Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Pfennig For Your Thoughts

Photo of a dated German Pfennig
Journal Entries:

October 26, 2010: Weight = 176.6 lbs.; Coinage = $1.14, 39 pennies, 4 nickels, 3 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles = 18; ground scores = 9.

October 25, 2010: Weight, not available; Coinage = $1.60, 20 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 dime, five quarters; 17 glass bottles, 7 ground scores.

October 20, 2010: Weight = 172.6 lbs.; Coinage = $.47, 12 pennies, 1 dime, 1 quarter; five glass bottles; five ground scores.

Feature Entry: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts

The MoneyWalker found a 5 pfennig on his daily walk this morning. The monetary symbol for this coin is .5 ₰. Before the Euro replaced them, the German pfennig was the designation for penny. Unlike the U.S. penny, the German penny had several values including the five penny or pfennig. The pfennig has been around since the 9th century and basically ended in 2002. My pfennig was dated 1970 and is in “good” condition. In uncirculated condition, a 1950 pfennig is worth four or five U.S. dollars.

Another thought involves my recent jump in pounds from 172.6 lbs. to 176.6 lbs in just six days. What happened? It is an old problem. Go on a long week-end with friends (Wednesday through Monday), eat uncontested large meals with fattening beverages, experience irregular BMs, and fail to exercise—that formula is easily worth a four pound weight gain in less than a week. My hunch is that the weight will come off easily as the MoneyWalkers settle back into normal habits of regular exercise and portion control. My theory is that if caught quickly, a sharp increase in gained pounds can be quickly shed with due diligence to diet and exercise.

Another thought deals with the joy of spending large amounts of time with special friends. We shared spirited conversations about sports, politics, religion, and esoteric academic topics, one being the rather recent depression therapy called “cognitive behavioral therapy” which will be a featured blog shortly. We will explore the use of self prescribed cognitive behavioral therapy for overcoming problems with the depression that comes from gaining weight and diet recidivism.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure, Part II

The MoneyWalkers French Quarter style patio. Many of the fence boards were recycled as were all the patio bricks.

Journal Entries

Oct. 19: Weight = 173. Lbs; Coinage = $1.33, 18 pennies, 3 nickels, 5 dimes, 2; 7 glass bottles; 5 ground scores

Oct. 18;
Weight = 174.6 lbs. (12 day excursion to NYC and DC with unchecked consumption); Coinage = $9.08, $5 dollar bill, 1 dollar bill, 88 pennies, 12 nickels, 11 dimes, 2 quarters; 11 glass bottles; 2 ground scores; one super find (2 quarters in a telephone return).

Oct. 7: Weight =172.8 lbs.; Coinage =$1.42, 42 pennies, 4 nickels, 3 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles = 11; Ground scores = 2.

Oct. 6: Weight = 172.4 lbs.; Coinage = $2.08, 48 pennies, 7 nickels, 10 dimes, 1 quarter; ten glass bottle, two ground scores.

Oct. 5,
2010: Weight = 173. lbs; Coinage = $1.48, 37 pennies, 7 nickels, 5 dimes, 1 quarter; 6 glass bottles; ground score = 2.

Feature Entry: Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure, Part II

More and more, the MoneyWalker’s blog is reflecting the consciousness of the go-green movement. I walk to complete most shopping experiences if the destination is one mile or less. In our neighborhood that includes the bank, grocery store, dozens of restaurants, the post office, and the drug store. The practice avoids gasoline emissions, saves gasoline consumption, and contributes to the MoneyWalker’s weight loss maintenance strategy.

It is no secret that the MoneyWalker is motivated to maintain his walking practice by the chance of finding money. Pennies add up and finding nickels, dimes, and quarters scattered around the curbs and hotspots of Mid City New Orleans tickles the ventral striatum. But there is a new joy—finding and restoring other people’s trash. Turning “trash to treasure” is a hot topic in the going green movement. I call it the 3R method of sustainability--recycling, reusing, and repurposing.

Boring is the word to define all the types of items that have been found and recycled by the MoneyWalker. To test your stamina suffer through these: jewelry, books, office supplies and equipment, vacuum cleaners, weight lifting equipment, antique gum ball machine, floor lamps, book shelves, desk and credenza, and area carpets. Others include collectibles, TV table, coffee table, extension cords, jumper cables, oil paintings, art work, cleaning supplies, barbecue cookers, and clothes. Even more items include towels, baby strollers, tricycles, bicycles, tools, paint, lumber, bulletin boards, chandeliers, purses, beds, and gas cans.

Perhaps the most significant find occurred after Katrina. Many people with old houses with coal-burning fireplaces restored their homes and tore out the fireplaces to achieve a more modern look. The MoneyWalker retrieved the bricks, cleaned them, and created a “French Quarter” patio. More than 3,000 bricks were used in the project, bricks saved from the land fill.

One problem with the 3R method is distribution. How does the MoneyWalker deal with all that junk? First, he has a large storage area. Second, he is very handy and can repair most things. Third, he conducts a charity yard sale once a year to recycle the finds. He has also purchased “EBay for Dummies” and plans to sells his really good finds on EBay. All proceeds including coinage go to a local charity.

Walking while looking for money and other ground scores is a great one-two punch for weight loss and weight management and for going green. The more you walk, the more lbs. you lose and the more treasures you find to recycle, reuse, or repurpose the more you help sustain planet earth. Both contribute to personal meaning, an outstanding antidote to depression and stress.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Mark Twain, Walking and a Penny Saved

Journal Entry: October 9, 2009: Coinage = $.03; ground scores =3.

Feature Entry: Mark Twain, Walking and a Penny Saved

Much of the country is celebrating Mark Twain’s 175th birthday. The MoneyWalkers are on a family visit/mini vacation and currently spending our time in Wilton, Connecticut. Today I walked to the Lady Fatima Catholic Thrift Store to service my bric-a-back habit. It is one of my favorites. Wilton is near Redding, CT, a former home of Mark Twain. The walk took me past the Wilton Heritage Museum which featured a one month only Mark Twain exhibit. Wasn’t it Mark Twain that said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Or, was that Ben Franklin?

Either way Mark Twain was a prolific creator and collector of aphorisms as well as a serious walker. A good blog that features Twain is Aphorisms and Aphorisms. One of my favorites from the list is:
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Twain took long walks, often ten miles or more. Solo walking was not his first choice. He sought out companion walkers, especially the Rev. J. H. Twichell. He playfully accused Twain of stealing his best sermon material for his humor and witty writing. Twain countered by explaining that Twichell would have no sermon ideas at at all if it wasn’t for the material pilfred from Twain’s mind during their walks.

If not Twichell, than it was someone else. Walking was the venue and talking was the game. From his book, A Tramp Abroad he wrote:
” Now, the true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk. It is no matter whether one talks wisdom or nonsense, the case is the same, the bulk of the enjoyment lies in the wagging of the gladsome jaw and the flapping of the sympathetic ear.”
The pictured medallion celebrates this idea.

As did Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain was fascinated by novelty walks into forbidden or unknown places:
"What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked."
For those that want to know more about the culture of walking, be sure to follow the blog of Michael P. Garofalo, the Ways of Walking from which the above quote was taken.

The take away for weight watchers and those concerned about physical fitness is that whether your stroll, saunter, meander, hike, wander, or trek--the Mark Twain message from his 175th is to just walk be it solo or companion. The more the better.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure: Part I

Photo from Green Diary, Your Guide to Sustainable Living

Journal Entries

Oct. 4, 2010: Weight = 172.8 lbs; Coinage = $1.05, 25 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes, 2 quarters; Best finds = a three coin scatter, 2 nickels and 1 penny and a curb quarter; 6 glass bottles; ground score = 2.

Oct. 3: Coinage = $2.74, 104 pennies, 3 nickels, 13 dimes, 1 quarter (most from vacuum canisters); one glass bottle, one ground score.

Sept. 30: Coinage = $1.43, 43 pennies, 3 nickels, 6 dimes, 1 quarter; one glass bottle; three ground scores.

Sept. 29: Weight = 170.2 lbs; Coinage = $2.77, 107 pennies, 7 nickels, 11 dimes, 1 quarter; 4 glass bottles (about ½ from canisters; 2 ground scores.

Sept. 28: Weight = 172. Lbs; Coinage = $1.40, 30 pennies, 2 dimes, 4 quarters (one super find in a telephone return; 2 glass bottles, 1 ground score.

Feature Entry: Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure: Part I

For the MoneyWalker, the mission of walking is foremost about fitness and weight management. A close second is using the walking experience to be environmentally responsible. While taking a daily 90 minute early morning walk it is surprising how many objects people lose or throw away. The MoneyWalker has learned to retrieve items (referred to as “ground scores”, see above under Journal Entries) and then practice the 3R method of recycling. Kandance Graves of New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly defines 3R as recycling, reusing, and repurposing. The practice allows the MoneyWalker to turn “trash into treasures.”

Founded on a belief that “green matters” nearly every day a portion of my time is devoted to creating a new life for items that have been thrown out or discarded. Over time the practice contributes to a growing practice across the U.S. and indeed the world that leads to “sustainable living.” In Gambit’s current edition (response@gambitweekly.com volume 31, # 39 Sept. 28, 2010) Graves writes about several "reuse districts" of New Orleans. Their website provides sobering details of the environmental impact of waste being put in landfills and how garbage ends up in the ocean. Tips are provided for consumers about how they can repurpose various items rather than curb them for the garbage collectors.

In a future blog the MoneyWalker will explain specific ways that he and Ms MoneyWalker have utilized the 3R method to enrich our lives while practicing green. Also, the blog will explain how green walking has provided thousands of dollars for two of their favorite charitable groups.