Gas Lighting

‘Gas Light’ Image courtesy of Vox.com

Britannica definition of Gaslighting:

An elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or “gaslighter,” on a single victim over an extended period. Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings.

Although the term ‘Gaslighting’ is frequently used in modern parlance, it originates from a stage play named “Gas Light” produced in 1938 in the UK, followed by a British movie and then the more famous American movie in 1944, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, pictured above.  In essence, the husband is trying to persuade his wife that she is becoming insane by a series of deceptions including deliberately dimming and brightening the gas lights.  I won’t reveal anymore of the plot but it is an excellent movie with twists and turns.

In real life, gaslighting can exist in sexual and marital relationships, working relationships and friendships.  When writing this post, I wondered if I had been gas lit by boyfriends or my husband.  There were elements of manipulation in one or two relationships but I am not sure if it was truly deceptive or intended to undermine me.  My husband certainly manipulates me to get his own way and vice versa.  Before I learned to drive, he tried to persuade me that he was an excellent driver and that I was just an anxious passenger.  I am surprised his pants didn’t burst into flames…  Occasionally, I will use a sugary sweet voice to ask for something but that is just a normal part of married life.

Truthfully, I think I was only gaslit by a colleague in a work situation.  We started to work together after I had been very successful with a grant application.  It probably grated on her that I was being praised about that accomplishment.  I had some years working in the community sector and she did not.  Over a period of six months, she criticized every element of my working pattern until I doubted my own skills.  She instinctively knew that I was vulnerable to being bullied – it was like a cat with a mouse.  Part of me realized that she was making unfair criticisms of me, especially about my writing skills!  Despite that, it wore me down and I eventually resigned.

Sometime later the gaslighter did the same to a new colleague who became unwell because of the unfair treatment.  At that stage, I was asked to help with an intervention.  I hate confrontation but I was also very angry that I was not the only victim.  At the meeting, I snapped and yelled at her which is very unlike my work persona.  She burst into tears and curiously admitted the truth about our relationship.  She was insecure and jealous of my success and that was her excuse for gas lighting me.  I felt no validation just sadness and guilt that my earlier intervention may have helped.

On reflection, I think she had left her previous employment under a cloud but I am not certain.  It would have been even worse for my mental health to confront her in a timely manner – I needed some time to decompress and evaluate what had happened.  Sometimes gaslighters get away with their behavior because it can be subtle to detect but she was asked to resign.  Later, she and her husband divorced and I wondered if she did the same to him.

One would think that I learned a lesson about believing in myself, wouldn’t you?  Sadly not.  The very next new colleague did something similar.  This was even more complex as I thought we were friends.  I perceived that her jabs and criticisms were part of a jokey friendship.  She called me her minion, even though I had been offered her job (and turned it down) and was part of the interview panel.  This time it was infinitely more subtle and I was beginning to think I had a problem communicating with my colleagues.  The reasons for the gaslighting were EXACTLY the same!  What is wrong with my self-esteem – perhaps my psychiatrist could tell you?  I was so embarrassed and confused that I blamed myself.  This time I had the perfect excuse for resigning – Teddy had been offered an overseas posting and I escaped to Egypt.

For many years I kept in touch with this colleague who had become a ‘friend’.  There was a part of me that admired and liked her despite everything.  Finally, my common sense kicked in and I ghosted her (but that’s a topic I will leave alone).  What provokes this behavior?  In my situation (but not the Gas Light movie), the gaslighter’s insecurity made them try to undermine me.  Did my seemingly confident persona get on their nerves?  I can be very tactless and laugh too much at work.  My theory doesn’t follow through as the perpetrators continued their gaslighting behavior with a variety of other people with different personalities.  Does needlessly criticizing people give them pleasure or is it a form of sadism?

Goodtherapy.org states:

One of the most common reasons people gaslight is to gain power over others. This need for domination may stem from narcissism, antisocial personality, or other issues. Like most cases of abuse, gaslighting is about control. … Over time, the abuser may convince the target that they cause the abuser’s aggression.

I hope that none of my readers have been victims of a gaslighter but please share your experience if you have been.  During these experiences, one friend and colleague reached out to me asking me if anyone was treating me badly.  I regret not telling her the full facts but I am not sure that I was aware of what was happening.  In other words, the gas lighters were successful.  Now that I am older, I hope that this won’t happen to me again.  On two occasions I was offered jobs by people (in Egypt and America) that I thought might be possible gas lighters or bullies, so I demurred with an excuse about my mental health.  It helps that I am now more open about my vulnerabilities and mental health disability. 

Finally, I questioned if I could have gaslit any of my employees or colleague.  My flaws are many; dogmatic, disinclined to delegate, obsessive but not a gaslighter. Clearly, I can have poor judgement in interviews, given my last experience.  The only thing I am sure of is that I didn’t act with malice in the workplace.  Be kind to your colleagues.

The Circle of Life

Teddy and I decided to go to the Lake for my 29th birthday. There is a new boardwalk development with a rather nice Cajun restaurant. I don’t eat much fish but LOVE blackened catfish so we both had that with dirty rice. Most of the catfish is farmed locally and has a delicate flavor. The spices are blackened in the fry pan and the rice has herbs and chicken sausage in it. Then we had Beignet…

Not our usual ducks – a family of Mallards. In Scotland we used to call them Muffy Ducks because they looked like our brown tabby cat.

As we walked along the boardwalk after our delicious Cajun repast, I spotted this sign leading to a little fenced hole on the deck where you could feed the various fish in the lake. Texas Children’s hospital sold fish food and the proceeds are donated to the hospital. As you can see from the sign, the lake has grass carp, catfish, bass and bluegill. Catfish and Bluegill are native Texans. A long time ago, I rescued a much larger Catfish that was stuck on a lure – Kerry and the Catfish.

Look at those hungry little catfish with their maws gaping – such cute little whiskers! That’s were the title comes in – the Circle of Life. I thanked them for tasting so delicious and wished them a long life. I was the Red Tailed Hawk and they were the Squirrel.

The Non-Ducks are back!

Above are Whistling Ducks who migrate to our pond every summer. They are really neither geese nor ducks but a sub family – Dendrocygninae. It’s a bit of a tongue twister so we call them non ducks. They live in Latin America in the winter and we think they are Catholics given the amount of ducklings they have.

This is a male Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly They are common along the Gulf Coast and give a lovely flash of crimson in a sea of blue and green Pond Hawk dragonflies. To me, they are beautifully colored fairies that cluster around humans because we attract mosquitoes. These little predators are quite precocious and will sit on your hand or head.

This is Mr and Mrs Puddleduck, a pair of Muscovy ducks who live here year round. Mr Puddleduck has a glorious blue sheen to his feathers. They wag their tales like puppies when you talk to them…awww! We have had so many thunderstorms around these parts that we have puddles in the ground around the pond. These are full of slugs and worms that these fat little omnivores love. Their feathers have been covered in dirt with their muddy foraging. I tell them to go bathe in the pond to no avail…

These are two mud encrusted red eared slider turtles – what is it with the mud this year? Perhaps it acts as a sunscreen in turtle world. Sometimes they ‘turn turtle’ and we have to wade in and rescue them before the sun bakes them. They are indigenous to the southern Gulf but people have released unwanted pet sliders into other areas and then they become invasive.

OUR IDYLL

If you look really closely to the right of the most northerly pondweed, you will see the head of a massive turtle. He splashed into the water like a hippopotamus when I approached.

This is a Delta Flower Beetle, a beneficial migrant from the Florida Everglades. I was really trying to capture the Lantana blossom but then spotted the Delta which is also a type of Scarab beetle – happy memories from Egypt.

Mature Conversation

Teddy asked, “What’s the difference between Queer and Gay?” Kerry scoffed, “Gosh, you really are old, aren’t you?”  She then Googles it because she doesn’t know the difference either.  Later she explained the difference to Teddy who said, “What does the plus stand for in LBGTQ+?” “I have no idea” she responded. “I don’t think we need to know at our age…”

“Good morning, Kathleen” said Teddy referencing that Kerry looked like her mother while staring vacantly into the middle distance in her beloved lilac dressing gown.  “Feck off” responded Kerry.

“She’s nae bonny, is she?” said Teddy to Kerry while they were watching a dreadful reality show.  The girl was a tad plain. “Do you remember your mum and that poor girl’s prom dress?” responded Kerry who was referencing an incident back in the 1970s when Nessie, a skilled seamstress, persuaded a girl, quite overweight, not to choose a white fabric.  “What was the expression she used”, asked Kerry. “She would have looked like a galleon in full sail”  And that was her trying to be kind.

“Would you like a savory snack, Sir?” asked Kerry, with her best impression of a British Airways flight attendant with a London accent.  “Yes please, Miss!” responded Teddy in a high-pitched dweeby London accent.

Teddy grabbed his wife’s delectable ass while passing her in the kitchen.  Kerry laughingly responded with the expression she has been using for 40 years, “Don’t touch what you can’t afford!”  This evoked a play chase around the house with Kerry screaming for her husband not to touch her.  Over the years, the chasing has become a bit more sedate and they both collapse on the bed with no further action.  Sometimes Kerry begs, “Don’t squeeze me – something awful might happen!”  Teddy responds, “We don’t have to bring up your family’s bowel and bladder problems…”  Hysterical laughing followed by a rushed trip to the bathroom.

Teddy starts a monologue, “I need…blah…Amazon…blah…cable…blah.” Ad infinitum.  After he finishes, Kerry says, “You have just wasted another five minutes of my rapidly diminishing life cycle.  Do whatever the Feck you want.”

“Can you get me the industrial vinegar from the garage, Ted?” asked Kerry.  Some time passes with clattering in the garage.  Kerry shouts “If I have to come in and find it, you are in so much trouble!” “It’s not here!” he exclaims.  Kerry walks into the garage, opens the first cupboard and it is right in front of them.  Teddy is futtering about in the second cupboard – every shelf is labelled.  Kerry sighs in exasperation.

Teddy and Kerry are watching a French movie on Netlix. “Ecoutez!” booms the French actor “…et répétez!” shouted Teddy and Kerry in unison.  Their shared experience of the Scottish education system sets off some familiar phrases.  “Ma tante ouvre la fenêtre!” says Kerry.  Teddy responds, “Mon oncle trouve la plume!”  They lose track of the movie.

With no segue, Kerry states “I haven’t found a foolproof way to kill you since they put bittering agent in anti-freeze”.  Teddy gives her a withering stare and she cackles.

Kerry is doing something in the bedroom when a hulking creature appears at the doorway.  She screams, “Stop creeping about the bloody house!” “I live here, too” he responds sadly.

“I think we need to cut down the wine” said either Kerry or Teddy.  A few hours later, “Are you still not drinking or would you like a glass of wine?”  “Yes, please!”

Kerry is reading while on the toilet, against her gastroenterologist’s advice.  Teddy walks in and says, “There you are! I have been looking for you everywhere.  The back door was unlocked but the front door is still locked and I was worried”.  Kerry shouts, “I miss my privacy since you retired.  GET OUT!”

Teddy, “ I love you to Pluto and back!”

Kerry, “I love you to Alpha Centauri and back!”

A leopard hopped…

This is a Southern Leopard Frog.  Isn’t he perfectly camouflaged in the mulch beside the Blue Lagoon (former Infinity Pool)?  Teddy and I were so excited about a new garden pet and ran for cameras.  ‘Leo’ sat patiently and posed for the paparazzi.  Then we Googled him.  They are indigenous and live in the south east portion of the US.  There are 23 types of Leopard frog in the Americas – who knew?  I loved the names of the unusual species such as Bigfoot Leopard Frog, Vegas Valley Leopard Frog and my favorite, Montezuma’s Leopard Frog.

They need to live by water so I guess the containment pond is close enough.  He has a very distinctive call – Their croaking, chuckling call has been compared to the sound of rubbing an inflated balloon.  That is one of the many reasons why I have to wear earplugs at night…  Judging the cacophony outside my window there are thousands hundreds living in our reserve.

National Geographic states:

Leopard frogs will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouths. They sit still and wait for prey to happen by, then pounce with their powerful legs. They eat beetles, ants, flies, worms, smaller frogs, including their own species, and even birds, and garter snakes.

WOW!  That is an impressive little predator with quite an appetite – and most welcome in our well stocked jungle preserve.

Then Teddy and I realized we had seen a leopard frog before.  When we first moved into the street, I was enchanted by all the pumpkins you could buy in autumn.  It was a very hot, steamy October and we kept hearing frogs outside the front door.  Later we realized that the wee pumpkins had rotted with delicious larvae inside, attracting all the frogs.  Even Tim Burton couldn’t create a Halloween scenario like that one!

In retrospect, we wonder if this little green tree frog was hopping away from the gluttonous leopard frog near the pumpkins… It really is a jungle out there!

This is our delightful Frog Lady guide on a trip to El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rica. The Coqui Frog is the symbol of Puerto Rico and sings all night long. This is a link to my post about El Yunque.

references – National Geographic, USNF and Wikipedia

Blue Lagoon

It’s official – Infinity is a bust!  More precisely, our Pyrex Infinity Pool was not appreciated by our garden critters.  We watched as they walked cautiously around it, looking at it suspiciously. “What did the People do with the old bowl???”  I think they couldn’t see the bottom of it or the edge and it made them wary about how deep it was.  The critters had spoken and we trekked off to our favorite ‘antique’ shop in Tomball  to replace their pool.  We enjoyed our antiquing but you know it is time to stop when you wonder if they would like our stuff…  The precious bowl Blue Lagoon was actually found at the church shop and cost $2.

Infinity’s a bust!

I was tickled that it was a genuine ceramic from the Coushatta Casino Resort in Louisiana. The Coushatta Tribe moved from their home base in south west Louisiana to Alabama to avoid Spanish explorer Hernandez DeSoto after an encounter in 1540.  They relocated back to their homelands and some live in East Texas.  Gambling casinos are illegal in Texas despite a recent bill in the Texas Senate.  Teddy felt that we should have made some miniature roulette tables to our lagoon but it is too hot to be bothered now!

The new Blue Lagoon is a hit with the garden critters as you can see at the top and below with the infra- red camera.  That is an indigenous pack rat sitting on the diving rock.  Given his occupation, he would have loved rummaging through the antique shop.  My favorite find was a George Bush doll! 

Perfect for a pack rat!

Does anyone else remember old school desks that still had the inkwell in them?  By the 60s we had stopped using the inkwell but I do remember having a few fountain pens.  It was a really hot sticky day so Teddy and I enjoyed a wee glass of Pinot Grigio at this lovely outside bar.  Afterwards we realized we hadn’t had any breakfast – we are turning into retired reprobates.

Cheers!! Sláinte!! Salud!! Prost!!

Toxic Positivity

That’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?  I am fascinated by this new post pandemic phrase – can positivity be toxic?  I think the answer is yes but with some caveats.  When I first started blogging on WordPress, most of the blogs were literary (poetry/writing), travel based, humorous or healthy living (mental and physical).  Over the past year there have been a huge increase in blogs with a ‘Positivity’ focus.  I follow several blogs that fall into that category and I write posts that are positive, too.

No matter how many ways you say it, however, there was really few silver linings about this last year.  It was, what it was – a Pandemic.  There is truly no way to fully prepare for it and all the consequences that include unemployment, isolation, illness and death.  Like many of my readers, it became too much at times and I stopped watching the news or anything pandemic related.  I found some succor in my Fairy Blight stories.  We gravitated to lighter TV programs and movies and that is natural.

Positivity becomes toxic when it is insistent, leaving you no room for feeling bad or empty.  We should feel very sad and grief stricken about the great loss of life.  We should be on edge about the political and other divisions between us during this stressful time and be prepared to take action (in a non-violent legal way).  There is nothing positive about all the mass gun shootings in the USA this year alone – we need a cultural change along with a legal one.

In day-to-day life, I have noticed that some friends only want to talk about upbeat topics.  That can leave the friend, who wants to share their angst, feeling alone.  There is room for both.  You can chat about how crappy you feel and then start laughing about a shared memory or plans for the future.  Real friends are there for you in darkness and light.  Be assured that there is light ahead – every morning there is a new dawn with endless possibilities.  Was that the cheesiest phrase I have ever written?  At least I can laugh at myself and my toxic positivity…

When I was growing up, my mum had a major depressive breakdown with a hospital stay and electroshock therapy.  I inherited the genetic disorder but also struggled with a mother who couldn’t see anything positive in life.  As a result, I did everything I could to make her happy, until I got angry.  After I married, I would call my mum every night at 6 pm.  In an instant I could tell if her mood was low.  If it was, I panicked, wondering if she was going to drink that night, then I went on to MAKE her feel positive.  It’s possible that I had a remarkable skill with my poor mother or she just pretended to be okay so I would shut up!  Sometimes she felt so bad that she wouldn’t answer the phone.  Then I phoned her next-door neighbor…  I think that is the essence of toxic positivity and my intentions were so good.

In retrospect, I should have given her some space, and allowed her to feel bad but I was full of fear.  When I worked in mental health, I took a couple of courses in counselling skills and was mortified that this was not my forte.  The excellent trainer pointed out that I was trying to make the client feel better rather than truly listen to them.  That taught me so many lessons but I also knew that training to be a fully qualified counsellor was not for me.  To be honest, I am much better in a triage or stressful situation giving sensible advice.  That’s why I worked so long at an airport.  My desire to overwhelm passengers with positivity and happiness was appropriate in that small time period of contact – and mostly appreciated by stressed travelers.

Many years ago, I worked with the colleague from hell – she was the epitome of a gas-lighter.  Eventually I left the job with a vague excuse although my co-workers thought the gas lighter was the reason.  She was full of fake toxic positivity and plastered the walls of our office with those awful 90’s motivational posters. I wanted to deface them all with the opposite word as well as hold her down and write SOCIOPATH on her forehead with one of her black markers.

ACHIEVEMENT – FAILURE

FOCUS -APATHY

EXCELLENCE – MEDIOCRITY

Being positive is a wonderful quality but you can’t force it on yourself or other people.  Balance and moderation are in short supply currently but hopefully life will improve.  The mask mandate is lifted here because there are so many fully vaccinated people and what a joy it is to smile at random strangers.

Here is a definition from VeryWellMind.com

Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. It’s a “good vibes only” approach to life.

This is the second in a series of essays; the first was Cancel Culture or Consequences and the third will be Gaslighting.

The Scream

Mama – I need lunch !!!

This delightful young red-tailed hawk has been waking me up every morning, YELLING for breakfast.  It was such a lovely day seeing the baby close up – they have a huge nest in a pine tree behind our neighbor’s house.

Later that day, we set the night camera out and some squirrels came up to us looking for peanuts which we readily provided.  We looked out at them snacking on their peanuts on the top of the fence.  I turned away and Teddy, gasped “Oh no!”.  The enormous (4 foot wing span) Red Tailed Hawk mother snatched one of the wee squirrels off the fence.  I was distraught and convinced it was my fault although objectively I know it is just the circle of life.

We lived on a farm many years ago and woke up to dead sheep or cattle when they had died in the night.  The farmer would drag the carcass onto the drive next to our house so that the knacker man could pick it up.  It couldn’t go for human consumption.  I adapted to farm life but still grieved each loss as I knew them all personally and had named them (Pal, Ilford, Ermentrude, Toffee, Fudge and Moo were my favorites).  Eventually they all went to market anyway.

I struggled to sleep after the squirrel kill but laughingly realized that we have been running a small farm in our backyard.  The stock is fat and healthy – excellent food for a beautiful hawk.  I won’t put any more peanuts out until winter as they have plenty of food.  Someone else is eating every bud off my hibiscus plant…

Teddy took these fabulous shots of the juvenile, about 60 foot up, with his Canon camera that cost more than me – no dowry from a council house! He was offered many camels for me in Egypt, however, and very kindly turned them down.

Cancel Culture or Consequences

I have a secret to share.  For decades I had an overwhelming crush on Kevin Spacey.  I loved all his films; ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ was my favorite and I even went on a pilgrimage to Savannah to see where it was filmed.  In my fantasies, we were going to meet on one of my transatlantic flights and fall madly in love with each other, even though I suspected he was gay.  Then Spacey was charged with a felony charge of an indecency assault and battery against an 18-year-old man.  The prosecutors dropped the charges after the alleged victim stopped testifying.  Our legal system has found Spacey innocent but  subsequently other young men spoke out about his alleged predatorial behavior.  I felt nauseated especially since the storyline in ‘Midnight in the Garden’ was about an older man with a younger vulnerable male.  The consequence of this is that my head and heart have cancelled him.  I will not watch any film with him in it – our ‘affair’ is over.

Growing up in Europe, I have a laissez faire attitude to extramarital sex, polygamous unions, homosexuality and anything else that is part of our human nature to explore.  I don’t care if the Prime Minister of England, for example, has sex with a consenting adult – I would rather have it as common knowledge than a blackmailable secret.  It is the more egregious acts that concern me, such as Bill Cosby’s many offences against women.  In that case, the law prevailed and he is in jail as he should be.  He seemed like a genial actor playing a loveable role; so many of us were fooled.

Paradoxically, when Ellen Degeneres came out as a gay woman, all those years ago, I thought she was treated appallingly.  She was a funny actress/comedienne and didn’t deserve to have her show cancelled because of her personal life.  More recently, however, there were allegations about a toxic environment in her workplace and now she is leaving her long running talk show, although it was not cancelled.  Not being a fan of talk shows, I rarely saw it but on one memorable occasion I watched her interrogate a young famous guest about their love life in a most unpleasant way.  After I saw her do that again, I stopped watching.  It seemed as though she was hiding an unlikeable trait behind the ‘Be Kind’ message.  Maybe she has a giant chip on her shoulder about her previous experience?

In every day life, there aren’t enough consequences for bad behavior.  If a contractor messes up, I won’t give a bad review online but I won’t use them again.  Far too often, creepy workmen have behaved inappropriately to me and my friends, when we have been home alone with them.  When I last had a carpet cleaning crew in my house, on of the technicians sat on MY BED WITH ME where I was sitting to get out their way.  I now have  my own carpet cleaning machine.  On a hilarious but very frightening occasion another acquaintance called the police when the window cleaner stripped naked in her house – he was deported back to Europe.  He thought his saggy dad-bod would entice her to have sex with him…

I also believe that it is unfair that someone is painted black when they may be innocent.  Surely most of us have the common sense to work out which ones have far too much smoke, along with the fire?  If I feel that there is a genuine apology about an action that was unpalatable, I can accept that.  People who are in the public eye, whatever their role, must know that there is an expectation for them to behave within the confines of social norms.  In Egypt belly dancers get arrested if they are too provocative – just as well they don’t have Hooters there.  Programs get cancelled for the weakest of reasons so it should come as no surprise when an offensive action is the reason for a cancellation.  My final cancellation is Woody Allen.  Everyone has their own reason for liking him or not.  His work does not appeal to me although he has employed some excellent actors.  I don’t know if the sexual allegations from his children or child are true but I can’t tolerate someone marrying their step-daughter even if it was technically legal.

This is Merriam-Webster’s Definition of cancel culture

the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling (see CANCEL entry 1 sense 1e) as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure

Before we had social media we still had cancel culture – we sent people to Coventry in the UK. Wikipedia states ‘To send someone to Coventry is an English idiom meaning to deliberately ostracize someone. Typically, this is done by not talking to them, avoiding their company, and acting as if they no longer exist.’

“There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll

Dungarees or Overalls?

My Texan friends always look perplexed when I refer to the outfit above as dungarees, “Oh you mean overalls”.  I checked the web and technically both are right but here, in Texas, my apparel is a ‘bib overall’.  Whatever you want to call them, I had a penchant for a pair two years ago.  On a trip to Scotland in 2019, I found a perfect pair of bib overalls and matching blouse in H & M (in the clearance rack, naturally).  I wondered if I was too old to wear them at age 60 but I think I rock them!

Close up of bib overalls

I still refer to H & M as Hennes from their original name Hennes and Mauritz.  It is a Swedish based company and on one particularly awful trip to Stockholm, the airline lost all our clothes and MY WHEELCHAIR!  There was no offer to lend me one, or connect me to their Red Cross.  They couldn’t give a skit, as they say in Sweden and got the sharp end of my tongue, to no avail.  We needed to get some clothes and headed to Hennes.  I could walk a few yards and perhaps had a stick?  Nothing fitted me but Teddy got the best clothes he has ever worn.  They were finished properly with excellent material and lasted for years.  My new outfit from 2019 was well made too but not quite the same quality. 

As I Googled for H & M, I noticed a variety of forums that suggested that because H & M promoted fashionable clothes it wasn’t an eco-friendly store.  Well, I will still be wearing mine for a decade, as Teddy did his, but I really prefer thrift stores.  I noticed that we have a new baby critter in the garden – a blue tailed Skink.  As you can see, he is the same size as a peanut shell but he will grow to about a foot including his tail.  He is very welcome because he loves tree roaches and cicadas – eat away little skink!

It’s a little fuzzy because it was taken through the window but his dungarees are even cuter than mine!