2020, eh?

pink hue

The jury’s out but so far 2020 has been less than good.  Catastrophic world news has saddened me but I hope February is better for us all.

On a much lighter note, Teddy noted that our water bill was higher than normal during September and October before the sprinkler system was turned off.  He worried the problem to death until I said I would use a hose in 2020.  He completely ignored that we live in a bubble of oil and gas, I work at an airport so should have Flygskam/flight shame  and we drive two large but old Coupés with little or no public transport available.  What’s a little water – Lord knows enough rain has fallen in Houston??  I jest, of course, and am scrupulous in using water efficiently.  Last month we used $24 of water so keep downwind of us…

Then our dishwasher (15½ years old) starting making death rattles – our appliance guy said he couldn’t repair any of our old stuff anymore.  Our microwave is rusty, also.  Once I started researching models and prices, I realized it would be cost efficient to replace almost everything (and pay for them to be recycled to avoid new appliance shame/Ny apparat skam).  Thank goodness the laundry is fine and the oven looks brand new because I don’t use it.  When I was young, we had to get a new gas fire for the living room.  There were no savings because my mum was a mentally ill alcoholic on disability.  She bought it on HP and worried about every payment.  That is why I have scrimped and saved our whole lives.

My girlfriend in Scotland had a similar situation with a dangerous gas fire in her bedroom when we were school girls.  She only discovered it was really leaking carbon monoxide when two of us left her room and fell over.  I guess it could have been much worse??  We shared the experience of neglectful alcoholic parents but can still laugh about some of it.  On that note, I have stopped drinking alcohol (until I start again).  I would really like to stop completely but I know myself.  Teddy and I shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio a few days ago and I still feel like I was hit by a bus – or I have a virus!!!!

I had a huge contract job with a manifest that was inches deep – and thousands of clients came from all over the world.  By the third day, I could see that I had feet but could no longer feel them.  Ever loving Teddy kindly drove me to work on the third day.  I can tell that my mood is ‘interesting’ as my hair has been PINK, rose gold and now boring dark blonde, all in one month.

Finally, I was completely shocked by a ‘#MeToo situation’ that had passed me by.  When I worked in Scotland, Alex Salmond, the first Minister of Scotland lived in the next village.  I had met him on several occasions, some connected to my work with local communities.  He seemed utterly charming although I didn’t agree with his politics.  Last week, I noticed in the news that his trial for sexual assault against a variety of women is starting in March.  It is not often that you know the celebrity predators (allegedly) but I am shocked – he didn’t seem the type.  My American friend asked me if he had predated me but luckily I was fat with dark hair then, so flew underneath most men’s radar.

Life is absurd, isn’t it?  One minute you narrowly dodge death by leaky gas fire, the next you avoid a predator’s attention by eating too much crap.  Got to keep laughing…😁

 

The Grinch won’t leave!

What is it about the holidays?  My mental health is better than it has been in months but still the festive season pushes all my buttons.  I think I used to enjoy Christmas but at some point it just became stressful.  It was better when there was very little money in our lives.  Presents were much needed and usually a delight – despite a white and brown polyester dressing gown that I had to wear for years…  In later years my late crazy mother got her knickers in a twist about the varieties of Christmas puddings and drove her daughter nuts trying to find the PERFECT one.  Remember when there was only one or you made your own?

As my mental health was improving during fall, I got very busy creating postcards from Teddy’s beautiful images.  Then I started on my handmade soaps and enjoyed the process.  I wrapped them prettily and gifted them to everyone.  It backfired somewhat as I made some friends feel that they had to reciprocate.  The true joy is in giving with no expectations.

Then Teddy got some unanticipated leave from his new job and we went to Fredericksburg for Christmas, possibly the most famous German town in central Texas Hill Country.  It was really beautifully decorated and the weather was fantastic – photos to follow.  Despite enjoying my environment, historic buildings and endless wineries, I couldn’t stop being irritated.

  • There were too many tourists yet we were two of them…
  • The other cars were driving like crazy Grinches – especially through Austin, the most traffic-congested city in Texas.
  • Our luxurious room wasn’t quite clean enough (it really wasn’t).
  • I was bored and tired.
  • The road from Medina to Kerrville was ridiculous – hairpin bends and really steep gradients. I guess I missed the point about visiting the hill country.
  • Teddy sleeps like an owl and I am like a bear. Maybe I should hibernate through winter??
  • Other guests. That’s a standalone but they were talking outside in broad daylight, beeping their cars locked and worse still, talking in their room at 7 pm.  They ate all the breakfast.

I know what you are thinking – poor Teddy.  It’s true that he put up with a Grinch wife but we still had wonderful meals and laughed all the time.  I am hoping that made up for the time, after driving for hours in silence, I turned on the CD to keep myself focused AND THEN he started talking.  I told him to Shut the F*** Up and gave him the finger.  Thirty seven years and counting – I love you Teddy!!!!

 

Short, sassy and seasonal

 

I have been growing my hair a little longer, of late, and coloring it a shade darker.  Looking in the mirror it just looked dull so VOILA!  My stylist cut it in a really short style and I lifted it a couple of shades to a light ash blonde.  I always color my own hair and this time I used Ion color and Developer from Sally’s Beauty Shop.  It’s a cheaper way to color your own hair and wastes less product.  I mix and match the shades until I get one that suits.  This was a mixture of 10 AN (Ash Neutral) and some High lift blond with 30 % developer.

This photograph shows a little more of the texturized effect.  I have incredibly coarse hair that refuses to sit properly so it took my stylist a good hour to cut and re-cut when dry.  The left side of my hair (in the photo) has always been the difficult side, even from childhood.  Frizzier and less compliant than the right. Teddy is my patient personal photographer…

The hot, hot summer takes it’s toll on my hair but once it gets a bit cooler, I always feel like changing it up.  Especially when it is BOOT season!  Last weekend I wore my silk flowered ankle boots – totally impracticable for anywhere with a real winter.❄️❄️

Before  Teddy took the previous two photographs in the back yard, I took this selfie on the front porch which is shaded.  It is fascinating how different the photos look – just a different camera and position.  Teddy was able to make me look sunnier but I quite like the thoughtful look above.

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season.  I will be offline in a few days for the holidays.  Merry Christmas!

GRINCH BITCH POSTSCRIPT

I composed this draft yesterday.  Then Teddy came home late after a frenetic work day so we went to our local steakhouse’s bar for a quick happy hour meal.  I noticed with trepidation that the car park was full and suddenly remembered Christmas Work Holiday Parties – shudder!  We found a little table for two in the corner but it wasn’t secluded enough…  Sure enough, hyena screams started coming from a table of what looked like lady realtors.  I quickly ascertained that they were all in competition with each other thus the screeching across the table.  Then I looked at their hair.  Every single one was wearing a Rachel cut.  It was hard to tell their age with all the fillers/Botox but I would guess between late 40’s to my age.  There were no real beauties but all were attractive and would have benefited from a new hair style – a pixie here, a lob there even just a blunt bob.  I laughingly asked our wonderfully patient waiter if they had a volume control (perhaps at the back of their matching black shift dresses).  I hope they gave him a whacking tip.  Oh that feels so much better especially since a Swiss jackass (CH on Audi) in Trader Joe’s car park tried to take me out this morning.

 

 

My simple holiday decor

Many years ago I had a 7ft Christmas tree decorated with endless ornaments, some antique, with snow, a village and a train underneath! Now I can’t maneuver a giant tree out of the attic and some of the excitement of the holiday season has disappeared with less relatives and animals on this earthly plane.  The boxes of baubles make me feel sad, however, so I try to spread them all over the house.  Our bedroom above is decorated in blues, beige and a touch of pink – so are the baubles.

Even my perfume tray in the bathroom has a cat angel – why not??

Teddy has a maritime penchant so the other bathroom is decorated in blue.

Chandeliers are decorated – even the sparkly rocks are festooned in tinsel (Teddy is a geologist)

Teddy’s study (below) has to be decorated…

…and then mine (this sketch was drawn by my employer when I was 21)

Just add a Swedish Horse to add some color to the brass candles with Norwegian candles.  The clock, a wedding gift to Teddy’s parents in 1948, is always at 1.50 pm because the humidity killed the mechanism.

Even the spare bedroom is not ‘spared’…  Teddy painted the landscape many moons ago.

This is my Nana’s beloved walnut glass cabinet brightly lit by a glass container filled with red baubles and lights.


This year was going to be treeless because it doesn’t seem like Christmas without cats ripping off ornaments or peeing in the ‘snow’.  Then I felt compelled to decorate a tiny little tree and I love it.  I hope you have enjoyed my homespun little tour – it doesn’t have to look like an interior designer was involved for it to feel like the HOLIDAYS!

 

Black Friday

Kerry wearing Vera Wang faux leather leggings with a bedazzled jerkin from the airport in Vegas and ancient faux leather biker boots.

For all you crazy Black Friday people – this is how you shop.  You get an overwhelming need for black pleather leggings, you look around the shops and then find a pair on sale a few days before Thanksgiving.  You can call them Vegan Leather but that’s just pretentious – it’s faux leather or cheap plastic as my Nana would say…

Teddy had mentioned that he liked the idea of pleather pants (he is a sensual Taurus and loves stroking materials/me).  I swithered about a 59 year old woman wearing them but What The Hell.  I worked hard for this figure so I am going to flaunt it.  On my first foray to the shops, the very kind assistant had to keep bringing me smaller sizes because I can’t mentally see how slim I am.  Curiously, the fluffy lady in the cubicle next to me had to ask for sizes 2 up.  Mirrors truly are magical.  The assistant had to finally tell me that pleather had to be tight with no wrinkles.

To start off Thanksgiving Day, Teddy and I settled down to binge on the Man in the High Castle – instantly hooked.  By episode 2 we were shouting commands to each other in fake German.  Somehow my outfit fitted into a Dystopian, militaristic future.  At 3.30 pm we went off to our local restaurant which was packed with couples and families who couldn’t bear cooking.  It is a posh steakhouse and I would guess that 5% of the guests had dressed up.  Isn’t that part of the joy of going somewhere nice?  The Latinos were dressy and some young beauties but there was far too many casual jeans with sloppy tops.  Bring back dress codes!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and be kind on Black Friday.  We were a little sad about no kitty cats or family but it is just one day and tomorrow is full of promise.

 

 

 

Almost Tropical Autumn

Technically, we live in the sub-tropics in the Piney Wood ecosystem, Texas.  I think I prefer Almost Tropical and to illustrate – we go from Hot as Hades to Freeze your Ass off.  Yesterday a cold front came in and unusually we have some autumnal foliage.  Most years a hurricane or storm system blows off the leaves before they can change color.

This is my walking path just at the end of my ‘hood’.  It is so lovely at this time of year with less sunscreen/warm sweaters needed.  You can always tell the recent snowbirds.  They wear shorts all year round and look at my layered sweaters with disbelief.  Having to communicate or at least wave to everyone on the walking path also causes them some consternation.  Bless their hearts…

Usually this display of copper and gold would warm my heart but the Grinch has stolen it.  My depression has been getting better but the time change has messed with my brain.  For the last few months the driving in our town had improved after an obvious police/trooper/constable presence.  Even my ice cold heart was warmed by seeing jackasses in trucks/Mercedes getting tickets or at least a scolding.  On Wednesday I had to return to my trusty physiotherapist because my right arm is sore and numb.  In route back home, I encountered a weaver in a truck.  Three lanes of traffic, going about 50 mph, and yet he felt he could get three cars ahead by weaving in and out of traffic dangerously. He swerved right in front of me and something broke in my brain.  To preface this, honking your horn is almost unheard of down here.  I put my hand on the horn and left it there.  All the lanes seemed to back away from me and I was left in a solitary bubble of road rage.  The next day the police were back and schadenfreude overtook me as I watched car after car getting booked.

Now I am less sore and grumpy, the Grinch has retreated and I am enjoying the autumnal leaves once more.  I even went to the mall to get my Nordstom’s coffee and enjoyed the repartee with the Israeli soap sellers.  Sometimes it drives me crazy and I feel like I have never left the souk.  Can someone tell me how to say, “Stop bothering me” in Hebrew?  Nothing too rude…their employers probably make them use persistent sale tactics.

Northerners laugh at us when we complain about almost freezing temperatures but we are acclimated to a long summer of hot and steamy.  It is usually in the high 90’s but the humidity shoots up the heat index.  When the first cold front arrived the temperature shot down by about 50 degrees.  Today it is bloody freezing and the heating isn’t working – eek!  I phoned our contractor in a panic and they are coming out in an hour even though it is Saturday.  My neurological issues and low blood pressure makes me feel really unwell when I am cold.  The gas fire is on and the space heater, too.

The other week I spotted something strange and big in the garden.  I racked my brain until I realized it was an old Great Horned Owl nest which had collapsed – it was about 3 feet across.  They usually steal someone’s else’s but it was huge and very nicely lined with a plastic grocery bag and pine needles.  Everyone is recycling these days. 🦉

 

Weird Wednesday

Yeah, it’s perfectly normal to see a tame black vulture on a beat up truck in backwoods Texas…

Teddy is really blowing kisses at a camel – we miss them so much!  It’s also hump day.  Happy Wednesday!

This lovely Ankole-Watusi who has the largest horns in the bovine world made me cry with laughter.  Teddy has normal OCD and his crazy fear is sticky hands/stuff.  This glorious critter was so excited to see his first guests at Franklin Safari park that as soon as I took the photo, he leaned in and DROOLED!  It was filling up the side pocket of the car…and Teddy was beginning to panic.  Once I stopped laughing we gently rolled the window up and I passed over the disinfectant wipes that I have to carry for Teddy.  He was torn between his delight at being so close and his horror at the drool.

Only one of us could ever live at a farm…