Mary Beth Writes

Written 12/12/2016  

1. You probably read my last post of last week that says our first grandchild was born. We are unambiguously happy.

Yesterday, after church, I happened to sit at the same table as a new friend from whom we are buying free range chicken eggs. I asked her about her chickens. She said a family member is saying that now that it is winter and the older hens are not laying very well, she ought to butcher those older ones. She said she doesn’t want to quite yet for several reasons – one of which is that old chickens are smarter than young ones. The old ones KNOW there are hawks, and watch out for them. The old ones know where to hide when a hawk is sailing the neighborhood.

I realized this was my welcome to Grandparenthood. We might not be as pretty and productive as the younger ones, but by gum, we know where the hawks are.

2. If you want to save money on your Christmas this year, this is all you need to do. Have grown-up kids who have good jobs. I made a list of all the presents we have for our kids, and was amazed that we are actually done. We have big stuff they want, little stuff we like to give, and there you go. This never happened when they were children and teens who depended on us for the material richness of their lives. So, whenever possible, get OLD kids. 25 seems to be a reasonable age. They’re still cute, but they don’t need you to actually buy them anything.

3. I read this: “Each year in the United States, 4 million tons go from logs to landfills to make wrapping paper and holiday shopping bags, according to the Clean Air Council, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization.”

http://www.biggreenpurse.com/reduce-holiday-waste/

4. This is counter-intuitive, but last week I got irritated at how sugar-tired I felt. There are SO many sweets everywhere. I decided to eat no sugar or bread/pasta/grains from now until whenever I wanted to stop. And by NONE of these items, I mostly meant none when I was home alone or just having dinner with Len. If other people are going to serve macaroons at the choir get-together (Jackie was) I will eat two and love them mightily.

Most people don’t give up sugar BEFORE the holidays. If you are a reasonably self-disciplined person, you don’t need to do this. But this decision has been a gift from me to me. I have more energy, my pants still fit, and since I am eating eggs and a vegetable for breakfast, fruit and yogurt for lunch – I am getting hungry way less often than usual. Who knew?

5. I am trying to more intentionally observe my own friends. It’s one thing to like a person; it’s another thing to wonder WHY.  I watch her or him get up to move across a room to talk to someone who is alone. I watch him ask questions. I watch a person who, over and over, organizes small social occasions, which allows others to pursue friendships. That guy reads so damn much. She remembers the plots of old movies and refers to them in interesting conversations. This isn’t rocket science, you probably already know a lot about why you love whom you love. But if you are feeling frazzled, step back and watch your friends. You will get out of your own head for a bit. You feel the gift it already is to have the friends you have.

Happy Lady of Guadalupe Day! On this day in 1531, an older, brown, Aztec man, outside of what would one day become Mexico City, saw and talked to a brown, beautiful vision of a woman who told him she was Mary. And so began the story not of what the Catholic missionaries brought to the New World, but of how the people who were already here would live and understand Catholic theology. Clue: It started with awe, belief, racism against Juan Diego by authorities who didn’t think he had a mission when he did. And roses in December.

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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. https://www.marybethdanielson.com/

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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