Cersei in Black (and white)

Thank you Liben!

Have you all been watching the magnificent costumes in Game of Thrones? Everyone is wearing black with winter having arrived. It is as hot as Hades in the subtropics so my title only refers to my Cersei hair color… Once again my hair has turned a magical new color that did not reflect the box but I quite like it. I have some lighter highlights in it and it gives my face some color. Liben is my friend who gifted me some wonderful new outfits that she no longer wears. The off white skirt pictured above still had the ticket on it and fits really well. I even have a bum for a change! My friend Cris gifted me the wonderful necklace, bracelet, earrings and ring set.

I think Cersei would love this jewelry – I certainly do.

Every time I wear this set, I have fond thoughts of both Cris and her mother, who owned the clip-on earrings and ring. The sheer black top is a Christmas gift from Cris, too – she gave me a gift card from a local boutique. How lucky I am to have such generous friends.

Black and White Old Navy dress in the sale worn with a light white jacket from Chico’s outlet. Funky studded sandals from JC Penney many seasons ago.

I don’t usually shop at Chico’s but their crazy sizing is wonderful. I am a size 0 in their vanity sizing… Unlike most places, we southern Texas folks put on summer weight because it is too dang hot to go outside and we can’t exercise. I have some pounds to lose so I finally bought an ‘undergarment'(keep reading to the end and don’t get excited).


This is a better shot of the little black and white dress – it cost just over $10 so I bought a spotted navy one and a pink/navy striped one.

Walgreen’s best!

I was browsing through Walgreen’s for toiletries when I spotted these summer dresses for $15. Teddy loves it so it has joined my collection. I am wearing a dragonfly necklace that I bought in Rice Village, a nice little shopping district in Houston close to Rice University.

Dragonfly necklace

Do you think they will send me some free ones now?

Finally you can see the delightful undergarment. Of course, I am not a large – I just need some breathing room in this humidity… I can’t stand Spandex and still have nightmares about my Nana’s flesh colored girdle that I had to help her get in (surely some Jesuits designed it)? This new ‘smoother’ is quite comfortable and holds things in right up to the rib cage. If I just did some exercise, like Helen Mirren, I would have a flat tummy and no wobbly bits. At least it gives Teddy something to grab onto!

Au revoir with love

Friends

I was going to write an obituary for a dear friend who is dying but then realized that I wanted to write a letter of love.  Many of my followers already know Terry aka Spearfruit.  It has been so long that I don’t know who followed who first or why but I do recall that I had an instant spark with him.  At the time I didn’t know if he was gay, straight or married but it was an innocent flirtation since I have Teddy. When I started browsing through his blog, I became intrigued by a deep sadness in his past and a complicated history.  On one occasion I noticed a comment from someone that crossed a line and asked something too private. Terry dealt with it in his usual gracious manner.  Secretly, I wanted to meet up with Terry, get him drunk and find out all the details!

We shared some trauma in our childhood and a battle with depression but I was so in awe of Terry’s capacity to try so hard to recover from an episode of mental illness.  He moved on with his life and eventually found the love of his life, Gary.  When Terry revealed this, I commented that I was so excited to have a new gay boyfriend and he asked me if he could be #1 gay boyfriend.  Terry, you will always be my #1 boyfriend.   One shocking blog revealed that he thought he had cancer and many of his followers, including me, told him to be more positive and wait for the results.  It was bladder cancer with a prognosis of 5 years or perhaps longer.  As the first few months progressed I knew in my heart that Terry’s time on this earth was limited.

Shortly after the diagnosis, Terry and Gary decided to sell their large house in Dallas and move into a RV so that they could travel to treatments, firstly in Pensacola and latterly in Tampa.  Gary is a veteran so he and his spouse can access healthcare at Veteran hospitals.  This was last August and I had an opportunity to take a short trip.  I considered visiting Terry and Gary in Pensacola but wondered if it might be too much, starting treatment, moving states and then trying to entertain Kerry.  My excuse was that the weather was better in Salt Lake City but I will always regret my decision (not making that or a later trip).

My other deep regrets are that I have taken total breaks from blogging and reading and not communicating with Terry.  There was no bad intent but I just needed to retreat during periods of ill health and depression.  At other times I was aware that I couldn’t soothe Terry although I really wanted to.  I looked at the comments of his many followers and wondered why I couldn’t say what was in my heart.  Most of all, I wish that I had just been supportive instead of offering advice.  Terry chose his own brave path through a very painful cancer but I was always urging him to take whatever medication would take the pain away.

If we had met, he would have known that my pragmatic stance on life is accompanied with many smiles and hugs.  My provocative flirting is genetic – my mum was cougar #1!  All of Terry’s followers know that Gary is the love of his life.  They married right after the diagnosis and he has been the best husband.  It is obvious from all the posts that Gary and Terry were meant for each other and I am so glad that they had years of fun, travelling and love.   There is a cultural divide as well.  Terry is from West Texas and I was brought up in Scotland.  Most Scots are forthright, even about death.  As a lapsed Catholic, I meander between longing for a heaven and not believing in one.  Terry’s postings and communications will be with me until the day I die – unless I get dementia?  Sorry, I couldn’t resist one little humorous comment.

Terry has lived an amazing, traumatic, joyful and intriguing life.  He is an example of how we should live for the moment and embrace all that the world has to offer us.  His blog is a wonderful mix of his love of ’70s music, photography, verse and memoir.  Please visit Spearfruit’s blog and you will cry over many posts, especially this one “cancer will take my life”.  There aren’t many people that have touched me as much as Terry.  Thank you, I love you and will be with you in spirit all the way to the dream world.

Stately and elegant

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

As I walked along this elegant boulevard, the Paseo de Montejo, in Merida, I felt like I was back in Madrid.  I imagine the Spanish conquistadors also wanted to recreate a feel of home although I believe the design was influenced by French boulevards.

This pastel avenue of sculptures was located right next to Merida Cathedral and was a wonderfully cool and artistic respite from the unrelenting heat.  Most people were not tourists so it was joyful to see residents enjoy their beautiful city.

These wonderful windows caught my eye – such a tranquil Sunday feel to the day.  Below is a close up of the detail.

There seems to be different coats of arms above each window.  My absolute favorite was the colonnades of the Plaza Grande which was also the original center of the Maya city of Tiho.

 

Andres Quintana Roo

I liked this vivid statue in Merida but I mostly took the photograph to showcase the colorful buildings behind.  It was only when I zoomed in on the image that I realized that this was Andrès Quintana Roo for whom the state is named.  He was born in Merida in 1787 and died in Mexico City in 1851.  Not only did he draft the Mexican Declaration of Independence but he was a liberal forward thinking politician whose roles included Secretary of State.

He had a Romeo and Juliet romance with his wife Leona.  Her family were Royalists so they ran away to get married.  Andrès’ father was part of a group called the Sanjuanistas who fought against native slavery and oppressive taxes to the Catholic Church.  Go Sanjuanistas!!  We sometimes forget that the USA is not the only country who participated in slavery.  There are many African Americans in Texas who have my Scottish last name and I have no doubt that there will be many native Mexicans who are called Ortega, my maiden name.  For all I know some of my native DNA might be Maya or from the Mexican region although I doubt it.

We recently had a false rumor around Houston that a statue of Sam Houston was going to be removed because he was a slave owner.  Enough already!  We don’t need statues of dictators such as Hitler but even George Washington owned slaves because it was the unacceptable norm of the day.  My great-great grandfather was a Confederate medic but I doubt he had much choice about his fate.  He used the experience to become a renowned doctor in Arkansas.  History is rarely sunshine and butterflies but we learn something from our mistakes.  I have a long line of ancestors named Sam and/or Houston because he (Sam Houston) was admired so much my family who have native heritage.  My father’s middle name is Houston.  I was meant to be here…

Back to Quintana Roo –in this state you can clearly see native heritage in the faces of residents.  Less Spanish, more Maya.   On one side of Andres’ statue was the church of Santa Ana.  The yellow towers made the red brick stand out. Look at those flame trees!

Church of Santa Ana

In another neighborhood, I was taken by the contrast of this yellow column against the red umbrellas.  Yellow seems to be a favorite color in Merida – so sunny and vibrant!

 

Sinister graveyard – los muertos

Three crucifixes

My good friend Victo Dolore recently posted one of her wonderful short pieces of fiction Post Pains. She asked if any of her readers felt something from a building. Since I am a certifiable ball of emotions and feelings, it happens to me all the time and despite the candy colored buildings of my last post Colorful Merida, the graveyard (pictured above) made the hair on the back of my neck rise. There is something about the bells and the three crucifixes that seems so sinister. It was naturally shaded so that heightened the effect. Maybe it was because Merida Cathedral was once a Maya temple?

The interior of the Cathedral was somberly beautiful but there was no color which is unusual in churches here or in Mexico.  Even the nuns were wearing off white habits.  Is it the gray of the limestone that bothers me?

Limestone church and a local with her slippers on? Que?

Perhaps it is those little slits for windows (perfect in a heatwave) that upsets me?

Finally, why do I take most of my photographs from a weird angle?  I have to straighten most of them but it truly reflects what this photographer sees.  My thinking is skewed because of a mental illness, as is my take on life.  It is not always negative, however, and like most people I like to be scared (a little).  Boo!

 

Colorful Merida

San Juan de Dios

Despite my shortened trip to Mérida, I was quite enchanted by the city. They enjoy using color as you can see in the old building above. I tried to research it and I think it may have been a hospital.
The more recently renovated buildings included this lovely candy colored street (below) leading up to Mérida Cathedral.


I particularly like the dappled sunshine on this pink bar and restaurant (below). You can see some of the cyclists meandering around the hot streets.



This busy little colored row of streets was part of the Barrio of Santa Lucia. I love the ‘Muerte’ lady.

…and then God smote me

WHY IS THE STEP SO HIGH???

I should have put some money in the collection plate but I always reverse when there are nuns. So, now the power is off for at least a day or two at my first wonderful hacienda. I skipped down the pavement to the second hacienda which still had power. As we walked into the entryway I was pleased to see that it was almost a mirror image of the first hotel; it was actually rated more highly. The manager showed me the first room available but it was incredibly dark with very high ceilings – something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie, perhaps? It was also a smoker’s room. My nose started to wrinkle with disappointment and they showed me the only other room. It too was smoky and similar to the first one – it’s only advantage was a dark window looking onto the pool at another room like the first perfect one. There were no more rooms available. Sigh.

I sadly drooped back to my first room with some portable lights so that I could pack my bag. By this time, my clothes were soaked through for the third time with the intense heat and humidity. After I moved into sinister room #2, I had another shower and decided to have a nap in bed. I kept looking up into the ceiling beams and seeing ‘things’. They were probably dead cicadas or spiders but I was now on an imagination roll. As I lay in bed, I thought about what I could do.

• I could try to find another hotel but now the WiFi was out and it was too hot to wander about
• I could visit the wonderful museum with Maya artifacts
• I could go to the fancy shopping mall
• I could take the bus to Progreso, a seaside resort, but it was 3 hours on the bus.
• I could take a guided tour in a car to one of the ruins/cenote

These were all part of my original plan but I was feeling really sick with the heat and what latterly turned out to be virus (we had a flu virus in Houston). What did I really want to do? Go home was the simple answer but given that I had just done something similar in Puerto Vallarta, I was wondering if I was over-reacting. I tried to self-diagnose and my conclusion was that I was not anxious just fed up. Finally, I decided to go on one last walkabout to get some snacks from the local shop. My room was so dark that I hadn’t realized that the sky was ominous. I took two steps outside and then changed my mind and came back into the hotel. Within minutes a tropical thunderstorm had started with flash flooding. I looked with fascination as the pool started to overflow and then asked if I could use the phone to speak to United Airlines in Mexico.

The representative was very helpful but yet again United screwed me again with a $200 change fee to go home the next day even though the flight was not full. The night staff looked upset that I was leaving but I think they understood. After the phone call, I arranged for a wake-up call at 4 am (one early flight a day from Mérida). One young man working at the hotel reminded me of Agador Spartacus in the Birdcage movie but he was wearing shoes. He offered me a drink and brought me a plate of lovely snacks. Agador explained in halting English that the crackers were like communion wafers and covered in delicious tomato and avocado salsas. Since I had gone to bed at 6 pm, I was fully awake at 2 am. That was fortunate because the night porter slept through his alarm. I could see the taxi driver through the gap in the door but struggled to unlock the big old door. Finally, the porter came running out half-dressed and bid me Adios!

When I got to the airport, there were no United representatives at the check-in desk… The cleaning staff explained that it didn’t open for another hour even though I had been told to be there precisely three hours before departure. Teddy was waiting anxiously for me at immigration in Houston but seemed relieved that my mood was fine. So that concludes the disastrous trip to Quito Mérida but I will post some lovely photographs next week and I will definitely return…

One final look at my perfect room #1 with the red patio doors…