Teddy’s looking younger!

Teddy and Bunny

Teddy and I took an olde worlde selfie last week with the timer on a camera. My girlfriends in Scotland had met up last weekend and had sent photos of them enjoying themselves. There were a few ‘refreshments’ imbibed… With my recent ill health I had been reluctant to take selfies. My body dysmorphia has been worse of late and when I look in the mirror I see the older version of Charlize Theron in the movie Snow White and the Huntsman.

Teddy is also unable to see what an attractive man he is – who does not look like he has just turned 59 years old (I will be 57 in a few months). We met when I was 21 and I was astonished that he had not dated half of Glasgow. Even his aunt thought he was gay! Had I not predated him, I doubt we would be married for 35 years. I thought he was cool and uninterested but he thought he had met the girl of his dreams. We were engaged within 3 months and married after 11 months leading to family theories of pregnancy. I have still to whelp…🐕🐶🐕

He is definitely looking younger of late however and I have a theory about that. From our mid 50s we have been having a wonderful time, both relaxed at work and travelling the world together. Then the oil slump came and life changed dramatically. We both have new jobs that can be stressful with horrible commutes. We are working in more challenging environments using different skillsets, with new colleagues. As difficult as that has been, the silver lining is that we both look a little younger than our real ages. We try to make life at home as stress free as possible and rarely socialize with other people. Time is too precious to spend with anyone else but each other.

The icing on the cake is that Teddy won an award at the Offshore Technology Conference (Oil) for his part in writing a paper whilst working at the company that laid him off. Isn’t life ironic? More fool them. I get stressed when I am working events but funny moments make it all worthwhile. When waiting for some guests the other day, I was sitting with a lovely young colleague chatting. A Ukrainian limo driver was really staring at me and eventually he said, “I know you”. I responded that he probably knew me from the airport. No, he insisted that I looked really like someone from the old country. He moved the other side but kept staring at ‘those eyes’. I burst out laughing and said, “Would you like a photograph?” Later that day a Lebanese silver fox told me that he and his wife were like sister and brother. Uh oh – time to stop flirting!!

The night the photograph was taken we went out for an ‘early bird supper’ and I was concerned that last year’s dress from Ross was too short. You can see how it rides up in the photograph. We popped into Walgreens on the way back and both of the beauty assistants told me how lovely I looked. It was the perfect end to a lovely evening out with my honey.

After and Before

Living area – AFTER. Toffee is proudly sitting on the sofa

When we moved into our arts and crafts style home, 13 years ago, it was beautiful. Over the years we have had to take up the pretty dark wood and Berber carpet because three feral cats did their damage… We are on our third scratched suite and we have one little geriatric kitty left. Toffee is much less work than the other two (who are in pussycat heaven) and I finally decided that I could no longer stand our cat-proof look. The aluminum chairs were the last straw (also the third set of cat proof chairs). All the rugs were mismatched, as where the cushions but very hardy for throw-up…

Living area – BEFORE. Mismatched and messy.

Aluminum chairs!!!

Dining area AFTER, complete with Nana’s china cabinet and Granddad’s handmade mahogany lampstand.

I didn’t want to spend too much money so found large area rugs from Walmart’s Home and Gardens range. The tiles that replaced the wood/carpet combination are lovely but I really dislike tiles despite living in the subtropics (they are cold underfoot and I break everything I drop on them…). Then I wondered what to do about the aluminum chairs? I searched on Amazon for some inexpensive chair covers that had good ratings. I put some padding on the back and kept the seat cushion on. The covers were too large but I managed to fix that with some folding on the seat. They look really expensive despite their real cost – an Espresso colored satin material that doesn’t wrinkle.

Newly showcased kitchen with Egyptian brass lamp and Portuguese pottery

Once I started putting things together, I realized that I needed to buy some new pillows for the sofas and use the cats’ blankets strategically. They now cover the worst of the scratches on the leather. Then I looked at my kitchen and realized that I was not showcasing the beautiful granite worktop. I cleared the area and put out some Portuguese pottery that was sitting in a cupboard. The copper lamp was a gift in Egypt.

Study with matching rug – AFTER

Onto the study, where I replaced the ‘outside’ rug for a matching smaller size and covered the scratches on my office chair with one of my aunt’s doilies. We all love it, especially Toffee. Our little Egyptian street cat loves freshly washed blankets and pillows. Perhaps she loves it because it no longer smells of the alpha cats and is just for her, our little princess!

Hallway BEFORE with recycling bin!

The hallway AFTER, showcasing the handmade rug that Nana and I made in the 70s. Voila!

Mental illness is a REAL illness


This is not a political post; I am all too aware that the Affordable Care Act was anything but. Unless something miraculous changes in the Senate, mental illness will no longer be included in the new health plan. So…not only do I have a variety of pre-existing conditions but the one that makes me most ill (and yet is least expensive) will not be covered. For some reason, addiction and mental illness has been put in one category. From my work and personal experience, mentally ill people often self-medicate but they are not the same. I have a clearly inherited condition, much like heart disease, and there was no element of choice. I am not criticizing anyone who has an addiction – there is enough blame to go around.

Let’s take this past week. It started on a high with Teddy’s birthday and then rapidly went downhill. Why? Even I want to slap myself because it was no good reason at all. Our roof has been leaking and the contractor took three days to repair the ceiling, leaving me trapped in the master bedroom which has a large bathroom and closet. Toffee (my elderly cat) and I had to go there so that she wouldn’t escape or get in their way. I had great plans; I would write blogs and binge watch girly TV shoes. Mentally I was paralyzed. Thoughts started spinning in my head about how fat and useless I am. I am neither of those things. I couldn’t watch anything other than old Bones episodes because I couldn’t concentrate. Then the physical pain started to set in. When you sit in an anxious state, you start getting cold and stiff – it was almost 90 degrees outside but the air-con was on for the contractor.

I was determined to do better the next day but the anxiety was rising. My thoughts were, “what do I really need to prioritize in my life?” My ridiculous conclusion was that I would be really happy if I got back to 1** lbs. (about 6 lbs. less than I am now). I joined a free weight loss internet club which told me I was already within my BMI range and that I would have to eat 700 calories a day to lose 2 lbs. a week. This is a glimpse into a world of disordered thinking, especially with eating. Then the sciatica kicked in. I was fully aware that I could have sat in the yard, watered the garden or tidied my filing system but again – paralysis.

By the third day, I had drunk a small glass of vodka with anti-anxiety medication because the paint didn’t match (our ceiling has not been painted in 13 years). I spoke to poor, long suffering Teddy who could hear a panic attack coming on and he agreed that we would ask them to leave. Teddy would finish the painting after our roofs have been replaced in the next few months. As soon as the contractor left, I sprang into action, steam cleaning tiles, polishing our leather suite and assembling everything back in the room. My sciatica really hurt after all that but endorphins got me through. All throughout the 3 days and nights, I had horrifying nightmares that meant that I was really sleep deprived despite being in bed most of the time. My eating deteriorated to almost nothing except snacks and vodka. Perhaps I should revise my thinking about putting mental illness and addiction together?

Now it is all over and I am on the way to feeling better. I ate properly, stopped drinking vodka and went walking to help with the sciatica and general good health. Then, I lost my sunglasses. It felt like the end of the world – I searched the house and garage. It culminated in texting my husband in California to see if he had seen them. Finally, good sense prevailed and I ordered another pair from Amazon at $7 – less than two lattes. I am still hugely annoyed at myself for this whole week. Why couldn’t I just deal with it? This is the true cost of mental illness, a life mostly wasted because of tortured thoughts. Mine are benign, as are the majority of people with mental illness. There is real physical pain, too. The only time I felt happy with an illness was when I was in a full leg cast for almost a year. For once people could ask me what was wrong and not be embarrassed about the answer. Sometimes you need sympathy for an invisible illness.

If the act passes without amendment, mentally ill people will end up in and out of psychiatric hospitals or often prisons because they haven’t been able to access regular help at their psychiatrists, psychologists or doctors. In the end that costs more than a quick visit to the shrink.

24 hours in Tulsa

Hip Tulsa

Even I was surprised by how photogenic Tulsa was. I always take short trips, walk for hours taking photographs and then am exhausted. Tulsa had a very relaxed feel; a small city with so many types of architecture. The Blue Dome building below is on route 66 and was a Gulf gas station built in 1912. Back in the day, the gas station attendant lived in the apartment above. What a cool job that would have been. It has transmogrified into a bar in the past and recently has been bought by the restaurant next door.

The Blue Dome building

It is a very pretty city and the inhabitants seem to take joy in art, whether through architecture or paint or sculpture. I liked this Rotarian statue celebrating their efforts to provide clean safe drinking water around the world. I wonder if they are currently helping in Flint, Michigan?

Safe water sculpture

The Globe

The Bird Family

My final shot in this post illustrates the old with the new. A beautiful Art Deco roof peeping out from the newer skyscrapers.

Art Deco Roof

Holy Tulsa!

Stained Glass in arch of Holy Family Cathedral

I am posting yet more photographs of the lovely Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa. Guilt is weighing heavy about brow-beating the church secretary into opening the cathedral for me… A therapist would have fun trying to figure out why a lapsed Catholic spends so much time in church!

Organ in cathedral

As I mentioned in a previous post, they were servicing the organ and I would have loved to have heard it in a mass. These old architects really knew how to create fantastic acoustics. The colors in this cathedral particularly appealed to me. I adore the color lilac but my mother hated it, as did my mother in law. Perhaps it was the association with mourning?

Cross and Flowers

I wandered around the exterior of the church and this cross was in the side garden. Trespass is an unknown concept to me; it is either my native blood or growing up in Scotland where there is no true law of trespass. Mr Trump was very upset that ‘anyone’ could walk across his precious golf course…

Finally, this plaque in honor of the Year of Mercy touched my soul. Not sure about my indulgence though with the whole brow-beating thing going on…

Happy Birthday Teddy!

He had a six pack…

My lovely husband is 59 39 today…  The handsome blondish guy above is a photo of him in Norway when he was really younger than 39.  What a looker!  He deserves to be spoiled on his birthday for so many reasons but #1 is that he loved his nutty mother in law.  We came as a package, as I was her long distance caretaker.  Her mental illness made her behave very strangely at times.  She would beg us to visit but then be overwhelmed by day 2 or 3.  To illustrate this she would take all the sofa cushions off, leaving us to sit on the hard base.  It drove my aunt and me to distraction but Teddy just put them back on the sofa and pretended nothing had happened.  When she was well, she was absolutely hilarious, full of fun and laughing at both ends.  I have inherited that charming and yet unique trait, along with her looks, her mental illness and a good sense of humor (just as well, really…)

I love Teddy for the following reasons –

  • He loves me (Bunny) despite the mental illness, dodgy hoo-ha and lack of estrogen
  • He makes me laugh; really laugh. We were a great double act at the bank last weekend.  Teddy has a stronger Scottish accent than me and the teller was having some difficulty with the glass and his lack of enunciation so I kept translating.  I told the bank teller that I was a translator for the mentally disabled.  She fell about laughing.
  • He goes to work to provide for me (mostly healthcare but I like to eat sometimes) and he always has. At least I am a skinflint…
  • He smells amazing. Teddy has a penchant for expensive scent and our current favorite is Luna Rossa.  His natural body smell is lovely too and the late Mrs. Stripe used to suck his used underwear (like a Tom Jones fan).  I don’t go quite that far but I do like a whiff of male sweat.
  • There is always some lady with a crush on him but he seems to prefer blonde with a touch of crazy.
  • He loves cats (perhaps that should have been #1). Our feral cat, Katniss, has decided that she will wait for ‘Dad’ to come home to feed her.  Ungrateful little slut!
  • He cries when he watches soppy movies like Despicable Me and insists that we buy the first soft toy that we handled in case it feels neglected (WTF?). He bought my mum teddies from all over the world including the cutest little Harrods teddy with an Aran sweater.  I still have the damn things in the attic because she made me swear never to get rid of them.  In case you are reading this, Mum, they are all happy together with enough room to breathe…
  • When he is drunk, he writes me beautiful little love notes that I keep in my lingerie drawer. The term ‘lingerie’ is pushing it.
  • He loves me despite my unsexy, holey knickers…
  • He thinks I have a great figure but his eyesight isn’t so good.

A tip for older single ladies – date the silver foxes.  They will see you through an elderly, rose tinted mist.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEDDY!

Teddy and Bunny in Fredericksburg a few years ago