Mary Beth Writes

This beautiful photo is by my cousin Judy Saunders. It's of a Danish designed lamp. Yes it is. 


I’ve been to England exactly once in my life. I went with my daughter who through her magical powers had graduated from college in three years instead of four. We celebrated by going to London for a long weekend, just she and I. We stayed in a room so small she had to crawl over the end of my bed to get to hers. We saw things, walked a lot, and rode a double decker bus although my most profound memory is trying to cross a busy street. I could not figure out which way to look, hesitated, and my 21-year-old kid took my hand and walked me across the street. One doesn’t forget a moment like that.

We also took a bus excursion to Famous British Places including Stonehenge. 

I was a bit surprised to see that while it is impressive, it is not gigantic. I think I was expecting something as big as a football stadium. It’s not small, but the horseshoe of rocks could probably fit on a basketball court. The standing stones are 13’ high and 7’ wide; about two basketball players tall, two football players wide. I was surprised at the bucolic sheep grazing nearby, and also that the selection of doodads and gimcrackery in the tourist shop was not very extensive. 

Yesterday was solstice. For those of us who don’t spend our lives studying the exact moment the sun arises in the morning or sets in the evening, today can be solstice, too. (I started this yesterday, but life got in the way). Solstice is not a big deal for those of us raised mostly inside, who learned early to distrust mystery, unspecified power, or light as an actual character in the human story. 

Solstice is from before and beyond words and rationality, fear and hope. Solstice is heat, light, coldness, energy. If one is looking for light, then one is waiting for solstice.

So here we are, tipping from short days back towards long ones, and glad for it.

Hopi Sun Prayer

You who are the source of all power,
Your rays illuminate the whole world,
Illuminate our hearts also,
So we too may do your work.



Franc Garcia.  Cactus at Chicago Botanical Gardens.  

"I’m like the trunk of a cactus. I take in a dose of culture and time with friends, then I retreat and go live on it awhile until I get thirsty again."  Nancy Horan

“Humanity is so weird. If we’re not laughing, we’re crying or running for our lives because monsters are trying to eat us. And they don’t even have to be real monsters. They could be the ones we make up in our heads. Don’t you think that’s weird?”
― T.J. Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea


 Jennifer Beiriger. Her dog (is this Shadow?) taking a snooze.

“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don't, we might forget how to be happy.”
― T.J. Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea

“A home isn’t always the house we live in. It’s also the people we choose to surround ourselves with. You may not live on the island, but you can’t tell me it’s not your home. Your bubble, Mr. Baker. It’s been popped. Why would you allow it to grow around you again?”
― T.J. Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea

"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." John Steinbeck


 Mary Kay Friedel. California sunrise

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is gray
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreaming
On such a winter's day

"To be alive at all is to have scars."  John Steinbeck

"Anything that costs just money is cheap."  John Steinbeck


Len took this years ago in our Racine house. He likes the way the light of the kindle lights my face. I like how clean the house looks. It must have been from after the kids all moved out. 

"If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last." John Steinbeck

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." John Steinbeck



Len took this of plumes of grass by the bike path.

“Change often starts with the smallest of whispers. Like-minded people build it up to a roar.”
― T.J. Klune, The House in the Cerulean Sea

If you are still reading - I plan to post photos of Christmas on Thursday. If you have the time and energy, send some photos of your tree, presents, meals, people, decorations in your house or town. If you don't have time or can't remember where you filed that photo - here's wishing you a few rich days anticipating and maybe preparing for this odd Christmas.  And if it doesn't feel like a holiday, no problem.. It will still be Friday and Fridays are nice, too. 

My email address (that I don't often advertise, but you will need it to send your photos) is MB at














Great pictures. Those standing stones -hmmmmm. Love all the quotes especially the ones by T.J.Klune Just Emailed Christmas pictures. Never say I don’t participate. Love. I really enjoy seeing all the pictures and appreciate all the time you spend.

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What are you doing November 3-6 and/or November 11-13?

Do you

Three Things - Birthday Moments

10/21/2021  Three Things

My birthday was last weekend. This is my question for you; have you celebrated a birthday lately that seemed extra fine? I wonder if the quarantine year reset our happiness scale. I don’t remember being miserable last year, but this year felt so rich.

Quarantine Diary # 584 What We Expect & Don't Expect


Note: The Covid Diary is not, apparently, going away this year either.

One of the confounding realities of the American Covid-19 crisis is this. So far (I just looked) 695,000 people are officially reported as having died of Covid, though it is suspected the actual number (not disguised by other sicknesses or conditions) is 804,000. Deaths. Our current population of 330,000,000. So about 1 of every 400 Americans has died. (Source here)

A Letter about DOGS to Third Graders.

Dear Kids,

I asked my website-reading friends about their dogs. These pictures and explanations are about their dogs.

"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.”

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