Mary Beth Writes


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

By far, this is the best picture and it is not a photograph - it's Karens desciption! "Yesterday morning, when I was shoveling the light, airy snow that fell overnight, I noticed coyote pawprints on the back sidewalk that traveled up to the front sidewalk and across the street to the woods. During the brutal -30 windchill a few days ago, a feral cat that lives in the neighborhood casually trotted down the road and into the woods like the weather was no big deal. Juncos, chickadees, sparrows, and woodpeckers were all over the suet."  Submitted by Karen K on January 20, 2024

Remember the deer in Rhonda’s backyard? Well, this week this guy showed up. I am reminded of a Thanksgiving dinner years ago. A handsome fellow like this showed up in our backyard. Our young nephew, son of his mighty hunter dad, saw the deer first. “Shoot him Daddy!”

These turkeys were and probably still are in Kathryn’s backyard. I also like to visit Kathryn’s yard and sometimes do this with friends, though never this many.

My niece Susan has been in California and Florida lately.

 Look at that temperature. Remember fifty degrees? Susan has a Facebook page in which she notices small, fine, often quirky moments in her life as a resident of and public-school teacher in LA. You can request to be her friend at


This is my daughter’s small dog just back from a very cold Chicago walk.

Recently some grandkids visited us a few hours. This photo is of the activity one gets to do at my house. It’s called, technically, “Ingredients.” Give a kid leftovers (my grandson doesn’t like toast with jam? I’ve seen him scarf down red snapper, roasted broccoli and cauliflower - but jam and toast is unpleasant?), a cup of this, a ramekin of that, the gravy boat with water in it (not filled up, guess how I learned?) and tell the kid to make cupcakes for squirrels. This activity is like high stakes playdough.

This is a squirrel eating those cupcakes.


That photo of the eagle at the start of this post? He is a preview of my Saturday Substack story. Len and I drove to Prairie du Sac last Sunday afternoon to see flocks of eagles. When we got there, there were only five although they were good ones.

My story is short and features a younger eagle who yearns.

You can sign up by clicking here and entering your email address. Then an email will come to you on Saturday mornings at 8AM and if you click it, you can read what I posted this week. You can do your subscription as paid or free.

And this is a sea serpent pulpit, from 1750, in Dobroszow, Poland. Wow. 

Later, gator.








I had no pictures of animals to send you but in a few short weeks, we will have hundreds of sandhill cranes in the fields around us ! I will get some pictures of them! That pulpit is kind of awesome!
Mary Beth's picture

You KNOW I love sandhill cranes!

Wow. Got to wonder how the context of that pulpit affected messages delivered…makes preachers feel like Jonah?
Mary Beth's picture

I wondered that, too. Preaching from the belly of the beast? The "whale" was where Jonah told God he wouldn't run away from God's calling anymore. And yet.. and yet.. the serpent pulpit is so CUTE!

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The Lies We Live By


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)


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


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.

The Republic of False Truths


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?


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.

Joyriding the Snowstorm


Today was one more day where my to-do list pretty much only had one big project on it which was “Write”. I’ve been working on a short story since the middle of December and here I still am, working on that story. I know more now than I did a month ago about what’s happening in it and I have a lot of written pages but none of them are done pages.

That was today’s sole agenda.

Then it snowed.

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