Christmas Fairs in the Country

We opted in for out of the way for today’s Christmas fairs and festivals. There are all kinds of events in the greater Portland area and Kennebunkport is having their epic Christmas Prelude, but battling crowds and partaking in parking fiascos are NOT my thing. It was a beautiful morning with a fresh dusting of snow on the trees as we drove out to Bar Mills and then Limerick for fairs inside charming, historic buildings.

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Our *Real* Tabletop Christmas Tree for 2019

Yes, it does feel strange to have Christmas without assembling and enjoying my vintage aluminum Christmas tree! We both miss it! If we had the space I’d do two trees, but that’s not an option in our cozy little 1,200 sq ft house. However we are really enjoying having a real tree this year. Good news is that in addition to supporting the local economy, our tree will not be going to the dump in January but will be brought into our woods to provide a home for wildlife and provide nutrients for the ground.

Here’s our cute tabletop tree decked out with vintage trimmings for 2019!

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Thanksgiving Dinner in a 1700s House

I just love when I find a hidden gem and that’s exactly what happened for our Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks ago we decided that we wanted to go out to eat since it’s just the two of us this year. All of the local places serving T-Day dinner were charging between $80 – $90 per person plus tip! Spending over $200 to eat in a trendy or upscale restaurant on Thanksgiving in greater Portland is just no! (Portland was named 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetite.) We’re not into trendy places. We wanted something out of the way in the country that was simple, homey, historic, casual and delicious without fine dining pricing. Then I opened up google maps and did a search for places in “the country”. That’s how I found The Buxton Common, “a community gathering space for families, friends, neighbors and guests serving house smoked, rustic country fare in a revitalized 18th century home.” They were offering a Thanksgiving dinner for $32 per person! Sold!

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Giving Thanks

I had a horrible experience with a new-to-me specialist doctor a little over a month ago who was very rough; I actually yelled out in pain at one point. Based upon little information she told me I likely had cancer of an internal organ (I won’t get into specifics here) and ordered a series of invasive painful tests and biopsies. I immediately made an appointment with someone else to get a second opinion and can say that he is a blessing. Not only does he have decades of experience (which sadly means he will soon be retiring), he is gentle and didn’t have the same impressions as the first doctor. After a couple of painless ultrasounds he determined based upon them and my lack of symptoms that I’m all clear. The one scary growth, something the first doctor overlooked and he found on the first ultrasound actually resolved itself–it’s gone! I was so nervous all month! It was very hard for me to not let it take over my thoughts. My little field trip to Maine Wildlife Park was helpful during this time as was focusing on the beautiful simple things around me. I’m not just thankful for the diagnosis and my new doctor but also the two sonographers who were so incredibly kind, gentle and the second one, hilarious. Who would think that getting an ultrasound in an awkward place could be funny?!Β 

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Gentle Reminder: Pay Attention, Not Extra

(In case you missed it due to a technical glitch that may have prevented email notifications going out I recently went behind the scenes at Maine Wildlife Park!)

In October I wrote about pickpockets lurking in the billing departments of some phone providers after I discovered Wayne had been overcharged for years. This past month I noticed that my AT&T cell phone bill had gone up about $5 so I logged into my account to see what was up. Turns out I was “given” a “bonus” of 3GB I’ll never use or wanted that comes with an added price of $5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a bonus something received vs purchased? My old plan was phased out so I have no choice but to pay an extra $60 plus tax annually. Such is the way of 2019. However, I dug a little deeper in AT&T’s website and found something very disturbing.

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Behind the Scenes at Maine Wildlife Park with Curt Johnson

Wayne and I attended a Pow Wow at the Maine Wildlife Park this summer after which we spent some time exploring and looking at the animals. Unlike a zoo that operates for profit, the animals at the park cannot survive in the wild. It’s there that they are provided a safe forever home because they were injured, orphaned, or became human dependent while being raised illegally in captivity. The park is self-sustaining and owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife within the Division of Information and Education. Each animal becomes an ambassador for its species to help educate (and charm!) the public. It has a staff of thirty and over two hundred volunteers which includes retirees, college interns and during the off-season, inmates involved in correctional trade instruction. The inmates gain experience and can give back to the community by doing necessary tasks like painting, shoveling and maintaining wood furniture.

I contacted park Superintendent Curt Johnson about the possibility of volunteering next season. Since I’m always interested in learning more about people who work with and love wildlife I asked him after he interviewed me if I could interview him for my blog. Not only did he agree to it but he also offered me a rare opportunity to visit the park and see the animals after it had closed for the season! I felt so lucky and of course I accepted his generous offer!

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Good Old Yankee Thrift: The Book!

I’m ready to announce that my current book-in-progress is about Yankee Thrift! This summer I created my outline and gathered my research materials which I have been reading and studying. I’ll be doing the actual writing of it this winter.Β 

This isn’t going to be an academic book but will definitely include historic texts. I’ll share my reflections of living in subsidized housing while attending a wealthy Upper East Side prep school in Manhattan during the excesses of the 1980s before moving to New England to live a simple, frugal life. The lessons learned about Yankee frugality from my time spent living in Vermont and Maine has been nothing short of transformative. I will share those powerful lessons and principles with you in this book.

More details to come in a future post!

My Thrifty Yankee Sock Secret

When you get a hole in one of your socks, do you say “darn it!” and then actually…darn it? I know some of you do! I’ve tried sewing and such but it’s not my thing, especially with mending socks. As a compromise, it occurred to me that in the winter no one sees my socks because I’m wearing boots, so why not wear a mismatched pair?!

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