Mary Beth Writes


To whomever suggested Wonder - Thank You!  ‘Wonder’ has been bobbing in my mind like a frog in a pond.

However, I have FOUR suggestions from you guys for X - but I do not want to write four X essays. These are the suggestions:

1.) X signature substitution

2.) xylophone on a string pulled by a toddler

3.) xenophobia

4.) Xmas. 

If you have an opinion respond with the one you would like me to attempt. I will choose whichever X gets the most comments.

There will be no gerrymandering in this election.

If you live in Wisconsin, are you aware R’s in the state legislature are scheming to silence our newly elected Judge Janet Protasiewicz? They are strategizing to block her opinions because she will vote towards fair maps so R’s will lose their absolute lock on our state government.

What’s crazy is that a lot of Wisconsin IS Republican. Allowing Fair Maps doesn’t guarantee anything other than that our votes will all count equally. Also, without her voice Wisconsin women will not regain their rights to autonomy over their own bodies. This is all so craven and so nuts.

How to contact your WI reps:  Do it!

What we are doing here today is wondering about wonder. Wonder is what we do when we are so surprised by a moment or a question or a problem that we forget ourselves in order to pay attention to what’s outside ourselves.

On Monday evening Len and I pulled out of the parking structure at Froedtert Medical Center to a sky that was saffron silk behind rolling dark clouds. We drove out of the congestion of that huge medical complex into a wonder of a sunset.  

The day had been tense. In the previous week our brother-in-law noticed he didn’t feel swell. He works as a researcher (he sometimes calls himself a mouse wrangler) at that same medical complex. So, what did he do when he felt weirdly tired? He waited a couple days to see if would go away. It didn't. On Monday he had bypass surgery and here we are, a couple days later and he is doing very well. He has rehab steps ahead of him as he is fully aware of since he has actually, personally, done similar surgeries on mice.

I asked my SIL and BIL if I could use their story and they added this. “He has actually put pregnant sheep on the same kind of heart-lung bypass that he had the other night.  It's not lost on him that his research is on inflammation in blood vessels, which is part of the problem he has. Hopefully his research will help find ways of helping future patients like him.”

It’s crazy to embrace that if we were of our parents’ generation and had been their friends instead of their kids, many of us wouldn’t be here at all. Len wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. Brother-in-law sure wouldn’t. Medical care technology has changed THAT much THIS fast.

It's a Wonder.

Wonder is one of those words we tend to relegate to grand vistas or children. Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Do you remember the first time you came upon it? You knew it was going to be cool because you’ve seen the photos. But then you were walking from your camping site along a path that led to the canyon, and suddenly there it was. You stopped in your tracks and were speechless at the immensity.

And then if you are us you take a photo to put on your dresser for the next forty years because of the wonder of that moment you shared. And yes, Len did bring a cup of coffee on that walk. Oh look, so did I!

Grand vistas. Magnificent art in beautiful places. Kids stopping to look at things that fascinate them. (“Mom! Mom! I found this dead bird on the sidewalk!”) Babies watching youngsters move on their own legs. Youngsters watching teenagers be cool. Teenagers watching each other.


Where is our wonder now? Did we use it up? Is it only for young humans and people who travel? Where is wonder on a Wednesday when we are at work, or home wiping the counters, or watching TV with our cats and dogs almost on our laps?

I think wonder is the door that is always next to us. Mostly we are busy so I’m not giving us grief for the ordinary stuff we do to get through our days.

But sometimes when we are too slow, cranky, or uninspired, we can open that wonder door. It’s right next to us. Just stop in our tracks, take ourselves out of our monkey brains and into the moment we are in.

We are spinning like tops on the axis of the earth - at 735 MPH. Earth is zipping around the sun at - 67,000 MPH. Is this not wondrous enough to make us wonder what’s going on - and how we lucky we are to even be here?

If we pay attention to where we are, and what’s around us, and who is next to us, and what’s actually going on – the wonder is right here. Always.





“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I look for small wonders every day and one of the reliable wonders is mountains. I have the one big one which appears different every time one looks, but many others in the distance in every direction which also do. About "X" -- none of them inspire me. How about xeriscaping? It provides an opportunity to discuss water conservation and environmental concerns. Of those "Xs" you present, xenophobia presents the most opportunity for exploration, but it's so negative -- and I guess that's why it should be discussed.

M.B., I agree with Kay on xeriscaping.. As a gardener I have yet to actually water my gardens this year and they seem to be thriving.. Of course I still have to water the container plants but that's been done using the water collected in the two rain barrels attached to the gutters on the house.. Be it smart planting practices or the fact that I refuse to grow grass like most people---- I don't know.. But by not using Lake Michigan water to keep my lawn green it allows you Waukesha people to use it instead.. Enjoy it but don't take it for granted or waste this amazing commodity by using it on keeping your lawns green.. As for my wonder it happens every spring as I watch the wild flowers and bulbs poke their new growth out of the soil in my garden, greeting the new growing season with the wonder of rebirth..

I agree with Leo about life moving quickly! Yes - xeriscaping.
Mary Beth's picture

I can't believe I asked which of four X words I should write about - and you are coming up with a fifth topic - about which I know extremely little. Gonna be interesting.

Chiming in to vote for xeriscaping. In Spring I always plant way too many flowers in containers. At this point of early Fall, the daily watering has become tedious.

MB, Very thankful for medical technology, guess that has something to do with getting older. Even though slogging through all the information and choices around medical care seems like a lot, there is a large amount of wonder there! Glad bypass surgery went for your BIL. Love the photo of you & Len with your coffee at the Grand Canyon! Here's to more adventures and wonder for all of us! Hugs!

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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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