Mary Beth Writes


To whomever suggested Wonder - Thank You!  ‘Wonder’ has been bobbing in my mind like a frog in a pond.

However, I have FOUR suggestions from you guys for X - but I do not want to write four X essays. These are the suggestions:

1.) X signature substitution

2.) xylophone on a string pulled by a toddler

3.) xenophobia

4.) Xmas. 

If you have an opinion respond with the one you would like me to attempt. I will choose whichever X gets the most comments.

There will be no gerrymandering in this election.

If you live in Wisconsin, are you aware R’s in the state legislature are scheming to silence our newly elected Judge Janet Protasiewicz? They are strategizing to block her opinions because she will vote towards fair maps so R’s will lose their absolute lock on our state government.

What’s crazy is that a lot of Wisconsin IS Republican. Allowing Fair Maps doesn’t guarantee anything other than that our votes will all count equally. Also, without her voice Wisconsin women will not regain their rights to autonomy over their own bodies. This is all so craven and so nuts.

How to contact your WI reps:  Do it!

What we are doing here today is wondering about wonder. Wonder is what we do when we are so surprised by a moment or a question or a problem that we forget ourselves in order to pay attention to what’s outside ourselves.

On Monday evening Len and I pulled out of the parking structure at Froedtert Medical Center to a sky that was saffron silk behind rolling dark clouds. We drove out of the congestion of that huge medical complex into a wonder of a sunset.  

The day had been tense. In the previous week our brother-in-law noticed he didn’t feel swell. He works as a researcher (he sometimes calls himself a mouse wrangler) at that same medical complex. So, what did he do when he felt weirdly tired? He waited a couple days to see if would go away. It didn't. On Monday he had bypass surgery and here we are, a couple days later and he is doing very well. He has rehab steps ahead of him as he is fully aware of since he has actually, personally, done similar surgeries on mice.

I asked my SIL and BIL if I could use their story and they added this. “He has actually put pregnant sheep on the same kind of heart-lung bypass that he had the other night.  It's not lost on him that his research is on inflammation in blood vessels, which is part of the problem he has. Hopefully his research will help find ways of helping future patients like him.”

It’s crazy to embrace that if we were of our parents’ generation and had been their friends instead of their kids, many of us wouldn’t be here at all. Len wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. Brother-in-law sure wouldn’t. Medical care technology has changed THAT much THIS fast.

It's a Wonder.

Wonder is one of those words we tend to relegate to grand vistas or children. Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Do you remember the first time you came upon it? You knew it was going to be cool because you’ve seen the photos. But then you were walking from your camping site along a path that led to the canyon, and suddenly there it was. You stopped in your tracks and were speechless at the immensity.

And then if you are us you take a photo to put on your dresser for the next forty years because of the wonder of that moment you shared. And yes, Len did bring a cup of coffee on that walk. Oh look, so did I!

Grand vistas. Magnificent art in beautiful places. Kids stopping to look at things that fascinate them. (“Mom! Mom! I found this dead bird on the sidewalk!”) Babies watching youngsters move on their own legs. Youngsters watching teenagers be cool. Teenagers watching each other.


Where is our wonder now? Did we use it up? Is it only for young humans and people who travel? Where is wonder on a Wednesday when we are at work, or home wiping the counters, or watching TV with our cats and dogs almost on our laps?

I think wonder is the door that is always next to us. Mostly we are busy so I’m not giving us grief for the ordinary stuff we do to get through our days.

But sometimes when we are too slow, cranky, or uninspired, we can open that wonder door. It’s right next to us. Just stop in our tracks, take ourselves out of our monkey brains and into the moment we are in.

We are spinning like tops on the axis of the earth - at 735 MPH. Earth is zipping around the sun at - 67,000 MPH. Is this not wondrous enough to make us wonder what’s going on - and how we lucky we are to even be here?

If we pay attention to where we are, and what’s around us, and who is next to us, and what’s actually going on – the wonder is right here. Always.





“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I look for small wonders every day and one of the reliable wonders is mountains. I have the one big one which appears different every time one looks, but many others in the distance in every direction which also do. About "X" -- none of them inspire me. How about xeriscaping? It provides an opportunity to discuss water conservation and environmental concerns. Of those "Xs" you present, xenophobia presents the most opportunity for exploration, but it's so negative -- and I guess that's why it should be discussed.

M.B., I agree with Kay on xeriscaping.. As a gardener I have yet to actually water my gardens this year and they seem to be thriving.. Of course I still have to water the container plants but that's been done using the water collected in the two rain barrels attached to the gutters on the house.. Be it smart planting practices or the fact that I refuse to grow grass like most people---- I don't know.. But by not using Lake Michigan water to keep my lawn green it allows you Waukesha people to use it instead.. Enjoy it but don't take it for granted or waste this amazing commodity by using it on keeping your lawns green.. As for my wonder it happens every spring as I watch the wild flowers and bulbs poke their new growth out of the soil in my garden, greeting the new growing season with the wonder of rebirth..

I agree with Leo about life moving quickly! Yes - xeriscaping.
Mary Beth's picture

I can't believe I asked which of four X words I should write about - and you are coming up with a fifth topic - about which I know extremely little. Gonna be interesting.

Chiming in to vote for xeriscaping. In Spring I always plant way too many flowers in containers. At this point of early Fall, the daily watering has become tedious.

MB, Very thankful for medical technology, guess that has something to do with getting older. Even though slogging through all the information and choices around medical care seems like a lot, there is a large amount of wonder there! Glad bypass surgery went for your BIL. Love the photo of you & Len with your coffee at the Grand Canyon! Here's to more adventures and wonder for all of us! Hugs!

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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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