Mary Beth Writes


Today was one more day where my to-do list pretty much only had one big project on it which was “Write”. I’ve been working on a short story since the middle of December and here I still am, working on that story. I know more now than I did a month ago about what’s happening in it and I have a lot of written pages but none of them are done pages.

That was today’s sole agenda.

Then it snowed.

How’s your part of this storm if you are having it? We have at least 8” of snow so far and our wind gauge is spinning like a Barbie in a House of Kens but isn’t sharing what it knows with our inside digital read-out. However the snow is blowing sideways down the street so I’m guessing it’s somewhere between a steady 12 and a zillion MPH.

A friend and I were texting last night that meteorologists can’t always be wrong. When they said "SNOWSTORM!" they nailed it. Our whole family is in it. Our kids in Madison, Chicago, and a Chicago burb have all texted pix of kids outside playing in the snow, kids inside doing virtual school, and everyone’s various adventures with snow removal. (Although the cats in Chicago are mostly interested in some new feather toys.)

I’ve shoveled once. Len has pushed the snow blower up and down the driveway three times. The big machine he bought for a song and fixed this summer - lost its song yesterday. This morning he ordered a new and more powerful one from a store twenty miles from here and then drove out to get it. The store’s computerized inventory system figured out, when he was almost there, that they don’t actually have the machine in stock. He was not impressed.

He says driving was sheerly awful and lots of cars were off the road.

He came home and ordered the snow blower from Lowe’s (employee-owned, doesn’t fund Trump) and they will deliver it to us next week.

Meanwhile, I called a teenager we know to help Len this afternoon. Because this kid is overly wonderful, he refused, on the phone to take money. Which meant I had to make chocolate chip cookies.

I realized after I promised the cookies that we are out of chocolate chips. I chopped up two Italian Perugina bars. And then because I didn’t have the regular recipe that comes on the back of chocolate chips, I used a recipe I’d had forgotten about and ended up possibly baking the best chocolate chip cookies of my life. Holy Cow.

So now it was time for lunch and then we tried to take naps but a grandkid called. Len started talking with her (she was on her dad’s lap). I came downstairs. I was chilly so I had a scarf around my neck and she yelled that I was pretty. So we had to sit and talk quite a while. That was fun.

Then Len went out to snow blow for the THIRD time today with our machine which is not as tough as the snow. So I went out and yelled at him and he sheepishly agreed that a guy who has spent as much time in a hospital with heart stuff as he has probably shouldn’t snow blow all day. The kid finished our shoveling and I gave him the cookies.

He’s coming back tomorrow. I will have to bake something else. I’m thinking cinnamon bread.

Between yesterday and today I have attached plastic to seven windows because tomorrow the temps will become Arctic and will be staying that way for a long while. It’s already warmer in the house.

That’s my day and part of my week. Has the weather clogged up your life, too?

This is the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I only ate two because gluten is not my BFF. I intend to figure this out with oat and rice flour. Not kidding, these are so good.


One more thing. When I was out this morning I heard geese. The sky was so gray and it was snowing so hard I couldn’t see them until suddenly there was a big vee of them right over my head. This photo is not great, holding my phone upwards meant it got dotted with snowflakes.

But I read once that geese like strong wind, it gives them more ‘lift’’.  I’m imagining these geese were out joyriding in the snowstorm.





We finally figured it Out… HIRE IT DONE!!’ Our guy gets us plowed and shoveled for a lot cheaper than a trip to the ER!

Can’t go wrong with a King Arthur recipe!

I forgot that putting plastic on the windows was a normal part of midwestern windows. You brought up buried memories of my day putting up the plastic and shrinking it with a hairdryer. I’m gonna tell Juan Carlos about this. He’ll be fascinated.
Mary Beth's picture

I visited your folks when you were about six weeks old. I had not heard of plastic over the windows ion winter before but your mom called them Arkansas Storm Windows and i was so confused.

Who knew that King Arthur is such a thing? I was at a friend’s house and was served a King Arthur cake mix, choc with added choc of course! It was rich and delicious! Apparently my friend’s son and D in Law live in Vermont near the factory where King Arthur flours are made. There is a store attached with all things King Arthur for sale, including these cake mixes and all kinds of things. The family sticks up on items when they are up in Vermont to visit! Love snow stories and choc chip cookies! No snow here! One ice storm and pelting rain. May get a few inches next week! Bring it on!!

I remember putting plastic on the windows in my first two apartments in Massachusetts. I decided it was time when the curtains started moving. Instead, I watched the wind suck the plastic in and out. It sure beat feeling a breeze while sitting at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee.
Mary Beth's picture

Exactly! Last year I only put it on a few windows (our house is 100 years old and even the "newer" windows are from the 70's) but the week coming at us is pretty intense. And - backstory - when I was at a Goodwill a few weeks ago they had two boxes of the stuff at $5 for the both of them. I waffled, I don't like to stock up on mindless stuff that i may or may not use. Then I just took them. So I had a lot on hand!

Good call on your recent Goodwill purchase!


While you were seeing geese flying overhead, our skies were full of cranes. I thought they were getting a late start on their southerly flight, but then I remembered that November and December were pretty mild. I'm going to try the chocolate chip recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

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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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