Mary Beth Writes

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.

Here in the “Less Is More Gazette” part of my website I would like to interview more folks about how they find a balance between what they want and the limitations of their income.

Are you interested in being interviewed? Would you be willing to explore how you live your best values on a possibly wonky income? Do you know interesting people who might be interested in this? People you are related to, work with through your volunteer activities, who are your neighbors and friends?

I care about ordinary people who build good lives while living on ordinary (or inadequate) incomes.  People who had to re-figure how to live when a job was lost, or someone became ill, or a career dried up and blew away.  I’d like to talk with people who grew up in poverty and have had to figure out financial stability as an adult.  Families who are documented and undocumented immigrants.  Older couples and older single people who are figuring out how to have the good adventures on a constrained budget.  Artists and social workers, stay-at-home parents and passionate activists.

Please know that I ask way too many questions but I don’t/won’t publish ANYTHING until the person/people being interviewed are okay with it.  We will probably talk about the specific numbers of your income, budget items, and more – but specific private information doesn’t need to be in this public place.  I will want to tell people approximately where you live and post some photos (that you will take with your phone) from inside or outside your home – but we don’t have to be precise and you can choose what identifying information we will or won’t use.

As adults living in a complicated place and time - I think many of us are curious to learn how others are living the best they can manage, while upholding their values.

Some of you have your own blogs and will want to use this as a way to get more readers – that’s cool with me!  I can give you an idea of my modest readership if you contact me.

Interviews and conversation will happen face-to-face when possible. More likely, much of this will happen by phone.  In some instances we will Skype. 

Please be aware this website is created by just Len and me. We have no ads (someday I hope to sell some of those sidebar ads – but we are not there yet).  I will not pay you for this interview.

Are you interested?

Write to me via the contact page. I will not post your inquiry.

FYI: I will be mostly away from my computer until May 10th. Don’t expect a reply until after that.

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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.

We have to change how we live ...

We can’t go on like this.  Our everyday Western/American lifestyle -- is utterly unsustainable. 

Bread, Tortillas, and Chocolate

 As many of you know, I follow a website called The Non-Consumer Advocate, written by Katy Wolk-Stanley who defines herself as “… library patron, leftovers technician, Goodwill enthusiast, utility bill scholar, labor and delivery nurse, laundry hanger-upper, mother and citizen.” She has purchased very little newly-manufactured consumer goods since she joined The Compact; a movement of people who choose to rethink mindless consumption.

The Money for Our Brother is Raised

We got the balls rolling!

Irony of the universe here.  I have written a lot this week but none of it turned into writing I wanted to post on this website.  Just awkward, mawkish, rambly writing.

I was hard-thinking why I do this and it wasn’t self-pitying thinking.  (I know how to do that, too, but this wasn’t that.) 

Then late yesterday afternoon Helle said Our Brother needs help and the total of what he needs is more than she could support him with. I said I would think about it.

April 15th is a Rough Day for Many

Here’s something I bet many of you of the “white privilege” class are not aware.

I sure wasn’t thinking about this until yesterday.

Monday is April 15th. All of us know what that means, don’t we?  Ha-ha. Time to get our taxes posted or an extension applied for!

Know what else it is?

Utility cut-off date.  Monday is the last day for people who owe money to their utility companies to pay those bills. If they don’t, their heat and lights go off Tuesday.

Mindful Chickens – Carrot & Grape Oatmeal 3/23/2019

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.


1. I’ve spent hours lately working on two self-inflicted writing projects. One is about the Midwest in the 1600-1800’s. Why do I care? I don’t know but I’ve been working at it for a long time and I still am.

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