Mary Beth Writes

This is a lemming. Make mistakes this year, but don’t make the lemming mistake.


This morning, while looking in our under-the-fridge freezer for soup for supper (neither of us want to cook today), we discovered a towel-wrapped lettuce. What can I say? It’s a whole new mistake to make that we have never made before.

We were putting our groceries away in a hurry last Thursday evening. I DO remember rinsing and wrapping the lettuce in that towel, which (if you don’t put it in the freezer) makes lettuce last longer. I don’t remember actually putting it in the freezer but this is possible. Or Len did. This is an equal opportunity mistakes-making home.

Welcome to the New Year. There are things to do and mistakes to make and I hope the mistakes are no worse than frozen lettuce.

Here is an interesting (to me) thing. The occupational therapist at the rehab hospital tested Len’s readiness to drive this way. Len had to walk up and down (she was along to supervise) all four corridors of the hospital. While two-handedly passing a tennis ball around himself in a circle from front to back to front to back. While reading the names of the people in the rooms as they walked past them. He did this very well, though it was the closest he’d been to a tennis ball since we had a dog.

I guess this is how to not make too many mistakes.

  • Balance and locomotion should be instinctual and smooth. If it isn’t, practice more.
  • Invent new ways to move – some of us should dance or build and fashion new things way more than we do. Play-dough might upgrade our dexterity. 
  • Look around at what is slightly different and notice what we are seeing.

Yesterday we went to Madison to visit our kids. I drove there. Len drove us home. It’s newish for me to expect myself to do half the driving, so I guess I’m changing a little. It’s awesome that Len can drive again.

When we were dating Len took me to a small theater production of a weird play about Arctic explorers. I have just looked online for way too long and I can’t find any clues as to what that play it was. Anyways, there was a scene where one of the explorers was ill and not getting better. The other guys were trying to help him but couldn’t; meanwhile their supplies were running out. The sick but nobly gallant guy gets up and says he’s going for a walk. This is the Arctic or Antarctica in a blizzard. He goes outside, unzips his parka, wanders off to die while making a heartfelt speech.

So here we are in Omicron and there are moments I think I will just wander into a grocery store, tear off my mask, and make a speech about the great life I was privileged to have.

This is my attempt at dark humor. Because seriously, what other kind of humor is there, these days?

We had a lovely quiet New Years weekend. Again. Not sure I really wanted to read more novels and then fall sound asleep at 9:20 on NY Eve. But I did. Watching a lit-up Times Square ball drop on a 26” TV screen is not something I cared to spend three more hours to watch.

This is where we are now.

What are you doing, besides going to work in a hazmat suit, to get through this thick part of quarantine? Again?


In case you would like to read something that actually informs your life, I have been meaning for a while to mention the daily posts of Heather Cox Richardson. Click here:  Heather Cox Richardson on Substack 

The woman is smart and her writing is clear. Of all the things I pay attention to as I try to keep up with what's happening around us, I think her daily letter is the best.





Aaaaarrrgh! We've all been there in one way or another. Sigh. My youngest son is getting married at the end of February. With Covid rearing its ugly head again, I'm now worried about catching it and not being able to attend. Or worse yet the bride or the groom catching it and having to reschedule everything (His lovely bride to be always wanted a Winter wedding). I know they are not alone in this as many couples have had to reschedule weddings and other events. With my husband and I both retired and just the two of us living in our home, we've decided we are both going to quarantine for two weeks prior to the wedding. No visitors, no going out except extreme emergencies. We're both vaxxed and boosted also. When they started planning this wedding over a year ago, I never dreamed that in 2022 we would still be in this fix. As for everyday living until our self imposed isolation, I keep following the CDC guidelines for masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated. I took my 13 year old grandson to the movies over the Christmas vacation and felt very unsafe. Too many people, no separation of rows and a man directly in back of us was coughing. Going back no time soon.
Mary Beth's picture

Oh man, I feel for you. Trying to be prudent and trying to have one's life at the same time has turned into such a mind-numbing hassle. If we knew what the future would be, we could wrap our lives around it - but it keeps changing. Your plan sounds smart to me - cloister in - bust out - go back to zero and hope!

Hey, I have been reading and supporting Heather for the past year! She is one smart cookie! At our house, we are now wearing those N95 masks…please, when will this ever end! We are only going to Dr and Vet appts, the grocery and sometimes church. Pretty boring life. We only see my son and his family who live 5 miles away. I want to have coffee at a diner with my friend or go out to eat with hubs. WHINE, WHINE, WHINE. The good news is we are healthy and retired and don’t have to go out..
Mary Beth's picture

Your comment "pretty boring" - yup, Mostly I love being introverted - but in the olden days it was my choice, not a survival strategy...

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What Turns You Around?

I am just home from a walk to and from the YMCA gym. It takes more than an hour and since I am not an ‘early bird gets the worm’ kind of person, this ruins several mornings per week. Though I have been having the heart function tests they throw at you when you say your heart fibrillated like 7-Up and mentos tablets for a couple days back there. Just another older American here, keeping cardiologists off the dole. So far my heart is testing well and I suspect the walk and the gym are part of why I’m fine.

Rosemary Radford Ruether & The Fierce Poetry of Hope

5/23/2022 Rosemary Radford Ruether

 “Rosemary Radford Ruether, a founding mother of feminist theology, has died at age 85”


Rosemary Ruether taught at Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary while I was a student there in the late 1970’s. I only took one class from her but for me it was a doozy.

The Badlands


The Lakota call this land "mako sica" which translates into "badlands." They and many other wanderers and settlers named it this because it is so hard to travel through.

Wade in the Waters


This is a small announcement that could be a lot of fun for some of you.

For the past two years Len has been a volunteer Wisconsin stream monitor. Once per summer month Len and another guy (with whom he has become friends) check water quality and stream-bed life at a few local sites. Before they started, they received clear but uncomplicated training in order to understand what is being looked for and how the testing equipment works. And they received hip waders!

Who's in the Mirror? Representation Matters


Who’s in the Mirror? Representation Matters

Old story, I’ve probably mentioned it before: In 1977 I was visiting a friend in Ohio for a weekend. We went to her United Methodist Church on Sunday which is in itself amazing since we were two single 20-something women who had been out drinking the night before.

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