The Mystery of Red Berries

Every time I reach for a box of Special K with Red Berries or any of its knockoffs, I find myself wondering, Why “red berries”? The only berries I’ve seen are strawberries. Today I was even curious enough to do a little bit of research.

As it turns out, my box of Special K with Red Berries, like anyone else’s in the United States, does contain only strawberries. In Canada and possibly the UK (my sources were confusing and some of them undated), the cereal also contains raspberries and cherries. Hence, red berries rather than strawberries.

I still can’t fathom why the US’s cereal is still called “red berries” if it only has strawberries and also why we don’t get the other red berries that Canada gets.

I guess it will remain a perpetual mystery, similar to:

Why does our jar of minced garlic at work delight in advertising itself as “Fat Free”? It’s garlic. It comes that way. And McCormick’s “Perfect Pinch” Italian seasoning proudly declares itself to be “MSG free” and to contain “No sodium.” It’s a bunch of dried leaves. Nobody’s Italian seasoning has either sodium or MSG.

And yet, the conundrum of the red berries continues to confuse me most of all.

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What I’ve Been Thinking

For a kind of pleasant change, I’ve been rather busy this month. I used to try to remember specific events to blog about, but all I have is a compendium of disjointed thoughts I can’t get out of my head.

  • Anyone who uses Wikipedia as a primary source on a scholarly paper should fail. Period.
  • Crocheting remains one of the most awesome things in the world. Seriously. Taking one long string and turning it into fabric for whatever you want to make next? Awesome.
  • Naked ferrets should not be forced to play in the snow.
  • Naked ferrets should realize they’re naked and accept crocheted sweaters with good grace rather than utter hatred.
  • Can the Winter Olympics really be that exciting? My doubts are high.

To Write Love on Her Arms

I know it’s a few days past the national To Write Love on Her Arms day, but no one’s ever claimed I’m anything but a procrastinator. It is important that there is a day in recognition of such a widespread problem, but one day is hardly enough. One day won’t help the people going through the pain of depression–it’s a lifelong, ongoing process.

For those of you who are new to the To Write Love on Her Arms movement, it’s a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those with untreated depression. People who feel there is no hope–or, if there is, not enough hope for them. Desperate people in desperate need of love and community.

One of the most heartbreaking conditions is self-mutilation, which is often not a suicide attempt but a desperate attempt to find release. While not everyone carves words into her flesh to describe her failures (“fuck-up,” “loser,” “ugly,” etc.), every slice of the razor is a testament to her deep-seated belief that she is, in fact, a failure.

The name of the organization spells out its attempt to replace those scars of self-loathing with love. To let the suffering know that there is hope and redemption. If you are one of those suffering in silence, there is hope. Many of you are in situations that seem beyond human capability to handle, but you don’t have to deal with it alone. For those helplessly watching others in pain, reach out. Offer love, companionship, and community. Write love on their arms and hearts and lives.

God be with you.

Isn’t It Luverly?

I consider myself a creature of pretty simple comforts. My idea of luxury is being able to go to the grocery store and buy whatever I want–this is something I’ve yet to experience in my adult life. Buying ground beef instead of ground turkey is a huge splurge. Yet I still love cooking with what I’ve got. And my favorite pastime? No expensive movie tickets or mall splurges needed–give me a hot bubble bath and a book, and I’m good to go.

Yet even I felt downright opulent the other day when I watched My Fair Lady. My luxury is a hot bubble bath, which is perfectly attainable. Eliza Dolittle wished for nothing more than “lots of coal making lots of heat… Warm face, warm hands, warm feet–oh, wouldn’t it be luverly?”

I’m a downright noblewoman! A princess! A toast to warm living in January and February!

Ok, so I’m toasting with water. But it’s clean and drinkable, so I still feel like royalty. Cheers!

Lucky Me

I was reading the blog Waiter Rants and sympathizing with many of the posts. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. No, really. I still have t-shirts from a couple of the jobs I worked at. Oh, the frustrations of working for tips! Management that treats you as subhuman, customers that treat you as subliving or, at best, quite mentally handicapped. People who think them not tipping will somehow fix the rather retarded tipping system we have in the US. Not that I carry grudges. It’s not like every time I drive by the scheming, conniving, immoral, thieving Huddle House, I really hope to see a “Store Closing” sign. Not at all.

And here I am, a B.A. degree later, celebrating almost 9 years of working in food service. But you know what? This job is so much better! It really is a blessing to work here. Our repeat customers are kind and chatty rather than obnoxious and demanding. We do, in fact, make minimum wage or better here rather than the waitress $2.15, so tips here are a favor–we don’t have to depend on them. (But they are such a favor! Especially when our hours are getting cut, those tips can make all the difference.) Our managers are the best kind of Christians, who take care of the needy and underprivileged, especially their employees. And great people, with whom you can actually discuss your problems and frustrations.

So here’s to having a wonderful job in the food industry, this rare and sparkling jewel I have found.