A Clothesline Is Needed At The White House! (And In Your Backyard!)

I am quite passionate about my clothesline and air-drying in the sense that it’s best for my clothes and the environment.  I love the aesthetics, simple beauty and act of hanging my laundry.  I guess I’ve been blissfully unaware, until recently, that this simple process is quite controversial in several states and in many HOA’s, where it is outlawed.clothesline pic

I’ve recently gotten involved with blogging (I’m a Clothes Pegger!) for a  fantastic non-profit, Project Laundry List, www.laundrylist.org.  Project Laundry List is working to make air-drying acceptable in more places.  They are also promoting it as a way to save energy and money.  The Executive Director of Laundry List, Alexander Lee, has told me that there have been several states that recently passed ‘Right to Dry’ legislation.    Vermont’s is in effect, Maine and Hawaii have passed legislation and are awaiting gubernatorial signatures.

There is also a push to get a clothesline installed in the White House.  I mean, they have a garden now – a clothesline would be the perfect compliment!  What better way to spread the word about energy-saving clothesline use than by having President or Mrs. Obama (or even Sasha or Malia) hanging laundry!  Ben Davis at Right 2 Dry, www.right2dry.org is conducting a campaign to petition the White House to hang a clothesline.  I urge you to sign the petition…and put up a clothesline in your own back yard while you’re at it!

Governor Davis (Republican) of Vermont uses a clothesline.  Governor Schwarzenegger (Republican) of California has spoken out for the use of clotheslines in his Earth Day speech.  Maybe there could be some good-natured, all-in-fun competition to the Democrats in Washington to do the same!

Alexander Lee’s wish is to have a clothesline in the White House by September 9th, when he will be in Washington.  Ever-practical me thinks it should be up NOW…think of all the lovely summer drying-weather that they will miss otherwise!

Meanwhile, I will continue to hang my laundry and enjoy the fabulous drying-days of summer.  Why don’t you?


Summer Linen and Crystal Stick

I’m trying a couple of new things with the advent of (the long awaited!) summer weather.  The transition from cold to hot weather is always a bit of a quandary for me.  One day I’m wearing wool socks, boots, jeans and a cashmere turtleneck; the next I’m madly scrambling for my summer wear!  It just seems to happen so fast around here and I’m rarely prepared.

One thing I’m trying is the Crystal Stick deodorant.  It’s a big hunk of natural mineral salts completely free of perfumes and chemicals.  I really liked the fact that it was so natural; but was a bit skeptical to see if really worked.  I mean, it has absolutely none of the bells and whistles that deodorant marketers like to pound in our skulls.  It’s just an utterly plain and simple piece of crystal salt!

You have to wet it and apply.  No scent, no gunk – clear, clean pure simplicity.  But would it work?  After now trying it for several weeks I can say, “yes it does”.  It has worked through some 90 degree days, mowing my lawn, doing yard and housework, exercising and just day to day living.  I’m sold…and the fact that it lasts at least a year appeals to the frugality in me!

I’m also rediscovering wearing linen.  I can see why linen is such a time-honored summer cloth.  It is cool and keeps your body well ventilated.  It gets wrinkled, yes, but a bit of rumpling is endearing I think.  It also washes beautifully and just loves a good drying on the clothesline!

Here’s to summer!


Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe!

Today is Marilyn Monroe’s birthday; she would have been 83 years old.  What is weird and wonderful to me is that it is my birthday too 🙂

I have always been fascinated by the fact that not only do we share a name, we share a birthday.  I always tease my mom that she named me after Marilyn Monroe.  The fact is that being the 5th child in my family, my parents did not have a name for me until several days after my birth!  My dad brought a list of name suggestions from his co-workers to my mom in the hospital.  I guess there were some pretty unsavory selections on that list!  So they went with ‘Marilyn’.

It’s kind of funny to grow up with an iconic bombshell as your namesake.  I never really minded it…kind of liked it.  I have grown to admire Marilyn Monroe over the years and have learned to look at the woman behind all the glossy hype.  I think I really would have liked her as a person.  I think she was a very smart, well read businesswoman (which I strive to be).  She also had a couple of unsuccessful marriages (as have I) but still believed in the hopefulness of finding love.  And…wow…who is more gorgeous that Marilyn Monroe?  I can only hope that I at least have one tiny shred of that beauty!

So, Happy Birthday dear Norma Jean…we share more than you know!


The Push Reel Mower and I

Girl mowing lawn

I must confess that lawn mowing is one of my least favorite activities.  If I had my way I’d let the grass grow wild and waist high, but I do live in a neighborhood where keeping the lawn looking presentable is an honorable activity – so I mow.   I do like to keep a modicum of respectability!

For about four years now, I have been using an old-fashioned push reel mower.  I had just about reached the end of my rope with the gas-guzzling power mower I was using.  It was extremely loud, heavy, hard to handle and hard to start.  Clippings would get caught in the shoot and twigs got caught in the line.  I was forever running over to my neighbors asking for help with the mower.  This got very tiring.  I thought that there just had to be a better way.  There was.

Despite the protests of friends and family, warning me that there was NO way I was going to be able to push-mow my lawn I purchased a push mower.  From the start, the pure simplicity of the machine was a beautiful breath of fresh air.  I guided it over the grass and lo and behold, it was cutting it!  No noise, no fumes, no energy used (except my own)…amazing!  At first I used a clipping catcher because I was so used to putting my grass clippings in the yard waste recycling.  Now I just leave the clippings on the grass for mulch.

My neighbors are now accustomed to me and my push-mower.  At first, I had neighbor kids quizzing me about what this strange contraption was.  Adults would just smile at me with odd puzzlement.  Believe me, with my clothesline and push-reel mower I definitely stand out in the neighborhood-ha ha.

So even though I really don’t like lawn mowing, I have come to an acceptance of it.  I find that while I’m mowing I often space out, think and even meditate.  Something about being in the fresh air and performing a mundane repetitive task seems to activate this.  My arms get stronger too.

~Happy Mowing!


The Poignancy of Vintage Perfume

I have bottles and bottles of lovely perfume on my dresser.  So many, that I don’t even know what kinds I have collected over the years.   What can I say?  I love perfume!

There is nothing so evocative as the smell of a fine perfume.  It seems to touch the depths of memory and evoke strong feelings.  Over the years I have pretty much narrowed my favorite signature perfume choices to YSL’s Opium in the winter, and Nina Ricci’s L’air du Temps in the summer.  I try some of my other perfumes from time to time, but I always go back to Opium and L’air du Temps as my mainstays.  I think that when other people comment: “what is that wonderful scent you are wearing?”  then you are wearing the right scent for you.

Lately though, I admit that I’ve been getting a little tired of a long winter wearing Opium.  I dug through my bottles and found a vintage bottle of Bellodgia by Caron and sprayed it on.  It has the most amazing, mysterious vintage-y scent and I immediately felt a jolt of poignancy.  I think it will be my new signature scent for spring.

Okay then!  Feeling more adventurous, I have also tried Lanvin’s Arpege and Chanel No. 5 from my vintage stockpile.  I don’t want to overwhelm myself with scent change, but these three all seem to have the same warm, poignant effect on me.  They just seem so complex and interesting with a wonderful history behind them.  And touch a depth deep within.

Here’s to a very aromatic spring!


My So-Called Pre-Owned Life

I relish living a ‘Pre-Owned’ life, as it were.  For those of you not familiar with the term, it’s another way to say ‘second-hand’ on eBay when listing a formerly-worn-by-someone-else clothing item for sale.  It used to be a free-for-all in Item Specifics when describing condition….’excellent’, ‘great’, ‘okay’, ‘poor’ and so on were some of the terms used.  Now it’s either ‘Pre-Owned’ or ‘New’.

It got me thinking about how, for the most part, I live a ‘Pre-Owned’ life.  I pretty much buy everything second-hand and it actually galls me to have to buy something new.  I finally broke down and bought a new computer and monitor recently due to the fact my old computer was 10 years old; very slow and clunky.  I have to admit that I LOVE the wide monitor and speedy computer…but I digress!

My clothes are almost all ‘Pre-Owned’.  I love the fact that I can get fantastic quality clothing for much less than new.  The vintage, designer and high-end labels are just so much better constructed and the materials used are so superior.  For instance, I love sweaters and am always looking for natural fibers of cashmere, wool, angora and mohair.  The older stuff (which is getting harder and harder to find…) is very thick, substantial and will likely last a lifetime.   If you take a look at  brand new angora or cashmere sweaters, for the most part they are ‘Whisper Thin’ – this is NOT a quality I wish to have in a sweater despite marketing hype!  The difference is remarkable.

Just today I found a really cool ‘Made in France’ yachting sweater with the name label ‘Eric Tabarly’ on it.  It’s very thick and soft navy blue wool with white stripes, and buttons with anchors at the shoulder.  I googled the name Eric Tabarly and found that he was a notable French sailor and considered the father of French yachting, so I learned something interesting too.  That’s another thing…I love the history behind ‘Pre-Owned’ garments.  I imagine sometimes about who wore it before me…and then I silently thank them for giving up the magnificent clothes I find.

I could get into the whole ‘green’ aspect of reusing/recycling clothing, I guess.  And yes, that’s important in this day and age.  But to me it’s more than that.  It’s more a philosophy; a way of life.   Honoring quality, simplicity, history…and just having some dang nice duds to wear!

Here’s to a bit more Pre-Owning in this world!