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.



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A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska


I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z


I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?


Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Len Explains Fusion Energy

The photo is of Lisa Meitner. The BFF of one of our kids is (quite likely) a great grand niece of this amazing woman. 


MB: Len occasionally explains very complicated science things to me or our kids in such a way that we actually understand it. One of our kids asked him what the big deal was about fusion. Len wrote this and I thought some of you might like to read it.

Long live curious people and long live nerds. 


Almost. Two Years Later


 I remember where I was two years ago this afternoon. Do you?

I was writing. I knew I had another hour to just work by myself and I was happy about that. I love no interruptions.

Len was downstairs. I heard him turn on the TV. We NEVER watch TV during the day so it was weird when he called up to me, “You should come down here. Something’s happening.”

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