Perchance to Dream

sleeping juneI’ve always been a bit of an insomniac.  Even as a child, I would lay awake at night trying mightily to go to sleep.  I’ve always been envious of people who could fall asleep as soon as their head hit the pillow…simply amazing to me!   The amount of hours that I’ve spent laying in bed trying to go to sleep must be staggering….probably in the thousands.  The cause of my insomnia is just plain thinking.  I think and think and think.   Sometimes I wish I could just turn my brain off at night to allow it to rest.  But yet, when I do fall asleep, I dream wildly.  My brain just does not know how to quit.

I am coming to the realization that perhaps I really don’t need that much sleep.  I read all the articles about the dangers of not getting enough sleep; how we need it to look beautiful, feel terrific, and to even lose weight.  Maybe it’s all a bunch of hype – at least for me?  I function okay, look okay, and am an okay weight, despite never getting enough sleep.  So maybe what I need is to get over is my worry about not sleeping much.  When, on the rare occasions I do sleep for over 8 hours, I usually feel sluggish, even more tired, and slightly hungover.  I feel as though I wasted so much time in repose.

I’ve been taking a number of natural supplements to try to help me get to sleep.  Melatonin, magnesium, GABA, and 5-HTP are good ones that I use in different combinations.  They are helpful in the fact that they help relax me (and my thoughts).   I still don’t sleep that much, but at least they help to calm and take the edge off.

The best part of sleeping is my dreams.  I love to dream.  Wildly realistic, sometimes stressful, but always interesting.  The best part of waking up is remembering my dreams.  A dreaming insomniac am I?  So be it.


The Beauty of the Written Word

lettersThis week I got three letters in the mail.  Yes,  three actual hand written letters from friends sent via snail mail.   One of the letters actually contained 3 photos and a newspaper clipping.   It was so charming to receive hard copies and have letters written in their signature style.  I love seeing people’s handwriting, I think you can decipher a lot from it.

Years ago this wouldn’t have been unusual in the least, I used to send and receive letters with great regularity.  But now, with the internet, email, Facebook, discussion boards, blogs and websites, I do it in a different manner.  To me, it is still the written word though.  And I love the written word.  I love reading and writing words, no matter the format.  There is such permanence in getting the words down.  Such finality of the statement of what was being felt at that time.

I have a box of saved love letters sent to me by former beaux;   letters of undying love, passion and longing, all there in black and white.  I remember receiving the letters in the mail and reading them with heart pounding.  Proof!  Evidence!  For time immemorial!

Sometimes the written word can be too overwhelming for me.  I once ceremoniously burned a whole cache of an ex-lover’s letters when he devastatingly betrayed me.  It felt really satisfying and vindictive, at the time, to see the letters go up in flame in my fireplace.  But now, in hindsight, I really wish I had saved those letters too.  My passion takes many forms.

I will always have a love affair with words.  Such strength, might and meaning in those silly formations of the alphabet.  I am glad for everyone who writes, be it professional writer or avid texter.  Getting the words out there takes thought, even if it’s an unintelligible one.  It speaks volumes, and I like it.


The Wistful End of Summer

end of summer

I have been feeling wistful the last few days, and I think it’s because I’m realizing that summer is starting it’s slow fade into autumn.  The days are not as long, and the sun is setting markedly earlier.  It is still hot, but not that burning intense mid-summer heat.  The leaves are starting to turn on my maple trees, and the blackberries are ripening fast.

I am realizing more and more how much I really love summer.  The long days and brilliant light are so treasured!  The Pacific Northwest has months and months of unending gray dampness, so the sun is especially welcome.  I can dry my clothes outside on the clothesline,  I don’t have to turn on the heat, and rarely even turn on the lights.  I wear as few clothes as possible and don’t have to worry about layering, socks, and shoes. It is just a simpler lifestyle all around.

But my fashion magazine ‘Fall Fashion Spectacular!’ issues have been arriving at a steady clip, advising me what I absolutely need to be wearing this fall (’80s-style sequined shoulder-padded mini dresses, no thank you…).  School schedules and supply lists for my son are coming too.  The inevitably of fall is upon me.  I don’t know how much more I can live in denial of that fact!

I never been too great at transition points.  I always get thrown off for awhile, and a little sad.  Once I’m past the delicate tricky part, I can delve into change with great gusto, but I have to go through a little poignancy in the meanwhile.   I guess it’s just a part of life of living in a place with four distinct seasons, and me being a more sensitive sort.  It pays to just go along with your feelings sometimes.

While I will soon bid the long days of summer adieu, I’ll hold onto and enjoy the last vestiges of light and warmth while it is still here.  I actually do enjoy fall in all it’s glory.  But let me loll in summertime for a while longer.


The New Frugality – Fad…or Forever?

coinsI look with bemusement, on the number of people  jumping on the frugality bandwagon now that we are in an economic recession.  Their ardent, new-found lifestyle is met with amazed declarations like  “Wow, you can really save money by making coffee at home!” or “CFL bulbs actually put out just as much light!”  Bemusement, why?  Because I have always lived this way, and always will.  It is seemingly an innate philosophy that is deep within me – I would be leading a disingenuous life if I did otherwise.  They are not telling me something that I don’t already know, and live each day.

Believe me, I am happy when others discover the value of thrift…and I do understand the enthusiasm of the newly converted.  But the cynic in me wonders whether most of this is a temporary thing, to be shoved aside when the money once again, starts rolling in.  I’m sure there are some who feel ‘put upon’ by having to make changes, and can’t wait to get back to their old, excessive lifestyle.

Living frugally, for me, is not a lifestyle of dull austerity.  Quite the opposite!  To me, it takes more thought and action to actually do things rather than ‘sit back and be entertained’.  It is a lifestyle of  thinking and doing. And to me, thinking and doing is very fun!

It remains to be seen if more will fall off the wagon once the economy improves.  My wish is that more will actually realize the pleasure in remaining thrifty, no matter their income level.  I hope this is the case.  But I do know that it may be just as hard for some to remain frugal as it would be for me to suddenly become a spendthrift shopaholic!


Cashmere, Mohair & Angora Sweaters – Wash Away!

sweaterFall is right around the corner, and soon we will be bundling up in our sweaters to ward off the chill.  I am a real sweater lover.  I have stacks and stacks of them in every color, style, fiber, and weight.  My personal preference is cashmere, as I can wear it against my sensitive skin.  Wool, angora and mohair tend to irritate me, so I wear a layer in between.  I also have a fabulous vintage beaded cardigan collection.

I will admit that one of my biggest pet peeves is the dry cleaning of sweaters!  Please do not, I repeat, do not dry clean sweaters!

Dry cleaning leaves the fibers stiff and flat.  The natural fibers were never meant to be chemically cleaned.  When was the last time you saw a sheep, goat, or angora rabbit being run through a dry cleaning process?  No; they are out in the elements.  Water is certainly not going to hurt!  In fact, a gentle hand washing in cool water and gentle cleanser will bring out the natural beauty of the fiber.  It plumps and fluffs up the yarn and brings out incredible softness.

I air-dry the sweaters on special flat sweater dryers.  These are good because you can shape and block the sweater before it dries.  They are mesh, so both sides dry evenly without turning.

Vintage sweaters have always turned out well for me being hand-washed.  Even delicate beaded sweaters flourish.  I wash them all!  In fact, I have a stack of sweaters waiting to be freshly washed for the cooler temps, so I must heed my own advice soon.

So even if you see the dreaded ‘Dry Clean Only’ label…ignore it.  Tell ’em Marilyn said you could hand wash!

Get ready to wear those fabulously sexy sweaters, girls!


Clotheslines + Vintage Clothing = A Perfect Match

clothesline painting

I air-dry all of my laundry, so I’m a bit biased, but I believe that the clothesline is the best way to care for clothing, especially vintage clothing.  When you think about it, the dryer is a quite recent invention, coming into wide usage in the 1950s and 60s.  Before that time all drying was done the “natural” way; usually on a clothesline of some sort.  Everyone had a clothesline, be it in the city, country, or suburbs.   Clothes were strung up and no one gave it a second thought – it’s just the way it was done.  It was the only way it was done.

So especially if you own and wear vintage clothing, this is the manner in which they were originally meant to be dried.  Not tumbled in high temperatures, being coated with a film of softener from a dryer sheet.   Dryers are hard on clothes, wearing them out prematurely.  Just take a look at the lint generated after one dryer load – that is fiber from your clothes being worn off.  Air drying preserves the fibers so your clothes last longer.

I wash in cold water, a gentle environmentally safe detergent, and then hang dry.  I don’t use fabric softeners of any kind; they leave a film coating that attracts dirt and eventually wears your clothes out faster.  Clothes love being dried out in the fresh air and sunshine – I’m convinced!  Usually there is no need for ironing, they dry crisp and quite wrinkle-free.  I can’t remember the last time I used my iron, it is gathering dust in the closet.  Then there is the fresh outdoor linen scent on dried laundry that only nature can produce…heavenly.

Don’t be afraid to wash your vintage clothes – they can take it.   Do not, I repeat, do not use a dryer!  Air-drying is the time-honored way to dry laundry that has been done for centuries.  It saves energy, money, and extends the life of your clothes.  It can also be your own personal contribution to making the earth a little greener in this modern world!