Mary Beth Writes


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.

Over the weekend I also called my sister-in-law who is an RN. Everything hurt and ibuprofen worked great but not for six hours. Emilie said to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen every three to four hours. And to drink a lot of water.

Her advice alleviated the pain. She didn’t charge anything.

What with covid subvariants multiplying like drunken bunnies and flight delays headlining the news, Len and I can just stay in the living room and say this was the plan all long.

I know I’m not the only person up against their own dang crumbling health. Len and I keep saying we are in good health, but actually, in this coming month, between the two of us, we have eight medical and dental appointment.  

When Len and I first started dating, we managed to do about two things per week.

I guess this is like that.


Last week (before my head fell apart) I took my two young friends on a nature hike. They are the wonderful girls I met via tutoring at the neighborhood school. I’m lucky to have them in my life.

They’d never been on a nature hike other than short ones with their school classes. We drove out to the park and I pulled into the small parking lot. We got out of the car, it was quiet and breezy and we were the only people there.

One of the girls looked up at the tall trees blowing in the wind and said, “Look at all those leaves just fluttering in the wind. It looks like a million green butterflies.”

What’s going right in your world lately?

Len went fishing last night with our son at Cherokee Marsh in Madison. You can't see it, but the outboard motor is a 1971 Mercury that Len worked on for a year - and fixed! If you look closely, you will see that there are reeds painted on the boat. Our son did that.  


Ugg to teeth and doctor appts. The pictures are gorgeous. M looks so much like Len.

I'm not in any pain except in the pocketbook. Today I went to my dentist to have a new crown put on a back tooth. During the process of removing the temporary crown my dentist knocked off the old filling by accident. It was a very old filling and it was by accident I need a root canal to build it up properly for the new crown. I see the dollars blowing out the window as I sit here in the living room contemplating how some people never get cavities. I think crappy, painful, expensive things happen and we have to enjoy the good times in between. Best of luck to you and Len with those upcoming appointments.
Mary Beth's picture

Argh! If the dentist damaged the old filling - one would think he would partially pay for the root canal. But then, the stolidly solidly moneyed folks seem to have ways to keep their cash and take ours. Yesterday, after the appt with the dentist, while waiting for Len to finish having his cleaning and checkup - I was talking to myself.. "Breathe, relax, it's just numbers. Money is just numbers." We all know this isn't 100% true, but when one has to have an unexpected root canal, better to believe money is just numbers.

We don’t have it. It seems like it costs a lot and doesn’t cover much. Does anyone have any strong opinions on buying dental insurance?

My husband and I, retired Postal workers, have a plan through the P.O. for which we still have to pay roughly $150 per month. It covers cleanings and check ups and around 40% of other work. Although it's expensive we keep it due to the ever emerging issues with our dental work from years ago (we're both in our 60s). Some years we come out ahead, other years we barely use it aside from cleanings.
Mary Beth's picture

Thank you for this. We talk about it but the one year we had it, it barely covered anything. It's helpful to hear your experience.

I spend a lot of time outside in my yard, mainly doing yard work. When I am feeling discouraged for whatever reason, I look around at the many butterflies, bees, iguanas , Ospreys; and most recently, a Hawk that visit my place, I am renewed. My goal was to provide "sanctuary," I think I have. That is going right in my world. My daughter finding a wonderful OT therapist for my grandson ( third attempt) has encouraged all of us. I hope you feel better soon. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

... wrote to me last night. She said, "This was such a beautiful thing to read. Me and the girls love you guys so much, you're a blessing and we're so grateful to have you in our lives. Thank you for always spending time with the girls." To which I, MB, reply, "Those blessings and that gratitude goes both ways. Thanks, Friend."


We have it but my husband says paying the premiums is the same as prepaying for the services we get. Ours covers two cleanings and one checkup each per year. I once had a filing paid for! But not roots canals or crowns or appts with endodontists! It might pay a for something we have not yet experienced but I think I will pass on the experience.
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks. Yesterday the receptionist was scheduling my crown and said she couldn't finalize it until the 'preauthorization' was back, so probably I would need to wait a month. I reminded her I pay at the time of service so she scheduled me for two weeks out. I realized not having dental insurance has this weird (extremely expensive) perk - I don't have to wait for an insurance person to okay a procedure for which they would likely pay much less than half.

I think your Chinese fortune cookie would say: You are forever an optimist.
Mary Beth's picture

Made me laugh.. Thanks!

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The Good Old Days???


Over the past few days Len and I have been emailing with two cousins regarding this interesting topic.

Were the Good Old Days All That Good?

The four of us grew up in the late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s. We are from three hometowns. Two of us were and still are science nerds. Two of us grew up in the same family and church.

This is what Len said about his childhood.

This is a more intense version of joking to kids that our smallpox scars are power ports.

Send $ to Welcome the Strangers Among Us.

If you have a heart for new immigrants among us and are open to another way to support them – Listen Up.

Three Things - Surviving the News, Our Web, Hiking Pix


Len and I went on a hike yesterday at the Monches section of the Ice Age Trail and the photos are from there. 

Was it only a week and a half ago? My how time flies when one lives in an open and free society under daily assault.

3 Things - Cool, 9/11, Bulbs

The photo is from Hiroshima. It's the shadow of what was there before the bomb. 


Yesterday it was hot and muggy and sticky. Almost every day since May has been hot and muggy and sticky. We have a small house with air conditioning; utility bills are not prohibitive so I am a lucky that way.  It’s usually cool enough in here.

But spending time outside, as one ought to do, is perpetually hot and muggy and sticky. I’m weary of sweating. Most weeks my laundry has included nearly twenty spent t-shirts … just from me.

3 Things - QE2, Triplets, & Me

The death of Queen Elizabeth dominated the news yesterday and it still thick afoot today. ‘Thick afoot” is my attempt to sound like a wee English countryside river animal political pundit. You know. An otter with a pipe. A weasel in a dark suit and an appropriate tie. A crow with an Hermès scarf.

I have two responses to QE2’s passing.

Wild Horses & Other Beauties


I first saw this photograph on Twitter in April. I don’t know the photographer, but the photo stopped me in my tracks. 

The Twitter handle of this person is Chris Byrne @ChrisByrnePhoto. He has a website; I think he leads photography workshops. His website is:

Meanwhile, here I am, awestruck by a beautiful and wild place I will likely never go. It’s called Torres de Pain and it’s a national park in Chile.

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