Mary Beth Writes

I was in the middle of writing when Christine J sent this to me: This photo was taken in the town of Douglas, Massachusetts close to the tri-state marker of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island along the Southern New England Trunk Trail. We experienced torrential rain from the pre-Christmas super storm followed immediately by a cold snap. It appears to me that the leaves were lifted by the large amount of rain and wind we had and quickly froze when the cold air mass descended. I've never seen this before in our area so I wanted to share this beautiful and unusual phenomenon. 

I’m not actively soliciting photos but if you see something beautiful and amazing and are willing to share – by all means, send it to me at: MB at This photo is so cool! Thank you, Christine. 


Sunday evening 60 Minutes did a segment on Radio Free Europe; it’s still a powerful source for reliable news and is listened to by millions of people who don’t trust local sources.

I was especially struck by this statement from a Ukrainian reporter who covers human rights in Ukraine. What she said was, “The only thing I’m afraid of is untold stories.”

When our kids were little a teacher mentioned this to us once and it stuck with me. Getting sick usually changes a kid in small but noticeable ways. Maybe it’s just one of those things where you see what you expect to see – but after that comment I watched and it felt true. The kid got sick, lived three days on Tylenol, 7-Up, and pretzels, wore their jammies all day, watched a lot of TV, slept a lot. Then they got better and went back to school … and they were different. They shared more, or maybe less. They were more interested in having stories read to them, or they were done with chapter books read by parents, now they wanted to read those books by themselves. Their favorite friends might change. They wanted to hike to the lake with dad, or quit hockey, or they dug out the yarn grandma gave them two years ago and now they wanted to learn to crochet. Little stuff, but the outward signs of interior growth and change.

We are living through a lot these days. We’ve just come through an endless year where the media talked about elections every ding-dang day. I got the dishes done promptly more this year than any time in my life; I could not stand one more segment on upcoming elections and polls and what it might mean. Len would watch for the both of us while I’d leave the room to load the dishwasher and feed the cats.

Many of us have come through strong personal experiences and events this past year. Being sick. Getting better after too long and too intense bouts of being sick. Losing friends and relatives. Exercising more than we expected. Breaking delicate bones (I have TWO friends who broke a foot this year! You guys, be careful on those bottom steps!) Financial hits from surprising directions. Storms that were way too strong.

Here’s the thing. In enduring what happened and then changing to accommodate what’s new – we have stories to tell ourselves and others. What it’s like that the last kid started high school and you suddenly realize that although you will never be done raising kids, in a lot of important ways, you are done raising kids. What it was like to be in that car crash. The vacation that was way more work than you expected and the unutterable words you now have for Southwest Airlines. What it’s like to live without the loved one who was so much work to take care of.

Just your friendly neighborhood bloggerina here to remind you to take into account what happened to you last year. Think about what you came through. Write it down or say it aloud, even if only to the cats while you are cleaning the kitchen.

When you no longer always want to do the activity that you used to always want to do, maybe it’s not that you are cranky. Maybe you changed. Maybe you are weary of donuts and you crave spring rolls. Maybe your best friend’s jokes aren’t as funny as she thinks.

Maybe it’s time to catch up with yourself.

Happy New Year.



Add new comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

A-Z P is for Procrastination


Procrastination. Or how the American Revolution was won. 

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't grant him the serenity to accept the things he cannot change.” (Tweet by Bob Golen) 

P is the next letter to write about in this project to write an essay for every letter of the alphabet. Someone suggested Procrastination.

Guess what? I’ve been putting it off.


GNTL - So Many Words!


Grownups Noticing Their Lives - Words!

The month of May might have been above my paygrade. I contributed to a weeks-long writing project in our congregation. I met friends more often than usual to talk and catch up. Two grandkids came for a sleepover last week. Our daughter and her little dog spent last Friday with us. Saturday another grandkid slept over.

GNTL - Kathryn's Garden


Grownups Noticing Their Lives - Kathryn’s Garden

My friend Kathryn sent some beautiful photos of her garden to me this morning, I asked if I could post them here and she said yes. 

Some of you know Kathryn Rouse so you know this is not a garden-come-lately. She’s been building and growing her garden since, I think, the late 1970’s. The bunny in a hurry is a Bill Reid sculpture.

I think Kathryn's photos are the right frame for the poem.

A-Z Observation

5/24/2023   O is for Observation

Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was a pre-telescope Danish astronomer who looked at the sky more precisely than anyone before him had done. He was obsessively careful about measuring what he saw and he studied the sky every night he could. To accomplish what he wanted he reinvented and fine-tuned the sky-gauging tools of his era – sextant and quadrant.

You may have seen these tools in paintings of old-time sailors. They would hold them up to their face, look at the stars, figure out where they were in the world.

GNTL - Squirrels & Gardens & the Sonoran Desert


Grownups Noticing Their Lives

My garden thrives in ignominy.

Yesterday I posted some frugal things I’ve done lately at the Non-Consumer Advocate website. I do this because the kinds of people who try to be frugal are often (not always) people who I wish would come over here and read my website, too. I don’t write too much about frugal strategies but I write lot about values. We are in the same Venn diagram, right?

GNTL - Walk, Mounds, Spirit

Grownups Noticing Their Lives


The local TV weather folks talked about ‘a pneumonia front’ for two days. I’d never heard the term before but we all know temps can change fast, right? It’s more generally called life on planet earth. Keep a jacket handy if you can.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words A-Z AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent aging Alaska anniversary antibiotics antlers apples appointments Arrows art Ashland August Augustine aunts baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barbara Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM Blue BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada canoe cat romance cats cello Chicago China Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows danger DarkRiver death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering democracy dentist depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Echoes Eclipse election EmilyDickinson eschatology Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer Fata Morgana ferns firealarm Fitness Five Flatbread Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal FrugalHacks Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga fungi fusion Galena Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd gerrymandering ghosts gifts girls GNTL gorgons goulash GovernorThompsonStatePark Graduation grandkids granola groceries Guatemala gum guns Hair happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance hearings heart heaven HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope humor hurricane Ice Cream idiosyncrasy igloos impeachment Innkeeper Instincts integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Jan 6 Janus jewelry JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich Jump justice Karen kites ladder Lady Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness LouisArmstrong Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mounds mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha Nancy Drew New Mexico New York City Nomadland nope observation OBUUC Ocotillo OnaJudge ordinary OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples poetry Preaching privacy procrastination Protest QE2 Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes recommendations Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb Ricky rime RitesofPassage Rosemary Ruether Roses Roti Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraKurtz SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spirituality spring square feet staining stars stele Stereotypes stories StoryStarts stream monitoring stress Survival swim taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards Three Thing Three Things ThreeThings TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine Ulysses Grant UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam vision VivianWokeUpDrowning vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving Webs wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Wiley Willa WillaCather Wisteria words
Ad Promotion