Mary Beth Writes


Today is December 26th aka Boxing Day aka St Stephen’s Day. Stephen was the first martyr in the Christian tradition and he died, in case you were wondering, by being stoned. If you see a weird painting of an old-timey saint with some rocks by him, that’s him.

In the 1830’s in Britain somehow the titled rich folks decided to give their servants the day after Christmas off from work. The servants had been working like crazy for weeks getting those Victorian lords and ladies through the holidays. In return the workers got a whole day off plus their bosses would give them boxes, somewhat like workers receive bonuses now. There might be a bit of actual cash. Usually the boxes contained leftovers from the holiday dinners plus clothing the gents and ladies no longer wanted.

(Insert your favorite swear word here.) How did people maintain hopes and dreams when they spent most of their energy feeding and coddling rich people? Did they actually feel grateful for an annual box of used clothing and leftovers?

Plus this: Much is known about the terrors and injustices of slavery. How did enslaved people keep on keeping on? How did they know themselves? How did they create and invent? How did they become friends and partners? In that dire situation, how did the human spirit continue to function and sometimes even blossom?

What did our fellow humans from history, our compatriots who are under siege now - what did they know and do they know that we who live comfortable lives should look at and study and emulate?

When you think about your own life in tough times, what got you through? Where did you discover courage and grace and humor?

January Breakfast Club

This morning I had oatmeal with craisins plus pomegranate arils. Getting the aril/seeds out of a pomegranate is one of my favorite ways to reclaim toddlerhood. Eat with one’s hands. Eat with pleasure. Hose down later. (Yes, I know tips for a seemlier de-seeding but I only go there if others are around.)

Later I was thinking I was probably one of very few earthlings this morning to eat craisin pomegranate oatmeal.

You know, we don’t share breakfast triumphs and humor enough so let’s address this. January is nearly here and it’s a dang long month so I am suggesting we start a “What did you have for breakfast today?” club.

Feel free to comment with your breakfast success and jokes. I bet some of you are taking trips to interesting places. Will you eat breakfast on a tropical patio? Take a photo. Do you have birds at a feeder who eat seeds with you? Those of you who live in the south, do you get to pick your own citrus from your own trees?

Some of you choose Mountain Dew and a cigarette; I dare you to say it. Cheerios and unusual company? An egg and a book?

Either list your breakfast in the comments or send a photo to my email which is - MB at MaryBethDanielson dot com.

I will be gone a few days so will catch up with Breakfast Club news by the weekend.



Leonard's picture

I had an egg in my usual style, which is fried loosely on a bed of leftover fried potatoes and onions, some ham, and a generous knerdle of giardiniera from my favorite Middle Eastern grocery store (Attari grocery, on 13th st in Milwaukee). Plus some cottage cheese. In a mean move at cutting calories, I've stopped having a slice of toast on the side.

Mashed black beans, well seasoned, with avocado slices on whole grain toast. Mary Beth, it works on a corn tortilla for the gluten free. And Len, as a fellow Midwesterner, I fully approve of skipping toast, but not potatoes. Never potatoes! Happy New Year!

I had a bowl of Greek yogurt , strawberries, frozen tart cherries and blueberries with a cup of hot decaf green tea. I ate this while snuggled in bed with my iPad.
Mary Beth's picture

I'm back and we are off to the breakfast races!!

Favorite breakfasts based on time available: Plenty of time? Toasted sourdough with mashed avocado and an egg over easy...On schedule? Greek yogurt layered with sour cherries, topped with granola...On the go? Toast spread with peanut butter and sprinkled with pomegranate arils...
Mary Beth's picture

Ooh, Peanut butter with pomegranate aril-seeds.. I will try this soon.

Yes - try it soon! Freshest PBJ ever!

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About My Memorial Day Story


Today my story ‘Memorial Day’ is posted at Substack. Read it here. 

Courage, Big & Little



I’m writing fiction this week. I started a story in December that, along the way, turned into a Memorial Day story. It will be my Substack story this Saturday.

This morning I looked for an old newspaper column to rerun and found this one about a time when one of our kids needed to have four teeth pulled.

Cholesterol Numbers & Squirrels


Years ago I was out to dinner with friends. We were all just entering our 40’s and thus were all beginning to get the fun medical tests about this and that and cholesterol. I said, to a friend next to me, that I’d started eating oatmeal everyday for breakfast and my cholesterol had dropped …..

The room went silent.

Everyone heard “cholesterol dropped” and stopped speaking. Everyone wanted to hear how much it had dropped – which was about 8 points. In our twenties the conversation stopper was gossip about sex. Now the secret sauce was HDL and LDL

Hum & Read


First of all, the Cute and Curious. Apparently we humans can’t worry while we hum - because humming requires too much bandwidth. When we hum, we don’t have enough power left in our head engines to think about other stuff. I don’t know if I believe this is always true but I’m sharing it in case it is.

I read a lot this week. It’s what I do when there is way to much to think about and I don’t know where to start. Read or eat. I haven’t gained any weight so you know it was a heavy reading week.

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Mahsood 

Three Things


Three Things except it’s really more than that.

1. Earlier this year I read these two books by Palestinian writers and I recommend both. If you’ve read good books by Palestinian writers, maybe tell us about them in the comments?

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