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.
  3. I just like chickens. I don’t know any personally, but I respect how small, weak, and tasty they are – yet they live each day persistently, doing the best they can under their circumstances.  They are not embarrassed by their odd figures or floppy head parts or splayed feet.  They are generally but not totally sociable. They like to sleep in a cozy place with their friends.  Most of them seem to regard a sunny day as a good day.  Works for me.

ONE – I have been donating blood for years.

 I often complain about the process. Why are donation centers nicer than clinics in the developing world? Why do they ONLY offer one service? Why do they not advertise their potentially life and health-preserving side-benefit – fast no-cost blood pressure readings, iron levels check, and more?

I got an email from the blood center. Would I like to participate in a focus group for $100. Yes and yes. Yes I would like to say my opinions and yes I would like a hundred dollars.  

TWO – On the super-sale shelf at the grocery store they had our brand of toothpaste in messed up boxes, for $.59. I bought all they had.

THREE – Other people spend a less than Len and I do on groceries. I just micro-looked at our groceries receipts for August. Half of what we’ve spent has gone to dairy (as I’ve said before, a lot of our dairy is from farmer-sustaining co-op brands so it costs more), produce, and meat. Len is the one who keeps pointing out whatever we buy we eat - so we waste very little. In the past week I’ve ditched onions skins, 3 mealy apples from a farm stand in Michigan (I think they were selling last year’s apples), 2 dried-up limes, and a quarter cup of homemade hummus that had seriously gone round the corner. Bones from meat meals are in the freezer waiting for Fall, when simmering broth will be a pleasant thing.

FOUR – Buying and drinking seltzer water instead of beer. Mostly.

FIVE IS A FAIL – Took my Little Sister to see the Christopher Robin movie. What the?? The entire plot is that Christopher is now an overworked, over-stressed father in post-WWII London. He doesn’t spend time with his wife and daughter, doesn’t even go away for the weekend with them. Winnie the Pooh and the Others (Tigger, Eyore, Roo, etc) convince him to slow down and play. This is a KIDS’ movie?  My 9-year old Little who lives in Hard Times America (I don’t know how else to say it respectfully) was so polite to me and so squirmy during the movie. It did not relate to her world (it’s a new world, movie-makers. Not every kid has an onsite father). I don’t think much of anything grabbed her attention except that she got to see a different part of town.

Conclusion: Read this in Non-Consumer Advocate and laughed. “Linda Gertig: My son says getting rid of stuff in the house is like those plate stacks in buffet lines that have a spring under them. Stuff keeps popping up so it looks full until you get to the last plate.”


I donate blood, also. Almost up to 3 gallons donated. A friend of mine is going through cancer treatment and 2 units (pints, like what I donate) were charged to her insurance at $10,000. Wish I could donate directly to her.

I will comment this on this, specifically, at the Focus Group. I am pretty sure, but I have never been able to find the backstory - that many of blood donation centers are NOT non-profit. That in fact there are very rich business people who run them and make large profits on our donations. If I find any answers, i will say what I learn. Best thoughts for your friend.

I gave some stuff away this week and I still have alot left. I must not be at the last plate yet...

You home could be designated as a satellite station of all the thrift venues of SE Wisconsin...

Is the toothpaste Tom's of Maine? If so, I will buy it off of you for .69 cents a tube!!!

Hah... don't we wish. Nope, just Pepsodent. So you have little kids - you need to know this. Do you know what time it is when your teeth hurt? Tooth-hurty. You're welcome...

Oh that's good...Will share with the boys.

You should not be charged for blood that is obtained from a blood bank; you can be charged for the costs of collection and administration of transfusion(s). Check the Medicare website for a reference.

Thanks for this info, Kay.

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Mindful Chickens – The “It’s been a while...” edition 1/18/2019

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.

The Choosing Season

“Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.”  (

The Arrows of Yore

I have a weird dark closet in the back of my soul. In it are critical things people have said to me in my life. I rarely consciously think about those old cuts and criticisms, but they are tucked in back there and sometimes I remember them uneasily.

Here are some of my particular arrows of yore:

“Can’t you do anything with her hair, Dorothy?” Dorothy was my mom. My dad liked his daughters’ hair to be curly and orderly, mine was straight and flyaway. I think I was in my 40’s before I realized OMG I do not have “problem hair”… whatever the hell that is.

Make Persimmon Cookies; Don’t make a Persimmon Life.

We are new subscribers to “Imperfect Produce” which is a service that delivers imperfect (duh) but safe and flavorful veggies and fruit to your house. This helps to keep “imperfect” produce from being wasted. (  I don’t get kickbacks from them.)

We are open-minded about trying new things to eat so when they included a pomegranate – cool. I enjoyed pomegranate, raisin, and walnut oatmeal I invented for myself.

Buy Angry

Frugality is a tool and a weapon. You can use it to be powerful.


Frugality and Privacy

 “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.”

When one of our kids was 8-years old, Len thought it would be fun to let that kid drive his car. I swear - though I doubt you will believe me - no drinking was involved. Len just really believes in our kids and sometimes this turns into bigger adventures than one would expect.

Did I mention the car was in the garage so it needed to be backed out? Also, the child in question was too short to adequately reach the pedals.

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