Saturday, May 23, 2009

21-23 may 1955 “Oldest Driver, Cutest Diver, Gardening, Cooking, and the Blues vs. Depression”

 louis cheron Oldest man to drive in the Grand Prix (55) comes in 6th. Today, in 1955, in front of a hometown Monte Carlo crowd, a few weeks before his 56th birthday he became the oldest driver to compete in a Formula 1 race. To the applause of Prince Rainier and his many fans he guided his Lancia D50lancia d50 to a sixth place finish in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix.

zale perry cover Zale Perry on the cover of the sports illustrated for today in 1955. She was a well known diver (still alive today) and played a small part in Hollywood. She played the resident damsel in distress in the Sea Hunt series (starring another ‘star diver’ Lloyd Bridges. The series would not start until 1957, however, so I have not seen it.) Prior to this, she was a test diver for major equipment manufacturers. Zale Perry began her diving career in 1951 and is considered an authority on sport diving. She was key in the development of decompression chamber treatment for diving injuries and is now a member of the Diving Hall of Fame

 gardening in skirt

My posts have not been as regular as I like, but it is finally nice out and I cannot stay out of my garden. My time out of the home and it’s chores finds me there.

It left me to ponder how like Housework is Gardening. Or really, how being a homemaker is much like being a gardener, with some minor differences, in the house I am always taking the dirt out, while in my garden I am always hauling dirt in.

One can really see and feel the early homemakers when one is both a homemaker and a gardener. For, there was a time when what happened in the garden fed what went on in the kitchen. Your food and your cleaners, your soaps etc all came from your garden and farm. Today we have the luxury of the grocery store and certainly they did in 1955 as well. Yet, as I have mentioned before, being the age I am now in 1955, I would certainly hold fast to my Victory Garden. I would be happy for the full shelves at the grocery store, but there would be too many memories of want in me from the depression through the war to not be ‘prepared’. Today, it seems, being prepared means over buying everything you can get your hands on at BJ’s and stashing it away, but that, for me,  is too much and really I want to become more self-reliant. I don’t know how my little garden will yield this year. We shall see. I will document it in pictures, words, and drawings so I can learn from it and enjoy it later.wwII garden poster My plan is to fill some shelves this fall with canned items and to see how many jams and things I can actually make from what my little plot of land yields.

We New Englanders know we have only a small window to prepare and enjoy our warm weather. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to live and garden in a warm climate year round. It must be lovely. Though, I cannot take the heat, so anything above 80 degrees and I need to sit in the shade or in a pool or  the ocean, so I guess I am a true New Englander in that. I actually like the cooler seasons. Somehow it makes spring and summer more sweet. I guess it is the ‘too much of a good thing ruins it’ adage for me.

garden book1I just ordered this 1949 Gardeners manual and will share the skills once I get it. There are all sorts of “how-tos” and hints. It will be fun and exciting to see what they offer.

Now, my own vegetable garden is still under way. As in much of my current life, I want my garden to first be practical and serve its purpose, but then to please the eye and senses. I don’t want to live in a house that is only functional, I want it to look and feel good and to make me smile. So, too, then should my veg garden when I think of the time I will spend it it. Really, I was thinking, if we look at our gardens, our yards, as our home on the outside, then certainly the vegetable garden is like our kitchen in that ‘outside home’. And, in fact, it is often called a ‘kitchen garden’ as it serves the kitchen. But, and again here we see this happening in the 1930’s on, the kitchen, now being more populated by homemakers than servants, a place to work AND to decorate. Therefore, it follows that the kitchen should be functional but pretty with a nice place to sit and relax, so should the veg garden. So, while I am getting all my veg in on time, amongst that I am trying to ‘decorate’ as well.

Here is the beginning stages of my little garden.veg garden1 Here you can see the shambles of it, but if you can believe it, it looked worse than this when I started this summer. There was no tall fence ( I put that in this spring) and the front post is in for my now fence there. The beds have not been turned nor fed with wheel barrel loads of compost, which came later. Thisveg fence1 became thisveg fence2 and is now this:veg fence3 I have not painted nor added all the finials to the top. Here you can see I weeded and mulched the areas outside of the beds. The plants planted along the fence on the inside of the garden is my ‘tea garden’. It contains lemon balm, two types of mint, Roses (for rosehips) bee balm (bergamot) and Anise. These all grow and spread wonderfully and so will be cut often and dried for my homemade teas for the future. In front of the fence facing the road are two hydrangeas (very popular on the cape as our soil has them blooming in the most amazing blue you have ever seen!) and daylilies I took from our antique house we rent out.

Here in the second veg bed I have added an old copper obelisk. veg obelisk It has a nice patina. This bed has snow peas climbing up chicken wire in the back and three rows (another row next week) of various tomatoes. The front has my kale and cabbage and onions, celery and beets. This is nicely mulched, but you can see behind it has yet to be mulched. There, however is where I am planting grapes. grape plant All along the back fence you see will be grapes except the first panel nearest the road are my zucchini which will trail up the fence as well, as it saves space from having them spread on the ground and makes nicer fruit, I feel.

Here are some shots of my roses:rose closeuprose 2queen elizabeth rose

The future plans for my veg garden involve the fence continuing around the whole garden with a built in bench at one end under an arbor which will also grow grapes. I am planting grapes along the rest of the fence around the garden and training them to the fence height. I have future plans for homemade wine and of course eating fresh and making jams. My other fruits, like blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and strawberry are being planted around my little orchard. I hope to one day have a living fence around the orchard of blackberry and raspberry bushes. Thus, beauty, protection and food for the table.

So, really, much like my home, I think it important that each ‘room’ of the garden should 1)function 2)be well maintained with regular chores 2)be pleasing to the eye and of course 4) have a comfortable place to sit for you and friends. Because, why go not sit and enjoy your labor and it allows you to dream up what you can do better in the future. And, as a homemaker, we really should in whatever way we can (depending on if we live in the city or suburbs or country) have gardening be a part of our work.  Try gardening, if you have not yet, and you will see that, like housework, it can be the most frustrating and the most rewarding sort of work.

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. “ ~Mirabel Osler

Now, into the house and on to cooking. As I mentioned the other day, I have been relegating only three days a week to a dessert, as we are trying to watch our waistlines. One of my desserts this was was lovely apple tarts from my 1950s Boston Cooking School book (one of my favorites). Here is the recipe and the result:apple dumpling recipe Here is the recipe for the biscuit dough you would use: biscuit recipe And here is the hard sauce recipe: hard sauce recipe

Really, they were wonderfully light. I thought the biscuit dough would not cook all the way through and it would be doughy, but it was nice. Biscuit dough, as you know, is not sweet, but the baked apple inside with the nice hard sauce on top, was really lovely. I highly recommend it and would make it again.

I did a photo shoot of the process:appledumplings1 appledumplings2 appledumplings3 appledumplings4

I forgot to get a picture of it, but I made a nice lamb stew the other day. What I have learned is the best method for thickening sauces and gravies ( I am sure most of you already knew this) is to take a bowl and siphon out some of the hot broth from whatever you want to make into a sauce or gravy into the bowl. Then you add your flour to that and beat it with a hand whisk. The rule of thumb is roughly one tbs flour for each cup of broth, but I am learning to really wing it more or ‘feel’ the dishes.  Now whisking the flour and broth in the bowl separately from the dish you are making will make it smooth and you can add flour until it looks a little thicker than you would want. Now you slowly pour this into your stew or the remaining broth in your pan in which you are making gravy and whisk as you pour it in. It works every time and makes a nice smooth sauce/gravy. I remember at one of my vintage dinners someone commented on it being homemade and having no lumps ( I remember an old commercial like that!). A long cry from my old way of making gravy which was to literally just take the hot grease out and serve that as is as. I could never get the gravy to not be lumpy. I have come a long way!

I just want to address a comment I received yesterday on my post about feeling the “Blues”. I originally talked about this because a few of my regular readers asked me how I deal with them. I felt right in answering their query and also sharing with you how I deal with sadness. Yet, this comment really has hurt me in a way and made me think more about our modern concepts of ourselves. Here was the comment (which was anonymous by the way) Since starting this post, though, I have received some nice comments which seem to go along the lines of how I feel about it. Here was the comment:

Please don't make light of depression, which really is a serious mental illness, and not just a low period in your life. It's too easy to generalize--people in the 1950's managed depression vs. people today dwelling in it. In the 1950's clinical depression most definitely existed, and even more dangerously so, as it went unchecked and untreated. Like in so many other ways, medical treatment of the 1950's was very misguided (though well-intended), but the days of locking patients away still lingered.
Depression is truly a physical illness caused by improper chemical production in the brain. No putting on a happy face can cure that.

My response, of course, was that I know there is clinical depression and that my thoughts were for those of us who DO NOT suffer from clinical depression and that I hopefully never make light of any ailment.

It really got me thinking how this concept of foreboden subject is very modern. Certainly, clinical depression is very real and sad. Yet, for those of us who DO NOT suffer from it, we should not be denied the ability to discuss our own sadness and grief. Those with an accepted and clinically diagnosed disease do not own the ailments. That is to say, someone with cancer might feel certain aches and pains yet those of us who do not have cancer should still be allowed to discuss how we ourselves deal with such pain without making the cancer patient feel as if we are not sympathetic to their own burden. It is not making light or not having empathy for those with the clinical real problems.

I also find it interesting that if someone were to have clinical depression, I certainly hope that they would not come looking for answers on a blog. I am not a professional psychologist and this is merely a blog of my feelings. Perhaps, I am taking this too personally, but I tend to now take things I see in the modern world and digest it into the comparison with the old. Certainly, I am glad for those with clinical depression that they have medicine and therapy and not shock treatment in mental hospitals, but that does not diminish those of us who merely are blue from having valid discussions on ways we can ‘deal with the blues’ and sometimes ‘putting on a happy face’ does help, I know I have tried it and it HAS worked. If a simple solution does not work for someone than perhaps they could use that as a key to go and get checked to see if they DO have clinical depression. Something they may not have known had there not been discussion of it.   If it were considered not PC to discuss this, then perhaps a reader who felt they had tried that and it didn't work would not have known to go and get diagnosed for clinical depression.

So, my point is, discussing our feelings and how we deal with it IS important in such a case and is in no way offensive to those with the real depression. Yet, we also don’t want to over analyses them or ‘dwell’ in them, because this will often lead to feeding and continuing the feeling, that is if you do not have clinical depression. I really do feel, from my own experience, that dwelling or feeling the need to ‘reward yourself’ with a treat as you are feeling blue, only sets yourself up to continue to feel blue in the future. Of course we will be sad, but sometimes a Pavlovian response could happen where there is a day you might feel lazy and not want to deal with your usual routine and you suddenly feel ‘blue’ as a mechanism to get to the ‘reward’. I know sometimes that is how it worked for me. And I KNOW I used it as an excuse to be lazy. Which, in a way, could be fine, except I find my life fuller and happier being busy and doing and not being lazy. Then, when I have a day of rest, it is really appreciated and all the little things, like sitting and watching my chickens scratch in their yard, have a more poignant feel to them because it is a special moment of relaxation. Not being all the time IN your emotions or how you ‘feel’ about every little thing, really is an important boon to happiness. I honestly felt I was just not a happy person and happiness was for the mindless, but since becoming more active and really allowing the things I enjoy which I use to view as silly to have more meaning, my life, in turn, seems more meaningful.

I also have a very dear friend who is clinically depressed. He is very intelligent and is currently studying math at university. He is, in my opinion, a genius. And with his intense mind and ability to view the world in abstract mathematics, he has to deal with depression. And he does this through medication, but I can tell you there have been many times that hubby and I have had to help him ‘out of his funk’ with putting on a happy face and helping to get him active. What may work for one does not work for all, but that does not mean that no one can then discuss it. I remember, when we were sailing a lot and that summer we were literally sailing beach bums, he came along with us often and the simple act of sailing, handling the lines and sheets and trying to guide us on the water kept him out of himself and he was the least depressed I have ever seen him. Activity really does help.

I don’t want to be seen as always saying, ‘it was better then’. I know there are many things that are so much better now, but it seems with the advancement in science and technology and the move to more equality, we have also, somehow, lost some of our humanity. And what I mean by that is I think it very human to be kind and considerate. I think to put yourself second sometimes is very human. Any mammal can grab for the best piece of meat and growl at its neighbors, but a human can stop and asses and think, “Hmm, maybe in this instance, I should let the other person go first”. It is good for the survival of ourselves to think of ourselves first, but it is also human to think, sometimes, outside of yourself. I know from my own experience you can be too much in your own head and view the world always as “well, how is that going to affect me?” That is why I think it a modern moment to have someone view a talk about feeling less blue while they have depression and think, “Hey, I can’t do that, they are making fun of me”. Now, I am not picking on the anonymous commenter and I certainly am guilty of this same thing, but again, I feel it is a very modern moment.

What do you think? Have I merely somehow taken this out of proportion, or do you also feel somehow in the modern world the fear of offending leaves us to not discuss the important things but instead watch TV, and care more about Brittany Spears’ new boy toy or who is doing what on Survivor?. I don’t want to live in the modern world if I am not allowed to discuss things that I find very real with other very real people. I don’t want to exchange fear of offense for mindless prattle about movie stars and what happened on ‘desperate housewives’ last night. But, again, perhaps I will merely end up living in my world populated by only a few people, but I would rather that than a sort of watered down ‘safe’ sort of life.

I guess, rather it is good or bad, I feel more the pull to really just make my own life the way I want it to be and if that means disconnecting myself more from the ‘grid’ of the consuming media driven world, then so be it. I might be lonely, but I would rather keep busy in my garden and home and community, then spend hours talking about some reality show or how awesome it is to play a video game. I don’t think either of those things bad nor not enjoyable, but I do think having a real discussion about art and life and craft and how they fit into our world and history IS important to me. Maybe I am just becoming a ‘vintage snob’ if there is such a thing. How do any of you who love the ‘old ways’ cope and make it work in modern days? That might be a nice discussing point.

Well, I will leave you with that to ponder and then hopefully to discuss here and we shall see how we all feel on that subject.

Until later, then, happy homemaking!


  1. I don't think you are over reacting to your unknown commenter. There is a cult of happiness in the modern world. If you aren't HAPPY the only alternative is clinical depression.

    Well, pardon me, we are still human and it is entirely normal and healthy to have variable moods. Acknowledging my own sadness and saying it is just a passing mood is in no way a commentary on the mood-state of any other human being.

    Those who think I can't speak of my own sadness or confusion or bewilderment because it isn't as severe as their own or that it somehow denigrates or makes light of another's suffering to accuartely label my moods are invited to grow up.

    As this is not my blog I shall invite myself to shut up before this becomes a proper rant of foaming at the mouth proportions.

    Realizing that the book I'm recommending is 53 years into the future, I will still recommend a book called Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy. Eric Wilson discusses what happens when we pathologize sadness and how much more shallow our emotional worlds are when there is no middle ground between HAPPY and depressed.

    Anyone who cares to can search to find the transcript of an interview with him from Feb. 11, 2008, titled "Arguing the Upside of Being Down" (can't paste in a link).

  2. Great comment and that sounds like an interesting book. I do really feel that our constant need to be focused on self and the need for constant entertainment and happiness leads to a very shallow and then often depressed world. No one can be happy all the time, nor why would you, as the comparrison to happiness and sadness would be gone and you would be left with nothing. Thanks for your comment. And I am glad, as well, that you do not 'foam at the mouth' as one think I love about we vintage gals (and guys) is our ability to disagree kindly and to actually consider one another's opinions and remark back on it. It is nice to be civilized and grown. It is so easy, especially in the anonymity of the computer, to be rude and ruthless and careless of others. That is why I felt bad that I had somehow done that and then reflected upon it and realized I never intended to hurt any feelings about clinical depression.

  3. I thought you made it VERY clear at the beginning of your post that you were NOT speaking about folks with depression, but about all those who wallow in the self-inflicted angst that's become so popular in modern society... A valid topic and you offered some great advice!

    As for the thought you left us with today - it can be frustrating for even somebody living completely in 2009 if they have some deeply held beliefs or ethics that jar with the majority of those around them. And yet you can't go back on January 1, 2010 and UN-discover what you've discovered. You could retreat completely from the modern world, I guess, or you could find a way to put that frustration into ACTION and influence others for the better in some way --- a book with a collection of your blogs, perhaps? A documentary? Maybe just living in such a way that's an example to the people you come into contact with.

  4. Ooh, I've been meaning to ask: how are you feeling these day about the threat of atomic war? Is that something that average person living in Massachusetts in May 1955 would have thought about on a daily basis?

  5. Oh, jitterbug great points! First, others have mentioned a book and I have thought of it, but not sure if it would be saleable or who would buy it. A documentary, how fun! And, atomic war! I need a post about that threat certainly, not sure how it slipped by. I have mentioned it in passing, but now you have my wheels turning. I will get back with all of you with more on that.

  6. Oh, I was just thinking how much the black and white photo of the woman gardening and the other woman is like the dichotomy of myself, on one hand I am in the dirt getting into my garden, on the other, I love to clean up and go 'into town' with my darling handbag.

  7. Great follow up post, 50sgal. Actually, one thing I have learned about clinical depression is that one of the best things in helping to deal with it, and to avoid feeding and encouraging the negative thinking from getting worse than it is on its own, is to find things to distract you and keep your mind in a healthier place. Like your friend with the sailing, my sister loves to bake and baking keeps her at her happiest. Of course, these things don't take the depression itself away but it does help to manage it, along with the medication. So, clinically depressed or not, your advice is good to follow. The sadness may be coming from different causes, but it is still helpful to intentionally do something that puts you in a better place mentally. Like I said, someone who has true clinical depression may not get rid of it, but how they respond to it does affect it and can make it worse, or better.

    Your apple dessert looks so delicious! Your garden looks like it’s coming along great. I like how you are climbing some of your plants to help save space. I would love to have a raspberry bush someday. I LOVE raspberries and they are so expensive to buy. When I was growing up my parents had a blackberry and raspberry bush in our backyard. The thorns scratched our hands terribly as we picked them, but we didn’t care because they were so good to eat. My bell pepper seedlings are growing nicely in my window, and soon I’ll need to transplant them.

  8. Over the past five blogging years I have marvelled at how many people will jump out of the woodwork and have a cow if you do any discussing of depression.

    The few times I have entered into serious talks about it - with no flippancy on my part about the subject - I have been told repeatedly and emphatically that I Have No Idea What I'm Talking About.

    It seems to make this group most angry when I suggest that it is ok not to be happy all the time. That is to say, if you have suffered some severe abuse or some horrible experiences, it is probably normal to be depressed. Were you to walk around giggling and chipper after, say, the death of your dog, I honestly think something would be wrong with you.

    Of course if you could not get out of bed for days or were contemplating suicide, then yes, your sorrow is too deep, you must get help in one way or another.

    I have just tried to find a perspective. Because it seems, in this day and age, we are not allowed to be unhappy. It seems as though there is something "wrong" with us if we are unhappy. The fact that I think it is normal and right to be unhappy and even really grieving and depressed in certain circumstances seems to offend a set within the depression advocates.

    I cried just about all day Wednesday, but my husband has just been diagnosed with leukemia. One could say I am depressed right now, but I am functioning. I am just overcome with grief and if I weren't, honestly, that's when I think something would be wrong with me.

  9. Wow, I honestly had no idea my previous post would cause such a ruckus. I simply wanted to make that point--that there should be a delineation between "the blues" and depression, which I did not think was clear from your post. I also found some sweeping generalizations about society, both modern and 50's, which were a bit unpalatable for me. I think that some people are very quick to jump to the conclusion that the 1950's world was somehow shinier, happier, or better-adjusted than the modern world. That is what we are shown through the media, but definitely wasn't the case. In fact, suicide rates have dropped since 1950 by nearly 3%.

    By no means was I implying that no one should have the right to discuss their sadness or anger or any other emotion. What I do think is that we should have the propriety to be well-educated about our topics of conversation and to attempt not to alienate those who listen.

    Honestly, I have found the replies to my first comment to be far more offensive than the post I was referring to.

    "There is a cult of happiness in the modern world. If you aren't HAPPY the only alternative is clinical depression."
    "I do really feel that our constant need to be focused on self and the need for constant entertainment and happiness leads to a very shallow and then often depressed world."

    No. What leads to a depressed world is defective neurotransmitters in the brain. The reason you see more of it today is that is more widely recognized, diagnosed, and treated--a godsend to those of us who manage the illness every day.

    I will not be anonymous on this comment, as it seemed to bother you last time. I am, in fact, a regular reader of your blog, but I am seeing here that divergent discussion is not welcome, and I very well may not be welcome, either.

  10. Also: "making light" is not the same as "making fun". I don't think for a second you were making fun of depression, 50sgal. Simple not treating it with the weight the subject demands. Perhaps not everyone knows the phrase the way I do.

  11. I am sorry you feel this way and we certainly are open to all opinions here, but I think perhaps you are expecting too much from my little blog which is merely my rants and ramblings on how I see a particular idea or ideal in the time that I am writing the blog. I am not a therapist nor a researcher into depression and its affects and I really think my wanting to discuss it further is no different than many other topics which have merited further discussion on my blog. I often find myself thoughtful and mindful of comments and often use them to further my own personal growth and then digest it into another post. I think you are confusing peoples reactions as anger. Also, I would call into question a study that shows a 3% drop in suicide unless I saw the data and in 1950 many suicides could also be connected to people having to deal with loss and trauma from both WWII and the Korean Warl. I think it silly for you to think you are not welcome, all are welcome, but surely our opinions should also be welcome to you. None of us have walked in one anothers shoes and therefore we cannot expect to completely understand one another. So, I was not bothered as much as puzzled which lead to my thinking on it further, which , I think at least, is a good thing. Also you said I was not treating depression with the 'weight the subject demands' but I think you will find I was not treating 'depression' in my post at all, but merely discussing how we deal with 'having the blues' and as someone who is not clinically depressed as you but someone who can have run of the mill blues, I think I know I about that first hand. Certainly, your knowlege of the phrasology was not only misunderstood on our part, as you misunderstood our discussion of 'the blues' to be a discussion on treating clinical depression, so the confusion was on both sides, which is oft the case in misunderstandings. I want to enemies nore to step on any ones foot, and I do hope you continue to read and to enjoy or not all of our comments.

  12. I meant to say I want NO enemies nor to step on anyones foot. We are all friends here and friends sometimes do not always agree except in treating one another with compassion and understanding when there is a MISunderstanding.

  13. You can certainly have a vegetable garden that is both beautiful and functional. I used marigolds to surround my veggie bed in order to deter insect damage. (they were confused by the scent). My neighbours thanked me for making my garden so pretty with the marigolds. Gardening to me is the most therapeutic activity for what ails modern society. I have learned so much about life and philosphy just by working with nature.

  14. gardener-b_that is so true. Funny you should mention marigolds, as I purchased some for the very same reason, though have not put them in yet. I am also going to plant nasturtiums as you know the flowers are edible and good, but if you preserve the flower buds they are suppose to be better than capers and I adore capers, so we shall see what comes of that this year.

  15. Hi 50's Gal,

    I haven't commented for a while. Thank you for posting pictures of your lovely garden. I hope it brings you many years of joy, beauty and good food. My great grandmother was a wonderful gardener. She was born in England and came to Canada as a young girl. Her garden was surrounded by lilacs and shrubs and she grew many types of flowers and roses. She had a wonderful strawberry patch and grew vegetables and fruits even in our colder climate. I know this book is a few years in the future for you but Betty Crockers Kitchen Gardens illustrated by Tasha Tudor is a lovely book and reminds me of my Great Grandmothers home and garden.

    As for your writings about happiness and blues and keeping busy I want to thank you for writing that. I know keeping busy helps me and having that proud feeling of accomplishment can be very encouraging. My grandmother was certainly one for working while she was dealing with something emotional in her life.

    I am very thankful for your blog. Sometimes I feel a little lost in the modern times as I was raised with old fashioned values in a time when common sense and common courtesy aren't so common any more. It is very comforting to know that there are others who still hold those values. It is even more striking now that my husband and I have children as people often comment on how well behaved and polite our children are. We are raising them with the values we were raised with. It is challenging yes - but oh so worth it.

    Michelle in Canada

  16. 50sgal--Therein lies the issue of online communication. It is impossible for me to interpret mood and emotion. To me, yes, the comments come across as angry.

    Obviously I did misinterpret your post about "the blues." It was not clear to me you meant ordinary sadness, otherwise I would not have felt prompted to respond at all.

    Really, all I wanted/expected from my first comment was perhaps an apology (whether truly felt or not), and the reassurance that you DID NOT mean clinical depression. Instead, I have sparked outrage from your other readers (many of which stated they were "shocked!" by my response) and an entire new post from you.

    Yes, I said you were not treating depression with the "weight that the subject demands" because I thought you WERE talking about depression.

    And yes, all opinions are welcome, but when I happen to be the only diverging opinion among your readers, who in turn indeed come across as angry, accusing me of disallowing them their own emotions or "having a cow" when all I wanted was clarification of the subject of hand and to perhaps educate someone about a topic that I am very passionate about.

    I don't think I am crazy or the only person who would possibly misunderstand your post or the comments. Perhaps we should all re-read what we write to make sure we are truly communicating the emotions we are feeling.

  17. I think you were spot on with your comments. Getting the blues is normal for women due to our cycles and hormones. I know I get them but I also get out of them. I clearly understood what you were saying and it did not seem like you were trivializing clinical depression. I do think that actual depression is over diagnosed these days and anti-depressants seem to be handed out by any old doctor, obgyn, general practicioners, etc.

    This is just my humble opinion, but I think feeling sad is sometimes a good sign and can direct you to areas in your life that you need to change or work on. I've got an issue right now that is the source of dramatic melancholy for me and it needs to be addressed and I know exactly what it is.

    Anyway, great job on the posts again. I totally get what you are saying.

  18. First, I want to echo gardener-b's comment about gardening healing what ails us. The act of tending to and watching a garden and then reaping its bounty cannot be underestimated and our modern society's disconnection from nature can lead to a malaise that can range from being a little blue to sprialing into genuine depression. I believe that having something constructive to apply our energies can help those down feelings with an outlet. This is especially true I have noticed for naturally anxious individuals who without a way to channel that anxiety can adopt detrimental habits leading to unshakeable depression. While I was not alive during the fifties, there was probably some recognition of the differences but a lack of effective treatments and the doctors did the best they could with what they knew or had in the way of treatment. Keeping busy and other more homegrown tactics would be used during war and other hardships but would have been recognized as not being a reliable solution.
    Not wanting to dwell on the subject but only consider how different generations experience human existence, it should be noted that melancholia has not always been something to be avoided at all costs and indeed something expected for the creation of great art and understanding of the human condition. Respect of that has long been part of western civilization and maybe only changed with some of Rousseau's writing and more modern interpretations of "man's inalienable right to hapiness". Please keep encouraging our understanding of how our recent ancestors lived and thought. In knowing our history, we can know ourselves.

  19. Jennifir-I forgot about Rousseau, You have given me some homework. Yes, it is true that action is helpful in fighting the blues. I have never been diagnosed with clinical depression and certainly do not feel I have it, so I did feel bad that I had somehow offended. I have been very depressed, though, in the past and this year's tasks and focus outside of myself has definitely made me happier than I have been in a long time, so for what that is worth I do think it important to share what has made me feel happier to others in that perhaps it may help them. I certainly have never intended to recommend myself or my actions as a replacement for drug therapy for clinical depression.
    The garden, ah I love it so. In fact, I spent most of today in my veg garden. I did more of my fence, laid more mulch, built some twig teepees for my cukes etc, there will be pics and prose upon it in my next post. I do hope everyone is having a good weekend and a great holiday for those americans out there (memorial day)I have been thinking much about the war and what this holiday really means. I think a post upon women and WWII is in the works. Have a great rest of this weekend all.

  20. Anon,

    I'm so sorry about your husband. I think you must have misunderstood what we meant about dealing with sadness, etc., though because I was puzzled by your comments about it. Nobody has suggested that there's anything wrong with feeling sad or having the blues and that everyone must be happy all the time; that would not be normal.

    All the best to you and your husband.

  21. I love the picture of the neighbor stopping by to chat with her gardening friend. So natural looking. The apple tarts look lovely. I like how they're made with simple ingredients and no boxes! I'll have to try them sometime.

    I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend.


  22. I think you made it VERY clear that you only meant the “blues and sadness” and NOT clinically proven depressions. I cannot see how anybody can misunderstand your post, and I was quite surprised by the comment. I do not hope a comment like this will prevent you from discussing and stating your opinion on other “hot topics”. The least I would consider you is snobby! And you will never be lonely, you have LOTS of e-friends! I’m one of them! :)

    The good old days were not always good, but today we have the choice of picking the best from each era. As you already know I (and most other Danes) live quite old-fashioned considering you “lazy” Americans. We don’t watch a fraction as much TV and play as much videogames as you do in the US. Of course there are exceptions, but these exceptions are considered a bit “weird”. Most Danes urge their children to play outside, be creative and only watch TV as a kind of reward at the end of the day. Now son is a teenager and I cannot control how much TV he watches, I can complain, but not prevent him from doing it. But I hope I have given him some healthy habits. He thinks it is boring to just sit passively in front of a screen.

    Chin up and have a lovely day, dear! :)

    PS: Have you seen my comment on 18 May, I gave some advice on creating a network?

  23. Yes, I did see your comment about the network and it is now on my list. I am so busy this weekend and week as I have to now deal with a house we rent out. It has taken my full time homemaking job and set it aside as I need to deal with tenents and finding new ones and cleaning up after the old ones etc. Thank you for the comments.

  24. Girl InterruptedMay 26, 2009 at 11:43 PM

    Wow I sure missed a lot didn't I! lol This is what happen when you go away for a weekend I guess.

    The Garden looks beautiful. I intended to start one but all I did was plant roses, LOTS of Roses, which were beautiful but I didnt know when I was supposed to cut them so now they are all dead and hanging there. I think I should get a How to Book LOL

    I love that Gravy Trick I learned it last thanksgiving from my friends 94 year old grandmother!

    I'm not going to comment about the Depression topic because I don't have anything more to add then what I dain in my May 18th comment, which were just my thoughts and my emotions and Im so glad I could talk about it here.

    Oh and I love the name Apron Revolution, very cute

  25. Ohh, that's bad. I send you lots of energy to overcome it all! :)

  26. Good luck with the garden! Ours last year was very successful, so much so that when I was picking tomatoes one afternoon for supper, I startled a bunny right out of it (the bed looked like a jungle, it was my first try). Canning was fun, as was sharing the bounty of veggies with our neighbors. We built another, smaller raised bed (we have a very small yard on a mountain, with clay/rock soil, so raised beds are a must) this year. Next year, we're going to fill in/even out our slope into 2 'steps', the top with native wildflowers and the lower with raspberries & blackberries. I can't wait!

    I also plant marigolds, herbs, and nasturtium right in our veggie beds. They're pretty, plus they keep bad bugs away and attract good bugs. Your garden is so darling! I'm a little jealous of its large size, but we all have to start somewhere. :) Are you composting, too? I have a great book that's a compendium of 1940s and 1950s gardening advice...the Blue Ribbon Gardener's Book or something like that. Lots of talk about amending the soil and compost and so forth, and so many today think they're so awesome for being 'green' when our grandparents beat us to the punch!

    Your roses are gorgeous. Which is the one with the spiralled stems? That is remarkable! We lost a rose bush last year (named 'Livin' Easy', amusingly enough), but 'Peace' made it, thank goodness.

    It is good to see people continuing to talk about the blues vs. depression; it's nice to see people attempting to have a real conversation about real things instead of sounding like the latest "People" magazine. I do think that those pointing out that we aren't allowed to be sad anymore make a good point. Perhaps it's a bit of overprotectiveness, though, concern (thanks to public awareness) that someone might indeed be suffering from true depression and not just an old-fashioned bad day?

    Also...Speaking again as someone who'd been diagnosed with this in the past...Your story about your mathematician friend rings true to me. Really, though, it seems to me that all of us tend to feel better altogether when we're busy doing something we enjoy or that interests us, clinically depressed or 'blue' or even having a fine day!

    Furthermore, keep in mind that most, if not all (I'm only familiar with a handful) of the anti-depression medications can indeed make the patient *worse*, so far that the drug inserts warn that the patient might be more prone to depression and suicide! So they might not work for everyone (certainly not me), and for women especially with horomones and all, as someone else pointed out, it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't work consistently across the board or even across the years with the same person. Perhaps the receptors and neurotransmitters get fried by environmental factors, medications, or other things, who knows? The mind is still a rather unknown universe.

    Maybe we should all just garden a little, even if it's just some mint in a container. lol The world might be a happier and prettier place!

    I could talk about the mindless chatter thing but won't. It's something I've spent a lot of time lamenting, and it's difficult to form real friendships when no one wants to have an honest, genuine conversation. :(

  27. I wish I could see when others have left comments, as half the time my 'recent comments' bar doesn't work. I just read all this comment and would have had so much more to say to it and we could have gone on...I agree and gardening is good for the soul (and the earth! and table) I do compost and am learning alot about that. I have ALOT of oak leaves every year and this is good for composting. The spiral rose is 'queen elizabeth' only they aren't all spiral just that stem seemed interesting, so I snapped that photo. I was lamenting the smallness of my garden and you put me in place to realize others have less space, so I was thankful. I want to add more in time, as space and light permit. My snow peas are starting to flower already and I have a little cuke already growing! My tomatoes are flower and one plant has three little green gems waiting to ripen! I put mine out MUCH earlier than is recommended, but I like to push the envelope and test it myself, I think if you get the plants slowly used to the colder weather they can take a couple early frosts ok.
    Yes, ah yes, conversation. The lost art. It is hard, as I do not dislike modern entertainment, but I also like conversation and it seems they are hard to combine effectively.

  28. I know it is many years ago but sometimes I read back through your first year for inspiration . I feel that your blog is very valid for people who suffer from clinical depression I was diagnosed at 15 with clinical depression and my chemical imbalance unfortunately leads to me losing the sensation of feeling love it's a terrifying thing to all of a sudden feel no love for anyone not even your own mother and now as a mother myself living in fear of one day feeling no love for my children.

    I made a personal choice to not take medication or any treatment when i was diagnosed because I knew this was a disease I would live with for the rest of my life and did not want my body to become reliant on synthetic chemicals. I am by no means saying that there are people who do not need medication but depression is currently one of the most over and incorrectly diagnosed conditions in the world almost every person I have ever met claims to suffer from depression which I am sorry is simply not the case. If somebody knows why they are so sad or down they may be depressed yes but that is not depression no person with clinical depression can tell you why they are so down there is no reason it can't be controlled.

    For a large portion of society though it is simply a selfish immature attitude back in the day people got on with life because things didn't stand still because you were down and in getting on with things you would find small reasons to be happy the small reasons build into bigger reasons and eventually time goes by and your not always so sad people spend so much time stuck in the bubble of woe is me that they let it take over them instead of just getting on with life.

    As I stated I suffer from clinical depression but have never taken medication but it is still something I have to deal with every single day but I deal with it by living life by being the controller of my mind and my body it is not easy I have to stop and converse with myself many times a day to override what my mind tries to think sometimes I feel like I'm living a lie but I would rather live that lie then live my life in a chemical cloud being controlled by drugs.

    What you say is so true for almost anyone your happiness is controlled completely by you it is your responsibility to take control of it no one can be happy all the time but you can stop it from taking over your life find happiness and beauty in small things like a baked cake, a blooming rose or even the laughter that comes from a complete sewing flop it may not be easy but even something as simple as a window can bring sunlight into your life


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