Mary Beth Writes

Our son was married this past weekend. As he said, “This wedding has a lot of moving parts …” We are slowly coming out of our happy preoccupation with our kids’ lives.

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Mindful Chickens? We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

Mindful Chickens of the past few weeks?   

1. Failure: I bought the expensive dress from Etsy which now hangs in the back of my closet. I think it has a future as something and I’m not in a hurry to implement what that future ought to be. Sometimes one just has to let a wrong thing sit until it finds its own solution.  I generally love this process and will let you know when it happens. Might take a year or two.

2. Regarding the dress I DID buy at Dress Barn: I rarely shop at conventional clothing stores. (A friend gave me grief when I called a store a “first-hand store.” She wanted to know what I was talking about.) I DO know stores often have secret on-line deals. Before I went to Dress Barn I looked at their site and found a ‘20% off one purchase’ coupon. I used that on my dress, which was a good savings. (Thank you, Alison, for your gentle horror back when we were co-workers and you realized I had shopped at Kohl’s without printing a coupon first…)

3. The dress needed a flamboyant pin.  I went to a craft store where for many minutes I stood and studied the bridal accessories aisle like a dim cow studying a new fence. They had demure silk rose corsages for $5. I eventually picked one out though it seemed sad and small. On the way to the check-out counter I passed the giant displays of fake flowers.  Saw one that was exactly what I wanted - for $2 – and walked the sad item back to its forlorn place in the planogram (can you tell I’ve worked retail?). At home I snipped the long stem, wrapped the short stem in green duct tape, then pinned it to my jacket with a safety pin. My baby granddaughter kept ruffling the petals it when I held her so it worked perfectly.

4. I went for my dental check-up and cleaning. My gums, which were okay six months ago – are better! The dentist had suggested I floss with those curved soft picks instead of plain ole dental floss. I guess they are a good thing - but they are plastic. I toss one a day and I have no good ideas of responsible ways to dispose of them. Put them in one container and recycle them all at once? Do you have any ideas of how to responsibly recycle icky helpful stuff like used plastic dental detritus?

5. The dentist suggested we try a water pick. At this point, anything that preserves teeth and gums is worth the cost because fixing teeth is always more expensive than maintaining.  That said – we now have a water pick and I’m figuring it out. I have a spare jacket that I put on when I use it. And a towel to wipe down the bathroom when I’m done.  I’m sure I’ll get the knack of this soon… Currently, it’s like playing with water balloons.

6. The regular frugal stuff. We ate all our meals at home except the ones associated with the wedding plus the lovely evening we dined with friends.  I make most of our bread; just made these beauties today. One to sell, one to share, and the big loaf for us. 

7. Sold (on eBay) a puzzle I bought at Goodwill for a dollar – for $15. When I looked it up on the internet I learned it was manufactured in 1936. Cool. 

1936 Tuco "Sunrise"

8.  “American families throw out between 14 and 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy. This can cost the average family between $1,365 to $2,275 annually.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2012/08/22/how-food-actually-gets-wasted-in-the-united-states/?utm_term=.582d0887cd0f   If you have time, read this interesting and depressing article about food waste in the US.  In the past month Len and I have tossed very little; I guess we are responsible eaters. (We sort of look like it.) I did toss the stem of a week-old mushroom today and last week  a half cup of cottage cheese turned to science. We made broth from bones, soup from the broth, ate some and put the rest in the freezer for days we are too preoccupied to cook.  

But that isn’t news. Most of you do the same…

Responsibly eating and using what we already have is among the most frugal and most earth-friendly values to pursue. Not glamorous, but true. 

Comments

Really laughed at the water pick. Been there - done that. I think those little plastic picks could go in the recycling bin! Enjoyed the read as usual - you two are a couple of the most environmentally responsible people I know

Hello, can you tell that I am catching up on my MB reads this morning? This one makes me smile, wonder and laugh. The picture really makes me smile. The Etsy dress makes me wonder, I want to know why you wanted it, why you didn't want it, and what it looks like? And the water pick story makes me laugh. Steve is living a very similar experience. The counter in the bathroom is very full with Reach floss sticks, various pastes and rinses, an Oral B toothbrush, and the newly acquired (about 3 weeks ago) water pick. I asked him if it was possible to use that thing in the shower, that idea is still under consideration. Until then, enter at your own risk :)

They make one to use in the shower. Instead of electricity it attaches to the shower pipe! The brand I'm familiar with is Oral Breeze.

What a good idea, water-picking in the shower! Although electrocution comes to mind....

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Bread, Tortillas, and Chocolate

 As many of you know, I follow a website called The Non-Consumer Advocate, written by Katy Wolk-Stanley who defines herself as “… library patron, leftovers technician, Goodwill enthusiast, utility bill scholar, labor and delivery nurse, laundry hanger-upper, mother and citizen.” She has purchased very little newly-manufactured consumer goods since she joined The Compact; a movement of people who choose to rethink mindless consumption. http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/

The Money for Our Brother is Raised

We got the balls rolling!

Irony of the universe here.  I have written a lot this week but none of it turned into writing I wanted to post on this website.  Just awkward, mawkish, rambly writing.

I was hard-thinking why I do this and it wasn’t self-pitying thinking.  (I know how to do that, too, but this wasn’t that.) 

Then late yesterday afternoon Helle said Our Brother needs help and the total of what he needs is more than she could support him with. I said I would think about it.

April 15th is a Rough Day for Many

Here’s something I bet many of you of the “white privilege” class are not aware.

I sure wasn’t thinking about this until yesterday.

Monday is April 15th. All of us know what that means, don’t we?  Ha-ha. Time to get our taxes posted or an extension applied for!

Know what else it is?

Utility cut-off date.  Monday is the last day for people who owe money to their utility companies to pay those bills. If they don’t, their heat and lights go off Tuesday.

Mindful Chickens – Carrot & Grape Oatmeal 3/23/2019

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

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1. I’ve spent hours lately working on two self-inflicted writing projects. One is about the Midwest in the 1600-1800’s. Why do I care? I don’t know but I’ve been working at it for a long time and I still am.

Mindful Chickens – Windy Sunday 2/24/19

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

...

Franc's half-minute of Fame - And do you recycle?

Remember when I said to watch Franc on TV?  Contributing Editor (and BFF) Franc Garcia was interviewed for 15 minutes - but all they used in the CBS58 video was less than a minute.  Here is where to find it!  

 While we are talking about reusing and recycling, here are two interesting videos.

Click here: What happens to recycling? 

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