Today I am thankful for sweet little kitty snores. ♥
This last weekend I bought a few magazines from the 1940s. I’m kicking myself for not buying the whole pile, but hoping that the man will be at the flea market next month with the rest. I want the magazines because A) I love reading old magazines; B) Our house was built in 1946 and I’m interested in the history; and most importantly C) we have been re-doing our bathroom, and I’ve decided (I think) to decorate with travel ads from the 1940s. This is the cover of one of the magazines, which will be perfect for my travel theme. Seriously, you should have seen the giant grin on my face when I found it!
While looking through old magazines, I’m always struck by how similar the articles and content are to what we have today. For instance, I read an article about a lady who was a writer, and tired of trying to do her work in a space where she was constantly trampled by children, puppies, and tradespeople, decided to redo a cellar room into a study. She managed to do it for only $25, ($384.59 by today’s standards, according to The Inflation Calculator). Today, however, I saw this in a 1941 Better Homes and Gardens. The first two paragraphs read:
“There’s one sure way to tell a long-lasting paint. Find out how much white lead it contains. For as good painters and architects will tell you, the greater the white lead content, the more enduring the paint. And you can’t get a more weather-resistant paint than one containing 100% pure white lead.”
<Jaw drops to floor>
Little did they know, a few years later children would be seriously injured from eating bits of the paint that was not, I suppose, as durable as the ads wanted them to believe. Of course, 15 years ago people still thought margarine was better for you than butter. We just never know when our prevailing wisdom will turn to foolishness!
…to throw something in the trash, and I saw this:
It’s a tomato stem. My brain, however, did not see a tomato stem. It saw a GIANT SPIDER, and then realized my hand was moving toward the giant spider to toss my tissue into the trash. If my brain and body would regulate their energy usage for normal daily activities instead of saving it up so I can flail my arms like a helicopter and jump three feet into the air when I see a anything that resembles a giant spider, I could get a lot more done in a day. A lot more.
Photo by Cheryl Casey
(This post was written last month but not published. Of course, it is still just as relevant…)
Many people have shared a Facebook post this weekend attributed to Morgan Freeman, encouraging us to forget the name of the person who attacked the school in Connecticut. His last paragraph says, “You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”
While I agree with most of the statement, I don’t like that it seems to be encouraging us to forget this troubled young person and the terrible effects of mental illness on his life, his family, the lives of those he killed, their families, everyone else involved in the aftermath, and all of us whose hearts break for every life lost.
It’s a lot like having a horrible odor in your house and just putting a clothespin on your nose instead of searching for the source of the smell. The smell won’t go away because you put a clothespin on your nose, right? You’ll go about your way for a little while, but eventually you’re going to notice it again. And seriously, how many of us would admit out loud to actual people that we believe ignoring a problem will make it go away? Anyone? <crickets chirping…>
Writing off Adam Lanza or Jacob Tyler Roberts as simply “evil”, or as non-persons, or as jerks who “just wanted to be famous”, is an easy, comfortable way to keep from dealing with the issue of mental illness. It’s like smelling that awful smell I mentioned before and saying to yourself, “Oh, it’s probably just a dead rat in the cupboard under the sink. If I don’t look at it or think about it, everything will be fine.” Raise your hand if this is how YOU would handle a dead rat in your kitchen. Anyone? Yeah.
Thinking about a dead rat problem can make people feel uncomfortable. It would be much easier to pretend it doesn’t exist. But, you have to get out the shovel and the bucket and take care of it, because if you leave it the situation won’t improve. It will get stinkier. There will be unpleasant things living in it. Germs will swirl around your home. Your family could be adversely affected.
Now, perhaps comparing mental illness to a dead rat isn’t the BEST analogy in general (although those of us who experience mental illness pretty much think it stinks). The point is, if something affects our lives or the lives of our families, we don’t usually ignore it.
We do something about it. <Gets rubber gloves and bucket>.
We ask for or encourage others to help. <”Honey, I’ll give you a big smooch if you remove this dead rat! I’ll even hold the bucket if you bring me one of those respirator thingies so I don’t have to smell it!”>
We feel free to voice our feelings and opinions. <”Ohmygosh there was a humongous dead rat in my kitchen cupboard and it smelled and I had to LOOK at it and it was yucky and it was THERE and I had to deal with it! Dead rats are hard to deal with!”>
We inform ourselves and then gladly inform and help others. <”Yeah, so you get your rubber gloves and a bucket, and maybe a shovel, but if it’s not too far gone you can just pick it up by the tail and put it into the bucket, but be super careful, and be sure not to LOOK at it too much because it will be really gross! Here’s a link to an informative and helpful website about stinky dead thing removal! You can get through this!”>
So, let’s start taking mental illness as seriously as we would a dead rat in our cupboard, or, say, any other chronic-but- treatable-with-various-methods illness like asthma; or any other scary-and-possibly-life-threatening illness like breast cancer. Let’s encourage medical professionals to do more research to find out how to better treat and prevent mental illness. Let’s not leave the mentally ill and their families ashamed, afraid, and alone, no matter what they’ve done. Instead of telling the media to close the cupboard and leave the kitchen, let’s ask that they dispense accurate information about mental illness so we can better help people before illness ruins their lives and takes others down with them. And let’s take the responsibility to educate ourselves with accurate information.
And by “accurate”, I mean “accurate”. NOT myths, NOT things like “Everyone with any kind of mental illness is bad and stupid and they all want to shoot people or jump out of a moving car on the freeway because they think they’re Jesus, and they will bite me if I’m kind to them” and NOT “There’s nothing wrong with that kid that a lot more discipline wouldn’t cure – those parents just need to wise up.” and NOT “There’s no such thing as mental illness, those people just need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and figure it out because they’re just lazy and they could do it if they tried.” These ideas are as valid as “Dead rats go into your cupboard to die on purpose because they’re mean and they know it will annoy you.”
Remember that illness can affect anyone, in any neighborhood, in any income bracket, at any age. Remember that dealing with a problem is a lot smarter than going around with clothespins on our noses. “There, but for the grace of God, goes (Your Name Here).”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness website is a great place to start learning more.
So, the other day I was shopping for ingredients to make my own laundry soap (see how to do it on the Sugar Pie Farmhouse blog). As I was searching all over the store for what I needed, I happened to see these natural Sea Veggies snacks. They were expensive but sounded interesting, so I thought, “Why not?”
This is what they look like:
I’m trying to eat more healthfully. These are full of vitamins and all sorts of wonderful things! You get 12 of these little sheets of snack in the bag, and all of them together are only 35 calories! Hooray!
This is what I looked like after I ate 3 little sheets:
Image from www.grumpycats.com
Blargh. It tastes like you got a mouthful of ocean by accident when you didn’t want to. And so does the aftertaste, that won’t go away even after half a cup of coffee. Not nice at all. I’m sorry, people who make Sea Veggies. I’m sure you have the best of intentions and all the vitamins and nutrients are super good for me. If you made them taste like nothing at all, I would seriously gobble them up because the texture is nice and light and crunchy, so you’ve got that going for you. And I suppose they might go well with sushi for those who like that sort of thing. But no…no thank you.
Ugh, the term “Black Friday” sounds so sinister. It doesn’t sound like, “We’re having this awesome sale so you can afford super Christmas gifts for your loved ones!” or “Come on down, get great deals, and celebrate the start of the festive holiday season!” It sounds like, “You have to come really early and there will be way too many people, and they will all get to the good stuff before you do, and then we will EAT YOOUUUU…<maniacal laugh>
Yesterday I got many boxes and bins and Space Bags organized and took elebenty-twelve of them upstairs. My bedroom is completely cleared of everything not bedroom-related!!
However, my glee at having accomplished this giant task has been tempered by the fact that none of the muscles in my legs work. Why? Because:
Ordinary stairs Tread – 11″ deep. Rise – 6.75″ high. All stairs the same height.
Our stairs: Tread – 9″ deep. Rise – 8.50″ high, except for the top one, which is 5.50″ high.
Landing at top of stairs – 2 feet from stairs to wall.
Our stairs (oh yes, the carpet is really that color).
To go up the stairs when carrying something: Lean forward as far as you can and move upward quickly to keep from falling backwards down the stairs. Place feet on steps sideways, attempting not to catch your toe in the corner between the step and next riser.
Watch your toes.
Bend over even further when you reach the top step and set the thing you’re carrying on the landing, hold on to the top bannister, and carefully step up. Remember that the landing at the top of the stairs is only 2 feet wide. Do not run into window at top of stairs.
The landing. If my derriere was any bigger, it would bounce me off the wall and down the stairs.
To go downstairs: Grip bannister post while stepping onto second step lest you tumble downstairs when you forget that part of the landing is only 2 feet wide. When on second step, lean over and grasp handrail tightly, lean backwards, and go slowly down the stairs. Step sideways or with duck feet and hug stair riser with calves, so your feet will fit on the tread instead of sliding off the front edge. Use every muscle in your legs to keep from falling to your death.
Stairs looking down, top bannister and handrail.
Here, however, is the bright spot of the upstairs hall – Emily’s handmade 1000 Cranes, and sculpture made by my hubby.
There really are a thousand!
Here is a close-up of the cranes: