Katniss has Help…

Katniss playing

This post is an excuse to tell you some random stories and wish everyone Happy Easter, Passover, Pagan spring thing or whatever.  I hope you enjoy scampering naked through a field of wildflowers, eating too much chocolate or going to your church.

Katniss has Help…

As most of you know, we have a feral cat who visits twice a day for dinner.  We named her Katniss and have a collection of little plates just for her.  Rabies is quite common in Texas so I am very careful to separate Katniss’s plates from Toffee’s (our indoors cat from Egypt).  I am also lazy and end up with a pile of dirty dishes after a few days.  Then I will put them in a bucket of soapy, bleachy water to soak and then will clean them.  A week ago, I forgot to finish my task and left the bucket outside overnight.  I sleep with industrial ear plugs because Teddy really snores like a bear.  He commented in the morning that he wondered what the raccoons had been doing in the night (how could he hear anything over the snoring?)  He said that it sounded like they were breaking something and were chittering noisily.  Later on, I remembered my bucket and went out to do the dishes but someone had beaten me to it.  I looked at the bucket quizzically because the saucers were all placed tidily alongside.  I burst out laughing when I realized that the raccoons had ‘washed’ the dishes for me.  They are very smart little critters who love playing with water.  They will dip toys in the water as well as their food.  Our neighbor found them swimming in her pool one night, chittering happily.  I wondered if I should get them a toy kitchen.

The Help

The back-handed insult

St Mary’s Catholic Church
Brenham

I will be volunteering on Easter Sunday, as usual, and my doctor refers to it as my church service.  I love that idea and the next time a rude customer asks me if I have nothing better to do on a Sunday, I will say I am at my church doing something more useful than singing hymns.   Last week a pleasant older lady asked me where I was born (Scottish accent).  I told her the long story short – Californian Irish Mexican hybrid.  She looked at me carefully and then said, “You are a beautiful woman” “You don’t look a bit Mexican”.   I really didn’t know how to respond to that ‘compliment quickly followed by insult’.

The real compliment

Bluebonnets by the side of the highway

On my recent trip to the Texas countryside, I was driving along the major route between Houston and Austin.  The speed limit is 75 miles per hour but in Texas we read that as 85 or more; it is some kind of state dyslexia…  I noticed a group of cars had stopped on the side of the road and then saw the reason – BLUEBONNETS!!  To my own astonishment, I slowed down and did exactly the same.  Every Texan gets excited about our wildflower season but bluebonnets are an indigenous little blue Lupine that sets our hearts aflame.  Here is a link to a previous funny post about Bluebonnets.  After acting like an idiot on the road, I noticed a field of them next to my hotel which was near a super Walmart and, even better, A THRIFT STORE!  Kerry was in heaven, both with bluebonnets and cheap clothes.  It was a treasure trove with rich ranchers’ cast offs.  One top still had the ticket on it – $50 for $5.  At the desk, the young girl tentatively asked me if I was over 55 (30% senior discount) and I brought out my driving license (yes, they really gave me one).  She said that I didn’t look 55.  As I related this story to my colleagues later they expressed surprise at my real age and willingness to admit it in this age obsessed society.  Again I burst out laughing – I just told them I shopped at thrift stores so why hide my age.  Dang it, I would do pretty much anything for a 30% discount…

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A spoonful of sugar…

teddy-doctor
….makes the medicine go down. I had great intentions of blogging more frequently but suddenly my health deteriorated last week and I had to go to ER. I have had a variety of nagging symptoms with no real diagnosis until a blood test showed my thyroid was a little under-active. I started taking some medication for this but suddenly, on Wednesday, was very dizzy, nauseous and my heart was beating out of my chest like a cartoon.

I checked to see if these were serious side effects and it said ‘go to ER, immediately’. Since it was evening, I had no other option. All I could think about was, ‘how much is this going to cost?’ I was also short of breath, so the staff at reception asked me if I had a family history of heart disease. I, rather unwillingly, shared that both my parents had heart attacks in their 50s. They were both smokers and alcoholics… The next thing I hear is “56 year old woman, EKG”. Most of us think we are 21 in our heads but hearing that is somehow shocking, especially since history seemed to be repeating itself.

To cut the melodrama short, my heart and lungs are fine. The ER doctor thought that I might have gone from hypo to hyper thyroid with the new medication but had to send off the blood samples for further investigation. They put me on a saline IV drip and gave me some Potassium to drink, as my levels were low. The nurse warned me that it tasted awful and mixed it with Gatorade. Gah! It tasted even worse than the stuff you have before a colonoscopy. With every sentence I sound like an old person. 😱

Other recent blood tests taken my GP showed that my B12 levels were low also. It is still a mystery as to the exact why but the word parasite has been brought up again. I was really trying to avoid my gastroenterologist but having had a parasite in the past, I will really need to do the dirty (to coin a phrase). Teddy took me to ER and sat with me through each boring hour. The doctor had pressed my tummy and I had gas. Teddy said, “Just let it out” and at that exact moment a trolley squeaked next door. He said, “How did you do that?” I was short of breath and struggle not to faint from laughing.

Later he discovered that if he said “Boo!” to me, my heart monitor would skip…oh, he is such a laugh. It did strike me that I was so glad that I have a husband to be with me. How hard it must be to be sick and alone. I have no family for many thousands of miles, with no parents or siblings. My friends have been very concerned and that touches my soul. I am very grateful to have health care through my husband’s job and will await the bill with trepidation. How lucky you are in other countries where you can go to ER without worrying.

Most of the worst symptoms are gone and I am resting at home, dreaming of walking on a beach in the sunshine. Back to blogging soon.

Sexuality through the ages

He had a eight pack...

He had a six pack…

The title suggests that I am delivering a historical thesis but I am really talking about sexuality through my ages. In the previous post I referred to a nightclub I frequented. The owner was a paper millionaire at least and took a fancy to me. I was 19 and although I no longer looked innocent, I was very obviously an ingénue. He was ANCIENT – probably about 30 but very handsome and likely married. He told me he was separated from his wife and I chose to believe him because I was intrigued by his interest in me. Girls were lining up to take advantage of this rich, handsome man and my disinterest was probably like catnip. I guess we got to first base and he took me to dinner one night. The truth is that I was slightly repulsed and scared by the age difference even though he was a looker. I blew him off, stopped going nightclubbing with the ‘girlfriend’ and then got back into a serious relationship with the steady boyfriend.

Just before that I met a very handsome man who was a catch at the nightclub. We had some fun in his car when he took me home but I was secretly frightened that he was too good-looking for me and unceremoniously dumped him when the regular boyfriend reappeared after a short break-up (like a fungus). I was perplexed by how upset the handsome man was and then just moved on. About a year later, I met an old college friend who coincidentally consoled the very handsome man at the pajama party that I declined to go to and they were now living together. To my surprise, he had talked endlessly about this charismatic American/Spanish/Irish girl that he had met and my name was so unusual that she knew who I was. I felt guilty on a number of levels – that I had used my fairy glamour on him for my own selfish purpose, that her relationship with the love of her life was sullied by his brief encounter with Khaleesi and that I had made a terrible mistake. I really wanted to marry or be with a very, very well qualified guy and he wasn’t it. I joke with my husband, who has a B.Sc. and Masters, that he is the least smart date I have ever been serious about and it is mostly true.

When I was 19 years old (all this was happening that year) I was at the height of my sexual allure. I was asked on dates at bus-stops, male college friends would walk 4 extra miles to carry my college books to my bus station and generally men fell at my feet. It was intoxicating and I took full advantage of it. By the time I was 20, my steady boyfriend had dumped me because of my numerous infidelities and, as his mother had indicated, I was not the right girl for him. I moved on swiftly to the international student association, dating my way through the world, breaking hearts as I went. When I met my current husband at age 21, I had been dating two handsome global students at the same time with their grudging permission (take it or leave it) and was setting off to the Edinburgh Festival with the first date of a life time. He looked a bit like Mick Jagger. My friend, who was a geologist, invited me to her 21st birthday party and I felt I had to attend so declined the Edinburgh date. I guess the rest is history.

I met Teddy, was astonished that a geologist could be funny, handsome and have an eight pack (Scottish Karate Team). We were engaged in 3 months and married within 11 months. For most of that time I didn’t see him as he was working overseas so it was a shot in the dark but my instinct was correct. I predated him then, and beat out some ferocious competition at the same party. Then I took him home with me, to meet my mother, and seduced him along the way. He was both shocked and delighted at this innocent looking kitty in heat but he did not protest…

So, I married at the age of 21 and discovered that I had both some medical sexual problems (frequent UTIs) and hormonal/fertility issues but not immediately. Like most young married couples we were at it like rabbits, trying out gymnastic positions and generally having lots of fun. Then over time, our sex life got less interesting and more painful for me. The turning point was realizing that we could not have children naturally and that I definitely had a mental illness. My husband is adopted and I could not bear to go through the adoption process only to be denied because of my poor mental health. Nonetheless, Teddy and Bunny adored each other and we moved through the decades with love always present but sexual desire waxing and waning.

More historical documents tomorrow…