Looking Forward to “The Way Life Should Be”

I am SO looking forward to a Kennebunkport summer of St. Ann’s, the Nonantum and the Colony as well as reading Wishy the Bookworm Chipmunk* at Maine Wildlife Park. Even if summer traditions gets a late start and they end up being two minutes instead of the usual five (honestly that’s how summer feels in Maine, it’s almost like one beautiful blur), I will take it with gratitude!

In addition to the closures I mentioned yesterday the Governor of Maine also shut coastal state beach parks yesterday afternoon. Knowing that everyone will then be heading to the remaining open beaches in my town, Ferry and Higgins, I will avoid them because they will likely be packed. I assume they will soon be closed, too.

I want to share the unsettling things that happened during my walk around my neighborhood yesterday, a walk I’ve taken hundreds of times that is usually pleasant and uneventful. It feels like an entirely different scene because it is.

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A Serious Post: Maine Is Shutting Down (For Now)

“Welcome To Maine, Now Go Home!” was a popular playful bumper sticker in the 1980s and 90s. As someone who will always be considered “from away” despite having first moved in Maine in 1986 I get it. However, the current sentiment is actually quite dire and with good reason. As of yesterday’s Maine CDC update we have less than 80 available ICU beds for the entire state of Maine.  Non-essential businesses, save for a few exceptions, are closed. The York town manager plans to ask the police department to put signs near the Maine Turnpike exit to warn visitors the beaches and parks are closed. “We don’t need the day trippers right now,” he said, noting local residents can get out for walks in their neighborhoods. Additionally as of yesterday beaches in southern Maine are now closed and Acadia National Park is also now closed due to coronavirus. I suspect that the beaches in my town will close. Portland has a shelter-in-place in effect. 

Yet we are Vacationland with thousands of snowbirds, seasonal residents and vacationers, many of whom are coming to Maine early to “escape” coronavirus and their local shelter-in-place mandates. Our population is growing yet we don’t even have the hospital resources for the year-round residents in this pandemic. This is terrifying. I hope people will choose to do the right thing as opposed to practicing their right to go and do as they please.

Making Do: Frugal Substitutions for Toilet Paper

Have you seen that crazy talk on the ‘net about using corn cobs in place of TP? Other than farmers, who has corn cobs laying around?! Leaves sounds more reasonable, albeit not dried ones. I can’t say I know that for a fact because Wayne is a party pooper. (I apologize in advance for the unfortunate and unintended puns in this post).

Here’s how it went. We were sitting in our three season sunroom yesterday afternoon which was glorious. The sunlight brought the sunroom temp up to seventy even though it was still in the 40s outside. The local indie oldies a.m. station was playing on the vintage radio. We sat on our rocking chairs and I asked his thoughts about leaves in lieu of TP if it came down to that. Then I had a great idea on how to find out!  I can’t believe he didn’t want to play along with my novel quarantine game.

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Moving Forward, Leaving My Book Behind, Good Things To Come

Thank you to all who took the time to comment on my last two posts. Your participation is important for me to be motivated to keep writing here.

I have some sad news about my book, The Thrifty Yankee’s Guide to Frugal Living. It’s only 1/3 finished (managing the pain after my fall on the ice and endocrine disorder issues/testing further delayed my writing) and I won’t resume until after coronavirus is history.  I know you’re thinking, wait, what do you mean? We need to learn how to live with less now more than ever! We need Yankee thrift!

Yes, that’s true and not to worry, I will continue to share my frugal living tips here in this new landscape. However what I’ve written so far in my book applies to a different world. Examples? Talking about eating out less where now we can’t at all; a whole section on how to yard sale like a pro where I share my hard-earned secrets when in reality for the foreseeable future (a year or more?) buying second-hand in crowded spaces won’t be happening. Those are just a couple of examples, but really the issue is that the overall approach would come across as tone-deaf now. This represents a loss of income I had planned on for this summer but this sort of thing is happening for so many of us. (By the way  L.L.Bean which is normally open 24/7, even during the big ice storm of ’98 had to install locks because they, too are closed.)

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New Followers? Lurkers?

I’m checking in to see who is actively reading. I’ve had an influx of new followers, thank you for joining me. Usually a post will receive a certain number of page views, some likes and comments, but it’s crickets for my last post. Anyone out there? Would love to hear from you as engagement is important to me. It will help me decide if I will continue this blog or start a new chapter. Thank you.

Self Isolation? No. Hanging With My Prepper Friends!

Look at Sunny’s tail! It filled out even more during her overwinter in her burrow! My buddies Cider, Ricky and Sunny are out for another season of stockpiling seeds. Still hoping to see Buster any day now. The world including Maine was a drastically different place when I last posted but it’s business as usual in my backyard, thank God. Turning to nature has always been my balm. First off I hope you are safe, healthy, staying sanitized and that you have enough provisions to get you through a couple of weeks or longer should you need to self-quarantine or isolate. I’ve been an introverted work-from-home bookworm homebody for much of my adult life and often prefer the company of animals to people so social distancing isn’t must of an adjustment for me. I do, however, have some maladjustments due to coronavirus.

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Life Is Lovely, Even When It Isn’t

Good morning, lovers of simple living. Wayne has had a nasty cold for the last week and now I’m coming down with it. I have some good news, sort of, which is that my endocrinology appointment got bumped up to later this week instead of another month from now. That means I’ll be undergoing more tests afterward which always brings up a lot of anxiety for me when I wait for the results. Then I’ll have more information about whether or not I need to consider surgery.

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Vintage Linens Add Charm, Can Save Money

In 2018 I shared that we only use cloth napkins. Many of you know that I have a huge collection of vintage kitchen linens from estate sales, most of which have never been used (then or now). Some I thought were too special to ever use, others I really like but decided that I would sell them. Well, I changed my mind and won’t be selling any of them! I’d much rather use and enjoy them, but there’s a MAJOR hindrance…

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Yankee Thrift Is Freedom Of Choice

Traditional Yankee thrift isn’t obsessed with money. It’s not frugal for the sake of frugal or only buying things on sale. It values mindfulness of priorities, adeptness at record-keeping and investing, yes, but doesn’t make spending or not spending the only focus of one’s existence. It’s not frugal in all things which is why one can be affluent yet still enjoy this fine art of living that involves creativity, intelligence and self-confidence. Only those who worry about status will spend money in an effort to “keep up” and impress in ways that go beyond taking a healthy pride in one’s appearance. It’s why online “influencers” are so good at encouraging people to spend money on image management and status brands come out ahead when they can put a price on transitory self-esteem. New Englanders value independence, so what better way to live than to spend money that doesn’t involve checking in with any prescribed aesthetic or current trend?

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Vintage Kitchens

Many of you know how much I love vintage kitchens which is why I didn’t update the one in our house. I really like the one above from Realtor.com with the mod Emilio Pucci-esque ceiling in this 1908 Prouts Neck estate! A hobby of mine is looking at homes online. I’ve been enjoying the MLS regularly since around 2005 when I was looking to buy a house, but then I never stopped because it’s a lot of fun to check out the interiors of old homes. I’ve noticed that charming old kitchens are getting harder to find now because the newer buyers of the older homes are updating them. But are they always nicer?

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