Evolution Failure

I am not Nature Girl. I tend to avoid sun exposure because of my red hair and fair skin, and then avoid anything that makes me sweat because I’m ultimately lazy. But recently I have gotten a little lesson on birds.

A pair of killdeer have made a nest in the driveway at the Handsome Hermit’s compound. Four speckled eggs are sitting in a small depression, surrounded by rocks and about 6 blades of grass. Have you heard about these idiotic birds? Not only do they make their nest on the ground, among rocks, but their idea of protecting their unborn is to run away from the nest and act like it has a broken wing. Has evolution completely overlooked this bird? How do they manage continue their existence on this earth?

Always one to cheer for the underdog, I’ve become fascinated by these dumb birds. I’ve named them Shirley and Vern and go out to check on them at least once a day. Vern is very vocal and likes to yell at me when I come within his range of vision. Shirley is the drama queen that does the broken wing act and it never fails to make me laugh. I have no idea how long it takes for those eggs to hatch, but I have a hobby until that happens. I’ve already picked out their baby names: Eenie, Meenie, Minee and Moe.

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Book Review: Anna Karenina

Nothing makes me feel more at peace than having a book in my hand. I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read and there aren’t a whole lot of things that I would rather be doing. But, having said that, I promise not to turn this blog into a list of books and reviews. I can only push my nerdiness onto other people so much before they start to think that they should tell me about their inane hobbies. Trust me, I probably don’t care.

I was an English major in college. I especially loved 19th Century British Literature. Give me a Bronte sister or some Wilkie Collins and I’m a happy camper. However, I’ve decided I should become more well rounded and branch out to other countries. My class in World Literature showed me that every other country tends to have books where everyone ends up dead. African literature: they starve to death. Asian literature: they commit ritual suicide. I can only take so much. So I thought I’d check out some Russian literature and hope that they weren’t filled with bread lines and terminal hypothermia.

Leo Tolstoy is wordy and I admittedly had a hard time keeping my mind focused. That’s where library audio books come in handy. Other people sit at their desks and listen to music, I have an audio book playing at any given time while at work. If I can’t actually read, let’s at least trick my brain into thinking that it is. This particular tome was 32 hours long.

OK, on to the actual review. I promise to keep it short.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This weighty novel is nearly 1,000 pages and it boils down to this: No matter what country, no matter what century, bitches always be crazy.

 

No, I am not a cannibal

I work for a company owned by Russians.

No, wait. That’s not entirely correct. I work FOR a company owned by Americans, but I work AT a company owned by Russians. I am on site with a customer and therefore sometimes feel like a governess in 19th century England — not quite family, not quite the help. By the way, if you got that reference: you are my new best friend. Take a bow.

Since I work on site, my boss likes to call me from time to time to check in. I like these conversations because he already knows I can do my job well, he just wants to touch base and inevitably catch me up on office gossip and goings on. Today he mentioned that the Russians were coming to visit the office, so if I see any strangers wandering around that’s probably who they are. My response? “Yum.”

Now, you are probably thinking the same thing as my boss was, “When did she become a cannibal?” and “What makes Russians so delicious?” But, because he’s classy, he didn’t say either of those things out loud. He ignored my statement and continued talking about business related topics, although with a slight hesitation in his speech. Who can blame him?

But here’s the deal: when the Russians are in town, they sometimes order in lunch. The person that does said ordering sits on my floor in the office building, so if there are any leftovers they get brought to our common area. Therefore, when the Russians visit we sometimes get to stuff ourselves with their leftovers. Nothing breaks the monotony of a Wednesday like choosing what you are going to eat among things other people didn’t want.

My poor boss. I’m probably just going to leave that comment hanging out there, even though it may have emotionally scarred him, because it may be more complicated to explain it. No need to dig the hole any deeper…he may think I am making a human BBQ pit.

 

 

Shopping for Relatives

Around 11 years ago, I was visiting a friend in The Middle of Nowhere from my home in a capital city. While hanging out and eating junk food, my friend said she thought we should introduce her aunt to my father, hoping for a love match. I scoffed — admittedly, that is my first reaction to most things — but then thought about it. My parents had been divorced for almost 2 years, and while I wasn’t against the Grumpy Irishman dating, I didn’t think he was ready. However, he could always use a new friend and some socializing. Besides, who was I to decide these things? So, I agreed.

We arranged for an odd double date at an Applebee’s (slim pickings in the Middle of Nowhere), my father and I and then my friend and her aunt. We were sitting in a booth, eating and making awkward conversation, but my father’s attention is fully focused on the TVs at the bar. Was it a sporting event? A national disaster? No, it was the never-ending coverage of the Pope’s funeral. Yup, my father was distracted by a film loop of a dead guy. OK, I admit, I was watching, too.

We are not Catholic, I should state that here. We are not experts in any religion, including the one in which we were raised. However, my father and I are interested in a plethora of topics and religion is one of them. We like to discuss and dissect human nature and beliefs, naturally religion falls into this category. However, we have no idea if my friend’s aunt is Catholic…or Baptist…or a Satanist. I’m relatively sure she isn’t Amish since she was wearing pants with a zipper and arrived in a car, so there’s that.

Nearing the end of the meal, the aunt said she needed to use the restroom and started to scoot to the end of the booth’s bench, but then over-scooted and wound up falling directly onto the floor. This poor woman has just suffered through a painful food-related encounter with the Grumpy Irishman and has accidentally ended up on the floor, rolling around and trying to get up. My friend jumped up to help her, I was unable because I was closest to the wall and blocked by my father. And that man, watching the TV while the scoot-and-fall actually occurred, looks over and sees this woman floundering and MAKES NO COMMENT. He just turned back to the TV!

As his daughter, I try to justify his actions. Maybe he was trying to act like he didn’t notice in order to save her from embarrassment. Maybe he couldn’t believe what he was seeing, so he chose to be in denial. Who knows what the reasoning was, but this infuriating man did not move to help her at all. Such a gentleman.

Eventually, she managed to get up and walk to the restroom. It felt like that process took 3 hours, but it was probably under a minute. Embarrassment has a way of suspending time. When she returned, not a word was spoken about The Fall, we finished eating and said our goodbyes. I remember saying to my friend “Well, that didn’t go well.”

They actually met one another again, went to lunch and my father forgot his wallet, so his date had to pay. Such a great second act, don’t you think?

Now, fast forward 6 months. I am sitting at my job in Capital City, fielding phone calls and dealing with crises, when my father calls me. This wasn’t too unusual, he liked to check in and knew where I would be between 7 and 5. After saying hello, he said “Guess what I did today.” This was also not unusual, and the correct answer was usually “bought some new shoes” or “saw a potato that looks like Robert DeNiro.” Not this time. I gave a few guesses, but then my father says, “No, I got married.”

I was utterly speechless. They had TERRIBLE dates. I was personally a witness to one them, yet they decided to make this work. I’m ashamed to say that my first reaction was to be pissed. I wasn’t consulted. I wasn’t informed. More importantly, I wasn’t invited. I helped bring this unlikely couple together, shouldn’t I have been there to witness it? I incorrectly assumed that her daughters had been there, since they lived in the area while I was 3 hours away.  But once I found out that it was surprise to both sides of the family, I felt better (although still a little mad since I am a red head and I can’t let go of things quickly).

It is nearly 11 years later and I have a wonderful Step Mother. I also gained two step sisters that have broadened my horizons. This woman came into my life when I was nearly 30 and showed me what a mother’s love is supposed to be. She never batted an eye in accepting my father’s children as her own, including grandchildren. She has actually teared up thinking about the fact that she didn’t get to hold us as babies. How adorable is that?

I could go on and on about her, but I won’t. Instead I will leave you with this: I inadvertently picked my own stepmother and in doing so I traded up in the parental universe!