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 11/15/2017

Our son was married this past weekend. As he said, “This wedding has a lot of moving parts …” We are slowly coming out of our happy preoccupation with our kids’ lives.

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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!

Mindful Chickens of the past few weeks?   

American Clutter

I watched an 18-minute video about Americans and their clutter.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AhSNsBs2Y0 

 (I read about it in the letters section of The Non-Conformist Advocate.   http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/ )

The book it is related to is this: Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors. http://www.ioa.ucla.edu/press/life-at-home

From Our Hit Parade of $ Mistakes

I said last week that I would list The Dumbest Money Things Len and I have done in our lives.

1. Oops. I forgot to get a graduate degree at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. What would my writing career have been like with top-notch editors, agents, accolades and cash?

I have no idea. I write fiction but I don’t live it

Mindful Chickens 10/23/2017

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

10 Things I Learned By 65

Yesterday I turned 65. My birthday weekend was great; we saw all the kids and our grandbaby. The baby smiles slowly at us now. When she feels brave that we will be nice to her, she lifts her hand and waves. My socks melted.

So now I’m old!  Well, at least on the outside … inside I feel a smooth 47.  I went for a long bike ride Sunday afternoon and I wasn’t even sore yesterday when I apparently walked seven miles (in two walks). That’s cool!

Credit Freezing

Just figures; all the frugal sites i read are talking about freezing lovely produce from their gardens - while I'm  freezing my credit report...

Per my Mindful Chickens of just this morning - I just froze two credit reports and fraud alerted the third. There are apparently two smaller credit reporting agencies I never heard of before, so I’m doing nothing about them at this time.

I suggest you read this first. Krebs is a well-respected guy; I heard him interviewed on an NPR show a while back. Read “about the author” section for more credentials.  

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