Germany or Texas?

It is Texas, of course, Tomball to be precise!  The closest I have been to Germany was Frankfurt airport in the middle of the night  but there is a distinct German feel to our local area.  We live north of Houston and in the past it was home to German settlers who farmed the area.  Most of the local roads are German or some corruption of such.  The Kuykendahl Road has been mangled into submission by locals who call it Kirkendall.  I think I pronounce it slightly better with my Scottish drawl but am constantly corrected.☹ To be honest I pronounce most things better…

Teddy was off last Friday and we decided to go to Tomball for lunch.  When we first moved here it was even more German, with many descendants of the original settlers.  Most of them arrived in the late 1800’s by ship to Galveston, TX.  There is a Lutheran High School and a sweet little Main Street that has been kept intact.  It slumbered during the recession but now it is vibrant with new restaurants and antique shops.  To our surprise, they were setting up for the spring German festival.

One of our favorite restaurants was empty because it was difficult to maneuver through the vendors trucks and equipment.  America and Texas, to be frank, has a terrible reputation for food.  Some of that criticism is worthy when you look at the amount of fast food franchises.  Life is changing, however, and below you can see the freshest local blackened catfish served with sauteed vegetables.  Just a touch of butter made it delicious.

Blackened catfish with sauteed vegetables

The restaurant was originally a meat locker and the original signs are intact.  The German flags were just for the festival.

 

Teddy and Bunny

We sadly declined to eat the apple cobbler and wandered outside to see what was going on.  My eyes were immediately drawn to a petting zoo from a local farm.  Oh how I love goats!  I would have some but they are little gremlins, always getting into trouble.

Isn’t he perfect. Look at his tiny little horns!

Look at those ears! They are fat little goats.

I was surprised at the amount of goat products in Texas but I think there was some money benefit to having goats at one point and now we all love goat cheese.  Goat’s milk – gaaaaa!

Loved this shot – the water is just a few inches deep.  It gets so hot in the summer here that I guess some liquored locals took the water!  Finally, a happy Teddy is enjoying a flight of local German style craft beer.  I despaired of the regular beer in Texas when we arrived but thank goodness for the current craze of craft beer!  Decent European style beer at last.  We also have some very good wine, vodka and bourbon now.  Moonshine too – that will get you swimming!.

Advertisements

Dancing, donating and dithering

Tree pollen means squinting eyes and no eye make-up…

Look at my new Retro jeans – took me straight back to the 70’s drunkenly trying to unbutton jeans in a disco.  I bought them in Walmart for full price because they fit so well.

These are my azaleas in full bloom so spring is here in SE Texas (it would be summer north of the Wall).  When the azaleas were first planted, they were exactly the same bright pink but I think the soil around one has changed because of its proximity to a pine tree.  The purplish one is underneath our Live Oak.  Isn’t nature wonderful?

Yesterday was a fun day!  I went to my local thrift shop and snagged a coral jean jacket, apple green shirt and brand new faux fur vest – all for $3.  That’s right, $1 each.  They were playing 70’s funk music and the girl behind checking was grooving on down so I joined her, swaying the hips.  She asked where I got my cute skirt and laughed when I revealed it was from Forever 51 21.  Then I taught her how to say Good Morning in Arabic (this segued naturally from a comment about my accent) and I think that’s why I got such an amazing bargain.  I also donated a beautiful quilt so it all works out.

The day before, I was shopping unhappily in Burlington because a gift card was burning a hole in my frontal lobe.  The shop was gigantic but I couldn’t find anything decent.  I noticed a little Central American girl looking loudly for “Papi!” I saw him in menswear and said to the little girl, “Papi, alli!”  Dad placated her but then she ran off wailing “Mami!” who was hiding elsewhere.  I understood their pain…

The previous week I had gone to a Premium outlet out of town, again because another bloody gift card was creating mental chaos.  I went into one store to get some stuff for Ted and was helped by a man?  He was very attractive, with long pink dreads which coordinated with his cute little white wool shorts and sweater and long fuchsia jacket.  His long black legs went on forever with size 11 pink pumps.  I have no judgment, just curiosity, especially since he didn’t have fake boobs.  Then I saw him helping a Mexican man who, by his reaction, thought the assistant was a woman.  Life is interesting these days.

To top my shopping mania, I browsed through Macy’s after the thrift store snag.  At the clearance racks I came across two black ladies getting on down with some more 70’s funk (is there a musical plot in our forest?) so I started dancing with them.  Why not?  The world has gone mad with such sadness in New Zealand.  May they rest in peace.

On a lighter final note, we bought Toffee a new knitted catnip toy at the weekend.  I forgot it was in my purse but delighted Toffee with a new toy.  She rolled and purred.  Then she made a new LOUD vocalization which sounded a little like “I have done the stinkiest poo” but there was a note of elation.  We think it was meant to be Captain America bird but since Toffee is from Egypt he has a new name every day –

  • Captain Ahmed
  • Captain Amun
  • Captain Ali
  • Captain Azim
  • Captain Abdul

I could go on and on but that’s exactly what this post is – a quirky Kerry rambling.  For clarity, I am petering off my anti-depressants because of side-effects and under the care of my psychiatrists.  Let’s just say I am a little ‘happy’ and ‘tense’ all at the same time.  Teddy thinks it is an alluring combination!

 

The Rocking Stones of Auchmaliddie

Last week I was in Texas, minding my own business, when I commented on Ailish Sinclair’s site about Standing Stones in Scotland. I told her that I remembered a beautiful white quartz recumbent stone in the field next to our rented cottage near New Deer in Scotland. At the time, the site was barely noted historically but via Ailish I discovered that they are two of the Rocking Stones of Auchmaliddie.  It was a strange moment, like the notorious series Outlander, but much cooler. I was instantly transported back to the prettiest house we have ever lived in with so many happy memories.

Puss, the hunter, at the cottage

For all the non-Scots, the Scottish Standing Stones were believed to be constructed by the Pictish people or their precursors, mostly in the North East of Scotland starting in Neolithic times. Stonehenge is a magnificent example of a similar but much bigger Standing Circle. They are found all over the south west of England, Wales, Brittany and Scotland. The people of those areas were among the earliest tribes in Britain. Not much is known about the Picts and their written language was Runic so there is a limit to our understanding. The Gaelic people were the next settlers and there language overtook the Pictish one. Certain names date back to the Picts and you can recognize them by their prefix – Aberdeen and Pitmedden are two examples. By contrast Auchmaliddie has a Gaelic root. The Picts’ name for Scotland was Alba.

We were renting the cottage at Auchmaliddie while our new house was being built in a neighboring village. Although we had been living in a hamlet previously, this was right out in the Boonies. I had to persuade the farmer to allow us to rent as the previous tenants with dogs had really damaged the cottage. As soon as we moved in, I wished we could have bought this sweet cottage instead of our new bungalow. It was blissfully quiet with gentle lowing of the cattle. That summer was particularly warm so we didn’t realize how cold and damp the cottage was. It was so hot that we had to leave the bedroom window open (that doesn’t happen in the North East of Scotland because winter is always coming beyond the wall).

Our three cats had rarely been allowed out in our last house as we were on an arterial road. At the cottage they could roam free. Pippy, our difficult cat, loved to climb out the open bedroom window, scamper down the tree and sleep with the dairy cows in the barn at the neighbor’s dairy farm. There were a glut of voles (in the US they are called meadow mice) that year and even our tooth challenged baby Puss caught one. I have a funny memory of Teddy chasing her in circles around the cottage to make her drop the vole. We had rescued Puss the year previously – she was feral and full of worms. It took so long to get her healthy that Ted was determined that she drop the dratted worm infested vole. On the way back from one of the circuits, I noticed that Puss was voleless. Cleverly, she had dropped the vole in the potato patch. Teddy searched futilely for the now deceased vole but Puss found it later and ate it much to Teddy’s disgust. He gets all OCD about parasites… wuss.

I remember when we discovered the Rocking Stones on a summer evening walk to the next field at the top of the hill. The sparkling white of the quartz recumbent stone was otherworldly. Bronze age or Neolithic folks had celebrated or worshiped on this very spot and could see the next set of Standing Stones at Aikey Brae from the summit. My first secret thought was that blood sacrifices would look spectacular on the white stone. There was no record that they did that but it was the first hint of my native Mexican blood running thought me, perhaps?? I thank Ailish for sparking a long lost memory and inspiring a series of blogs set at the cottage.  As far as I know, I did not know Ailish in Scotland even though we lived just miles apart. It is a marvelous small world.

A Brown Study

This would have been a great selfie if I had polished the mirror properly… 😁 A brown study describes my mood and outfit.  I have been on a health kick since the New Year and have lost enough weight to wear my favorite brown winter outfit.  The Moto jacket and dress are about 7 years old?  The jacket is by INC and dress by Max Studio via Nordstrom’s Rak.  Unusually, I paid full price for the jacket (just loved it) and eventually the Pleather started to wear on the collar.  I was so reluctant to give it away that I ordered an inexpensive fur wrap from Amazon and got my dressmaker to attach it to the original collar.  When I wore it this week, I got a few compliments so remember to recycle your wardrobe.

The dress is a knitted mystery fabric – it has washed well for 7 years.  It is a little figure hugging and shows some cleavage but I think I can still rock it!  Jamie Lee Curtis inspires me by continuing to look after her figure at our age.  Age is just a number and I am trying to forget that I will be 59 in a few months – eek!

Silvery pixie, fur ball and furry slippers

Oh oh! Look at all that silver in my new pixie cut! I think I will embrace it for now but expect another blog with some wacky hair color as I get bored… This blog should probably come under the heading ‘another quirky Kerry rambling’.

When I was photographing the pelicans at the containment pond, I discovered a huge fur ball (or possibly scat).

Was it a bobcat, a coyote or the Great Horned owl? I would really like to have poked around in it for clues but that sort of weird behavior upsets Teddy… I am not ready to be put in a home, please wait until I have to wear diapers.  It won’t be long.

Speaking of weird behavior, I was driving Teddy to brunch as I do every Saturday, when I noticed a brand new sports car alongside me with an offensive sticker. Let’s just say that he probably doesn’t like folks south of the border. They have the same problem in Scotland…😁 As we stopped at traffic lights, I edged closer so that I could peer at the driver. I did it twice to get a good look and he was a Caucasian with a Hezbollah beard. Once he realized I was staring, he started to get nervous. At the next lights I decided to have fun and rolled down my windows. By chance, I had been playing some Spanish hip-hop in the car and turned it up as loud as it could go (pretty loud in my coupe). When the lights went red, he raced off like a bat out of hell with my cackling in his ears. Teddy just shook his head.

A few days later, I was waiting in a line at the lights when I noticed a lady screech to a halt beside me. Her side panel was already beaten in. She emerged from the car like a Latino mountain woman, wearing a large red plaid sheet shirt and black furry slippers. Then she ran up to the perp’s car in front (who presumably had cut her up) and shook her fist, yelling something. She stomped back to her car, or as much as you can stomp in furry slippers, and reached into the car. Uh oh! Was she reaching for an AK-47? It was just her pink shimmery phone to take photos of the perp’s licence plate. Inside I was saying, “You go girl!” because I am sick to death of impatient, disrespectful drivers. This is Texas – drive friendly folks (or at least funny). 🤠

The Pelicans are back!

Every year our street waits with eager anticipation for our visit from the white pelicans. We live in the middle of a forest so pelicans aren’t a regular sight. There is a well stocked containment pond at the end of our street which provides the pod of pelicans with some R&R on their long journey from The Gulf of Mexico to as far as Canada. They are American white Pelicans but as you can see from the image, they have dark feathers underneath.

This is the best shot I could get up close and you can see their lovely yellow beaks. They are astonishingly white and look like fluffy cotton balls on the lake. A regular white egret was keeping it’s distance from the much larger birds. They fill up their beaks with water and fish and then filter out the water. The pod gather closely to herd the little fishies.


Sporty Spicy Valentine

I haven’t posted anything on fashion for a while and this is a poor offering… This outfit has adorned my ‘sporty’ body for two days, thus the ‘spicy’ description. Yesterday Teddy came home, admired the leggings and felt my bum. Rather than change the routine for 36 years, I remarked, “Don’t touch what you can’t afford”. Hilarity ensued.

I am having some motion problems with fingers and toes, so clumsily opened a packet of orange Metamucil drink which I spilled all over the blue top. Coming from a generation that still had weekly baths, I just shook it off and wore it this morning. For a moment I wondered if I should change before going to the mall but couldn’t be arsed, in the Irish vernacular. While browsing in a very high end boutique, not one but two of the store assistants asked me where I got my leggings.

I could have muttered something about Lululemon but chose to tell the truth. They were snagged at the local supermarket for a few dollars, the sweater was also a few dollars in Old Navy’s super sale. The expensive Nike’s came from the outlet store. I walked from the store with my head held high, vaguely wafting the citrus scent of Metamucil.

Stopping at Nordstrom’s for my usual coffee, my eye was caught by two businessmen speaking an unfamiliar Spanish dialect. I asked them where they were from – Chile! They were asking the barista the origin of the expresso they ordered – no self-respecting Texan would ever do that… We only drink expresso in Houston to keep us awake on long shifts.

My dining table is covered in an array of lovely pink wrapped gifts from girlfriends. Valentine’s Day has become a Hallmark occasion but isn’t it lovely to celebrate the love of friendship with a handmade gift or card?

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!!