Choosing a Tree

Our municipal authorities tell us that if we want to plant a tree, they will pay for half of it. We had to tear a tree out when we moved in because it had died, so we are definitely planting a new one. Here is a list of trees we can choose from:

  1. Bald cypress
  2. Basswood
  3. Beech
  4. Black Gum
  5. Crabapple
  6. Zelkova
  7. Elm
  8. Gingko (male)
  9. Hackberry
  10. Kentucky Coffee (male)
  11. Magnolia
  12. Hickory
  13. Hornbeam
  14. Larch
  15. Linden
  16. Sugar maple
  17. Red maples
  18. Oak
  19. Pine
  20. Spruce

N is opposed to beech because he doesn’t want to be stereotypically Russian, and we already have a magnolia. N is also opposed to a maple tree because he doesn’t want us to be stereotypically Canadian. There is a lot of space so we want a tree that will grow a crown and not remain a sad naked stick forever. We are also not opposed to coniferous trees. Does anybody have any suggestions? We were thinking in the direction of a larch tree. What think you, fellow tree-huggers?

Relationships: How to Turn a Nerd into an Ogre

From the responses to the poll, I’m seeing that people want more posts on relationships. This is unexpected but I’m always willing to do what I can to please my readers. This is why I’m starting a new series of posts on relationships. I’m not sure what kind of relationships people want to hear about, so I will discuss all kinds, from romantic to sexual to professional.

Story 1.

My friend Ellie is a strikingly beautiful woman. If you see her on the street, you are bound to stop and stare because she looks like a supermodel. Ellie is also brilliant, she speaks multiple languages, and there are few things she doesn’t know how to do. Because of her numerous accomplishments and amazing looks, Ellie is very popular with men and keeps getting married.

Ellie’s type is a quiet, nerdy, shy guy. Of course, such guys feel extremely flattered when a stunning woman like Ellie returns their affections. Sometimes, Ellie is the first woman ever to pay any attention to them. The early stages of the relationships are always the same: the new husband adores Ellie, showers her with gifts and attention, and treats her like a queen. I know from experience, however, that this stage will not last for long. Soon enough, Ellie will tell me what a horrible ogre her new husband is. He will deny her access to their bank account, take away all of her money, say horrible mean things about her appearance, and forbid her to talk to her friends and her mother.¬†

“I think I hear Jack at the door,” Ellie whispers to me over the phone. “I have to run or he will kill me. He says I talk too much.” I still remember how Jack would stare at her in absolute awe and would be afraid to breathe in her direction for fear of upsetting somebody so wonderful, so the transformation is very strange.

So far, Ellie has had 3 husbands and numerous boyfriends. Somehow, she manages to turn every single one of those quiet, gentle guys into controlling macho freaks. As a result of these experiences, Ellie has arrived at a conclusion that within all men a patriarchal monster is hiding. When she gets fed up with how manipulative and nasty her husband du jour is, she plots an escape. Then she finds a new guy, and the story repeats itself.

The reasons for this strange pattern became clear to me when I met Ellie’s family. She has 2 sisters, and all three daughters, the mother and the grandmother worship and fear Ellie’s father. He controls them, says nasty things to them, and they stare at him with awe and admiration, incapable of placing a limit on his behavior. Ellie is a strong woman who has overcome a lot of hardship. This is why it isn’t hard for her to bend her boyfriends to her will and push them into the scenario that is familiar and ¬†comforting to her: an ogre of a man and an oppressed, self-sacrificing woman.