Archive for April, 2010

Dear God: I know it’s kinda old school, but You might wanna think about bringing back that whole ‘struck by lightning’ thing…

So I watched the Rielle Hunter interview on Oprah.

(Or most of it, anyway– Charlotte and I were at Home Depot buying YET MORE PLANTS for the deck. I might need an intervention, folks. Seriously, I just keep walking by these exotic flowers and shrubs I’ve never seen before and going, “Oh, why not– I’ll take one!” So now I have a dwarf Meyer lemon tree. And something kind of purple  and tropical looking that I can’t pronounce that I just repotted. And a hibiscus with a braided trunk and a big honkin’ hydrangea and possibly a bougainvillia. Somebody stop me.)

Anyway, so Rielle Hunter is the woman who had the affair with John Edwards, the presidential candidate from North Carolina who is married to Elizabeth Edwards who is dying of cancer. These days you need a scorecard to keep up with all of the women coming out of the woodwork and into the bright lights of the national media who have had affairs with famous married men– between Tiger Woods and the whole Jesse James/ Sandra Bullock scandal, it’s hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on a TV set and NOT hear about cheating spouses. But the Rielle Hunter thing took it to a whole ‘nother level, mostly because of the bizarre New Age-y, psychobabble spin she attempted to put on her particular little drama. With a completely straight face, she sat across from Oprah (in the house that John Edwards is paying for, btw) and told her that the reason John Edwards started having a secret affair with her was because he wanted to “live a life of truth.”  Wait, WHAT? And as for her own personal responsibility in sleeping with a married man and having his baby while he was still married to the dying wife AND was lying his dang head off on national television to the entire American public? Well, she just “followed her heart” which she firmly believes “was the right thing to do.” After all, she was just trying to “help Johnny find his authentic self.”

Honest to God, I have never heard such a load of self-serving, delusional crap in my entire life! It was narcissism on parade. Apparently in Rielle Hunter’s mind it’s ok to screw around if it’s “part of your spiritual path to your higher self.” And it’s ok for the ‘man she loves’ to publicly deny paternity of her child while simultaneously renewing his marriage vows with the wife he’s betraying, because after all, Rielle “trusts him completely and knows him like the back of my hand.” Of course this is from the woman who describes herself as “true to who I am” and “living my life with integrity.” It would have been funny if the whole thing wasn’t so tragic for everyone concerned.

I think what got to me more than anything was the complete lack of remorse and refusal to accept any moral responsibility for how her sleazy deceitful actions forever changed the lives of so many people– not the least of which is her own child, not to mention John Edwards’ other children (you know, the legitimate ones.) Those children, who are in the process of losing their mother, are now able to watch Rielle on TV dreamily talking about how she picked up, er, met John for the first time in a hotel bar, or they can read the headlines blaring from the tabloids about the legal wrangling over their dad’s sex tape. One of the biggest hit-my-head-on-the-desk moments for me was when Oprah asked Rielle if she thinks she hurt Elizabeth Edwards by having an affair with her husband and she actually had the balls to say, “I don’t know. You’d have to ask her.” Uh, yeah Rielle. I’m thinking we can probably figure that one out without having to ask Elizabeth.

I think that’s the point at which I started yelling at the television.


(Anybody else see this? Got any opinions?)

My Birdy Little Secret

You know, I’ve admitted a lot of things to you guys on this blog.

I’ve told you I sometimes watch trashy reality TV, I’ve talked about my insecurities about blogging in general and blog conferences in particular. I’ve described my awkward exercise adventures and the fact that I sometimes have quite a mouth on me... Basically I have no shame, I guess is what I’m saying! But I hesitated about sharing this next thing with you gentle readers, because frankly, it’s embarrassing. And kinda dorky.

The truth is, for the last few months I have developed a wee bit of an addiction. There is an internet celebrity that I am completely obsessed with, and sadly I have even involved my children in my stalking activities. Maybe if I come clean about it with all with you, I can let go of my secret shame and get on with my life.

See, here’s the deal: it’s a hummingbird.

A hummingbird named Phoebe who lives in California and has a webcam trained on her nest 24/7. Yes, I have spent more time that I am willing to be honest about staring intently at my computer screen watching a dang bird sit on a nest! To be fair, she IS currently sitting on two eggs, so you know, that definitely ups the excitement factor, right? Phoebe is a Channel Island Allen hummingbird who nests annually in a rosebush in the front yard of some guy in Orange County.  She has been laying 4 to 5 clutches of eggs each year for several years (and there is even a chart that details this. I wish I was kidding.) The website has been up since about 2007, but I just discovered it over the Christmas holidays. I have always loved birds, and God knows I spend a ridiculous amount of money on feeders and sunflower seeds just so I can look out of my window and watch them hop around and eat– which is basically all they really do, let’s face it. But even I am surprised at how entranced and involved I have become with Phoebe! (It’s even worse than my recent tablescaping fixation.) And apparently I am not alone– Phoebe’s website has 1842 subscribers, and has had 2,264,892 total views from people in 186 countries– even though most of the time? She is basically just doing this:

Although sometimes she flies away, I guess to go get something to eat or go shopping or whatever, so then I sit there in front of my computer screen and stare at this:

Riveting, right?!

Well, I have no explanation except to say that when I first discovered the website, I was just fascinated by the fact that I was actually getting to see a real hummingbird that close up. One time when I was a little kid in Arkansas I found a tiny abandoned nest, about the size of a golf ball, and I couldn’t believe how perfectly formed and delicate it was. The website says that those two eggs in Phoebe’s nest are about the size of Tic Tac breath mints– can you imagine? Also the first time I started watching the Phoebe-cam, there was a lot of excited chat going on about how a lizard had just tried to attack the nest– (Oh yes, there’s actually a live chat screen on the website. And a comment section. And FAQ and a gallery of photos. That’s right, people from all over the world are actually signing in and talking to each other about the daily activities of a hummingbird. This just gets more and more embarrassing for me, doesn’t it?)

So anyway, the chat lines were jumping– someone even edited the lizard footage, titled it “Godzilla Attack!” and put it on youtube! (And yes, I watched it. Twice.)  For whatever reason, I just got hooked on the idea that I could actually observe this exquisite little creature as she went about her daily activities, like fluffing her nest and rearranging herself over her eggs, and flying around with her wings making this weird little mini-helicopter whirring sound… There’s something so endearing about it all, and I found myself getting drawn into Phoebe’s daily struggles and the dogged determination she has to get those eggs hatched and safely rear her fledglings. There’s always the threat of predators–her last two eggs apparently became hors d’oeuvres for a big honkin’ crow– or windstorms that could dislodge the nest. One time one of her eggs had gone past it’s hatch date and she figured out it wasn’t viable, so she actually picked it up with her pointy little beak and gave it the heave-ho over the side of the nest! Phoebe don’t mess around, honey.

As long as I’m confessing here, I should also tell you that the Phoebe-cam has served as a gateway drug for me.  I began to click on some of the links at the bottom of her page and found myself watching Molly and McGhee, the owl couple and their owlets. They are a little more hard-core than the hummingbirds– they even have a warning posted on their site that reads: Advisory: This is a live feed of a Wild Barn Owl and family. Owls are carnivores. They hunt, kill and consume small rodents and other small animals. This is nature and contains scenes of the cycle of life which may occur at any time without warning. (They’re not kidding either! I kinda lost my warm fuzzy feelings about the owl family when I watched the parents ripping a chipmunk to shreds for dinner… I also learned that owls can shoot poo out of their behinds with amazing velocity and range. Eww.) There is actually a list on the site of 30 different live-streaming nest-cameras. I dabbled a little with the kestrel nest box and the eagle-cam but I always came back to my nest of choice, plucky little Phoebe and her Tic Tac eggs. The gestation period is about 17 days, so in about two weeks I may be sending out birth announcements.

Well, there it is. My embarrassing little secret is out. I feel so freeeeeeee!

And because I am crazy about you guys (and nerd-ery loves company,) I am now going to share Phoebe with all of you. Please at least pretend that you find her website somewhat interesting, so I will not feel any weirder than I already do. And if this leads to the harder stuff, like the stork nest in Spain or the Quacker-Cam/nesting wood duck in Wisconsin, I will take full responsibility for being the one that gave you that first little taste for free. Your secret will be safe with me.

And here’s Phoebe:

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