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 Snickerdoodle Edition

1. When we were sick in January (with flu and cold) Len used the CVS card that I had signed up for last year and then barely used.  He bought several OTC medicines plus a cool-mist vaporizer using that card, which saved us 20%. That was helpful.

2. While I was under the weather I signed up for Starz in order to binge-watch an Outlander season.  After I watched TV for two days I canceled the subscription, thus paying nothing.  This is the third year I have done this.  Why do they let me do this??

Frugal Stuff/ Flu edition 1/22/2018

1. I donated blood Friday morning. This is a free mini-checkup every two months; they take your pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and check your hemoglobin levels (iron). They send your blood to be checked for various diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile, and Zika.

DO NOT donate blood in order to determine if you have a disease or not. If you think you might be ill, go to a doctor or clinic and deal with it. 

But, if you (like me) need an extra reason to be generous, the screening to give blood is not a bad perk.

Two Piquant Recipes, No Waiting

This is not a recipe blog. You may sometimes wonder what kind of blog this is, but I bet you have figured out we’re not here to cook. Still, sometimes I come across amazing recipes and today I want to share two of them,by referring you to the sites where I found them.

How do I find these sites, you ask? 

Simple. Google the name of two or three ingredients you would like to use up. This takes you to recipes that use those foods; you decide if you want to try them.

Health Insurance when you are laid off

Pals, I was reading letters at a website I look at often. A woman wrote that her 62-year old husband had been unexpectedly laid-off from his job. She said she didn't know where to begin to think about health insurance (and a lot more).  I talked to Len.  Man, we have been here.
This is what Len wrote. This answer is too long to post on someone else's website so we are sharing it here. 
...
Says Len:
You are in a difficult situation.

Mindful Chickens - Frugal Stuff 1/11/2018

1. We bought a car!! We bought our (former) 2006 Mercury Milan and 2004 Ford Ranger around 2006-2007.  Len is a very good vehicle dad – they lasted this long. The truck is still reliably chugging along; we sold it to a neighbor. However it became apparent a few weeks ago that the Milan could no longer take care of itself. Sigh. 

We talked about what kind of car we wanted in the past few weeks. Len did on-line research, finding cars we might like to try.  We decided we would spend part of two days test-driving these several makes of cars.

"Must-Haves" 1/10/2018

A friend (Thanks, Carol) tweeted this.  

“The term “must-haves” is profoundly unsettling to me.”

For those of us trying to live both frugally and thoughtfully – Yup!

I looked into the website she was responding to; it was coupons for:

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