November 6, 2020 – Letter to my elected reps

November 6, 2020

Dear Elected Representative,

We are in the last moments of this election and still holding our collective breath. While we are hopeful of the outcome, the thought still is there: how can “these people” feel so strongly in ways that are against what our nation stands for?

I had a moment while looking at the county breakdown of voting in this election. Most of my “blue state” was red. The signs and banners and trucks certainly indicated this to me previously but the voting didn’t lie. The only thing that kept the state blue was the concentrated votes in the populated areas. My moment wasn’t one of “thank goodness” but – how do we find common ground again? Rural areas (where I live) are the mirror of inner cities – little work opportunity, often poor education at all levels, poor pay, poor health care, food scarcity and insecurity, few cultural offerings. If we want to join together with our neighbors again we can’t dig in and WIN. We must find ways to offer ways to live better and to make room for caring for everyone so that anger subsides and being open to each other can begin.

This isn’t a new state of affairs, but a sure decline of urban and rural areas for many generations. And it is true for many of the “blue” states.

I live in an old house in a rural area. The center of the economy to those driving through here is all about cars. Old cars, a race track for racing cars, a NAPA store or two in every village. We have had minimal internet service, at times not reliable phone or electrical service. Where I live there’s no cable TV offerings at all because it’s not economically interesting to the cable companies. There are no grocery stores nearby, just convenience stores where you can pick up milk, bread and eggs with your gas fill up. In season we have farm stands.

I saw all the red signs. I heard a lot of the muttering and talk. I saw all the people who wouldn’t wear masks from the start and do so now minimally only because our local shops won’t let them in without one thanks to our governor’s strong guidance.

I see the local school whose newsletter touts the sports teams but doesn’t mention the academic results because they’re pretty bad.

There are people from downstate buying up property that was once farmland because they have the money to buy it and pay taxes on it. They rarely do much for the economy in terms of offering new industry or employment.

Why am I painting this view for you? Because to get back on track and start to push our country forward we can’t be US vs THEM. We have to make sure that opportunity is there for anyone who wants to try for it. That education is good and free at local schools and affordable to those who want to go on, and that this education prepares people for good-paying jobs that allow them to live well. That an unexpected illness or accident won’t destroy a family because of medical costs. That medical care and services are available everywhere to anyone who needs them.

I think of my childhood – all the little moments of a child’s oblivious growing up – and realize how we were not worried. We weren’t worried about losing our house or car or job, losing family members because we couldn’t get them health care. That’s privilege that comes from economics more than anything else. I grew up thinking if I worked, and it might be hard work, I could keep going and live an all right kind of life. I could take care of myself and my family.

I could be relaxed about the future, not worried and angry with worry and fear. I could save for retirement and someday not have to work.

How can we extend a better life with a sense of that to everyone? Health care, education, job training and opportunities, everyone pulling their weight to make things move for everyone?

This is what I ask of you, my elected representatives going forward. Stop catering to the billionaires and the mega-corporations and start – and finish – with the people you represent in the cities, the suburbs and the rural communities. We need your support to make the American dream of possibility and hope a reality for everyone so we can be one nation and one community again.

Mary Beth Frezon

November 6, 2020 – Letter to my elected reps

From the Quote Box of 2015

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. — (Rumi, 1207-1273)

From the Quote Box of 2015

Where did June Go?

Mainly it went in a swirling of brain-drain as I trained and adjusted to doing a new thing while working from home. It has taken really three weeks to go from abject terror to only moments of wondering what-the-heck-am-I-doing, LOL. Toward the end of last week, which ends on Saturday, I had moments of – oh, I know what to do here! Or hearing someone else asking a question in our support chat and thinking, ‘isn’t that…?’ So slow but sure.

Working at home means no forty-five minute plus commute each way, but also means I make my own coffee and breakfast and lunch. And dinner. Sometimes I get to eat one or all of those sitting on the front steps. Sometimes I get to dash out afterwork because the sun is out and I can get a painting in and take photos of the evening coming on.

July brings with it World Watercolor Month so get ready for a more regular appearance of paintings here. After that – August Poetry Postcard Festival 2020 – although with the pandemic in play, some of us started early on that. I did a month’s worth of postcards during NaPoWriMo in April.

I feel the rhythm of my year changing and yet it’s the same. A few photos popped up in facebook of watercolors I’d done in 2016 and 2019 and it was interesting to see what was the same and what was different. Since being home I found a place in New Lebanon where there is a 360 degree view of the sky. Looking back years from now I’ll be reminded of the pandemic by many many panoramas of the sky and clouds and landscape.

Here are photos from today. Mostly clouds and landscape but a few plants and flowers and a couple mushrooms that snuck in at the end. Look close – some of the clouds were being visited by birds and other things!

29 June 2020 out and around.//

Where did June Go?

NaPoWriMo – April Thirtieth Already

Lots of wind, my first growler (go ahead, you can laugh, I live to entertain), and other things. What an April it has been and now onto May. You may continue to see some poems here for awhile until the pandemic winds change things around again. I’ve blended this year’s NaPoWriMo into some early cards for August PoPo so more to come.

Or until the DSL lines come crashing down altogether.

The end of April. Long month of grey days
with golden double lines – stay where you are
it warns as it dips and winds around town.
Wind is pummeling the house. Isn’t that
more like March with its half-remembered kites?
And yet, here we are, blown around like
teenagers with an abundance of so
much everything but no experience
to hang it all on, flailing, some flying
lightly, scooping the sky, slurping up
the tough cord, stringing it as clothesline
doing a windy tango of its own
How’s the weather up there, the cord-paying
hand telegraphs, hoping for a tugged reply.

NaPoWriMo – April Thirtieth Already

Today’s Best Thing – Maybe of the Whole Month

This might be the best thing I’ve done in months. Went out to the mailbox this morning as I do and there was a letter – from the IRS. Now, if you’re waiting for a refund, this isn’t exactly what you want to see in your mailbox. Walking back to the house I opened it. I knew, folks, what had to be done, and I did it.

I’m proud of it. I would and will do it again. And I’ll laugh now every few days over this.

Yes, I fed him to the worms, at the risk of corrupting or damaging my new worms in my composting bin, I ripped him up and buried him in there with all my other compostible bits.

Next time Jerk, don’t waste my tax dollars sending me your signature in re to something that’s already freaking happened.

Moisten and prepare your addition to the compost box:

Ensure the paper is adequately damp before shredding:

Prepare a place in the box and add in the new addition:

Cover and let the worms feast and do their thing:

Today’s Best Thing – Maybe of the Whole Month

NaPoWriMo – Day Fourteen

Busy day doing not much of anything and I’m trying to work with the NaPoWriMo prompt and now I’ve forgotten what it was really all about…

You’ve taken that quiz: what x number of
people living or dead would you dine with,
if you could choose? Classic conundrum.
The answers are wide-ranging, the reasons
personal and predictable, but for
me — give me a table full of folks who
call New England home. Set a place for them:
Emily, Robert, Norman, HDT,
Mary O, Winslow, and John Sargent too.
Billy Collins, (New York, but close enough)
We’d gladly pass potatoes and the night.
What would we talk about? Weather, of course
and love, death and happiness and all things
under that changeable New England sky.

Why these people, you and others may ask?
I like them for their New England natures
They speak their truth and let it surprise you
without too much fanciness. No big fuss.
I like things conversational, and so
like our dinner, simple and to the point.
Twist optional but appreciated.
I tire of the endless highfaluting.
Speak to me simply – what you saw and why
Show me what it did to you that morning
or how the light passed while you watched it go
how birds flew rising and falling like waves
Tell me in plain language how it changed you
all that light, all that living, all those days.

And I’m pretty sure I could tell these folks all about my re-entry into the world of vermiculture and how today I prepared for that.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. — Winston Churchill

NaPoWriMo – Day Fourteen

The Eve of NaPoWriMo

Yup it’s that time of year again – National Poetry Month! May all the words be with you.

Counting the Determined Spring

and trees, buds swelling,
and grackles, squealing
and volunteer daylilies
and startled calves
following placid cows
to unknown pastures
along strange paths
Trembling they look
wide dark eyes
hurrying into a
world, newly made.

Meanwhile I was out myself today, driving around, maintaining social distancing and giving myself a stern talking to about “what would Vincent do?”

The Eve of NaPoWriMo

And Also Seen!

Along Highland Rd near Ooms, these beauties were willing to chat it up along by the fence.

And Also Seen!

Ah HA! The Job of the Artist

I started reading “No Time to Spare” by Ursula K. LeGuin and what a read it is. A blurb on the back by New York Times Book Reviewer Melissa Febos promised “The pages sparkle with lines that make a reader glance up, searching for an available ear with which to share them.”

And so dear reader, since the cats sprawled nearby look confused by my fist pump just now, this share is for you! (emphasis mine) Ursula writes about that question writers are asked: what does it mean? She encourages readers to seek out reviews and other analysts of writings if they can’t decide for themselves.

It’s a job I do as a reviewer, and I enjoy it. But my job as a fiction writer is to write fiction, not to review it. Art isn’t explanation. Art is what an artist does, not what an artist explains. (Or so it seems to me, which is why I have a problem with the kind of modern museum art that involves reading what the artist says about a work in order to find out why one should look at it or “how to experience” it.)

I’m on page 42 of this slender volume and this just stopped me in my tracks.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Meanwhile, today was a gray rainy day, not for painting, but I managed to buy some new socks. I also managed to go into an art supply store and leave without anything. I got an EZ-pass thing for my car after finding out from a co-worker that you can buy them at drug stores and grocery stores. Well, you buy it but they put all the money as a credit on the pass so it’s all good. Did some wash, did some reading, watched a favorite movie.

Yesterday I tried again on the scene I’d painted two days ago. Trying to figure out if it’s the change of paper (at least in part), paints getting rehydrated (they are now), me being rusty (yes and yes) but anyway here’s what happened. No explanations LOL per Ursula. Done from photos I’d taken of each scene.

Ah HA! The Job of the Artist

The Sun! The Sun!

I literally ran out of the house this morning when the sun appeared and found a scene to paint, even before starting to sip coffee! That is how sun-deprived we’re all feeling about now.

This one I did at home. I’m trying some new paper by Hahnemühle. The last two are 300lb Cezanne paper (cold press) which is quite a bit stiffer than the 140 I generally use. The first was 140 but a different type that is only sized internally – it’s their Turner line. It’s quite a different experience from the Arches that I have been using from the start. I bought full sheets of both to try and the Turner is smaller (20×26″) than most sheets (22×30″) which confused the heck out of me but I worked out the math to cut it up. Another good use for the mat cutter! This paper came via Acuity Paper in Indiana.

And in case you wondered – was that Mary Beth out there at the side of Old Post Rd? Here’s how you can tell:


The Sun! The Sun!