Mary Beth Writes


Yesterday the sprayer hose of our kitchen sink broke. (Because if a house is going to break, it’s going to do it two days before Christmas, right?) Len heard water, looked under the sink, water was spurting out the side of the cracked hose. He went to Ace to get a replacement hose but who knew we needed a hose with a rare connecting apparatus? Ace hose didn’t work. Len got back in the car to go to Menard’s.

While there his phone buzzed with a message that said that he’d been in contact with a person who was positive for Covid-19.

That weirded him out and me, too, when he told me. This morning I looked at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website. One can sign up to get alerts which we did last year but neither of us had experienced this previous to yesterday.

As is true with so many of the parts and pieces of this pandemic, it’s not 100% clear what just happened. It seems as if somewhere in the recent past, maybe while he was in the store though that now seems unlikely, Len was within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, of a person who is now covid positive. Maybe at the local Democrtic get together he went to last week and at which he wore a mask the whole time and so did the other people. What Len should do right now is quarantine UNLESS he is vaccinated, which he is. So wear a mask and carry on.

Not sure what the takeaway of this is. Other than get fully vaccinated, wear your mask, consider wearing two.

Also, he fixed the sink. Woohoo. 

Click here to learn more/sign up for the alerts in Wisconsin. 


Pastors of my childhood confidently proclaimed that people who go to seminary lose their faith. Six weeks after I started seminary I realized I no longer believed a whole bunch of the stuff those ministers had preached at us. I remember laughing aloud about that and my cat looking up.

Here is what I have learned in my life about the religious holiday known as Christmas. The less we expect it to be about weird and impossible stuff that happened 2000 years ago – the more we get to honor and respond to what is going on now. We get to take our abilities and questions seriously. What are we looking for? What warms our souls and gives us happiness? If being a person of faith does not mean convincing others to say their religious words the same way we say ours - then what DOES faith mean? Important questions to mull for those of us raised in Christian words and traditions.

Anticipation:  Remember how excited we got as kids waiting for gifts and toys? Reading the various gospel nativity stories, one can sometimes feel that. People writing the gospels 30-100 years after Jesus had come and gone, were still waiting for confirmation that their lives meant something. If the birth of Jesus came in mystery and music and poetry and a sense that meaningfulness was now beginning – then they could claim that their hard-pressed faith was also birthed in that birth.

Giving: As adults yearning to receive, we give. I made a from-scratch two-layer chocolate cake yesterday for the family of a kid I used to tutor. They are not destitute; this was about sharing my advanced sugar wrangling prowess with a kid-filled family. I’m sitting here grinning because I still have their faces in my mind.

My daughter just texted that the Paw Patrol figurines I bought for our granddaughter are NOT a duplicates! Apparently I bought the Kitty Catastrophe set which they don’t have and the kiddos are playing with it today. 

We can give. We can imagine and think and share. When it seems as if we are desolate, we can turn around and give a little. Pain doesn’t go away, but we heal and become stronger and wiser. And more hopeful.

This experience of anticipating, of receiving and giving, of listening, and sharing – this is Christmas.

In case you missed this comment after Quarantine Dairy #648. Like this. 

Submitted by Christine on December 21, 2021

My church runs a thrift shop with the primary goal of making available to the community gently used items at very affordable prices. While volunteering there last Saturday, two women came in. Somehow one of them had connected with the manager of the thrift shop. It turns out the older of the two has custody of two of her elementary school aged grandchildren. The week before we met her, her husband had beat her badly. That night, with only the clothes on their backs, she fled with the two grandchildren. In other words, they had nothing. No clothes, no furniture, no household goods, and no Christmas presents or decorations. We welcomed them and loaded the grandmother up with anything she chose to take, including toys...some new...wrapping paper, Christmas stockings, clothing, and anything she wanted for their new apartment. In fact, they made two trips because they couldn't fit everything into the friend's vehicle on the first one. We all had tears. This was my Merry Christmas.



How good and warm that must have felt, to be able to do something to help that family! What a blessing to you to be able to do God’s work and a blessing to the family to have found your thrift shop.

Special sharing of Christmas meaning...

Thank you for the story of strangers helping the grandmother and her grandchildren.

Merry Christmas to the most fantastic thought-provoker I know. Thanks for all you give in your writing, it always stirs me in some way.

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Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 


Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?


Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?


It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day


So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

Lake Superior Fairy Castles

By the way, HAPPY HALLOWEEN today! 


10/31/2022   Fata Morgana

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