Non-Consumer Mish-Mash

by Katy on November 4, 2009 · 32 comments

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.


My older son has that dreaded flu at the moment, which means that I’m kind of housebound. I did pop out to Safeway this afternoon to return a $1 DVD and pick up another for Mr. Sicky. I knew that the $10 off $50 coupon started tomorrow, so all I bought was a ten pound bag of potatoes for only 99ยข.

My plan had been to make chicken soup for dinner, but I fell asleep while watching the movie and ended up serving Trader Joe’s potstickers with rice and a green salad instead. I like to have an emergency meal in the freezer for these very occasions. It would have been very easy to order takeout Thai food for dinner, but this backup plan saved me around thirty bucks.

Gotta have a backup plan.


I have been really tired lately, and have self-diagnosed myself with anemia. We rarely eat red meat, and I suppose I’m not very good at working those dark leafy greens into my diet. I do cook in cast iron pans, but It’s definitely time to supplement. I’m looking forward to having energy again.

How is this a non-consumer issue? Well . . . if I have no extra energy, then I can’t do all the extra stuff like take the laundry off the line and do all that writing that I promised to every Tom, Dick and blogger.

Yawn . . . .


I’ve read some really engrossing books lately, the first of which was The Crying Tree by Naseem Rahka. This was an emotionally wrenching book, but wonderful nonetheless. Having dehydrated myself with this book I was craving diversion, which led me to Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. I have a soft spot in my heart for British chick lit, and this book totally hit the spot.

I just love reading. Fiction, non-fiction, printed, audio book. Yum, yum, books! The librarians all know me and it’s all I can do to get out of the library in a timely manner.

What are you reading these days? Fiction, non-fiction, both? Please share any suggestions in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”



{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl November 4, 2009 at 3:39 am

I’m usually reading non-fiction. Right now I’m finishing up Marriage to a Difficult Man (which is a biography of Jonathan Edwards’ wife), and next up is a book on education called Upgrade.

I did used to read fiction back in the day when I had more time, but these days I usually feel like I need to read something productive!


Bad Hippie November 4, 2009 at 3:47 am

Sue Monk Kidd’s new book “Traveling with Pomegranates” is wonderful. She co-authored it with her daughter.

Are you getting enough Vitamin D? I was chronically tired last year, so my doctor ran some blood tests. Turns out my D was so low I had to take emergency super-doses for six weeks, and now need to take a daily pill for maintenance. Turns out living in the midwest will do that to you. ๐Ÿ™‚


Alison November 4, 2009 at 6:45 am

10 pounds for 99


Elizabeth November 4, 2009 at 8:26 am

I’m equally impressed by the price of those potatoes…and very jealous! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m also reading a variety of things at the moment. Through I got a few historical romances by some of my favorite authors and I also got a book I’ve been dying to read for a few months, “Sarah’s Key” about the plight of the Jews in Nazi-occupied France. That’s next up on my list of books I’m also on a non-fiction religious kick lately. I’m in the middle of reading “Mere Christianity” and have “Jesus of Nazareth” in my to-be read pile. I’ve also got a bunch of stuff on request at the public library. I seem to be stock piling books. I guess I’m ready for cold weather and reading in front of a fire!


Meg November 4, 2009 at 8:51 am

I was going to say that, too, about the vitamin D. With the days shortening and everyone bundling up (except here), a vitamin D deficiency wouldn’t be surprising at all.

But, Katy, if this persists, you really need to talk to your doctor. Chronic fatigue can be a symptom of A LOT of things and can be hard to self-diagnose.


Jennifer November 4, 2009 at 9:43 am

Supplements aren’t nearly as good as the real thing. Try eating more beef and I have heard to pair it up with Vitamin C for better absorption.

I have read 2 books recently by Michael Perry. The first one was The Coop, excellent read. The second one was called Population 485 and was very good, but not as good as The Coop. Probably just because the content didn’t engross me like in The Coop. Perry is a very good writer.

We are battling H1N1 here too. Hope your son is better soon.


Beth November 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

I know lots of people get H1N1 and are fine, but do take it seriously if he has any breathing issues. It doesn’t seem like a real threat, but it is.


Lindsay November 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

Hi Katy. I finally read “The Remains of the Day” and it was one of the most beautiful novels I’ve ever read. Should be easy to pick up at the library, too, since it’s not a new release.


thenonconsumeradvocate November 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

Don’t worry, I am an RN and my husband is a paramedic. We both listened to his lungs last night and he’s fine.

Thanks for your concern.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Lisa November 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

I’m listening to The Last Lecture on audio. It’s written by Randy Pausch after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Though it’s sad, it’s also incredibly inspiring too… H1N1? This too shall pass. Just get that pot of soup on to cook!…My non-consumerist’s mishmash was the secondhand teapot that I found at our local flea market after my old one finally bit the dust (beyond repair).The new to me kettle is made by Revere Ware and has the copper clad bottom. It even matches my pans which are also Revere Ware. Best of all, I paid a measelly $4 for it. YEAH!!!!


Melissa November 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I just finished “Diary of a Provincial Lady”, which is like Bridget Jones in the 1930s (if Bridget were married with kids) and not I’m reading “Home-Maker” which is from the 1920s, and the main character puts Martha Stewart to shame. And I mean the scary Martha Stewart.


Carla November 4, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I just finished “Shirley” by Charlotte Bronte. It is quite a mish mosh of ideas and as is her wont, highly romantic. When I was about 14 (give or take a bit) my aunt gave me “Jane Eyre” and I read it with the relatively uncritical eye of a teenage girl. Coming to “Shirley” at nearly 60 is a different experience, LOL. You’ve got the dashing heroes, the drooping maidens, the self-righteous clergymen and some for-that-time highly radical feminist ideas all mixed up into an entertaining hash. A soap opera in long skirts and cravats. (Lots of them are like that!)

Next I’m going to try her sister, Anne, and “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”. We’ll see.


Angela November 4, 2009 at 6:13 pm

TJ potstickers and salad are one of our favorite “backup” meals too.

I hope your son feels better soon.

I read a lot of fiction and a bit of nonfiction, and a lot of news online. Out Stealing Horses was a good novel I read recently, and I have a feeling you’d like “Adriane on the Edge” by Paul Mandelbaum- it’s a sort of comic novel, told in short stories. The author is described as a cross between Anne Tyler, Evelyn Waugh, and Lorrie Moore.


Nicky November 4, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I just discovered Elinor Lipman. Probably a disservice to call it chick lit. But it’s like smart chicklit with sardonic humour and lots of wise, surprising insights, without any schmaltz or sentimentality. A funny reminder that we don’t have to kid ourselves or take ourselves too seriously, but that we can find real and genuine ways to do things.


Tony Wolk November 4, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I’m reading a story collection called “The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami, one of which is titled “Sleep.” It begins where it’s the 17th night without sleep, and it doesn’t go well for the sleepless woman. I was reading it sometimes at 4 a.m. and it didn’t help me go back to sleep. So my advice is, “Dont read that story.” I won’t recommend how to adjust your diet, since you know better than Dad about such things. (Though, secretly, I would say there are ways for vegetarians to eat and stay healthy–as I said, “secretly.”)


ksmedgirl November 4, 2009 at 7:03 pm

“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.


Karen November 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Katy, I hope your household is feeling better!

I have to put in a plug for The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It’s one of the most compelling books I’ve read in a while, and even more amazing for being Stockett’s first novel. She is obviously gifted, keeping 3 separate characters’ voices going, and the setting is fascinating: Mississippi in the early ’60s. I love the protagonists and story, and am already feeling stricken that I only have 40 pages left to read and it’s done : (


Lucia November 4, 2009 at 8:01 pm

I will second “The Help”. Just read it and its awesome. Also, I am a rabid fan of British chick lit. Kinsella is great, but you should also read anything by Wendy Holden, Marian Keyes, Jane Green, Emily Giffin, and I could go on forever. I read a lot.

Jealous of the potatoes, and I have an amazing vitamin d deficiency, and since im taking 6000 IU a day, i feel much better. Mine was 8. And everyone I know has a vitamin d deficiency now, so do get checked. i would hate for you to be left out! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you feel better.


Kate November 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I recommend “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout. It’s a collection of short stories about the residents of a Maine coastal town and one central character named Olive Kitteridge. The novel has great characters and memorable scenes – not to mention a beautful ending (sob sob).


KatC November 4, 2009 at 9:56 pm

I use my iPod touch alot … Including to read your blog offline most of the time

I’ve just listened to “the tipping point” by Malcolm Gladwell (d/l from library ) and am waiting for “blink” by the same author. Otherwise I have been reading an e-book version of Anne of Green Gables (is this book well known amongst non-canadians?)

I haven’t read a real book for awhile as I’m out of ideas for authors…but when I do discover some I’ll head to the library.

Ps. I’m not sure how my iPod usage fits into a simple life, but I use this little device SO much it’s well worth it


Diana November 4, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I’ve laughed till I cried several times while reading about their experiments in eating locally and from their own land. Also contains a huge amount of information and very well referenced.

Also, The Herbalist’s Garden, Shatoiya & Richard de la Tour. Need ideas and inspiration for next year’s garden.

Most people don’t realise the shell fish is the best source of iron (and B12) after calf liver. Those clams, oysters, muscles, and shrimps pack a whallop.


Klara Le Vine November 4, 2009 at 10:45 pm


I’m totally in agreement with you and will take it even a step further, getting to where don’t want it secret, but for the whole world to find out how much healthier we can all be by eating whole plant foods.

Having “practised” (that’s all we can do in life) a macrobiotic way of life for the last 14 years, I have found I seldom get sick, much much less than in previous years – and if I do get sick, recover quite fast.

I am rereading The Healer, as I am now helping the author by proof reading it. It’s an attempt to be both fiction and non-fiction by giving a wonderful plot of maturing through difficulties, and interspersed with info of a healthier life (plenty in there about the ills of consumerism!!)

I just received an email about the wonders of having a cut onion in the room – or put at the bottom of one’s foot, with a clean white sock over it, as a way of ridding flu. It’s a bit long and I’d like to send it to you, but last time I sent something to your email it came back as undeliverable..


Maddy November 5, 2009 at 8:41 am

think you might really be fascinated by “The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood. I just finished it.
The reason I think it’d interest you is that the world of the novel is Consumer-based/Corporate-run society. The main characters are on the fringes of the society in a non-consumer gardening cult! There is plenty of commentary throughout on the ills of consumerism…but it is fiction and not preachy.


Miss Blueberry November 5, 2009 at 8:46 am

Check out Fair and Tender Ladies (can’t recall the author right now) and Prayers for Sale (ditto). Both are amazing works of fiction that leave you feeling happy and full. I’m just finishing up Perfect Murder, Perfect Town about the JonBenet Ramsey murder in Boulder, CO. She’s the 6-year-old beauty pagent girl (icky) who was murdered on Christmas night in her house. Interesting.

Happy Reading (although there are always too many books, too little time)!


Anne Laufe November 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

I recently read The Ten-Year Nap and had no one to discuss it with it. Anyone out there read it? What did you think?


AJ - Albany NY November 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Up on the East Coast , not sleeping ๐Ÿ™ And reading helps me too , your blog
(which I love) or good books. Have you ever read any of Diane Mott Davidson.
Pure fiction but so good . The Goldy Bear/Shultz mysteries. She’s a catering
crime solver in Colorado. I’ll warn you the books will make your hungry.
Part murder mystery – part cookbooks. A couple of years ago I picked up the
used paperbacks – it’s fun to start reading the series from book 1 – the
current #15. That summer I read all 11 books one right after the other –
What fun because you get to follow her life. And the recipes are good too.


charlie aka oldboyscout2 November 6, 2009 at 7:34 am

as I’m a long time fan of the BronteS, please consider a well meant suggestion, that is, read any biographies you find of them. Helps . I find their early years both sad and enlightening .


Julia November 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I know I’m late to the party, but here goes: I’m reading “Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace” by Ayelet Waldman. It’s very funny and touching and resonating with me a lot right now.


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