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 - the "It's been a while" edition

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.


Mindful Chickens in Canada

In case you don't already know... My husband and I did a 15-day road trip to eastern Canada.  Kurt Vonnegut wrote “Unexpected travel is like dancing lessons from God.”  The plan was to visit Nova Scotia and Newfoundland – but then Hurricane Dorian changed that. Stories and photos at my website.

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

How Big IS Grandma? Do You Need More Space?

Our internet service had been goofy all that day; the house alarm system sent a random beep to my phone at 3AM. Waking from deep sleep to “Is there a bad guy coming up the steps right now?” turned into the kind of insomnia that requires … decluttering videos. My heart stopped racing as I watched a mild woman talk about the closet in her laundry room.

How I saved Tens of Thousands of Dollars Lately and also got a New Kazoo

Just in case you thought I stopped paying attention to how to live cheap and well. 

1. For several months we have composted veg and fruit scraps - our weekly garbage reduced by half! We collect detritus through the day in a bowl on the counter, carry it out to a steel garbage can we brought from our last house. I’ve dug some of this collapsed organic stuff into the garden.

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.

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