Non-Consumer Photo Essay

by Katy on November 8, 2023 · 47 comments

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Photo Essay, which is very much all over the map. Sorry, not sorry.

I roasted the pumpkin seeds from my free pumpkin using olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and maybe thyme. I was going for a “Thanksgiving stuffing” flavor profile.

Whenever I write about raking my leaves, readers will point out that it’s better for the environment to leave them in place. However, I already have tree mulch instead of grass in my backyard and the sheer number of maple leaves needs to be seen to be fully understood. They’re all pretty and yellow right now, but will soon turn brown and soggy/slippery.

Plus, the right half of my deeply shady backyard features a wooden deck and a brick patio.

Leaving leaves is place encourages mold and mildew growth, which my asthmatic lungs do not need. Sorry, but I’m going to continue raking up the leaves and setting them out in our rolling yard debris bins. Can I at least get credit for not bagging them up or using a leaf blower?

I had my annual physical yesterday and was left in the exam room for ten minutes or so while I waited for the physician. This was my view. A screen that ran constant pharmaceutic advertisements with the message to “Ask your doctor if blah-blah-blah medication is right for you.”

Sure, I brought a library book to read, but this bright screen was in my face and difficult to tune out. I did talk to the doctor about it, to which she replied that they started having them during the pandemic as patients wouldn’t be able to have the standard magazines to pass the time. She agreed that they were awful and we got on with my appointment.

I’m 100% certain that the practice of invasive dystopian advertising in such a private space is specific to The United States. I considered unplugging it, but didn’t want to be that person. Then again, I am that person!

Now the paranoid side of me is wondering if this enormous iPad device had a camera or microphone. Advertising should play zero role in how we receive our medical care.

I noticed that my next door neighbors still had a uncut pumpkin on their porch, so I asked if I could have it. She replied for me to “help yourself” and I now have another pumpkin to bake/puree/freeze for future treats. This neighbor and I have a mutually moochy relationship, so I feel perfectly comfortable asking for favors as I know they’ll reciprocate in time.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate November 8, 2023 at 1:19 pm

I live in Canada, and my GP’s office recently added a large TV in the waiting room that constantly shows a looped video advertising cosmetic procedures such as Botox injections. The videos exclusively feature thin, white women models who look about 25. I find this loathsome.


Katy November 8, 2023 at 1:34 pm

Because it is loathsome.


Selena November 8, 2023 at 7:54 pm

I have no issue with fillers for the face (NOT LIPS) but the thought of injecting botulism for purely cosmetic purposes is NOT AN OPTION. If you read/catch the “fine print”, bad things can happen *weeks* after the injection – never mind it is botulism.
To help with migraines, maybe. To help with excessive sweating, maybe. But to freeze my forehead – forget it.


texasilver November 9, 2023 at 12:32 am

My dentist has a screen on the ceiling. You can watch movies while getting your teeth worked on. Perhaps the dr should consider showing something besides advertisements on the screen.


K D November 8, 2023 at 1:54 pm


I love your Photo Essay and all the other posts you’ve been writing. Has your Covid fatigue abated?

I know there is a big movement to let leaves remain on the ground and it makes sense if there aren’t too many. Our lawn mower does a pretty good of mulching ours. Leaves from our patio have been put in our compost bin. A friend told me that they will shred their leaves and put them in their compost bins. My friend’s gardens are always bountiful, thanks to all the dirt they make. Our natural soil is not very good.


Katy November 8, 2023 at 2:32 pm

Yes, my Covid fatigue is pretty much gone, although I did take a Covid test last week as I felt absolutely exhausted for no reason. Luckily it was negative.


K D November 9, 2023 at 9:26 am

I’m glad you’re feeling better and did not have to endure long Covid.


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:09 am

Thanks, I’m still more fatigued than normal but it’s not so overwhelming.


Lindsey November 8, 2023 at 9:15 pm

When we worked in one of the villages at the most northern part of Alaska, we were above the tree line. Not a tree in sight for hundreds of miles. I missed seeing them turn colors and fall, turning into colorful carpets.


MB in MN November 8, 2023 at 2:13 pm

Yes, you get credit for however you choose to deal with your own leaves!

What bugs me the most about certain medical ads is the “ask your doctor if this is right for you” without even saying what it is supposed to treat. Sheesh. I don’t think prescription drugs should be marketed to the consumer. Decisions about drug treatments should be done in consultation with your trusted medical provider at the time you need them.


Katy November 8, 2023 at 2:31 pm

Yes, this! having said that, it’s also okay for patients to have done their own research before an appointment.


Selena November 8, 2023 at 7:56 pm

And again, fine print, side effects. First and foremost, liver damage. And IMHO, the side effects of a lot of these meds are worse than the disease the meds are trying to “cure”. Few have better living through big pharma.


Zephtree November 8, 2023 at 3:02 pm

Not exactly the same, but I spent one evening turning off an obnoxious number of TVs in a bar. Serving no purpose to anyone.


Mary Ann November 8, 2023 at 5:13 pm

Top of the news is Hubby and I have officially “inherited” or “adopted” a home built in 1900. He signed today. This has been the end of a very long process involving exchanging farm land for various reasons. The piece that my husband received in exchange had aforementioned house which hubby didn’t want and tried to get excluded from the deal. No go. So hubby, as is common practice for farmers, had planned on either burning it or letting it. The problem is houses unoccupied become immediate drug houses with squatters that are impossible to remove under California law. The house was so large that letting it would probably produce the same effect with subletting under the table. When I finally went to see the home, I had an awakening . I realized we were supposed to be this “architecturally significant” mansion’s caretakers – despite there are just two of us at home and the house currently is uninsurable becuase of the knob and tube wiring. After much marital discourse we decided to adopt it – all 6,000 feet. No misprint.

Today it is ours along with the accompanying 235 or so acres farmable ground.

The challenging news: It will take nearly two years to renovate with subcontracting and such. We will need to sell our current home at some point.

The good news: The house has a beautiful simplicity in American four square design. It does not feel huge. All the dark wood open beams, built ins and wainscoting were left unpainted. The hardwood floors have been covered with either avocado shag and linoleum. They will be easy to refinish. I have no “dream house” ideas. I will buy sustainable at every step, do all the sewing myself, and learn somehow how to garden. All the bathrooms will be done in white subway tiles, honeycomb white tile floors with maybe a few tiles reproduced by William Morris. The walls will all be cream and the wood left untouched. The windows will be open looking onto the Sacramento river or farmland. The furniture will be inherited or adopted except for a new couch, a few reproduction rugs and Switch Hits” ceramic electrical plates in brass or ceramic.

It is a wonderful way to launch my retirement after 35 years of teaching.


Lori November 8, 2023 at 5:26 pm

Congratulations, Mary Ann! I’m in Sacramento so I know you’ll have beautiful views of the river. And 235 acres – in our area? That’s amazing!


MB in MN November 8, 2023 at 6:16 pm

Wow, so exciting. Congrats!


Selena November 8, 2023 at 8:03 pm

I’m a bit jealous but not. Flooring is easiest to deal with (as long as the sub-flooring is okay). Miracle the beams and wainscoting were not painted. I could think of worse things than knob and tube wiring (mildew, termites). It is a shame that so many homes are neglected but super happy you’re taking on the challenge. A huge win that acres of farmland were not sold off to the highest bidder. So many family farms have been lost – some due to pure greed. Keep us posted!


Ecoteri November 9, 2023 at 2:18 am

Oh how very exciting for you (and for us, if you continue to share your journey!). I did a huge renovation of my old farmhouse and most of it is behind the walls (knob and tube, asbestos, and the plumbing all needed to be replaced because the water was eating the copper pipes (acidic, so I also had to put in a treatment for the water) all the insulation needed to be pulled out and replaced so there were holes in all the interior walls where the new insulation was blown in so the entire house needed to be repainted. It was exhausting and so satisfying to be on this end of the long Reno. I know you will be kind to yourselves as you do the work, it is an elephant, you eat it one bite at a time!


Mary Ann November 9, 2023 at 7:45 am

Ecoteri, thanks for the response… The easiest part is we can live in our current comfy home during the remodel since real estate is not optimal for selling. That makes the project easy to take a break from with less urgency. Also, Hubby is a tree farmer. We have lots of commercial machines, labor and trusted subcontractors to help us with the work. The electrician is already slated post T-day, then the plumber. That is just the first round. Five bedrooms upstairs will be converted in three plus a master bath and an open- landing music room where our baby grand ( my son’s) will sit. So we have to find an architect.

I will post a few pictures. I am taking all the “before pictures” this Friday holiday.


A. Marie November 9, 2023 at 7:02 am

Mary Ann, I wish you well on your retirement launch project, and I hope we’ll hear a lot more about it as you go along. Would that I were that energetic!


Marie November 9, 2023 at 1:57 pm

Glorious! Best post today.
Keep us updated on the house


Bee November 9, 2023 at 5:22 pm

There are several exceptional architectural salvage yards in Berkeley. Might come in handy.


Karyn Woodard November 8, 2023 at 5:54 pm

In reference to your doctor visit, I am curious if you have any frugal tips about health care insurance if you don’t have a job related plan and you’re too young for Medicare??


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:24 am

Sorry I don’t have any wisdom on that.


Lindsey November 8, 2023 at 9:12 pm

I must confess to a sin I no longer do: I hate forced TV watching like what you experienced with your doctor. Years ago, I bought a small device that shut off all TVs in my immediate area. I have no idea how this is done and only know it happens without the button going from on to off. To reactivate the TV, you have to turn it off and it will be fine again. I did this after the swimming pool turned on the TV during lane swimming. I asked and was told it was installed so lifeguards would not get bored (!!!???). I would walk out to the area, make the TV die and put the small gadget in my rolled-up towel. After three days of the guards wondering what the hell was wrong with the TV, they just got rid of it. The victory made a monster of me because I started carrying the device everyplace. I only quit when I got so ill over a decade ago. And, coincidentally, I found the device when cleaning out the junk drawer. I won’t be using it again, partly because it is now illegal, but mostly because I have turned my energies to carrying a black sharpie and correcting store signs that use apostrophes incorrectly.


Roberta November 8, 2023 at 9:19 pm

My daughter is a lifeguard, and she can’t even have music when she’s up in the chair. I can’t imagine allowing a tv!


MB in MN November 9, 2023 at 6:34 am

Lindsey, I spit on my screen when I read your last sentence! Thanks for the laugh.


Anne November 9, 2023 at 8:22 am

Lindsey, you are a goddess and my new idol.


A. Marie November 9, 2023 at 8:28 am

What Anne said. And you’ve inspired me to start packing heat…er, a Sharpie.

Incidentally, do you think we ought to start an Apostrophe Society, for those of us who still know how to use them?


Deb November 9, 2023 at 9:10 am

Can we also include THEIR and THEY’RE?! LOOSE and LOSE?! Somebody stop me!,


Sally November 9, 2023 at 11:43 am

I would absolutely join an apostrophe society!


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:23 am

You are a vigilante of the highest order!


Carla November 9, 2023 at 5:58 pm

You are my new hero.


Emily November 9, 2023 at 3:28 am

Love your photo essay! Those pumpkin seeds are a flavor adventure. And the ad invasion during your physical—such a post-pandemic vibe. Great insights into your world!


Bee November 9, 2023 at 3:28 am

Coincidently, while I’m reading this, there is an advertisement embedded at the end of the blog comments that advertises the medication, Xtandi. Big Pharma is everywhere!


Jan November 9, 2023 at 5:10 am

Katy, I also rake our leaves – lately we’ve even paid guys to do it, which isn’t frugal but saves my aching back & legs. If you have a yard with trees, and a dog, you have to pick up leaves if you ever want to walk safely in your yard. The guys mulch the leaves, though, so there’s that. I consider it a worthwhile investment in our local economy and a lifesaver for my tired old bod.
Those ads for drug companies – ugh! I hit the mute every time they come on at home. Can’t imagine them in a doctor’s office. Double ugh! Glad you complained to your doctor.
And – I love your Crocs. 🙂


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:19 am

I’m glad you like the Crocs, I thrifted them a few years ago. I only wear them for stepping into the backyard and taking out the garbage, so I think they should last forever.


Marie November 9, 2023 at 2:03 pm

Crocs, and socks are my winter slippers. Not too hot, and comfy.


JC November 9, 2023 at 8:28 am

Katy, I also deal with leaves….lots of leaves because I live on 2 acres of cleaned out woods.
I have them blown into a windrow at the edge of a ditch/creek that I have put limbs and sticks down the very steep sides. My goal is to stop the erosion. I have had great success doing this. I have hostas planted all over the creek bank because the roots hang onto the soil. It’s a process.
If I were to leave the leaves I would have no lawn at all. I don’t treat my grass with anything. I leave it go natural with clover, dandelions and everything else for my bees. I also have natural wildflowers and never mow in the Spring until the wildflowers are done.

Mary Ann I would take on that “house job” in a heart beat. I am always one that thinks repair and restore instead of tear down. I remember the house that Katy showed some months past…. the one with the stove. I dreamt of that house!
The thought of being able to cook on that stove gets my motor running!!!!


Katy November 9, 2023 at 10:15 am

That house did sell, but it seems to be sitting empty so far. Maybe the new owner is waiting for permits to go though would be my guess. I did walk onto the porch when it was still up for sale to look through the windows and I gotta tell you that the stench from the house was overwhelming!


Marilyn November 9, 2023 at 10:51 am

I agree that ads for various drugs shown in a doctor’s waiting room would be beyond annoying. Perhaps I am overly suspicious, but I also am a little concerned about medical offices being paid to show advertisements for drugs at their facility.


Vickie November 9, 2023 at 12:37 pm

We live in Utah and always clear our leaves off our lawn. If not, we’ve had parts of our lawn die. We leave leaves in the borders. Rake them off patio onto lawn and mulch them with the lawn mower.


Jessica November 9, 2023 at 12:43 pm

In the UK adverts for prescription drugs are not permitted on any media and I don’t want to think of the reaction I would get from my GP if I went to him with a request for a drug just because I had heard of it.


Ruby November 9, 2023 at 3:38 pm

Katy, next time just unplug the screen. You do not have to be subjected to that.

We mulch leaves with our lawnmower because our son has a significant mold allergy and winters are mild and rainy here. Any leaves that lie unmulched quickly get moldy and aggravate his allergy.

My rotten head cold morphed into a sinus infection, which meant a trip to the walk-in clinic. Because I was tested last year to rule out a childhood reaction to penicillin, I can now take an inexpensive antibiotic.

Today I repainted a light switchplate, cooked turkey and rice kibble topper for my dogs, made salmon patties and cheesy broccoli for supper (both made with sale items), and saved $12 at the grocery store with store coupons.


Isa November 10, 2023 at 8:07 am

“”I’m 100% certain that the practice of invasive dystopian advertising in such a private space is specific to The United States.””

Nope. We get the same in Canada.


Katy November 10, 2023 at 10:21 am

I’m both relieved and disgusted.


Mike November 16, 2023 at 11:01 pm

In my opinion, it’s important to balance environmental concerns with personal health and safety. While leaving the leaves in place may be better for the environment in some cases, it’s understandable that in certain situations, like having a large number of maple leaves or a deck/patio area, raking them up may be necessary to prevent mold and mildew growth. It’s also commendable that the writer is not bagging them up or using a leaf blower, which can be more harmful to the environment.


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