the struggle to live more freely in their relationships, to demand work conditions that are inclusive and whole. 

But those aren’t my battles anymore.

There’s an strategy of solving problems by taking things away. If something is too hard to figure out … maybe the solution is not to try harder but to offload some of the parts, options, and details.

Can we apply this to how it feels to be an aware citizen right now?

There are so many realities that are awful and worse.  Instead of paying attention to it all, can we pay attention to less in order to act on more?

Len went fishing yesterday evening with our son. They were on the Rock River four hours and Len came home late and happy. I don’t “get it” – not a fan of sitting on a bench holding a stick - but his photos of the river at dusk are beautiful. He and our son joked and talked. He had his camera (his third eye).  I guess that’s why he doesn’t get bored.

This made me chuckle, so I put the book on hold at the library.  If it’s as good as this line, I’ll let you know.

“It was an ordinary day, a Friday, twenty minutes til lunchtime, five hours til quitting time and the weekend, ten months til vacation, thirty-seven years til retirement. Then the phone rang.”   

 Jack Finney, Time and Again

 Happy Friday.






I am fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, and continue to wear a mask, and socially distance. I hosted my first gathering at home to celebrate my mother's 83 birthday with 13 women. They were all vaccinated, which is why I hosted. It was wonderful! I have chosen to accept less in my life (on all counts) so that I can do more with it. Last fall I got off all social media, and my life is richer for it. Be well. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

Boy, how we relate to social media, there's a highway for thought. We al know its not great for humans - but we also know from time to time it is very helpful and funny and good. Your party sounds wonderful. The sticky tricky part is how to connect to kids. Other kids. Our grandkids. Until kids are vaccinated they both vulnerable and possibly contagious. This is not a simple time.

Yes! My grandson is medically complex, and our family , specially my daughter and son in law, work hard at keeping him safe. Parents are fully vaccinated, and have slowly opened their world a bit to fully vaccinated family members. I was finally able to see him after 16 months ( after COVID testing). It was glorious. Not a simple time indeed. I miss the contact social media gave me with family members and college friends. And also, hilarious postings. But, Not enough to have me go back. Patricia

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"Brotherhood" by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr - A Book Review


“Brotherhood” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the most compelling novel I’ve read this year. I read the first half as if I was reading a book for the first time; it felt as if the writer was expressing a story so powerful he called it fiction just to get it out, to me, to us. 

I skimmed the second half because I was exhausted by the impossible trauma and decisions the characters would need to endure and try to survive.

Let me say right here than many will survive. Not all.

Thanks & Now Let's Do Pups!


 Thank You!

I sent our collated list of “Ways to Help My Community” to the Third Graders this morning.  Laura has already shared it with them; I just received this from one kid. This was really cool and helpful thank you for coming back to me so quickly well you always respond quickly like all the time and also I like hiring (hearing) from you always make me smile from writing to pictures I love them all.”

3rd graders on Community Building



I’m just back from volunteering in the third grade.  I’ve done this for five years; Laura Zahn who is this class’s teacher, plus her friend and fellow teacher Mara, have become among my favorite people in Waukesha. 

My Relationship with a Door 10/5/2021

Dear Friends,

I seem to be out of Deep Thoughts lately. Not sure if this is apparent to you but it is to me. This is not exactly a problem but keeps me guessing what in the world I should be writing. Or - since “should” is a sometimes toxic and generally unhelpful word – these days I am not sure what you want to read and I want to write.

So maybe I’ll just write you a quick Dear Friends. Sometimes relationships are just about checking in.

Up North 9/30/2021

Here’s why I’ve not posted anything in nearly two weeks.

Last week Len and I took a trip to Duluth, MN and Ashland, WI. We hiked seven hikes, met new friends, ate too much. (We didn’t eat IN restaurants. We ate take-out dinners while sitting in our car overlooking Chequamegon Bay.) We marinated in the breezy Up North rhythms of woods, streams, rivers, and Lake Superior. 

Then we came home to all that stuff one does up returning; laundry, groceries, and bringing in the Big Dozers to deal with cat litter boxes. 

Cabeza de Vaca & Company: A 500-Year Old Story for Our Time.

I’ve been thinking about Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca for years and I’ve also been thinking about him for a week.

It’s crazy out there in the world right now and people are, I think, kinda sick of each other. Racism, sexism, and classism are the muck we walk through to get to our cars while our climate is turning into flying monkeys. And the rich keep getting richer.

So let me tell you about a guy I admire.

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