Mary Beth Writes

We hiked on Sunday.


How was your weekend?

Have you noticed that with this omicron iteration of covid isolation – if one is not an employee - it’s tricky to tell what is a weekend and what is not? I think about what my kids might be doing and maybe we call them and that is the main way weekends are different from weeks. By what other people are doing.

My daughter, son-in-law, and their little kids are about a week into Covid and are doing very well, which is amazing because they have been inside their house all this time. For our part, Len and I get to play dollhouse again with the 5-year-old. By late afternoon it’s good for everyone in her house if she goes to a corner of the living room by herself to hang out with us.

Sunday was hilarious. She asked for the story of Snow White. Sure, we can do that. I picked out her favorite little girl doll to be Snow White. Picked out another one to be the Mean Queen.

I asked who else we needed. She said woodland bears (this kid has vocabulary). We have bears.

Story launched.

Snow White is loved poorly by the Mean Queen. Mean Queen’s mirror says Snow White is the most wonderful in the land. Mean Queen sends her into the forest. Little animals find her and take her to a cottage in the forest i.e., the dollhouse on the dining room table. Everything inside the woodland cottage is a mess, so the woodland animals help Snow White clean it up. Then they have snacks. Then they are tired so they all go upstairs and find the various beds and lay down.

The Three Bears come home. Someone has been eating their snacks. Someone has been using their potty and knocked it over (Boy, was our kid laughing). Then they find Snow White and her friends piled up in their beds.

At which point I understand that somewhere along the way I switched from Snow White to The Three Bears and it is working. Grandkid is scolding. “No, Grandma, not like that!”

My daughter came into the living room to see what was going on. The child formerly known as grumpy is now falling over and giggling. So are Grandma and Grandpa.

So that’s how Quarantine is going. It’s not the story we planned for, but it is a story.


Here’s a curious thing. My daughter, son-in-law, and the 3-year-old all tested positive and are coming through Covid. The 5-year-old has not tested positive, though she is totally right there, unmasked, in her home. She received her second vaccination two days before the rest of them tested positive. (They’ve done both PCR and Antibody tests.) Did the incredibly fresh vaccine protect her from Omicron? This sounds great but likely means their daycare will ask her to quarantine an extra week because she’s exposed.

It's always something.

FYI: In case you have A-Fib or you take fish oil supplements, here’s a weird thing I read this morning. Read here. 

“Make an Effort”

I can hear my mom talking with her friends. Someone they know, most likely another woman, is suffering through a hard time. Things are going poorly. Loss is happening. It’s going to be hard for a while.

But the woman they are discussing is enduring. She is still going to work, keeping up with her contacts, cleaning her house, organizing what she can against the chaos that is out there. She is using what energy she has to keep her life going in a good and meaningful way.

My mom and her friends say to each other, “She is making an effort. It’s hard right now but you can see her making an effort.”

Parts of our lives are not easy right now. Loss is happening. We can’t make gold from this dross.

But I like to think we can make an effort.





Leonard's picture

Mary Beth is absolutely brilliant at dollhouse. When the bears and the Bad Guys and the Princesses start talking to one another, the rest of the world melts away from her and she disappears into the dollhouse. For example, when the aforementioned Snow White and the Three Bears incident was in progress, I was standing right there whispering "there are no bears in Snow White." and there was absolutely no impact. Sometimes I'm afraid that she won't come out of the dollhouse, and she'll live there, eating the cake and chocolate chip cookies until the school teacher finds a way to return her to mee.
Mary Beth's picture

Just saw this and I'm laughing so hard I'm crying.

When my grown sons were young, we read together every night before bed. As they got older and we graduated to chapter books, they often begged for "one more chapter". More often than not, I agreed; and they would gleefully say, "Yes! We always get you into it!" I wanted the next chapter as much as they did. It's easy to slide into that "zone" when you don't want the magic to end.
Mary Beth's picture

Yes yes yes to this. My favorite memories of raising the kids are reading to them every night. I was always up for one more chapter. I felt a little sad when they learned to read well and wanted to read on their own because they could go faster.

Love the entire story and Lens reply. You guys are awesome Grandparents.

You forgot the part about the hair on my chinny, chin, chin
Mary Beth's picture

Next story. Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf with the chinny chin chin?

Just heard that my husband's sister's family got Covid after being exposed over the holidays. There are 5 of them. 3 got it. The two who didn't were an adult who'd just been boosted and a 10 YO who'd just had his second shot. I think there's something to this Science! LOL
Mary Beth's picture

I'm sending your comment to my daughter!

Hope your daughter's family is back to health soon. Thank you for the info about the possible connection with fish oil to Afib. I took fish oil for many years in my 40s and early 50s due to concern about vascular issues on my mother's side. I was diagnosed with Afib at age 53 but can't remember if it was before or after I stopped taking the fish oil. Either way, I won't be taking it again after reading this. My cardiologist believes it was caffeine overconsumption that started it. I still have to take a beta blocker every day but it's way better than having a stroke. No more caffeine either. Another study I have heard of connected over exercising with Afib. Interesting in that my husband and I both have Afib and we were both " on foot" mail carriers with routes about 10 miles each, 5 to 6 days a week.
Mary Beth's picture

That's really interesting about the exercise and AFib connection. The day Len had his huge episode - he had ridden his bike 10 miles, though that was/is normal for him.

Love the dollhouse story! A few years ago one of my granddaughters told her dad that Grandma Judy is the best at playing dollhouse! We made up crazy scenarios and used lots of props from things we found in the cupboards and toyboxes. The dollhouse has been passed along to one of her younger cousins now, and Carlina has moved on to searching for Sasquatch, drawing, baking, reading and basketball. Hope she doesn't forget our fun times with the dollhouse, I know I won't!
Mary Beth's picture

I would love to play dollhouse with you. Hmm. maybe we should FaceTime with each other...

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The picture is our wedding cake, made by my friend Karen, who drove it from Indiana to Chicago on the hottest day of that year. It was in the back seat so their two little boys had to ride in front (remember when kids could ride in front?). They got lost in the city but I didn't know that for years because Karen and her husband start early and had time to get lost and then figure it out. Sometimes wedded bliss is a lot of work. 

The following story and recipe is not about the wedding cake, but it is the photo I have...



How Do We Remember What We Remember?


The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

Our Terrible Canoe Adventure

The eagle photo was taken by Len - but not on this trip! 


We are fine but I have a tale to tell.

American Successes / American Failures

Did you ever have to tell the truth when it was hard? Did you ever lie to avoid a hard situation?  Did you ever know a hard, wrong thing but you told no one because it was going to be complicated and some people wouldn’t believe you and you might end up disrespected or worse for “telling on” someone else?

Most people work hard at learning truth-telling when they are 4 and 5-years old.

Molecule Moving


I didn’t know a Panoply of Dental Moments was coming my way this week, but such is life with teeth. One can brush, floss, slosh, and swish - but if one’s teeth want to crumble, they do. Yesterday I had my six-month cleaning. The hygienist said several times that I brush and floss beautifully. I was proud and thinking maybe I would give myself a “well-done” sticker when I got home. Then the dentist came in to do the check-up and said two fillings had cracks around them and needed to be replaced.

Rough Stories, Tough Week


Last Friday evening on PBS Tonight David Brooks said something like this. “I am afraid for all of us. The news just pummels us.”

There are as many tough stories as there are fingers on a closed fist. The shooting in Uvalde. The shooting in Buffalo. The corrupt power of the NRA and other obscene wealth-mongers that are destroying our society from the inside of elected reps’ pockets outwards. Ukraine. Global climate mayhem. Oh, and covid is everywhere. Less traumatic for most; long covid for some. So that’s six fingers on that pugilistic fist.

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