Hope

A little boy repairing the damaged headstones Picture courtesy of the Atlantic Press

A little boy repairing the damaged headstones
Picture courtesy of the Atlantic Press

Two news stories made me have hope for my country.  The image above is of a little boy cleaning a Jewish headstone at the cemetery in Missouri.  Many of the headstones had been desecrated in a hate crime.  A Muslim activist group has raised over $100,000 dollars to repair the damage.  One Jewish lady interviewed on CNN intimated that the various bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers were damaging to the Jewish communities psyche.  Who is doing it?  I am pretty certain that white supremacists are at fault and hoping that the Muslim community is blamed.

This sacrilege got front page news, as it should but just a week ago, the town mosque in Victoria, Texas burned to the ground.  At this stage they don’t know if it was arson or an electrical fire.  The Rabbi handed over the keys of the synagogue to his friend, the Imam, so that the worshippers would have somewhere to pray.  Other Christian churches followed with similar offers.  A crowd-funding effort has raised over $850,000 to rebuild the mosque.

Victoria, TX Mosque Picture courtesy of ABC 13 news

Victoria, TX Mosque
Picture courtesy of ABC 13 news

All of our hearts should be singing at these kind acts following at least one hate crime.  The world looks at us tentatively with current political tensions very high.  Are we Russia’s friend or not?  I hope we treat them with the same suspicion that we have always done, along with any other state that wages war or terrorism on innocent people.  It feels as though people who have been bigoted and racist in private are emboldened to come out from their filthy shadows.

I was the victim of a white on white hateful moment this past Sunday.  I was sitting at the traffic lights waiting for them to turn.  A truck screamed past me on the left turnaround lane and the passenger was shouting filthy cuss words at me whilst giving me the finger.  Initially, I had no idea why until Teddy explained that he had been in the inside right lane wanting to cross over but I was a couple of feet away from the car in front.   Why didn’t he beep or flash and I could have moved up?  He looked just like you would imagine, white skinhead with tattoos – just as well he didn’t know I tick the Hispanic box, eh?

As I was walking today, I tried to assess my reaction to this.  Firstly, I was shocked because I have never been the recipient of such undeserved rage in the place I live. Then I was angry – really angry.  I started to imagine what I would have liked to have done.  If we had been in a carpark, I would have gone straight up to him and told him how disgusting his behavior was.  If he attempted to hit me, I would have kicked him in the testicles to down him and then would have beaten his face until it was bloody.  I am just an ordinary person who has self-defense skills and I have had to defend myself with violence on a couple of occasions.  Mostly, I just dream about Barbie dolls or Syrian limo drivers.

This is what happens when you live in a hateful society.  Be kind to your friends and neighbors, give a stranger a smile.

 

 

 

My secret pleasure…

BARBIES!

BARBIES!

Get your minds out of the gutters – it’s Barbies! One of my secret wishes was to win the lottery and then have a (small) room full of Barbies, antique and new. My desire was triggered this year by an article in Time magazine profiling a new set of Barbies that are curvy, petite, tall and generally different. They come in a variety of ethnicities and my heart started pounding.

Barbie #25

Barbie #25

When I was a child, an aunt from California sent me a Francie. She was Barbie’s friend and like me, she had dark curly hair and eyes. She came with a wardrobe full of snazzy clothes and shoes. I was in heaven. Barbie’s were not as popular in the UK and NOBODY had a Francie! In the packaging was a little catalog for other Barbie friends. One of them was Diahann Carrol (link courtesy of Amazon), the first African American doll I had ever seen. I longed for my aunt to read my mind and send me one but I think she had sent Francie because our family is Hispanic. My favorite of Francie’s outfits was a black chiffon midi skirt with white blouse. When I was 19 I bought an expensive black chiffon midi skirt exactly the same. This was money intended for law books but I HAD to have the skirt…

Barbie #32

Barbie #32

The Time article focused on the more realistic aspects of these new dolls and as much as I appreciate this, I never thought that skinny Barbie with tiny feet was real. Later my mum bought me a real Barbie at great cost with beautiful long straight copper hair. I have mentioned my other fetish before – scissors! I was only allowed plastic scissors until I was 12 because of my penchant for cutting doll’s hair and mum’s best lingerie. Despite all that, I could not resist cutting the long copper hair. My mum was so disappointed in me. I was sad that she had a pixie crop but it felt SO good. I wonder what Freud would make of all this.

Back to the present, I was in Walmart and saw Doll #32 and Doll#25. I just had to have them. There were a few adults looking for gifts (the children were all transfixed by Frozen dolls) and I helped a girl find a red-headed doll for her niece. Finally we found the perfect one wearing a soccer outfit. I have thought really hard about why I chose the dolls I did. Their figure was of no consequence but their hair and skin tone, along with clothes influenced my choice. After Christmas, I opened them and the first thing I noticed was that Doll #32’s lovely long hair was stuck with glue to the box. Sacrilege! I combed it out and then – wait for it – trimmed the knotted section off. Then I tied her hair back and tried to plait it.

barbie-32

Doll #25’s hair was even more upsetting. Her hair looked like it was pulled up but you couldn’t comb it without ruining it. The final straw was discovering that neither of them had any underwear on. My Nana speaks through me… The pleasure was short-lived and I have placed them perfectly back in their boxes to give to charity. At least one of them has better hair than she started with. The final conundrum was why are they numbered and not named? I think they are really aimed at adults, collectors, gay men and mentally ill women. My act of kindness is to name them, #25 is Winter and #32 is Autumn.

Random moments of happiness

mountain-laurel

Mountain Laurel

I am struggling to write and read just now. Many apologies to all my wonderful followers and those I follow for being absent. I have talked about my chronic anxiety and depression many times so no need for any further explanation. Between sad bouts, I experience moments of great happiness, for which I am thankful or life would not be worth living. These are some of my recent moments.

Mountain Laurel

Close up of mountain laurel blossom

Close up of mountain laurel blossom

My lovely neighbor with green fingers gifted me this tree a couple of years ago because it wouldn’t thrive in her garden. I was very anxious because my fingers are not green (blackish) and then this year we had flood, excessive heat and finally a terrible cold snap. Some of my tropical plants died but the lovely Laurel has new growth and exquisite lavender flowers. They have an intense fragrance which my neighbor could smell as she approached my house. I now just buy plants and ask my gardener to place them in the right spot – it is working, so far…

The Dead Grasshopper

dead-grasshopper
This poor little green person probably did not survive the hard frost and fell out of our house planks. He was perfectly preserved and so green. Normally these noisy critters frighten me because of how they jump but I do like their songs. It was fun to really examine his little body and hold it. There truly is beauty in death. After I took his photograph, I left it on the rock. When I went outside later, some lucky bird had eaten a freeze dried snack. I wonder if she thought, “they are usually juicier than that?”

The Tulle Filled Nest

Romantic front door

Romantic front door

This is a photograph of my front door decorated for Valentine’s Day. My Mountain Laurel neighbor loves to decorate her presents with ribbons and tulle – almost too nice to open. I keep them to use myself and had created a bow with pink and white tulle sitting atop the beads. We had a windy day and suddenly the bow was gone. A squirrel or bird probably has a pink tulle lined crib and I just smile at the thought. Maybe they also had the freeze dried snack…

The Syrian limo driver

During my recent contract work, I was paired with a Syrian-American limo driver. He was courteous, respectful, articulate and charming. You probably expect me to say something about executive orders and how nice Middle Eastern people are but the truth is he was Cougar Eye Candy. I am purring softly as I write this. He was tall, slim and handsome with dark hair, white skin and the most exquisite grey/green/blue eyes with long black eyelashes. I flirted outrageously in Arabic and English, wondering what I would have done with him were I 30 years younger…

The Spanish Translation

In a previous post, I talked about the coffee barista from Jerusalem who is Muslim. He works at my local Argentinean/Venezuelan Café. Those two sentences somehow encapsulate the interesting diversity of Houston. This week I went in for my usual cappuccino and he was serving on his own. The lady in front of me could only speak Spanish and although coffee guy looks Hispanic, he can’t speak it. I offered to translate and I think I got three beef empanadas correct. The lady looked Latino/Indio and was utterly confused by the blonde Texan lady translating to the ‘Spanish’ guy. It’s a wonderful world.

More happy moments to come…

Sexy Valentine’s Day

heartsbook

As many of you know from a previous post Vajazzling, I have had medical treatment for a condition called vaginal atrophy. I suppose you could think of it as female sexual dysfunction – painful sex being one symptom. As you enter into menopause your skin, everywhere, ages, including down there… One of the ways to treat this is with estrogen cream applied to the area but it gives me an upset tummy. A couple of years ago I underwent privately paid laser treatment named rather ludicrously Mona Lisa Touch. It did help but was unable to treat the outer tissues which are just as fragile. I must be one of very few people that asked their boss if they could wear a skirt because pants are too uncomfortable.

It was obvious to me that I needed a second treatment and started researching. I discovered a gynecologist in my area offering a new treatment called THERMIva (if you click on the red link it takes you to a randomly chosen website offering the service). Instead of a laser this treatment uses radio frequency to heat and rejuvenate the tissues in much the same way as Ultherapy works on your face. I was assured that there was no downtime and clients had gone straight home to have sex with their husbands. It was a little uncomfortable for me but I was full of hope.

Essentially it is like having sex with a medical device and my body reacted the same way that it always does. The nest of bacteria that lives down there immediately reacted and I knew within hours that I had a urinary tract infection. I have low dose antibiotics to use immediately after sex and I took a double dose. I managed to kill it but was still in discomfort because a yeast infection had decided to join the party. Two Diflucan tablets later and it finally subsided somewhat.

Teddy and Bunny’s love life has been in decline recently for endless reasons. The funniest was when my husband asked me to look at his bottom. Since I had already given him a yeast infection that’s what I assumed it was. Brief segue to Teddy trying to explain to the pharmacist that the cream for vaginal use ONLY was for him – how I laughed! Back to his bottom – I knew immediately that it was ringworm which the doctor confirmed. Yes, I too wondered WTF? He probably got it when he was doing yard work. There are certainly enough critters visiting for that to be a possibility. Bunny wouldn’t let Teddy come anywhere near him since ringworm is contagious – great vacation in Puerto Vallarta!

Anyway, back to this Valentine’s weekend. Enough alcohol had been imbibed for Bunny to be brave enough to test out her newly refurbished hoo-ha. I felt a bit like a virgin but still had a fun time. My body reacted like it normally does so I rushed to get the antibiotics but I think I might have skipped an infection. Yay! I have an appointment with my doctor this week to check things out. When I was 19, I never thought life would be this complicated. The doctor asked me if I would consider helping to write a research paper about how THERMIva can help woman who can neither have laser or hormone treatment after cancer treatment. She quite rightly pointed out that this is a hidden problem that few woman talk about and that the THERMIva can help with bladder dysfunction also.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY and its TMI Tuesday!

The Aftermath…

football

You probably think I am writing about the election but I am referring to the Super Bowl Finale in Houston, Texas. I work for a variety of companies who organize events here and occasionally am contracted to meet and greet VIPs at the airport. Well this year there was so much work for everyone and from all accounts visitors loved the welcome they received in Houston.

It is a friendly, if ugly as a bug, city and the weather was damn near perfect. The Bostonians must have thought they were in Mexico! One day I worked a 13 hour shift in every terminal (there are 5) and on the drive home, couldn’t remember which foot worked the brake or accelerator. Muscle memory kicked in… There were so many funny moments. Volunteering is very popular in Houston and everyone was represented by ethnicity, disability, age and gender. After 13 hours of little girls cheer-leading at the terminals, I and my colleagues had nightmares about H O U S T O N!!! The older volunteers were just as enthusiastic. I was meeting a VIP coming from Mexico and the volunteers had lined up to greet them, shouting welcome and giving out free maps (with discounts). Watching the Mexican flight, I was curious about the reaction – head down, no thank you – until I realized that they probably thought they were timeshare vendors! As we all know, football is really soccer or ‘futbol’… The American version is based on a very rough Irish game. Oh, I can hear the boos over the internet!

At another terminal, I nearly got a new husband. A handsome silver fox came in with a Stetson, jeans and a BIG belt buckle. I couldn’t resist asking him, “Are you a genuine cowboy?” “Why, yes ma’am, I am”, he responded while doffing his Stetson. We started talking (he was not my VIP) and I found out that he had a farm in East Texas. “Oh”, I said excitedly, “Do you have Brahmins or Longhorns?” By then he had caught the Scottish accent and you could see that I had become his ideal woman. Blonde, with an accent and loves cattle. Given the argument I had with Teddy this last week, I should have taken his card. I am just jesting – 13 hour shifts make one testy…

Like every major city, immigrants come and join in whatever business their countrymen have gone into. After the WWII in Scotland, many Polish people came and set up as cobblers. Jews became tailors and Italians opened cafes. In Houston, Iranian and Iraqi immigrants often become limo drivers. They had all been chatting with me over the days and one Iraqi driver said hello. His cheeky friend asked why I hadn’t said hello to him, so I responded, “Salam Alaikum”. He then accused me of profiling him and we all fell about laughing. It was a light moment in an otherwise somber week at airports. This week I saw some Patriot fans heading home and asked them if they had enjoyed their visit. Their eyes lit up and they said, “Houston is AWESOME!” I laughed, bid them farewell and thought, ‘so you got laid, too’.

Writer’s anxiety

Yellow shrimp plant

Yellow shrimp plant

My current life and the geopolitical world have left me lost for words. I have been feeling anxious about everything, which is part of my diagnosis, and nightmares have exhausted me. There is a short break before I start the Super Bowl work then I will stop feeling anxious because of focus and tiredness. Sometimes writing lifts me up or helps ease anxiety but despite taking more medication, I am like a cat on a hot tin roof, yawning with insomnia.

red-spike

I have peppered this short post with some final photos from Puerto Vallarta – just to take the edge of my writing. I work alongside people who have immigrated from Iran and Iraq and wonder if their American dream feels as ephemeral as mine. Even at the shops, people are talking in hushed tones about executive orders and I don’t know if they feel happy or afraid. When we went to Puerto Vallarta, we were seriously considering a retirement home somewhere in Mexico but now I doubt that they would want us. Do you think I have enough Mexican ancestors to request entry? Should I print out my Ancestry family tree?

umbrellas

Almost every week I soothe people whose relatives have been detained at immigration. It is usually something relatively minor such as an incorrect visa or a similar name. We were stuck in Egypt until the very last minute, whilst my husband’s employer desperately tried to get a work visa for him to go to the USA. I remember being at the airport in Cairo, wondering if they were going to accept our cats’ paperwork or my husband’s. I have an American passport, so I could go anytime. Nonetheless, it was terrifying, especially since it was during Gulf War II.

yellow-blossom

I can support passengers and myself by being as helpful as always. A smile can work wonders, for the recipient and the person feeling depressed.