Mary Beth Writes


Grownups Noticing Their Lives / Climate change up close and personal 


I woke up in the middle of last night. Our blast furnace weather moderated a bit yesterday so we’d turned the a/c off and opened the windows. At 3AM the long, slow, heavy train on the tracks down the street from where we live was loud.

My middle-of-the-night lizard brain suddenly wondered about something I’ve never wondered about before.

Weather forecasters warn Wisconsin is quickly moving into a serious drought. If this continues, and very little rain is predicted, fire danger will be elevated. What if a passing train causes sparks that catch fire in the grass and scrub along train tracks? Could homes in our neighborhood be affected?

How much fire insurance do we have, anyway?

We just looked at our policy and it appears we have plenty. Plus, Len noted in the fine print that if we have two volcano eruptions in one 72-hour period, that counts as one volcano and we’re covered.

Anyways, we are living in weird weather times. What unlikely but suddenly possible thing have you considered or dealt with lately? Has our worrisome climate crisis affected where you live?



And lungs. I just came in from a bike ride. After I returned, I saw that there is an air quality advisory (meaning no strenuous outdoor activity) because of wildfires in Quebec.

Way too early for heat like this. Especially with no rain either. Area farmers very concerned and are already irrigating. This is end of July weather. Kind of worried about our well with so much irrigation running so early in the season - could we run dry? Never ever worried about this before
Mary Beth's picture

Yup. The things we never worried about before.

New Mexico has been severely affected by droughts for a long time and by catastrophic wildfires for more than 20 years. Where I live is not at high risk, but even if I don't worry about my house burning, fires cause terrible air pollution, and the devastation to large areas of the state has been terrible. Lately I have become keenly aware of all the volcanoes that aren't all that far away. Experts say not to worry, but sometimes they are wrong. There has never been a tornado in my zip code -- the fairly rare ones in NM are mostly east of the mountains and I live west of the mountains, so that's not a big worry. And there has never been a hurricane here -- ha ha.
Mary Beth's picture

The air quality was terrible today….lots of people running and biking on the way to church….they may not have known, yikes! (Len too). And lots of huge Oak trees are dying and I think it’s from the long term drought we have been in for quite a few years (mine included) ….very sad. Thinking about this smoke being around most of this summer is a real bummer. And that it is coming from western Canada is an even bigger bummer….nowhere to hide. I thought the Midwest was relatively safe from most of things happening so far….obviously not! And not to mention the train tracks!

It's becoming usual to hear about broken records for heat, drought, "unseasonable" weather and the devastating storms, hurricanes, fires and tornadoes that are occurring with alarming regularity. State Farm has stopped accepting homeowners insurance applications in California. It seems this is just the beginning of what the future holds. Will there be more and more who become uninsurable because of climate change?

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What Now, US Constitution?


Not sure if I wrote this post for you or for me.

I was close to the end of my volunteer shift at the Food Pantry yesterday. The morning had been tougher than usual (see the upended boxes we didn’t have time to flatten) and I was tired. Then I got this text from Len, “Don’t look at the news.”

I’ve never received anything this cryptic from Len in my life. I told my co-worker Nancy I needed to look at the news because something weird was going on.

She replied, “The Supreme Court.”

Hot Weather Diary #4


Guess what amazing thing is happening at my house right now? This has not happened in, I think, two weeks…


Yesterday evening the heat index was 100 degrees. Tonight the temperature is 70, low humidity, breezes wafting in the windows like angels’ breath.

Hot Weather Diary #3


Today was another hot one and right now, it’s still 93 degrees in my backyard.

Hot Weather Diary #2


“Time wasted at a lake is time well spent.”  (I tried to learn who wrote this; it seems to have arisen spontaneously on a Pinterest plaque for your cabin.)

There is an argument that civilization started on the banks of rivers, the oceans, and along the shores of the hundreds and thousands of lakes on our earth. Waterfront is where people and animals gather to drink, eat, cool off, and watch the youngsters while they play. Also, it’s where adults gather to chat, fish, breathe in beauty, and sometimes swim far out there where joints don’t ache and its quiet.

Hot Weather Diary #1


We all knew it was coming and here it is. A Hot Week! We are in the news! We are important! Humans around the nation, especially in the East and Midwest, will be living through a week with temps in the 80’s, 90’s and worse.

What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 


Argh! I have a new phone because the old one stopped staying charged plus a few more foibles. My phone cost $400 five years ago so it makes sense that it stopped working reliably, right? If an appliance worked like this we would burn that manufacturer to the ground.

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