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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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.

Animals of Winter


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

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.

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