Mary Beth Writes

I haven’t slept well in two nights.  I pop wide awake about 2:00 and then listen to podcasts, look at boring YouTube videos (so many crafts one can make with concrete, none that include Jimmy Hoffa), practice relaxing my muscles, practice staring at dots behind my eyelids -and finally at 5:00AM I fall asleep. Since I’m retired I can still sleep in until 7 or 8:00, though twice now the 3-year old granddaughter has called early and her first astounded words are “Are you still in bed, Grandma?”

Possibly I am part of the global citizens who are stressed and insomniac. 

Or possibly I have been drinking five cups of coffee a day.

Why, you ask? Well, because I’m here and I can.

Sometimes we are part of humanity in crisis and sometimes we make dumb choices - and it’s a narrow line, isn’t it?

I've had two cups of coffee today and one glass of wine. Let the reader beware. 

HOLY SPOTTED WISCONSIN COW!

In spite of the most brazen attack against voter rights most of us have witnessed– when the Wisconsin state Republican party insisted that voting had to be in person or absentee ballots had to be turned in by the end of 4/7 – and this rule was announced 4PM on 4/6 – in spite of this dangerous decision that created an impossible impasse … Jill Karofsy won!  A judge not beholden to either party!

I feel as if some of us right here helped moved the karma needle on this. I wrote to my reps, I parsed what they responded and asked you to reply and eleven of you did. Thank you. I was paying attention and each time one of your said something, it made me stronger and braver.

Yesterday morning I worked more hours on our combined outraged voices, preparing our bit of the onslaught of ire against the travesty.

And then! Yesterday evening! The startling news broke into our wonderment! Karofsy won!

Right-leaning judges on the state supreme court still have the majority – but instead of 4 to 1, it’s now 3 to 2.

The determined passion of women and men who stood in long lines for ridiculous amounts of time – that image will not fade quickly.  There is anger and power afoot.  The muggles are beginning to see the powerful wizardry used against them – and they are pissed.

1700-1750(ish) the French were the Europeans du jour along most of the northern and Mississippi River parts of north America. In those decades the French king and his lords and advisors finally woke up to what native allies, resident soldiers, explorers, missionaries, and traders had been telling them for decades. If the French wanted to not lose control to the British, they needed to build forts. 

In 1750 the French built impressive Fort Carillon on their “southern boundary” where long, skinny Lake Champlain entered a short chute of rapids that were not too hard to portage. (You portaged here, then sailed Lake George, then navigated over to the Hudson River and on to NYC.) Fort Carillon was built at an incredibly strategic point between navigating all of Canada and navigating all of New England/the colonies.  

During the Seven Years’ French and Indian War (dumb name, should have been called World Powers War #1) , England won control of Ft Carillon from the French and renamed it Ft. Ticonderoga. (A native word that meant where waterways meet)

When France built this place, it was oriented southwards to intimidate Brits who might be coming north. In 1775 the Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, and the Green Mountain boys attacked and won Ft. Ticonderoga from the British, who then fled north to Canada. (Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold did not like each other one little bit. Seems like another moment ready for Lin-Manuel Miranda)

So now the fort belonged to the rebelling colonies.  And who were we fighting? Yes, the British, who could sail down from Canada right back to this pivotal spot. 

Everyone knew this was a super important piece of real estate to own, inhabit, keep in good order, and defend. From George Washington on down, it was accepted that we had to keep and defend Ft. Ticonderoga. It was 1776 and 1777. Generals and more men and supplies were sent to Ticonderoga.

Including two guys in their early 20’s, just out of college, who looked at the lay of the land and said to their superiors. “Look.  Do you see what we see? Ticonderoga is set several hundred feet inland. It faces south. The British when they come, they will come from the north.

“There are hills across the lake and river.  Those hills are HIGHER than the fort! With weaponry now available, anyone can go UP those hills and shoot DOWN into Ticonderoga.”

Those young engineers and some others set to work explaining, showing, building defensive positions on the higher hills.

But the old generals knew Ticonderoga; some had spent parts of their younger careers in it. It was a beautiful and massive complex, built las a brick-walled star around many sturdy buildings, around well-equipped quarters, a small hospital and surgery. Barracks, kitchens, larders, places for powder and armaments.   

So no one changed their plans and late that fall the British came and everyone realized they were sitting ducks. The Americans escaped in the middle of the night, fleeing by road, woods, river, however.

Generals and politicians went NUTS when they heard what happened. Washington had fits. Careers were lost. Court marshals were held. It was a huge, giant mess.

The following year the men and women who were the American army WOULD fight the British on a rambling piece of geography at Saratoga. There they would win a series of battles that would turn the tide of the war.

But today, reading this piece of history again, I was so struck.

Do not defend handsome old ideas that face the wrong way. Look and look again. See where you really are. Figure out what you CAN defend and put your smarts, energy, and resources there.

I’m reading “Saratoga: Turning Points of America’s Revolutionary War” by Richard M. Ketchum. It seems as timely as Twitter.

Comments

Mary Beth you are not alone with the insomnia thing I've been falling asleep only to awaken at 1or 2 in the morning and then falling asleep at 4 or 5 and then sleeping until 9 or 10... I take melatonin and Benedril to help me sleep but it's hit and miss... A friend is having the same problem, his sister's a nurse and recommended the Benedril for me... I don't think we are the only ones...

I love it when you get incensed Marybeth. You are a righteous woman!
Mary Beth's picture

Making me grin over here!

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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