Chapter 13: Mail-order brides
I just finished reading a book by
a guy who was on an expedition to sea kayak around Australia. It was
utterly exhausting reading, and quite daunting to realize that, while I've been
in very good shape at different points of my life and hope to be so again
someday, I have NEVER been doing the kind of work that requires me to eat 12,000
calories a day just to keep from losing weight. And there is no way I ever
will, either. Oh, well. I think kayaking is boring, anyway.
Was that Paul Theroux? He did something like that, "The
happy isles of Oceania" or something. I read it once.
No. It was Eric Stiller, I think.
The book was called "Keep Australia on your Left." He sold Paul Theroux
his sea kayak. I used to do some kayaking, before the bad arm, so I
was keenly interested in it. Paul Theroux came out to Midway before I left
it, so I know him pretty well. That's a
pretty damned good put-down. He and I still e-mail
occasionally. I actually kind of knew him before he came to Midway, as he
moved to Hawaii and married a woman I know through the friend of a friend, so,
etc. I've had words with him about his theory that the reason Spam is so
popular throughout the Pacific is that it tastes like human meat, and all us
former man-eaters have genetic tastes for it.
I trust you took a
bite out of his anatomy (with raincoat) for comparison.
No. When I saw his
name on the passenger manifest, I showed up at the airport with my mascara on
and boobs (I still had them) jacked up under my chin, but a) he had his (new)
wife with him, and I don't believe in messing with married men and b) I found
out that while I liked his books, I didn't like him all that much.
very disappointing, as I had a foul crush on him from his writing.
Since marriage Catherine had been signing as Catharine H Kramer,
now reverted to Catharine Honeyman.
Oh, you've changed your name
I've changed my name back because
I like it better. So there. (dainty, ladylike
I am disappointed, and maybe you can help me. I love that I'm
swimming again, and I love actually swimming. But it plays hob with my bad
hip. My muscles aren't sore the next day, just this damn hip. To me,
the benefits to the whole body outweigh the ouch in the hip, but my oncologist
is making disapproving noises and trying to load me up with more pain pills,
which I don't want to take because then I can't drive.
Any words of
Well, NSAIDS I suppose for a start.
I'm on one already for the
arthritis in my ankle. Which, by the way, hurts far more than any bone
metastasis I have had so far.
Maybe you have to restrict the sort of strokes you do, I
daresay a backstroke would be fairly kindly on the hip but still keep much of
your body busy. Or just keep to crawl-style leg kick whatever arm style
you use - that doesn't involve much hip movement. I suppose the
breaststroke froggy kick is too much work for it.
Yes. I actually do a
kind of Dorothy Lamour- don't get my head wet breast stroke thing, and then a
very leisurely backstroke for about a half hour. Then I do water
I don't subscribe to the zero-pain religion. If
you stop the pain then you just become more active and take more damage until it
hurts again. Trying to titrate a painkiller dose this way in an active
person is an escalator to infinity. It may be all very well in
wheelchair-bound over-80s but it didn't work for Lyudmila and it doesn't work
for Cindy. You can only titrate the dose if you keep the activity
constant, and you can only 'titrate' the activity level if you keep the dose
I think I got the same effect with this toothache. During the
antibiotics I tapered off the Ibuprofen I had been taking to control the
pain. When I finished the antibiotics the pain came back. Yeah, and the ibuprofen was probably also
helping you keep a potential fever down. I think I was putting too
much load on it when the Ibuprofen was working (I took it at night to sleep)
because it didn't hurt, and so I was aggrevating the inflammation, and
once the drug wore off it hurt again, so I favoured it, and the inflammation
went down again. I went through a few cycles like this, but it seems to be
getting slowly better and I've stopped the Ibuprofen again
Oh, I went to the
breast cancer support meeting in Seattle yesterday and met Carolyn! (newsgroup contributor) Quelle
Great. Glad you made it at last. How was
she? She sounded pretty rough last time she posted.
She's older, but has light
brown hair. She does the full make-up thing, with drawn-in eyebrows and
all that. She was very nicely dressed in a pants suit. Poor thing,
she was feeling rocky. She had the shaking chills and had an explosive
vomit & diarrhea moment about half way through the meeting. She may
not be able to come back again. Her daughter was with her -- a pleasant
woman named Julie who lives in Germany.
I think I will keep going. I
need to have human contact at SOME times.
There is a middle aged
lady called Joyce who walks a small Scots terrier past our house every day, and
has done for the sixteen years I have been here. She is a receptionist for
one of the doctors in the town. I used to chat to her now and again before
I was married, but haven't really talked to her for a long time. A few
weeks ago I hadn't seen her for a while, but then I hadn't been working at
home much, and I noticed that she no longer had her trademark long blonde
kink-curls. I saw her and stopped for a chat today, and of course you
guessed it, she had BC. N=4, + lymphedema, she has just done CMF.
She's been having terrible reactions to tamoxifen and no-one told her that there
were alternatives. So it was a long chat. God, it does seem to strike all over the place.
I told Artyom, he said "Ah, another recruit." Cheeky
sod! I feel like the Grim Reaper sometimes.
I know, I know... but it *was* pretty
David just got my computer
networked to his, so I have a cable connection, too. It's amazingly
fast! What a treat.
More bad news. Remember my
friend John of the bowel cancer and chronic asthma.
Well, he went back into
hospital last week to investigate a persistent problem with an abcess on his
leg. They cleaned that up, and he felt a lot better and was expecting to
be home again yesterday, but collapsed with a chest infection again. His
wife was called in in the afternoon and was told he has extensive mets, and is
on the way out. They were discussing whether it was worth attacking the
infection with antibiotics, or whether it was kinder to let it proceed and just
Oh, God, Tim, I'm so so sorry. How terrible and scary and
He actually died about three
hours after I wrote to you. They were still debating whether to go with
antibiotics when it was taken out of their hands. Funeral is next
Wednesday afternoon. While we all knew it was on the cards, that he
wouldn't last forever, and that he was running with very little 'headroom' in
his system, it was still surprisingly sudden. I guess that is the
downside of not going mets hunting, they can remain concealed under other
symptoms until all hell breaks loose.
Probably better for
him. I'm very sorry for your loss.
It was Johns funeral
yesterday. His wife's sister read a beautifully fitting piece from the
start of "Wind in the Willows" beginning "A little brown face with whiskers
and twinkly eyes" and ending "there is nothing so nice as messing about in
Oh, God, WITW always makes me cry. Even the part where
Rat is describing the picnic to Mole makes
It suited him so well, he spent
all his spare time on his canal boat, and like me he was bearded and had a
rather Jewish-looking complexion. It was all very sweet. A bit
more churchy religious than either he or I would like, but that is the way of
Yes. Remember that funerals are for the living, and John
probably couldn't care less.
Oh yes. I was discussing
this with my mother. They had just been on a tour of a "Green
Cemetary" whatever that is, which they rather liked as a final resting
place. Something to do with planting an oak tree in the deceased's
ashes. It sounded a bit less romantic when I asked about the spacing
between the trees, and she admitted that they -would- have to be
'thinned out' after a few years. Oooh. Eeek. I
wonder how they choose whose tree gets thinned.
that the choice of style of destruction, ie burial or cremation etc. was
largely 'for' the peace of mind of the to-be-deceased, but the style of
memorial was definitely 'for' the viewers. HBO, a cable network here, has had a wonderful show on this
past year called "Six Feet Under," about a (normally) dysfunctional family
of undertakers. John's request for Queen's "Another
one bites the dust" to be played at his funeral was gently declined by his
relatives. I worry about
that. I have burned a cathartic and (I think) tasteful CD to be played
in the event of my own funeral, and I have a feeling that I will be
overruled. Remind me to add "Another OneBites The Dust" to it -- what
an excellent idea.
They played "My best friend (you make me
live)" instead which I thought a very diplomatic solution.
There were about 50 people
there, and I only knew a handful. One man got up and made a speech about
how he had known John for 40 years. I felt kind of irrelevant and
insignificant, having only known him for 16. Somehow it
important to me to feel that I had been important to him. I don't know
why it should be, and anyway I probably was. I suppose everyone feels
I *know* you were,
Tim. You are hellaciously important to me, and I've never met you.
I can't imagine how important you are to your real friends.
You can't imagine how telling
me that makes me feel, either. All fluttery inside. I'm glad I was able to give you a
flutter. ;-) And you -are- a real friend. In the
last year I have spent more time in your company than anyone else's (except
Natasha), even if it has never been face-to-face. Life would be lonely
Well, then you will be delighted to know that I was just
called with my bloodwork. My CA-127 is perfectly normal, as is my
alkaline phosphatase. My doctor has told me I can take a two-to-four
month break from chemo and we'll see what shape I'm in after that.
Other than being perfectly miserable, of course, I feel very strong and
healthy, except for my plumbing. And that must just be borne.
I went to a local sandwich shop
for some lunch the other day, then remembered that it had been his habit to
buy lunch there whenever he was working in his factory (as opposed to
on-site). So I told the staff of his demise. No-one had told them,
and there had been no announcement in the local paper either. They said
that the last time they saw him he had been complaining how few of his friends
still wanted to know him now he was seriously ill. OK, a stoma bag
doesn't do much for your social life, but that is a shame. Of course it
may not be the same people, but there were plenty at the funeral, perhaps they
were business competitors wanting to make sure it wasn't just another sales
gimmick. I admit I didn't see him much either, but at least it was more often
than when he was healthy. Good
for you. That's when it counted.
Mostly I gave Cindy time
off so that she could help them, and kept informed through her. I gave
her a task to put a notice in the paper.
So I lose my child minder for a
little while, because his wife needs Cindy's support, e.g. to stay with him
while she goes home for change of clothes. She (the wife that is) is having
problems coping with this emotionally. They live on a farm in the hills, rather
isolated. It must be a very lonely place to be by yourself.
Sounds lovely, as long as one has cable and a cable Internet
It would need a long
cable. They did have a phone modem though, and had got interested in the
net, in fact I originally met Cindy because she was writing his website for
him. They liked the isolation, and a couple of Golden Retrievers for
Ah, yes, the Golden Retriever. Thick as a brick and just
as loyal, but a darling personality and a great
He had an old MG sports car in
pieces in a garage somewhere, I think a TC model. Apparently he recently
sold it to a mechanic who restored it, and a couple of weeks ago he saw the
finished result and promptly bought it back. I don't know if he ever got to
drive it. I didn't see him very
often, but I'll miss him.
Oh, how sad. Maybe he'll
leave it to you?!?
Oh, I couldn't even think that. I don't even know if he left a
will, although I suppose he did because they weren't legally married, and it
wasn't the sort of detail he would overlook, he always did things
'properly'. I sure hope so,
for her sake. I guess his significant other will sell it
eventually, although she has a lot more important things to think about just
now. I guess I could claim back the copy of the SU27 flight simulator I
lent him, and the fancy joystick I bought him, when he was bedridden, but such
thoughts are selfish and unbecoming and shall be banished back to the nether
regions from which they peeped.
Yes, indeed. Though isn't it universal that we all have those types
of feelings, probably dating back to, "Urg got killed by that mastodon. I
wonder when I can ask for the return of the pointy stick I lent him?"
I had a
bout of food poisoning over the weekend and I didn't die or anything! I
feel mighty, indeed.
Though when I throw up hard and often I get
petechiae, little broken blood vessels all over my face, especially around my
eyes. A very observant (and kind) police officer saw them in the grocery
store yesterday and kind of cornered me to make sure I wasn't being strangled or
anything at home. Thanks, but no, I'm not. Really.
Poor you. I am glad you're getting better. The food
poisoning must have been scary.
Not really. It was
three weeks after my chemo and eleven days past my last G-CSF shot, so I knew it
wasn't neutropenia. And I've done so much throwing up in the past two
years that I do it neatly and discreetly.
I'm impressed that a policeman would know. Do you think they
get trained to look out for that sort of thing?
Yes, they do. And I
told him I was proud of him. (I also told him it was a sign of auto-erotic
asphyxiation, so he shouldn't ask anyone who looks like a furtive adolescent
male. He laughed.)
Good grief. The things
people get up to, to get their kicks.
I'm dinking around, supposed to be going
to the store to get some fish for dinner tonight, but in reality lying around
enjoying the last fading symptoms of food poisoning.
I heard from
Douglas, the container ship captain who turned out to be cheating on his wife
while romancing me. I'm wondering whether I should preserve a dignified
silence or break down and tell him everything that's happened since we parted
ways. (c 1998) Part of me wants the dignified silence and the
six-year-old part of me says, "Pity! Pity! Pity!" and jumps up and
down and waves her arms.
think it rather depends on how much interaction you want with him, although it
is hard to tell which would have which effect.
Yes. I ended up e-ing a
short, cool note. I wanted to give just enough information that he didn't
feel I was trying to a) be mysterious or b) resume the relationship. I
pointedly mentioned that I'm married now, and I take that seriously. And I
told him to make sure that his wife does her breast
Silence might end up with him wanting to resume the relationship, or it
might just leave things as they are. Dumping RAM might lead to him running
a mile, it might lead to him hanging around feeling guilty, or it might lead to
him wanting to be supportive, possibly even ending up excessive. I guess I
don't know enough about the situation, simulation runs differently whichever way
you set the boundaries.
Douglas is a guy I loved well but not wisely. He was the first
boyfriend after my two-year fugue state, where I didn't date at all after my
three lovers who died three in a row.
Ouch. Maybe we should call you The Black Widow. Or
was this another of those erotic things, like mantises biting their lovers
heads off to make them come? Joke in bad taste, sorry.
Ra-ther. It was an awful time. I really did
feel like an agent of doom, and was very despairing. The show
"Northern Exposure" was on at the time, and the main female character was
supposed to be in the same situation. It was supposed to be very
funny. It sure didn't feel very funny.
He is the captain of a container ship, the Kainalu, for Matson
Shipping. The Kainalu is 972 feet long! We met in a
restaurant. We had what I thought was the perfect relationship: he came
into town for three days every two weeks, we went out to expensive restaurants
each night he was in town, and he bought me nice presents. (Well, I never
said I was a *good* girl.) That's all
right, I never thought you were. Where's the fun in being good.
I got to ride back and forth from Honolulu to Oakland on the Kainalu
a couple of times, which was very exciting and cool. I prefer
long-distance relationships and I was prepared to keep this going forever.
He started making noises about getting married, I can understand that you would have that sort of effect on
guys. and I started making noises about how much I liked the
status quo. It all culminated in San Francisco; I had to go to a
conference there, and he met me there and our plan was to drive down the coast
after the conference, go to Monterey, and then drive back to San Fran before I
We had a terrific time. The conference went well, my talk
was well-received, I was in a great mood, and we spent the day at the Monterey
Bay Aquarium. (So I'm weird. I liked it.) We went to a
wonderful restaurant that night, in Monterey, and he brought out one of those
portentous little velvet boxes. Argh! He asked me to marry
him. I said, as gently as I could, that I didn't want to lead him on by
"thinking about it"; that I liked the relationship the way it was and I wasn't
ready to get married. He turned purple and hissed, " I left my wife for
Oh, the shame. I pride myself on being a great slut, but in
reality I am fairly conservative and don't believe in adultery. I
squeaked, "You're MARRIED?" and he launched into this yes I'm married but I'm
not a bad guy and I just love you so much and etc. I got up, walked out of
the restaurant, and found a cab that would take credit cards. It cost $125
to get back to San Francisco. That was the last time I heard from
Another Matson captain whom we had socialized with in Honolulu
took me out to lunch a couple of weeks later, and I got the whole story
out of him; that the Matson guys all share an expensive condo in Oakland and
that's where we had stayed there; silly me, I thought it was his. All the
merchant crews did this, and I was lucky not to have ended up in a bigamous
marriage, and Douglas was very sorry and wanted to know if I could take it back
to the way it was. I said no.
So from what he said, he's back with his
wife and three kids and making lots and lots of money. (Man, join the Merchant
Marine if you want to bring in the bucks.)
It's a bit late to
tell me that. I probably should have done.
I'm planning on it in my next life
So now you know the whole sordid story.
Could have been worse. You could have stayed home and
dated the guy on the supermarket checkout. What the heck, you came out
ahead, you got the presents, you got a ride, you got laid, you got a story, you
didn't get maimed, mutilated or even pregnant.
BAAAAAAAAAAAAW! I've had four miscarriages, too, and he's making
jokes about getting pregnant!
(Naaah. I'm not really
upset. You are absolutely right.)
Hey I've got a new virtual girlfriend. I got a serious response to
one of my 'personal' net ads, from South China! Well, it's
different. The last one was a thrice-married God-botherer from
Newfoundland, and that didn't have much mileage in it. This one is pretty,
37, reasonably computer literate, seems nicely open minded and writes every
day. Makes a change from Russians writing a few lines every week or two
with the help of a translator.
Hmm. Beware that the
Chinese are just as desperate to come to the free world as the Russians
Yes, I'm aware of that. From my geographical viewpoint its
the same only more expensive. Well, f***ing expensive really.
Flights, language lessons, driving lessons, and a teenage daughter to contend
Yes, and the cultural
differences are even more massive.
Its a bitch, it took me eight
years to learn about 20 words of Russian, and then I get a totally different
language to deal with.
What does she speak?
I guess so. The guide website says "Official Languages:
Putunghua" I haven't done enough homework yet to know if that is the
Other than that, I wish you well.
really mean that people have to search the whole world to find a partner these
days. What the hell is wrong with English women (or Chinese men for that
matter) that the only interest I get is from halfway around the world.
Well, you are actually further away, but you know what I mean. I suppose
when you multiply the intelligence % by all the other %s you pretty quickly
start putting zeroes after the decimal point, but I still find the observed
statistics hard to reconcile with the theory. Possibly I'm just a
perfectionist, but I don't think so, although if I walk down the high street
here I don't often see a woman I would be interested in knowing
be due to your perfectionist characteristics. Maybe some plain woman is
just a delightful person who smells good, cooks well and makes lots of money,
and you will never find her because you're looking for the cuties. Pay no
mind to me. I'm feeling very plain today, as I learned how to pencil my
eyebrows on and wish I didn't have to.
I'm not looking for cuties, BUT if all I can interest is women who
are financially challenged and speak a different language, then there has to be
some compensation. You have
a point there, bud. What I am looking for first and foremost is
'interested' (oh, and 'single'). If she were poor, foreign AND thick AND
ugly I would certainly think twice.
Mostly what I see in the street is people
who can only use one pair of muscles to control their mouths. "Duh".
The only vaguely interesting ones are nurses from the hospital. I can cope
with nurses, but there aren't many single ones. We had a wonderful
district nurse, very caring and observant, highly intelligent, 40ish and
somewhat middle of the road in the cutie stakes. I could really go for
that, but of course -she- was married to a toyboy with a PhD.
Maybe she has a friend or a
sister? Give me her e-mail address -- I'll ask her for you if you're too
I don't know anything personal about her, doubt she has email
personally but her husband would. I only know where she works. I
bump into her in the street or the supermarket about every three
Tell her, "I've had a mad pash for you for a year and I
know you're married, but do you know any similarly delightful females to whom
you might introduce me?"
I've tried quite a few combinations. I had a "brilliant, with a
face like the back of a bus" journalist, but couldn't stand the jealousy.
She assumed that every woman was after me, and that I would prefer anyone to
her, so did things like making sure I never spoke to anyone else at
parties. God, that is so
dreary. David is slightly jealous (wanting to know where I am every minute
of the day, etc.) and I get TIRED of it. I'm reasonably
attractive (except to beard-haters and six-pack girls) and going down-market in
that respect just doesn't work.
I tried plain, wealthy, intelligent, cooks
etc etc. She went for MUCH wealthier, real makes-you-sick public-school
privilege about 30 years older and is having a ball. It seems most wealthy
women can't really respect a man unless he is even richer. Sigh. I think so, too. I wonder
why rich men will often marry poor women but the converse rarely
I'd like someone who can turn me on sexually, which
generally means within the 'normal' to 'sturdy' range of build and appearance,
with intelligence and confidence, and probably under 50.
Well, when my hair grows back
I'll give you a holler. I'm thinking of getting tattoos over my
mastectomy scars. What do you think, and what ideas do you have for
You mean a built in bikini top or something like that? It's an
idea. Depends who you want to impress. Maybe a hairy chest?
Now that's a thought. I was actually thinking of
opposing Hokusai-style waves.
Russians, Chinese, Phillipina etc. on the 'net are competing in a
cattle market, so it is only the cute ones you see. They make the few
British girls there look like real dogs.
I am firmly convinced that
women from the Philippines are the most beautiful on earth. However,
they stay looking like that until they're 60 and then they crumble and get old
They also generally have a strict religious upbringing with all that
Yes. They look like such sex goddesses but are
really just very nice girls. (Except for Imelda Marcos.) How sad.
Natasha is always trying to persuade me to buy her more shoes. I
say she will end up like Imelda. She always comes back "But she had thousands
and I've only got 8." (or whatever she currently has).
Her little tootsies may be growing faster than you
think. Maybe her feet hurt?
We chuck them out / recycle
them as soon as they do. This is a question of Style.
Does she wear a uniform to school?
Then she doesn't need any more
shoes. So sayeth the Mom Manquée.
Yes I know
but convince that Imelda there. She is asking every day if we can go
to the shoe shop because she wants some 'cloppy' boots, ones with hard soles
that clack when you walk. Apparently that is cool.
Oh, not here! We call them clodhoppers. Big
heels and heavy soles are cool, yes, but don't clunk as you walk.
Maybe she's ready for tap dancing lessons. At least when she
practiced at home it would keep Artyom awake.
did tap and ballet. She was tap dancing in a dance show in the local
public hall the night before her mother died. Now THAT will land her on the
therapist's couch as an adult. (joke) She has since given
up on the tap but stil does ballet. We just got back from getting
her a size larger ballet shoes.
Is she en pointe yet? Tell her
that, at the age of 38, my feet have just recovered from childhood
ballet. She should get out now before it's too
No she is
only in grade 1, doing her grade 2 exam soon. Pointe is around grade
5 or 6 I think, her 10-year-old friend just reached that stage. I
doubt she will keep it up that long, but as it is the exercise, control
and discipline seems good for her.
Yes. It's a good transition from
walking like a little kid to walking like a grown-up. The balance
work is also very good for her. She's your daughter, but I'm
offering my two cents here: for her sake, I hope she gives it up in
a couple of years. Many years of dance training are hard on the
developing skeleton; as she gets older and more serious about it, then
comes all this worry about whether she's the right body type for ballet
and crushing disappointment when she's not.
Frankly, I think you
can get just as good coordination skills, musical background, etc. from
taking tap, jazz, and musical theatre classes, with a couple of years of
ballet to anchor it. But then I'm a dance freak and believe that
EVERYONE should take it, no matter what you plan on doing with your
honestly I think that is how she sees it. She likes doing it, but
she has no dreams of being good at it. Phew, phew, phew. All you need is
a bulimic daughter. I think she might well move over to a
drama-related discipline in a while, but I'm sure the initial ballet
training is a good grounding for anything that requires controlled body
Yes. Or Tai Chi, but I doubt
you'd be able to find a children's class of that in
And she wants
a tutu because she has been watching the new Japanese cartoon series 'Card
Captors' ( from the Pokemon/Digimon school, which Artyom says is Manga or
something) and the heroine wears one. Familiar scenes of explaining to
her mother that we can't afford to just buy everything she feels like on the
spur of the moment. Birthday ideas though.
Yes. Does she want a long, knee-length one, or the
sticky-out-around-the-waist kind? Tell her the
sticky-out-around-the-waist kind will make her bottom look jiggly.
She says the cartoon
character wears bloomers underneath!
Oh, well, THAT's a festive picture.
They're most unflattering unless you are a New York City
Ballet prima ballerina. Unless the tutu-wearer is anorexic, I cannot
help but think of Hyacinth Hippo from Fantasia. Help! I'm a
self-hating fat American woman!
Is that the
remake? I remember Dance of the Hours in the original, although I'm
not quite old enough to remember it coming out.
<gasp> The remake is scum. Dance of the Whales my
large pink ass. The original is the only good one. It's
available on video and DVD now. The Dance of the Hours is still my
absolute favorite thing in it. The look of combined glee and
fear on Ben Ali Gator's face as Hyacinth Hippo soars through the air towards
him... all that done without computer animation. But of course, one
has to sit through twirling goldfish and Mickey Mouse to get to
I, myself, am an awful aunt. I don't know if I've
told you this (forgive me if I have) but my sister lives in one of the most PC
cities in the U.S. She originally was going to raise Hannah, my niece
(3.5), in a gender-neutral way. She gets mad at me because when I see
Hannah, we often talk about girly stuff. My first clothing present to
her was a teeny-tiny tutu, which she loved, and which she now sleeps
with. The last time I saw her, we came home with pink sparkly shoes,
which she also wants to sleep with. My sister grits her teeth and buys
her pants, tool sets, and books about trains. She doesn't WANT
those. She wants Barbie dolls, etc. I, as her aunt, feel that I
should spoil her with these.
And they all like kids; children, especially someone else's, seem to
be a turn off to British women. They have romantic dreams of being
pampered. Why should I want to do that, what's in it for me?
Why, you getting pampered
right back, ideally.
Somehow I think that's about the point in the dream when she wakes
There has to be give and take. In my mind "romance" is what you
find on credit card advertisements, it is a synonym for spending money we can't
Maybe I'm dreaming too. Even with a good communicator like this
one, the information pipe is hopelessly narrow, and most of the image I am
building is probably artefact of my imagination. It is nothing like what
we can do, with a (relatively) common language, and there is absolutely no room
for party tricks. Even with that 'Newfie' woman I could do real particle
physics and engender a collision to see how she reacted (it wasn't good). It is
a big risk to commit thousands of pounds on the basis that she is keen on what
she has seen of me and she presents a well organised image. I have not
previously encountered a 'second world' correspondent who has her own computer,
scanner, internet connection, etc.
Yes. It would be better
if she'd at least go Dutch.
But that is he whole point of economic migration. If they were
rich they wouldn't be so keen to leave their home country. You don't see
many 'new' Russians on the cattle market. This one says she earns about
$1000pa, I guess that's part time as she is a single parent. A year's
pay would barely pay for one plane ticket. My Russian brother-in-law
earns something like $10 per month. The danger is of getting dragged
into supporting the whole damn family.
Once I start committing investment to the project it gets much harder
to admit the image was wrong and back out. Most of the commitment really
happens NOW, its really a one-shot because of the cost - I couldn't do it
twice. All the business of getting to know each other, engagement and all
that is bollocks, it's just a matter of trying to make work whatever hand you
got dealt. Does that sound like cold feet? No, it sounds like the sadder-but-wiser guy.
I know what you are going to say, I am looking in the wrong
places and if I am going to invest that much in an attempt, the money would be
better employed in making a more aggressive search.
Have you looked into
matchmaking companies in the U.K. and Eire?
Ha Ha. Some guy set up a website for matchemaking in
Northwest England and advertised it on Usenet. I had a look at his
database. He did look lonely rattling around in there all on his
own. Literally, one entry, the owner. We are not the most intensely
No, I don't mean a
Web-based one, but an established introduction company. It might set
you back some money, but if you're serious... My mom met her
current husband that way.
Oh I did that to death in the '80s. It was quite fun but
not very successful. I found it didn't make much dent in the
statistics on serious relationships although I got a lot of dates, and got
Too bad. Surely that
was not terrible, though?
No, not (often) terrible, but not feasible to repeat with a
seven(nearly eight)-year-old in tow. Far too inefficient use of
time. OK when you're single.
I forget again: Can
Artyom babysit? Though I imagine it would be tacky to ask him to
babysit when you're dating his mother's replacement.
I couldn't imagine asking that. I daren't ask him to
babysit anyway for fear he'd forget what he was supposed to be doing and
go out for a beer.
Could he take Natasha
with him? I hate to think of you doomed to enjoy only late-night
Internet porn until Natasha can legally drive.
the pub, no. She doesn't have to be able to legally drive, just to
be legally left in the house alone, and that is
Cindy is on holiday this week
and I am working on it by getting him to meet N from school. He
appears from his bed bleary-eyed at about 14:50. He was disappointed
yesterday when I told him I needed him to stay with her for an hour while
I went shopping for our tea, he had been intending to go out with his
mates. God, that guy is so lazy and self centred it is hard to
Is it him or is it just
the age he's at? I seem to remember being fairly horrible
Is he obsessed with his hair, or is he not because he's a
No but he
occasionally stinks the house out with aftershave which he sometimes uses
instead of washing.
EEEEEEEEW. Is that
a Brit thing? Because I remember Colin doing that every once in a
while. Perhaps, living in a cold country, he doesn't
understand the concept of washing often.
it's the Russian childhood. He does wash his clothes every month
"whether they need it or not". I know because I found them in the
washer one day, so I dried them and put them aside in the laundry room.
After a couple of weeks I reminded him to take them
EEEEEEEW. Does he actually have any luck with
females, or might this be a time to send him an anonymous
checked, the clothes were STILL there. A quantity about half my
personal weekly wash.
He doesn't seem much interested except the sort
you find in magazines. When asked he says they're bloody
Oh, well. The Internet is spoiling this generation
of men, in my opinion. In my day, they had to take you out
to dinner and possibly a movie to get sexual gratification. Now
they can just find it on the Internet. Tsk,
It has a couple of times got so bad I had to keep his bedroom
door shut to pen in the stench of unwashed socks. Jeeeeezus God, you can bet I'd have
words with him. We had words about that, and things -have-
improved, at least to the extent that I don't have to apologise to
visitors as they come in the front door any more. He does bleach his
hair ( and parts of his bath towel) sometimes.
That's why God gave us
white bath towels.
It did a lot of good for my confidence, you can't imagine how shy
I was beforehand.
Why what? Why was I shy, why did it help or why can't you
I was shy because I went to a boy's school and
because I wanted it too much, and because I'm naturally like that, I
constructed the confident image later.
Now, see, when I was in
school, we regarded the boys who went to the private, all-boys
(Saint Mark's) as very glamorous, sophisticated beings in their
navy blazers and khaki slacks. We
always ran into them at debate
tournaments. They thought we were sluts and we did everything
could to encourage that view, as we knew they were sex-starved and
desperate. It was quite a coup
if we got asked out by one of
them: I don't know why, as they *were* so desperate. Maybe it
because we thought they were rich, too.
Hmm, maybe. I did become captain of the school
tiddlywinks team for this purpose, but it wasn't very successful. I
mean, yes I got some mixed social life, but no I didn't get to go out
with anyone except one of my sister's friends, and that was after I left
school. I'd sure there are reasons, but they are probably
complicated, and I never really could put my finger on one cause.
because you are so intelligent. You might scare off potential
girlfriends. Either that or, if you were not a sports god, you
might have felt as if you were just not gorgeous and muscular
enough. Heaven knows a lot of guys feel like that here.
We don't worship sports gods so much here as
there. Just money. It's probably the competition thing,
most women would prefer to be right at least sometimes. That is
the trouble with being omniscient.
Whatever anyone else's image of me I certainly didn't
have a very good self-image, and I never believed anyone could be
interested in me. My social contacts rather bore out that
impression. I could make friends with and talk to girls, but then
they treated me as a girlfriend, someone safe who was obviously not a
contender for their affections. Just another geek.
I think I'll
become a misanthropist. Who needs people anyway.
People... people who need
I'd still much rather solve
problems for myself than ask anyone to help.
On the second line my
little finger made a Freudian slip to the caps lock key on the last "I"
and so typed the next few words in caps.
At first I didn't have the
courage to phone people cold, having got their number, I felt I had to
write and introduce myself. I knew that if phoned I wouldn't
know what to say, I'm not very good at thinking on my feet (The mill
grinds exceeding fine, but it grinds exceeding slow. That why I love
e-mail.) Then I identified the problem and wrote myself a
But you have an English accent! : )
exactly an advantage here! Not that there is anything wrong with my
accent, it's educated middle class, with northern hard vowels.
Bath not barth, but locals still think it's 'posh', they think its funny
that I say 'butty' (dialect for sandwich) with a standard-English high
'u', which to them sounds like 'batty', whereas local dialect would have a
low 'u', as in standard English 'book' (and some nearby dialects pronounce
School kids with working class accents sometimes got
teased. At school it was correct, and not something I had thought
about since I was 10, when we moved from the Midlands and I had to quickly
get rid of the Black Country lazy flat vowels I had learnt there.
Fortunately I had never acquired the nasal twang that usually goes with
That is one thing that we don't really do here. Thank
heavens. I am an accent chameleon. I've told you that I still
say fookin' 'ell from Leeds. <Giggle>. I am reminded of a strip cartoon in a
highbrow newspaper in which a character once expressed surprise with the
expletive "'kinnell". When I was in Texas, I spoke
Texan. I've never lost my Pidgin sing-song, but I can hide it.
Now I'm acquiring a kind of Northwest Scandihoovian sound. Must stop
it. Most of the time I speak mid-America news anchor English, but I
I still got one interesting relationship every 18 months
regardless. Somehow, even if I do nothing, encounters come out of the
blue. I will cross my
fingers for you.
Lyudmila was a chance meeting with my mother,
I had one previously who was a prospective buyer for my old house.
Searching gets a lot more bad ones but no more good ones.
with physically meeting people now is having to arrange childminding.
The Blackpool girl dropped out when she tried to schedule a meeting,
probably realised how difficult it was for two single parents to align a
little free time with each other, even though we're only an hour's drive
apart. At least the 'net allows getting to know each other while
Are there Parents Without Partners groups in the
U.K.? A lot of my friends have met their husbands through
You asked me that before. I have never heard of any. I
would have thought the statistics would make that a pretty bad bet for women
in the partnering stakes.
Searching around the net I see a couple of dozen ads within 50
miles. I have mailed most of them and got two or three contacts, one
50-somethings, one not very exciting but seemed interested until a meeting
became likely then she chickened out. Most don't reply. I think if they
are into kids and 40ish they are single parents and so don't have time for the
Probably, its hard to stand back and make a long term plan, the
timescale looks frightening. It is easier to be dragged along by
Yes. Plans rarely work out in affairs of the heart. Maybe we
were better off when all of us got married off for financial or political
Bring back arranged
Well, why not? Kids are apt to decide who to marry in the heat of
the hormonal moment. The adults around them have had a lifetime to assess
their personalities and decide who might make an appropriate match for
Natasha was asking about sun-tanning.
I said if you got too much
over a long time it made your skin go rough and wrinkly.
Plants stay out in
the sun, why don't they get wrinkly?
The only ones that stay out as long as a
human lifetime are trees. Do you want your skin to end up looking like tree
Really excellent response.
Slather your little chickadee with sunscreen, and keep her