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.
Mary Beth's picture

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...
Mary Beth's picture

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!!!
Mary Beth's picture

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.
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for this info, Kay.

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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. 


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.


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:

Making (a little) Sense of Medicare by Len Lamberg

Friends learned recently that they are facing imminent retirement with the accompanying medicare and insurance decisions - that have to be made now and made right. They asked how we figured out what to do. I asked Len if he could write up what he knows in plain English - and thought this would take him 20 minutes.

This took Len several hours over several days.

Our friends say this makes more sense than anything else they have read so far.

Mindful Chickens - Clucking at the Stock Market

I started this a month ago. Time flies…

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 values and values.

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