Mary Beth Writes

Last week I had enough to say to write three posts. This week, not so much. This week I cooked and baked things to share with some friends who were having trickier than usual weeks. I wrote letters to the Third Graders. I always enclose some stickers (many from you guys) which are super cute, and I didn’t think any more about this, except, this week, one kid asked for a toy.

A toy? When a whippersnapper asks for a toy, one must cogitate. I found finger puppets online, cut them out, included a couple in each kid’s letter. Finger puppets here. 

I twice tried to exercise at the YMCA but both times fellow exercisers were not wearing masks (while ambling back and forth past the Wear A Mask signs). I gave up on the Y and went for long walks. Experts suspect vaccinated people can transmit the virus – and we are seeing some of our kids this weekend.

I thinned out more old files. I sat a while to remember my cousin who passed away recently. Char and I were each other’s first best friends. Those early years never leave one.

President Biden is competent at his job. Politics will be forever frustrating, and injustice stalks the earth like a colossus. But I no longer feel anxious and irritated 24/7.  I’m waiting to see what happens to the filibuster and then what happens to democracy.

When I was a support person to AODA programs, one of the things I learned was this. “Behind your addiction to substances is your addiction to the way you are used to feeling.  When you started drinking or doing drugs, it was to escape feelings of, probably, unworthiness, depression, guilt, fear, anger. There are a lot of rough feelings to feel, and if your life was arranged in such a way that you mostly felt negative feelings, and then you found escape through substances, well, you have some work to do now, don’t you? After you stop drinking or using, what will you go back to feeling?”

Those classes and seminars were powerful to hear from across the hallway as the counselors taught and I collated their reports.

This might be a good time to notice what your “signature feeling” is - and decide if you are okay with it.  Or if you want to experiment with, you know, feeling satisfied with yourself, or proud, or brave, or competent, or as if you have done enough and can just sit back for five minutes. Do you want to simply like your friends without having opinions about them? Do you want to think about your kids or siblings or cousins without making a list of what you ought to do for them or what they ought to do for you?  

I’m still thinking about Braiding Sweetgrass. (here)  Kimmerer talks about the way our first language and culture set us up for life. American/Western European culture tells us to keep looking at what we can get and do and fix. That Anishinaabe language enables a person to see how parts of nature, of family, of life itself mesh, interweave, and support each other.

Not sure how all these parts fit together. But it seems to me, lately, that sometimes the biggest risk is to slow down and pay attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As usual your post strikes a cord. Pondering many thoughts. Thank you. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for responding, too.

Just got back from Mr. P's house... The spring bulbs that I planted last year as his Xmas gift have been popping out of the ground for two weeks, but nothing like they are today... He's antsy and excited as am I to see the results of my labor... Someone told me this weekend that I'm a nice guy (Not Mr. P)... I think that choosing that as my *signature feeling* works and I can live with that... I was also asked if I would think about opening a restaurant... That doesn't work for me, I cook to show my love for those I surround myself with... Cooking at my age for money doesn't sound like fun to me...
Mary Beth's picture

I like that as a signature feeling. Nice guy. I like that you picked a name for it. I'm going to think about that. And as a person who has done jobs where one stands up all day - I vote with you. Too hard!

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The Lies We Live By

2/20/2024

Aristotle wrote a lot of important stuff, very little of which I’ve read. But this Aristotelian idea is cool and I don’t know why we are not taught this in high school. It helps untangle the importance of what we read and watch.

Fat Tuesday & Valentines Day & Ash Wednesday (says it all)

2/9/2024

I think today has to be a Three Things. You probably don’t even know I have Three Things scaffolding in my secret writing toolbox of organizational tools, but I do. Sometimes it’s how thoughts present themselves, you know? Things to say, but not for too long.

(Now that I've finished and read what I wrote, I guess this is five things but some days, in our expanding universe, the math just works this way,)

Successful & Failed Artists

 2/7/2024

Last week I finished reading Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard. (I discovered this book via Librarian of Burgos Instagram because I am her fangirl now.)

If you like to read a book that has a recognizable plot of sympathetic characters moving forward through a problem to a solution– you will likely not enjoy this novel. Heck, I’m not sure if I ‘enjoyed’ it.

Animals of Winter

1/25/2024

Last week I invited you to submit pictures of animals who are visiting your life these days.

The Republic of False Truths

1/19/2024

I set a goal for this year to read one translated modern novel every month. I’ve been following ‘Librarian of Burgos’ on Instagram and this woman keeps hyping and explaining books I’ve never heard of, which intrigues me mightily. I think she might be a reader’s reader. Anyways, she is European, has transcendently luminous skin plus several master’s degrees and a doctorate in history. Sometimes she even recommends books that are not, sadly she says, not yet translated into English. Cracks me up.

Who's In Your Backyard?

1/19/2024

It’s been a wowser of a wintery week. We had the deep and blowing snow last Friday which turned into the heavy-as-concrete snow on Saturday which turned into a deep and frozen crust on Sunday - and here we still are. Last week’s snow still limns the trees and branches. A foot of snow still covers every roof. When I walk (why yes, I’m still going out for strolls) it’s a matter of life and limb navigating the jagged piles between sidewalk and street. I do use my “Alpine” walking stick these days.

Change is coming but not today.

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