Saturday, August 13, 2011

Brown Paper Packages

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown, paper packages, tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things."
-Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music

Mixer is in!!! I saw the large, brown parcel sitting flush at my doorstep Thursday, as I came home from the grocery store, and despite the two heavy brown bags of groceries in my arms, I literally leaped into the air and skipped steps on the staircase leading to my apartment door.

After heaving it open, I placed my cold groceries in the fridge, and alas, I had to leave everything else sitting in heaps on our living room furniture, as I had learnt that day, that my new job would NOT be starting Tuesday, it would start Friday, as in the NEXT day. This presented a problem, as the amount of my business casual attire was much smaller than I had realized, and I was not in possession of nice shoes that are comfortable. Shopping had to continue.

I went to DSW and found two pairs of these such shoes, plus a cute little pink number that mimicked my wedding shoes, but flattened versions (they were on sale anyway). I then, impulsively ran into Macy's, as the mall was set to close in 7 minutes. I grabbed a few business-y things off of the sale rack and high-tailed into the dressing room.

Tearing at the clothes, I bought four and returned home. I was an absolute mess. Night-shift had ruled my life this week before Thursday and the weekend before that, too. My brain was not working properly, not to mention, I was terrified about beginning my new job. It wouldn't consist of wiping noses, changing diapers, or rolling out of bed sans make-up any longer.

It is my first, high-brow, neck-tie, pencil skirt position, and I was so excited and nervous. Of course, I am better today, still completely intimidated, but better than I was Thursday night. I always view my current job as being the interview to my next one. It keeps me in line and on my toes, at least.

Anyway, so I came back from emergency-impulse-shopping and looked over one of my 60 new employee manuals. While sitting there, tea in hand, the box was calling to be opened, so after FORCING myself to finish reading, I pulled out my pocket knife and cut the tape. I am a very meticulous unpack-er when it comes to gifts, things I've ordered, and mail. It's a little compulsive. Seriously.

I unwrapped everything, growing giddy, and pulled it out. It isn't my dream mixer, but it will suffice for now. I put it on the counter, frowning at my smidgen-to-zero counter space, but was content in knowing that it finally arrived.

Yesterday, I wanted to come home and make rose petal French macarons. First thing. Why? See this blog: Rose Petal Macarons Equal Life
Problem? Husband calls me, explaining that he is at our neighbors' house and we are going out to eat with them, and a high school friend of ours, as he just moved to the area, is coming along also. Sad day, but nice to visit with them.

After returning from dinner, I was utterly wiped out. Needless to say, Husband and I crashed shortly after returning and I was back at work early this morning. I was considerably less lost, but let me just say that it is stressful, regardless, because of the value of the merchandise I handle.

While I was waiting for the mixer to arrive, I waded through much of the useless information and utter nonsense on the internet and have found some interesting details. It began when I stumbled upon True Blood's Kristin Bauer Van Straten's website. Side note: True Blood is my favorite show. It gives a modern look at political and social perspectives in a cynically, satirical way, with eye-candy, amazing actors, AND it's disguised as dirty, dirty, Southern smut. Seriously. Guilty pleasure. End side note.Kristin's character is probably my favorite, if I had to choose, which brings me to my point. I saw her in an interview once, and she's so sweet and grounded, I couldn't believe that her personality was so different from her character's.

After reading some of her stuff, I noticed that she is a major activist for animals and natural products. I followed her sagely advice to be a responsible consumer and research how my everyday products get to the stores I frequent. Don't worry, this won't become a diatribe, but the enlightenment was terrifying.

I immediately began researching locally grown food stores and farmer's markets. I've always been health conscious, on account of having extreme hypoglycemia, as a child, and moderate hypoglycemia as an adult, but environmentally conscious? Not so much. My dad works in an oil refinery on the coast and my mom was a domestic goddess for many years, until finding a position in a company that is a client for many oil companies, therefore, I didn't have much exposure to "hippie talk" that my dad once termed it.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't completely bought into global warming. I encourage anyone to take geology classes before doing so, but I do know that landfills are disgusting, I hate wasting things, I can't run on a city street, because of all of the vehicle exhaust, and I can taste pesticides. Seriously, super taster over here.

While scouring the internet for more information and reading the labels of things that I eat everyday and put on my face and body everday, the cringing feeling never ceased. My mom, then sent me a website, on a whim, called MaryJanesFarm. It's wonderful. I am such a country girl. I hunt, grow, feel the freest and happiest in the great outdoors, without cell service or highway noise.

They have a forum with so many tips and recipes, I mean, the owner is an organic farmer herself. I just started laughing and was like, "Okay God. I got it. Thanks." In whichever deity you believe, I'm sure all of you have had these moments like, push-nudge-wink-cough-cough hints all in a row. That happened.

I then began thinking about my time in France. They are EVER so green over there. I loved it. I got used to it. It is a natural, normal part of life. I got used to soap berries washing my clothes, essential oils for deodorant, and fresh food markets ever few days. It is a given there. Fast food places and people who eat at them are severely scrutinized. Customers don't get plastic bags at the grocery store unless they buy them, hence reusable bags. People who can, take the tram and bus to work and school. It is just EASY.

Thinking about it more and more, I realized, I have changed habits. France's influence rubbed off on me. I take reusable sacks to the store, I convinced my husband that it would be cheaper and better to buy a drying rack and soap berries for our laundry, I've begun to phase out my 'traditional' soaps and cleaners to bleach/ammonia free, Seventh Generation cleaning products, and I've been shopping more and more at the organic health food store close to the university.

Wow. That's different. I'm different. I guess this post is more about reflection than baking or creating something pretty to display to the world. I didn't mean for that to happen, but I guess these new habits are a part of my French religion. The food isn't the only thing that pulls at my heartstrings when I think about the hexagonal country.

On that note, I found rosewater at the health food store, so hopefully, the next post will feature something I create with that. Sorry for this rant, it wasn't meant to be one.

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