Mary Beth Writes

1. The most effectively frugal thing I did last week -- was have a cold. I walked some of those beautiful days… but other than that I stayed home with my germs.

Botanical Gardens

Actually, the cold started on the way home from meeting our daughters at the Botanical Gardens north of Chicago. Walking there was gorgeous.

2. I did a lot of writing last week. It is a gift to be able to do the thing one wants to do. Passion seems like such an important word; I’m not all that comfortable saying we all have to pursue our passions – but percolating along at the tasks we like and need to do, having enough time to do them well, pulling off a good project. That’s sort of the point of being Mindful Chickens, I think.

3. I took everything out of our most crowded closet and “went through” it all. Isn’t that an oddly passive phrase for such an active process? To “go through”…

I found 5 jackets to donate to the church coat drive. One of them is a homely white marshmallow of a winter jacket that I found for Len for $15 at least 15 years ago. It was a helpful for walking the dog after dark as there were no streetlights where we lived. I’m not a big Marie Kondo person, but I did say thank you to that jacket.

This weird Battery Medic jacket was something our son liked when he was in high school. I think I’ve held on to it long enough -- as he’s now past 30.

The kids, once they were teenagers, rarely adored thrift shopping yet they knew if they came with me I’d pretty much buy them anything they wanted. If they wanted NEW things, we expected them to buy those items themselves, which they did. It’s interesting to observe them now to see how that worked out. None of them thrift shop very much.  Our son buys and sells high end bikes and bike parts for himself which either costs hundreds, or saves thousands, depending on how you look at it.  

I think one of the values they figured out was that if they wanted nice things, they were going to have to get good jobs. None of them are in stunningly lucrative careers (none went into finance) but all have figured out how to pay the bills while building some assets. The girls have cool clothes, but they aren’t clothes horses.

Which is another funny phrase, and with that we shove on.

3. Added a little water to extend my hand cream, crème rinse, and birthday whisky.

I love the Outlander books. Jamie and Claire are always drinking a “wee dram of whisky.” For my birthday I said I wanted to compare Irish and Scotch whiskey/whisky (the Scots are too cheap to put a not-needed extra E in there). So that’s what I received, two bottles of whiskey! I like the Scots Scotch a wee bit better, you can taste the smokiness in it - but both are awesome for this nagging cough.

4. When three adorable girls (5th graders?) came to our door selling ridiculously expensive junk for their school, we hesitated. We didn’t want to spend $20 for any of it. We asked them if they would give our money to their program. They solemnly nodded yes so we gave them $5. Only God knows what those kids did with the donation, but I’m betting they gave it to their teacher.

5. Paid the bills mostly using our cash-back rewards credit card. As soon as we can arrange it in 2018, we will be going on some short get-aways. Our motel bills will be paid with cash back dollars.

Oh Ashland (Wi) I miss you….

Loon Lake, Copper Falls

6. Len apparently has been thinking about this for a year. There was a micro-line of light and space beneath our front door. This weekend he took the door off the hinges ( I helped, it was heavy!), put new weather-stripping on the bottom, then re-hung the door using much longer screws which will keep it from hanging slightly off-center.

Len says when he fixes little things like this on an old house (all our houses have been old) he feels as if he is spiritually communicating with the old husbands who lived in this place over the past hundred years. That someday, if there is a heaven, he will stand around with these other guys and they will all talk about doors and plumbing and why did that one guy put that shelf up so high in the garage and did that outlet in the corner ever work right?

What did you do to be a Mindful Chicken lately? Are you getting your house ready for winter? Any tricks the rest of us should know?

Comments

Smiling at the husbands gathering together in heaven. Loved the Jaime and Claire reference. I don’t like whiskey. I do like the thought of drinking it on a cold night, a tiny bit in a sturdy glass. Our house is almost ready for winter, but I don’t think we have any tricks , we just plug along.

First, you're absolutely right, I obsess over talking to other people who fixed something just the way they wanted. Why in the world did they want it that way? Second, the delight of fixing something the second time, where you get to remember what you were doing the first time you fixed something, and wondering why you did not do it right the first time. Third, homeowners who fix things need not be male. Someday, someone who owns the old house on Newhall in Waukesha is going to wonder who did all that with florist wire?

I have no idea what you are talking about. With the florist wire. That is easy to manipulate and one can cut it with normal scissors. If you can't fix it with florist wire, you haven't used enough of it yet.

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Looking for Sincere and Heartfelt Tales

A while back I posted an article about my friend Franc; I talked about how he has created a good life for himself even though he has rarely earned more than $15,000 in a year. (Right here)

This article was satisfying to write. I enjoyed spending time with Franc and asking nosy questions. Yes, it’s a challenge to interview folks and then write about their lives, but I did this often in my 12 years as a newspaper columnist and I like the adventure of it.

Mindful Chickens - Chicago Edition

Mindful? Thinking about what we do around here to be responsible to the world and to ourselves.

Chicken? Cheep, Cheep, Cheap!

 You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been a lot going on – including this pleasure.  Len and I went to Chicago for several days to care for our granddaughter while our daughter and son-in-law went out of town.

Mindful Chickens on an Icy Night

My church has been working for months to organize their fund-raising auction that was supposed to be TONIGHT. But instead we are in the middle of the massive spring storm that is scrubbing the nation from Oklahoma to I don’t know where next. The wind is howling; rain is sleeting into snow over a glaze of ice.

So the auction is postponed until next Saturday evening. I have put in so many hours (as have many other) working towards this event in the past weeks - that being quietly at home not working on it makes me feel as if I won a lottery. 

Two Chickens and a 3-Legged Lamb

Mindful Chickens? We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

Did you have a nice weekend? Did you get to share a meal or a chocolate egg or a PEEP with a friend or a child or a childish friend?

Other Peoples' Mindful Chickens

I regularly read blogs about being frugal.  I like them because they are about people taking as much control of the quality of their life as they can within the many different circumstances in which people live.  I especially love the letters people write listing what they did in the past few days to be careful and thoughtful about what they spend and how they save.

Retired Chicken Observations 3/22-2018

Two things I have been thinking about lately. Both are related to retirement income and retirement adventure.

1. Last week Len and I went to our Social Security office to sign me up for Spousal Benefits.  It took me several run-throughs to understand what “spousal benefits” are. Since then I have talked to several other people who were also unclear on the concept.

My confusion was this. I was already getting Social Security based on my earnings when I worked (as opposed to what I did when I stayed home and raised kids. But let’s not go there now. Grrrr.)

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