Right now if you look very closely you’ll see signs of spring. A cursory glance still shows bare trees, dead leaves and patches of snow. We spent some time walking in our woods, hanging out with Cider and relishing in home comforts. I have a new camera/phone so I practiced getting close-up shots that capture the lively details of renewal. There’s also a sweet video at the end of this post. On to the pics:
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.
“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.
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 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!
Record-breaking news here in Maine: Housing sales are up 23 percent from a year earlier and the median price went up 8 percent. The median cost for a home in my county went up to $325,000 from $307,000 a year ago. Nationwide, median sales prices also rose to $274,500 from $254,700 a year earlier. When I bought my house in 2009 it was after the housing bubble had crashed. I rented my entire life up until age forty. Are we in a housing bubble now? Time will tell, but the reality is that if you can’t afford to buy a house, it’s not a good time to buy. This post is for those of you who may believe that you’re throwing your money away by renting.