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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Quarantine Diary #507 YES #507!

Didn’t I announce back in March that my Quarantine Diary was done?

Argh. Never say never.

I assumed after two vaccines it was okay to meander the world as long as we are mindful of kids and people with fragile immune systems. So put on the mask in public places and don’t be overtly stupid.

Making Memories?

This morning the Washington Post has an article about how we make memories. Interestingly, just because we say we are “making memories” doesn’t mean we are. Most little kids will not start making many memories until they are around age 8. Memories get stuck in our mind if they involve several senses and we are going slow enough to pay attention. If one WANTS to remember something, stop paying attention to everything else that is going on, focus in on the thing you care about using more than one sense. Recall it again later. Deep sleep on it overnight and good luck with that.

Three Things & One Announcement 7/16/2021

Thinking Outside the Box: 

Len once told me this WWII story. The first generation of bomber raids from England to Germany resulted in a terrifying number of bomber planes being shot down. Experts carefully examined the returning planes to create detailed reports of the bullet holes as they tried to understand how to reinforce the planes to make them safer.

Three Things 7/7/2021

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.)

7/5/2021 Three Things (Don’t miss Highland Mitzi)

Last year was the Covid quarantine so most of us didn’t do very much over the 4th of July holiday.

This year, with half Americans now vaccinated there’s more freedom to do things and be with people.

Three Things (Well, Four) 7/1/2021

Bill Cosby is out of prison on a technicality. The judge said 40-year-old Britney Spear still can’t run her own life. Yesterday 88-year-old war criminal* Donald Rumsfeld died comfortably in his bed.

My gut is twisting. How are you? Power, injustice, and money still row the boat that we’re all on. This nation is playing whack-a-mole with justice, hope, and human rights. It feels ominous. I thought I would just mention this in case you thought it was just you that felt assaulted this morning.


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