Mary Beth Writes


So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

Waking up on a Saturday morning to NPR announcer Scott Simon saying the Columbia should land soon. Then he was quiet. Then there was confusion in his voice. Then there was fear. Not believing what we were hearing.

I was sure Michael Dukakis would win in 1984. I did not believe W Bush would actually send the military into Iraq.

I feel like this today. I can’t believe our nation might elect people who will rescind our rights to live our private lives in private. I can’t believe we would send back into official jeopardy people who are LGBTQ or trans or challenged by the myriad of things which can imperil or inconvenience our human lives. I can’t believe people will vote in tax cuts for the rich and vote out women and men who work to defend the environment from even more climate crisis. I can’t believe we will embrace racism and call it patriotism.

I’m sure you are in about the same place I am. What will happen? When will we know? Will Trump and supporters call into question every election they don’t win? Will it get crazier than it already is?

I don’t know.

I was a volunteer in the 1972 election between Nixon and McGovern. I was 19 that autumn; not even old enough to vote but I knocked on doors and made phone calls in DuPage County, the second most Republican County in the nation. I contacted a hundred people and I still remember the woman who laughed at me and said, “Bless you, Dear, for trying.”  

My father died. I became who I became. Almost three years after we lost that baby, our excellent third kid was born. NASA still exists and the James Webb telescope is sending back photos beyond our wildest human dreams. Obama won two elections. I don’t know even one family that doesn’t have within their loved ones persons who are LGBTQ or have some other of the rainbow stripes of destiny and chemistry.

Like I keep telling myself, hope is not the destination; hope is the road.

How are you today?

This is the rescue pup who belongs to our third kid. 




How am I? I am anxious also, and wondering when to start watching the election coverage. I am also hopeful because I am an optimist, though some have told me through the years that is a problem. I voted. I guess that's how I am at this moment.

also.....I just started a crockpot full of cinnamon baked apple slices...had some apples that were too tart so I had to figure out something to do with them. I'm thinking those will taste good as a celebration, or as comfort :)
Mary Beth's picture

I started lentil soup. A whole crockpot of it. And only I will be here for dinner... I figured if I probably need something at hand besides chocolate and wine.

I voted this morning. By the time I finished, I was in tears. I have never felt like our democracy was this vulnerable. I wanted to hug all the dear brave poll workers. So. That’s how I am. Thanks.
Mary Beth's picture

Len is working today as a poll worker - so I am alone in a very quiet house. I've only heard from him once - he shared that other workers are talking about a cookie recipe that uses potato chips... This comforted me. This sounds like my America. Democracy and ridiculous foods.

Makes me feel happy that Len is a poll worker today :) Your soup sounds delish! Wish we lived closer, we could share our soup and apples and watch election coverage together, and wait to hear all the stories Len will come home with :)

My body is vibrating today because I have no clue as to what rights I now have as a Gay POC I stand to lose or gain depending on the outcome of the election today… I shouldn’t be afraid as I sit here in Palm Springs, a Mecca of White Privilege and wealth, yet here I am… I voted early which is all I can do, I did my part, now it’s up to the rest of the country to do the right thing or set us back another 50yrs…. Please go out and vote… You control what happens in this election…

I am anxious. But, more than that, hopeful, in spite of the real threats, that the majority of folks are interested in seeing what is true and decent and compassionate survive. So much emphasis is given to things to fear, and erode our faith and confidence in one another. But that emphasis gets ratings and attention. I believe that truth and decency will overcome this temporary insanity. The light of our own lanterns of good will, and good deeds, will light the path through these dark nights. Chocolate chip cookies with potato chips sound like the perfect catalyst!

I can't watch any of the returns today in fear of what might happen to our country. Almost physically sick..
Mary Beth's picture

Boy, there's a lot of this anxiety going on.

Just got home from working a 13 shift at the pols along with my husband. We both questioned our safety but things were calm all day aside from the couple of angry young Republicans..."What? You're not even going to check my ID?!" But my biggest fear is the loss of our democracy. It is so much more fragile than I ever could have imagined until January 6th broke my innocence. This from a 63 year old woman. And if democracy ends we can watch LGBTQ rights and freedom to make our own decisions concerning our bodies follow it right down into the hellscape lurking on the edges of our imaginations. Watching the results on TV with roller coaster emotions as the numbers roll in.

We just got back from having dinner with a friend of Roger’s who lives here in Palm Springs and she said this area leans heavily to the republican side (Not a surprise to me, and I’ve only been here since Sunday)… She’s hopeful that the women of this country rise up and get out to vote… She’s hopeful that they let all those old white men who believe they know better than a woman what they can and can’t do with their bodies, that as women only they have the right to decide what happens to their bodies… I hope she’s right…

Florida breaks my heart, but I am not surprise. HOPE remains alive and well in my heart. It's very early on Wednesday. May I feel the same way tonight. Patricia

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A-Z Danger

Years ago Len took this photo of a lone coyote. 


I just finished rereading Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News. Boy oh boy do I love her writing.

The story asks this. How do people who were damaged by their childhoods find purpose, meaning, and love as adults? Good question, huh?

A-Z Cats

This is Lil Girl hanging out while I wrote this. 




 “Every family needs a cat so there is someone to blame everything on who won’t actually care.” Quote attributed to Len. 

I was 21 when I got my first cat through the fraught circumstance of someone dropping him off on a highway. He made his way to the backstep of my brother’s house where Sebastian the dog began to bark his head off. Paul went to the door to discover a kitten hanging by its wee claws to the screen door.

A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska


I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z


I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?


Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

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