Lydia Marie Child was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism. She was also a New England housewife famous for her book published in 1829, The Frugal Housewife. The introduction offers a very interesting glimpse into how much has changed in our mindset since that time:
Any one who uses the term ‘menial’ is touched with intellectualism. There are no menial tasks.
“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.
“A fear of disagreeable facts, and conscious shrinking from clearness of light, which keep us from examining ourselves, increases gradually into a species of instinctive terror at all truth, and love of glosses, veils and decorative lies of every sort.”
John Ruskin, 1887
If you’re not from Maine, you might think the above photo is of a homemade Mounds candy bar, and you’d probably be shocked to learn that they contain mashed potatoes in the coconut centers! You’re looking at a delicious traditional Maine candy called “Needhams” which have also historically been called “potato candy” or “potato fudge”. However, if you are from Maine and familiar with Needhams you may be surprised to discover that the modern version has gone far astray from yesterday’s healthier and more wholesome homemade versions dating as far back as 1924.
My experience from both sides of the “couch” has taught me that there’s nothing simple about PTSD nightmares. The things I tried in my teens and twenties–using food and alcohol to try and bury and drown them, sometimes to the point of blacking out, created new real-life nightmare scenarios. In my late twenties through my forties I was afraid to go to sleep; I averaged about five broken hours a night. When I did sleep, and the nightmares struck, I woke up extremely exhausted.
I wish I could say that I am now completely free of nightmares and experience restful sleep. The good news is that I have made incredible progress over the past couple of years. I have fewer nightmares, am not terrified of going to sleep and am making my peace with them.
Saturday was sunny and crisp. We left early for a day trip up coastal Route One to the charming town of Camden, Maine with stops in between; our first was the Maine State Prison Showroom in Thomaston.
According to sartorial experts writing for Esquire and Country Life, famed New England author, poet and essayist Emerson once declared: “The sense of being perfectly well dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquillity which religion is powerless to bestow.”
No, he did not say that! That statement is the antithesis of that for all he stood! Here is the quote and context that appeared in Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1883 and Letters and Social Aims, 1885: Continue reading “Fake Quote Patrol: Emerson Never Said This”
Wayne’s brother and sister-in-law sent us beautiful, fragrant organic Meyer lemons from a tree at their home in California for a “Merry Citrus!” I’ve never experienced anything like them. Our kitchen smells like warm sunshine, if that’s possible! What a perfect balm for a frigid December. I selected a vintage scone (pronounced sconn) recipe from the book Traditional Dishes of Britain published in 1953 by Philip Harben, the “TV Cook.” Scottish scones are very different from the Americanized versions; in fact they usually contain little to no sugar and few or no eggs. Additionally, they were often cooked on a “hotplate” which produced a “flat shape that is so convenient for splitting and buttering, the natural destiny of the scone.”
Some of you know that I have been selling vintage items online since the early 2000s. As I was photographing one of two identical copies of the 1950s book The Shiniest Star illustrated by Charlot Byj, Wayne stopped talking to me mid-sentence, came over and said: “Hey! I know that book! I remember reading that when I was little!” His face was completely lit up as he picked up the book and turned the pages. He remembered the gold foil star on the cover, too. I was charmed to see him transform from a man in his 60s to a wide-eyed six year old.