Mary Beth Writes

Last week I had enough to say to write three posts. This week, not so much. This week I cooked and baked things to share with some friends who were having trickier than usual weeks. I wrote letters to the Third Graders. I always enclose some stickers (many from you guys) which are super cute, and I didn’t think any more about this, except, this week, one kid asked for a toy.

A toy? When a whippersnapper asks for a toy, one must cogitate. I found finger puppets online, cut them out, included a couple in each kid’s letter. Finger puppets here. 

I twice tried to exercise at the YMCA but both times fellow exercisers were not wearing masks (while ambling back and forth past the Wear A Mask signs). I gave up on the Y and went for long walks. Experts suspect vaccinated people can transmit the virus – and we are seeing some of our kids this weekend.

I thinned out more old files. I sat a while to remember my cousin who passed away recently. Char and I were each other’s first best friends. Those early years never leave one.

President Biden is competent at his job. Politics will be forever frustrating, and injustice stalks the earth like a colossus. But I no longer feel anxious and irritated 24/7.  I’m waiting to see what happens to the filibuster and then what happens to democracy.

When I was a support person to AODA programs, one of the things I learned was this. “Behind your addiction to substances is your addiction to the way you are used to feeling.  When you started drinking or doing drugs, it was to escape feelings of, probably, unworthiness, depression, guilt, fear, anger. There are a lot of rough feelings to feel, and if your life was arranged in such a way that you mostly felt negative feelings, and then you found escape through substances, well, you have some work to do now, don’t you? After you stop drinking or using, what will you go back to feeling?”

Those classes and seminars were powerful to hear from across the hallway as the counselors taught and I collated their reports.

This might be a good time to notice what your “signature feeling” is - and decide if you are okay with it.  Or if you want to experiment with, you know, feeling satisfied with yourself, or proud, or brave, or competent, or as if you have done enough and can just sit back for five minutes. Do you want to simply like your friends without having opinions about them? Do you want to think about your kids or siblings or cousins without making a list of what you ought to do for them or what they ought to do for you?  

I’m still thinking about Braiding Sweetgrass. (here)  Kimmerer talks about the way our first language and culture set us up for life. American/Western European culture tells us to keep looking at what we can get and do and fix. That Anishinaabe language enables a person to see how parts of nature, of family, of life itself mesh, interweave, and support each other.

Not sure how all these parts fit together. But it seems to me, lately, that sometimes the biggest risk is to slow down and pay attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As usual your post strikes a cord. Pondering many thoughts. Thank you. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for responding, too.

Just got back from Mr. P's house... The spring bulbs that I planted last year as his Xmas gift have been popping out of the ground for two weeks, but nothing like they are today... He's antsy and excited as am I to see the results of my labor... Someone told me this weekend that I'm a nice guy (Not Mr. P)... I think that choosing that as my *signature feeling* works and I can live with that... I was also asked if I would think about opening a restaurant... That doesn't work for me, I cook to show my love for those I surround myself with... Cooking at my age for money doesn't sound like fun to me...
Mary Beth's picture

I like that as a signature feeling. Nice guy. I like that you picked a name for it. I'm going to think about that. And as a person who has done jobs where one stands up all day - I vote with you. Too hard!

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"Brotherhood" by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr - A Book Review

10/13/2021

“Brotherhood” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the most compelling novel I’ve read this year. I read the first half as if I was reading a book for the first time; it felt as if the writer was expressing a story so powerful he called it fiction just to get it out, to me, to us. 

I skimmed the second half because I was exhausted by the impossible trauma and decisions the characters would need to endure and try to survive.

Let me say right here than many will survive. Not all.

Thanks & Now Let's Do Pups!

10/13/2021

 Thank You!

I sent our collated list of “Ways to Help My Community” to the Third Graders this morning.  Laura has already shared it with them; I just received this from one kid. This was really cool and helpful thank you for coming back to me so quickly well you always respond quickly like all the time and also I like hiring (hearing) from you always make me smile from writing to pictures I love them all.”

3rd graders on Community Building

10/12/2021

... 

I’m just back from volunteering in the third grade.  I’ve done this for five years; Laura Zahn who is this class’s teacher, plus her friend and fellow teacher Mara, have become among my favorite people in Waukesha. 

My Relationship with a Door 10/5/2021

Dear Friends,

I seem to be out of Deep Thoughts lately. Not sure if this is apparent to you but it is to me. This is not exactly a problem but keeps me guessing what in the world I should be writing. Or - since “should” is a sometimes toxic and generally unhelpful word – these days I am not sure what you want to read and I want to write.

So maybe I’ll just write you a quick Dear Friends. Sometimes relationships are just about checking in.

Up North 9/30/2021

Here’s why I’ve not posted anything in nearly two weeks.

Last week Len and I took a trip to Duluth, MN and Ashland, WI. We hiked seven hikes, met new friends, ate too much. (We didn’t eat IN restaurants. We ate take-out dinners while sitting in our car overlooking Chequamegon Bay.) We marinated in the breezy Up North rhythms of woods, streams, rivers, and Lake Superior. 

Then we came home to all that stuff one does up returning; laundry, groceries, and bringing in the Big Dozers to deal with cat litter boxes. 

Cabeza de Vaca & Company: A 500-Year Old Story for Our Time.

I’ve been thinking about Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca for years and I’ve also been thinking about him for a week.

It’s crazy out there in the world right now and people are, I think, kinda sick of each other. Racism, sexism, and classism are the muck we walk through to get to our cars while our climate is turning into flying monkeys. And the rich keep getting richer.

So let me tell you about a guy I admire.

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