"Human manners are wildly inconsistent; plenty of people before me have said so. But this one takes the cake: the manner in which we're allowed to steal from future generations, while commanding them not to do that to us, and rolling our eyes at anyone who is tediously PC enough to point this out. The conspicuous consumption of limited resources has yet to be accepted widely as a spiritual error, or even bad manners." -Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Bean is quite comfortable making long streams of noises. She just keeps going, like the literary version of an Energizer Bunny. We should all be so un-self-conscious. On the bus ride home yesterday, she let out a constant babble. I think it lasted the whole bus ride--about 20 minutes long. You wouldn't believe the number of pissed-off looks I got. My baby's talking, what do you want? I felt like saying to one guy. To another: I hope you have a quiet evening! Despite my defensiveness, I did feel guilty that she was interrupting the unwritten code of bus silence. More than that, I felt guilty for feeling guilty. Why should I care if people are annoyed? This is a beautiful thing--she's learning how to talk! Why do I care? Why? But I do.
Work can be entertaining: I got this site from a co-worker yesterday. Absolutely hysterical!
I'm starting to think my life exists in bullet points.
"In watermelon sugar, the deeds were done and done again, as my life is done in watermelon sugar." -Richard Brautigan
I finished reading Wake Up and Smell the Planet, Grist's guide to being green. I read it on the bus on the way to work each time I didn't have Bean with me. (My husband and I usually switch off caring for her and he often works or has class at night, which means Bean comes to pick me up at work with her daddy.) I found most of the advice to be at an eco-intro level, though I did pick up a few facts I didn't know before. Notably, avoid bath products with "PEG," "polyethylene," "polyethylene glycol," "polyoxyethylene," "-eth-," or "-oxynol-" because they come with a carcinogenic byproduct called 1,4-Dioxane. Overall, the book was a fun, quick read and the kind of stocking stuffer gift for folks who are interested but don't know where to start on being more eco-friendly.
Speaking of the holidays, my family and I are at a standstill. My sister and I usually organize a sort of adult Secret Santa, with the maximum gift amount being $30. All the kids (under age 5 currently) get gifts from everyone. This year, though, several complaints have been made and the holidays need an overhaul. First, one sister wants a more predictable system, so she can shop for her person all year long. Another wants to do it by families--we keep multiplying, and the expense and time it takes to expend it are taxing.
I would like to see more holiday themes that involve less material items. As my dad says, "I have enough toys." This is true for most (though not all) of my family members. I just feel ridiculous paying $30 for some hair salon gift certificate to my sister-in-law when she rides around in a Mercedes without a monetary care in the world, while I'm earning WIC food stamps and hoping my baby doesn't poop much today so we can save 40 cents on a diaper liner. I don't like contributing to her evil consumption nor can I keep affording to pay for it. I thought we could do a charity holiday (everyone picks their favorite charity and we donate time or money to that person's charity). This would be especially timely this year with the economic downturn (read: recession) hitting nonprofits hard. Or we could do a homemade holiday: baked goods, art, music, wherever your talents lay. Or a Yankee swap: you don't want this, give it to them. Anybody have other ideas?
The problem is, my family has too many toys--but they want more toys. They don't realize they have too many toys. They see other people with even more toys and they want that, too. But they don't need toys anymore. How do I say all this with a gift?
I often find myself thinking, "That would be a great post!" to random things that happen in my life. Problem is, 98% of the time, I never get around to writing about it. Or I sit down and completely forget everything that I wanted to blog about. So, if memory serves me half-assed, here are a few things from this week I've wanted to write about:
*Walking to the train from work, I came across a man with an umbrella larger than a Smart Car. No joke, the umbrella took up more than the entire width of the sidewalk. I've never seen such large umbrellas as they have in Boston, but this one wins the cake. I think it goes along with this whole self-important vibe they have going on up here. Man, I wish I had my camera for the Smart Car umbrella.
*Bean has recently discovered she can put things in her mouth besides my nipples. This has resulted in a furious cleaning frenzy, dog groomings, and sheer panic/worry ... and she can't even crawl yet.
*My mom sent me a great birthday gift last week: copious amounts of Seventh Generation toilet paper and Tom's of Maine toothpaste. I honestly love getting gifts I can use, that I need. I remember one of my more radical environmentalist friends, Corey, received a similar package from his mom for a past birthday and he was bummed. I couldn't imagine why. I guess I see gifts differently than others.
*Pumping breastmilk is my third full-time job.
*It's hard to imagine it has been a year since I found out I was pregnant with Bean. She is four months old today. Everyone says "they grow so quickly" that it has become such a cliche--but it is so true. Is there truth in repetition? The Republican party certainly thinks so.
*Grateful Farm, my favorite organic stall at the farmers market, has been selling a number of heirloom eggplant varieties, and I finally bought one last week. I hate eggplant, normally, but we cooked this one up with crushed tomatoes, purple bell peppers (did you know those turn white when cooked? Weird!), and onions. Delicious! Eggplant is my new friend. And I finally had the pivotal farmers market experience that everyone raves about: I had a conversation, and made friends, with two of the workers there. We talked about okra, and it was beautiful! :)
*I registered to vote yesterday. Rather, I re-registered. Apparently the RMV didn't register me like they told me they would. Anyway, I took Bean and I felt like I was introducing her to civic duty. Only almost 18 years before she can vote ...
Bean is taking a nap now, so I must get back to getting everything done that must be done without her.