Mary Beth Writes



Don't be so lazy. Pick up that bowl and dust UNDER it. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Your house is always so lovely and tidy.

You (write, weave, carve, sing, run races, climb rocks, lead tours, play volleyball, speak other languages, create art …) really well. Why don’t you do more of it?


Whites only. The Colored fountain is behind the station.

Thank goodness we finally gave them their rights. That injustice really bothered me.

Why are they so unmotivated to get ahead?

We welcome everyone to our Sunday school.

I wonder why no minorities runs for school board in this town.

Their young men are so dangerous.


Young people these days are fatter than we were in our generation.

Ah, most of the gals are not stuffing their Thanksgiving turkeys anymore. Just roast it dry and you can buy stuffing kits that are much tastier and so much easier.

Women do too much work around the house.

Why don’t people cook real food anymore? Women weren’t so lazy in our generation.


We take care of our own.

The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Do you shop for Fair Trade products? 

Oh, I can’t afford Fair Trade chocolate or coffee. That stuff is nearly double grocery store prices.

Yes, I give money frequently to organizations that help those poor people in Africa.

We need a change in Washington. Prices are way too high.

Did you hear that because of the war in Ukraine the price of wheat will keep going up and up and it will cause hunger and starvation in many places around the world?

A penny saved is a penny earned.


Oh Honey, look how high you can jump!

Oops, you fell down. Want to sit on my lap for a couple minutes until it stops stinging?

Congratulations on achieving Honor Roll while you are still in elementary school! You are good at paying attention and figuring things out.

You’re graduating from Nursing School?  I knew from when you were a toddler you were going places.


Of for crying out loud, it’s just a little scrape.

You had a bad day at school? Well join the human race. Think I like my job?

Complaining only makes it worse.

Big kids don’t cry.

I’m so sorry you have this advanced disease. You waited longer than most to start dealing with it. I don’t mean to make you feel worse than you already do, but why did you wait so long to come in?


Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

You’re too old to feel this glum.

All you have to do is get up and try harder.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I wonder why she quit our group and moved across the country? Doesn’t she miss us?



I hear voices telling me to try harder and work more and not be so sensitive. I hear voices telling me I’m interesting to listen to and that I try hard things and I make the world safe for mistakes. (I love that last one).  So much of our adult lives are constrained - or opened up - by the echoes of people far away and long gone.

What echoes still reverberate in your mind?  










Leonard's picture

There is a very good Mary Oliver poem, "The Journey." (You can't click on this link, but you can copy it and paste it in your browser.)

You're flighty like Aunty Gladys. Christine can draw very well. You're so damn dumb. You got all A's again! The Irish get everything in this city. Your sister has a beautiful figure. Cats are a dime a dozen. You did what you thought was right at the time...don't beat yourself up. Try prayer. Blondes look wishy washy. Christine has lots of friends. Your sister is a fabulous cook! You have a lot of patience Christine. In fact, you were even a patient baby. Look in the mirror and know you did your best today.
Mary Beth's picture

This is poetry. Thank you. I hear it.

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Be a (bit of a) Scientist This Summer!


This is an updated rerun of a story I posted last spring.

This is about Stream Monitoring and How to Do It. You don’t have to be a man to do this, but many are and that’s as close to the obvious joke as I’m going to go.

Len and his volunteer pal Tom enjoy this volunteer gig a lot. Once each month in the summer they go to the same stretch of the same stream to check water quality and to discover what creatures are lurking in the water and muck.  

A-Z Ice Cream & Marco Polo

DQ will never look the same. This photo is of a patio where one eats their gelato, somewhere in Italy. 



What is the thing most people spend a great deal of time, energy, and money keeping off our necks and out of our homes?

Chilly air

What is ice cream?

Chilly air with sugar.



We are working our way through an Alphabet of Topics and we are currently considering the letter I. Two days ago, I wrote about Idiosyncrasies. Today is Igloo. Next up is Ice Cream.

So here we are again with nervous banks and a jumpy stock market and we “commoners” quietly peruse how many bags of beans we have in the pantry. I hope by the time I finish and post this the news is more stable, but I doubt it. “May you live in interesting times.” Right?

You know what I learned while researching igloos?

I is for Idiosyncrasy - "I'm not goofy. You are..."

3/14/2023  (Happy Pi Day)

Idiosyncrasies are like cave drawings; enigmatic clues that say once upon a time something happened here. A story unfolded. Someone tried to solve a problem. The solution worked, or at least it kept the person comfortable or comforted long enough for the idiosyncratic habit to form.

A-Z Humor Me

Humor 3/8/2023

I heard this joke in a sermon in 1974. I heard that highly revered minister preach at least a hundred sermons and this is the ONLY thing I remember him saying.  

A guy loses his job and is desperate for a new one with which to support his precious family. Nothing turns up until one day the newspaper Help Wanted Ads (so now you know how old this jokes really is) says the zoo has an opening. Guy applies. The HR person looks worried and then says the zoo changed its mind, the job is too demeaning. Guy says he’s desperate, will take anything.

A-Z Heaven ...


First of all, you should realize that tomorrow is March 4th which is the only date of the year which tells you what to do. Hah.

This week I was amazed by this map/representation of the process of the creation of a new star. A year ago, there were no visuals of this process. What you are looking at is cutting-edge stuff observed and collaborated by 90 astronomers worldwide.

That + in the middle is the new star that right now is bigger than our sun. We know it’s young and new because it’s growing.

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