Mary Beth Writes

This was written 9/19/16

ONE – I baked.  I realized our sweet potatoes were losing their youth. I looked on the internet to see if there is such a thing as Sweet Potato Bread and of course there is. It was delicious, and there is one piece left in, I can hear it humming.

A few afternoons later I wanted a cookie badly but we had none. I made a HALF batch.  A cookie fresh from the oven is a lovely pleasure.  I don’t see why we have to give up warm cookies altogether just because some of us no longer live with kids all over the place.

Here’s what I love about baking even though I am no longer feeding the troops. Someone always seems to show up with whom we can share.  A friend and I were going to go out for coffee on a morning that broke into rain. I suggested, at the moment she stopped by to get me, that we just drink coffee in my house. We did. Did the Sweet Potato Bread make that happen? 

Is this one of the physical laws on the universe?  If you bake it, they will come?

TWO – My daughter was unhappy with the dirty, off-white canvas covers on her Ikea sofa and asked me if she could dye it. I said I didn’t know. She looked on the internet (do I detect a theme here?) and yup, found a blog where a person explained dying canvas slip covers. So this weekend my daughter drove here from Chicago, used our washer, and we dyed the slip covers green. It worked well; the covers didn’t get streaky or mottled.  Not sure if I need to dye anything, but it is helpful to realize one can do this to solve problems and extend the length of time we keep things around.

Although my right hand got so blueish-greenish doing this that I looked as if I was “going Avatar.”  The next morning my hand was back to normal. Did my skin absorb all that? 

THREE – Last weekend when he was out on his bike, Len saw some tables along a country road that were loaded with homegrown watermelons for sale. Two days later we drove back there (he rides far; this was 15 miles west of here!). Oh the heartbreak in Len’s voice when there were no watermelons!

So we drove around the countryside for an hour, at dusk, on a balmy evening, talking about a lot of important and inane things.

The next day my daughter - whose job is to assist people in child custody negotiations - mentioned to me that a big truth about divorce. When couples don’t talk very much as part of their ongoing lives, and then a crisis comes along, these are the folks most vulnerable to splitting. There are so many pieces to this, there is never any one thing that keeps a couple together or breaks them apart, but isn’t this interesting?

Driving around hunting for watermelons that aren’t there might be a relationship-preserving skill!

FOUR – As always, I washed used plastic bags - the ones one buys in the first place for leftovers and homemade cookies and breads.  I don’t even think about this, except sometimes I notice other people throwing theirs away and it alarms me, as if they were flushing healthy goldfish.  (We do toss bags after they stored meat, or food that went moldy, or they developed holes.)  Can a person even guess how many bags we have saved doing this?  I am going to guess that washing and reusing saves us 5 bags per week; and we’ve been doing this for 30 years.  Holy cow, that’s 7500 bags! That’s a lot of money and that’s a lot of bags not in dumps or floating in the ocean. Of course, it’s even more prudent to use bowls and jars, which we do also. Doing the math might surprise you, too!

FIVE – Interesting info to help one decide which yogurt to eat.

There’s the obvious, Greek yogurt tends to cost twice what plain yogurt does.

We’re comparing 6-oz servings here. Greek has more protein - 15-20 grams of protein vs about 9-10 grams of protein for regular yogurt.  

Greek has less sugar.

Greek has less calcium than plain. Greek yogurt supplies about 20% of your daily requirement of calcium, regular yogurt supplies 30%.

Here is something I did not know. If you add one serving of yogurt (either type) to your diet every day for 4 years, you will lose 1 pound every 4 years due to however yogurt interacts with your gut flora and fauna. So if I want to lose 10 pounds, which I do, all I need to do is eat yogurt for 40 years.  

It is not at all hard to make your own yogurt and Greek yogurt. Ask the internet. (Didja see that coming?) Look for the instructions that require a heating pad or a crock pot. You don’t need to buy anything special other than milk and a single serving of good yogurt.

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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.)

Franc’s Wildly Successful Life

This is a long piece of writing and I am proud of it. If you don’t want to read it all – here are my take-way points about how my friend Franc lives well on a surprisingly small income:

Mindful Chickens 2/24/2018

1.  We did it!  We called, explained what we thought we needed to do, made appts, were home for the appts, rec’d the estimates about - fixing the gutters and getting the house painted.  I think one of the reasons we usually do it ourselves is because this process is so daunting and time consuming.

The gutter guy is coming next week; we are looking forward to no rivulets when it pours. 100-year old houses built on non-waterproofed rubble foundations, like George Washington, cannot lie about what’s happening outside your basement walls.

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