Mary Beth Writes

 Last night I read on the sofa for a couple hours. Then I came upstairs, brushed my teeth, and went to bed to read some more. Honest, that’s it. That’s mostly what I did yesterday. A few chores and errands. A lot of reading.

Then while turning one more page - my foot started to hurt! One moment nothing; next moment a big twitchy thing flared along the side of one foot. I rubbed it and tried to stretch the muscles but that made it worse, so I took ibuprofen and went to sleep. I woke this morning and although it hurts less, it still hurts.

I’m not too worried. This isn’t the first time in my life one nerve has decided to go haywire all by itself. It will settle down soon enough. If it doesn’t, I’ll deal.

However, the plans I had for today which were not that big to begin with, changed. I will read and write and take more ibuprofen and soak my foot because the small maladies of life respond so well to time and warm water.

When my kids were little we sent them to Waldorf School. You may have heard of them as a loci of anti-vaxxers. Yeah, I remember that being discussed, but it wasn’t even close to a predominant theme in the life of the school. (Yes, our kids were vaccinated.) But the school DID ask fascinating questions about the connections between health, sickness, and learning. Such as, do kids or people just get sick randomly? Or is sickness a necessary and relevant part of human life? What happens when we get sick?

The answer is that we don’t know, but sickness often changes us. When something hurts, we favor it. When we feel punky, we slow down. When we get a big tummy ache, we think about what we consumed earlier. Such as Len drank too many Margaritas once in his life and has not had one since. 

Some Waldorf teachers suggested we watch as our kids struggled with some aspect of their development. Learning to share, learning to read or to add 2-digit numbers. Continually learning to negotiate how to be an individual in a bigger community.

And then, those same teachers would say, observe what happens when that kid gets sick and then after they get well again. So, three kids and a zillion colds later – as a parent I began to see it. Each sickness was a hiatus to slow down, regroup, come through a little stronger and with another personal or educational skill. It wasn’t a formula, it wasn’t tit for tat; but I could see in them the evolution of what they were learning and who they were becoming as they came through all those times of being ill.

My writing mentor was Nancy Eberle. I met her in 1986 when she was healthy, but within two years she would pass away from a recurrence of cancer. I remember her writing about being sick in an essay that was never published, so what I am remembering is a rough draft from 1987. This is what she more or less said. “When you first get sick you get mad because you are losing your day and your schedule and your list of things you want or need to do. But then, slowly, you realize you are still having a life, just a different one than you had tidily planned and expected. Maybe you live more in your imagination. Maybe you listen to music with your eyes closed or feel the sun on your napping body. There’s still so much going on when you are not out in the world fulfilling responsibilities and having adventures.”

Yep, being sick is icky, inconvenient, and often a disappointment to oneself and to others. It’s missed pay, lost possibilities, canned soup, enduring fever and pain. It’s putting up with whatever we have to do to get better. 

It’s also wondering what you are learning this time.

I’ve been trying to write all week, but nothing worked, so I spent a lot of time irritated at myself and distracted by the internet. One sore paw and three hours later, here is an actual thought.  

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Comments

Leonard's picture

I'm sorry it hurts. I remember Nancy Eberle, too.

Hmmmmmmm. Did u write this just for me?? Slowing down. Never heard of such a thing. My tummy ache didn’t come from margaritas, it was eating an entire box of peanut butter cups ( it was our band fund raiser). Yep. Haven’t really care for them since. Lens comment. Toe truck. Oh Len !! Ha
Mary Beth's picture

That toe truck line is so old...

Slowing down...is my remedy to all that ails. And my body lets me know when it is time to slow down. Quietly, sitting and knitting restores the body and soul. A la Len, it's been wine for me. The memory alone scared me straight :). I do love a Margarita, though! Be well. Patricia/Fl
Mary Beth's picture

I like this quote: "Drive slow and enjoy the scenery - drive fast and join the scenery." Douglas Horton

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Kids & Books & Boxes & Paper Towels Tubes

Two things today – both related to schools.

1. I’ve volunteered for three years at Whittier Elementary School in Waukesha.  Once a week I walk out of my world into 3rd grade world and while I am there, my world simply disappears!

If you are the kind of person who is fond of kids who have ordinary and extraordinary challenges with reading and learning and doing kid-math – please consider being a volunteer, too.  You can call up schools near you. 

Location, location, location...

Here is another short MB take on the impeachment hearings.

Why Ukraine?  

Location, location, location.

Trump wanted the Ukrainians to turn the Biden name into a scandal. Trump is obviously in the thrall of Putin; whether this is criminal or simply his dangerous fascination with strongmen is the questions du jour. In any case, it seems likely that Trump Whisperer Putin suggested, “All you need to do is connect Biden to graft and you can win this election. Worked the last time, didn’t it…”?

Because Putin wants to run Ukraine.  

Why?

Follow the money.

When they tell you who they are...

I have a very big cold.  Not all that relevant to you but aggravating to me. Anyway, last night I coughed and woke myself up a lot; I had time in which to to think about the impeachment hearing drama in Washington.  I don’t have that much to say all at once. But I am noting particular things as this goes along and I am going to say them

On Friday Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee harangued about the “the unfairness” of impeachment hearing’s rules.

The Impeachment Hearings - Argh & Damn

Len and I watched a lot of the impeachment hearings this week. George Kent, William Taylor, and Marie Yovanovitch showed us the worthy, smart, and patriotic Americans still serving our nation. Or at least trying to do so behind the chaos and greed, the ineptitude and apparent bribery of the people in this administration. 

Genius & Why you Shouldn't Judge a Fish by What it Can't Do

Someone asked me what I thought might be the definition of genius. (If you send me an open-ended question I might try to answer you, too.)

Here are some of my thoughts.  Because on Halloween, plus the day the House of Reps votes on how to proceed with the impeachment proceedings, plus California is on fire, plus there is a half of foot of snow out my window – why wouldn’t we talk about shades of genius?

Sometimes it's calming to talk about a situation that doesn't exactly affect many of us. 

Why I'm Lukewarm on Heroes

I was emailing with my very smart cousin about heroes. He wrote (in a longer email): Are there heroes left? It seems like some of us have been pretty busy debunking our heroes, and if taking the varnish off is the objective, they’ve been very effective, IMHO. And the follow up question, what are the consequences of a hero-less world? 

 I’ve been thinking about this for weeks. So instead of posting the 17 pages I have written, let me say SEVEN things about heroes.

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