Mary Beth Writes

We are back from our big road trip to New Mexico. I took a lot of photos with my phone and put some on Instagram.  Len took even more photos with his Nikon. I want to post some of them, but I need to learn how to do that more easily. Currently it is as simple as washing a cat.

Road trips are awesome. And awful. It took us three days to drive 1500 miles to New Mexico, three days to drive home. While we were there we drove an extra 600 miles, here and there.

Here is why we love road trips. Because one doesn’t know what’s around the next corner or over the next hill. Gas stations are parachute drops into a culture that exists no place else. Two-minute conversations with people one will never see again; people who are kind and laughing or bitter and rude. Young males hauling 36-packs of Buds to their trucks. Old people with sensible shoes pulling themselves slowly out of sensible cars, groaning and stretching. Or the people climbing into gigantic motor homes; those homes catch wind and waver crazily in front of us as they sail wide mesas and skinny mountain passes. Professional truck drivers, in and out. 

We drove into New Mexico on US 40 from Oklahoma City. We’d been driving since 8AM and it was early evening. We'd already waited out a terrific rainstorm at a rest area. Now we were driving fast and intently, hoping to get to Santa Fe by dark. Turned north on 285 and came up over a low rise – and before us was all of creation, rimmed by purple mountains. Swaths of evening light falling across the land. What was in front of us was as quiet and wild as earth can be. We both uttered a “Wow.”

And that is why we drive. Because, yes, one pays a lot of highway - and in return gets back surprises and beauty and wows. It humbles you. It tells you, by the weary seat of your pants and low ache in your back, just how enormously big this country is. It tests your relationship to the other person or people in the car. A road trip is a way to be oneself in a different venue. Sometimes the new place you explore is your own self.

Driving into Santa Fe at dusk

The blue mesas. In the 1980's Len and I often ate at a restaurant called The Blue Mesa (on Halsted) and it wasn't until this trip that I understood why they named it that. 

The sun setting in the west lights the mountains for a few moments. 





Lovely pictures! Nice experience for you two. Thanks for sharing.


So glad you posted this. We leave for a family road trip (to CO) on June 1 and will be gone for the month. Stopping at Airbnb's along the way, spending a week in Boulder with friends, and 2 weeks farther west in a little town called Rico (with Mark's parents, who go there every year). We'll be packing our little subaru hatchback with 2 adults (front seats), 2 kids (back seat), and 2 pups (hatchback). Plus, we're adding a little trailer hitch cargo box & cargo up top. Should be interesting and EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE, I'm sure. Ha ha. We last went two years ago and kids got along great w/o any technology. Now we have a teenager who has his own phone. We'll see how that shifts the dynamic along the way! Most looking forward to views, open space, freedom, seeing my pups run in wide open fields, and not feeling like I have to log on to something every day.
Mary Beth's picture

It will be an awesome trip, I am sure. We brought our bike helmets with because I'd heard that 90% of tornado injuries happen when something falls on people's heads - so put bike helmets on in terrible weather! So, why not take on a trip? Then, if you find a place to rent bikes, you are ready! Some of our adventures with our kids didn't pan out swell, but I regret none of them. Have a wonderful time!

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"You have to be your own health advocate." Really?


I don’t want to write about this forever, but I just learned some things about being ill and being healthy. Still learning, in fact.

One thing and another, this year I’ve had very high and then pretty high cholesterol numbers. My nurse practitioner wanted me to start a non-statin cholesterol-lowering medication, but because I’m me, first I tried a Chinese herbal called Red Yeast Rice (it’s the red that makes Peking Duck be red!) It lowered my numbers but because of other things going on, it wasn’t clear if it was the solution I needed.



My step-grandmother Ricky ate an apple every night. She’d sit on her bed, lean against the headboard, then chomp the apple after which she would remove her false teeth and lay down to sleep.

I haven’t really thought about Ricky in years but this week for no identifiable reason (because we were talking about unsung aspects of our lives?) I dreamed about her. I awoke one morning seeing her face as she stood in her dining room chatting with my mom and me. Ergo, I started thinking about her.

What's Ordinary in Your World?

This train photo is not cribbed from anywhere. It's a Genuine Leonardo. 


Hello and how are you? I am writing less and less as Len and I meander around to doctors, specialists, dentists, and that way-too-early appointment at the endodontist. (So far, we are fine.) The irony being that most of what we are attending to are the side effects of medications prescribed for stuff that didn’t hurt and we didn’t even know we had.

A Quiet Week

The cat in the picture is my daughter's cat, Nancy. Sometimes we all just need a quiet place to slow down and think.


What's going right in your world?


My teeth again. Argh. This past week I’ve had a jaw ache/toothache that got worse instead of better. Today my dentist said I need a crown but also that’s not the thing that is causing the swelling and infection and ache. I now have an Rx for an antibiotic and an appointment for that crown and an appointment with an endodontist to get an Xray worthy of NASA.

Memory & Consequences


To remember hard stories truthfully requires bravery.

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