(Part 3 of International Relations and Relationships)

We invited Mary to visit Mommy and Mama at their house. We talked about how complicated family visits are. In RG’s case she has to fly to Virginia to see Grandma and Step-Grandfather and Grandpa and Step-Grandma. Let’s not even get into Dad’s Mom in Oregon, or co-Dad’s Mom and Step-Dad in Colorado.

Mary’s family is even more complicated. She flies to England to visit one sister, who is working on a doctorate (in statistics!) at the University of Salamanca, in Spain. (It’s a small world; my cousin Valerie also lives in Salamanca, Spain, where she is a chiropractor, when not taking care of her chiropractor dad in Australia.)

Mary is the youngest girl in her family, though she and her four sisters have a little brother, who works in Brazil. As he was growing up, their Mom said, “All your sisters have advanced degrees, so you have to at least get a Master’s Degree.”[ Brother is doing some kind of research in Brazil having to do with automobiles.]

“Do you speak Portuguese?” I asked Mary?

“No, I don’t, and now my brother speaks Spanish with such a Portuguese accent I can hardly understand him.”

Her sister, the child psychiatrist, is back in Peru (after working for a while in Mexico), where she is now studying Alzheiner’s Disease. “My sister watches everybody so carefully, everyone is afraid she is analyzing us all the time,” said Mary.

Her other sister is a nurse. “She has to work awful hours. She is often at the hospital all night.”

Mary has become an American citizen. She probably qualified because her heritage is all mixed up like Americans’ heritage. Her grandparents on one side were Italian, so she grew up eating spaghetti all the time and hearing her grandma babble in Italian. (Her grandfather came to Peru as an engineer to help build railroads and then stayed.)

“Were some of your ancestors Indian?” I asked her. Mary looks like what I think an Inca woman would look like to me. “No, I don’t think so,” she replied.

Later, my wife said to me, “People in different countries have different terms for native peoples, so she probably thought you were asking if her ancestors were from (East) India.


I wrote a comment to a earlier post in reply to Kim that covers the some of the following. My wife and I are “cat” people as opposed to “dog” people. When I was young, I was allergic to cats, though I am less allergic to them now than I was. As my wife grew older, she became more allergic to cats.

As my wife and I both came from unhappy families, we did not intend to have children when we got married. Despite our taking precautions, my wife became pregnant on our honeymoon. How quaint that sounds today! Anyway, it is possible having a baby saved our young and shaky marriage. (Do not try this at home!)

Besides our allergies, we decided that we were selfish, self-centered people not well-suited to being parents. We decided we did not have enough generosity, kindness, and patience for two little creatures. “Pet or child, choose one,” we told ourselves. Our daughter turned out to be an excellent child, so we decided to keep her. We also realized that it is quite frequent to only get one or two good ones in a human litter; so we decided to quite while we were ahead. We only one had one child. Eventually I had a vasectomy. We never had a pet in 44 years of married life.

Finally, following the example of our fine and Friendly Neighbors, we decided to get chickens. We brought four baby chicks home. One was not thriving. Chickens are cute (especially Dominiques, the breed we chose, a breed that likes to be picked up and petted). They are useful, delivering a nutritious and tasty food, the egg. However, they do not have especially good family values, and sibling rivalry can get ugly indeed.

Whiny was not thriving. Her name became “Poopy Butt.” Her three sisters were pecking her. My wife said, “She is not going to make it. I do not want Eenie, and Minie, and Moe to get in the habit of pecking each other.”

My wife caught Poopy Butt. She put her in an paper cone. She handed me a knife, turned her head, and wept, while I did the deed. Speaking of cannibals. I hope David is not reading this post; he is kind of a softie.

(Part 2 of the visit to Mary from Peru.)

Random Granddaughter is beginning to integrate with adult society. Although RG was appalled and horrified by the delicious Peruvian food Mary prepared for us, she politely took a bite of the vegetables and rice Mary served in her lovely apartment and ate some of the cilantro’d chicken Mary served.

Although she was bored by the adult conversation, she sat politely, merely helping herself to use one of Mary’s combs to use to comb her doll’s hair as she ignored the adult conversation. As the doll is based on a Williamsburg little girl, RG’s distraction was a deft way to bring the conversation around to her recent trip to colonial Williamsburg (while visiting her “East Coast” grandparents). As a budding artist, our granddaughter was most interested in watching how they made red paint. RG found it charmingly gross that they crush 70,000 cochineal beetles (from South America!) to generate a useful quantity of red dye.


May 4, 2010

For several years, apparently because I am a nut, I have participated on a web site of evangelical Christians, hosted by World Magazine, and including bloggers and comment posters called worldmagblog.com

I describe myself as a radical “high” agnostic ethical nihilist. I regard myself as a mild, reasonable easy-going person, but I am always getting myself into trouble and conflict.

Anyway, I just received an email telling me to stop participating. I don’t know if people bearing flaming torches or telling me they “love” me will come here to visit me. A few nice people such as Karen, Mommy, Cameron (though busy with her fragile new baby at the moment) and Kyle do visit from time to time. WMB is where I met Pete, one of my faithful and valued constant readers. He gave up the wmb habit and probably is happy to see me going “cold turkey” as well.

Saturday, Mommy (Random Granddaughter’s birth mother), RG and I went to visit my Peruvian friend, Mary, so named (instead of Maria) because Mary’s father liked American movies, naming Mary’s sister, “Vivian,” after Vivian Leigh, and naming Mary after American movie stars in general.

Mrs. Random did not come because she was helping open the organic farmer’s market, for the season where she barristas and serves her own splendid organic whole grain baked goods that are not as heavy as bricks. They are not only wholesome; they taste good. Is that not indeed magic worthy of Harry Potter?

Our daughter, Mama, did not come because she had a graduate school midterm Monday. My daughter has a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s degree in horticulture but she is now pursuing a Master’s degree in medical statistics. My daughter has not attended any of her graduations. However, as she has been studying calculus and statistics with such incredible discipline and concentration, I regard my daughter as being under the spell of an evil sorcerer. I told her that when she graduates from her current program, I will attend the graduation, and as they hand her her diploma, I will stop the ceremony and perform a ceremony to free my daughter from her enchantment. “You are now free to stop studying incessantly and function like a normal human being,” I will gravely intone in front of the other enchanted students, just as the campus police arrive to drag me away.

To be continued with disturbing evidence that RG is growing up and merging with society.

Baby Chicks

April 30, 2010

Eeny, Meeny, Whiny, and Mo the Punkette

We were told that the first thing the chicks would want was water. However, they immediately headed for the chickee baby food and started pecking. One seemed to have been hatched prematurely, and mostly peeped loudly and hideously, so Mrs. Random changed  its name from Miny to Whiny. After stuffing their beaks, three of them began drinking. Whiny did not seem to know how to drink, so Mrs. Random pushed it’s head into the water and it finally got the concept. Mo, seems to be the “punkette” of the group and began pecking the cardboard around the cage,  trying to lead a “breakout” to freedom.

Why also seemed to have a problem with pooping, so Mrs. Random had to wipe its bottom for it. We don’t know if Whiny is just a retarded hatchling or will catch up with her sisters.

When I got home from a class, this afternoon, Mrs. Random said they seemed bored and aimless and acted as if they needed to be entertained. Perhaps they will go for some television?

Late night bulletin, at last look this evening,  Mrs. Randon expressed doubt that Whiny would make it to morning.

Roof! Roof!

April 11, 2010

I hope to have pictures up by tomorrow or Monday.

Not a Second Career

April 10, 2010

We roofed the chicken house. Mostly. We didn’t kill ourselves, or each other. I am not embarking on a second career as a roofer.

April 4, 2010

The phone rang this Easter morning. A little voice wished her grandma and grandpa “Happy Easter.” As she is a child genius, not to mention a science fiction child, Random Granddaughter can keep all her grandmas (5) and grandpas (4) straight. Her mommies will take her to see two grandmas and two grandpas in Virginia soon.

The last time I took her to the library, she selected a book about a little girl growing up in colonial Williamsburg, which she found very interesting when I read it to her. Mommy (my daughter’s partner and birth mother of RG) said that when they go to Virginia to visit grandparents, they will take her to visit colonial Williamsburg as well. So far in her six years, RG has chosen careers as a train engineeress, ferry captainess, firechieftess, painteress, and teacheress (influenced a bit by Mommy) who teaches at the private school for Very Bright Children where RG attends kindergarten. I suspect that RG may now embark on a career as a historianess, though as a science fiction child, she may decide to invent time travel.

As a child, I read a lot of science fiction. I never liked “time travel” stories very much, in part because most of them involved paradoxes, such as suppose someone goes back in time and kills her own grandfather. In RG’s case, with two daddies and two mommies, and nine grandparents, this could get very complicated.

I have three final thoughts.

1. I am glad I am not the biological grandparent.

2. However, just to be the safe side, I will be very nice to her, anyway. For example, when the baby chicks arrive, we will let her pet and feed them.

3. I think she should wait until she grows up before tries to be a mad scientist who invents time travel. I will so advise the mommies.

After church today, the friendly neighbor came over and saved the fascia on our rafters. The save was simple. The problem was that the 2×4 making up the fascia was bowed, often the case with wood. Turning the board over so the bow put it closer to the rafters made it possible to attach the screws.

Mrs. Random and I gratefully said, “Duh.”

I am at the library at the moment, working on materials for my next Driver Safety Program classes next week. An intense young lady sat at the compute next to me. She looked 18, but  after conversation, I suspect she is older in chronological years.

She began to tell me that her partner is being held captive by a cult and has been a captive for four years.

Carefully, I asked, “Can law enforcement do anything about this?”

She indicated they are working on it, but very slowly. Local law enforcement is not able to handle this; it has to go the the “highest” levels.

The cult members follow each of them around town and keep them separated from each other. “This drives us crazy, do you understand?” she told me earnestly. In the meantime, the “highest level” law enforcement people are tracking everybody involved all around town.

I suspect (but don’t know), that the other person and this young lady are being kept separated from each other, perhaps by parents. I am hoping never to know any more about this than I learned today.

Carefully, I expressed understanding. I did not offer to help with the rescue.

She told me that I am a very understanding person.

I fairly often met people such as this when in libraries and riding public transport. Is there an invisible sign over my head that displays: THIS PERSON  SEEKS THE COMPANY OF CRAZY PEOPLE?