The Good Life: Yankee Thrift in Action

With Wayne being a Baby Boomer and me, GenX, retirement is something for which our budget revolves around. When Wayne starts collecting social security it likely will be funded at 100%. For my generation? Not likely! Saving for us isn’t just a way of life but as old age approaches, a necessity.

In the examples below you’ll see how Yankee Thrift  is the way to a richer life for us. It’s about making smart purchases without the purpose of showboating. In other words it’s not about buying something because it’s on trend, or you need the latest model, or to feed an insecure desire to impress. It’s about quality and self-reliance with the smarts to know when you need to secure the services of a professional or invest in a big expenditure. We save where we can and spend more on where it counts. You’ll see how in each example we’re cutting back but it’s not a sacrifice:

Continue reading “The Good Life: Yankee Thrift in Action”

Yankee Thrift Explained, The New Yorker, 1961

Take thrift, that presumed state of misery and penny-pinching. Proper Yankee thrift, on the contrary, feels delicious. In my experience there is a kind of nausea that attends too long a time of buying too many clothes for too much money; of paying more for restaurant dinners than they are worth; of disgorging lavish tips for which one is not even thanked (as who doesn’t have to, these days).

Continue reading “Yankee Thrift Explained, The New Yorker, 1961”

Feeling Heartbroken

I haven’t seen my dear little Buster in over a week, and Sunny hasn’t been by since last month. I did see a fox run into the woods near Buster’s burrow a few days ago. I also heard a hawk in the woods later that day. Maybe it was the same hawk that dive-bombed my neighbor’s bird-seed party, the attendants of which were numerous songbirds and the chipmunk that lives in her front yard.

Continue reading “Feeling Heartbroken”

Eat Retro: Blessed Be Ugly Food!

It wasn’t until I had immersed myself in Depression-Era and WWI cook books in 2015 that I developed the “courage” to create simple dishes with quality ingredients that fall out of range of preconceived ideas of good taste. Good home cooking to me has evolved to mean honest, sometimes quirky, unpretentious fare that takes the pressure off to audition for a show on the Food Network. This humble dish may not be Instagram-worthy, but so what?! It was a wholesome, healthy, thrifty delicious dinner made from food that in the past would have been discarded.

Continue reading “Eat Retro: Blessed Be Ugly Food!”

S.O.S! The Return of the Square!

Time for an updated reader survey: Who wants to join the Society of Squares?

Simple Living New England

“Remember one thing: Wrong is wrong even if everyone else says it’s right – and right is right even if everyone else says it’s wrong,” Ward once said to the Beav and I never forgot it.

I’ve spent most of my life feeling like a stodgy old lady. “Little House on the Prairie” was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid, tied with “The Brady Bunch” and “Leave it to Beaver.” I really appreciate many (but not all) of the “square” sentiments in this little early 1960s booklet, The Return of the Square: The Fight for Independence, since I still often feel so “irrelevant” and old-fashioned. It’s the text of a speech by “Madison Avenue’s favorite phrase-maker,” an original Mad Man, Charles H Brower.

I think this is a great summation of the origins of square:

View original post 449 more words

Out Picking: Antique Embalming Fluid Crates from Boston!

This past Sunday on the way to church Wayne and I stopped at the flea market, or rather, he sat in the car to read the New Yorker as I made my rounds. I had decided earlier in the week that the antique primitive jelly cupboard that I had repurposed into a shoe closet in my home office is too glorious to not be in my kitchen. I simply needed to find three antique crates that would stack nicely to coordinate with the others I had to take its place.

While I think it’s a sin to pray for material possessions, especially luxury wishes, the flea market fairies with whom I had shared my wishes delivered in a very crafty way! The price was right and I carried my new treasure all the way back to the car which, true to a flea find, was dusty and a bit dirty. It left some light soiling on my chinos as it brushed up against my legs as I walked. Yikes! I quickly decided it was simply a patina on my pants and it was fine for church.

Continue reading “Out Picking: Antique Embalming Fluid Crates from Boston!”

Let’s Dish: Sustainable Soap

When I gave up Facebook for Lent (I’m keeping my Facebook account because I use it to log into other accounts but am hardly on it now), I was more present. I began to pay attention to waste in our house and wondered how we could become more kind in our consumption…and cleaning. I was no longer OK with buying bottled dish soap (we do ours by hand) and hand soap due to the plastic waste. I had read online that some people were using Dr. Bronner’s Castile bar soap for both their dishes and hands, but Dr. Bronner’s contains palm oil. Palm oil and its derivatives are in almost everything including and especially soap which isn’t always clearly labelled. Why is that of concern? The cultivation of palm oil is destroying rainforests and killing orangutans and other wildlife. I’m also not sure I trust “sustainably sourced” palm claims. So what would be the best choice?

Continue reading “Let’s Dish: Sustainable Soap”

Book Title Update: The Retro Diet™

My book-in-progress, formerly The New England Diet, is now titled The Retro Diet. While Wayne and I live on a traditional New England diet, the principles and practices also draw from national sources. My first vintage diet book, American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s, was an in-depth look at the marketing of obesity to American women, the complicity of the medical profession and softening of metrics used to determine healthy weight. The Retro Diet is going to be a “how to” for both men and women with clear guidelines and meal planning suggestions. It’s not just a book about eating, but about living! Eating retro is a lifestyle filled with gratitude, simplicity and accountability.

But there will be something big missing from the book. Also, who am I, anyway, to write such a book?!

Continue reading “Book Title Update: The Retro Diet™”

My Repurposed Antique Cedar Chest Coffee Table

I had purchased our previous coffee table at an estate sale about ten years ago straight from an in-law house with early 1970s furnishings. I liked it at the time (never loved it) up until this past weekend after I visited an acquaintance living in a 200 plus year old home. I loved the look of an antique blanket chest as a coffee table which they had in their living room, so much so that when I got home I decided I wanted a “new” coffee table. Antique blanket chests can be quite expensive and I don’t see them often at estate sales. Then I remembered the cedar chest in the sunroom!

When I bought it (also at an estate sale and it was packed with vintage linens) it was covered with watered down white paint, so we had covered it up and been using for storage and gardening supplies. Inspired, I went into the sunroom with a scouring pad, sponge and soapy water.

Continue reading “My Repurposed Antique Cedar Chest Coffee Table”