Mary Beth Writes

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.)

Our daughter called on Tuesday afternoon -- and the answer was: “Sure, we can take care of the sick baby while you guys go to work.” She was sick with Hand, Foot, Mouth disease which runs rampant in daycare sites. Most of her little friends had it, too. .  It was going to be at least three days at home; our daughter and son-in-law had a bunch of excellent reasons why this was going to be very hard for them to do.

So we drove to Chicago Tuesday night and spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with our 1-year old grandkid.

Here is a surprise in case you were thinking about visiting Chicago. The Hotel Versy is a renovated 100-year old hotel right at Clark and Diversy; the heart of Chicago’s trendy, upscale Lakeview neighborhood. 

Hotel Versey is attractive, super-clean and functional, with Chicago themed décor. Right now the price is $65-70/night! This cost will skyrocket as the weather gets nicer and Cubs games happen (its walking or a short bus ride distance from Wrigley). A price like this rearranges one’s thinking about visiting a city in January!

Our kids put us up there because their condo is too small for overnight guests. We would get to their apartment at 7AM (which is why you can see the moon in this photo). Our son-in-law was already gone to work and our daughter would be leaving within the hour.

Chicago at 6:5AM

Taking care of one almost-toddler (she will be walking within the month)? Yikes! Awesome, exhausting, hard on the muscles (I don’t generally get down on the floor and then back up 27 times a day). We love her so much. She is funny for a person that small and new. If she didn’t have our attention, she knew she could get it by putting a toy on her head. I don’t know where she gets her humor….

She was pretty sick Wednesday and Thursday. She drank and ate enough, but she was punky and uncomfortable. By Friday she was much better. She had blisters around her mouth and a few in other inconvenient places, but they were drying up.

Isn’t it interesting how you can see, feel, and intuit healing in people you know and love – even when they can’t talk?  Her face was more relaxed, there were more toys on her head and fat toddler book dumped into our laps as she edged close to be picked up and read to.

Of course, because life is just this complicated, by Thursday evening our daughter realized she had a fever and was sick! We watched the baby Friday as she went to a doctor. Luckily, as is common for most healthy adults, her HFM disease was not as blistery and awful as the baby’s. By Friday afternoon she felt human again, too, so we came home.

Len and I don’t know if we have antibodies. Time will tell, so we are staying Far from the Madding Crowd until mid-week.  

Dancing Lessons from God.

What a week.


Poor kid! Germs are the worst! Glad you're able to help out in that way. Yes, it's exhausting, but rewarding as well. I hope to see you soon! C

Maybe you will spot us Wednesday night - if we are not spotted.

HFM?? Those of us who are childless (and of course grandchildless) miss out on many things -- this is one I am happy to miss.!

Grandparents are a blessing from God! I bet Lilly and Pete think so, too.

I love Chicago. So far this year, we have spent about as much time there as in Wisconsin. It was also good to know that we can still find a parking spot on the street (at least one day!). But having a granddaughter to visit was the best ever.

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That Thing You Found or Made

Last week I went thrift shopping with my friend Franc. We saw this mobile made from dried paint brushes.  It’s hanging from the ceiling in the Habitat for Humanity reStore in Wauwatosa. 

I appreciate eclectic things made by real humans – as opposed to all the cool, anonymous stuff straight from a design team in some random place you’ve never heard of, that comes in an appropriately designed box, and it looks just like everything else. 

What is an object in your life that you love, that you would like to take with you to your last apartment and beyond?

Chicken to Eat and Three Billboards

I found an inexpensive, ethnic recipe for chicken, so I asked Len to buy a couple pounds of chicken legs or thighs while he was out. Humanely raised chicken breasts were the least expensive cut at the store he visited, he bought them.

So now I need to upgrade my recipe to be worthy of the meat he brought home.

This happens to me a lot. I have a somewhat energetic idea and the world responds with abundance, as if the world doesn't know how to do "just enough."

Wheels 4-Sale #2 Offer on Behalf of my Grand-Pup Bean

See the Story of Bean in Offer #1 on Behalf of my Grand-Pup...

Are you a high-end bicycle rider person?

Yeah, me neither. I like my bike and ride it some. Len is a bike guy 30 years now; he's been out for several long rides already this spring - when it was spring. It's winter again, so not today. 

#1 Offer on Behalf of my Grand-Pup Bean

FIRST – THE OFFER IF you live in Waukesha or Racine.

Len and I are going to Madison this coming Saturday. We can pick up a handmade-from-scratch frozen pie for you - and Len and I will deliver it TO you (probably) on Sunday afternoon.  That is – March 11.

Pies are $14 each and you can choose your flavor – Apple, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Peach-raspberry, Strawberry-rhubarb

Put the frozen pie into your oven at 325 for about 3 hours.  Or, thaw and bake around an hour - in either case bake til you can see the filling bubbling a little.

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.)

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