Mary Beth Writes

1. The most effectively frugal thing I did last week -- was have a cold. I walked some of those beautiful days… but other than that I stayed home with my germs.

Botanical Gardens

Actually, the cold started on the way home from meeting our daughters at the Botanical Gardens north of Chicago. Walking there was gorgeous.

2. I did a lot of writing last week. It is a gift to be able to do the thing one wants to do. Passion seems like such an important word; I’m not all that comfortable saying we all have to pursue our passions – but percolating along at the tasks we like and need to do, having enough time to do them well, pulling off a good project. That’s sort of the point of being Mindful Chickens, I think.

3. I took everything out of our most crowded closet and “went through” it all. Isn’t that an oddly passive phrase for such an active process? To “go through”…

I found 5 jackets to donate to the church coat drive. One of them is a homely white marshmallow of a winter jacket that I found for Len for $15 at least 15 years ago. It was a helpful for walking the dog after dark as there were no streetlights where we lived. I’m not a big Marie Kondo person, but I did say thank you to that jacket.

This weird Battery Medic jacket was something our son liked when he was in high school. I think I’ve held on to it long enough -- as he’s now past 30.

The kids, once they were teenagers, rarely adored thrift shopping yet they knew if they came with me I’d pretty much buy them anything they wanted. If they wanted NEW things, we expected them to buy those items themselves, which they did. It’s interesting to observe them now to see how that worked out. None of them thrift shop very much.  Our son buys and sells high end bikes and bike parts for himself which either costs hundreds, or saves thousands, depending on how you look at it.  

I think one of the values they figured out was that if they wanted nice things, they were going to have to get good jobs. None of them are in stunningly lucrative careers (none went into finance) but all have figured out how to pay the bills while building some assets. The girls have cool clothes, but they aren’t clothes horses.

Which is another funny phrase, and with that we shove on.

3. Added a little water to extend my hand cream, crème rinse, and birthday whisky.

I love the Outlander books. Jamie and Claire are always drinking a “wee dram of whisky.” For my birthday I said I wanted to compare Irish and Scotch whiskey/whisky (the Scots are too cheap to put a not-needed extra E in there). So that’s what I received, two bottles of whiskey! I like the Scots Scotch a wee bit better, you can taste the smokiness in it - but both are awesome for this nagging cough.

4. When three adorable girls (5th graders?) came to our door selling ridiculously expensive junk for their school, we hesitated. We didn’t want to spend $20 for any of it. We asked them if they would give our money to their program. They solemnly nodded yes so we gave them $5. Only God knows what those kids did with the donation, but I’m betting they gave it to their teacher.

5. Paid the bills mostly using our cash-back rewards credit card. As soon as we can arrange it in 2018, we will be going on some short get-aways. Our motel bills will be paid with cash back dollars.

Oh Ashland (Wi) I miss you….

Loon Lake, Copper Falls

6. Len apparently has been thinking about this for a year. There was a micro-line of light and space beneath our front door. This weekend he took the door off the hinges ( I helped, it was heavy!), put new weather-stripping on the bottom, then re-hung the door using much longer screws which will keep it from hanging slightly off-center.

Len says when he fixes little things like this on an old house (all our houses have been old) he feels as if he is spiritually communicating with the old husbands who lived in this place over the past hundred years. That someday, if there is a heaven, he will stand around with these other guys and they will all talk about doors and plumbing and why did that one guy put that shelf up so high in the garage and did that outlet in the corner ever work right?

What did you do to be a Mindful Chicken lately? Are you getting your house ready for winter? Any tricks the rest of us should know?

Comments

Smiling at the husbands gathering together in heaven. Loved the Jaime and Claire reference. I don’t like whiskey. I do like the thought of drinking it on a cold night, a tiny bit in a sturdy glass. Our house is almost ready for winter, but I don’t think we have any tricks , we just plug along.
Leonard's picture

First, you're absolutely right, I obsess over talking to other people who fixed something just the way they wanted. Why in the world did they want it that way? Second, the delight of fixing something the second time, where you get to remember what you were doing the first time you fixed something, and wondering why you did not do it right the first time. Third, homeowners who fix things need not be male. Someday, someone who owns the old house on Newhall in Waukesha is going to wonder who did all that with florist wire?
Mary Beth's picture

I have no idea what you are talking about. With the florist wire. That is easy to manipulate and one can cut it with normal scissors. If you can't fix it with florist wire, you haven't used enough of it yet.

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Frugal? Road Trip to New Mexico

If our finances were stretched we wouldn’t have gone to New Mexico. We are doing fine despite the advice that says one ought to retire with a million dollars in the bank. Imagine that.

1. We and, at this point, about half the nation, have had our Covid vaccines so we felt safe and ready to see something new. However, we traveled to a place where they had worked WITH the effort to fight this pandemic. This limited our choices and is the #1 reason we didn’t go to the Badlands. How we spend $ is our power.

The Mindful Chickens are Wordy Today

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

  • Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).
  • Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.
  • Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

This is my collection of wise choices and dastardly schemes from the last two months.

ONE: Our electric toothbrush/water pick would no longer hold a charge but a new one costs more than $100. Len took it to the battery store where they replaced it for $15.

Mindful Chickens - Plastic & Hunger 12/20/2020

I went for a walk on Wednesday and saw this mitten on a sidewalk. When I was at the same spot on Friday, it was still there, so I brought it home because it is a hand-knitted kid mitten, ya know? Any knitters out there interested in making it a mate, so that we could give it to a kid in my community or your? It's 7" from top to ribbed bottom. 

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The point of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money while being mindful of the environment and our human values. We can try, right?

Holy Mackerel! Mindful Chickens 12/12/2020

Yamiche and Weijia licking out the mackerel bowl this morning.

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I said I would write “mindful things” we did this week. The agenda of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money plus be mindful of the environment and our other values at the same time. Sometimes, one of those purposes wins over the other, but we can think before we spend, right?

1. I cut my hair. This is not a particular skill of mine, but I can do it well enough to not look like the Pittsburgh Paint Dutch boy.

Who Let the Chickens Out?

Mindful Chickens i.e., being frugal and living by our values instead of by blithering consumerism is how this blog started. Yet I seldom post lists anymore about choices Len and I make that hit that marker because I can tell from who follows me that this is not why most of you are here.

But today I have a lot of things I want to accomplish. Preparing the Light Posts takes me a long time so I am not going to do one – I do plan to be back at it Monday.

7-6-2020 Mindful QUARANTINED Chickens

(Thanks, KJR, for the funny fluffy chicken photo!) 

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

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