Saturday, March 29, 2008


This book was written around 1900. I hated the book. Hate is a strong word...I think I mostly hated wasting my time reading it when I could have read something better. Why did I read it? BECAUSE it was selected for a book group by a new member. The new member happens to be about 16 yrs. old and this book was assigned to be read in her English class in High School. I was curious to see what kind of books were required in HS for this age. I WAS SHOCKED as I read this book that 16 yr. old girls were reading this type of book. What type...the smutty type. Yep, it is a broken book. It is seems innocent enough because the time it was written they didn't write about infidelity and get into the hot and steamy details of sex BUT despite NOT having it spelled out for us it is there. Of course I had to finish the book to find out what became of all the drama and to find out what the big deal was about the book in the first place.

The girl the story is based around comes to Chicago to find work. Doesn't and then ends up shacking up with a guy for a while then leaving him and shacking up with another guy. She goes from a poor girl with no future to getting a job in a theater, becoming a star and having plenty of money to live an easy life. One of the guys in the story end up opposite from where he started, poor and homeless and one ends up just doing the same old same old. It is kind of a rags to riches story and a riches to rags story all in one ONLY there was a lot of just plain luck involved and of course some unlucky moments too. The girl is so shallow and we never get to really see what she is feeling or thinking other then she wishes she could wear expensive cloth and shoes.

The one good part about the book is the fact that Dreiser reports the reality of living in a big city at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was hard work to earn just a little. People worked in factories. The rich were bored and had nothing else to do but sit around and spend more money. AND as sister Carrie finds out, money doesn't make you happy. She was sad most of her life, rich or poor. She was also very lonely despite fame and fortune in the end.

Interesting yet disturbing because of the common place manner the author portrays a young girl seduced and living a lifestyle with what seems to be no way out without ending up on the street starving to death or working in a horrible factory for barely nothing to maybe survive on. So she just pretends to be the "wife" of the guy she lives with and he gets a free bed warmer and someone to fix his food and clean his house. She gets a place to live without working out of the home and she has no ambitions or goals or even any friends. I feel so sorry for her state of being and her empty head. It was such a fluke accident that she went into acting because she hardly ever even left her flat! There was no color to the whole book it was just blah. I don't recommend it unless you have to read it for a stupid High School class and need an A by completing the book assigned.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Diaper service vs. investing in your own diapers

My diaper service for the last 10 years is Tiny Tots. I was going to quote a lot of studies and facts but if people really care they can do the research themselves and decide what is best for their family. Cloth diapers work for us and help the environment. AND please don't get me started on Proctor and Gambles Pampers! YIKES, very bad stuff!

There are lots of different types of cloth diapers. Some are better then others. As for me, I wish I had invested in the beginning in the cloth diaper wraps but who knew I would have 4 kids? !! I never had my own washer and dryer so it made sense to always do the diaper service instead of invest in my own cloth diapers. I just couldn't see washing them at the Laundromat every week. Living in the Bay Area I would say quite a few of my friends use cloth diapers. But more of them use single use diapers and are perfectly okay with that. Our kids turn about almost the same and if they are a little different it comes down to other parenting choices not the cloth vs. cloth vs. single use. If I had my own laundry facilities I think I would have invested. It would have saved in the long run. Instead I come out even financially...the diaper service is about how much I would have spent on the single use diapers.

I hope that Those that are thinking about the choices out there really take the time to do the research. Okay I can't help it here are just a few facts....I got most of them from and and check out for great prices and accessories for diapering.

"Less Water and Energy are Used to Launder Cotton Diapers than to Manufacture Paper Ones. Two days’ worth of diapers for one baby can be laundered in water equivalent to one flush of the toilet.

Don't get me started on the how Raw Sewage is a Public Health Hazard! If it goes in a landfill you are going to have problems! Raw sewage is dumped in landfill sites, breeding viruses and bacteria. As many as 100 viruses can survive in soiled diapers for up to two weeks."

"It Takes 20 Trees to Diaper One Baby in Disposables for 2 Years"

"99% Less Garbage is Generated When Cotton is Used
Single-use diapers will require over 500 years to decompose. Cloth diapers normally don’t enter our landfills since, after they are retired from the diaper service, they are used as rags until they disintegrate."

Diaper Service: Health Benefits
"You Will Know When Your Baby Needs a Diaper Change
Cloth diapers contain no chemicals and so it is easy to tell when a diaper needs to be changed. Super absorbent disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, which absorbs up to 100 times its weight in water, the same substance removed from tampons in 1985 because of the link to toxic shock syndrome. Chemical induced dryness does not make germs, bacteria and heat go away."

"Baby Boys Benefit From Wearing Cotton
Scrotal temperature is increased in disposable plastic lined nappies. Excess heat in the groin area of boy babies wearing disposable diapers may be a cause of the reduced sperm count among males in recent years... at least a 25% reduction worldwide... and could also affect the future testicular health of males in years to come. It is thought that disposable diapers heat up baby boys' testicles to such a degree that it stops them from developing normally. Diapers lined with plastic raise the temperature of the scrotum far above body temperature and can lead to a total breakdown of normal cooling mechanisms, according to a study from Kiel, Germany published in the Archives of Disease of Childhood.
The complete Kiel study can be found at"

"Less Rash When Cotton Is Used
In 1955, 100% of babies born in America wore cotton diapers and only 7% of them experienced diaper rash. However, in 1998, with 90% of American babies in disposable diapers, the occurrence of diaper rash increased to 78%.
Hour after hour and day after day for two years or more, your baby will be wearing a diaper. It's the most intimate and important clothing in a baby's life -- in constant contact with the baby's vulnerable skin over a super sensitive area of the body. "

-------------------This next part is from the Joy of Cloth Diapers article by Jane McConnel 1998 Mothering Magazine.
"Some will argue that in areas where water is scarce, disposables are the better environmental choice. However, carrying this argument to the extreme, we should be wearing disposable clothes, and using paper plates and plastic utensils. Washing cloth diapers at home uses 50 to 70 gallons of water every three days--about the same as a toilet-trained child or adult flushing the toilet five to six times a day. A diaper service puts its diapers through an average of 13 water changes, but because of the economies of scale, uses less water and energy per diaper than one laundry load at home.

Today, as a rule diaper services use biodegradable detergents not harmful phosphates. The waste water produced from washing diapers is benign, while the waste water from the manufacture of the pulp, paper, and plastics used in disposable diapers contains dioxins, solvents, sludge, and heavy metals.3 Chlorine bleach, whose manufacture is harmful to the atmosphere, is used in whitening diaper service diapers, but the environmental impact is far greater in the paper-bleaching process used in making disposable diapers.

Cotton, of course, is not without its evils. Conventionally grown, it is a major user of harmful pesticides. There are, however, several companies offering organically grown, unbleached cotton diapers as an alternative.

Ultimately, instead of getting bogged down in each side's scientific data, the most commonsense approach is to use commonsense. Weigh the impact of manufacturing and disposing of 8,000 paper-and-plastic diapers over the average diapering period of a child versus that of a few dozen cotton diapers, and decide for yourself which is better for the environment. "


I personally have been perfectly happy with the last 10 years of cloth diapering. Our diaper service was really the best choice for our family here in the Bay Area. I hope if you read this blog you will take a look at what you can do for the environment before your children are out of diapers. I think everyone can make a difference. IT really makes a difference in our garbage can overflowing or not each week! It makes a difference in to the Earth and it makes a difference to my family. Have fun researching more of the pros and cons of diapers!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Golden Compass Series (His Dark Materials Trilogy) by Philip Pullman

Okay, I read them, all three in the series (found out later there is a 4th and some extra books too, probably won't read those,)...AND I thought they were very good. I couldn't put them down. They were very imaginative and deep. I can see how the religious communities around the world would not like them because they really slam the whole God verses Satan theory in the Catholic church. BUT but the books are FICTION and take you to many different worlds. The other places aren't like the world we know and love. The book points out these kinds of complexities because we aren't all the authors made up fiction books. JUST like any other fiction book I have read. Fiction=not real life, an invented story. It isn't true, it is just a creative idea in someones head written down to share with others.

I do not recommend them for children even though they are about children or to catholics because he writes in an offensive way but I do recommend them to Fantasy/Fiction book lovers. They are a bit BROKEN. Especially since the whole good and bad is turned to a new definition in a new dimension of course. That is what is so appealing to me in a Fantasy/science fiction book, places and ideas you would never connect without someone else sharing them in a story type of way.

I do want to see the movie but I won't have the kids watch it. I'm glad I read them despite the whole controversy, bans and boycotts, which I mostly support because this adult book was being pushed on small kids. BAD. Plus the author is a nut and evil.(He didn't say very nice things about this intent in writing this book the way he did, directed at getting people to leave the church.) Too bad, he could have been more enlightening if he wasn't so full of hatred toward the Catholic church and closed to the truth of God's love. It still isn't a bad thing to write about Gods. All through history people have asked questions and speculated about what their parents and teachers have taught them. This isn't any different only more in your face.

Thanks for letting me borrow them Kim!
- His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman -- BROKEN