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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The Arrows of Yore

I have a weird dark closet in the back of my soul. In it are critical things people have said to me in my life. I rarely consciously think about those old cuts and criticisms, but they are tucked in back there and sometimes I remember them uneasily.

Here are some of my particular arrows of yore:

“Can’t you do anything with her hair, Dorothy?” Dorothy was my mom. My dad liked his daughters’ hair to be curly and orderly, mine was straight and flyaway. I think I was in my 40’s before I realized OMG I do not have “problem hair”… whatever the hell that is.

Make Persimmon Cookies; Don’t make a Persimmon Life.

We are new subscribers to “Imperfect Produce” which is a service that delivers imperfect (duh) but safe and flavorful veggies and fruit to your house. This helps to keep “imperfect” produce from being wasted. (https://www.imperfectproduce.com/  I don’t get kickbacks from them.)

We are open-minded about trying new things to eat so when they included a pomegranate – cool. I enjoyed pomegranate, raisin, and walnut oatmeal I invented for myself.

Buy Angry

Frugality is a tool and a weapon. You can use it to be powerful.

What?

Frugality and Privacy

 “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.”

When one of our kids was 8-years old, Len thought it would be fun to let that kid drive his car. I swear - though I doubt you will believe me - no drinking was involved. Len just really believes in our kids and sometimes this turns into bigger adventures than one would expect.

Did I mention the car was in the garage so it needed to be backed out? Also, the child in question was too short to adequately reach the pedals.

Mindful Chickens – Up North Weekend Edition 9/24/18

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) 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 little things like bugs and crumbs, dollars and daily choices.

Several years ago our son and his wife decided that they were going to set a goal to visit every state park in Wisconsin. There are 50 state parks and they only have a few more to go; what a cool way to claim where one lives.

Mindful Chickens 9/15/18 & The Scattered Schedule of Retirement

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about:

ONE: Being Cheap (cheep, cheep).

TWO: Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

THREE: Did you know you can enter “flying chickens” as an actual searchable topic in YouTube? Did you know you can lose an hour (or more) of your life this way? It’s been quite a week over here, doing many needful and not-so-needful things – including watching chickens fly.

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