Mary Beth Writes


Grownups Noticing Their Lives / Climate change up close and personal 


I woke up in the middle of last night. Our blast furnace weather moderated a bit yesterday so we’d turned the a/c off and opened the windows. At 3AM the long, slow, heavy train on the tracks down the street from where we live was loud.

My middle-of-the-night lizard brain suddenly wondered about something I’ve never wondered about before.

Weather forecasters warn Wisconsin is quickly moving into a serious drought. If this continues, and very little rain is predicted, fire danger will be elevated. What if a passing train causes sparks that catch fire in the grass and scrub along train tracks? Could homes in our neighborhood be affected?

How much fire insurance do we have, anyway?

We just looked at our policy and it appears we have plenty. Plus, Len noted in the fine print that if we have two volcano eruptions in one 72-hour period, that counts as one volcano and we’re covered.

Anyways, we are living in weird weather times. What unlikely but suddenly possible thing have you considered or dealt with lately? Has our worrisome climate crisis affected where you live?



And lungs. I just came in from a bike ride. After I returned, I saw that there is an air quality advisory (meaning no strenuous outdoor activity) because of wildfires in Quebec.

Way too early for heat like this. Especially with no rain either. Area farmers very concerned and are already irrigating. This is end of July weather. Kind of worried about our well with so much irrigation running so early in the season - could we run dry? Never ever worried about this before
Mary Beth's picture

Yup. The things we never worried about before.

New Mexico has been severely affected by droughts for a long time and by catastrophic wildfires for more than 20 years. Where I live is not at high risk, but even if I don't worry about my house burning, fires cause terrible air pollution, and the devastation to large areas of the state has been terrible. Lately I have become keenly aware of all the volcanoes that aren't all that far away. Experts say not to worry, but sometimes they are wrong. There has never been a tornado in my zip code -- the fairly rare ones in NM are mostly east of the mountains and I live west of the mountains, so that's not a big worry. And there has never been a hurricane here -- ha ha.
Mary Beth's picture

The air quality was terrible today….lots of people running and biking on the way to church….they may not have known, yikes! (Len too). And lots of huge Oak trees are dying and I think it’s from the long term drought we have been in for quite a few years (mine included) ….very sad. Thinking about this smoke being around most of this summer is a real bummer. And that it is coming from western Canada is an even bigger bummer….nowhere to hide. I thought the Midwest was relatively safe from most of things happening so far….obviously not! And not to mention the train tracks!

It's becoming usual to hear about broken records for heat, drought, "unseasonable" weather and the devastating storms, hurricanes, fires and tornadoes that are occurring with alarming regularity. State Farm has stopped accepting homeowners insurance applications in California. It seems this is just the beginning of what the future holds. Will there be more and more who become uninsurable because of climate change?

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Cats Again (Lost In Racine)


Because I now have my Substack site where I can publish my stories, its more exciting to write fiction. I’m working on a story now.

Meanwhile, here’s a newspaper column of yore. If you like cats, you will probably like it. If you don’t like cats, well, you are missing a lot of grace, humor, and vacuuming opportunities.

We don’t currently want to adopt new cats, but since we’ve now lived with twelve of the world’s finest, we are rich in memories that make us laugh.

Len’s Birthday


Last week I mentioned that Monday of this week would be Len’s birthday. A friend remarked to me ever so kindly later that day, “I thought his birthday was the 30th?”

It is. Len’s birthday is the 30th. This same friend has commented to me, over the years, about how much I remember.

Covid Diary #1350 Thanksgiving


Today is 1350 days since the that March Friday in 2020 when we all went into quarantine.

Today is 60 years since JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. I remember that day, so does Len, so do many of you. Here’s a scary truth. We are as far today from that day – as that day was from the Wright brother’s first flight at Kitty Hawk on Dec 17, 1903.

Quarantine Diary #1349 Sci-Fi & Prophecy


We both took Covid tests this morning and both of us still have pink lines. I asked the internet what this means and it says I might be pregnant.

I have a call into my doctor’s office to discuss. I feel so much better that if I didn’t know I have Covid, I wouldn’t know it. I’ve been sicker than this after too much pie.

Covid Diary #1347


A few of you might realize yesterday we were 1345 days since March 13, 2020, and today we’re at 1347. Yup, I used a different calculator. Just a fun reminder that precision depends as much on asking the right question as doing perfect math.

I’m in day #4 of having Covid. No more chills. I have a fever of 100.4 which is more impressive than the 100.2 that Len achieved on his Day #4.  I’m taking various OTC meds and I keep track of them in my phone’s notes because, wow, it’s so easy to have no memory of the last time one took something. I’m good. Enough.

Covid Diary #1345


I thought I was done with the Covid Diary but guess what? Len and I caught Covid this week! Actually, Covid caught us. We have continued to wear masks in stores, library, meetings, and our church so we will never know for sure where Len encountered Covid. And since I got it four days later, I guess we know where I got it…

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