The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Zippers, Religion & Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Posted by thedarwinexception on December 30, 2007

 Zombie lady has left again for the city. This time I shall not worry about her, since she apparently has access to her money, she has a destination and purpose in mind, and I know she will be OK, no mater how long she is gone. She said that she has doctor appointments and “programs” she is involved with to attend, and she has a dental appointment. Not that I believe all this is as a result of her 2 week stay in the hospital for “high blood pressure”, since I’m still not convinced that a diagnosis of “high blood pressure” will merit you a two week uninsured stay in any for-profit hospital, but she has left for the city to keep the appointments, anyway.

I was really hoping she would be here for New Year’s Eve – I would have loved to have brought her to Ray and Lynn’s for the party.

But, she is back to NYC to stay in the Hostel in Chelsea, which is only $30 a day – if you want gender integrity, which means that there are only females (or only males) in the room. She talked highly of the hostel, getting Paul all fired up about the little Asian girls who were her housemates, and the fun party atmosphere, complete with beer, music, dancing and breaking of “gender integrity” rules. I told them both “Yeah, but that was the *beginning* of the movie – and you should see the little Asian girl at the *end*.” Neither understood, having never seen the movie, but I have, and I know better than to stay in a Hostel. I don’t care if Johnny Fucking Depp himself was going to be my non gender integrity roommate – I’m still not staying in any hostel. Especially since she’s getting there by bus – that’s *way* too close to getting there by train. I did tell her, though, “Look, if the Asian girl goes missing – for the love of Christ, don’t go looking for her – or the guy in the orange fucking coat.”

I do hope she hits the garment district again, though. Apparently this Hostel is quite close to 7th Ave and the fashion district, and my own personal Mecca of all that is Holy and Good – Mood Fabrics. Zombie lady went down to 7th Ave, and bought me a fucking SUITCASE full of designer fabrics “wholesale”. She brought me back lame, lined crush velvets, vintage barkcloth, and vintage print jerseys in bolt sized pieces.

She says she bought these “off the street”, since the garment district is full of street vendors selling their wares for much less than the established businesses and storefronts. Which is nice, but still does not quash my intense desire to travel, just once, to the High Holy Chapel of all seamstresses and designers – Mood Fabrics, the destination of the designers each week on Project Runway. Just once I want to go there with a fistful of cash (you’d need it), and buy enough fabric to fill one of their coveted shopping bags. Then I could get back out on the sidewalk, clutching my Mood bag, take a look around, and die right there with a smile on my face.

But Zombie lady did good with the fabric purchases. She got a LOT of good shit. And I’m quite sure that with the amount of money it took to fill the suitcase with fabric from the street vendors, she probably would have only gotten 1 yard of cheap jersey knit at Mood.

And , in wonderful New York City style, she also met a street vendor selling leather goods and apparel in the fashion district and she bought Paul a leather jacket. A nice one, too. He really likes it. Fits him like a glove – I don’t even know how that happened. It’s brown, which is good because Paul already has a black leather motorcycle jacket – this one is brown and is more of a “blazer” style leather jacket.

But, Friday night she stayed here again, sleeping on the couch. I wasn’t going to let her stay in her freezing ass house, and she wanted to make sure Paul shut the water off and checked the basement before she left, so she wouldn’t have to worry about it when she was gone. So he did. Took him almost an hour to get all the snow and ice off of the back bulkhead doors that lead into her basement so they could be opened. Paul did notice though, that those same self stick tiles that she had attempted to do her living room floors in were also stuck on the bulkhead doors, since the wood was rotting in places and she had tried to cover it up.

He finally got in to the basement, and he shut the water off at the main valve. Surprisingly, the pipes hadn’t burst, I guess that’s a ringing endorsement of her plumbing over there. She does, though, have a nasty leak in the kitchen ceiling and another one in the bedroom, which is why there is a puddle of water on the floors in both of those rooms that has frozen over, creating a sheet of ice. Paul told her that once Spring came he would get up on the roof and repair it for her – we have extra stuff left over from our own roof repairs, so it’s not a big deal.

She came over Friday night with the fabric, the jacket, her reading material (a biography of Einstein), and her dinner, Japanese noodles and a package of dried seaweed. And OK – I know I made fun of the last odd meal she made here – that tofu or soybean shit or whatever it was – but that was absolutely NOTHING compared to this dried seaweed shit. This stuff was in these white strips inside the package, and she said that it was perfectly fine to eat it straight from the package in the white eczema looking strips, which would have been bad enough, but she was eating it as a soup, and she put it in boiling water. The minute she put the white flaky eczema strips of seaweed into the boiling water, it turned green and slimy and molded together like felt. AND SHE ATE IT. I’m not kidding you when I say it turned my stomach. It really did. It turned my stomach. I couldn’t watch her eat it.

Saturday morning she called a cab and left for the bus station, to keep her appointments in the city. She said that she wasn’t planning on coming back until March. In the meantime, I am going to get someone to check out her wiring and panel down in the basement, call the light company and have her electricity turned back on. In March it will be one year that she has had no power. When she comes back, I would like the house to at least have electricity. Then, when she gets back, I can also go over and help her clean it up – along with Val, Janice and Leslie. And I’d like to find her at least the basics in furniture – a bed, a couch, a table, some chairs. She was very excited at the prospect of having some furniture. I told her we could probably find her some cheap, sturdy, usable pieces at some of the second hand stores or in the Freetrader, and she got all animated and said “Oh yes! This is what I want – to get some furniture, but I have no transport for pieces.” So I told her we could find her some when she got back – and this made her quite happy. So I think it won’t be difficult to convince her to accept a little help cleaning up the place, hauling the trash out and bringing in at least a semblance of normalcy. I think she would *like* to have these things, but doesn’t know how to go about getting them. She is also *very* interested in getting a woodstove. So I am going to keep an eye on the Freetrader for one of those to get for her, too. And Paul can install it for her. He installed ours with a minimum amount of help. And we have some left over pipe, so it shouldn’t cost as much. If she runs the stove during the day and uses the furnace as a backup it will save her some money, and the woodstove will provide heat even if she doesn’t have electricity.

As some suggested in the comments from yesterday, I did try and get a look at her medications. She said that she was on “Synthroid”, which I am quite familiar with, since Paul was taking that, too, before the doctor switched him. Her pills looked nothing like the ones Paul was taking, but I don’t know if that means anything. There could be different pills for different dosages. But hers were small white pills – Paul’s were yellow. And she didn’t have any pills for the high blood pressure, which I thought was odd. If her condition was serious enough to warrant a two week hospital stay, I would think she would have at least gotten a prescription. B ut she said, no, she didn’t get *any* prescriptions, all she got was a two week supply of Synthroid – and what she got was a sample from the doctor – not in a pill bottle or anything, it was just in a blister pack of 14 pills with no name on the package anywhere. I have no idea – could have been anything, actually. Hell it could have been Benadryl or aspirin for all I know. So that provided no clues whatsoever.

And her statements, what there are of them, only serve to muddle the issues further. She contradicts herself from one story to the next – it’s really hard to know what to take as the truth and what is just paranoia and ramblings. It’s evident that she has access to money at this point, but how much and for what purposes is unclear. She seems to have no problems buying bus tickets back and forth from NYC, but when I talked about buying some pieces of furniture and fixing her roof and maybe even buying a woodstove or a generator, she said that she would have to tell her son about these things and see if he would get them. She pays $30 a day for a hostel, but when I asked if they had internet access there, and she said that they did, she also said “But I have no working computer at this time – my other computer is not working and my son – he does not like the computers and he said he will not fix it.” So it’s confusing – she has money for *some* things – some discretionary income, but seemingly even *small* purchases have to be made with her sons approval or something. I don’t know. But this is odd in itself, since she truly has no contact with her son – she says she didn’t even see him when she was in the city this last time. So I just can’t reconcile “I don’t speak to my son – even on Christmas or Thanksgiving” with “I’ll have to ask my son if I can put in a woodstove.” It’s all just very, very weird.

But this time when she left I gave her my phone number, I told her to call me if she needed to, and she was quite appreciative of the offer, and told me to again keep an eye on her house and make sure the cops didn’t go in and take anything – she’s still convinced they took her beef stew and that they are going to come back for other things. What? I do not know – maybe her newspapers littered with her handwritten comments in the margins.

We talked a little as she was getting ready to leave – I taped some of it. She also gave Paul a hat – which he wore for the rest of the day. She spoke a little about her mother, her own dark skin, waiting in line in Moscow to see the first American movie shown in the country, and how her mother and her mother’s friends prayed to marry men who weren’t blonde. A little glimpse into the zombie lady and her life experiences. Maybe someone here more astute than I can glean a few clues into her psyche out of it.


28 Responses to “Zippers, Religion & Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”

  1. HT said

    Wow, a lot to digest. I have a picture of the Chelsea Hotel from one of my earlier trips to NYC. I NEVER stayed there but it’s interesting architecture if I am recalling correctly.

    OK, the blonde thing is probably a carryover from Hitler’s wonderful aryan idea. I think the Germans were pretty ruthless with the Soviets. Soooo, maybe it’s a bias that came out of that. I guess she won’t be warming up to me, blonde that I is.

    From the article I read about the Kendra Law, I’m wondering if she wasn’t threatened by “authorities” that if she didn’t get her buns back to NYC for follow-up, they would put her in some kind of a MH ward. I gotta go back and read that article again. I did google “Kendra Law” and like all laws, it was boring as hell to read. I’m just too impatient for that kind of reading. That’s the kind of crap I had to read when I worked and got paid for it. No mas.

    Kim, you really scored with that fabric. And Paul with leather. Both deservedly. She’s so thoughtful; unlike most crazy people and she can handle herself in NYC which is pretty good faring if you ask me.

    Geez, I tried listening to the tape. Did you have to have the TV on too? And Jane is in my breakfast nook sewing curtains so there’s too much distraction. I’m hoping someone will be able to translate it.

    You know at $30 a night for 3 months, that adds up to about $2700 or more. She’s gotta be getting the ole man’s SS. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the Chelsea. I wonder if they have bedbugs. From what I read, about half of the hotels in NYC was or is infested. I think I’ll stay in boring ass Toledo.


  2. MyrnaTurner said

    She is wonderful! You all are so good to do this.

    The Russian Orthodox Church is somewhat similar to the Greek Orthodox Church.


  3. Thanks for today’s post, Kim!

    I am so liking ZL! She’s quite an interesting lady…and quite thoughtful–she knows the way to your heart…FABRIC…LOL~

    If she gets herself into any trouble and calls you, please get in touch with me–I’m about 20 minutes from the city and would be willing to help if needed.

    and Kim—you really must come on a fabric adventure with me. Oh the fun we’d have! I’ll show you were the best stuff is at dirt cheap prices. I try to go to the fabric district about once a month–it really is a fabric mega! It’s really hard to enjoy Joann’s once you’ve shopped the district.

    Happy New Year’s!

    With friendship,

  4. Gail said

    OMG! I want to visit with you, Paul, and Natasha! She is SO delightful! She is not only blessed to know you, but you and all of your readers are being blessed by getting to know her! She is a very interesting person with quite a story to tell. Thanks for giving her a voice!

  5. Lorraine said

    I’m thinking Russian Gypsy. They are Catholic, dark haired and complected, mostly well educated and because of centuries of persecution, paranoid. Take a look at these pictures and note the dresses etc. Then scroll down –waaay down–and read the idiot comments.


  6. Shiobhan said

    Kim –

    Thank you so much. I want to hear so much more from Natasha. She has had an interesting life.

    She truly is delightful, and kind. The gifts were very thoughtful.

    My prayers are with her on this journey she is taking. I hope and pray she is getting the help she needs in NYC.

    I dont know that I can wait until March to hear her, or see her again. I’ve grown attached to her, and her story.

  7. luvgabe said

    I agree with Lorraine: my guess is also that ZL is Russian Gypsy (or Romano, the more dignified term).

    My intuition also says that it may turn out that ZL will be of great help to you, Kim, perhaps even more than what you have been and will be to her. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways 🙂

  8. pj said

    glad to see zl is safe…enjoy your new year!!!

  9. skweekie said

    I was going to suggest you get her an I.D. bracelet with your phone number on it as a contact. But she’s gone.

  10. Kim (Canada) said

    I’m with everyone above –
    Long way until March –
    And yes, that’s when my birthday is also…
    She actually seemed rather comfortable on this second video…seemed to chat quite naturally to the cam –

    Of course, with Kim standing there in front of her asking more questions, she probably didn’t even flinch at the cam recording her responses…Unless she couldn’t see it? Does she know that you’re taping her while she’s standing there talking away, or do you have it somehow concealed? Sorry, just wondering since she really appeared so natural with it all…

    Well, I do hope and pray that she has a good trip – That this journey brings her back sooner than March, healthy and happy. I guess this gives you and your support crew a chance to get some things in order and prepared for the “re-vamping” of her home. I hope she’ll still be in accord with it all, and I hope that whatever she’s gone to do in NYC returns her ok and “good to go” ahead with the tentative plans set out for heat/hydro/water.

    Hopefully in that time, some of the other questions we all seem to continuously be having will be answered, and/or begin to make more sense…

    I thank you for sharing all this with us – It really has become such an important story for us to follow…

    Pinky and I went out for a drive today, and as soon as we returned, we both jumped onto the PC – You guessed it – We immediately travelled onto “Darwin” just to see what was new. You never disappoint! And as promised, there was ZL, in top form starring in her 2nd video!! She truly has such amazing stories, and I’d be more than content to sit and keep listening…I’m going to go check on those “Russian Gypsies” once I submit this…

    Again, I send my thanks –
    And all the best wishes to everyone out there for the coming year!

    With hugs & chuckles!
    Fonzie :~)

  11. Search the Web on said

    You gotta check out this site –

    Not sure if hyper-link will work, but this shows the “Russian Gypsy” fortune-telling tarot cards…

    The pics on them are strikingly similar to ZL’s paintings –
    From colour to designs…Seriously!

  12. Kim (Canada) said

    Don’t know what happened up there, but that was me…
    “Search the web on” is really supposed to read Kim (Canada) but for some reason it posted as it did… ?

    I don’t know…

  13. Kim (Canada) said

    Allow me to try that again…

    The link below, (which originally was ‘above’)shows the “Russian Gypsy” fortune-telling tarot cards –
    They really appeared to be resemblant of ZL’s home paintings/artwork…
    Hope the “hyper-link” works for you…

  14. Lorraine said

    I’m hoping this link works. There are many pictures and if you scroll all the way down the page comments from people on the Gypsys of the world. Many quite ignorant. Remember the black and shimmery material she wanted to give you? If you look, in one of the group pictures a woman is wearing a dress of almost the same pattern and material only in bright pink.

    lets try this one

  15. Sandy said

    ZL obviously had a couple of great shopping trips during the last adventure and seemed quite content about going back. How very interesting that she thought of you and Paul with the gifts. I wonder if she bought anything for herself. Love that hat and Paul wearing it.

    I’d jump at going to the garmet district. If there is any way for you to go with someone, what a wonderful trip it would be.

    HT…I read most of the Kendra’s Law you referenced. It is definitely a strong voice in getting help and maintaining help. They are not messing around if the patient does not adhere to their directives. They also assign housing requirements which includes classes on taking care of themselves, money management, learning to be independant. The hostel ZL mentioned may be an outpatient housing environment. Curious how they get those in the program to comply…other than using medications to clear the mind. If ZL is part of this, she doesn’t seem to have a problem with going back for appts/meds. It does sound like she may be part the program which also includes establishing medicare, drugs and ongoing tests to prove the patients are taking their medications. Interesting read, plus many controversial links regarding such. Thanks.

    With the above, we still don’t know anything or how her son fits into any of this. But she looks and sounds much better…with wisdom not to live in the house at this point. And obvious love for you and Paul.

    Kim, did I hear ZL call you “Kindy”? A name for “child”. I do hope she calls you and there is contact to know she is well. Not just for our curious minds, but to actually know she is okay.

  16. From the article I read about the Kendra Law, I’m wondering if she wasn’t threatened by “authorities” that if she didn’t get her buns back to NYC for follow-up, they would put her in some kind of a MH ward.

    Well, someone could have threatened her with something, but it most likely wasn’t under Kendra’s law. I am familiar with the origins and requirements and from what I remember (and granted, this may have changed in the past….5 years or so) but from what I remember, Kendra’s law only applies to individuals who have shown significant violent tendencies and actions towards themselves or others in the 5 (4?) years preceding the law being applied and utilized.

    From what I know of ZL – she isn’t the least bit violent. Her personality seems to be of one who retreats rather than confronts any conflicts – even her actions with her son seem to be ones of retreat rather than confrontation.

    She’s gotta be getting the ole man’s SS.

    No, we talked about that. I asked her how long she had been married and told her that she may be able to get benefits through his SS. She said that no, she had not wanted to receive any government benefits because this would lead to intrusion in her life by “the authorities”. She said that it was only the “caseworker” who was helping her with her “medical treatments” (more clues?) who had finally told her that she could and should be collecting SS, and that this caseworker was going to help her apply and receive the benefits.


  17. BayBee said

    I’m wondering if if her son knows she’s back safe and sound.
    I belonged to an eastern rite Ruthenian (Carpatho-Russian) Catholic church (it’s not my heritage but it was the only eastern rite Catholic church around) and her explanation –it’s a confusing issue to explain–was accurate. If you are baptized into ANY church you can be fully a Catholic in the eastern rites (which are not Russian orthodox.) You do only need an “acknowledgement” from the other church.

  18. and Kim—you really must come on a fabric adventure with me. Oh the fun we’d have! I’ll show you were the best stuff is at dirt cheap prices. I try to go to the fabric district about once a month–it really is a fabric mega! It’s really hard to enjoy Joann’s once you’ve shopped the district.

    Well, and to be fair, it’s hard to shop at Joann’s once you’ve shopped at Michael’s – or Claudia’s in Florida. God in heaven how I miss Claudia’s. I did not know how spoiled I was with that place until I lost it. But Joann’s is the bologna of the fabric food pyramid. I like their yarn selection – but their fabric selection sucks rocks.

    But I would LOVE to go to Mood. It’s not even that I want to buy fabric there – because Fuck knows I could never afford it, and Fuck knows even more that I HAVE NO MORE ROOM FOR FABRIC – I just want to worship at the High Holy Temple that is Mood. I want to sleep there. I want to kneel at the altar of buttons and trims. I want to offer my sacrifice of a yard of silk chartreuse and be blessed by The High Holy Priestess Tim Gunn. I want to swim in the sequins and smell the bolts of leather. I want to feel the textures of the upholstery fabrics and I want to pee in their toilet.

    Mood to me is what the Temple in Salt Lake City is to Mormons, or what the dome of the rock is to Jews or what the Vatican is to Catholics. It is the center of my religion. And I really, really just want to worship. I don’t even need souveniers.


  19. Does she know that you’re taping her while she’s standing there talking away, or do you have it somehow concealed?

    Oh – no – she knows I’m taping her. I don’t hide the camera at all. You can see I swing it back and forth between her and Paul. She just doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. I don’t even know why she doesn’t have a problem – I know *I* would probably protest if I went to someone’s house and they pulled out a camcorder adn started taping – especially if they were obviously trying to get me “to talk”.

    But she has no problem with it.



    I don’t know if those picture are representative of *all* “russian villages” or if they specifically depict “russian gypsies” but I swear that could be like ZL’s family at a wedding. They all harken back to her “look”, her style of dress and even the inside decor of her house.

    VERY familiar.


  21. did I hear ZL call you “Kindy”? A name for “child”.

    She does call me that – I don’t know if it’s on the tape. She calls me several different “nicknames” – “akeem”, “kinder” (which I thought was German), something that sounds like “Zibil” – I don’t know what that means. I thought she was making a comment on my split personality and calling me Sybil. Sometimes she calls me “neighbor”.

    She always calls Paul “Pole”, though. Which I think is funny.


  22. nita said

    An interesting video, Kim. Obviously, whatever medications she is on are working. She seems to know she needs help, I recall your saying a while back that she was going to go to Canada to get help.

    Obviously, she’s found some good program in NYC. It’s a good thing she knows she needs this help. Not all people with such problems do, and fight treatment.

    I grew up in a little town in NJ which had many Russians. Our street was originally named Moscow Ave. There were streets nearby named Pushkin Ave., Dostoyevsky (sp?) Drive, and so on.

    There are three Russian churches in town. One is Russian Orthodox (with green onion domes), which follows the Greek Rite, the Russian Baptist Church, and the Byellorussian (sp?) church. Most likely, she is referring to the Orthodox church, since she spent time in Moscow!

    Fingers crossed that she keeps in touch with you over the months she will be gone. I’ll miss her.

  23. Lorraine said

    ROFL–try to find out what she means by Zibil. I did a translation search and zibil is “garbage”. Zebel is “dungheap”. I know some Russian guys who I helped get asylum several enturies ago and I’m going to give them a call. Find out if this word could ever be used as an endearment. Meantime ROFL.

    BTW those pics were of a Gypsy village in Russia.


  24. Lorraine said

    It occurs to me that because of these guys former status, I’m sure they would be willing to help you out with the language barrier. They had come to our are for an internationa Kayaking contest back in the 90’s, are identical twins and we helped them get asylum. Also Notre Dame is close to me and I know that they have Russians available.


  25. Sue (Canada) said

    Oh Kim….Man alive, this is better than TV. Poles hat, AWESOME !!! Creates a look like no other, thats for sure. Are those little ears on top…LMAO. I honestly dont think she comes from a “Gypsy” family, but she lived in a village from what I take and there are tons of darker complection and haired Ruskies…tons, look at half the NHL, LOL…. She is turning into quite the Gypsy for sure though. Answering “spring, March maybe…” to your question on her return, so nonchalantly though just kills. Like you said it isn’t even January yet. How I wish I could see what the fuck she does in the city or where she stays…the conversations, the “parties”. Ah well the mysteries that seround her keep us on our toes I guess. Wishing you and POLE (and four legged members of the family) a happy and healthy NEW year…and all bloggers of course. We get to start all over, YAY… I love that part. Cheers, to a great one.
    Sue (Toronto, CA)

  26. MyrnaTurner said

    If you put “kinder” and “zibil” together, you are beginning to approach the name “Kimberly.” Maybe that is what she is trying to say.

  27. Jenn said

    ZL is so thoughtful! Can’t wait to see what cute things you make with the fabric.

    Like you, I would really love to know about her relationship with her son and her finances. If her husband’s assets were left to her then it doesn’t make any sense that she needs her son’s permission to buy things. I just assumed that she didn’t want furniture but to find out she does and has been waiting for over a year is fucking mind boggling. She’s obviously intelligent and capable…oh ZL, what a mystery.

    And Kim, I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but Paul looks kind of sexy–funny hat and all!

  28. Sandy said

    ZL said Kinder or Kindy on the tape. I thought it was her way of trying to remember your name. But the “kinder” side made me think it was an endearment, even thought the word is German. Zibil is quite humorous. She tends to share thoughts outloud while having a conversation. There must be tons of stuff going on in her head. Perhaps she is thinking about the house in between other thoughts when using Zibil.

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