February 2010


Tonight I am really missing Nilla wafers. There are a few things I am very brand-specific about and Nilla wafers is one of them. Even as a small child I refused the fakes offered in the church nursery – better to go without a snack than to consume a counterfeit. Nilla wafers are delicious when paired with peanut butter as little sandwich cookies; that is one of my most favorite snacks…or breakfasts. And they are also good solo, just a small handful when you feel munchy. I pine for them.

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Today I went to the gym and took the recycling with me. This is normal procedure for me as the recycling dumpster-thingys are across the street from the gym and recycling is one of my chores hobbies. The dumpster-thingy was full and quite a few people had put their recycling around it so I did the same. I then went to the gym and had a lovely workout, in case you’re interested, returned home and went about my day.

As Jake & I were leaving later on, we noticed something in our mailbox and got excited, as most people do when they find mail in their mailbox (most of our bills are drafted so we aren’t bothered with pesky payment notices). Unfortunately, upon examination, the paper in question appeared to be some sort of notice or ticket. We put it back in the mailbox to be investigated further at a later time. When we returned home Jake brought the slip upstairs with us and began an hour-long process of deciphering terrible handwriting, typing possible words into Google translator, and attempting different spellings to account for the fact that no one, including French people, can spell in French. After using Google street view to look at an address on the notice/ticket – not ours – it appears that I received a ticket for 35 euros – nearly $50 – for abandoning trash. We are assuming that one of the RECYCLABLE papers in the bag I left RIGHT NEXT TO THE RECYCLING DUMPSTER-THINGY had our name and address on it and I was therefore cited for this offense.

Let’s leave aside the fact that the dumpster-thingy was FULL for a moment and dwell on the fact that this city is covered in trash. I’m serious. There is trash everywhere. It is gross, actually. I know Europe has this reputation for being environmentally conscious but they have the Germans and Swiss to thank for that, as far as I can tell most people in Marseille couldn’t care less about tossing their trash on the sidewalk and they certainly do not bother themselves to pick up after their dogs. If you picked up just the cigarette butts that cover the streets I have no doubt that they alone would weigh in the TONS. Why they are so concerned about my little recyclable bag of recyclables is utterly inexplicable.

Also, I GOT A TICKET FOR RECYCLING.

Next up in my Christian fiction-reading is The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It is about Amish people and I must be frank and point out that there is an abundance – nay, an overabundance – of Christian fiction about the Amish. I cannot figure out why. At least this lady has some family roots in the Amish community. Anyway so the story is about this Amish girl named Carrie who is secretly planning to run away with her secret Amish boyfriend…but then, disaster strikes! and everything changes. There are a few slightly surprising plot twists but they lack a certain drama/suspense, kind of like “something bad happens and then there is another funeral.” Considering that The Choice to remain in the community (I really don’t think I’m giving anything away there, am I?) is made pretty early in the story I’m not really sure why it was chosen as the title; the decision is made quickly in response to tragedy, but the title implies that the bulk of the story is wrestling with this important matter. Anyway it’s an ok story and if someone were to send me the next book in the series I would probably read it, or I might check it out of the library if I needed some light reading.

This book was provided for review by the LitFuse Publicity Group.

I won something, I won something!! I TOLD you 2010 was my year. I have now won two things!

I won the (cloth) diaper of my choice from MotheringGrace.com, woo hoo! And yes, we are planning on using cloth diapers because, hello, we can’t afford to be buying diapers all the time. So I have been buying used cloth diapers, hopefully in good condition, off diaperswappers.com and shipping them to my mother-in-law*, who is graciously collecting them for me in order to send all at once. There are a lot of environmental benefits to using cloth diapers, and maybe also some health ones, but I would by lying if my/our main motivation wasn’t financial. This will be my baby’s very first brand-new diaper!

And no, I do not feel one bit bad or guilty about getting used stuff for my kid. I really do not understand the feeling that some parents have that their kid must always have the newest and best. I am not too good for used stuff and neither is my kid; maybe if people were more ok with buying/borrowing used stuff we wouldn’t have so many idiots running around with this sense of entitlement. I would rather buy food than diapers so we’re doing it this way.

*The French call their mother-in-law belle-mere, which means “beautiful mother.” Isn’t that much nicer?

Like every other pregnant woman, I visit babycenter.com rather frequently. By which I mean, I get weekly emails regarding my baby’s development, and also a “daily digest” email summarizing some of the forum activity. I firmly believe that online communities are, in general, a major factor in the decline of human intelligence so for the most part I don’t actually participate in the forums, but I do read threads that sound interesting or ask a question I myself would like to know the answer to. I have noticed a disturbing trend in which the title of a new thread – and there are many, MANY of these – goes something like this: “Told so-and-so the name I picked (or made up) and they hate it!” and, if I can bring myself to endure the torture of actually reading a few responses, find them to be almost uniformly something like this: “Well you shouldn’t tell people your name, it’s none of their business, you get to pick whatever name you want because it’s YOUR baby.”

The thing is, it’s not YOUR baby. I mean, obviously you are the child’s parent, but babies are born as part of a family, part of a society. So if everyone in your family hates the name you choose, maybe that is a sign that you should reconsider that name. Names are very social things; it is the first thing you tell about yourself and the first impression others have of you. And I’m not gonna lie, I have met people whose names made me instantly think “Your parents must have hated you” or “Your mother could not spell at all, that’s not even remotely phonetic.” SURELY that is not the introduction you want for your kid?! Picking a name for someone is a huge, huge responsibility. This is not your golden opportunity to dazzle the world with your creativity or express your own personality; your baby’s name is not about you. It is about your baby. You should be trying to find a name to express his or her personality, and seeing as you haven’t met them yet that is kind of a tall order. Maybe you should be spending your time coming up with a name that will give your kid a solid start in life, with other people, than trying to figure out how to switch c‘s and k‘s or add in a y and an extra n to an otherwise reasonable name.