Mary Beth Writes

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about three things.

  1. Being Cheap (cheep, cheep).
  2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.


Stuff we did (and didn’t do) this past week:

ONE - If you tend to have minor flooding/seepage in your basement during big rainstorms – go outside WHILE IT’S RAINING (I recommend an umbrella) and figure out where your gutters are over-flowing. In the big picture, clean your gutters or hire a service to do this. In the meantime put buckets under the vulnerable places. Our house painter (for weeks now) took a downspout off a section of our house. We put big orange Menards buckets along that area and collected 15 gallons of rain water this past week. That’s 15 gallons of water NOT trying to seep into the basement. 

TWO – Remembered to use the “frequent flyer” points from the grocery store when we filled the car’s gas tank. $.40 off per gallon.

THREE - Made hibiscus tea.  I have a bag of loose tea and I usually make it by putting 2T into my tempered glass French coffee press. Let it sit, squeeze it out, now I have gorgeous tea that I let sit on the kitchen counter; I drink it within a day or two – often mixed with sparking water.

But I was preoccupied when I made it yesterday and poured boiling water directly into a clear glass pitcher.  Yup, it cracked.  After the tea finished steeping I poured it in a different container and threw away the lovely but cracked pitcher. (Lovely but cracked? Am I getting too personal here?)

BUT since the pitcher was bought years ago at a Goodwill, this sad loss was manageable.

FOUR – Biggest savings? Happily living in this house that was priced 10’s of thousands of dollars cheaper than we assumed we would pay when we started looking. Also still content with one car instead of two. Cars and houses are easy places to buy out of one’s realistic comfort zone and we didn't do that. 

FIVE – Our son’s BFF since middle school is the manager of an apartment complex that was upgrading their patio sets - you know, small metal tables with 4 matching chairs? Son took two of the sets and later decided they only wanted one, so would we like one?

We would.

SIX – Len’s COBRA insurance from his last FT job runs out … yesterday. This summer he spent some aggravating mornings figuring out what to do from Sept 1 until his 65th birthday which is later this fall. Clever guy that he is, he knew the previous insurer paid for monthly medications every 28 days – so he made sure to have his September order in on August 28th and he picked up those meds yesterday, thus saving us one month of RX cost.

The politics of this is so unjust and unfair. Len doesn’t love to research insurance options, but it also doesn’t trip his heart-rate to do so. He is good at reading fine point quickly until he finds whatever is relevant to us. He owned his own business for ten years, they changed their insurer almost every year – which was a whale of a lot of paying attention to insurance options and surprises. He is pretty good at this and thus he used this hard-won skill to saved us a pile of $.

It is a scam that health insurance is this complicated and this expensive.

SEVEN – Argh, we need a happier note to close on.  I didn’t have a pony-tail holder when I was at the Y. The receptionist overheard me and gave me a one.  I now have one second-hand hair elastic. Ask and ye shall receive.





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Less Lemming, More Living

Last week I posted an essay railing against our North American/western maniacal consumerism. We are so deep into climate crisis and into destabilizing world poverty caused by the oligarchy of the few.  Something has to give. Plus this: If we are living on $50,000 a year or more, we are already earth’s top 1%. Isn’t this nuts? It really is up to us to turn back this crazy lemmings’ march to the sea.

Mindful Chickens/ The "Before its Too Late" Edition 5-14-2019

Mindful Chickens   5/14/2019

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.

These are things we have thought, attempted, and done in the past month to live more lightly and frugally on our City Plot of Planet Earth.

We have to change how we live ...

We can’t go on like this.  Our everyday Western/American lifestyle -- is utterly unsustainable. 

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.

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.

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