Life Is Lovely, Even When It Isn’t

Good morning, lovers of simple living. Wayne has had a nasty cold for the last week and now I’m coming down with it. I have some good news, sort of, which is that my endocrinology appointment got bumped up to later this week instead of another month from now. That means I’ll be undergoing more tests afterward which always brings up a lot of anxiety for me when I wait for the results. Then I’ll have more information about whether or not I need to consider surgery.

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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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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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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?! 

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Going Gray, Staying True to Myself

Heads up! This isn’t a judgement about men and women who choose to color their gray. It’s about my choice to let my hair “betray” my age. I wish that it was a simple decision but the pressure to pretend that we’re immune to looking a day over 30 is immense. I’ve shared that Barbara Bush was a silver hair inspiration for me. Then, this summer, I had been eyeing the silver hair of a very stylish, elegant lady who attends my church. I finally approached her and let her know how much I loved it! Her response? “Thanks! And it’s so cheap to maintain!” I laughed because that’s some good old New England thrift right there, not to mention self-confidence!

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Why I Socialize Off the Grid (Facebook)

About ten years ago when I first joined Facebook it was a rather quaint place that felt like a virtual town square. I reconnected with people from high school and New York City whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to since the 1980s. It was all “hey, what’s up!” and fluff.  But then more people started joining. Some of it was painful and triggering.

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Mosquitoes and the Magic of Summer

Minutes ago a mosquito followed me into my house and then into my home office. I have been trying to get away from it since it bit me in the neck when I sat down at my desk, at which point I looked in the mirror to see how bad the bite was. Besides its sneaky snack attack it had followed me around the house and in the mirror I could see it was flying up and down around the rest of my neck. Rather than smacking myself while trying to send it onward to its next spiritual station I ran back into my office. Hopefully I’m good for now.

Ever since I wrote my post about it not making economic sense for me to work on a follow-up retro diet book when I admitted to myself (and all of you!) that it would be cost-prohibitive, I’ve been enjoying a sense of relief. I appreciate those of you who commented or emailed to let me know you’d be interested in a fee-based subscription newsletter!

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Yankee Thrift Is Good Business

Hello everyone! What a lovely summer it has been here in Maine! I hope to share a garden update within the next couple of weeks.

I’m thrilled to announce that I have begun writing a secret book that I think you will enjoy reading once it’s complete! It’s like my fingers are on FIRE* when I sit with my laptop each morning.

Now that I’m embracing writing as a full-time job as a means for an income I have to be business-like in my approach in addition to having enough passion about the material to keep me energized. A nice problem to have is that I have more interesting projects than I do time. I wish to continue blogging here, too, and that is income-free but not without expense. That’s why I apply good old Yankee Thrift to business savvy decision-making!

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Good News For Wounded Souls

“God will not look you over for Medals, Degrees or Diplomas, but for Scars!” -Elbert Hubbard, The Note Book of Elbert Hubbard

I’ve learned that time does NOT heal all wounds but God loves them and us! There can be beauty in a graceful brokenness when we use God as a crutch. But wait, isn’t needing a “crutch” a sign of weakness?! YES! Aren’t we weak when we’re left to only our own devices? I choose spiritual prowess over destructive earthly vices I’ve given up. I no longer feel ashamed about my scars, a shame which fueled a lot of my destructive crutches (smoking, drinking, overeating). I’m not ashamed to say I’m in recovery, my last drink being almost twenty-five years ago. I’m cool with not being cool. My deepest scars are invisible, although I do have, shall I say, an “oven kiss” on my hand I acquired while removing a lasagna from the oven last fall.

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A Degree of Mischief at University of Vermont

The college admissions scandal has highlighted what some have referred to as “affirmative action for the wealthy.” As I mention on my “about” page, I grew up in subsidized housing but went to an Upper East Side prep school with the aid of a scholarship. My freshman year of college was spent at Bennington College, also via scholarship. It was too painful for me to continue to be the kid from the wrong side of the tracks in places where the vast majority of students came from very wealthy homes.  It was then I decided to transfer to the University of Maine in Orono where I earned my B.A. in English.

I attended grad school at the University of Vermont where I lived in a tiny house in the woods complete with big spiders* (steel-toed Doc Martens are a form of organic pest control) and was fortunate to have been awarded an assistantship for two years which paid my tuition in full and gave me a small stipend. However, that also meant my days began at 5:00 a.m. and I didn’t get home sometimes until 10 at night. Even so, my most valuable life lesson learned wasn’t a part of my curriculum, but in a playground.

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