Mary Beth Writes

Can you balance on one foot for a minute?

Me, neither.

 I practice “balancing” fairly often.  I do this by standing barefoot on one foot as long as I can and then I stand on the other foot. It’s interesting that some days I can do this and then, the very next morning perhaps, I will balance on one foot about 9 seconds before I tip over.  Sort of a mini-check-up, I guess. On the 9-seconds days I figure my body is lopsided or badly fueled or distracted. A good day to take care while doing stuff.

Balancing requires a particular amount of attention - but not too much. If I think about not falling over, I fall over. If I don’t think about falling over, I fall over.

If I stare at a spot on the wall, or listen to the music Len has on in the kitchen, or if hold my arms out as gracefully as I can while thinking about my grandbaby – pretty often I can be my own heron for a half minute.

Paying just enough but not too much attention – this is the trick to standing on one foot. Also to raising children, making bread, flirting with your partner while you are eating burgers at a dim and tasty place on Friday night – and writing.  As well as to most of the rest of tricky human endeavors such as surgery, neonatal care, managing a huge enterprise or project, and engine repair.

Paying attention while not being swamped by the swirl of minutia; that’s the trick.

Last week I sucked at being my own heron.  I was distracted by many fine and needful things, some of which are these:

Halloween. We only had one set of trick-or-treaters. If you live in Waukesha and need more Halloween candy, I have about 30 Blow-Pops and mini candy bars left.  I’ll pay you a dollar to take it.

A carrot-beet cupcake (made by Len for me) and a glass of milk. Life is good.

When I was a kid my mom was a Pioneer Girl Club leader. Pioneer Girls were our church denomination’s answer to those secular Girl Scouts.  (I became a Jr GS leader when my daughters where in school. Loved it.) Mom arranged crafts every week for the 40 girls in our church’s club. One project I still remember was dried milkweed pods that we got to spray paint gold and silver; they were magnificent! I loved making them and I loved the outre' bouquet Mom made for our house. A kid whose mom (or dad) makes cool stuff out of free stuff is a lucky kid. 

I still love milkweed pods.

I never paint them…

 

Back in the spring I read a blog where the writer was encouraging people to buy and sell stuff on eBay (and other selling sites) as a way for all of us to consume less. She highlighted eBay sites where people were selling TP rolls!  I thought that was funny and with no goal in mind, started saving them, also.

Last week my daughter was talking about possible crafts for kids to do at a birthday party. I mentioned I had TP and paper towels rolls. She asked how many. I sent this pix.

Now I am in charge of the crafts at the party. 

If you save something, and then let people know, you too might become the person leading paper tube giraffe crafts for preschoolers.

 

 I was out for a walk before the sun came up. I saw this spooky orange-lit porch.

I finally started really writing.  This was the view from my office window last week.

What has distracted you lately?

Len added a note below - and a URL to this pix.....

 

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Comments

Clever of you to write about 'Balance' right after you wrote about 'The Tipping Point.' https://grassrootsyoga.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/balance-akt.jpg

I laughed and identified with a lot your wrote. Especially the balancing part. Wonder at what age you start to loose your balance. This might be a fun Thanksgiving test after we have stuffed ourselves. My distractions last week. Month end - sick kid - packing. This week is better. The ocean.

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Not Admiring Duty

Duty without empathy and imagination is handsome.

And dangerous.

This is what Robert E. Lee said. “Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more; you should never wish to do less.” 

This is what I say. “Duty” is a clichéd moral value lobbed at us by men (sic) who seem to assume leadership is about getting other people to do the work and take the risks at hand.”

What's in that Museum?

Do you go to museums? I enjoy them, but I think they are more complicated than we give them credit for.

This past weekend Len and I and our daughters, plus Len’s sister and her teenage sons, spent the day at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. At 400,000 square feet, the MSI is a huge old place; the buildings were part of Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 that were re-purposed into the Museum during Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress. (An aunt once told me about seeing a black and white electrical show in a box at the Century of Progress. They called it television.)

Surprise Dancing Lessons 1/7/2018

This is almost a quote from Kurt Vonnegut. “Unexpected travel is a dancing lesson from God.” (Vonnegut said “Peculiar travel suggestions are…” or some such; I need to reread Cat’s Cradle.)

December Seen Things 12/31/2017

Happy New Year's Eve!

Here is the latest edition of Things Seen in December.

You need to click on the icon to open it. It's small. 

PDF icon12-31-17_vol_1.pdf

My New Year’s Resolution

I mentioned to Len this morning that this year I am going to make a New Year’s resolution. Usually I don’t make resolutions because I don’t believe people change (very much) by determining to “do better starting tomorrow.”  The person who works mightily to stop eating cookies tonight - while there are still cookies in the house - is probably going to become healthier than the person who is going to Stop Eating All the Sugar and Only Eat Roasted Brussel Sprouts … starting tomorrow.  Don’t ask me how I know.

A Request for More Readers

A Request from Me to You

I just finished the She Writes post about being more courageous and stubborn on my own behalf.

This fits right in. I’m asking you to consider doing something on my behalf.

Do you know a person who might like to read this website?  If you are here you already know I write about frugality, I write random essays, I tell you about places I went and books I’ve read. I am fascinated by colonial American history. I repost things I wrote ages ago. Sometimes I write short stories.

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