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?
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?
I’ve been reorganizing my filing cabinet and had a blast looking through some of my own personal ephemera and Lenox School yearbooks. You will know some of these people, bands and shows I’ve seen. Plus, I bet you didn’t know I’m a recording artist! (Sort of…)
Is that Godzilla punching my roof as I type this post? Kind of, only its name is February. It’s the occasional sound of things expanding and contracting when it’s in the single digits or below. It also means my house is nice and toasty inside. We had an ice storm on Friday, and while they can be extremely destructive, like cutting power for days or weeks, and most recently lifting me in the air before smacking me on my behind (I’m getting PT now, recovery is up and down but happening), it can also be beautiful. I snapped the photo above yesterday afternoon. I love how the sunshine makes the icy branches gleam brightly as if I’m living in an enchanted fairyland.
I really wish the cliched photo of a human silhouette standing on a mountaintop or road with arms raised would cease to be the image to represent “success”. I keep seeing it on marketing materials and a quick google search for “success” turns up the same nonsense. It seems so 1990s Tony Robbins which works for some people, but not for me. All I can see, besides lack of imagination and following a tired marketing message is someone expressing their own greatness for having climbed a metaphorical mountain on their own. If that’s success then I’m an abysmal failure!
From the New York Times: “…Men’s. L.L. Bean has had prior dalliances with capital F fashion, though these amounted mostly to superficial tweaks. Just over a decade ago, the company hired Alex Carleton, a designer named at the time by GQ and the Council of Fashion Designers of America as one of America’s best new men’s wear designers, to revitalize its fusty image.”
From the Portland Press Herald: “L.L.Bean cuts 200 jobs, plans to close Lewiston call center in 2021. The Freeport-based outdoor retailer says it also will close its Lewiston call center in addition to the job cuts affecting full- and part-time workers who will be let go by the end of the month…”
From my archives: My highly opinionated fusty posts on L.L.Bean’s new direction. Fusty People Unite!
This morning when I got into my car I noticed that the condensation on my windshield looked like a rising icy sun with warming rays. When I returned home I heard a bird singing and a chipmunk calling as I started walking towards my sunroom doorway. The mysterious chipmunk who made a brief appearance yesterday morning for Groundhog Day must have returned but I couldn’t see it.
“Where are you?” I asked.
It immediately came out from under the deck and jumped on the deck railing.
Just seconds before I took this pic there was a chipmunk on the deck railing, the first sighting since late November! It’s also one year ago that Wayne and I adopted the Degu Sisters. I can’t tell you how much seeing that chipmunk (not sure who it was) raised my spirits this morning. Surely it’s a good omen!
Lydia Marie Child was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism. She was also a New England housewife famous for her book published in 1829, The Frugal Housewife. The introduction offers a very interesting glimpse into how much has changed in our mindset since that time:
“If, then, God is so easy to find and can be discovered either through the beauty of the stars or in every tiny pleasure of earth, which like a sea shell speaks of the ocean of Divinity, why is it that so few come to Him?”
-Fulton J Sheen, Peace Of Soul, 1949
Photo taken at St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery and Shrines in Kennebunk.