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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The Simplicity of Success

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!

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Is This What Happens When L.L.Bean “Fixes” Fusty?

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!

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For the Joy of It

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.

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Happy Groundhog Day!

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!

Are You Priced Out of The Housing Market?

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. 

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Staying Alight in the Dark Days

As a young girl in the 1970s I had no desire to be in Ice Capades nor was I into ice skating at the rink, however, when I sat down in the hair dresser’s chair around age nine I told her that I wanted a Dorothy Hamill haircut*. I felt so edgy with my new do, especially when wearing my “Buffalo” shoes and my newly pierced ears!

Anyway, when we had an early morning ice storm a little over two weeks ago I had an appointment for my routine mammogram. This was shortly after having numerous jabs over a period of a few weeks as well as my annual eye dilation to check the spot in the back of my eye that hopefully won’t ever turn into cancer. Wayne had driven me to my appointment and we made it there and back safely. I was so elated about the fact that my mammogram didn’t hurt at all. I turned to Wayne before I got out of the car and said smiling: “I’m done being poked and prodded! ” It was a great feeling.  “I’ll go check the mail.” Likely beaming, I stepped out of the car in my non-edgy Timberland boots, and, feeling like I was walking on air, was briskly and harshly schooled.

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Vintage Recipe: Frugal Portland, Maine Duchess Potatoes

While the world is abuzz about the Duchess of Sussex “stepping back” from her royal duties (seriously, though, I didn’t see that coming and apparently neither did the Queen!) I’ve stepped back in time and from the fancification of Duchess potatoes with this simple, frugal 1915 recipe found inside a Portland, Maine elementary school book. All that is required to make these tasty little puffs are three ingredients plus salt and pepper for seasoning.

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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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